Tag Archives: FLSmidth

FLSmidth looks for sustainable gains with thyssenkrupp mining buy

The subtleties behind FLSmidth’s acquisition of thyssenkrupp’s mining business appear to have got lost within the financial community.

The company’s Denmark-listed shares, since announcing the transaction in late July, lost 16% of their value to August 20.

This downward move is hardly surprising when focusing on pure financials: FLSmidth is looking to acquire a company for an enterprise value of $325 million that is only expected to return to profitability two years after financial close.

Yet, this narrow train of thought discounts the well-timed strategy behind the move.

A combination of the two companies will undoubtedly create a leading global mining technology provider with operations from pit to plant. It will also see FLSmidth re-geared towards a mining sector on the up at a time when the cement business it serves is exhibiting flattish demand.

While this won’t be lost on analysts, most of them will only be able to factor in short-term profitability projections into their financial models, meaning, as far as they’re concerned, FLSmidth will be weighed down by the transaction until 2024.

Yet, for FLSmidth and mining, 2024 is practically ‘just around the corner’.

In FLSmidth’s recently released June quarter results it registered an order backlog of DKK16.7 billion ($2.6 billion), the majority of which was associated with mining orders. Of the backlog amount attributable to the mining sector, 16% would not be realised until 2023 and beyond.

This could mean many of the orders FLSmidth registered in the most recent June quarter will only be realised (read: delivered) in 2024, the year thyssenkrupp’s mining business is expected to be back in the black.

This is just one of the subtleties that may have got lost by shareholders fixated on the short term.

The second is how the transaction sets the company up as a mining sustainability leader at a time when the industry is calling out for one.

At the top end of the mining industry, the ability to decarbonise operations is becoming as – if not more – important as returning cash to shareholders. Every tonne of copper extracted and processed, and every ounce of gold mined and refined is likely to come with an associated carbon content/price in future years. The battery materials supply chain tied to the likes of lithium, cobalt and nickel will come under even more scrutiny.

Blockchain-type traceability platforms will mean investors and any interested party can interrogate where the raw materials came from and how they were produced.

These same miners will also be judged on how they use water, with freshwater use being rationalised in many regions where such resources are scarce.

FLSmidth, should the acquisition complete next year, is arming itself to compete in this brave new sustainable world.

The company started this journey all the way back in November 2019 when it announced its MissionZero program at its Capital Markets Day in Copenhagen.

Central to MissionZero is FLSmidth’s focus on enabling its customers in cement and mining to move towards zero emissions operations in 2030.

The OEM planned to do this by leveraging the development of digital and innovative solutions tied to sustainable productivity, offering its customers in the mining sector the technological solutions to manage zero emissions mining processes by 2030 – with a specific focus on water management.

For the latter, dry-stack tailings was the order of the day, with FLSmidth’s EcoTails® solution expected to reduce water costs, tailings dam risks and minimise environmental footprint. The development of the largest filter press plate ever built, the 5 m x 3 m AFP, was a signal of just how confident FLSmidth was on this emerging market trend becoming fully embedded across the globe.

Digital products such as SAGwise™, SmartCyclone™, BulkExpert™ and Advanced Process Control would, in the meantime, allow miners to become that more efficient with every resource (water, energy, etc) they used, again, improving their sustainability credentials.

Close to two years after making the MissionZero declaration, Thomas Schulz, CEO of FLSmidth, says the company has been seeing the program’s effects come through in its order book.

“Actually, this has been translated in orders for a few years already,” he told IM.

“When we look into sustainability, we define it as making productivity improvements. If you don’t adopt these sustainability solutions, you effectively have to pay more to keep operating at the same levels, or you have to stop operating – there is a productivity element to it, and quite a big one.

“For us, as a lifecycle provider, it is important that we offer to our customers at any point in time and any point of our offering, the right solution to make more money. That can be with dry-stacked tailings, tailings management, IPCC (in-pit crushing and conveying) systems, electrification of the pit, reducing emissions or dust, etc.”

Many of these solutions will enable companies to produce the same amount of product, or more, with the same input costs and energy draw, according to Schulz.

Coping with further restrictions on the industry’s access to freshwater will require more than step-change initiatives, and that is why the company is working on how its equipment can use “different types of water” and technologies that use less freshwater to ensure operations can abide by incoming legislation.

The company has been working on providing these zero-emission and resource-efficient solutions since 2019 to enable its customers to become sustainable operators by 2030.

“For many people, that sounds very long,” Schulz said. “In the mining industry, it’s not.”

Factor in the two-to-three years to build a pilot plant to prove such technology, two-to-three years to get a full-scale plant approved and the associated construction time, and a decade has passed.
Sustainability represents the ‘long game’ for mining OEMs, and technology is the key to achieving that sustainability, Schulz said.

Which brings us back to the thyssenkrupp mining business acquisition.

One of the big pillars

FLSmidth, in adding thyssenkrupp mining to its portfolio, is providing a whole host of decarbonised options for its mining customers to consider in their own sustainability drive.

It is adding mine planning expertise to its portfolio, ensuring that the IPCC and continuous surface mining technologies it puts forward are optimised for the operation at hand. These technologies are further complemented by semi-continuous and mobile crushing options from thyssenkrupp mining, adapted to the pit profile at hand.

Heavy-duty overland conveyors from thyssenkrupp mining complement other bulk handling solutions FLSmidth might be providing at stockyards or ports to reduce truck haulage and shift the transport dynamic to ‘green’ grid power.

“The culture in project service companies is you are the hero if you come to the table with the next big project,” Thomas Schulz says. “In product service companies, you are the hero if you come with the next big profit”

Then, when it comes to comminution, a crushing (including primary jaw crushers) and screening portfolio, plus smaller milling options and expertise in high pressure grinding rolls (HPGRs) through the globally renowned Polysius business, is bolted onto FLSmidth’s own crushing and grinding (including vertical roll milling technology) portfolio. This puts the combined offering up there with any global OEM around, while also providing the potential ‘dry grinding’ technologies the industry has been on the lookout for.

All these solutions come with sustainability benefits that can be felt throughout the mining value chain.

They also provide options and flexibility to an industry that cannot just suddenly retire a fleet of ultra-class haul trucks at a deep open-pit operation in favour of a fixed IPCC solution, or build a new process plant fitted with HPGRs to replace a typical SAG and ball mill grinding circuit.

Schulz said as much to IM.

“One of the big pillars of the whole acquisition lies in sustainability,” he said. “Normally, the process plants where we play big are all electrified, so if the energy resource coming into these plants is a green one, the process is already sustainable.

“When we look into the pit, in-pit crushing and transporting of material is where we can focus a lot.

“I’m not saying you can replace every truck, but some of the surface mines and the ones underground can be made significantly more continuous and sustainable from a transport perspective.

“thyssenkrupp is leading in that. They are quite big in the pit; we are quite big in the processing plant. Both, together, are complementary.

“If we can integrate the offering – and we will do – and make it more sustainable, that is a big step towards the 2030 MissionZero target.”

This increased spread of solutions will also provide FLSmidth with more opportunities to refine the entire flowsheet, providing further sustainability benefits to its customers.

“When we design solutions, or offer replacement equipment or a new process, we can now rely on expanded competences to look at what the best overall system for the entire flowsheet is,” Schulz said. “For instance, if we change the gyratory on a mine site and then look into the pit, we know how to size the equipment in the pit and the concentrator upstream.”

This increasing flowsheet focus must be complemented by an aftermarket approach that ensures the process remains efficient and sustainable throughout a product’s, solution’s or mine’s lifetime.

This was one of the obvious disparities between the two companies when the announcement was made in late July. It is also one of the biggest opportunities that comes with the planned transaction, according to FLSmidth.

Whereas capital business represented 37% of mining revenue in 2020 for FLSmidth, it was 66% of revenue for thyssenkrupp’s mining business. Services represented 63% and 34% of the two businesses’ 2020 revenue total, respectively.

Schulz has seen such a contrast – and opportunity – before, referencing his arrival at FLSmidth in 2013.

“When I came here to FLSmidth, it was actually quite similar,” he said. “I was at Sandvik for 16 years where the aftermarket was actually seen as the most important. They realised the importance of the customer relationship: the capital equipment sales team may meet the customer for a few hours per year, but the service technician has that interaction over weeks and months in terms of aftermarket.”

He also recognises the cultural shift needed to capture many of the profitable aftermarket dollars that the company is forecasting with the planned acquisition.

“The culture in project service companies is you are the hero if you come to the table with the next big project,” he said. “In product service companies, you are the hero if you come with the next big profit.

