GIW Industries, the leader in the design, manufacture and application of heavy duty, centrifugal slurry pumps, has announced that global talc producer Mondo Minerals has installed GIW’s high volume froth (HVF) pump at its talc processing plant in Outokumpu, Finland. During the pump’s first month of operations, the plant was able to stabilise the flotation process and eliminate a safety hazard.

No matter how you handle it, airlocking means production losses

Mondo Minerals’ talc processing plant had a froth-pumping problem. The high air content in the froth caused airlock in its previous slurry pump, which resulted in overflow of the pump sump. This caused an unbalanced process and decreased productivity at the plant which, in short, led to lost profitability. To make matters worse, the operating losses happened while the plant was running at maximum output.

Operators tried various approaches to reduce the slurry pump airlock; for example they modified the sump and the inlet pipe to the slurry pump and installed spray nozzles to reduce the froth in the sump. However, modifications were ultimately ineffective.

A solution appears

As a world leader in the talc mining industry, Mondo Minerals was aware of the success that had been attained by Yara, a phosphate plant also located in Finland. Upon learning that Yara had solved a similar froth problem by installing GIW’s HVF pump, Mondo decided to install an HVF in its own plant.

Erkki Kohtanen, GIW business development manager for North America and Nordic countries, explains that this type of word-of-mouth marketing has been the primary means of spreading the word about GIW’s HVF pump in Nordic countries.

"This pump is doing its own marketing work," Kohtanen says. "Mining professionals around the world are spreading the word about the results that are possible with GIW’s HVF pump."

Immediate, dramatic results

Within the first month of the pump’s operation, Mondo increased its productivity by 5,000 metric tons. In addition, Mondo achieved substantial cost-savings with the reduction of fresh water required. All this was achieved because the HVF pump does not airlock, allowing the customer to operate a balanced flotation process.

In addition, now that the sump is not periodically overflowing, Mondo has eliminated slip hazard, improving the work environment for its employees.

Mondo facility

Kohtanen reports that the Mondo pump is operating at 250m3/hr and producing 18m of head – supporting an improvement in overall plant efficiency. For the talc producer, that improvement means a significant increase in profitability, as its high-quality talc is used around the world in a myriad of industrial applications.

"The plant manager is very happy about this pump!" Kohtanen says. He adds that, based on the extremely positive experience at the Finland plant, Mondo intends to proceed with further installations at other plant locations: "Mondo is excited that they see multiple applications for this pump."