Tag Archives: manganese

Element 25 progresses Zero Carbon Manganese vision with AK Evans pact

A day after securing the sale of the first parcel of material from its Butcherbird manganese project in Western Australia, Element 25 Ltd has signed a letter of intent with AK Evans Group Australia for transportation of manganese concentrate from the project to Utah Point in Port Hedland.

AK Evans is a privately owned construction, civils, heavy and bulk haulage company, founded in Port Hedland, with locations across Western Australia. AK Evans also has a strategic partnership with Kurtarra Pty Ltd, an 100% indigenous-owned earthmoving and services company.

The letter of intent will cover the initial transport arrangements – with haulage for the maiden cargo undertaken using agreed terms and rates – and the parties are in the process of finalising a long-term commercial arrangement, which will see the introduction of new quad road trains during the remainder of 2021, Element 25 said.

Element 25 Managing Director, Justin Brown, said: “We are excited to be partnering with AK Evans with a view to having new dedicated road trains to transport our manganese to Port Hedland. We are also excited to know we can work with our commercial partners in delivering solutions to fulfil our vision of delivering Zero Carbon Manganese™ for the electric vehicle (EV) battery revolution. This is another important milestone for the project and company, and we are excited to be heading for our first shipment of Butcherbird’s material to our offtake partners.”

On May 26, Element 25 announced the sale of the first parcel of material from Butcherbird to OMH under offtake agreement terms. The material in the contract specification is 30-35% Mn concentrate, with the first shipment planned for June 2021.

Last year, Element 25 completed a prefeasibility study on Butcherbird that outlined a start-up manganese concentrate export scenario as part of a staged development strategy. It outlined a maiden proven and probable reserve of 50.55 Mt at 10.3% Mn containing 5.22 Mt of manganese, with a base case assuming annual production and sales of 312,000 t/y of medium-grade lump manganese concentrate grading 30-35% Mn.

“The project team will now turn its focus to the next stages of the multi-stage development strategy of the project including a Stage 2 expansion of the concentrate business followed by a Stage 3 development to convert the concentrate material into high purity manganese sulphate monohydrate for electric vehicle (EV) batteries to power the global transition away from fossil fuel powered mobility,” the company said.

Element 25 says Butcherbird is ideally placed to feed potential demand, with advanced flowsheet development work undertaken in 2019 and 2020 confirming a simple, unique, ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure leach process for Element 25 ores which, when combined with offsets, will target the world’s first Zero Carbon Manganese for EV cathode manufacture.

BME breaks another electronic detonator blast record in South Africa

Another South African record for the largest electronic detonator blast has been broken by the blasting and explosives company BME.

The blast was conducted by BME, an Omnia Group company, at the end of 2020 at a manganese mine in South Africa’s Northern Cape province. Using its AXXIS™ electronic initiation system, BME was able to plan and execute a blast of 4,647 detonators. Just a few months earlier, the company had broken a previous record at the same mine by initiating 3,780 detonators in a single blast.

“The latest achievement involved a remarkable 535 t of emulsion explosive in over 2,300 blast holes requiring a total of more than 37,000 m of drilling,” Kobus Boonzaaier, BME Area Manager in the Northern Cape, said. “The resulting blast was able to move almost 2.3 Mt of rock within a matter of seconds.”

Boonzaaier highlighted that the advantage of these large blasts is that they allow mines to blast less often; this means less disruption and a more streamlined operation. The size of the blast was not the only factor to consider, however, as a quality blast must also optimise key outcomes like fragmentation, BME said.

“We were pleased to once again achieve good fragmentation with this blast, ensuring that the resulting particle size would facilitate efficient loading, hauling and comminution by the mine,” Boonzaaier said.

The mine has made use of a full blasting service from BME for the past five years, with BME providing its expertise through a team of over 20 blasters, operators and assistants.

BME’s emulsion explosives – combined with AXXIS electronic initiation system, electronic detonators, blast planning software and other accessories – have been helping break records at South African mines for over a decade. It has conducted even larger blasts in Australia and Zambia in recent years – in the coal and copper sectors, respectively.

Kwatani branching out from South Africa roots

Vibrating screen and feeder specialist Kwatani says it is transitioning from equipment supplier to solutions provider, as it attracts customers from well beyond its South Africa headquarters.

According to Kwatani General Manager Sales and Service, Jan Schoepflin, the company’s strong in-house expertise and design capability – combined with the manufacturing quality it consistently achieves – ensures its customised solutions deliver optimal performance at the lowest possible lifecycle costs.

