Tag Archives: Larox

Metso Outotec books zinc plant order as it agrees sale of aluminium business

Metso Outotec has signed a contract to deliver a complete package of key process equipment for a greenfield zinc plant in the Chelyabinsk region in Russia.

The contract value of approximately €100 million ($122 million) has been booked in Metso Outotec’s Decemeber quarter order intake, a quarter of which will be booked in Minerals segment and the rest in Metals segment.

The order for the Verkhny Ufaley plant includes an equipment package for zinc concentrate processing, iron precipitation, solution purification and electrowinning (EW) technologies for safe and sustainable zinc processing based on OKTOP® reactor and plant products.

The order also contains a circuit heat recovery system, zinc EW and ingot casting equipment, as well as high-efficiency cooling towers for zinc EW and gypsum removal with drastically reduced emissions compared with conventionally-designed cooling towers, the company said. Clarifying solutions for consistent solid-liquid separation, high-performance Larox® FP and RB filters with low energy consumption, as well as fully integrated digital process automation for more reliable and flexible operation are also part of the order.

“Metso Outotec has been supplying minerals processing and metals refining technologies to our customers in Russia for a long time,” Jari Ålgars, President, Metals business area at Metso Outotec, said. “The new zinc plant will utilise Metso Outotec’s proprietary technology, which is both sustainable and highly cost effective.”

Stephan Kirsch, President of the Minerals business area at Metso Outotec, added: “Metso Outotec provides leading-edge technology for extensive zinc processing plants. This includes proprietary process equipment and know-how from raw material to final zinc product and various by-products.”

The technology to be delivered is the most cost-efficient technology available for zinc raw material processing, enabling efficient zinc and by-product recovery from a wide range of primary zinc raw material, according to Metso Outotec.

In a separate press release, Metso Outotec announced it had agreed to sell its Aluminium business to REEL International, headquartered in France. The business was put up for sale a year ago and has since been reported under the company’s discontinued operations.

The business to be divested comprises of green anode plants, anode rodshops, and casthouses used in aluminium smelters as well as related equipment and services. Approximately 120 Metso Outotec employees will join REEL upon closing, which is expected to take place during the March quarter of 2021, Metso Outotec said.

The parties have agreed not to disclose the value of the transaction.

Metso Outotec tackles long-term tailings management task with Larox FFP3716 filter

Metso Outotec says its newest addition to the FFP filter range, the Larox® FFP3716 filter, comes with compact plate pack design and smart automation, redefining the overall standard in reliability, capacity and safety in tailings filtration.

Combined with Metso Outotec’s optimised filtration plant design, the FFP3716 filter offers a reliable and cost-efficient long-term solution for tailings management, even in challenging environments, the company claims.

Geoff Foster, Head of Tailings Filtration at Metso Outotec, said: “Responsible usage of water in the mining industry is the primary driver for increasing interest in tailings dewatering. At Metso Outotec, our goal is to provide holistic tailings management solutions by bringing a step change in the way we view, handle, and manage tailings.

“Backed by proven technology and industrial knowledge, our efficient dewatering solutions help in maximising water recovery and reuse. The Larox FFP3716 filter represents the most advanced technology currently available for safe and efficient dewatering.”

The Larox FFP3716 comes with a substantial increase in total filtration volume, using an optimised plate pack design to reduce wear on the plate pack and cloth components, along with ease operation and spares holding.

The new design of the closing and sealing mechanism, with individual controlled sealing cylinders, ensures a squared plate pack at any time, resulting in long lifetime of the pack, the company says. The filter, which comes with a 2,000 sq.m filtration area, 44 cu.m of chamber volume and up to 16 bars of operating pressure, has been designed from bottom to top with optimal safety in mind, Metso Outotec added.

Metso Outotec gains more control over solid/liquid separation with Filter Optimizer

Metso Outotec has introduced a Filter Optimizer to further boost the performance of its Larox® PF filter in the mining and chemical industry processes.

The optimiser improves the PF filter performance by enabling more precise control over the solid/liquid separation process, according to the company. It is intended to stabilise the effect of upstream process variations, provide tools for improved process control and reduce the need for manual intervention.

In mining processes, the new Filter Optimizer complements Metso Outotec’s other advanced control solutions for concentrator plants consisting of the Grinding Optimizer, Flotation Optimizer and Thickener Optimizer, the company says.

The Filter Optimizer enables automatic adjustment of filtration as well as pressing and air drying setpoints based on filter performance. Compressed air usage is optimised in the controlled air-drying sequence, resulting in optimised energy consumption, Metso Outotec says.

Leena Tanttu, Senior Manager, Process and Testing of Filters at Metso Outotec, said: “The new Filter Optimizer automatically adjusts the filter’s process performance, adapting to upstream process variations. Instead of relying on manual moisture sampling and cake-weight monitoring, new setpoints are calculated on the go and adjusted automatically.”

Thanks to the optimiser’s remote connectivity, rapid OEM expert support is available for fine-tuning of the system parameters and further optimisation of performance, the company says. An integrated historical database increases process visibility and provides a powerful tool for performance evaluation.

Metso Outotec’s Filter Optimizer typical scope of supply includes:

  • Moisture analyser;
  • APC system (server, control room operator interface, VPN router for remote connectivity);
  • Engineering and project management including control design and set up;
  • Comissioning including system implementation, start-up and controller fine tuning; and
  • Operator training.

In addition to filters, Metso Outotec says it provides a full scope of services for filters, including process optimisation services, optimiser performance reporting, annual on-site maintenance visits, remote and on-site support, and more.

Atlantic Nickel ready to delve underground for Santa Rita mine life expansion

Atlantic Nickel has released a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) on its Santa Rita nickel mine, in Brazil, that shows the potential for the company to become one of the largest sustainable nickel sulphide producers in the world.

The announcement, made in concert with Appian Capital Advisory LLP (the owner of Atlantic Nickel), follows the recommencement of open-pit mining at Santa Rita in August 2019.

This new NI 43-101 technical report outlines a 34-year mine life for Santa Rita, in Bahia, with eight years of open-pit production, underpinned by proven and probable reserves of 50.6 Mt at 0.31% NiS, and 26 years of underground mining.

The open-pit mine plan was prepared to prefeasibility study level and encompasses a large open pit and a nearby, much smaller satellite open pit along strike. Both pits will be mined with conventional mining equipment, and the plan will be executed in 10 phases, the company says.

The open pit is scheduled over a period of eight years, ending in 2028, with operations using standard methods of drilling and blasting, loading, and hauling. It would produce 20,000-25,000 t/y of contained nickel equivalent at a C1 cost of $2.97/lb Ni and an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $4.12/lb Ni, the company says.

The Santa Rita process plant, having started production in 2009, was completely refurbished and recommissioned in the second half of 2019 in line with the mine restart. The plant consists of crushing, grinding, flotation, thickening and filtration unit operations to produce a saleable nickel concentrate. Flotation tailings are pumped to a tailings storage facility, while grinding is performed by a SAG mill, two ball mills and two pebble crushers. This is followed by a conditioning circuit and a flotation circuit, with the final concentrate thickened and pumped to storage tanks ready for filtration. Concentrate is filtered in a Larox (Metso Outotec) pressure filter. Following filtration, the final concentrate is trucked to the port of Ilhéus where it is loaded onto ships for transport to market.

The mineral resource estimate for the expansion case consists of 94.2 Mt of measured and indicated resources across open-pit and underground mining at average grades of 0.41% NiS, 0.14% Cu, 0.01% Co, 0.03 g/t Pd, 0.07 g/t Pt and 0.05 g/t Au, with 90.6 Mt of inferred resource at 0.54% NiS, 0.17% Cu, 0.02% Co, 0.04 g/t Pd, 0.09 g/t Pt and 0.06 g/t Au.

Sublevel Caving (SLC) was selected as the mining method for the underground portion of the deposit based on the amenable geometry of the deposit, and because productivity and cost advantages of SLC enable greater exploitation of the underground resource at greater margin than more selective mining methods, Atlantic Nickel said.

“The geometry of the deposit and the location below a mined open pit are similar to the Ernest Henry SLC, which is successfully operated by Ernest Henry Mining (a subsidiary of Glencore) in Queensland, Australia,” the company added.

The SLC mining method employs long-hole drilling and blasting techniques to extract mineralisation sequentially from the surface to the bottom of the deposit. The method does not require backfill and, therefore, relies on the overlying waste rock to cave and fill the mined void, the company explained. Caving of the overlying waste rock results in surface subsidence above and in the immediate vicinity of the underground deposit, but the subsidence will not interfere with open-pit mining since initial production from underground is planned to commence in 2028 when open-pit mining is completed.

Infrastructure capital and development of the underground project is planned to start at the beginning of 2026, with production from the underground ramping-up over a seven-year period until full production of 6.2 Mt/y is achieved.

The underground portion of the resource considered in the PEA plan consists of 43.5 Mt of indicated resources and 90.6 Mt of inferred resources. This resource was used to come up with a 40,000-45,000 t/y of contained nickel equivalent production profile for the underground operation over life of mine at a C1 cost of $2.17/lb Ni and an AISC of $3.92/lb Ni.

The SLC mining layout in the PEA comprises 37 mining levels spaced at vertical intervals of 25 m. Each level is made up of parallel and evenly spaced drill drives from which production drilling and blasting occur. Once blasted, the mineralisation is loaded from the drill drives using LHDs and loaded into trucks for haulage to the surface during the initial ramp-up phase, and later to ore passes feeding an underground crushing station and conveying to surface via an inclined tunnel.

