South African coal mining environments, especially in open-pit scenarios, face the perennial challenge of managing water levels to ensure smooth operations. To address this, companies like Mechanical Rotating Solutions (MRS) have revolutionised dewatering processes with tailored pump solutions. To this fact, MRS has built and refurbished diesel mobile pump systems explicitly designed for dewatering at coal mines.

In 2023, MRS achieved its 20th such mobile diesel pump built or refurbished, showcasing its extensive experience in providing specialised pumping solutions for the local South African coal mining industry.

What sets these refurbished pumps apart is the company’s ‘better-than-new’ philosophy. Each pump undergoes a meticulous refurbishment process, ensuring they exceed original standards. Such attention to detail and commitment to excellence signify the company’s dedication to providing cutting-edge solutions for efficient dewatering in mining environments.

The advantages of using a pump driven by a diesel engine on a mobile trailer for dewatering in open-pit mining are well-documented. This setup offers unparalleled mobility, allowing swift movement of equipment across expansive mine sites. It ensures accessibility to varying water depths – crucial in addressing the ever-changing water levels within open-pit mines.

Diesel-driven pumps also provide power independence, a crucial aspect in remote mining locations where stable electrical grids may be lacking.

According to MRS managing director Franscois Steenkamp, what distinguishes Mechanical Rotating Solutions’ new and refurbished pumps is a commitment to customisation and efficiency. “To start off with, specifying the right dewatering pump is pivotal in ensuring efficient, cost-effective and safe operations in an open-pit mining scenario, impacting everything from productivity to environmental sustainability and worker safety.

“Viewing at our most recent mobile pump projects operating at a specific efficiency point of 100 litres per second at 100 meters head, capable of producing 50cfm (cubic feet per minute), these mobile pumps offer tailored performance optimised for the mine’s specific conditions. This precise operation, as mentioned, ensures maximal effectiveness in removing water from the pit, reducing fuel consumption and cutting operational costs.”

While a pump capable of 50cfm can handle dewatering in certain scenarios, especially in smaller operations or where the water volume is moderate and the depth or lift requirements aren’t excessive, MRS can also supply pump sets for larger scale or faster inflow scenarios that may require pumps with higher capacities, or multiple pumps working in co-ordination to meet the demands efficiently. This is particularly important in situations where the pump needs to quickly and effectively draw in fluids from a source, especially if there are air pockets or the pump is not gravity-fed.

“What really sets us apart is our ability to upgrade the pump seal with the latest technology from our AESSEAL® mechanical seal range while further extending the pump’s lifespan by incorporating Belzona engineered coatings,” says Steenkamp. “The impeller and casing of slurry disposal pumps on these mobile units mainly fail due to excessive wear and erosion. Having gained extensive experience servicing collieries in the Mpumalanga province, we frequently utilise Belzona Engineered Coatings for the protection and refurbishment of metal surfaces subject to severe erosion-corrosion, as found in coal mines. This ensures the pumps commissioned by Mechanical Rotating Solutions are true to our better-than-new philosophy”.

The adaptability and reliability of these refurbished pumps shine through their ability to swiftly respond to changing water levels or unexpected flooding. Their mobility, coupled with the optimised performance, ensures versatility in addressing diverse depths and locations within the mine – safeguarding productivity and operational continuity.

“Moreover, by operating at their best efficiency point, these pumps exhibit reduced environmental impact, utilising fuel efficiently, and potentially lowering resource consumption over time. Their reliability under specific conditions, crucial in emergencies, ensures safety and mitigates risks associated with excess water in the mine. The integration of a pump driven by a diesel engine on a mobile trailer, specifically tailored to the specific dewatering needs, stands as a testament to Mechanical Rotating Solutions’ commitment to providing efficient, adaptable and reliable dewatering solutions for open-pit mining operations,” adds Steenkamp.

While initial investment costs may be perceived as higher, the long-term cost savings derived from these specialised pumps are undeniable. Reduced fuel consumption, minimised downtime and enhanced operational efficiency significantly contribute to cost-effectiveness and sustainability in water management within the mining operation.

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