“Our recent orders show that our customer base in Southern Africa remains strong, while there is growing recognition of our cost-effective offerings in West Africa, East Africa and North Africa,” says Schoepflin. “At the same time, orders from countries like Canada and Russia indicate that our markets abroad continue to grow.”

Kwatani says it remains the market leader in the supply and servicing of vibrating screens and feeders on iron ore and manganese mines in South Africa’s Northern Cape province. It also counts platinum, coal, diamond and gold mines in its customer base. Its West Africa orders have been mainly to gold mines, and there is growing potential for gold mining in East Africa, Schoepflin says.

Over its four decades of operation, Kwatani has produced about 16,000 custom-designed screens, and is building, on average, 30 to 40 units a month in its ISO 9001:2015 certified facility close to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

“Our reputation has been built on prioritising what our customers need, and doing business with integrity and trust,” Schoepflin says. “This means delivering on what we promise and making sure that customers achieve the expected value from our products.”

The company’s solution focus is underpinned by its significant and ongoing investment in local skills, ensuring that its designs leverage strong mechanical and metallurgical engineering expertise, according to Schoepflin.

“This confidence in our products allows us to offer a process guarantee to customers, to deliver the tonnage, throughput and fractions that they expect,” he says. “Depending on which country our customers operate in, they may also have different industry and quality standards/certification expectations and we work closely with them to understand these clearly and meet their requirements.”

Schoepflin also emphasises the company’s service capabilities, which include its local service centres closer to customers, and its support partners in other countries.

“The careful selection of these partners is vital to meet customers’ stringent technical expectations,” Schoepflin says. “In some countries, our partners can also manufacture components according to our drawings and specifications, should there be an urgent requirement from a customer.”

G&G Mining delivers XMOR dump truck bodies to ConsMin’s Woodie Woodie mine

ConsMin has taken delivery of its first pair of XMOR™ dump truck bodies at the Woodie Woodie manganese operation in Western Australia, G&G Mining reports.

These bodies will be put to work at the mine, one of the state’s most abrasive manganese operations, aboard Cat haul trucks.

G&G Mining said the company had selected the lightest, yet toughest, body design in the market with the most operational benefits for its site.

“XMOR is a combination of design and advanced materials utilising Hardox® 500 Tuf to offer a body that is lighter, stronger and harder wearing,” the company said. “The design offers an increased payload, an extended wear life with no liners, eliminates hang up, has an automatic load centering feature and an anti-spill canopy.”

The customer requested a special blue paint job and decals to its XMOR bodies in support of the ConsMin “Mining Minds Matter, Working Away Not Alone” mental health program, G&G Mining added.

Woodie Woodie’s high-grade manganese ore is recognised as the world’s best manganese ore due to its high manganese content, high manganese to iron ratio, low phosphorous and hard, competent nature, according to ConsMin.

Since May 2017, the Consolidated Minerals Group has been privately owned by Ningxia Tianyuan Manganese Industry Co. The group has operating assets in Ghana and Australia and trading companies in Jersey, supplying some 11% of the world’s manganese ore production and around 19% of the demand for Chinese imports of manganese ore.

Comilog enlists help of JRC, Geka Telecom for Moanda 4G/LTE infrastructure

Comilog, a leading manganese miner and part of Eramet Group, has decided to build a Private 4G/LTE network in Moanda, Gabon, as part of an effort to modernise the operation.

JRC (Japan Radio Co Ltd) and Geka Telecom were selected to provide a turnkey solution. JRC will provide the LTE infrastructure for hundreds of subscribers and 4 RF sites, while GEKA Telecom will provide the full services.

Comilog, as part of its modernisation efforts, is investing in a modern and secured LTE infrastructure. This will see field staff equipped with ruggedised tablets and smartphones, with a target to digitalise the various processes to increase efficiency and reduce its use of paper. This is part of an overall project called Comilog 2020 to increase the capacity of the mine and to enhance the operation’s local added value.

JRC LTE infrastructure was chosen for the quality of its offer, JRC said. The proposed LTE infrastructure is designed to meet mission critical environment and performance. GEKA Telecom will provide its expertise for the settings of the network and the installation.

“We are very proud to contribute to the Comilog 2020 project,” Sato Katsuhiko, General Manager of 5G Project at JRC, said. “We are a specialist of wireless communication for mission critical networks. Projects such as Comilog 2020 are crucial for us. We aim to grow our private LTE/5G business significantly in the EMEA region.”

