Tag Archives: Comminution

Kwatani adds to Northern Cape iron ore reference list with latest screening installation

South Africa-based vibrating screen and feeder specialist Kwatani will soon add another installation to its extensive footprint in the Northern Cape, this time for a new customer in the iron ore mining segment.

“We have over 1,000 screens, grizzlies and feeders in this important mining region, giving us a market share of about 95% of heavy-duty screening applications there,” Jan Schoepflin, Kwatani’s General Manager: Sales and Service, said. “With our well-established branch in Kathu, we are also able to assure our new customer of quick and highly competent service levels.”

The ore characteristics of iron ore demands mechanically robust screening equipment and Kwatani has built a name for itself in these applications, according to metallurgist Frengelina Mabotja, Kwatani’s, Head of Sales for SADC. “Our equipment is engineered for tonnage and continuous throughput, without compromising efficiencies,” Mabotja said.

Kwatani’s scope of work on the 700 t/h dry processing plant includes a 1.5-m-wide grizzly screen to remove fines from the run-of-mine material before it reports to secondary crushing and a 1.5-m-single deck scalping screen. The company will also install two 2.4-m-wide, double-deck sizing screens to separate material after secondary crushing, and five feeders to draw material from bins and stockpiles onto conveyor belts for feeding onto the downstream process.

“Our niche expertise allowed us to, once again, offer high performance sizing screens customised for this unique dry sizing application and optimise material separation by achieving the required cut size for the customer’s desired product size,” Mabotja said. “Our solution optimises the material separation while maximising efficiency and ensuring mechanical reliability for continuous and economical production.”

She highlights the depth of in-house experience – from both a metallurgical and mechanical approach– which allows Kwatani to assist the decision making of customers on equipment choice and specifications.

“Through the work of our design team, supported by our manufacturing and testing facilities, we have ensured that the solution will be fit for purpose and reliable,” she said. “The customer was also able to visit our 17,000 sq.m local manufacturing operation in Kempton Park regularly to see how we work, to check on fabrication progress and to witness the testing process.”

The equipment was completed on a tight deadline of 8-12 weeks, for delivery by year-end in line with the customer’s timeframe, according to the company.

“Our fully-equipped branch in the Northern Cape, staffed by specialists with decades of mining experience, will oversee the installation and commissioning of the equipment,” Mabotja said. “Our team will also schedule regular site visits to monitor on the equipment’s performance and condition, and advise on maintenance requirements.”

To underpin the reliable operation of all equipment supplied, Kwatani will also provide training for the customer’s maintenance personnel in the basic maintenance routines required.

Kwatani became a part of Sandvik Rock Processing Solutions late last year.

Weba Chute Systems solves choking problem at Botswana diamond mine

Weba Chute Systems has come to the rescue of a large Botswana diamond producer suffering from continuous chute maintenance with a customised solution that came with a 12-month guarantee.

This primary crusher discharge chute had been a headache for the company, with the crunch coming when, after considerable capital expenditure, the new conventional chute needed maintenance just six weeks after installation.

Hilton Buys, Regional Manager at Weba Chute Systems, said: “This could not continue and the mine needed a long-term solution which is why we believe they came to us for a proposal. Senior experts from our company visited the site to take a careful look at the conditions the chute needed to deal with, and we took our conclusions back to our design office.”

Among the challenges were large lump sizes in the ore stream, contributing to build-up of material in the chute and regular choking, Buys said. Also, while Botswana’s dry season is long, the rain that does fall causes considerable problems to the flow dynamics. The kimberlite on the mine – depending on which part of the pit it comes from – can become very sticky in wet weather, according to the company.

“We therefore had to pay particular attention to flow angles, and the design had to effectively accommodate both wet and dry conditions,” Buys said. The concept design – which included quick-release lips on dead boxes – was approved by the mine and the final design, manufacture and successful installation was conducted.

Adding to the complexity was that the feed end of the primary crusher was some 8 m below ground level, while the crusher itself stood about 10 m tall. The chute had to be positioned below the rock box, which stores the material from the crusher discharge, channelling the stream into the Weba chute at a transfer height of 9 m to the conveyor belt.

“The conventional chute also created excessive dust through uncontrolled rock velocity over this considerable transfer height,” Buys said. “By contrast, our chute’s controlled flow meant that the mine did not even have to apply its dust suppression system.”

