A variety of different uses call for the slurry transportation circuit which includes mine dewatering backfill, tailings disposal, backfill and ash disposal, hydraulic ore hoisting, autoclave digester feed systems, and co-disposal systems consisting of fine and massive particles.
When transporting slurry, either centrifugal or positive displacement pumps are used. The improvement of centrifugal pumps for handling greater pressures and slurries of higher viscosity and density have expanded their application to the traditional positive displacement pump areas.
In the same way, the advancement of PD pumps that are able to handle higher throughputs as well as larger particle sizes means that they can be employed when a pump for slurry may have traditionally been selected.
This greater overlap in the use of centrifugal slurry and PD pumps indicates that the pumping equipment must be carefully considered to determine the most cost-effective solution.
The choice of a centrifugal pump for a slurry is based on many aspects, including the slurry's properties as well as the pipeline design, as discussed in this article.
Both types of pumps can usually process slurries containing fine particles, however, particle sizes above 6-8 mm may not be suitable for PD pumps as large particles can cause valves to stick open, reducing operational life. In this instance, centrifugal pumps are better suited to handling mixtures of fine and coarse particles, known as co-disposal.