The Moanda mine is currently undergoing an expansion that will see a new mine open up on the Okouma plateau, 13 km to the north of Moanda. This could lead to 7 Mt/y of products being available for sale in 2023, compared with just over 4 Mt/y currently.

JRC, or Japan Radio Co Ltd, is a specialist of wireless infrastructure founded in 1915. Based in Japan and with offices across the world, it has provided complete Private LTE/5G networks since 2015.

GEKA Telecom, founded in 1982, has specialised in telecommunication networks in Africa, the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, to facilitate access to communication for all.

East Manganese project gears up for production following regulatory approvals

The East Manganese project in the Northern Cape of South Africa has been granted a water use licence, paving the way for mining operations to commence soon.

Menar’s first manganese asset located near Hotazel, the R250 million ($15.1 million) project was granted environmental authorisations in February 2019, a mining right in August 2019 and water use licence last month.

Sitatunga Resources, whose major shareholder is investment company Menar, acquired East Manganese in 2018.

Menar Managing Director, Vuslat Bayoglu, said the timely approvals were encouraging for the company’s planned investments in the medium term.

“East Manganese is part of our group’s planned R7 billion investments,” Bayoglu said. “Speedy regulatory approvals are critical to unlock the investment spend and to contribute to South Africa’s economic revival. We are, therefore, impressed by Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu’s, recent undertaking to continuously improve turnaround times for applications.”

East Manganese holds an approximate 1 Mt run of mine (ROM) resource, and will produce around 30,000 t/mth ROM manganese ore, according to the company. Due to the conical shape of the proposed pit, it will take some 7-8 months to reach first ore, after which steady-state production will be achieved swiftly, Menar said.

East Manganese will be an open-pit mine with a single, 14 ha pit located on a small 50 ha portion of the total 1,000 ha mining right area. The remaining unused portion of the mining right area will be used for cattle and game farming by a local farmer, Menar says.

The mine will utilise a dry crushing and screening plant system, which will reduce water usage at the plant, to produce lumpy (85%) and fine (15%) particle manganese products.

Bayoglu pointed out that all the mine’s infrastructure will be powered by solar energy, including its offices and weighbridge.

The decision to diversify the Menar Group’s commodity portfolio is in keeping with its aspirations of becoming a leading South African diversified mining company, Bayoglu said.

“We are committed to realising South Africa’s full mining potential by continuously seeking out new investment opportunities and East Manganese is a clear illustration of this continued commitment,” he said.

He added: “The establishment of the East Manganese mine will aid economic activities in the area and create between 70-80 direct new jobs on the mining complex once peak production has been reached. If we multiply this figure by 10 [which is the average number of people that are dependent on a single salary earner in South Africa], then, in essence, 700 -800 people will directly benefit from this project.

“In addition, the indirect economic benefit of the operation, even though not quantifiable, is also far reaching. The mine’s recruitment process is being undertaken in conjunction with Joe Morolong Local Municipality which, through its Local Economic Development forum, has been very helpful to date.”

Sandvik cone crushers go circular with recycled wear parts

Sandvik Group is encouraging circularity in the mining industry through the recycling of steel from used cone crusher parts to make new crushing equipment.

While extractive industries such as mining are responsible for 50% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, recycling steel from mining equipment could make all the difference, according to Anders Åkesson, QM EHS Manager, Crushing & Screening at Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology (SMRT).

Circularity is becoming vital in the reduction of CO2 emissions, and can help improve the environmental position of many industries. With the mining industry contributing a large percentage of global CO2 emissions, implementing circularity could help it make vital reductions, Åkesson says.

To produce equipment, the mining industry predominantly uses manganese steel, which is renowned for its work-hardening properties and resistance to abrasion. This means the material becomes harder with the more impact it receives, creating a low friction surface suited to crushing. For this reason, manganese steel has been used in high impact applications for over 100 years, making it an ideal material for cone crushers.

Cone crushers are used to grind down rocks, which are fed into the top of the crusher and pressed between the mantle and the cone. This breaks the rock down into smaller fragments, which are then passed through lower levels of the crusher where they are broken down further.

“It’s vital that cone crushers are made from a material that provides the necessary force to grind the rocks, while withstanding the abrasive nature of the process,” Åkesson said.

Using recycled steel from used cone crusher parts to make new cone crushers, Sandvik SMRT has demonstrated and improved circularity of steel production for mining equipment, he explained. The division was nominated for Sandvik’s first sustainability award in April 2020, which recognises sustainable innovations from its employees.

