/
Analysis

Valves Reduce Need to Manipulate Backfill Lines,

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 13:04

Within underground mine operations, certain areas of the mine are commonly refilled with backfill paste systems, which are used to strengthen the structure of the mine by piping sand fill or waste rock into areas that have been mined, replacing the ore that has been removed. This type of methodology has been around for a long time. Prior to the last 50 years, sand and water was the only solution, but nowadays, different rock mixing systems and paste fills are used. Paste fill is a thick, muddy material which performs much better than the dated sand and water mixture, and can be carried through pipelines to its dumping point. During this backfill process, piping systems would traditionally be uncoupled and manually redeployed to another location, resulting in many extended hours of labor and maintenance. In order to improve this procedure, Victaulic, a world leading producer of mechanical pipe joining solutions, has invented the Series 725 Diverter Valve, which is the first grooved end valve specifically designed for use on paste backfill lines. This product eliminates the need to re-position backfill lines by as much as 50%, thus reducing handling and increasing the efficiency of operations.

Constructed from a highly durable ductile iron, which conforms to ASTM A-536, grade 65-45-12, the body of the Series 725 is extremely rugged and comes in 6in or 150 mm size for systems rated up to 1000psi/6900kPa. Inside the valve is a 5D bend profile that provides 180-degree service to ensure smooth continuous paste flow. Its standard ISO 5211 mounting flange allows a variety of operators to be mounted easily onto the valve, including an electric actuator or a gear operator, the latter of which also has an optional input flange. The valve also features an adjustable stop and lockout that ensures proper alignment of the plug and the outlet, improving performance and reducing wear. The addition of a lock-out, tamper resistant component ensures that the valve is not susceptible to unwanted manipulation. One of the companies to have already adopted Victaulic’s Series 725 is Goldcorp. The company previously directed its paste manually, using two miners to move a heavy schedule 80 5D elbow to multiple underground paste transfer stations in order to redirect the flow. Not surprisingly, this process could sometimes take up to a full day, making it significantly inefficient and time consuming. To improve this process, Goldcorp expressed an interest in automating its paste backfill operations at its Red Lake mine, and so approached Victaulic to request a solution.

The company then successfully installed two Series 725 diverter valves in 2013, followed by another five in 2014. These subsequent five were also equipped with electric actuators to provide PLC operators with fully automated control from a remote control room. The result is that Goldcorp’s backfill operations at Red Lake are now much more efficient and less time consuming.