After installation, Weba Chute Systems gave the customer a 12-month guarantee on this chute, as it does with all its new chutes. This guarantee, which comes with regular inspection reports, assures the customer that the performance will meet their expectations.

“These inspections allow us to monitor wear, so we can advise the customer on what action is required so that they can schedule maintenance and avoid unexpected downtime,” Buys said.

Installed in 2017, the chute is still operating with little maintenance, having been delivered at a highly competitive price compared to the one it replaced.

“Designing a long-lasting chute is not just about creating a box with some reinforcing where you think there will be wear,” Buys said. “It is an endeavour that must be scientific, based on in-depth analysis of material and flow conditions.”

Buys highlighted the importance of asking a range of technical questions about the specific application so the design answers those needs. The latest software and modelling tools are then applied by the Weba Chute Systems team to guide the most effective design.

Liontown secures Metso Outotec SAG mill ahead of Kathleen Valley lithium FID

Liontown Resources Ltd says it has awarded a key contract to Metso Outotec for the design, fabrication and delivery of a SAG mill for its flagship Kathleen Valley lithium project in Western Australia.

Following the completion of the definitive feasibility study (DFS) for Kathleen Valley in November 2021, the company has completed further engineering optimisation to confirm the scope and duty of the SAG mill to a sufficient level of detail to enable it to place the order with the OEM.

The contract, which has a value of circa-A$10 million ($7.2 million) and is in accordance with DFS estimates, is for the design, fabrication and delivery of a 7.9 m diameter and 4.4 m effective grinding length 5.5 MW SAG mill. This is inclusive of all lining, lubrication, cooling, electrical and mechanical drive systems necessary for installation and commissioning.

The SAG mill, from Metso Outotec’s Premier™ range (an example above), will accommodate both base production of 2.5 Mt/y and the planned expansion to 4 Mt/y in year six of the mine plan, Liontown said.

The SAG mill is one of several critical long-lead items identified for early award and represents the largest single piece of equipment required to be purchased for the project by size, value and lead time, the company added.

“Detailed engineering and design for the A$473 million Kathleen Valley project continues and Liontown is targeting the award of all key equipment packages over the next six months to maintain schedule and meet its target of first production of lithium concentrate in 2024,” it said.

Other key project deliverables including final permitting and securing the engineering, procurement and construction management partner to build and commission the Kathleen Valley project are progressing to meet the targeted Final Investment Decision milestone by the end of the June quarter.

Liontown’s Managing Director and CEO, Tony Ottaviano, said: “The SAG mill contract is the first of the long-lead items to be ordered and represents an important milestone for the Kathleen Valley project. Placing this significant order with a world-class partner in Metso Outotec is a great way to start the year and reflects our commitment to advance the Kathleen Valley project rapidly towards first production.”

The November 2021 DFS outlined base production of 2.5 Mt/y, producing around 500,000 t/y of spodumene concentrate with a 4 Mt/y expansion planned in year six, to deliver circa-700,000 t/y of spodumene concentrate.

The Metso Outotec Premier horizontal grinding mills are customisable solutions built on state-of-the-art grinding mill technology, process expertise and design capability, the OEM says. They are engineered to “excel and create vast possibilities” for customers and applications.

GMG updates influential comminution circuit energy efficiency guideline

The Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG) has brought together a project group of global subject matter experts to publish an updated version of the ‘Determining the Bond Efficiency of Industrial Grinding Circuits’ guideline.

The guideline describes the Bond method for quantifying and comparing the relative energy efficiency of most industrial comminution circuits. It’s also an effective teaching tool that can be used by junior engineers looking to understand how to apply this method, according to GMG.

This minor revision of the guideline originally published in 2016 contains additional context and clarification, GMG said.

“The Bond Work Index, published by Fred Bond in 1952, was a revolutionary theory that helped mining engineers measure rock hardness and its resistance to being crushed,” GMG said. “The harder the rock, the more energy it takes to crush it, the higher the mine’s energy bills.”

Rob McIvor, Chief Metallurgist at Metcom Technologies, said: “By relating power consumption in crushing and grinding to the feed and product size distribution, the Bond Work Index and Bond Work Index Efficiency are widely accepted throughout industry as the standard benchmarking tool essential for the design, improvement and management of comminution circuits. Metcom Technologies has continuously promoted and trained others in Bond’s methods as a required element for process improvement of mineral comminution circuits.”

