A team of pumps from Tsurumi are working at one of Europe's largest open air copper mines to keep it safe. Operated by Hellenic Copper Mines Ltd, the 4,000 year old Skouriotissa copper mine in Cyprus is one of the oldest operational mines in the world. Integral to the day-to-day operation of the mine, the pumps remove groundwater, rainwater and highly acidic liquids (pH 2) unearthed by explosive excavation. The pumps have been working fault-free at the site for two years and counting.
Pumping muddy water with low pH levels in an area common for explosions may not sound like your typical island holiday but that's exactly what a team of Tsurumi pumps are doing in Cyprus. The pumps are responsible for ground water clearance and general dewatering at the Skouriotissa copper mine in the north of the country. The open air mine is rife with high levels of acidic solutions that measures 2 on the pH scale. In addition to this the mine regularly uses explosives to excavate new ore.
Pumps and mines go hand-in-hand on this job, as land is excavated groundwater is unearthed, which must be removed quickly to keep the site safe and functioning at maximum efficiency. Skouriotissa has tried several submersible pumps over the years, with some proving more successful than others. Tsurumi pumps have worked in this challenging environment for more than two years. The first Tsurumi pump was installed at the site in 2011, and all have been working fault-free since then. The only replacement part required so far has been a solitary power cable, and that was only needed after it was accidentally cut.
The Tsurumi pumps are mobile units that are moved around the site to wherever they are needed. All of the pumps were supplied by D.I.S. Power Plant Ltd., Tsurumi's Cypriot dealer. They include models from Tsurumi's SFQ range, which are specially developed for corrosive liquids and made from austenitic steel – and the PU range, which is made from stainless steel and high-tech resin moulds making it durable and light-weight. The PU pumps are around half the weight of an equivalent conventional pump, so they are easier to move around job sites. Hellenic Copper Mines notes that all of the pumps perform especially well when continuously used to pump muddy water, even when the water level drops to a minimal amount.
"Acidic liquids, explosions and outdoor work makes this a pretty challenging environment but our customer is delighted to have finally found a pump that works in this demanding and highly toxic environment," says Demetris Demetriou, owner of D.I.S. Powerplant. "We are confident that Tsurumi's products are the most reliable pumps in the market – they can handle almost any demand and keep on working for years with no problems at all."
Routine maintenance is carried out by some of the 80 workers on site to ensure the longevity of the pumps. Occasionally, mud builds up on the suction cover causing a small blockage but this is easily removed thanks to the design of the Tsurumi pumps, which allow for quick and easy disassembly for cleaning by any on site worker. In fact, the design of the pumps mean they can be completely dismantled in as little as eight minutes (video link).
D.I.S. Powerplant partnered with Tsurumi in 2010 and provides its complete range of products to contractors and business across the island of Cyprus.
As well as safety being a top priority at the mine, Hellenic Copper Mines is committed to producing copper of the highest quality. To do this it employs the latest process of leaching, solvent, extraction and electrowinning to get the best out of the site. The results are impressive with the mine producing 8,000 t of copper cathode each year that measures 99.999% pure.