Duncan Travels - Chile

Chile has been a very strong SpiralTrac region for many years thanks to its rich mining industry and Chesterton’s dedication to provide the absolute best to their customers. When Carlos Montero, head of Chesterton Chile asked EnviroSeal to join forces with Chesterton at the 2019 Exponor Mining tradeshow, we said yes right away.


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Mining in Chile is a big deal.  In fact, the mining industry is one of the major legs holding up the Chilean economy contributing to more than one third of the government income.  Amongst other minerals (gold, silver), copper mining is the focus of most mining operations in the region.   


It comes as no surprise that Antofagasta, located in northern Chile, is home to one of the biggest international mining shows on the planet.  Called Exponor, this global mining technology exhibition is held here every two years.  


EnviroSeal and Chesterton Chile has a strong history that has been flourishing for over a decade.  The local specialists soon realized that SpiralTrac can be a true game changer in heavy-duty slurry applications, and now, proven by the countless success stories and application highlights coming from the region, SpiralTrac is a developed name in the market and its reputation is growing by the day. 


Chesterton Chile recently opened their new office in Antofagasta, so the May 27-30 trade show was a great opportunity to make new friends and show the industry why Chesterton and EnviroSeal are two globally recognized and highly regarded companies.  After an almost two-day long journey Duncan (the pride and joy of EnviroSeal) and Aniko (our fearless leader) landed at Antofagasta the day before the tradeshow.


Duncan and Demo Pump


1 mm Rain…a year

Antofagasta is located in the Acatama Desert coastline. Thanks to its extreme climate the town receives an annual average of less than 0.1 mm rainfall per year, making it the driest town on the planet.  The mining plants in the area are subjected to the same extreme dryness and water scarcity is a real problem here.  Because of the abrasive nature of these applications packing is the most commonly used sealing solution.  Packing however requires clean reliable flush to keep the packing rings cool and lubricated.  In the driest part of the World water comes at a premium price, so anything that can reduce water usage in an application is most welcome.


chilean copper plantThat is exactly what the Packing Version SpiralTrac does, and it has been a tremendous success in a lot of various applications.  Once the pump is retrofitted to include SpiralTrac the application can run successfully with massively reduced flush rate.  With less water needed the potential cost and resource savings are tremendous.  On top of this the spiral geometry automatically expels solids that might enter the stuffing box keeping the environment ideal to maximize the life of the packing rings.  This results in less frequent gland adjustments, less frequent repacking, less leakage (cleaner operating environment) which all translates to further reduced costs. The results speak for themselves; our mining successes are full of stories coming from Chile.  Even if your flush water costs are negligible, SpiralTrac can still help your application run more efficient. However, if your water supplies are limited, SpiralTrac can make a tremendous difference in your operation.  


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Unscheduled Downtime is Unacceptable

Copper mining is an essential and existential industry in Chile, Escondida being the largest copper mine in the World.  These operations are massive and important with hundreds of moving parts working in perfect harmony.  An unexpected pump failure can shut down entire operations, each passing hour costing customers hundreds of thousand of dollars in lost revenue. 

A reoccurring theme Duncan noticed in the tradeshow talking to local engineers is that running the application until scheduled plan shutdown and maintenance is priority above all.


Certain pumps can be such an integral part of the process that it is deemed cost prohibitive to replace a worn sleeve even when faced with excessive leakage, which necessitates frequent repacking.  SpiralTrac is manufactured from a variety of materials.  A lot of our devices that end up in Chilean mines are made of our Carbon Graphite PTFE.  For tougher abrasive applications Bronze has been another popular choice in the region.  With SpiralTrac, running these applications until scheduled shutdown has never been a problem and in many cases the same device has been put back in the pump after inspection and cleaning.


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SpiralTrac doesn’t care what you are mining

(36% of the worlds copper comes from chile)


It could be copper, gold, silver, diamond, iron, graphite… if you are mining a mineral of any sorts, SpiralTrac can help your operation run more efficient.  Whether it’s a sealed or packed pump, even in the most abrasive heavy slurry applications our device can significantly extend your MTBF, reduce costs and save your resources.  Contact us or ask your Chesterton representative for details.


EnviroSeal and Chesterton Chile