Leonard Hill, Director of Metallurgy and Strategic Planning Technical Services, Freeport-McMoRan, agreed with this assessment, saying: “As we move towards defining and reducing the cost of carbon in our industry, understanding and optimising energy usage at mining operations has become a high priority. ‘Determining the Bond Efficiency of Industrial Grinding Circuits’ is a practical GMG guideline that can be used by operators and designers to evaluate the energy usage efficiency of comminution circuits. It provides a step-by-step method for collecting samples, analysing data and calculating the Bond Work Index efficiency ratio of a circuit for benchmarking and identifying process improvement opportunities.”

McIvor added: “The numerous contributions of comminution experts from around the globe has led to this rigorously vetted guide for the determination of Bond efficiency in industrial grinding circuits.”

Andrew Scott, GMG Vice-Chair Working Groups, and National Cluster Development Manager, METS Ignited, said: “GMG’s goal when facilitating these collaborative opportunities is to end up with a product that helps drive the industry forward. Our member mining companies and subject matter experts from within the mining community asked us to provide a neutral, collaborative space where they could update the previous guideline and ultimately publish a timely and educational product.”

Photo credit: Grindingsolutions.com

Haver & Boecker Niagara tackles high moisture levels with new elliptical screen

Haver & Boecker Niagara has engineered a new, elliptical motion Niagara XL-Class vibrating screen for a Brazilian iron ore producer that, it says, is ideal for applications challenged with high moisture content.

The new technology can handle capacities up to 3,500 t/h while minimising water usage, with the XL-Class running in an elliptical motion of up to 6 g in this high moisture iron ore screening application to ensure stratification in all phases of screening. The new vibrating screen also features an elliptical exciter drive that offers a bearing life up to 75,000 hours.

“We are dedicated to using innovative technological solutions to enhance our customers’ daily processes,” Denilson Moreno, Haver & Boecker Niagara Sales Manager, said. “Our new XL-Class design is a prime example of that. The vibrating screen’s unique elliptical movement maintains unrivalled screening performance when processing high moisture materials.”

Iron ore, for example, can contain up to 15% moisture, and often behaves like a pasty, clay-like material, prone to blinding on a screen deck. The elliptical movement motion and increased acceleration of the XL-Class ensures the material is stratifying without blinding or contamination, according to Haver & Boecker.

The elliptical motion XL-Class vibrating screen is available in a wide-range of sizes, in either a single module or tandem design.

Haver & Boecker Niagara manufacturers its own brand of Niagara Exciter technology, which functions as the drive system for all elliptical XL-Class vibrating screens. The bridge-mounted exciters are available in five different sizes and offer the largest static moment range on the market, according to the company.

Each elliptical XL-Class machine is custom designed to the operation’s specific application using Finite Element Analysis (FEA), which measures high stress areas and natural frequencies of a vibrating screen. The analysis helps engineers optimise machine performance by giving them the information they need to determine where to reinforce critical areas and reduce the weight of any oversized components, the company explained.

“With more than 15 years of FEA and experimental measurement experience – and nearly 400 high-capacity vibrating screens supplied to the global market – Haver & Boecker Niagara is able to engineer state-of-the-art high-capacity vibrating screens that offer easy operation, low maintenance and unmatched reliability,” it said.

Operations can pair the elliptical XL-Class with the with the company’s signature Ty-Deck Ultra modular screen media to maximise the screening efficiency of high moisture material and address its challenges, according to the company. Ty-Deck Ultra’s accelerated screening action cleans material without the use of water, therefore reducing the need for tailing dams.

With a 50% longer wear life than the original Ty-Deck, the screen media panels are an ideal choice for screening high moisture materials, such as iron ore, Haver & Boecker said.

Metso Outotec refines grinding mill selection options with Horizontal Mill Plant Units

Metso Outotec is launching what it says is yet another unique solution in its range of minerals processing plant islands: the Horizontal Mill Plant Units.

The pre-engineered plant units provide optimised grinding performance and simplify project management through easy circuit selection and flowsheet implementation, according to the company. At the same time, they ensure safe operability and maintainability thanks to state-of-the-art design.

