Blog28 November 2019

Sykes Pumps provide solution for record-breaking infrastructural project

As trusted industry leaders with a wealth of experience across a full range of sectors, Sykes Pumps has been called upon to play a vital role in preparing the infrastructure for the world’s largest polyhalite mine.

Woodsmith Mine in the North York Moors will extract the hydrated potassium, calcium and magnesium sulphate evaporite mineral for export to fertiliser markets around the world when it goes into full production. The mineral will be processed and shipped from Wilton International on Teeside, 37 miles from the mine, and the lead contractor has been tasked with constructing a tunnel between the two locations.

The mine and tunnel projects are being delivered simultaneously, with the tunnel being excavated from Wilton International to Woodsmith while work is ongoing on construction of the mine.

De-watering of the site for the processing facility was a critical part of the enabling works for the project. The tunnel is being built using trenchless excavation methods but the contractor also needed to de-water a 15m pit, excavated to enable construction of the launch pad for the tunnelling equipment. The company contacted Sykes Pumps to provide a solution for both managing ground water across the site for the terminus at Wilton International and de-watering the launch pad location for the tunnelling machine.

Sykes Pumps deployed several pumps to de-water different areas of the site, pumping the water from two drainage chambers to on-site lagoons. These included Sykes GP80, GP100 and GP150 general purpose diesel pumps, along with a number of Sykes Minivac eco pumpsets. The compact Minivac and GP80 eco units come on two-wheeled site trailers for ease of manoeuvrability, making them ideal for projects where pumps are required on different areas of the site at different times. Incorporating the Sykes ‘Univac’ vacuum priming system, which enables rapid automatic priming and re-priming from dry, they are an ideal solution for the intermittent flows present at the Wilton International site.

For de-watering of the 15m pit for construction of the tunnelling machine launch pad, Sykes Pumps provided H100 and H150 hydraulic submersible pumps. These robust and fuel efficient pumps are ideal for deep suction lifts and have good solids handling capabilities. The H150 is capable of handling solids of up to 65mm and provides a maximum flow rate of 95 litres per second.

Sykes Pumps also provided a Silt Away unit, which was used to separate suspended solids from the extracted water as part of the de-silting process before the water from the site was released back into natural water courses.

A spokesman for the contracted construction company said: “In a coastal location, ground water is often an issue for construction and infrastructure projects so effective and efficient de-watering equipment played a critical role in keeping our teams safe and ensured the programme was delivered to schedule. Sykes Pumps advised us on the most appropriate and cost effective equipment for our needs throughout the programme and provided regular servicing and maintenance visits, resulting in a reliable and resilient de-watering solution.”