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.


    Mining & minerals

    • Uranium Processing

    Saskatchewan, Canada


    • Operational efficiency
    • Savings due to increased revenue in excess of CAD$17million

    • KETO complete wet end components 


The KETO Pumps K-HEE™ severe duty high efficiency impeller, volute, frame plate liner insert and throat bush were installed due to the proven design in enhanced efficiency and improved wear life performance. The KETO parts were primarily ran and inspected at 580 hours, the review of the wet end revealed the impeller was in virtually new condition with minimal erosion to front or rear shrouds with no erosion to impeller outlet width. The severe damage caused by the suction recirculation has been substantially reduced giving the parts a longer life than that of the previously installed legacy parts - where the impeller vanes at the eyes were destroyed and impeller ODs severely eroded in less than half of this time period. The installation of the KETO wet end parts substantially reduced the maintenance intervals, increasing these to 1,500 hours using the KETO wet ends before a replacement was required. This accounts for 6 times more than the wear life of the legacy impellers.


In summary a potential revenue increase from the review of two 6x4 E pumps, calculating gain in production, labour and maintenance savings and reduced KETO part costs, accumulate to excess of CAD$17million per annum.


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    K-HEE™ Severe Duty High Efficiency Impeller

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