The plant units feature Metso Outotec’s technologies including grinding mills, slurry pumps, hydrocyclones, conveying equipment, automation and service support. The scope of the unit can be tailored according to project requirements (brownfield or greenfield, open or closed circuit), the company said.

Fernando Marques, Global Product Manager at Metso Outotec, said: “Choosing the right solution for a grinding process can be a complex task. In addition to financial and technological aspects, miners must also evaluate executional and operational factors. Our modular Horizontal Mill Plant Units have been developed to make it easier for customers to select and execute the best solution for their grinding needs. Our pre-engineered modules provide a safe and optimised solution for many grinding applications.”

The units combine Metso Outotec horizontal mills, classification, pumping and automation technologies with a wide range of services and operation support. It takes sustainability and grinding performance to a new level by optimising the usage of energy, water, grinding media and consumables, Metso Outotec said. Other benefits include access to grinding and classification expertise to support flowsheet implementation; pre-engineered modules for simple and rapid execution; a process performance guarantee; easy process optimisation thanks to automation and digitalisation features; and sustainable technology with safe operability and maintainability.

Weir Minerals updates Trio live-shaft cone crusher range with TC84XR

Weir Minerals has upgraded its range of Trio® TC live-shaft cone crushers, incorporating the latest technology to ensure it remains integral to flowsheets long into the future, the OEM says.

The Trio® TC84XR features all the robust design elements that have made live-shaft crushers a fixture of the mining and sand and aggregate industries for generations, but updated it with new smarts, according to Weir Minerals.

Mark Utecht, Weir Minerals’ Director of Comminution Engineering, said: “The Trio TC cone crushers’ live-shaft design has been proven to perform in heavy-duty secondary and tertiary crushing applications. We wanted to build on this strong foundation. My team followed a comprehensive design process – we’ve reviewed and tested every inch of this crusher. While the TC84XR may seem familiar on the outside, we’ve upgraded its design and control functionality. The motor is larger and it has a much higher crushing capacity compared to equivalent sized crushers.

“The result: we now have an incredibly robust, powerful and technologically advanced crusher that is easy to operate, has a low wear rate and uses less energy, which ultimately lowers operating costs.”

While many OEMs have made the decision to discontinue their live-shaft cone crushers, Weir Minerals says it has resisted this trend, believing that, because every mining and sand and aggregate operation is different, there can’t be a one-size-fits all approach.

There are some applications and situations where pedestal (fixed-shaft) style crushers may be the more appropriate solution, which is why Weir Minerals continues to manufacture the premium Trio TP pedestal style machine, it said. Weir Minerals claims to be the only global equipment manufacturer offering both the TC live shaft and TP fixed shaft style machines.

“The combination of the Trio TP and TC fixed and live-shaft cone crushers ensures that Weir Minerals continue to offer their customers the right technology, regardless of their site structure, operating conditions or application,” Utecht said.

Trio live- and fixed-shaft cone crushers are made for modern mines and quarries with advanced hydraulics, wear resistant material and the latest technology, according to the company.

Ekkhart Matthies, Weir Minerals’ Global Application Director, said: “This is really exciting for our customers, as they now have a real choice. The combination of our TC and TP series allows us to have an honest conversation with our customers on the options available to them and make a technological recommendation which truly meets their needs.”

Replacing existing live-shaft style machines on site with the Trio TC84XR crusher is now a straightforward process because it has very similar dimensions and is a comparable weight to its live-shaft predecessors, Weir says. And because it produces the same product, downstream changes aren’t required, which isn’t the case when replacing a live-shaft style machine with a fixed-shaft style machine.

“In other words, there is no need to re-design existing circuits,” the company said.

Technology upgrades

The recent technology upgrades in the Trio TC84XR crusher have improved its safety, functionality and reliability, according to the OEM.

Matthies explained: “At Weir Minerals, we understand and appreciate the important role live-shaft cone crushers play in today’s challenging crushing applications. Combining decades of experience and first-hand customer feedback with innovative designs, the highest quality materials and latest in control technology, we believe that our new Trio TC84XR cone crusher is the most reliable and robust live-shaft cone in the market today.”

Engineered to perform in the most extreme applications, the Trio TC84XR crusher is robust and easy to maintain and operate, according to the company. It reliably delivers high crushing force and high horsepower in primary, crushed ore and quarry rock applications.

