Automated control of mine dewatering pumps
Deep gold mines use a vast amount of water for various purposes. After use, the water is pumped back to the surface. This process is energy intensive. The control is traditionally done with manual interventions. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of automated control on mine dewatering pumps. Automating mine dewatering pumps may hold a great number of benefits for the client. The benefits include electricity cost savings through load shifting, as well as preventative maintenance and pump protection procedures. By automating pumps, the client will benefit from operating more cost effectively and realising electricity cost savings. The equipment needed for pump automation and the procedures involved in the process are discussed as part of this study. A DSM project was implemented in the form of a pump automation project. All safety and quality procedures were followed and training was provided where needed to ensure that personnel understand their duties and responsibilities. This ensures the sustainability of the project after completion. The performance of the project was tested in manual mode, manual scheduled control, manual scheduled surface control and auto control. Manual intervention achieved the highest electricity cost saving of R8.25 million (11.4 MW load shift saving). To achieve this saving the system was exhausted to a point where columns and infrastructure started failing. Auto intervention achieved an electricity cost saving of R5.57 million (7.7 MW load shift savings). The auto intervention achieved a lower electricity cost savings compared to the manual intervention. However, taking all factors into account, such as the damage to infrastructure after a period of manual control, the auto intervention proved the best balance for controlling mine dewatering pumps to achieve savings on the cost of electricity and system sustainability for optimal control. Automated systems can avoid system overload and protect the infrastructure from exhaustion.
- Engineering