The project required BESTECH’s automation experts to review, recommend, and implement pressure monitoring and flow distribution control for the underground process water system at Vale’s Totten Mine. BESTECH updated the dewatering and process water design with a novel, modernization design, in line with the future-proof Industry 4.0 concepts used to design and operate Vale’s newest mining operation.

From a review of the existing system, several modification options were evaluated and compared to the goal of providing improved controls and cost-effective solutions for Totten. BESTECH then selected and put forward the recommended best option for improvement, with specific focus on the operation of the in-shaft process water pressure reducing stations. As part of the deliverables, BESTECH outlined the required functional specifications for the control strategy and the list of selected equipment. Our suggested process water design includes in-shaft level pressure reducing valve (PRV) stations with communication infrastructure, as well as a selection of equipment and an automated control strategy. This solution fits in with the other automation and controls used in the mine and with integration within the local control room systems. As an additional request from this project, BESTECH also designed multiple new water distribution valve stations to regulate water flows into active mining levels and we designed a new mid-shaft regulator station to manage shaft water pressure for safe, reliable water distribution control. All design specifications were completed in compliance with Vale standards and the Technical Standards and Safety Authority’s (TSSA) regulations.