DELKOR’s numerous projects to refurbish or retrofit thickeners have demonstrated the impact of modernization on liquid/solid separation performance, equipment operating costs and on the long term sustainability of an industrial operation.
Introduced in the first decade of the 20th century, thickeners are widely employed to separate water from solids in industrial applications. They have seen considerable technology evolution over the years, with modern thickeners able to manage higher throughputs and produce higher density solids using the same tanks as historic operations. However, since thickeners are one of the most resilient and long-lasting workhorses in the industry, with units often in operation for decades, many thickeners with older technology are still in use but are not designed to match the production and sustainability goals of modern-day mining and industrial operations.
For example, continuous improvement projects to increase mill production and precious metal recovery often fail to consider the capacity of the downstream liquid/solid separation equipment. When thickeners or clarifiers are stressed by the operation the result is a drop in settling performance; which reduces underflow product density, overflow water clarity, and increases expensive reagent consumption. Therefore, refurbishing and retrofitting existing thickeners with modern technology makes considerable economic and environmental sense, particularly for tailings management facilities.
- Improved process water recovery, reducing fresh water consumption from local aquifers
- Fewer fine solid particles in the recycled process water, which reduces maintenance on mill equipment and piping
- Improved underflow density, which increases tank residence time and generally improves the recovery of mineral concentrates
- Decrease in underflow water reporting to the tailings storage facility, improving the capacity of the associated tailings dams and allowing for a longer mine life
- Improved availability and reliability of the thickener equipment, de-risking operations from catastrophic events during production surges
- Lower cost of ownership, reduced maintenance and reagent consumption
DELKOR, as one of the pioneers of liquid/solid separation technology, supplies state-of-the-art thickeners and clarifiers engineered for a variety of applications. We are proud to have installed some of the largest conventional and paste thickeners in the world, and our metallurgical expertise provides customers with a process guarantee at reduced capital investment. With our commitment to ongoing Research & Development (R&D), our thickeners and clarifiers are best in class, offering a number of innovative features such as our unique feedwell designs, our paste shear thinning system, and our renowned heavy-duty DELKOR drives, which are easily retrofit into existing units.
We are proud to have many successful retrofits on old thickeners supplied by a variety of OEM’s, most of which were installed during brief limited shutdown periods. Using the same tanks, our refurbished DELKOR thickeners are supplied with new drives, bridges, mechanisms, and most importantly feedwells. Our approach is to optimize the settling process through testwork and real-time monitoring, then we engineer our refurbished systems to meet the long term goals of the operation.
“DELKOR’s thickener technology offers industry numerous benefits including reduced capital cost, a smaller footprint, effective use of flocculants and advanced automation,” says Indu Bhushan Jha, DELKOR Managing Director. “These benefits are not just available to industry through new installations but also by retrofits or refurbishments for enhanced mineral recovery and optimized wastewater treatment and water recycling - the latter of particular importance given the increasing pressure on industry to reduce its environmental impact.“
Innovation out of tradition – It pays to talk to a specialist!