Tag Archives: ferrochrome

Kazchrome achieves chrome tailings flotation breakthrough

Engineers at the Donskoy Ore Mining and Processing Plant of JSC TNC Kazchrome, in Kazakhstan, have successfully completed trials of a first-of-its-kind industrial flotation technology to increase the enrichment of chrome oxide-bearing tailings, Eurasian Resources Group reports.

Kazchrome, the world’s largest high-carbon ferrochrome producer by chrome content with a total resource base of over 200 Mt of chrome ore, is owned by ERG.

The novel technology is part of the group’s R&D efforts to maximise chromite concentrate output and reduce the site’s environmental footprint, the company reports, with the process yielding the recovery of over 55% of chrome oxide and conforming to the applicable requirements for concentrate used in ferrochrome smelting.

As a result of these trials, the flotation technology will be used to construct a new facility to process over 10 Mt of chrome oxide-bearing tailings with a planned annual capacity of 1.7 Mt for 450,000 t/y of chrome concentrate, ERG says.

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, said: “This pioneering technology is a major milestone on our path towards ensuring sustainable and low-cost chromite concentrate supply for our operations in Kazakhstan, and is part of the group’s broader strategy to reinforce our leading position in the global ferrochrome market.”

Sergey Opanasenko, Chairman of the Management Board of ERG R&D Centre, added: “We are very pleased with the results of the flotation trials, particularly considering the complex mineralogy and physical characteristics of our ores. Building on this success, we look forward to working on incorporating this technology into the design of our new tailings processing facility.”

Multotec keeps the ferrochrome flow going with new innovate spiral

Following years of detailed test work in the South Africa ferrochrome sector, Multotec says it has successfully developed and proven a spiral concentrator that eliminates beaching and enhances recoveries in the 1-3 mm fractions of high-density material.

Significantly, when compared with traditional spirals, the new spiral has shown extraordinarily higher metal recoveries, even for minus 1 mm fractions in ferrochrome slag, according to the company.

“Our SC25 spiral concentrator features steeper angles which facilitate the flow of material and increase separation efficiency,” Hlayisi Baloyi, Applications Engineer at Multotec, says.

“It also widens the particle size range that can be treated by the spiral. Traditionally, spirals would struggle to efficiently treat material above 1 mm in heavy mineral applications, but this spiral can go well beyond that. The spiral has been a game changer even for the minus 1 mm size range where higher separation efficiencies have been achieved on chromite ore.”

Baloyi says this innovation has provided the minerals processing sector with an exciting alternative to jigs in the “minus 3 to plus 1 size range”, which have been one of the conventional methods of separating larger particles. The solution is cost effective as spirals use no electricity and are also easy to maintain, Multotec says. “So attractive is the new model that the first order for the commercialised version has already been placed,” the company said.

Baloyi explained: “Taking ferrochrome samples from a number of mines over a period of two to three years, we conducted extensive test work on these at our well-equipped testing facility in Spartan, near Johannesburg,” he says. “Leveraging this data with our in-house engineering design capacity, we were able to develop the optimal solution and locally manufacture the new spiral concentrator.”

Multotec said: “The institutional knowledge within Multotec has been developed over more than four decades, including valuable expertise in fluid dynamics. Hands-on experience in test work and design allows the development of prototypes that solve customers’ specific challenges – followed by scaled-up local production of equipment to match market demand.”

The economic benefits of the Multotec SC25 spiral for ferrochrome producers are substantial, as some plants were losing the value of their 1 to 3 mm material to the tailings storage facility, according to the company. Many of those who used jigs to treat this fraction were also finding that efficiencies were low.

Refentse Molehe, Process Engineer at Multotec, said ferrochrome is not the only commodity the company has successfully tested.

“We have even seen improved recovery in heavy minerals below 1 mm size, alluvial chrome, manganese slag, and there is potential in industrial recycling,” Molehe said.

Swedish Stirling powers up South Africa ferrochrome industry advances

Swedish Stirling AB’s container-based energy recycling solution is taking off in South Africa’s ferrochrome sector, with two of the largest producers on board with the technology.

Based close to Gothenburg, Swedish Stirling Group is a clean tech company with a mission to scale up the conversion of thermal energy to electricity.

It is the company’s latest product – the PWR BLOK 400-F – that is finding favour in South Africa. This is a unique proprietary solution that uses Swedish Stirling’s Stirling engines for recovering energy from industrial residual and flare gases and converting them to 100% carbon-neutral electricity at a high rate of efficiency, according to the company.

The PWR BLOK 400-F contains 14 Stirling engines and delivers a net output of 400 kW.

Citing an independent certification, Swedish Stirling says the PWR BLOK is the cheapest way to generate electricity that exists today, yielding greater CO2 savings per Euro invested than any other type of energy.

Ferrochrome is renowned for being an energy-intensive process and load shedding is a common practice in power-constrained South Africa, hence the reason why it has been one of the frontrunners in adopting this technology.

Swedish Stirling explained: “Many industrial applications produce by-products in the form of gases (residual gas) that are currently burned without harnessing its energy content. Several solutions have been tried to recycle the energy in the gases.

“In the ferrochrome industry in South Africa, producers have tried to recover the energy using internal combustion engines, gas and steam turbines, but all solutions have failed. The reason is usually that the gas is of such uneven quality that most engines with internal combustion don’t work, or the technical solutions are extremely costly.

