Below Water Table Mining

Clean Plant helps resolve processing challenges with below water table mining where material adheres to process equipment during downstream processing.


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The challenge of below water table mining

Processing of below water table material is an industry challenge due to the propensity of material to adhere to process equipment during downstream processing.

Run of mine material encompasses a wide range particles sizes, including (boulders & rocks) which dislodge fine and cohesive particles from process equipment.

However downstream processing equipment is absent of large particles due to them having been removed by either crushing or screening.

Fine particles of elements naturally occurring in ore bodies, when combined with moisture, adhere to process equipment impacting the utilisation performance of a process plant.

The utilisation of a process plant can be modelled simply by the time between material handling events and the time required the time required to complete the removal process material build up during a cleaning event.

As it can be seen below, as the frequency of cleaning events passes 2 per shift (one every 6 hours), an exponential decrease in plant utilisation begins to take place as each event regardless of how much time it takes for an operator to mobilise and clear the blockage.


By contrast automated solutions are able to respond immediately, dislodging process material on command or at opportune moments, resulting with little impact on plant utilisation metrics as the duration required to clear the material is no longer of significance.

Considering a purely hypothetical and unrealistic case where cleaning events were required every 15 minutes, for a 1 minute duration, simultaneously at each and every transfer chute at a process plant. Utilisation of above 90% is theoretically achievable.

Unlike human operators, automated solutions have the ability to:
• Respond immediately
• Remove process material faster and with less water
• Operate in multiple locations simultaneously
• Coordinate in real time based on available water pressure

A problematic feed is problematic due to the impact the nature of that feed has on the ability of a process plant to meet its nameplate utilisation targets. By reducing the time required to perform cleaning events through the implementation of automation, problematic material is no considered longer problematic.