Sulzer dewatering pumps picked for Anglo American iron ore site in Brazil

Sulzer’s XJ900 pump, chosen by Anglo American to operate at the Brazilian iron ore mine. Credit: Sulzer

Sulzer says its pump specialists have helped Anglo American overcome persistent reliability problems at an iron ore project in Brazil. According to the mining company, since the switch to Sulzer’s range of advanced dewatering pumps, the site has experienced improved reliability and reduced spending on spare parts and maintenance.

Producing since 2014, Anglo American’s Minas-Rio is a fully integrated iron ore export operation in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. Ore from the mine is processed on site and transported via a 529-km pipeline – the longest in the world – to an export terminal at the port of Açu in the state of Rio de Janeiro. At full capacity, Minas-Rio is expected to produce 26.5 million tonnes of ore per annum. Estimated reserves at the site are 1.45 billion tonnes and the mine has a planned working life of 45 years.

Six years ago, the mine’s operators made the decision to seek an alternative pump supplier and selected Sulzer as its preferred supplier of dewatering pumps for the site. The company’s range of dewatering pumps uses a modern design, tailored specifically for the challenges of mining operations. The pumps use wear-resistant components and have a modular design that makes the replacement of damaged components quick and simple.

At Minas Rio the XJ 900s will initially be operated in their high-flow configuration, then switch to high-head operation as the mine gets deeper. The pumps can deliver a maximum flow rate of 120 L/s in high-flow configuration, and a maximum head of 230 metres with the impellers running in series. 

Long-term protection of the pump is ensured by an advanced control system that can continually monitor the temperature of the motors and bearings, and by leakage detectors that can sense the presence of water in the motor chamber, junction box or oil chamber.

“We know that the abrasive conditions at our site are tough on pumps. Sulzer’s dewatering pumps have, however, been running nonstop at two train stations, without any maintenance since they were installed four years ago” said Cesar Carraro, section manager at Anglo American. 

“Sulzer has been able to meet our reliability expectations, and they have become a valuable partner in the project, with a strong commitment to service, support and innovation,” Carraro said.

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