Tag Archives: beneficiation

Tata Steel’s Jharia Division receives coal prep plant, ventilation power supply boost

In line with its mechanisation and modernisation program, Tata Steel’s Jharia Division has commissioned a “state-of-the-art” 2 Mt/y coal preparation plant and 400 kVA uninterrupted power supply (UPS) for the main ventilation fan at the Jamadoba Colliery in India.

On the occasion, D B Sundara Ramam, Vice President (Raw Materials), Tata Steel, said: “Introduction of appropriate technology is key to the success of underground mining. At Tata Steel, we leverage our innovation capabilities, technology leadership with focus on safety and sustainability to create long-term value. This state-of-the-art beneficiation plant not only addresses issues like productivity, safety and environment but, at the same, time ensures production of coal at a competitive price.”

Built using cutting-edge technology, the 2 Mt/y preparation plant has been transformed from the oldest running washery in Asia (in operation since 1952) to one of the most modern washeries across the globe, Tata Steel said.

The washery is a major upgrade from the conventional set-up, consisting of a dense media separation cyclone circuit for coarse material, reflux classifier for the intermediate circuit and flotation for the fines circuit – all geared towards improving production efficiency. This is also the first washery in the country with a 100% dewatering facility built within its plant, thereby completely eliminating the need for a tailings pond, auto sprinklers and dry fog systems.

The giant UPS provides uninterrupted power supply to the 450 hp (336 kW) mine fan and automatically changes over during power failure from DVC, keeping the fan running for 40 minutes – enough time for power restoration or change-over to captive supply. This battery back-up UPS is the first-of-its-kind in the country for any mine ventilation fan, according to Tata Steel, enhancing the safety and ergonomics within the mines and providing a more comfortable environment for the miners to work.

Tata Steel says its Jharia Division has been at the helm of innovation and modernisation since its inception, with initiatives like its chair lift man riding system, cooling plant, low capacity and low cost continuous miner with the haulage system setting benchmarks when it comes to underground mining in the country. The Jharia Division has undertaken several initiatives of automation and digitalisation which has helped in improving operational excellence.

FLSmidth to take on productivity improvement challenge at Middle East phosphate op

FLSmidth says it has been chosen as the technical partner and the supplier of key equipment for the productivity improvement project at a phosphate beneficiation plant in the Middle East.

The order, valued at approximately DKK200 million ($32 million), was booked in March. It will focus on improving the overall plant production through improved plant availability and throughput, according to the company. The operation will also achieve an associated reduction in water consumption resulting from a modified desliming circuit, FLSmidth added.

The agreement includes the engineering and procurement of all equipment associated with the productivity improvement projects, including crushing, material handling and desliming circuits.

Mikko Keto, Mining President at FLSmidth, said: “Boosting customer productivity is a key objective and this combination of equipment and know-how will enable us to deliver this to the customer. As the full technology and engineering partner, we will not only supply the complete range of process-critical equipment but we can also support its integration across the project, ensuring maximised productivity improvement.”

FLSmidth is to deliver engineering, procurement and technical support services and supply all tagged equipment associated with the remedial projects at the site. This encompasses additional capacity in the fine ore circuit; a new cone crushing station; a new desliming circuit; a new concentrate bypass circuit; and optimisation of the existing flotation circuit, including installation of nextSTEP™ flotation technology.

MBE Minerals ready to boost coal processing efficiencies in South Africa

As South Africa continues to work hard to contain the cost of its coal-fired power generation, MBE Minerals SA is stressing the importance of efficiencies throughout the value chain – not least in beneficiation.

The continuous improvement in coal beneficiation technology and regular equipment upgrades in plants will become more important, according to the company’s Managing Director, Johannes Kottmann.

MBE Minerals, which has over a century of experience in the coal sector, has built up a wide footprint of vibrating screens in Africa for sizing, scalping, dewatering and media recovery. It also provides destoning solutions to customers.

“Among the company’s innovations is the side plate mounted drive, a much lighter option to using vibrator motors,” Kottmann says. “The screens can also be supplied with vibrator motors, if necessary, while resonance screens offer the added benefit of lower power consumption.”

All types of screening surfaces can be accommodated, with each screen incorporating mechanical design features such as vibration dampening, side plates, cross members and the appropriate feed and discharge chutes.

