AirSweep Exceeds Expectations – “You Should Be On Billboards Everywhere”
A mining company struck gold with AirSweep’s performance, safety, and service
First Quantum Minerals Ltd., one of the fastest-growing mining companies in Africa, needed a reliable way to move copper concentrate through the chutes. However, other flow aids damaged the vessels or created safety hazards.
The material – a solid mixture with a fine particle size of 18% to 24% copper, sulfur, and silica – clogged the chutes while being transferred from storage bins to the furnace.
Vibrators didn’t work and damaged the vessel walls. Workers still spent up to two hours each day clearing the chutes by hosing them with compressed air or hammering the walls. When copper supplies ran low, they also had to close down the furnace to wait for the chutes to be re-activated.
“This was not a sustainable practice. We were losing time and compressed air that could be used elsewhere,” said Emmanuel Mudenda, a Metallurgist for Kansanshi Copper Smelter.
The material they used was very dense and heavy, and could not be activated with fluidizers or other light flow aids. However, air cannons were too loud and dispersed material in explosive bursts. This was a safety issue – and First Quantum was known for being one of the safest in Africa.
They emailed AirSweep and were pleasantly surprised to get a response immediately. They were able to install the system without any problems and got instant results.
With AirSweep in place, the mining company had no issues with material blocks in the chutes. Workers can focus on other aspects of production, and they don’t have to worry about vessel damage or noise from vibrators or hammers. “AirSweep is quiet and effective,” said Emmanuel.
“The performance has been so good that we would like to install the same device on a few other chutes. Customer service is also top-notch,” he added. “ You guys should be on billboards everywhere.”