Anglo American have engaged Dowdens Pumping & Water Treatment's [Mackay] Engineering Department & Fabrication Workshop to rectify an issue with a new valve station installation that was experiencing water hammer, resulting in the longwall mining operation being suspended at their Grasstree Coal Mine, located at Middlemount in the centre of the Bowen Basin, QLD.
Underground mines require water management systems in place to manage working water that is utilised for production, dust suppression, hydraulic jacks etc. Mines employ various methods of underground water transportation systems including Longwall Boost Pump Stations & filtered water from the mine surface networks. The filtered water system is an important piece of infrastructure for underground coal mine providing clean water for dust suppression & feeding the powerful hydraulic piston pumps that are used to jack up the roof in the longwall mining process.
When water is fed into an underground mine it is received at a very high pressures due to the vertical drop to the mine workings. This pressure needs to be reduced & controlled to levels that can be safely managed in the underground operations. Dowdens Pumping & Water Treatment has provided Grasstree Coal Mine with several Pressure Reducing Valve Stations over the life of the mine, enabling reliable & trouble free operation.
Responding to the urgent help request from Grasstree Mine, Dowdens immediately travelled to site to undertake system 'fault finding' & begin planning the delivery of a timely & cost effective solution to the problem.
As a direct result of Dowdens Pumping & Water Treatment's long standing & responsive working relationship with Anglo American's Grasstree underground coal mine, the Dowdens Engineering Department was called on to assist with a new valve station installation that was experiencing water hammer resulting in the longwall mining operation being suspended. Dowdens Engineers attended the mine site & listened/observed the problems that were being experienced such as pressure surges & water hammer in the feed pipes leading to the longwall operation.
Dowdens Engineering Dept. designed & developed a Pressure Setting Spool sized specifically to meet the specific duty required. The spool was custom designed using engineered fluid mechanics to reduce the pressure before it entered the valve station, taking part of the load off the station. Pipe supports were also engineered to provide a secure installation of the station.
The timeline to find the solution & manufacture the components was very tight. Engineering - Concept Design - Drawings & In-House Fabrication of the unique Pressure Setting Spool Piece [with roof bolt anchoring points] were completed & delivered to Grasstree Mine within 5 days from the first site meeting! No other pumping / manufacturing / engineering firm in Queensland was able to deliver such an all-encompassing product solution in the above mentioned time-frame.
Dowdens design philosophy for this project was: Fast Turnaround - Cost Effectiveness - Ease of Installation - Simple Plant Operation - Plant Reliability & Reduced Maintenance.
The unique system required at Grasstree Coal Mine needed to address the following issues:
Key Project Features: