Tag Archives: gypsum

Komatsu ups the cutting power on Joy 12HM46 continuous miner

Komatsu is getting ready to launch a new upgrade to its Joy 12HM46 continuous miner for industrial minerals that will boost its cutting power.

The addition of a new optional gearcase on the machine will see cutting power increase by 50%, according to the company, with a spokesperson confirming the newest addition to the continuous miner will be transported to a customer later this month for a trial period.

The 12HM46 continuous miner is ideal for industrial mineral mining applications, including trona, gypsum, potash, and salt, according to Komatsu. It has a 1,600 mm cutter head diameter, making it the largest and most powerful drum-style continuous miner in the company’s product line-up.

The 12HM46 comes with a Ripperveyor cutting head system, with a variety of cutter bit lacing configurations available to suit different applications.

LKAB plots path for fossil-free industrial mine waste recycling park

LKAB says it is planning a fossil-free industrial park for recycling mine waste and producing critical raw materials.

In the ReeMAP project, of which the aim is to develop technology for recycling mine waste, LKAB also plans to produce input materials, including hydrogen, and to electrify processes and, thereby, virtually eliminate carbon dioxide emissions in mine-waste recycling.

Ibrahim Baylan, Sweden’s Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation, comments: “LKAB continues to develop Sweden’s strengths as an innovative nation. ReeMAP is an important initiative to utilise today’s mine waste, leading to increased circularity and contributing to the green transition with both phosphorus and rare earth elements.”

ReeMAP will apply fossil-free processes for recycling mine waste (tailings) from LKAB’s iron ore production and upgrade it to phosphorus products and rare earth elements; products which, owing to import dependency and their economic importance, are classed by the EU as critical raw materials. In addition, gypsum and fluorine products will also be produced at the industrial park, through the hydro chemical processes.

As part of the ReeMAP project, LKAB has already started producing apatite concentrate from mine waste in a pilot plant.

A “pre-study” for the park is to be completed in 2021, with full production, following environmental permitting and construction, estimated to be achievable by 2027.

The planned recycling of mine waste will entail a circular business model and improve resource utilisation, since all valuable minerals will be extracted, according to LKAB. Residual mine waste will continue to be landfilled.

“Thanks to electrification, the process will be almost entirely free of carbon dioxide emissions,” the company said. “Certain minor emissions may arise, due to the release of chemically-bound carbon in apatite (bound in remnants of calcite mineralisation).”

Production of mineral fertiliser will result in a reduction of 700,000 t of carbon dioxide emissions (corresponding to 1% of Sweden’s emissions in 2019), as compared with the alternative of increasing production of mineral fertiliser using conventional technology, it said.

Leif Boström, Senior Vice President for LKAB’s Business Area Special Products, said the investment in the fossil-free industrial park amounted to several billion Swedish kronor.

“The industrial park will be a centre for chemical engineering where innovative technology is used to recover valuable resources,” he said. “Here, we will set a global standard for clean products, energy efficiency and emissions.”

LKAB said: “In agriculture, high crop yields are made possible by the addition of plant nutrients in the form of phosphate fertiliser. As much as half of all agricultural production is dependent on fertilisers. The purity of the product is also important. For example, the phosphate fertiliser LKAB plans to produce will be free of cadmium, a hazardous substance which is contained in some of the material imported into the EU. Rare earth elements are used in many high-tech products, for example, permanent magnets for electric vehicles and wind turbines.”

ReeMAP’s Project Manager, Ulrika Håkansson, explains that several challenges related to technological development, localisation and industrialisation must be addressed.

“We will need up to 50 ha to accommodate our facilities,” Håkansson said. “A railway line and port access are also important, since we plan to ship as much as a million tonnes of product a year. Production, especially hydrogen production, will be energy intensive. We are now looking at all of these requirements and conditions for possible localisation in Luleå, Skellefteå and Helsingborg.”

Jan Moström, President and CEO for LKAB, explains the importance of ReeMAP for LKAB’s strategy and future: “We have an ambition to be one of the most innovative, resource-efficient and responsible mining companies in the world. Through our development projects SUM, HYBRIT and now ReeMAP, we have assumed a global leadership role for industrial transformation and to provide the world with tomorrow’s resources.”

The European Union is tomorrow launching the European Raw Materials Alliance with LKAB as a partner. The aim is to increase the union’s degree of self-sufficiency in critical raw materials. Initially, the alliance will focus on rare earth elements.

Via ReeMAP, LKAB will have potential to produce 30% of the current EU requirement for these materials, it says.

Talbot provides total water management solution for South Africa coal producer

Talbot recently came to the rescue of a South Africa coal producer looking to remove gypsum from its waste stream, thereby freeing up capacity at a downstream dam.

While Talbot has more than three decades of experience in delivering industrial water management solutions across the African continent, what is not generally realised is the fact the company’s expertise extends beyond the ambit of water itself, the South Africa sustainable water and wastewater specialist says.

“Dealing with sludges and waste streams, typically with high suspended loads, is often required to provide a total water management solution and is viewed as being both a complex and expensive process,” Talbot said, explaining this needn’t be the case.

Talbot Consulting Services General Manager, Claire Lipsett, says the leading Highveld coal producer in question called on the company to provide a solution for the removal of gypsum generated as a by-product of its coal mine water purification process.

Lipsett explains the waste stream flowing out of the treatment process into a downstream holding dam contained a high content of gypsum, to the extent it significantly reduced the facility’s finite storage capacity.

Following an on-site examination of the processes involved, Talbot proposed a simple and well-known technology that would provide an effective solution and could be proven on site during live operations through pilot testing.

In this case, a hydraulic filter press was selected to dewater the solids, dry and press them into briquette form for transportation to end-use customers. The filtrate – minus the extracted solids – was directed to the evaporation dam before returning to site processes via a blend line, Talbot said.

The effectiveness of the solution was proven during a two-week trial in March, which achieved impressive results, according to Lipsett. “We reduced the waste solids from around 2,900 mg/l to just 84 mg/l,” she said. “We also demonstrated that the technology would extract gypsum at a rate of 100 kg/h on a full-scale site operation.”

The trial, Lipsett says, showed that effective solids removal could be achieved in a single-step process, without the use of flocculants or coagulants. It also offered the client an easy-to-operate, appropriate solution to achieve total water management for the site.

Pilot trials conducted by Talbot, such as this, generate several benefits that enable clients to not only fully understand the short-term implications of investing in a new technology but how they will positively impact on the future operation of a business, according to Lipsett.

“Before making any form of commitment, the client has the opportunity to engage with the technology and equipment in terms of look and feel, its effectiveness and ease of operation, all the while receiving technical and commercial guidance from a supplier that is a leader in its class and is committed to providing long-term support, not just a one-off sale,” she said.

Financial projections from Talbot of conceptual models prepared during the piloting process include not only the original capital cost of the equipment but anticipated expenditure on items like membrane replacement, operational and maintenance costs.

The company said: “This provides potential users with a comprehensive set of economic life-cycle projections, thus enabling them to make informed decisions on the short-, medium- and long-term benefits and implications with no hidden extras.”

Lipsett cites the results obtained in a similar process employed by a South Africa platinum producer where the recovery of precious metals from a wastewater stream was achieved using the same technology and significantly exceeded initial design expectations. Pilot trials had a substantial impact on the business case and ultimately enabled the client to invest in the solution, according to the company.

“While this may be an extreme case, there are many instances in which the materials recovered have significant intrinsic value so that solids recovery projects not only pay for themselves but deliver sustainable economic value into the future,” the company said.