“You need both – we need profit, and our customers need profit to invest, while you need the projects to spur these aftermarket opportunities.

“We calculated what the aftermarket potential of the thyssenkrupp mining business is and understood it was not covered as they were all looking for the next big project, which we understand.

“But this is not what we will accept in the future. We have to have a strong aftermarket and strong customer link.”

Which all comes back to MissionZero.

“If you focus on MissionZero, then you invest there where you can impact MissionZero. Wherever you have aftermarket, you impact MissionZero. Where you don’t have aftermarket, you don’t impact MissionZero.”

At the same time, Schulz is not losing sight of the company’s end goal with all the business it coordinates in the mining sector.

“Whatever we do with the customer, they have to be more efficient, more productive and make more money.”

It just so happens that in doing this, the mining sector will become that much more sustainable.

Trevali to test out FLSmidth’s Rapid Oxidative Leach tech on Caribou material

Trevali Mining has announced the commencement of a pilot plant testing program using Caribou run-of-mine and milled material at FLSmidth’s Rapid Oxidative Leach (ROL) process testing facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The program expands on previous laboratory test work and is aimed at demonstrating the potential to recover zinc, lead, copper, gold and silver as a precipitate or metal and additional zinc and lead from Caribou ore and mill tailings.

The leach test program is targeting an improvement to zinc, lead, copper, gold and silver metal recoveries, the potential to produce a precipitate or metal on site replacing the current ore concentrate that is produced at Caribou – which, if implemented, would lead to savings on transport costs and offsite treatment costs – and the opportunity to process historic mill tailings, which include gold and copper metals, in addition to run of mine ore. The latter would increase revenues and reduce closure liabilities, Trevali said.

Trevali says the use of FLSmidth’s ROL technology also provides the potential to reduce Trevali’s carbon footprint at Caribou and extend Caribou’s mine life and treat lower-grade deposits in the Bathurst camp of Canada.

FLSmidth says ROL leaches 97-99% of copper directly on-site in six to eight hours, from concentrates as low as 5% Cu. In gold, ROL has the potential to unlock the value of undeveloped refractory gold deposits with less than 3 g/t gold head grade, it says.

Unlike other refractory processing techniques, the ROL process uses the application of mechanical energy coupled with oxidation under atmospheric conditions. The process relies on stirred media reactors to accelerate the oxidation of sulphide minerals. This eliminates the need for ultrafine grinding, high temperatures and high pressure which makes it energy saving and very cost-effective, according to the mining OEM.

Trevali said a successful pilot plant test program using ROL may allow Trevali to replace the existing flotation circuit at Caribou with atmospheric leach vessels and potentially an SX/EW train, introducing the possibility of producing base and precious metals on-site and thereby save transport costs and offsite treatment costs.

Conceptual objectives of the program include:

  • Recovery of metals/minerals that are not recoverable using the current technology at Caribou (precious metals and magnetite); and
  • Improved payables/selectivity of the traditional flotation process using new and emerging technologies.

Ricus Grimbeek, President and Chief Executive Officer of Trevali, said: “FLSmidth’s ROL metallurgical technology has the potential to transform the Caribou mine and the wider Bathurst Mining Camp.

“This next phase of the testing program is an essential step in evaluating the suitability and economic viability of a processing solution with the potential to enhance the value of the in-situ material and tailings at Caribou as well as the surrounding deposits in the Bathurst region. The positive results to date support further study and analysis given the potential implications for the Bathurst Mining Camp in general and Trevali in particular.”

Beyond quantifying the ability to recover additional metal values, the objective for the pilot plant test program is to determine the various kinetic factors, mass and energy balance and engineering data to support future engineering on a preliminary economic assessment for potential processing of the Trevali mill feed and mill tailings and produce metal on site.

Continuous pilot plant trials commenced in June 2021 (Phase 1) to tune the pilot plant and provide material for precious metal leach tests in late July, followed by a test program at the Caribou Mine site that is planned for September 2021 (Phase 2). Leach data and results are expected to verify that batch testing results can be achieved in a continuous operation.

FLSmidth set to showcase lithium engineering expertise at ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge

ioneer Ltd has awarded a major engineering and equipment supply contract to FLSmidth for the development of the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

The contract has been awarded on a limited notice to proceed (LNTP) basis, with the supply of the equipment packages being conditional on a final investment decision on the project by ioneer’s Board of Directors.