Kottmann highlights that MBE Minerals is actively engaged with developments in coal beneficiation technology through its international network, including the MBE Coal and Minerals’ Research and Development Centre in Cologne, Germany.

“This centre consults with customers globally in terms of optimum processing solutions, with the support of an in-house laboratory and pilot test work facilities,” he says. The centre also offers customer training, which can range from general mineral processing to maintenance of MBE Minerals’ equipment.

In addition to designing, engineering and supplying equipment, MBE Minerals conducts projects on a turnkey or engineering procurement and construction basis, he notes. The company can also operate complete coal processing plants.

MBE is well known for its BATAC® jig technology, which, the company says, delivers high separation efficiencies and improved product quality, as well as high availability and throughput. This technology’s ease of operation, robust design and economical maintenance cost have also been important factors in its success.

The company developed the BATAC jig to overcome the limitations of early stratification technologies, which achieved separation either by moving the entire jigging bed screen or through water pulsation generated in an air chamber beside the jigging bed.

“The separation accuracy of BATAC jigs is due to electronic control of the air pulse generator and sensing of the thickness and densities of the material layers being separated,” Kottmann says. The under-bed pulsated BATAC jig has proved ideal for coarse applications from 150 mm down to fine coal in the 10 to 0.5 mm size range, with throughput rates of between 100 and 1,200 t/h, the company claims.

MBE Minerals has also developed a solution for destoning raw coal – the ROMJIG® – which has produced impressive results in extensive testing around the world, it says. It achieves an overall reduction in the stone handled, Kottmann says, and there are indications of a lower percentage of refuse in the washery feed.

“This allows costs to be saved in a number of areas, such as reduced wear on machinery and transporting equipment, less grain degradation, and less dust and slurry,” he says. “It also means that flocculation consumption is reduced, along with flotation agents in downstream fines recovery circuits.”

The range of vibrating screens manufactured by the company includes dimensions up to 3.6 m in width and 6.75 m in length; they come in single or double deck configuration and with either circular or linear motion. They have been operating in the African mining industry for the past 40 years.

“We ensure that each application, whether greenfields or brownfields, is carefully assessed in conjunction with the customer, during a comprehensive engagement process to determine the optimum solution,” Kottmann says. Services available include detailed engineering, feasibility studies, raw material testing, financing concepts, erection and commissioning.

Components – as well as automation and process control equipment – can be supplied and installed for complete plants and systems. Measures to modernise plants or improve capacity can also be proposed. The company’s scope of services includes personnel training, along with pre- and post-sales services and support.

Kwatani collaborating with EPCMs, miners on bespoke screening options

Mineral process plant designs are favouring higher-capacity vibrating screens and a more holistic approach to plant optimisation, according to screen specialist Kwatani.

“These trends hold great potential for the mining sector, and Kwatani has been at the forefront of technologies driving this direction,” Annelize van der Walt, Kwatani’s Business Development Manager for Mining and Minerals, says.

Vibrating screens are essentially the “glue” that integrates various unit processes, from bulk materials handling to optimally liberated comminution and pre-concentration, according to the company.

“Larger, engineered-for-tonnage screens are growing in popularity, as they reduce the number of processing modules and hence the level of infrastructure required, especially on mega-projects,” van der Walt says. “Higher capacity is becoming the new design standard for greenfields projects.”

There is also an ever-greater demand for reliability and uptime in these mission-critical machines, as well as an expectation of longer lifespans. All this requires bespoke solutions that address site-specific conditions, van der Walt says, while leveraging digital technology for real-time monitoring and control.

“Kwatani’s metallurgists and engineers use their extensive on-site experience and in-house laboratory facilities to innovate from our proven technologies,” she says. “A cornerstone of our philosophy is close collaboration with engineering, procurement and construction management contractors and end-customers to customise solutions, from concept to construction, commissioning and operation.”

Annelize van der Walt, Kwatani’s Business Development Manager for Mining and Minerals

Specific conditions include waterless beneficiation in arid Mauritania, where Kwatani’s screens operate completely dry in an iron ore plant. In South Africa and Botswana, meanwhile, the company has retrofitted dewatering screens to reduce water consumption, while increasing output by 40% with the same footprint.

