A Chilean open-pit mine that produces 75,000 tonnes of copper per year is part of a large natural resource company producing over 90 commodities worldwide. This company remains committed to the health and safety of its employees as well as environmental protection.
With commodity production, process engineers typically seek low cost/highly productive
solutions. In this case, the end user uses heap leaching to separate copper from other
bi-products. While heap leaching is an effective solution, mineral recovery is only about 60-70%, and highly aggressive chemicals are used and produced which can cause incompatible gasket material to break down and fail.
Joint leaks in this scenario can pose a massive safety risk to workers, environmental concerns, and possibly a loss of revenue in the event of liabilities, time loss, and lost product. Finding suitable materials for service in sensitive environments such as these can be both time consuming and costly.
Triangle Fluid Controls Ltd. the manufacturer of Durlon® sealing products, began working closely with the mine engineers at providing a cost effective and high performance sealing solution to help conduct refine from the leaching process. Durlon® 9000 was specified for its ability to withstand the leaching conditions and the material is compatible with both sulfuric acid and the refine. The end-user discovered Durlon® PTFE through published data proving the material’s high sealability and were pleased to find that replacing their old ring gaskets with Durlon® products reduced previous joint leakage, helping to avoid fluid contamination and recover more mineral.