02 August 2022

Mechanical Rotating Solutions helps mining company to drastically reduce water wastage

Submitted by Mario Smit
Mechanical Rotating Solutions helps mining company to drastically reduce water wastage

In a water-scarce country, water management and conservation is one of the most important aspects of mining, and is a key consideration for government in terms of the approval of mining licences. So, what can mining houses do to help save these vast amounts of water?

Mechanical Rotating Solutions (MRS) has been at the forefront of saving water by helping their clients reassessing the mechanical seals and gland packing on the rotating equipment of their plants.

In a recent project MRS replaced the gland packing used by an Mpumalanga mine at their tailings facility as not only did it have a very short lifespan but also consumed vast amounts of water.

“Making use of gland packing for sealing your pumps, you could be using in the region of over 4-6 million litres of water annually”, says MRS CEO Franscois Steenkamp. “Similarly, if you are using a single mechanical seal and using water as opposed to the process fluid for keeping seal faces cool and clean, then you may also be using similar amounts of flush water. One standard process pump consumes roughly 7.6 litres of water per minute to cool and flush the packing or seal. In one year, this amounts to approximately 4 million litres of water added to the waste stream.

After inspecting the plant we recommended replacing the gland packing with an AESSEAL CDPH mechanical seal complemented by a SW02 Water Management System. After the installation in 2022 the pump is still running smoothly, not only ensuring minimum downtime but also massive water savings.

“An AESESAL double seal and tank support system, which recirculates the water instead of flushing it to drain or adding it to the slurry, eliminates wasted water. MRS has proven over the last 15 years that a dual AES mechanical seal and system could reduce water consumption by up to 99.9%.

Ensuring optimal fluid management MRS installed the AESSEAL® SW2 Water Management System which connects directly to the filtration plant water line, using it as its fluid and pressure source, to feed the mechanical seal with a clean, cool and stable water barrier fluid. The SW2 Water Management System in turn is supported by South African Seal Water Units (SASWU) each with a 200 litre capacity.

AESSEAL’s SWO2 system uses an integral vessel to store flushing water for continuous recycling. The system is connected directly to the SASWU water line, which becomes the system’s fluid and pressure source: the pressure is adjusted so that the barrier fluid pressure within the system is maintained at 1 bar above stuffing box pressure, resulting in a pressure differential that keeps harmful products away from mechanical seal faces and increases seal and pump reliability.

As an accredited AESSEAL supplier, Mechanical Rotating Solutions has access to one of the world’s most comprehensive ‘standard inventory’ portfolios of mechanical seals, bearing protection seals, seal support systems and braided packings.  As we know, African mining operation requires large quantities of water, yet water is a finite resource. We must embrace technologies that can reduce the water footprint from mining operations.” Says Steenkamp.