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What Valves Are Used in the Mining Industry?


What is a Mining Valve?

A mining valve typically refers to a valve used in the mining industry. Valves are devices designed to control the flow of fluids (liquids or gases) by opening, closing, or partially obstructing passageways. In mining, valves are crucial in maintaining and managing the flow of various substances such as water, slurry, chemicals, and other fluids used in mining processes.

Mining valves are engineered to withstand the harsh and demanding conditions commonly found in mining operations. These conditions may include high pressures, abrasive materials, and extreme temperatures. The choice of valve depends on the specific application within the mining process.

Types of Mining Valves

Gate Valve

The valve lifts and lowers the gate to regulate flow. It provides a free-flow path, allowing for small pressure drops throughout the valve. There are multiple alternatives for gate valves, including various dimensions, substances, pressure and temperature ratings, and gate and bonnet designs.

Different valves falling under this category are Wedge gate valves, Slab gate valves, Knife gate valves, Resilient seated gate valves, and Stainless steel gate valves.

Globe Valve

A globe valve controls the flow of a pipeline. This valve type is named after the internal baffle that serves as a dividing line between the two portions. Throttle valves are another name for them. The pressure dips on these valves are slightly higher than on ordinary valves. These valves are used in situations where severe pressure drops are not a concern.

Industrial Ball Valve

Industrial ball valves are shut-off valves that use a revolving ball inside a bore to restrict gas or liquid flow. One can limit or unleash the flow of the liquid by rotating the sphere 90 degrees around its axis. They ensure a secure closing even if they sit unused for long periods of time.

Furthermore, they are more resistant to contaminated media than standard valves. Some types of ball valves can also be used as control valves. Because of its high market value, industrial ball valve manufacturers make premium quality valves out of cast iron, cast carbon, and stainless steel.

This category includes floating ball valves, trunnion ball valves, 3-way ball valves, top entry ball valves, side entry ball valves, V-port ball valves, double block and bleed ball valves, and rising stem ball valves.

Check Valve

A check valve is a one-way valve. It exclusively enables fluid passage in one direction. It features two ports, one for media input and one for output. Because they only allow media to flow in one direction, they are referred to as one-way or non-return valves.

A check valve’s principal function is to prevent fluid passage in the opposite direction. An industrial check valve requires a pressure differential to function. If there is too much pressure on the output side, the valve will close. These valves are not dependent on a manual operator and can function without the use of a lever or actuator.

A one-way valve is another term for a “check valve,” because fluids only flow in one direction. There are both input and output media ports. These valves are known as “one-way” or “non-return” valves because they only allow one flow direction. A check valve’s principal function is to prevent fluid from flowing in the other direction. When there is a pressure difference, industrial check valves can close.

Different valves under this category are the swing check valve, lift check valve, dual-plate check valve, non-slam check valve, and tilting disc check valve.

Butterfly Valve

The “butterfly” is formed by connecting a disc with a rod. It closes when the disc rotates by the rod by a quarter turn perpendicular to the flow direction. When the valve opens, the disc rolls back, enabling water to pass through. Lightweight, minimal installation footprint, reduced costs, quick function, and availability in substantial sizes are why industrial butterfly valves are commonly used.

Different valves under this are high-performance butterfly valves, triple offset butterfly valves, Concentrated butterfly valves, waff butterfly valves, lug butterfly valves, flange butterfly valves, and metal seated butterfly valves.

Plug Valve

When the cone-shaped plug inside the valve body is rotated, the valve opens and closes, controlling fluid flow. Many plug valves include open channels that are horizontally positioned to allow fluid flow when the valve is open.

A valve’s stem and handle rest atop the fixture. The sole of the valve flows from the input to the outlet. When frequent and rapid adjustment is required, a quarter-turn valve on an industrial plug valve comes in handy.

