KSB and Canada’s Mining Industries
Mining industries are an extremely important part of the Canadian economy. National Resources Canada reports that in 2012, mining contributed approximately $63 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), representing 3.9% of the Canadian economy. In that year, mineral exports accounted for 20.2% of Canada’s total exports. Canada is also a giant in the global mining economy: Canadian exploration, mining and allied industries operate in over 100 countries, with cumulative assets worth $147 outside Canada.
Many operations related to mining and minerals extraction involve the management of water. This includes mine de-watering (removal of excess water from underground facilities), the supply of cooling and process water, the management of tailing ponds and the provision of water for firefighting. Naturally, this involves pumps.
Managing water resources efficiently is an increasingly critical part of mining operations, especially when mines are located in dry and/or environmentally sensitive regions. As Mark Sidon, KSB Canada’s mining specialist and regional manager points out “awareness has increased among mining companies about the importance of conservation, reclamation and preservation of water in a mine – and that calls for more sophisticated pumping solutions and pump systems”. KSB’s hard-working RDLO, Omega, KRT and Etanorm pumps are used widely for water transport and treatment tasks, while multi-stage Multitec pumps fill the bill when higher pressures are needed, for example to de-water very deep mines.
The processing of ores also involves a lot of water movement, frequently in the form of slurries – mixtures of water and solid particles. Pumped slurries can be a very efficient method for transporting mineral particles mines and processing plant and through ore separation processes. However, water/mineral slurries can also be extremely abrasive, which can be very hard on pumps and associated equipment. Specialized slurry pumps from KSB-affiliate Georgia Iron Works (GIW) are designed and built to provide reliable service in mill circuits, grinding circuits and the flotation circuits and hydrocyclones used to separate valuable minerals from rock and sand.
The growing oilsands extraction industry has been an important growth area for KSB. High-pressure HG-series pumps have proven themselves in a number of SAGD (Steam-Assisted Gravitational Drainage) installations. Here, super-heated water is pumped through pipes into the heart of the oilsands deposits. The hot water flashes to steam and heats the bitumen, making it sufficiently fluid to be pumped back to the surface through extraction pipes that run parallel to the steam-injection pipes. The powerful HG pumps are able to provide large volumes of the high-pressure, high-temperature water needed by this process.