“The Stirling engine, on the other hand, is, due to its external combustion, almost insensitive to the type of gas that is burned or the quality of the gas in question. Therefore, it is now possible to start converting these residual gases into climate-smart electricity with PWR BLOK.”

And, this is exactly what is happening.

After installing a test PWR BLOK at Afarak Mogale’s smelter in South Africa over a year ago, the company has sealed contracts with Glencore and Samancor.

In the recent March quarter results, Swedish Stirling CEO, Gunnar Larsson, said: “Together, these (companies’ output) account for over 90% of the entire market in the country. This gives us a solid base for a wider-scale roll-out of the PWR BLOK in South Africa in the coming years.”

The agreement with Glencore will see it install and deliver up to 25 PWR BLOKs, generating 9.9 MW, to the Lydenburg smelter, while Samancor has signed up for a pilot facility with one PWR BLOK unit at the TC Smelter facility.

The company also, earlier this year, arranged a tour of the Mogale smelter for interested parties to spur further enquiries.

While the spread of COVID-19 has somewhat affected the company hitting its deadlines for these projects, it made progress with the Samancor delivery early last month, confirming that, after spending a number of weeks on a ship in Durban Harbour during the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa, a PWR BLOK 2 unit was unloaded for transport to Samancor’s TC Smelter (pictured).

The company still hopes to install and commission the facility at TC Smelter during the June quarter as planned.

The agreement with Glencore’s Lydenburg smelter, meanwhile, could see carbon dioxide emissions from the smelter reduce by more than 80,000 t/y, due to the reduced need for purchased electricity, Swedish Stirling previously said.

Noront, Hatch and Algoma Steel sign Ring of Fire pact

Noront Resources has announced agreements with Algoma Steel and Hatch to facilitate development of the Ring of Fire mineral district and the associated Ontario-based processing facilities, in the north of the Canadian province.

“Noront is partnering with two Ontario-based industrial and engineering giants to advance Ring of Fire development,” said Alan Coutts, President and CEO of Noront Resources. “This is truly a ‘made in Ontario’ collaboration on one of the most economically and socially important projects our province has seen.”

The agreement with Algoma provides Noront with a five-year, renewable option to lease a brownfield property in Sault Ste. Marie for a period of 99 years. Noront plans to design, construct and operate a ferrochrome production facility which will service the company’s Ring of Fire chromite deposits. This agreement provides Noront and Algoma with an opportunity to re-purpose an existing brownfield location with a view to sharing infrastructure, the exploration company said.

Michael McQuade, CEO Algoma Steel, said his company  viewed the Noront project as a valuable business partnership  and an exciting opportunity for Sault Ste. Marie.

“Our discussions have uncovered numerous economic synergies through the shared use of assets and services, and we look forward to exploring these options further with Noront, the City and the many stakeholder groups who may be engaged in this project,” he said.

In addition, Hatch will perform engineering and project support services for the Eagle’s Nest and Ring of Fire chrome projects as part of a Master Services Agreement, Noront said.

Eagle’s Nest is a nickel, copper, platinum and palladium deposit, while Noront also has chromite deposits including Blackbird, Black Thor, and Big Daddy, all of which are located in the James Bay Lowlands of Ontario.

As part of this collaboration, Hatch will participate as an equity partner with Noront, and form an integrated project management and engineering team to manage development and execution of projects in the Ring of Fire.

Joe Lombard, Hatch’s Global Managing Director of Metals, said: “The Ring of Fire represents a significant opportunity, not only for Noront and Algoma, but also for northern Ontario and local First Nations. We’re excited to be a part of these transformative projects and committed to partnering with Noront to develop innovative solutions that will bring long-term prosperity to the region.”

Today’s agreements mark another step toward a larger goal established by Noront to develop the Ring of Fire in true partnership with local First Nations, contractors, suppliers and the communities of northern Ontario, it said.

Noront previously signed agreements with Marten Falls First Nation and Aroland First Nation, which made both communities Noront shareholders, established ongoing working and communications protocols and created a dialogue regarding mutually beneficial economic development opportunities.

In consideration for entering the term sheet, Noront will issue Algoma 750,000 common shares and 750,000 warrants to purchase common shares, subject to approval from the TSX Venture Exchange.

Outotec offloads fabrication, manufacturing facilities in southern Africa

Outotec has agreed to sell its fabrication and manufacturing businesses in South Africa and Mozambique to SPS Holdings Company, a firm which will then become Outotec’s agent to the ferrochrome industry in that part of the world.

The transaction is expected to become effective on June 1, but both parties have agreed not to disclose the acquisition price, Outotec said.

“The South African facility, in Brits, serves primarily ferrochrome plants and the Mozambique facility provides services and spare parts for the aluminium industry,” the company said. The combined annual sales have been approximately €15 million ($16.6 million). The majority of the 255 employees are working in fabrication and manufacturing and will transfer as old employees, Outotec added.

“As of June 1, SPS Holdings will be providing fabrication services, site works and local supplies for Outotec’s customers acting as the company’s agent to the South Africa ferrochrome industry,” the company said.

Tomas Hakala, Head of Outotec’s Service Business, said: “SPS Holdings, with its local operations, is well-positioned to run these businesses.

“Outotec’s service strategy is to offer expert services for our proprietary products, process and technologies. Together with SPS Holdings our joint aim is to use our local experience to build and grow a service-oriented business to help customers to get the best return for their investments.”