Under the contract, FLSmidth has commenced work on product engineering for the equipment packages, which include crushing and material handling equipment, plus lithium carbonate and boric acid dryers.

FLSmidth, Ioneer says, has significant experience in providing technology, equipment, engineering and services expertise to the battery minerals sector. It has a strong US presence and is committed to improving project efficiency while reducing environmental impacts on site.

FLSmidth has also introduced ioneer to Denmark’s Export Credit Agency (EKF) regarding potential financing options.

ioneer Managing Director, Bernard Rowe, said: “The contract with FLSmidth is one of the more significant supply packages we will award at Rhyolite Ridge and represents another step in the development of the project.

“FLSmidth is focused on providing environmentally sound engineering and technology solutions. This aligns with ioneer’s ambition to not only produce materials necessary for electric vehicles and renewable energy infrastructure, but to do so in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner through lowered emissions, significantly reduced water usage and a small surface footprint.”

FLSmidth Mining President, Mikko Keto, said: “This contract provides clear recognition of our experience, know-how, and world-class technologies for processing lithium. It is also important to note that our localised approach and strength in service and aftermarket were important factors for ioneer when it came to choosing a partner.”

The lithium and boron resource at Rhyolite Ridge is estimated at 146.5 Mt, including a reserve of 60 Mt. The company expects to mine and process 63.8 Mt over the 26-year mine life at an average annual rate of 2.5 Mt/y. This will see it produce, on average, 22,340 t of lithium carbonate (99% purity) (years 1 to 3), 21,951 t of lithium hydroxide (99.5% purity) (year four onward) and 174,378 t boric acid (life of quarry).

FLSmidth to provide process engineering input for Keliber’s lithium project

Keliber says it has appointed FLSmidth to provide process engineering services at its Päiväneva concentrator plant in Finland.

The two parties have reportedly agreed on the provision of process, layout and mechanical engineering services at the concentrator.

Hannu Hautala, CEO of Keliber, said: “We have chosen a partner with considerable experience in the mining industry, including lithium production. Our goal is to build a world-class plant that utilises the best available technology, which means safe, environmentally friendly and cost-optimised production.”

Mikko Keto, Mining President at FLSmidth, added: “We are delighted to receive this process engineering order from Keliber. It is a strong proof point of our know-how in the lithium arena, where we have been a leading provider of high-performing equipment, solutions and expertise for well over 20 years. We now look forward to this next step of designing an efficient, world class, concentrator flowsheet, in line with our MissionZero program.”

The award of the contract regarding the concentrator plant continues Keliber’s cooperation with FLSmidth, which will soon also see the completion of the basic engineering of high temperature conversion rotary kiln technology at Keliber’s chemical plant, located in Kokkola.

The concentrator will be built in the Päiväneva area of Finland, which is located on the border of the municipalities of Kaustinen and Kruunupyy, and within the immediate vicinity of Keliber’s lithium deposits. At the concentrator plant, ore will be processed into spodumene concentrate, which will then be transported to the chemical plant in Kokkola, where it will be further processed into lithium hydroxide.

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.

Evolution Mining studying open-pit, underground expansion options at Cowal

Evolution Mining says it is embarking on a prefeasibility study to further expand its Cowal open-pit mine as part of a plan to build towards 350,000 oz/y of sustainable, reliable, low-cost gold production from the New South Wales operation.

Currently on the E42 stage H cutback, Evolution said during a recent site visit that there is potential to further the life of the open pit by accessing feed from the E41 and E46 satellite pits. The study looking into a possible expansion is due later this year, with the company saying it could provide long-term base load ore feed for the operation.

The mine produced 262,000 ounces in Evolution’s 2020 financial year.

The Stage H cutback the company is currently pursuing is expected to see increased ore volumes and grade mined in the first six months of this year, with the strip ratio to fall below 1:1 in its 2023 financial year, Evolution said. It also says an equipment strategy review is underway, with opportunities to “rationalise fleet” with reduced re-handling.

The haulage and loading fleet at Cowal currently consists of 20 Cat 789C dump trucks, three Cat 785C trucks, four excavators (one Liebherr 9400, one Liebherr 994B, one Liebherr 9200 and one Hitachi EX1200), plus three Cat 992G wheel loaders. It also has six hired Epiroc SmartROC surface drills at the operation, one Drill Rigs Australia GC600 drill rig, five Cat D10T tracked dozers and one Cat 834H wheel dozer.

