Hydraulic hoisting: An economic alternative in the deepening of underground mines

Sellgren, Anders ; Hansson, K. ; Jedborn, A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 3
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1990
In the mining industry, conversion of fine particles into a slurry is often part of the normal processing of the ore. Therefore. from a system's point of view, slurry transportation would be considered as a natural alternative, all the way from the working face to the final processing. In underground mines, there is sometimes a considerable inflow of ground water that has to be pumped out. When the mine dewatering installations are integrated with a hydraulic hoisting system, the cost of power needed to pump out the ground water can be excluded from the cost of hoisting, compared with other modes of transporting the solids to the surface. The chief advantage of hydraulic hoisting is that the hoisting capacity can be increased at comparatively low total cost without necessitating the sinking of new shafts. Alternative examples include deepening of the existing mechanical hoisting system, truck, or conveyor belts transport in ramps to the present level. These often become very expensive. The economic effectiveness of hydraulic hoisting and hydraulic design considerations have been discussed by Kostuik (1965) and Sellgren (1985, 1986) for both small shallow mines and large deep underground mines. Objective and scope The objective of this study was to demonstrate the feasibiliy of hydraulic hoisting in hypothetical examples of mine deepening. Underground grinding to a maximum particle size of about 700 um (about 25 mesh) is considered. The pumping of ground ore products with positive displacement plunger or membrane type of pumps at working pressures of up to 15 MPa (2200 psi) is a thoroughly tested technique (Venton, 1986). Hydraulic hoisting system A hydraulic hoisting system is described schematically in Fig. 1. The ore is mined, handled, and crushed conventionally. It is then ground wet underground. The slurry is then temporarily stored in an agitated tank and pumped to an agitated receiving tank on the surface. The ore is then further processed in the concentrator. The capacity of a pipeline is very high. For example, an annual production of 500 Kt (550,000 st) of ore can be handled in a 100-mm-diam (4-in.-diam) pipeline. Systems layout - economic effectiveness Schematic mine layouts are presented that represent situations where hydraulic hoisting often is the most economical alternative. A situation where the ore is trucked to the level of the existing hoisting system is shown in Fig. 2 (following page). With hydraulic hoisting, only a shaft for ventilation, pipe- line, and personnel are needed. In a first phase (Fig. 2). a hydraulic hoisting installation with crushing and grinding units, storage facilities, and pumps has been located at a level of about 400 to 600 m (1310 to 1970 ft) below the surface. With further development of the mine, the hydraulic hoisting
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