Reducing Dewatering Pump Failure In Underground Gold Mines
In this interview, a project supervisor talks about the issues he has experienced with the dewatering pumps in underground gold mining. He discusses how those problems were solved and the cost saving that strategy represents.
How do you describe your operation?
What were the problems you were having with your old pumps?
We were having issues with the poor standard of the old pumps. The repair invoicing was ridiculous. We were paying for pump repairs which weren’t issues when we sent them off-site. The pumps that we were sending off-site weren’t the same pumps that we were getting back. The pumps we were getting back were a combination of several pump parts put together with each having different serial numbers. We discovered this when we pulled some apart on-site. That led us to go down the path to finding a new supplier.
Why did you decide to go with PumpEng?
The key factor was the price. I called a few different suppliers and told them what I was trying to do. We invited three companies up on-site. We met with them and arranged pump demos. Our final decision was a combination of how we felt about the face-to-face interaction as well as how well the product performed. PumpEng came out on top.
How many pumps have you got working on-site at the moment?
I’ve got just under twenty. Eighteen are on contract. I’ve also got a few extras which I can increase and decrease when peak periods demand.
Where do you use them?
In the sumps underground as well as at the face. These are pretty disgusting, dirty places. We’ve got lots of muck, fines and shotcrete fibres underground. All the bad stuff winds up in the sumps. It is a hard environment, so you need a tough pump to keep on top of things.
How would you describe the performance of the PumpEng pumps?
Sensational. In a typical week with our last supplier, we’d be sending off two or three pumps for maintenance. These days we’d be lucky to send out two or three in a whole month. That in itself speaks volumes.
How would you describe the customer service from PumpEng?
Great. I am in constant contact with them. They’re always very open and honest. There’s no secrets or anything like that. It’s straight down the line and what you see is what you get.
They pride themselves on delivering a good product. If there are any issues or questions, they’re more than happy to listen and take things onboard. They’ll work with you if you want to do something a little bit different or if you’ve got a special problem to solve. If I say, ” I need this pump to do this” they’re more than happy to work with me and get that outcome.
What sort of feedback are you getting from your crew?
The crew themselves don’t access the pump, but the electricians and pump fitters usually had to handle issues with the pumps from the previous suppliers. Those electricians don’t even put a tool on these new pumps. The contract we have in place with them is a full-service agreement. Feedback from the site says it frees up many man hours for us because we don’t have to worry about the pumps.