KETO parts increase throughput in uranium processing plant
A uranium plant located in Northern Saskatchewan, Canada, home to the world’s richest high-grade uranium deposits, accounts for approximatly 14% of the world’s mine production. The operator was seeking a reliable solution to avoid unscheduled site shutdowns related to pump system failure caused by unpredictable and excessive wear rate of legacy wet end components.
Mining in this area poses a number of geological, technical and logistical challenges. To control radiation exposures, due to the high ore grades at the site, tough regulatory operational procedures are followed to sustain high standards in safety, health and environmental performance. Every stage is critical to site operation, including maximising the intervals of pump maintenance to minimise risk. The installed legacy 6x4 E horizontal slurry pumps operate in a severely abrasive service with a high concentration of hard rocks and sharp particles pumped at high pressure and speed, from the grinding plant to the leaching plant 1.8 km away. The viscosity and solid content characteristics of the pumped slurry varies daily leading to varying performance of the pumps. At site inspection it was found the pump performance was continually varying left and right of the design point, causing excessive wear on the wet end parts.
The main areas prone to wear were:
- Suction side plate, particularly at nozzle region
- Impeller, particularly at eye vane inlets, suction side impeller shroud, and the vane tips
- Volute cutwater and side walls adjacent to the impeller tips
- Stuffing box and sleeves
The legacy wet end parts were lasting on average 240 hours before failure. This required approximately 36 complete wet end change outs per annum (impeller, volute, frame plate liner insert and throat bush) at a cost of approximately USD$18,000 per change and loss of 6 hours of production each time the pumps were off line.
INDUSTRY / APPLICATION
Mining & minerals
- Uranium Processing
- Operational efficiency
- Savings due to increased revenue in excess of CAD$17million
- KETO complete wet end components