AirSep Oxygen Systems Creating Savings in the Mining Industry - CAIRE Inc.

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Buffalo, NY, May 29, 2020 – AirSep oxygen systems offer the mining industry economical alternatives to delivered cylinder and liquid oxygen.

Producing 90 to 95 percent oxygen, non-cryogenically, at rates of 2,000-120,000 SCFH (2-120 tons per day [TPD]) and pressures up to 450 psig with supplemental boosting, AirSep’s Vacuum Pressure Swing Adsorption (VPSA) systems are a cost-effective, efficient, and safe oxygen source available for gold and silver leaching, as well as uranium recovery.

Ideal for remote locations, the systems eliminate missed deliveries, the dangers associated with storing large amounts of oxygen, and price increases.

Gold is utilized in manufacturing, technology, and other industrial applications. In uranium mining, the product is sent for further refining and used mostly for energy production.

The Process

VPSA oxygen process uses adsorbents (a synthetic zeolite called molecular sieve), which attract (adsorb) nitrogen from air at high pressure and release it at low pressure. In the adsorption step, nitrogen is adsorbed at elevated pressure and oxygen is produced. In the desorption step, nitrogen is desorbed via depressurization so the adsorbent is regenerated. The complete cycle is then repeated. Under normal operating conditions, the molecular sieve is completely regenerative and will last indefinitely.

Why On-site Oxygen Generation is important

  • It is a safe alternative to cryogenically-produced cylinder or liquid oxygen
  • Most often, the system is located in close proximity to the point of use and supplies oxygen directly to the application


A uranium mine in McClean Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada has two 24 TPD VPSA oxygen plants for ferric sulphate production for use in uranium leaching and other processes.

Another Canadian location in Key Lake, Saskatchewan has installed two 24 TPD VPSA plants for oxygen injection into leach vessels to promote uranium extraction.

An increase in the dissolved oxygen level of gold bearing slurry enhances the gold cyanidation process, thereby increasing gold recovery rates at a remote location in Central Asia’s Kazakhstan using two 35 TPD VPSA oxygen plants.

Benefits of VPSA

  • The plants are equipped with integrated hardware and software that monitor critical plant parameters, as well as the performance of the feed and vacuum blowers, instrument air compressor and oxygen compressor.
  • Capacity control with real power savings is accomplished by extending the equalization step during which the pressure and vacuum blowers are unloaded. This design ensures peak blower and process efficiencies, avoiding the poor blower and process efficiencies resulting from capacity control via variable speed drive.
  • The plants offer 99 percent online reliability for continuous automatic/unattended operation.
  • Systems utilize high cycle special design pneumatic butterfly valves for process control etc., after 3,000,000 cycles (24 to 30 months of use before service).
  • Key process parameters are locally and remotely monitored every 250 milliseconds

Excellence in design, manufacturing with quality parts, and high-level workmanship are the hallmark of all AirSep VPSA oxygen systems. True flexibility in custom engineering allows us to develop systems that utilize components that yield the desired capacities, with the highest efficiency for each VPSA plant.