In 2019, a decommissioned mine in British Columbia needed to update its existing barge to meet strict environmental requirements. The barge had reached the end of its lifespan and was also getting damaged from being dragged in and out of the pond.
The customer was keen to keep the barge, and turned to Chamco to understand the different options available that were cost-effective and would allow the mine to comply with its environmental responsibilities.
Although the mine was no longer operational, the mine owner was still responsible for water reclamation and meeting strict environmental obligations. To meet their environmental obligations, the mine needed to ensure water levels are kept low, and the mine pit needed to be dewatered regularly so the water could be treated and returned to the environment.
The mine’s existing barge had four pumps that had been performing water reclamation. Every spring, the barge had to be dragged over a rough surface and placed in the pond. The four pumps then had to be assembled and installed on the barge, as they extended below the barge depth in order to reach the water with the reduced minerals.
The barge was aging and suffering from wear and tear from being constantly moved. It was also a challenge to move the barge back and forth and have to keep pulling the pumps out before they could bring it back to shore.
Pumping Water From Deep Inside the Pond
The first 3-6 meters of water closer to the surface of the mine pit had high levels of minerals and chemicals and could not be pumped and repurposed. The mine therefore needed to be able to pump water from deep down and reintroduce it to the environment once it had been cleaned.
Access to Reliable Power
The location did not have reliable power, which also presented a challenge, particularly in the winter months. As a result, if the barge was left in the pond in the winter with a de-icing system, there was the risk that it could sit without power for days or weeks at a time and the de-icer would not be able to operate.
Extreme Winter Conditions
If the area received a lot of snow, this could hinder access to the barge. In the event of heavy snowfall and a power failure, it would be very challenging to reach the barge to connect the generator.
Why the Mine Chose Chamco
Because Chamco had originally installed the barge and there was an existing positive relationship, Chamco was the obvious choice to support the mine once the barge had reached the end of its lifecycle. The mine knew and trusted our experts and appreciated the fact that they presented numerous options to help them make an informed decision.
Chamco worked closely with the customer to provide various options to upgrade the barge. One option was to retrofit and fix the barge in the water and fit a de-icing system, leaving the barge in the pond year-round. Another option, which Chamco believed was the best choice, was to replace the barge with a shore-based system.
Ultimately, the customer chose the shore-based option, as it offered a cost-effective solution that would require a lot less effort on their part.
A Shore-Based Pump Package
Chamco developed two compact shore-based pump packages, each with its own variable frequency drive (VFD) controls capable of adjusting the water flow and pressure, as well as a motor and piping system to allow them to dewater the pit. As the package was shore-based, there was no need to have a barge or de-icing system in the water during the winter, and this eliminated issues related to power loss or accessing the system if a power failure occurred.
A Simple Drop-and-Go System
Chamco provided two skid-mounted short-based pump systems that could be dragged into the water easily and connect to the suction piping in the water. The skids had Cornell self-priming pumps capable of pumping 3,000 USGPM of water at around 93 feet TDH.
A Self-Priming System
Chamco provided a self-priming system that was able to operate and regulate according to the water flow in the rivers. When the water levels go down late in the fall, and the water stream levels start to lower, the pumps are able to reduce the water input.
Chamco took the time to work closely with the customer to understand their needs and concerns and provide a custom solution to meet their unique requirements.
Chamco provided a reliable and cost-effective solution to the mine’s challenges which allowed them to pump water from deep down, treat it, and repurpose it with ease. This helped them consistently meet and maintain their environmental obligations.
“Chamco listened to the customer’s concerns and issues and worked with them to develop a custom product that would meet their requirements now and into the future.”