Increased flow rates and energy savings at Karelsky Okatysh

Mill discharge pumps generally account for one of the largest expenses at most mining and concentration companies. Every manufacturer needs to cut operating costs, improve equipment availability, and minimize downtime on these large mining operations. Karelsky Okatysh plant evaluated their pumps in grinding and concentration cycles and decided to replace all the pumps in this area. This increased the capacity of the crushing and concentration plant by 5% while reducing energy consumption.

The classical beneficiation technology includes grinding process as an ore pretreatment. This is a crucial stage for any production line: the harsh operating conditions demand equipment that is specifically designed for these applications. In 2014, Karelsky Okatysh upgraded its crushing and concentration plant – the installation of new pump and hydrocyclone equipment improved average concentration floor capacity from 324 to 350 ore MTPH.

“Metso approached the performance improvement activities for the processing plant on a step-by-step basis. Firstly, we increased the drum diameter of the primary grinding rod mill; then, we upgraded the primary separation equipment. We then approached the next operation in the process chain: sizing,” recounts Yakov Turiyansky, Deputy Production Manager of the Concentrate and Pellets Production Division at Karelsky Okatysh JSC.

Improving production at the sizing meant increasing middling volumes which are going to the next operation without quality losses. Existing pumps had been installed for many years and were undersized for the increased duty parameters. The plant requested a team of professionals from Metso to find the best possible solution for expanding the sizing front project.


Outstanding pilot test results: increased flow rates and energy savings

For optimal equipment selection, management of Karelsky Okatysh decided to conduct pumps pilot test.

“The investment for this project was extremely high, so it was decided to install a pilot process plant with new equipment and to test over a three-month period. The equipment was tested in different modes and conditions. The primary criteria for pump selection was its abrasive wear resistance, capacity, and energy consumption,” elaborates Yakov Turiyansky.

In February 2015 the plant began testing Metso equipment at two process plants, installing two Metso pumps at Sizing Stage I and Stage II.


During the testing phase, information was gathered and an analysis of the pump operational data was completed. Once the pilot plant had achieved its maximum processing capacity of 361 MTPH, the Metso pumps were inspected, which indicated regular wear of rubber lining, while the impeller wear was negligible.

“Tests are an excellent avenue to find the optimal operation parameters for equipment. During testing, the customer can get an estimate of the lifetime of the pump’s wet-end components, monitor energy consumption, and maintenance convenience,” says Sergey Dranov, Sales and Project Implementation Technical Support Engineer at Metso, on the aspects of pilot testing.

Delivery of 21 MDR rubber-lined slurry pumps

Based on the test results of the Metso equipment, a contract to supply 21 MDR rubber-lined slurry pumps was awarded to Metso during 2015 for Sizing Stages I and II. In other areas of the plant that are less abrasive, Stages III and IV, Metso Orion series pumps have been chosen for those duties.

The wear parts material choice is confirmed during the pump calculation phase and considers the particle size and the abrasive properties of the feed material. The pump wet-end can be manufactured in natural rubber or high chrome iron. The material choice is dependent on some of the parameters listed above and on experience. Based on the data analysis for Karelsky Okatysh, Metso MD series pumps with a rubber lining have the best wear resistance for this particular application.

This crushing and concentration plant retrofitting project has been implemented successfully. The confined environment imposed certain constraints on the selection of new equipment. However, the fact that Metso MD series pumps were of a similar size allowed for installation on the existing foundation.

“Metso staff have supported the mine throughout the implementation of this project from start to final commissioning, constantly available for feedback and providing consultations on enhancing equipment operation parameters whenever required,” says Yakov Turiyansky.

“This project has also allowed the mine to raise the performance of the process section: we have increased the middling quantity, improved the plant efficiency – and still managed to reduce power consumption per sizing operation,” Yakov recaps.


Prompt maintenance on site

All pump maintenance is performed by Sever Minerals, Metso’s authorized distributor. Support is prompt! All or any pressing issues are rectified quickly by their own workshop located in the plant.

“A maintenance chart has been prepared for each piece of equipment: from inspection schedules, adjustment, measuring vibrations and temperature. Process stops are performed for inspection or replacement of various parts or seals and a variety of other maintenance operations. Pumps are supplied with a movable frame for ease of maintenance, significantly reducing maintenance time. Virtually all repairs can be completed without removing the pump from its installation position,” Viktor Fyodorov, Sever Minerals Branch Office Head in Kostomuksha, elaborates about maintenance nuances. “A movable frame reduces downtime and helps streamline pump overhauling,” agrees Yakov Turiyansky.


The news was published on the basis of the press release of Metso

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