Increased Efficiency, Reduced Costs as Gold Mine Switches To Pump Hire

The Electrical Supervisor of a Western Australian underground gold mine discusses why they have chosen to hire, rather than buy, dewatering pumps and the efficiency gains for the business.

How do you describe your operation?

We are a small to medium-sized underground gold mine.

What were the problems you were having with your old pumps?

We started from scratch, so we bought our own pumps for this site. The company I was using then are no longer in business. As we’ve grown, we added more pumps into the system. The growing workload meant that it became easier to hire and exchange replacement pumps. This is because the turnaround time was quicker than trying to repair our own pumps on-site. It was clear to us that hiring was faster and more cost-effective.

Darwin is closer to your mine site than Perth. Why did you choose the Perth-based PumpEng instead of a Darwin supplier?

Repair wise, PumpEng provides a more consistent and reliable service than the Darwin setup I have used in the past. For hire pumps, it is better value by quite a bit, both in the short and long term.

How many pumps do you currently have?

We’ve currently got 31 pumps, 13 are PumpEng hire Raptor pumps, and 15 are our own pumps that PumpEng maintain for us. The pumps vary from 5kW to 37kW.

Where do you use them?

The pumps are installed in underground sumps and drill/face areas. The pumps are subject to harsh conditions. This means when you are taking them underground, they cop a hiding and external damage is inevitable. However, with the stainless steel components on the Raptor pumps and the all-metal MetalVest pumps, these risks are minimised.

The pumps are meant to pump water, but here, as in a lot of underground operations, they can be pumping a high degree of silt and fines at times. They have to handle a fair bit of wear and tear and do so admirably. They get used on multiple drill rigs, and they get moved around, which is where the bell design gives better stability.

How would you describe the PumpEng dewatering pump performance?

I’m very happy with what they do. From what I can see, their performance is as good as any made by the leading pump manufacturer.

How would you describe PumpEng customer service?

Very good. The cost and the service level I get from them are a lot better than what I’ve had from other suppliers.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about switching to PumpEng for their dewatering pumps?

I’d definitely tell them to go for it. You’ll get better service, and you’ll cut your costs.

Read: The Business Case for Dewatering Pump Hire on Mine Sites