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Mining & Process Technology

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Paterson & Cooke’s skills and experience are an excellent resource to help our clients develop new technology for mining and mineral process technology applications.

Paterson & Cooke have made important contributions in developing new technology for hydraulic hoisting, deep mine backfilling, marine mining and dredging, and process control. This work is supported by our extensive laboratories and computational fluid dynamics capability.


A fluidiser is an apparatus used to extract saturated solid or thickened material from a storage device such as a wet bin or thickener. Paterson & Cooke Fluidisers are designed using the best choice of fabrication method and material choice. The specific application and the number of units required over the life of the project, as well as the duty and wear characteristics of the slurry, are also taken into account.

Dewatering Bin

Many mineral and mining processes transport dilute slurry initially, but then have to deal with the burden of the excess liquid by over sizing downstream process equipment unnecessarily. Dredging or offshore mining operations typically produce a dilute product stream that requires dewatering before introducing it to the process plant.

Paterson & Cooke has developed and patented a coarse solids Dewatering Bin that separates the solids and liquids from a dilute slurry stream. The size of the separated solid particles can range from fine sand to coarse gravel. The size fraction that reports to the overflow can be adjusted and the coarse fraction reports to the bin underflow. The Dewatering Bin design offers a wet bin storage facility where the settled solids are stored without agitation and extracted, when required, at a controlled rate and concentration using a custom designed fluidiser.

Hydraulic Hoisting

Hydraulic hoisting has the potential to be one of the most cost effective methods of transporting ore from underground to surface. We have been involved in the analysis of a number of proposed hydraulic hoisting systems and can advise clients on ore feeder techniques and perform hydraulic and engineering analysis of hydraulic hoisting systems.

Energy Dissipater

Paterson & Cooke pioneered the full flow design philosophy for deep mine backfill systems. Backfilling at depths in excess of 2 km below ground requires high pressure piping systems, and it is necessary to ensure that these systems are operated safely. A key requirement is that they need to remain fully pressurised to prevent premature failure due to high pipeline wear rates in slack flow lengths of pipeline. Paterson & Cooke have developed an energy dissipater that efficiently dissipates pressure over a short length. The dissipater is used to control mine backfill systems to ensure that they remain fully pressurised when there is an excess of gravity head available.

Head Feed Splitter

Many mining process require that a slurry feed stream is diverted equally to downstream processes. Typically a launder will discharge to a central distribution box that splits the flow in several directions. It is difficult to control the flow split as the downstream conditions, after the distributor, influence the distribution of the flow. To overcome such problems, Paterson & Cooke have developed a Compact Splitter ™ that provides an equal split to four outlets. A riser pipe delivers flow to a specially designed pressurised splitter that provides an even distribution of material to each outlet.


Elutriation is commonly used in the process industries to separate fine or less dense materials from a feed stream. Paterson & Cooke developed an elutriator that was used to separate extremely coarse solids on a dredging plant used for alluvial diamond mining. The coarse solids that report to the elutriator underflow are a barren stream that can be discarded. By rejecting this coarse stream ahead of the process, the downstream plant can be sized to accommodate a reduced throughput and is more efficient.



Anglo Platinum, South Africa

Feasibility study and cost estimate for the underground hydraulic hoisting of 3 300 t/d of -13 mm ore from underground workings to the surface using a three chamber pipe feeder energy recovery system.

Mineração Morro Velho, Brazil

Technical evaluation of the proposed Siemag three chamber pipe feeder hydraulic hoisting system for Mina Grande gold mine. The scope of work included the evaluation of wear resistant materials for the proposed hydrohoist system, prediction of pipeline wear rates, measurement of pipeline pressure gradients, and analysis of the hydraulic performance of the system.

Keywords: mining, process technology, hydraulic hoisting, energy dissipater, head feed splitter, Elutriator, dewatering bin.