“A pump so reliable – it’s only downtime is for hose replacement and annual plant maintenance,” said Xstrata Alloys Rhovan’s acting HOD Christelle van Vuuren, regarding the Verderflex pump installed at the operation’s precipitation plant.
Located in Bethanie, North-West Province, South Africa, Xstrata’s Rhovan vanadium facility relies on the most appropriate and reliable equipment to run its impressive ferrovanadium plant, which was constructed in 2002. Annual production capacity at Xstrata Alloys Rhovan’s vanadium operations pentoxide production is 22,000k lbs and 6,000k kg ferrovanadium.
“Verderflex (VF) peristaltic pumps are the first choice for mines around the world, offering unrivalled performance in a tough and uncompromising environment,” said Kasha Wos, marketing manager at Verder Pumps SA (VPSA).
All vanadium in the ore occurs in solid state in the titaniferous magnetite. After the first stage of processing, the magnetite concentrate is subjected to a conventional roast leach precipitation process for the recovery of vanadium. To achieve the desired final product quality, silica (SiO2) is removed from the pregnant solution. Precipitation of vanadium from the pregnant solution is achieved by the addition of ammonium sulphate ([NH4]2SO4).
The vanadium recovery process makes use of an evaporation process to recover sodium sulphate salt from the barren solution after precipitation. This salt is recycled back to the kiln, displacing the need for a portion of the sodium carbonate flux requirement.
The VF 40 pump is used to pump the barren slurry at the plant, at approximately 6m³/hr to 8m³/hr at 60% solids handling.
Abrasive mining slurries have sub-micron solid contents in excess of 80% with slurry SGs in excess of 2.0. “Only hose pumps can pump such dense fluids while maintaining high levels of plant availability, unlike centrifugal pumps, which suffer from continuous downtime and are unable to pump such high SG slurries, lowering plant performance,” said Wos.
Since the plant was commissioned, the operation has replaced other hose pumps for the easier-to-maintain VF pump, due to its quick maintenance capabilities. “With no gland water used by the operation, the pump can run dry, and the rotor design and flange arrangement makes the pump a hit at our plant for easy maintenance,” said Harrison.
“It just runs and works when you need it to,” said Van Vuuren. “The pump is only ‘offline’ for spare part replacement and planned plant maintenance. It’s quite simply a reliable pump.”
Wos said VF pumps are easy to maintain, with hoses the only wear part in the pump. VF hoses are specifically designed and manufactured to minimise the effect of fatigue, resulting in an extremely long hose service life.
“At VPSA, we remain determined to provide the most efficient and cost-effective solutions for our clients,” Wos said. “The VF pump is an excellent solution for difficult pumping applications, and where maintenance costs need to be kept to a minimum. Our range of pumping solution include peristaltic hose pumps, air-diaphragm pumps, magnetic drive centrifugal pumps and reciprocating diaphragm pumps.”