The use of FLSmidth thickeners in African mining operations has continued to grow, supported by, the company says, global collaboration across the FLSmidth organisation’s offices in South Africa, China and the USA.
According to Alistair McKay, FLSmidth’s Vice President for Mining in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, the company is set to deliver six substantial thickener contracts to mines in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2020. McKay highlights that Chinese companies have been driving much of the growth in the continent’s mining sector.
“In our work in Africa with Chinese customers, we have found that our Beijing office plays a valuable role in ensuring streamlined communication and efficiency,” he says. “This allows a constructive combination of our local knowledge with the ability of our Chinese colleagues to facilitate relationships with our customers in China.”
This differentiator has enhanced FLSmidth’s acknowledged leadership in thickener technology in the region. The company will deliver 25 new thickeners, including high rate, high density and counter-current decantation thickeners, in southern and central Africa this year.
“The design work for these contracts was conducted by FLSmidth’s centre of excellence in the USA,” McKay says. “Given our established local infrastructure and experience in this product range, the thickeners were cost-effectively manufactured in South Africa and China.”
While the fabrication and platework was completed using local skills, the FLSmidth on-site technical support presence to construct and commission the thickeners at Chinese-owned mines in the DRC will integrate staff from the Beijing office.
“This improved communication between FLSmidth and the customer has negated the risk of any misalignment that could slow the process down,” McKay says. “In fact, our Beijing office has become increasingly involved in the full delivery process, fulfilling the role of the project manager. This is significant as the building of relationships across east-west contracts becomes increasingly important.”
FLSmidth offers full-service capabilities in thickener technology, McKay says, starting with bench or pilot scale test work to characterise customers’ material. This informs the customer’s flowsheet and equipment selection and sizing, and the right technology application for cost-effective, optimised operation, the company says.