Mining Water Management Compliance

by , | Feb 29, 2024 | Flow, Metals, Mining, Minerals

Jim Cahill

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Social Marketing Leader

Emerson’s Mathias Gehl, from the recently acquired Flexim organization, presented Water Management Compliance with FLEXIM Non-Intrusive Flow Measurement at the 2024 Emerson Exchange Conference in Düsseldorf, Germany. Here is his presentation abstract:

A Peruvian mining company faced the imperative of installing a new flow metering system to meet local water management regulations. This undertaking presents challenges demanding innovative solutions. The installation involves a big 40″ pipe, requiring specialized equipment and expertise. The proximity to significant flow disturbances poses a considerable obstacle to get accurate readings. The vast flow dynamics further complicate matters, requiring a robust and adaptable solution. The company opted for Flexim’s non-intrusive flowmeters, which not only address the pipe size and nearby disturbances but also reduce the budget and time of implementation by nearly 50%.

Mathias opened by highlighting the challenges facing a Peruvian mining company with an open-pit copper concentrate mine. They needed to quantify the water consumption of the concentrator plant and report back to the national regulator while supporting their sustainability effort to preserve natural resources. Their current method was to calculate the consumption by centrifugal pump curve calculations. The issues were:

  • Flawed results due to wear and tear of pump
  • Usually overcharging the mine
  • Not accepted by the authorities
  • Impact sustainability KPIs

The solution was to add flow measurement.

This mining company was challenged by regulations with the possibility of fines for not reporting water consumption, high costs to stop the process from adding proper measurements, a huge 40” pipe where the measurements needed to be made, high flow variability which requires high rangeability in a meter, and limited straight piping (30 diameters required for some flow measurement technologies) runs due to out-of-plane elbows on both ends of the piping.

One option considered was magnetic flow meters which had these advantages and disadvantages.



  • Suitable to any pipe sizes
  • High turn-down ratio of 0.01 – 25 m/s
  • Versatile & fast installation
    at low cost
  • No process shutdown
  • No media contact reduces maintenance need
  • Built-in diagnostics for data reliability and instrument predictive maintenance.
  • It may not be Suitable for moist and dirty gases.
  • NEW technical knowledge required for installation
  • Not suitable for pipes with non-bonded liners
  • Volume accuracy of 1%

For a 40” pipe, the mag meter is heavy and difficult to transport and install at this remote mining site. Also, the mining process would have to be shut down costing the company more than half of a million dollars per day.

A second option considered was Emerson’s Flexim non-intrusive flow measurements. These devices work by having the transducers mounted on the pipe which is filled with the fluid. The ultrasonic signals are emitted alternately by a transducer and received by the other. The physical quantities are determined from the transit times of the ultrasonic signals.

Flexim non-intrusive flow measurement

These devices work on the transit time difference principle. The transit time difference is proportional to the flow velocity. Microprocessors control the entire measuring cycle and verify signals for measurement usability and reliability. Noise signals are eliminated.

Once the meter is installed:

  • Flow measurement immediately after installation
  • Meter diagnostics show proper installation
  • Accurate zero stability
  • Correct flow totalization for high and low velocities
  • Stable meter diagnostics for 3 years
  • No maintenance requirement since installation

The summary of the benefits they achieved was 100% process availability in installation. Installation costs were reduced by 60% versus other meter technologies, maintenance costs reduced by 90%, inventory for replacements reduced 75%, and financially the project costs were reduced by 50%.

In summary, after installing the meter, the mining company not only solved the need of tracking water consumption in their concentrator plant, and report back to national regulation agency, but also achieved a step further on supporting their sustainability goals.

KPIs are now directly measured instead of calculated based on assumptions. Proper selection of flow measurement technology reduced the cost of implementation to a fraction and without the impact of “traditional” wetted measurement technologies.

Visit the Flexim section on for more information on this non-intrusive flow measurement technology.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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