Copper Mining Operation Optimizes Sulfuric Acid Handling

OVERVIEW

Copper is fast becoming a critical resource as the world shifts to an increasingly lower carbon footprint, and with the growing demand comes a need for more efficient processing (i.e., refining) of the mineral ore.

The owner of a copper mine in Antofagasta City, Chile wanted to replace its legacy centrifugal pumps used for injecting sulfuric acid into agglomeration tanks – where crushed copper is heaped into uniform particles and sprayed with sulfuric acid + water. The acid component helps to optimize ultimate metal recovery by improving permeability of the raw material at this stage in reparation for the next step: lixiviation, or leaching, to extract the metal.

 Natural copper, 29Cu
 Natural copper, 29Cu

CHALLENGE

The main challenges encountered by such a hazardous application include: 1) harmful chemical leaks into the atmosphere, and 2) corrosion effects on the pump equipment, itself, leading to frequent repair/replacement. Therefore, a well-sealed, leak-free pump made of stainless steel was preferable to address both safety and service life concerns. In addition, an accurate metering of the sulfuric acid flow was key to being able to monitor and regulate the precise dosing level in proportion to the operation.

 

SOLUTION

The Stainless Steel 4127 Series™ pump was recommended to meet the customer requirements after a job assessment by Viking’s local distributor, Tecfluid. This corrosion-resistant pump with Teflon® seal delivers long wear and safe handling of 98% sulfuric concentrations at low psa in the mountainous region of northern Chile, approximately 2,300 meters above sea level. It also has a one-piece cast bracket with seal between bearings, which provides a rigid foundation to maximize seal and bearing life.

TechFluid setup of the 4127 Series

RESULTS

The pumps installed at this copper mining facility have been running trouble-free at a flow rate of 13 cubic meters/hour for each pump since 2012 – with no leaking, no cavitation, and accurate meter readings.  The customer has been very pleased regarding these excellent results and is using Viking pumps in other areas of the mining operation, totaling two LQ4127A Series™ pumps and four KK4127A Series™ pumps. According to the Superintendent, “The pumps have been operating well without any problems”.

 

ADVANTAGES

VIKING LQ4127 SERIES™
Viking LQ4127 Series™

 

This project highlighted the following main advantages of the Stainless Steel 4127 Series™ pumps:

  • Leakproof Teflon seal
  • Corrosion-resistant, stainless steel construction
  • Withstands low psa environments
  • Cost-effective due to long service life, less down time
  • Good performance in low net positive suction head (NPSH) conditions

 

Viking Pump’s 4127 Series™ products offer a reliable pumping solution for copper mining processes. For more information, contact your Viking Pump distributor and request a flyer with full details and specifications.

 


ABOUT VIKING PUMP

Viking Pump® is a global leader in positive displacement pumping solutions. With 100+ years of application experience solving their customers’ needs daily, Viking Pump offers internal gear pump, external gear pump, and vane pump solutions. Additionally, accessories, parts and kits round out the offerings to support customers full systems and keep the liquid flowing. Viking pumps are distributed globally through factory trained stocking distributors. Find one near you by visiting vikingpump.com/contact