Analytical control valve selection for mine water reticulation systems
Taljaard, Francois George
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Some of the largest and deepest mines in the world are situated in South Africa. Underground temperatures and humidity can be controlled by means of complex chilled water reticulation system. A cascade pumping system is used to pump the used water from the underground levels back to the surface. The de-watering process is energy intensive. Large volumes of water are used during the general mine drilling periods (06:00 to 12:00). During blasting periods (15:00 to 18:00) a minimum amount of personnel are underground, yet large volumes of water are still sent underground due to a lack of control. Reducing the water sent underground, will reduce the amount of water pumped back to the surface; resulting in significant energy savings. Water flow and pressure can be managed by installing control valves at appropriate positions throughout the water reticulation system. Selecting a control valve is typically governed by constraints such as cavitation, water hammer, flashing, safety ratings and control range. A basic set of calculations can be used to determine whether a valve conforms to a specific scenario. However, scenarios calculated by engineers are not indicative of all applied system scenarios. When control valves are installed, to optimise the operation of a system, it affects the system’s characteristics. Sampled system data will therefore no longer provide adequate readings to help with selecting the correct control valve. An analytical control valve selection method has been developed and implemented. The case study shows the results and practical implications of applying this method in the mining industry. Implementing the analytical valve selection method is shown to be viable, realising electrical energy cost savings for the mine by reducing power requirements from Eskom. Analytical control valve selection for mine water reticulation systems
- Engineering 
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