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. This necessity puts extra strain on the mine’s dewatering operations. The water in the pits is also very dirty and ‘sludgy’.
The mine’s initial dewatering installation had not been suited to these conditions, and with several submersible pumps set up with multiple hoses, they had been losing the dewatering battle – constantly struggling with excess water in the pits. This had been seriously affecting safety and productivity.
The efficiency of the original submersible pumps had been poor due to the muddy conditions, the abrasiveness of the water, and the rapidly-growing height required to pump the water. The type of submersible pumps that had been initially selected for the application had not really been the best fit for effectively pumping the deep pits at this mine site.
The mine’s fleet of submersible pumps had become very costly to maintain. Especially as the water was so dirty, the pumps had been clogging frequently. The excessive clogging caused constant wear on the impeller and diffuser, resulting in extra maintenance and expensive downtime. Moreover, the use of multiple outlet hoses had been extremely messy and created safety issues that needed to be addressed immediately.
The team at AllightSykes immediately recognized the most elegant solution for this mine site would be a single-pit diesel or electric drive dewatering pump. However, the mine personnel initially expressed concern at the cost of running such large pumps. From this feedback, it was clear that the AllightSykes team needed to educate the mine personnel to help them make a fully informed decision. An on-site presentation and training session was arranged for the mine personnel and it was there at the on-site demonstration, the mine personnel learned how their pits had been getting too deep for their submersible pumps to operate reliably. They acknowledged that the submersible pumps originally selected for this pit were not actually designed to perform as high-head pumps. Once they understood this fact and saw the comparative output performance for themselves, the decision–makers quickly ordered two pit dewatering pumps from AllightSykes.
To replace the inefficient fleet of submersible pumps, two AllightSykes 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 AllightSykes dewatering installation, the mine managers have purchased even more dewatering pumps and is now considering a new pump and pontoon installation for other places in the pit.