The open-pit expansion is only part of the expansion story at Cowal, with a feasibility study underway on an underground operation. This is factoring in 3 Moz of resources and 1 Moz of reserves, with high-grade orebodies open at depth, the company says.

A second decline (Galway) is due to be developed at Cowal this year, with diamond drilling set to commence next month. The 14,300 m of planned drilling will, the company says, help confirm optimal grade control parameters and convert resources to reserves.

Evolution Mining also has a permit to increase processing capacity at Cowal to 9.8 Mt/y, with near-term incremental improvements targeting a circa-9 Mt/y rate.

The process flowsheet at Cowal includes primary crushing with a Metso Outotec 54-75 Superior MK-II gyratory, grinding with an FLSmidth 36 ft (11 m) x 20.5 ft (6.2 m) SAG mill and FLSmidth 22 ft x 36.5 ft ball mill, and screening with Schenck and Delkor screens. Sandvik H6800 hydroconecone crushers, Metso Outotec flotation cells, a Metso Outotec Vertimill, and Metso Outotec stirred media detritors also feature.

Evolution also said it is testing technology that uses glycine and cyanide during the cyanidation process of gold ore at Cowal for potential significant cost savings and environmental benefits.

Lab trials with the GlyCat™ technology from Australia-based Mining and Process Solutions have been completed successfully, it said, with the next phase being pilot plant trials to assess variability tests and long-term environmental impacts.

FLSmidth high density thickeners optimise recoveries at DRC copper-cobalt mine

FLSmidth says it has delivered a thickener solution to help double production rates at one of the world’s largest copper and cobalt producers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The order for the solution, which included six of FLSmidth’s high density thickeners, was placed in 2020, with delivery now completed.

The mine already had FLSmidth thickeners on site, with the company’s proposal for the mine’s expanded requirements  based on test work to confirm the characteristics of the material to be treated, according to FLSmidth General Manager Projects and Account Sales, Howard Areington.

“The tests confirmed that we could use a similar design to what we had installed on the mine some years previously,” he says. “This solution included six counter current decantation (CCD) thickeners and one pre-leach thickener, each measuring 31 m in diameter.”

These units deliver high solids underflow to optimise the recovery of dissolved metals, according to FLSmidth. In addition to the steeper floor slope, these thickeners were designed with a high torque ring gear drive design, with high tolerances that make for minimal maintenance over long periods of time, the company says.

“Our high density thickener design ensures consistently high underflow densities which allows the operator to sustain high production rates and better recoveries,” Areington says.

These CCD thickeners are manufactured from LDX2101 duplex stainless steel. This provides mechanical benefits without compromising chemical resistance, allowing the mass of each unit to be reduced, the company explained. The pre-leach thickener, which was not exposed to corrosive conditions, is constructed from carbon steel.

“We also designed and supplied five impurities removal thickeners, which are high rate thickeners, also in LDX2101 stainless steel,” Areington says. “The sizes of these units ranged from 20 to 30 m in diameter.”

Fabrication of the equipment was carried out in South Africa while accommodating the demands of the COVID-19 lockdown, which required careful planning and flexibility. With components and platework delivered to site, the welding and construction was conducted by the mine with installation assistance from FLSmidth and its agent in the region.

FLSmidth expands Central Asia presence with new Service Supercenter

FLSmidth has opened a new Service Supercenter in Karagandy, Kazakhstan, which, it says, will help meet high demand for service and technical support in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

The 5,200 m² space will focus on the efficient delivery of mining equipment, component maintenance and facilitate rapid on-site service and 24/7 local support, according to FLSmidth.

It includes a 2,500 m² warehouse and a 1,200 m² workshop, as well as a customer service office, customer training centre and other support facilities. The Supercenter holds a range of inventory and a strategic range of lab equipment and spare and wear parts.

The centre has a primary emphasis on supplying solutions that extend an asset’s lifecycle, such as: repairs and rebuilds; equipment and component upgrades; parts and consumables strategic stocking programs; technical assistance; and customised service packages.

“The centre ensures customers receive the knowhow to optimise their operations, as well as support when it comes to inspections, process audits and technical issues,” the company says.

