Mine Dewatering Performance Improvement with Reduced GHG Footprint –Encased Electric Submersible Pump System

Decarbonization Technologies: From Mining to Metals.SLB (formerly Schlumberger)


Chima Agbo; SLB (formerly Schlumberger)

"Low-lying sections of open-pit mines accumulate water, especially during the rainy seasons, preventing access to resource-bearing areas. To sustain mining operations, the water must be lifted out of the flooded pits at a high flow rate using pumps. These pumps need to be mobile so that they can be removed during drill-and-blast operations. Most mobile pumps rely on diesel engines with high maintenance requirements. A special pump design was developed to address the unique needs of open-pit mining while making the dewatering process more sustainable.

Using the target flow rate and head data, an efficient pump was designed, encased, and deployed in the open pit. A variable speed drive (VSD) was installed in a protective skid so that the pump could be tuned to match the preferred flow rate at any point during its operation. This system was tied to the national electrical grid instead of being powered by diesel pumps, which reduced the carbon intensity per kilowatt-hour. The high availability, low maintenance requirement, and greater reliability reduced the use of spare parts, the fuel consumption, and the logistics associated with operating the pump. This further reduced the carbon footprint of the dewatering process.

This paper provides some of the two-year performance metrics for a deployment in West Africa. With a focus on availability, maintenance costs, average cost per volume lifted, and carbon footprint, this encased pump system is compared to the diesel-driven pumps that it aims to replace."
Keywords: CIMTL23