The ability of the TC84XR crusher to handle variable feed and crush pebbles is also partly a result of its large motor; it’s been designed with higher power capability than comparable cone crushers. Ultimately, this translates to a higher potential crushing force and, therefore, increase in production, Weir said.

Another feature that allows it to handle variable feed, as well as deal with tramp material safely, is the fully-automated tramp-release and setting recovery system. The tramp release hydraulics can also be used to safely clear the crushing chamber should a sudden disruption in plant power cause a shutdown of the cone crusher.

The socket assembly has been redesigned to improve sealing, which has optimised functionality and manufacturability by reducing the machining setups of the socket and seal rings, it said. The Weir comminution team has also redesigned the countershaft assembly to remove welding and machining, while simultaneously improving venting and the dust seal.

The Trio TC84XR crusher, like the range of TP series cone crushers, can be fitted with ESCO® wear parts, designed with superior ESCO alloys, which can be custom designed based on specific requirements.

VDMA anticipates Germany mining tech sales drop in 2021

While demand for metals and minerals has boosted order intake for many original equipment manufacturers, the sales of Germany mining technology companies have lagged so far in 2021, according to the VDMA.

In 2020, the industry generated total sales of €3.38 billion ($3.83 billion), the organisation, which represents around 3,300 German and European mechanical and plant engineering companies, said. From January to September 2021, sales were down 18% year-on-year at €2.8 billion, while exports in the January-August 2021 period were down 10.4% year-on-year at just under €960 million. Notable drops in export sales were observed in the EU27+UK, China, Russia and Australia, with increases in the USA and NM East unable to make up for that shortfall.

The industry expects sales to pick up by the end of 2021 and anticipates only a moderate decline of 5-10% overall, the VDMA said.

The most common export goods to all markets are, in descending order: crushing and grinding technology, deep drilling technology, mining and roadheaders and tunnel boring machines, the organisation noted.

Michael Schulte Strathaus, Chairman of VDMA Mining (pictured in the centre), expects sales numbers to improve, going forward, as the ‘green mining’ revolution continued to take hold.

“Without mining technology, nothing works in industry now and in the future,” he said at a press conference. “If we want to maintain our current standard of living, we need the corresponding raw materials.

“Only smart mining will lead to green mining. We see our opportunities in offering the best technology worldwide that contributes to resource-saving, efficient, ‘green’ extraction and processing of raw materials.”

CRC ORE, CSIRO look at broadening pre-concentration tech applications

CRC ORE and Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, have formed a Future Research Program to, they say, take CRC ORE’s most promising fields of research into new areas to broaden the impact on the Australian mining industry and economy.

This work will boost the sustainability of the mining industry by helping reduce energy and water consumption, generation of tailings and residues, the physical footprint of operations, as well as optimise the extraction of valuable minerals from resources, the companies said.

The Future Research Program, launched in September 2021, will ensure the work of CRC ORE and its research continues to benefit the Australian mining industry.

The program will expand upon CRC ORE’s foundation research into the development of ore pre-concentration technologies that can be deployed within the mine and ahead of the mineral processing plant. The new research scope will investigate ways to apply these principles further down the mining value chain, targeting smaller particle sizes and a wider range of ore types.

Focus areas will include:

  • Incorporating the principles of Selective Breakage into the design and operation of comminution circuits;
  • Optimising ore feed to coarse and fine particle separators to enhance their performance;
  • Step change reductions in energy and water intensity; and
  • Developing new options for sustainable management of waste material

CRC ORE’s former General Manager of Research and Innovation, Paul Revell, who is now overseeing the program at CSIRO, said, if successful, the research will increase the number of potential locations where pre-concentration can be deployed, providing a larger overall impact for the minerals industry.

“Our aim is to extend the resource base that pre-concentration can be applied to,” Revell said. “The pre-concentration technology developed through CRC ORE is currently best suited to structurally controlled, vein-hosted ores, however these only represent about one third of the resource base on average.

“A key ambition of the new program is, therefore, to initiate research into technologies that can pre-concentrate disseminated ores. This group of ore types can be difficult to pre-concentrate with contemporary mineral processing technology, however they host a significant proportion of valuable base and precious metals.”

