Level Measurement & Control


Copper mining powered by VEGA

May 2024 Level Measurement & Control

VEGA sensors are an integral part of the continuous monitoring and control systems across the board in mining and beneficiation processes. These instruments work alongside pumps and other equipment to ensure a harmonious and efficient production flow, avoiding costly disruptions or operational hazards. VEGA has proved itself to be an indispensable ally in the demanding world of copper and cobalt mining. The robustness, reliability and precision of VEGA instruments make them a good choice for managing liquid levels and ensuring the smooth operation of the production process.

What makes the Copperbelt remarkable is that it houses the world’s second-largest copper reserve. This belt stands out because of the presence of some of the highest grade copper deposits globally, with ore grades exceeding 5% in some cases. These deposits often contain significant reserves of cobalt, with the DRC potentially holding up to 34% of the world’s cobalt reserves. The fact is that there are still vast, unexplored deposits waiting to be discovered by modern mining technology.

This area hosts some of the world’s richest cobalt copper, and uranium deposits. These metals are not just raw materials; they play a crucial role in the clean energy and mobility revolution, driving the world towards sustainability. Copper is widely distributed across the Earth’s surface, and is often found in the form of copper minerals or mixed ores alongside metals like zinc and lead. Mining operations in the area involve the extraction and processing of these copper-cobalt sulphide ores to produce copper and cobalt products, a critical contribution to global industries.

Various VEGA instruments find their place in this intricate process, serving as guardians of liquid levels, pressure and density. At a well-known copper and cobalt mine, vibrating level switches have been strategically employed to regulate the water level within columns containing acidic scrub water. In this application, the primary task of these sensors is to prevent overfill or dry run scenarios, ensuring the uninterrupted flow of this acidic medium to the subsequent stages of the production process.

The VEGASWING 63 is a tuning fork level switch with a tube extension designed for continuous level measurement. The sensor is mounted to the side of the tank with its vibrating fork extending into the column’s contents. The instrument is highly responsive and sensitive to changes in the liquid level. As the acidic water in the column rises or falls, VEGASWING 63 detects these changes in real time. The VEGASWING 63 is installed at predetermined setpoints, which determine at what level the instrument should trigger an action to prevent overfilling and dry running.

When the liquid level in the tank reaches the predetermined high-level setpoint, the VEGASWING 63 vibrating level switch triggers an alarm and control action. This includes activating a pump to stop filling the tank to prevent overfilling. Also, when the liquid level drops to the low-level setpoint, the VEGASWING 63 initiates actions to prevent dry running. It will signal to refill the tank or shut down the equipment to avoid damage due to inadequate liquid levels.

The VEGASWING 63 is known for its reliability in harsh and corrosive environments, making it suitable for tanks with acidic water commonly found in mining processes. It can be integrated into the broader control system of mining operations, allowing for seamless automation and control of liquid levels.

When asked what makes VEGA instruments different to other solutions, the plant instrumentation coordinator commented, “What sets VEGA instruments apart is their robustness and reliability. Despite the challenging conditions involving steam and aggressive mediums, VEGA sensors have consistently delivered precise and trustworthy measurements. This reliability is a testament to the product’s suitability for industrial applications, including those in the mining industry. The decision to utilise VEGA was not taken lightly. Their track record of success in previous applications played a significant role in their selection. Having always achieved positive results with VEGA instruments, we knew that these sensors were the right choice for maintaining liquid levels.”

For more information contact VEGA Controls SA, +27 11 795 3249, [email protected], www.vega.com


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