Several open-cut mining operations in NSW & QLD operate below the water table or aquifer (underground water level scale). For ease of commencing drilling operations at below aquifer, mines lower down the aquifer levels. The dewatering process used by mines depends on the operating depth, aquifer level at operating site and various other factors. In case the amount of water seepage in mining pit is less, mines use highwall pumps located at top of mining pit to pull the water out from bottom of the pit. When the seepage water is high (like in case of states of QLD & NSW), borehole pumps are used to lower the aquifer. The research objective was to identify pumps preferred by mines spread across QLD & NSW. The research also covered insights on factors like properties of seepage mine water, material preference for pump, inclination towards usage of a certain type of pump, identification of key personnel involved in the procurement of pumps, etc for open-cut coal mines.
The research activity involved mapping the preferences of small, medium and large mining operations being commenced across QLD & NSW. Initially, information was sourced through online research and subsequently, discussions were conducted with drilling, mine planning and maintenance professionals.
- Online research was performed to identify relevant mines in NSW & QLD area and maintenance professionals associated with the mines as mining supervisor, planning engineer, maintenance engineer / supervisor, etc. In addition, information about key brands available and dealers & distributors too was sourced through online research.
- Engagements with identified professionals initiated with in-depth discussions to understand preferences for key business questions. The output of discussions was summarized to form trends on usage preferences.
- Respondent’s Time-availability: It is obvious for the mining professionals to be at mine sites during their working hours. Hence the research discussions were mostly conducted at the beginning or end of work days, with some exceptions of those completed during the lunch time. Either ways, it was challenging to connect with all personnel for the first instance.
- Lack of brand awareness: The operators of pumps (drilling & maintenance personnel) were not much aware of brands of pumps other than the once they used.
- The research outcome included direct inputs on preferred pumps used by open-cut mines for dewatering seepage water, like highwall, pontoon, electrical, centrifugal and borehole pumps.
- The research successfully captured insights on most preferred pump brands, key material type of pumps, seepage water properties, etc.