Revell said some 3% of global direct energy consumption is used in the mining industry just in crushing rock, so if pre-concentration technology could be applied more broadly across the resource base, it would have a wider global environmental and economic impact.

“The opportunity is to develop more energy efficient crushing and grinding processes that are integrated with a pre-concentration capability, to remove as much barren material from the ore as possible prior to subjecting the remaining ore to energy and water intensive fine grinding and concentration processes,” he said. “We’re focusing on the largest energy consuming portion of the mining value chain.”

Revell said it was important to note that the program is initially small scale and aims to undertake preliminary research into these areas that others could then build upon.

The program will be run for an initial three years with the possibility for extension through continuing industry sponsorship and collaboration.

“We will explore opportunities to engage with the mining industry to build a self-sustaining and on-going applied research portfolio in this field to advance promising developments to commercialisation,” Revell said.

“We are fortunate to have CSIRO as a research partner who are supportive, share this vision, and have a depth of research capability and excellent facilities.”

The program will also support CRC ORE’s mission to help build a highly skilled workforce for the nation amid an ongoing skills shortage in the resources sector. It will initially support a number of Research Higher Degree scholarships, which will be fully funded and placed across several selected Australian universities.

“One of CRC ORE’s key objectives has always been to build research capacity across Australia, which it did very successfully during its government-funded term,” Revell said. “By taking this new seed research and offering higher degree students a Masters degree or a PhD, it will build capacity for the minerals industry as well as getting the work done. It’s a great outcome.”

CSIRO Mineral Resources’ A/Director, Dr Rob Hough, said CSIRO is looking forward to commencing activities within the Future Research Program, initiated in partnership with CRC ORE.

“The R&D focus areas align well with our existing initiatives and plans, which have significant potential to positively impact the Australian minerals industry,” Dr Hough said.

Metso Outotec to spread sustainable comminution message through CEEC

Metso Outotec has become the latest company to join the Coalition for Eco Efficient Comminution (CEEC) as a new sponsor, with the OEM’s President and CEO, Pekka Vauramo, noting that the company’s sustainability focus aligns with CEEC’s objective to promote eco-efficient minerals.

CEEC’s vision is to accelerate the implementation of eco-efficient comminution practices through promotion of supporting data and industry benefits.

Alison Keogh, CEEC CEO, said: “Metso Outotec brings strong alignment and skills to support CEEC’s mission. Metso Outotec has a global reach and has been championing sustainability for a long time by proactively developing technologies and partnering with mining companies to become more energy efficient.”

Vauramo said: “We are committed to limiting global warming to 1.5°C and accelerating our sustainability efforts, as the most recent IPCC report makes it clear that the window of opportunity for keeping to 1.5°C is closing quickly. We want to support our customers in reducing their emissions with our sustainable offering that utilises the most efficient technologies.”
Metso Outotec Head of Grinding Business Line, Christoph Hoetzel, said that as comminution is the most energy-intensive step in mining, improving how rocks are ground and processed now and in the future is key to reducing industry’s carbon emissions.

“I encourage three collaboration actions through CEEC to accelerate our collective efforts for more energy and water efficient minerals: sharing case studies and knowledge, benchmarking and innovation,” he said. “Our combined learnings and operational successes can all help industry truly improve and accelerate the decarbonisation change.

“Visionary leaders are actively pushing towards what can be done better. Metso Outotec is keen to help communicate the business case for alternative grinding circuits and processing flowsheets. Our range of proven energy efficient solutions – which is the widest in the industry – allows a truly holistic approach considering efficiency, reliability and low operational costs. Such holistic approaches with innovative plant design and optimisation are vital to reduce mining’s footprint.”

Keogh commended Metso Outotec’s goals to accelerate eco-efficient minerals, noting its demonstrated track history of being a leader in comminution improvements.

Metso Outotec has previously been shared winners of the CEEC Medal twice.

In 2012, staff from Metso and Compañía Minera Antamina co-authored the paper ‘Optimisation and continuous improvement of the Antamina Comminution Circuit’, which won the inaugural 2012 CEEC Medal.

In 2020, Metso and Newmont Corp staff co-authored the paper ‘Reducing Energy and Water Consumption through Alternative Comminution Circuits’, winning the 2020 CEEC Medal for Operations.