Iron ore is one of the world’s most commonly used metals. It is the key ingredient for almost 95% of all metals produced globally per year.
In Brazil, the world’s third largest producer of iron ore, the Itaminas mine in Sarzedo, in the state of Minas Gerais, produced 7.5 million tons of iron ore in 2014, making it the second largest supplier of pig iron in the country.
High parts wear leads to new solution
The Itaminas company operates 24/7 and manufactures sinter feed, pellet feed and hematite iron ore, which requires a continuous and flawless operation.
The process begins with the concentrator and then moves to the magnetic separator, cyclone, product stalls and finally on to the tailings tank. The ore is then pumped to the tailings dam via a pumping system comprising of five stations. Each station is equipped with three pumps, two in operation and one built as a standby unit.
As the iron ore at the Sarzedo location has a density of 1.85 kg/m3, the previously installed pumps had very high wear due to the abrasiveness of the material being pumped. Therefore, those pumps were not suitable for the specific duty.
The pumps only had a parts lifetime of approximately three months. In addition, labor to maintain these pumps was expensive and complex. Therefore, Itaminas chose Metso’s pumps with the goal of decreasing the company’s maintenance downtime and increasing production.