Rubber Solves Africa’s Largest Copper Mine’s Woes

Kansanshi mine has significantly reduced costs and improved
productivity by applying Weir Minerals’ Linatex rubber lining

Kansanshi, Africa’s largest copper mine, is located near Solwezi in Zambia. The mine site is very remote, so getting parts and replacement material to site is time consuming and costly.
Of particular concern for the operation was excessive wear in the tailings lines, as well as the overflow tank in the continuous counter-current decantation (CCD) circuit.
There is approximately 8km of tailings pipes running from the plant to the tailings dam. The mine had previously lined their pipes with a combination of HDPE liners and ceramic tiles. These, however, only achieved a wear life of approximately nine months.
An alternative solution
Kansanshi approached Weir Minerals Africa for an alternative solution and the company, which has a long-standing relationship with the mine, specified Linatex premium rubber to line the tailings pipeline. Known for its wet abrasion properties, Linatex rubber also requires a considerably shorter time for lining installation when compared to tiles.
The lining was completed well within the allotted time, saving Kansanshi unnecessary and costly plant downtime.
After 36 months in operation, the lining showed minimal signs of wear, and the installation has reduced the mine’s total ownership cost by over R1,6 million per annum.
Overflow tank also talking strain
Kansanshi also needed a more cost effective wear solution for the overflow tank in the CCD circuit. This had previously been lined with ceramic tiles, which only lasted between 60 and 90 days. The tiles were wearing away quickly due to the high impact and abrasion of the stones and sand flowing through the tank. Wash out between the tiles was preventing the tiles from sticking to the metal substrate and the subsequent damage to the tank required repair work.
In response, the Weir Minerals team specified Linagard nitrile-based rubber (NBR). The expected cost savings from the increased production and reduced maintenance offset the installation costs.
Since installation, the Linagard NBR 30 has lasted 36 months without any visible signs of wear. This represents 18 times longer wear life than the previously installed products.
Weir Minerals Africa