Mikko Keto, Mining President at FLSmidth, explained: “The main concept of the Supercenter is to get closer to our mining and cement customers across Kazakhstan and Central Asia and support them with the best solutions, fast access to spare and wear parts, and, of course, local knowhow and expertise. This move supports FLSmidth’s ever-growing focus on customer service and aftermarket.”

Sergey Gorbunov, Managing Director for Kazakhstan and Central Asia, added: “Our large regional installed base will be well served by this new Supercenter. It will allow us to work side by side with customers to better understand and solve their challenges – and to deliver sustainable productivity solutions to their operations.

“Customers can expect world-class on-site service, indoor repairs and refurbishment, exchange programs, lab testing, training and excellent spare part support. The Supercenter ensures 24/7 local support for on-site services such as installation, commissioning, maintenance support, shutdowns and turnkey solutions.”

FLSmidth takes gravity separation to a new level with Knelson GX Concentrating Cone

The latest innovation in semi-continuous gravity separation from FLSmidth is delivering a key breakthrough in performance that increases recovery and cuts maintenance downtime, according to the OEM.

For decades, Knelson gravity concentrators have been recognised for their recoveries of gold and precious metals, but the development of the new Knelson GX Concentrating Cone is set to take this performance a step further.

The new patented GX Cone delivers impressive recovery enhancements due to enhanced water distribution within each ring, according to the company.

FLSmidth explains: “As water enters from the base, it flows through zone separator nozzles for a customisable fluidisation profile. This allows for even distribution of water in each ring; the new design also significantly increases the active recovery surface area. The result is a step change in overall coarse and fine gold recovery.”

Test data shows that gold recovery in all size fractions, from course to fine, improved significantly with the GX Cone, according to the company.

By incorporating an advanced distribution of fluidisation water across the entire concentrating cone, the Knelson GX facilitates the highest possible recovery of coarse and fine gold. At the same time, balanced water distribution across the concentrating cone allows for a significant reduction in fluidisation water requirements while improving recovery.

The third major benefit of the Knelson GX is easier maintenance. Because it is made of a customised, abrasion-resistant and durable polyurethane compound, maintenance frequency and operational costs are significantly reduced, FLSmidth says.

Mike Lefler, Head of Global Product Line Manager for Precious Metal Recovery at FLSmidth, said: “The new Knelson GX Concentrating Cone is the culmination of over 40 years of research and operational experience and is exciting news for our customers. It delivers a win-win-win scenario: better recovery, less water use and less downtime due to easier maintenance.

“In short, it helps customers produce more with less resources – a central tenet of our MissionZero ambition to cut water and energy waste in mining by 2030.”

FLSmidth improves water balance at Mozambique coal plant with thickener tech

FLSmidth has been chosen as the preferred provider for four large bolted thickeners for a large mining customer in Mozambique.

Two of the thickeners are designed to reduce water load on the filters allowing for a drier filter product, while the other two thickeners recover water from the plant tailings.

The installation, which includes E-Volute™ feedwell technology for superior flow distribution, will contribute to achieving optimal water balance at the coal plant in Mozambique, FLSmidth says.

“The thickeners measure 45 m in diameter and will control the density of material to the belt filters, improving the plant’s output,” Howard Areington, FLSmidth’s General Manager for Projects and Account Sales in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, says. “The design was based on the test work we conducted on the customer’s material, allowing us to determine the best thickener solution.”

He emphasised that a bolted thickener is quicker and safer to construct on site, saving on costs and improving quality control; both of these factors suited the project’s remote location.

“The extent of welding in the construction of normal steel thickeners typically runs into kilometres,” Areington said. “By contrast, the amount of on-site welding required by a bolted thickener can be measured in metres.”

The E-Volute feedwell technology improves flow distribution, leading to lower flocculant consumption, better settling rates and improved overflow clarity for the optimal performance of the thickener, according to FLSmidth.

Despite the COVID-19 lockdown, good progress was made on the fabrication of the thickeners in South Africa, according to FLSmidth Project Manager, Kevin Kockott. This has been managed by leveraging FLSmidth’s global resources and the design teams’ ability to work remotely.

“Our local South African office collaborated closely with our engineering hub in Salt Lake City in the United States, ensuring that our engineering work on the project was able to continue without interruption,” Kockott said.

FLSmidth has been involved with this project for almost a decade and has provided a significant portion of the coal preparation equipment. To date, this has included reflux classifier technology, pumps, screens and feeders.