Engineering & Mining Journal

AUG 2017

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VALVE SELECTION 44 E&MJ • AUGUST 2017 www.e-mj.com Underground mines use intricate piping networks, known as backfill systems, to fill stopes after extracting ore for process- ing. There are three types of backfill com- monly used in conventional mining opera- tions — cemented paste (CPB), hydraulic and dry tailings. A backfill system gen - erally consists of a main pipeline drop- ping vertically 656 ft (200 meters [m]) or more below the surface, where it levels out horizontally and the flow can be split into two different pipelines. This piping structure may repeat at each level of the mine, depending on the project. The abrasive nature of rock, sand, ore, and chemical backfill slurries pumped through the pipeline systems results in constant maintenance and repairs, di- rectly impacting mine productivity and profitability. In most backfill operations, the tran- sition stations where two pipelines split consists of multiple high-pressure pipes. Traditionally, for each directional change, teams of two or three miners must go to each diversion location to manually dis- connect and reinstall the piping to re- route the backfill mixture to other stopes within the mine. This process is labori- ous, time consuming, and can expose miners to high-risk environments. Some projects may require repeating this process at every level of the mine. Al- though the need for line repositioning var- ies depending upon site conditions and mine standards, generally the manual changeover process happens frequently. A Safer, More Efficient Option for Diversion After a near-miss safety event during a changeover with their main feedline, a mining company sought a safer and more efficient solution to divert paste backfill. The company shut down its 6-in. (150-millimeter [mm]) feedline and flushed it with water to remove any tailings and paste backfill that built up during the filling process. A pipe jack and trailer were brought to the location to help with move- ment of the schedule 120 pipe. The line was uncoupled, the main pipe rolled into the new position with the pipe jack, then joined with the next pipe section to divert backfill to the new stope. At a minimum of three hours per transition, these man- ual changeovers are time-consuming and expose miners to increased safety risks. Victaulic, when presented with the is- sue, designed a revolutionary backfill sys- tem diversion valve: the Series 725 Divert- er Valve. It is simple to install and easy to operate. Providing multidirectional service, the valve eliminates the need for manual redeployment of backfill piping systems. Designed to withstand the high pres- sures of underground systems, the valve is rated to 1,000 psi (6.9 megapascals [MPa]), and uses a 5D bend radius flow path to reduce wear from abrasive slur- ry and high-flow conditions. Additionally, the Series 725 Diverter Valve is customiz- able with numerous options for actuation, depending on site-specific needs and availability. Installing one or several diverter valves within each level of a mine enables back- Diverter Valves Optimize Backfill Operations New design sets the standard for backfill system diversion In most backfill operations, the transition stations consist of multiple high-pressure pipes. Victaulic has designed a backfill diversion valve that eliminates the need for manual redeployment of piping systems.

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