Different valves in this category include a Double block and bleed plug valve, an Eccentric plug valve, a Lubricated plug valve, and a Sleeve plug valve.

check valves

Applications of Mining Valves

Check valves are used for a variety of applications, including the following:

  • Typical valve applications include lime inclusion, mineral-laden operation, diluting waters, and various specialized uses, such as pneumatic conveyance of dry concentrates.
  • Autoclaving:To prevent backflow, autoclaving necessitates the use of automated shut-off valves such as check valves. This is accomplished by using valve components made of a stronger alloy.
  • Mine Dewatering:Used in mine dewatering operations to lower the water table around extraction sites, mines, and quarries using specialized pumps. They mitigate the effects of water hammer.
  • Pump Inactivation and Discharge: Check valves are utilized to protect the pump during the discharge operation.
  • Pipelines:Check valves are commonly used in pipelines that transfer water to and from mines. These pipes must frequently travel long distances and experience a variety of altitude variations.
  • Slurry Transportation and Handling: Slurry valves, knife gate valves, butterfly valves, ball valves, and check valves are used in the mining industry for a variety of purposes. Pumping stations, separation, intermediate stations, terminal stations, thickeners, and air release are some examples.
  • Mineral Extraction and Processing Methods:Mineral extraction, extraction, and refining are some of the most demanding applications for valves in the mining and metals and steel industries. Due to the presence of chemical solvents and abrasive slurries, it is critical to utilize appropriate metals, liners, and coatings for mineral segregation, concentration, and extraction techniques.
  • Water and Wastewater Treatment Options:Valves aid in the treatment, reuse, and decontamination of effluent and wastewater in the mining industry. They must be able to endure the extreme circumstances of highly acidic and suspended particles in process water and effluent.
  • Hydrometallurgy, solution mining, process gases, and oxygen supply lines are among more applications where the valves have proven to be superior. Valves are also used in vent gas lines, acid leaching, mine tailings, and neutralization.

Mining Valves Materials

Stainless Steel

Because stainless steel is a non-reactive metal, it is used to make many industrial valves. For each gauge, the metals molybdenum, chromium, and nickel, among others, must be exactly mixed. In a few instances, brass can be used instead of steel. Steel valves, on the other hand, are the ideal bet for corrosive media since they will not rust or corrode.

Cast Steel

These valves are made by pouring molten steel into a mold and allowing it to harden in a controlled environment. On the one hand, if done correctly, this approach provides a practical and cost-effective method of producing strong valves. However, regular monitoring and quality control are required since holes and tears can occur where the molten steel does not form evenly.

Forged steel

These are made by molding metal with high heat and mechanical equipment. Instead of being poured into a premade mold, forged steel is shaped by hand into the shape of the valve. The advantage is that heat hardens the metal, resulting in stronger and longer-lasting industrial valves. They are more expensive because they need more work to produce.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Valves for Mining and Minerals Processing

Media Type

The appropriate valve material will be determined by the qualities of the fluid or gas being used. Metal valves must be used when monitoring harsh or corrosive materials or pressurized gases for the best level of safety.

Valve Operation

2-way valves are excellent for on/off control in a system. 3-way valves, on the other hand, may perform all jobs as well as divert or mix media.

Conditions for Use

Choosing the proper valve for every application begins with determining the valve size. If valves are not properly sized, they can fail both inside and out.

It is also necessary to understand the valve’s operating characteristics, such as temperature, pressure, and flow rate. Metal valves are frequently extremely durable and stable under high temperatures and pressures.

Actuation Technique

Another element to consider is the valve’s functioning mechanism. The type of valve to be utilized is determined by whether the valve will be operated manually or automatically. If the latter, it is critical to identify whether the unit will be equipped with an electric, pneumatic, or hydraulic actuator.

Maintenance Requirements

Ball valves are a terrific solution if maintenance is performed on a regular basis because they resist clogging and are one of the easiest valve types.

Alternatively, a ball valve with three parts—the body, a set of end caps, and a stem—is preferable. This allows the line to remain operational while the main body section is cleaned without having to disconnect the end caps.

Final Thoughts

The mining industry relies on a diverse range of specialized valves to control fluid flow in demanding conditions characterized by extreme pressures, abrasive materials, and challenging temperatures. Gate valves, suitable for straight-line flows and efficient ball valves with spherical discs address specific needs, while check valves prevent backflow, ensuring directional fluid movement. Butterfly valves, featuring a rotating disc mechanism, prove valuable in large-diameter applications. Control valves, responsive to external signals, enhance precision in mining processes. The selection of the right valve depends on factors like fluid type, pressure, temperature, and unique operational demands. The reliability of mining operations hinges on strategic valve implementation, and ongoing advancements in valve technology are poised to further enhance efficiency, reduce downtime, and contribute to the sustainable and responsible exploitation of the Earth’s precious resources.

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