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Aquatech Dewatering targets mining industry

September 1, 2012
by Norm Tollinsky
In: News with 0 Comments

Northern Ontario’s hot mining sector was the main reason Aquatech Dewatering and sister company Aquatech Pump and Power branched out to Sudbury last year, but it was also a homecoming for three of the company’s four senior executives.

President Andy Ingriselli and chief financial officer Claudio Ciavarella were both born and raised in Sudbury, while partner Raul Misa is from Timmins.

Founded in 2006 and based in Concord, Ontario, just north of Toronto, Aquatech Dewatering has, until now, focused predominantly on the construction market, “but the growth we see is very much linked to the mining industry – especially in Northern Ontario, but also in Quebec and Atlantic Canada,” said Ingriselli.

Aquatech Dewatering provides contract pumping services, while sister company Aquatech Pump and Power sells, rents and services equipment. In addition to the head office in Concord and its location in Sudbury, the company also has offices in Ottawa and St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Ingriselli left Sudbury after high school to pursue post secondary studies in southern Ontario and was introduced to the dewatering business through a summer job. After several years in the business, he decided to strike out on his own.

“I saw a real need in the industry for a company that could offer more of an engineered solution and an environmental focus,” he said. “We offer a full turnkey service. We can go in at the permitting stage, do environmental studies, get permits and calculate the water that will be required by a mine, as well as what will be discharged to the environment. We can do the filtration of that discharge to meet environmental regulations and do all the high-density polyethylene piping.

“We’re truly a one stop shop,” added Ingriselli. “We can provide every single piece for the end result, or if you only need one of those pieces, we’ll supply that.”

The company did some work in Northern Ontario prior to opening its 12,000-square foot Sudbury branch, but is now much better positioned to take advantage of opportunities in the region.

“We’ll probably also open a satellite office in Timmins,” said Ingriselli. “Thunder Bay would be the next logical step after that.”

Aquatech’s specialized equipment for the mining industry includes the heavy-duty Dragflow HY85 submersible pump, which is ideal for dredging and removing solids from tailings ponds. Designed to pump 50 to 75 per cent solids by weight, Dragflow pumps will appeal to mining companies frustrated with the high maintenance costs and short life expectancy of competing equipment, said Ingriselli.

At a recent open house in Sudbury, the company unveiled a purpose-built 475-horsepower boom truck. Equipped with a 96-foot crane and capable of lifting up to 29 tonnes, the CT660S boom truck was custom built for Aquatech by Caterpillar distributor Toromont CAT.

Standardizing on Caterpillar products will ensure prompt access to service due to Toromont’s extensive footprint across Northern Ontario, noted Ingriselli.

“A lot of our diesel pumps are powered by CAT engines because when you’re working in a remote area, the equipment is only reliable if it’s operating. Toromont has a strong presence in mining communities across Northern Ontario, so if we have a pump with any kind of mechanical need, we know we can count on Toromont for support. Downtime in this industry is very expensive. The fact that it’s a Caterpillar truck gives us the same level of reliability.”

Dewatering technology is moving more and more in the direction of automation, said Ingriselli.

“A lot of our pumps now are automated and can be monitored and operated through remote access, so you don’t have to be physically there to know there’s a problem. You can track the performance of the equipment from a computer through an Internet connection. You can control the speed of the pump, see the volumes you’re pumping and receive diagnostic alerts. Even the water quality can be monitored.”

In the event of a mechanical problem, added Ingriselli, standby pumping equipment can be programmed to automatically kick in.

Automated operation and monitoring of dewatering equipment will become more and more prevalent in the next few years, he predicted.

“The entire industry is moving in this direction, but you need someone to support it, and that’s the biggest problem when you get into some of these remote locations.”

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