Composites Aid Potash Processing Plant
Potassium is a necessary element to produce chemical fertilizers for agricultural use. The element is obtained through the process of mining and extraction of potash. Canada is the world’s largest national producer and exporter of potash.
A major producer of potash in Canada recently asked ICON Industrial Group Ltd. to source a material that would be cost effective, yet durable enough to combat a highly corrosive environment within its potash operations.
|Product: Secondary Containment & Inertia Platform|
|Process: Pultrusion, Molded, Fabrication|
|Materials & Sizes: |
|For: ICON Industrial Group Ltd.|
|User: A major Canadian potash producer|
Outfitted with years of extensive composites experience, ICON recommended the extensive use of Strongwell FRP (SAFPLATE®, DURAGRID®, EXTREN®, SAFRAIL™, and DURAGRATE®) within custom designs for two structures within the debrining area of the potassium mining site.
In order to mine potash deep within the earth, potash deposits have to be dissolved with water and salt. This liquid formulation is called the brining solution. The highly corrosive liquid is piped, treated, and then recirculated. In instances where pipe leakages may occur, a secondary containment system is installed to protect structures underneath the piping outfit from the corrosive properties of the brining solution. In this design, the secondary containment system was installed to protect centrifuges, a crane, and processing equipment underneath the vast network of piping.
Prior to installation and to ensure a good seal, the containment system was tested with 4" of standing water to demonstrate a 100% seal across the entire floor elevation.
Previously, workers at this mining facility had to tie themselves off while working around debrining centrifuges due to the elevated access points of the centrifuges. To address safety concerns, inertia platforms were designed to provide a stable noncorrosive working surface for personnel access around the centrifuges. This eliminated the use of tethering while garnering better accessibility to critical equipment.
Upon initial design, both ICON and the plant operator agreed that EXTREN® Series 625 offered a much higher corrosion resistance rating than carbon steel. This eliminated the concern of any corrosion-related maintenance costs over the project’s life cycle.
In addition to corrosion resistance, the lightweight nature of FRP yielded an estimated 30-50% cost savings on labor and additional equipment required if the project had used carbon steel. Most of the contributing factors for these savings were attributed to the heavy weight of transporting, rigging, and fabricating with steel.
ICON was able to follow up with the end user after six months to report that the secondary containment system presented no evidence of leakage. Employees were also complimentary of how the inertia platforms aided accessibility, safety protocols, and production processes.