Thickened Tailings Transport Using Positive Displacement Pumps

Updated: Jan 10

Background information

Our customer is a Latin American company, specialising in gold, silver and copper production.

The underground mine dedicated to gold and silver extraction runs flotation, leaching and electro-injection processes for metal extraction. Daily silver production volumes reach up to

2,300 tons and its volumes have been growing continuously. At the same time, the company has been focusing on reducing operating costs and developing production improvements to

increase profits and reduce business risk.

The work

To achieve tailings transport with maximum efficiency, it is necessary to provide the production process with a pump technology capable of transporting the thickened tailings with the highest possible solid content. Piston diaphragm technology appears to be the best

option to tackle this challenging task. Furthermore, the installed equipment is required to guarantee maximum operating availability; any unexpected downtime or interruption would be costly, causing the mine treatment line volume requirements not to be met as its supply

would be interrupted.

The application

Our customer planned the transfer of tailings to a new reservoir. The distance to be covered using 8" piping amounted to approximately 2,000 m.

Tailings basin at a distance of 2,000 m

A preliminary basic engineering technical study proposed to install a chain of centrifugal pumps arranged in series to tackling the high-pressure fluctuations required by the pumping application.

As an alternative to this proposal, ABEL

examined the value proposition for the client and recommended installing only one single piston diaphragm pump (HMQ series) given that it was the appropriate choice for the specific project operational parameters.

Since the main objective was to ensure maximum availability of the system as well as provide the lowest possible consumption of resources, ABEL was selected as being the best solution for the process.

The solution

The ABEL duplex, double-acting, piston diaphragm pump model HMQ-F-250-1000 handles a product flow rate of 150 m3/h with 70% solid content and ensures a discharge pressure of 22 bar (max. design pressure of 60 bar). These pumping parameters are met with a power

consumption of less than 100 kW (max. 250 kW at 60 bar), in accordance with the customers efficiency requisites required on all its projects.

ABEL pumps: HMQ-F-250-1000

The ABEL piston-diaphragm technology offers peak operating versatility and maximises efficiency levels for any given operation parameters; i.e. fluctuations of pumping properties (solid content, viscosity of the mixture, flow rate, product density) do not impact the operating efficiency of the pump.

The ABEL pumps were installed and

commissioned in mid-August 2015 and have been in continuously operation since. ABEL is proud to deliver reliable equipment that operates continuously under challenging conditions.

Main characteristics of ABEL HMQ

Performance range: up to 800 m3/h (3,522 GPM) and up to 25.0 MPa (3,625 psi)


  • Transfer of media with solid content of up to 75%

  • Pre-formed diaphragm for efficient pumping, extending its useful life.

  • Mechanical diaphragm stroke control extending its useful life.

  • Constant operating flow, independent from the discharge pressure, which is mainly influenced by fluctuations of viscosity or solid contents.

  • Strokes per minute are low and ensure low mechanic wear.

Due to these advantages, ABEL piston-diaphragm pumps offer a long and useful life that satisfy the tough requirements and demands of the mining industry.

ABEL has a distribution partnership with IndustriTech Pty Ltd for the Australian mining market.

IndustriTech provides service-oriented solutions in three areas: technical advice, reliability and repair services and distribution services. Together with ABEL’s wide range of positive displacement pumps, it will provide complete customised product and service solutions for high solids concentrations and efficient dewatering processes. Typical applications are dewatering, tailings, solid transfer and thickener underflow.

For over 70 years, ABEL has specialised in pumps for filter press feeding and filter cloth cleaning. Both ABEL’s piston diaphragm and high-pressure plunger pumps provide tailor-made features to ensure a short, efficient and energy saving filter press process. This performance can be seen in the high level of dryness of the filter cake, resulting in increased daily metal extraction and profitability for the customer.