“We also recently designed screens for exceptional ore characteristics in a precious metal beneficiation facility in Canada,” she said. “This required a high level of customisation, not only in the screening media but in the mechanical design.”

Remote mine locations – which are difficult to access for maintenance and replacement purposes – also guide the design parameters. In a recent project, Kwatani innovated by selecting special hard-wearing materials for the construction of the screening equipment. The design included components that would provide early warning of wear.

Embracing a more holistic plant design approach, customers often invite Kwatani to participate in optimising the screening side of their chosen beneficiation technology, van der Walt says. A different screening approach would be taken, for instance, in a dry pre-concentration application than in wet dense medium separation.

“This holistic approach is also facilitating greater synergy between original equipment manufacturers,” she says. “This is a very positive trend, allowing us to consider the impact of different equipment on the performance of each – from mineral processing apparatus to transfer chutes.”

Underpinning Kwatani’s responsiveness to customer’s specific needs is its ongoing research and development.

“Our R&D unit is currently working on projects to suit our designs to novel crushing and grinding technologies, which are changing the whole approach to the process flow of future plants,” van der Walt says. “These are significant innovations for the mining sector, and we are excited to be at the forefront with our evolving screen designs.”

Kwatani is incorporating digital technologies to facilitate remote monitoring and control of its vibrating screens. It is also piloting a service app for mobile phones, which helps operations predict their maintenance needs more accurately. The app also helps to drive down the total cost of ownership by gathering data that can be used in future design improvements.

US Department of Energy to provide funding for coal-based product innovations

The US Department of Energy (DOE) says it intends to make approximately $122 million available to establish coal product innovation centres that focus on manufacturing value-added, carbon-based products from coal, as well developing new methods to extract and process rare earth elements and critical minerals from coal.

The DOE anticipates funding innovation centres in multiple US coal producing basins.

New and existing coalitions of private industry, academia, national laboratories, and state and local governments are encouraged to compete to establish the centres, it said.

“Once established, the public-private innovation centres will research and incubate innovative mining, beneficiation, processing, and purification technologies that are environmentally sustainable,” the DOE said. “Each centre will also provide a foundation for educating the next generation of technicians, skilled workers, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professionals.”

US Secretary of Energy, Dan Brouillette, said: “It’s vitally important that America develop a viable domestic supply of rare earth elements, critical minerals, and other valuable products from our vast coal resources. This effort moves us closer to that goal.

“The Trump Administration has been aggressively investing in research and development for novel uses of coal that have the potential to create new markets for coal and coal by-products. Sustaining domestic coal production creates new economic opportunity for coal state economies and benefits the nation.”

Examples of US coal basins, which could host an innovation centre, include: the Appalachian basin (Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia), the San Juan River-Raton-Black Mesa basin (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico), the Illinois basin (Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee), the Williston basin (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota), the Powder River basin (Montana, Wyoming), the Uinta basin (Colorado, Utah), the Green River-Wind River basin (Colorado, Wyoming), the Gulf Coast-Black Warrior basin (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas), and Alaska, covering 22 states.

The funding for the innovation centres will be provided from the new Carbon Ore, Rare Earths, and Critical Minerals (CORE-CM) Initiative, which is sponsored by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy. This will be made available through one or more Funding Opportunity Announcements issued this summer by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), it said.

Steven Winberg, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, said: “These planned innovation centres and other efforts supported by the new CORE-CM initiative will build on the amazing work that NETL and our partners have been doing for years on rare earth elements, critical minerals, and value-added products from coal.

“We’re excited about our path forward and the economic opportunity it creates for coal producing regions of the country and the United States.”

Vale gets hands on iron ore beneficiation technology with New Steel purchase

Vale has entered into an agreement with Hankoe FIP to buy innovative iron ore beneficiation technology provider, New Steel, for $500 million.

New Steel currently owns patents of dry processing concentration (fines dry magnetic separation) in 56 countries, which is expected to support Vale’s development of high-grade pellet feed initiatives.

Vale said the transaction was expected to close in 2019, subject to certain conditions precedent, including approval by antitrust authorities in Brazil.

One project that is expected to benefit from this acquisition is Vale’s 20 Mt/y Southeastern System pellet feed project, the company said.