Hydraulic Hoisting Technology For Platinum Mines

Berg, G. van den
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2005
Anglo Platinum has initiated a project to investigate hydraulic hoisting technology for platinum mines. Hydraulic hoisting systems are categorized as pumping, fluidizing feeder or displacement feeder systems. Positive displacement piston diaphragm pumps are most suitable for pumping systems but they require that the ore be milled prior to pumping. Fluidizing feeders are unsuitable for platinum ore applications due to the large percentage of fines in the ore. The three-chamber pipe displacement feeder has been most widely used for hydraulic hoisting and is the most suitable technology for platinum mines. Eight hydraulic hoisting applications covering pumping and displacement feeder technologies are reviewed. The key factors to be assessed in selecting a hydraulic hoisting system for a platinum mine are discussed. A typical platinum mine configuration will comprise an ore preparation plant (to produce -15mm material through screening or crushing), motive water pump on surface, high pressure water pipeline from surface to underground, ore slurrification plant, three-chamber displacement feeder, and a high pressure slurry pipeline to surface. The water and slurry pipelines are housed in a purpose drilled borehole. A hydraulic hoisting system selection chart is presented. A 150mm diameter system with a 25 MPa pressure rating is required to hoist 60 000 t/m from a depth of 1 200 m. Generic capital and operating costs are presented. A major potential advantage of hydraulic hoisting is that the fines, which contain a high percentage of PGMs, are captured underground and transported directly to the concentrator. Hydraulic hoisting technology is ideally suited to providing supplementary hoisting capacity to existing shafts that have reached the skip hoisting capacity limit. The main advantage for new shafts is the potential to significantly simplify underground rock handling and transportation. All hydraulic hoisting system components are proven. The only risk area is the wear rates of the valves and piping. Current estimates are based on gold ore. The business cases investigated show that the financial viability of the installations are not sensitive to wear rate. Hydraulic hoisting is technically feasible and financially attractive for platinum mines. Keywords: hydraulic hoisting, slurry
Full Article Download:
(922 kb)