“The SLC method employs a top-down mining sequence that enables production to ramp-up quickly once the top of the underground deposit has been accessed,” Atlantic Nickel says. “The method also enables high production rates as the mining cycle is simplified by the standardisation of development and production and with no backfilling required.”

While still early days in terms of the underground mine’s development plans, the company assumed the use of automated LHDs, longhole drilling and jumbo development drilling in the PEA, a spokesperson for Atlantic Nickel confirmed to IM. This saw Epiroc and Sandvik provide price inputs, with design layouts anticipating such equipment.

“Subsequent studies will optimise the equipment and layouts integration,” the spokesperson added.

And, while the current study assumes the use of a diesel-powered fleet, battery-electric vehicles will also provide upside in future studies and further reduce energy costs, equipment maintenance costs and ventilation power costs, the spokesperson said.

“Both tethered and battery will be look at for specific applications within the mine such as loading from drawpoints and feeding the underground crusher from the bottom of ore passes,” the spokesperson said.

The flotation test work gave similar results to those obtained with open-pit material; hence, plant performance is not expected to be significantly different for underground material, the company said. Underground feed will be treated in Atlantic Nickel’s existing process plant with only minor modifications required, likely to the grinding circuit.

New surface infrastructure associated with the underground mine would include the following:

  • A box cut and portal located to the west of the north end of the open pit;
  • A conveyor portal connecting to the bottom of the existing crusher installation;
  • A temporary construction portal in the west wall at the north end of the open pit on the 82 m RL bench;
  • Multiple ventilation raise surface collars on the western side of the open pit;
  • Ventilation adits on the west wall at the south end of the open pit on the 10 m RL bench;
  • Dewatering pond for storing, settling and recycling water from underground;
  • Electrical reticulation to the portals, adits and services; and
  • Shotcrete batch plant.

After completion of open pit mining, a new tailings storage facility would be required to store the additional 134 Mt of tailings to be produced from the underground mine over a period of 28 years. Like the existing tailings storage facility, raises will be constructed using a downstream method, the company said.

Total capital associated with the underground expansion amounts to $1.3 billion over the 34-year combined operation, with only $355 million of that being spent during the first five years of underground development commencing in 2026. The expansion is partially self-funding with cash flows generated from the open-pit mining operation, the company said.

Outotec consolidates filtration expertise with new Larox PF-DS filter press

Outotec says its new Larox® PF-DS tower press filter combines two proven technologies in one unit to meet the challenging process requirements of the chemical process industry.

With filtration applications getting more demanding due to challenging materials, increased cake washing needs, strong acid processes, and fine grinding, there is an increasing need for technologies that can handle these challenges in a reliable and more automated manner, Outotec says.

The new Larox PF-DS is a tower press filter where the plate pack is composed of polypropylene membrane filter plates stacked on top of each other. The cake forms between the closed filter plates on the top and bottom side of the filtration chamber, hence it being called a double-side filter.

The mechanical operation and frame of the Larox PF-DS are shared with the Outotec Larox PF pressure filter while the unique filtration process is powered by the double-side plate pack from the Outotec Larox DS filter (earlier known as Hoesch® DS).

The individual filter chamber has a double-side filtration area of 4.7 m2 and an operating pressure of up to 16 bar. The plates are stacked vertically to give a total filtration area of 38–94 m2 depending on the unit size, according to Outotec.

One endless filter cloth runs through the whole filter and one side of the filter cloth is used for filtration. A wide range of different cloth types is available to meet the application needs, the company said. This filter cloth ensures efficient discharge of all cake from each individual chamber at every cycle, eliminating the need for manual intervention.

With the PF-DS now sharing the mechanical design with the PF family, local Outotec service teams are available for technical support and maintenance needs. Likewise, the availability and compatibility of the spare parts is significantly improved compared with earlier technology.

Outotec said: “PF-DS Filters are fully automatic, operating either with a standalone panel or through a distributed control system. Automation extends beyond basic filter sequencing to full process control, ensuring consistent results under varying process conditions.”

The filtration process is a batch operation which includes filtration, membrane pressing and air drying stages, with several options for cake washing added to the process depending on customer needs.

When the process cycle is ended, filter cakes will be discharged from the one side of the filter. Due to the cloth being on both sides of the chamber together with the cloth scrapers, cake discharge is fully automatic without an operator present.

After each cycle, the moving filter cloth passes through water sprays to remove any embedded solids. This maintains cloth permeability, consistent filter performance and extends cloth life, according to Outotec.

The single cloth system makes cloth change simple and quick, typically taking as little as 30 minutes. Furthermore, cloth inspection can be carried out without the need for equipment shutdown.