One of the largest copper mines in the Philippines is situated on the beautiful island of Cebu, less than one hour drive from Cebu city.
The open cut pits at this mine site are quite deep – and constantly getting deeper – so the groundwater must be continually pumped. Putting extra strain on their dewatering operations, the water in the pits is also very dirty and sludgy.
However, their dewatering installation was not suited to these conditions at all. Their set-up consisted of multiple submersible pumps with multiple hoses, but they were losing the dewatering battle and constantly struggling with excess water in the pits. This was seriously affecting safety and productivity.
The efficiency of these submersible pumps was very poor due to the muddy conditions, the abrasiveness of the water and the rapidly-growing height required to pump the water.
Quite simply, the use of multiple submersibles was not a good choice for effectively pumping the deep pits at this mine site.
Their fleet of submersibles was becoming very costly to maintain. Especially as the water was so dirty, so the pumps would clog regularly. By always clogging, the constant wear on the impeller and diffuser was resulting in regular maintenance and expensive downtime. What’s more, the use of multiple outlet hoses was extremely messy which, on any work site, is very unsafe.
It was immediately clear to the experts at Sykes Group that the cost and maintenance of their current dewatering set-up – using many submersible pumps with multiple lines – was an expensive and poorly advised solution.
The team at Sykes Group immediately recognised the most elegant solution for this minesite would be a single-pit diesel or electric drive dewatering pump.
However, the client initially expressed concern at the cost of running such large pumps. From this feedback, it was clear that the client’s knowledge of running these types of pumps was limited. Therefore, to help them make a fully informed decision, an on-site presentation and training session was arranged just for the client.
At the onsite demonstration, the client learnt how their pits were getting too deep for the submersible pumps already in operation. Basically, the submersibles were not designed to perform as high-head pumps. When they understood this fact – and saw the comparative output performance for themselves – the client was quick to order two pit dewatering pumps from Sykes Group.
To replace the inefficient fleet of submersible pumps, two Sykes Group pumps were installed, an XH 150 with a C-13 Diesel engine on a pontoon, plus an XH150 Electric drive pontoon mounted pump. Very quickly, a huge difference in efficiency was noticed.
The mine site operators soon discovered they could use just one dewatering pump – in two key locations – to replace multiple submersible pumps and multiple lines. This significantly reduced pump maintenance and hose replacement costs.
Due to the success of this new Sykes Group dewatering installation, the client has purchased even more dewatering pumps and is now considering a new pump and pontoon installation for other places in the pit.