Keeping the (diamond) head cool

The Mini Timor skid base reel system. Image: Crusader Hose

Mounting hose reel solutions on a truck has emerged as a viable solution to water scarcity when altitude challenges hit. Australian Mining reports.

In gold or diamond mining, there are essential elements of the environment that must be fulfilled to deliver success at an operation.

Water access is one challenge that can cause operational and safety issues, in addition to a dependence on mining equipment to perform at an optimal level.

For instance, a drill rig that is located a significant distance away from direct water sources in the mountain ranges of Western Australia highlights this challenge.

One of Australia’s largest mining giants experienced a water shortage at site, and thus sent multiple tanker trucks up and down a narrow track to transport it. 

This necessity not only required full-time drivers to make the run every three to four hours, but also flagged a safety concern for those who were involved.

Two trucks sometimes ran into each other from the opposite direction, prompting one to reverse half a kilometre along the treacherous track to let the other pass, according to Crusader Hose engineering manager Emeric Kovassy.

That mining company proceeded to approach National Pump and Energy (NPE) to get a quote for a poly pipeline solution. But with the drill rig being relocated to a new position half a kilometre away every week, NPE advised the mine that a permanent pipeline option would be cost-prohibitive. 

NPE, being Crusader Hose’s strategic partner that has worked with truck mounted reeling systems, was then able to recommend a complete reeling solution to the mine.

Crusader Hose’s truck-mounted hose reeling system presented the mining company with the ability to have one person deploy a layflat water hose up the hills, without having to worry about water supply for at least another week.

The reel system allows a mining operator to operate in a hands-off fashion, while staying in touch with the driver.

“They needed something flexible and quick to deploy to pump up the water and cool the diamond head,” Kovassy tells Australian Mining. “But the water truck options would have needed one person to drive the truck up and down constantly.”

The reel system comes with a swing arm that splays out to keep the layflat hose off the driving lane, and a handheld remote that gives the operator full control of the hose deployment and reeling speed.

This removes the need for one person pushing the hose off to the side of the road behind the truck, thus eliminating all extra handling.

The Hammersley 2.0 hydraulic hose reel winder unit brings efficiency to a mine site. Image: Crusader Hose

 

Once a drilling operation is complete and the drill rig is relocated to the next site, mining operators can simply reel up the hose.

The reel system can deploy up to five kilometres of hose within a day and operates at a brisk walking pace.

The first major truck-mounted system, which Crusader Hose developed for the Australian Defence Force in 2001, was designed to deploy a flexible layflat hose for fuel.

Now the company’s reel system can handle up to 12-inch (30.5 centimetres) diameter hose. This minimises the cumbersome manual handling that accompanies hundred-metre-long hoses.

A 12-inch hose of 200 metres length, for example, weighs around 800 kilograms – “not what a couple of men can roll up.”

“We need a dedicated reel system, and that’s where my team and I come in. Even though the mining industry’s health and safety standards are very high, we’ve developed reel systems that meet company specifications,” Kovassy says.

“Often these mining companies need the water out immediately, and that’s why the reeling system works to deploy whatever length they may need with rapid deployment and retrieval.

“There’s no one else in the world that could manufacture systems like this, and if there is, it’s definitely not accessible to the mining companies.”

Crusader Hose general manager Daniel Seow credits the company’s competitive advantage to its 34-year history in layflat hose manufacturing.

“We manufacture layflat hoses and have the experience on how to handle them,” Seow says.

“Our strength is found in close teamwork, so we are able to amalgamate all technical competency, expertise, capability and custom-design approach to deliver customers’ wants. In fact, being focussed on customer and market needs is key.

“Crusader Hose is happy to develop a reeling system for any mining company that needs a layflat hose solution. It is quick to deploy and retrieve, and so is ideal for temporary pumping needs. We really live to serve our Australian customers.”

This article also appears in the October edition of Australian Mining.

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