Victaulic has seen great success with the introduction and implementation of its series 725 diverter valve, and its impact on the South African mining industry.

As the industry’s first grooved-end valve designed specifically for paste backfill lines, the product improves the efficiency of backfill operations while providing reliable service.

“Victaulic’s series 725 diverter valve was designed specifically to make paste backfill activities in the mining industry simpler and easier,” comments Marcel Ley, Victaulic regional manager. “The product comes as a result of continuous investment and innovation from the part of Victaulic and is designed to deliver significant time- and cost-savings in the field and offers a real competitive advantage.”

Ley explains the innovation behind the valve, most notably the ability to eliminate the need for the repositioning of fill lines; and with this a reduction in handling which leads to a more efficient operation. Additionally, the valve provides 180-degree service, reducing the need for employees to manually redeploy backfill piping systems to other areas within the mine operation and therefore saving time, reducing risk and ultimately leading to cost savings.

Composing of a rugged ductile iron body and a 5D bend profile, the series 725 ensures smooth, continuous flow and durable, reliable service. The integrated adjustable stop ensures the plug aligns properly with the outlet to improve performance and reduce wear; while also featuring a tamper-resistant lockout together with blowout proof stem design.

“The series 725 diverter valve is available in a 6-inch/150mm sizing and withstands pressures of up to 1 000psi/6 900kPa,” says Ley. “Furthermore, the product is designed with a standard ISO 5211 mounting flange, meaning that the valve can be implemented with a gear operator or electric actuator for remote actuation.”

With more than 70 installed valves, processing almost 30 million tons of paste, considerable data has been collected on the valve’s capabilities and performance. Plus, Victaulic’s series 725 is being used in what can be described as the most important project in AngloGold Ashanti’s history – the ATIC project implemented at AngloGold’s Vaal River & West Witwatersrand sites; and has revolutionised the manner in which the processes were performed.

“While stopes were previously dug by hand, new technology and machinery used on the ATIC site are creating an unprecedented digging process that follows the ore reef, creating large stopes that can reach up to 60 feet/18m in length and 20″/500mm in diameter,” explains Ley. “To accommodate the new extraction technique, ATIC is changing the way they produce and reticulate paste by installing a series of underground paste plants which allows them to use a lower slump paste and deliver it faster to surrounding areas.”

With weight and space restrictions in the forefront, AngloGold designed the system using Victaulic Series 725 Paste Fill Diverter Valves. The valves are used near the pump in the underground backfill plant on 4″/100NB pipelines to quickly and easily divert flow. Currently, pressures reach up to 70 bar and paste is pumped a distance of 650 feet/200m, but AngloGold plans to extend pumping distances up to 1km.