As a complete package of software, hardware and support equipment, Netafim’s system utilises radio and cell-based technology to provide real-time control and monitoring of the leaching process from a single location. The system provides mine operators the capacity to remotely monitor solution flow onto the pad, and immediately respond to any issues that may compromise the integrity of the leaching process.
Karen McHale, North American sales and engineering manager for Netafim USA’s mining division, explained: “Automation and data logging technologies have been incorporated into nearly every facet of modern mining operations, but when it comes to the leaching process, arguably one of the most important components of the mining process, most mines still employ the very inefficient process of manual monitoring and troubleshooting.
“Not only does Netafim offer dripline that outperforms anything else on the market, as well as control valves, air valves and meters, but now we are also able to give mines precision control technology that eliminates the need for teams of workers to manually walk miles and miles of leach pads on a daily basis in search of a potential problem.”
The automated system incorporates moveable skids that contain radio or cellular controls, control and air valves, meters, gauges and other components designed to collect and store crucial data that mine operators can use to improve operations and maintenance, as well as to identify problems such as line plugging that can wreak havoc on a leaching system.
“Infusing automation into the leaching process means mines can work with smaller teams that are being supported by a real-time assessment of the leaching process without leaving the office. By ‘turning on the leach pad’, mines are able to benefit from increased efficiency and reallocate manpower needs to other areas of the mining operation,” said McHale.