Sourcing manganese steel from one of the world’s most sustainable manganese foundries, based in Sweden, was the first step SMRT took towards its sustainable innovation. A total of 91% circular steel was used to manufacture wear parts, such as the cone and mantle of a cone crusher. These wear parts are reused to produce new wear parts for the cone crushers – creating a continuous cycle, Åkesson said.

Moving away from a linear model, Sandvik increased the circularity and sustainability of its products and eliminated 79% of production emissions, according to Åkesson. “In addition, Sandvik cone crushers help SMRT’s customers to lower their environmental impact as they are buying from the circular economy – contributing to their own sustainability goals,” he said.

Åkesson concluded: “With mining contributing towards CO2 emissions in more ways than one, it’s essential that the industry uses methods that reduce emissions. Reusing and recycling steel to manufacture mining equipment has demonstrated an opportunity that helps meet the sustainability goals of both equipment suppliers and their customers. If the industry wants to become circular, taking a look at equipment a good place to start.”

GFG Alliance to take over TEMCO manganese alloy smelter following South32 pact

South32’s association with the Tasmanian Electro Metallurgical Company (TEMCO) is set to come to an end after it agreed to sell its stake in the manganese alloy smelter to an entity within the GFG Alliance.

The announcement from South32’s Groote Eylandt Mining Company (GEMCO) said completion of the transaction was subject to approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board. Upon satisfaction of this condition, GFG will make a nominal payment to GEMCO to acquire 100% of the shares in TEMCO, it said, without naming an acquisition price.

As a condition to the completion of the transaction, the parties have entered into an ore supply agreement from GEMCO to TEMCO.

The smelter, in Tasmania, Australia, is run by the Samancor Manganese joint venture, owned 60% by South32 and 40% by Anglo American.

South32 says TEMCO uses ore shipped from its GEMCO operations in the Northern Territory of Australia and produces ferromanganese for steelmaking. Most of the alloy produced is exported to customers in Asia and North America, with the remaining sold to steel producers in Australia and New Zealand.

South32 CEO Graham Kerr said the agreement represented another milestone for South32 as it continues to reshape its portfolio.

“Today’s agreement follows an extensive review of options regarding the future of our manganese alloy business,” he said.

“The transaction and our ongoing supply of ore to TEMCO will see the smelter, first established in 1962, continue to operate into the future.

“Looking forward, we are confident that GFG, a current TEMCO customer, is well placed to operate the smelter, with the acquisition representing an opportunity to further vertically integrate its steel business.”

The transaction does not include the Samancor Manganese JV’s South African manganese alloy smelter, Metalloys, which has separately been placed under care and maintenance, South32 added.

B&E International to help miners consolidate supply chains amid COVID-19

As mining companies cut back in efforts to remain viable under COVID-19’s demanding conditions, crushing and screening specialist B&E International is proposing a bold new approach to streamline mines’ supply chains.

According to Ken Basson, Director of Plant and Engineering at B&E International, mining suppliers and service providers need to be proactive in helping mines find sustainable solutions to the current challenges.

“COVID-19 will undoubtedly reduce demand for certain commodities, and, with geopolitical uncertainty, we are likely to see increased commodity price volatility,” Basson says. “This is leading most mining companies – especially juniors – to try to strengthen their balance sheets.”

To do this, there are inevitable cuts in capital expenditure and even operating expenditure. He says the time has come for mining suppliers to streamline the delivery of their services and products, and even to assume more of the day-to-day risk facing mining operations.

“At a time when mines are demanding even higher efficiencies and more plant uptime due to tough trading conditions, the post-COVID environment is expected to present a number of logistical and supply chain constraints,” he said. “To cut through this double-whammy, suppliers need to be helping to consolidate supply chain networks. This is the only way of minimising procurement expenses while limiting process plant outages due to critical spares being unavailable in time.”

A range of other imperatives also need to be addressed at the same time, he says. These include the growing demand for mines to support in-country job creation and local skills development, as well as local manufacturing and procurement. This means less reliance on costly expatriate skills, whose movement around Africa may, in any event, be restricted by COVID-related regulations.

“To streamline the supply chain, B&E International is forming strategic partnerships with key suppliers, to integrate their respective service offerings with ours,” he says. “This gives the mine the advantage of dealing with fewer supplier interfaces. We also take over the responsibility of ensuring that our partners – and their products – perform to expectation.”

He highlights that B&E International – with a 40-year legacy in contract crushing, screening and mineral processing services – has expertise across the process supply chain. With experience across commodities including coal, copper, diamonds, gold, iron ore, manganese and aggregates, the company engineers cost effective solutions in various conditions around Africa, he added.

As one of the few companies in South Africa that both builds and operates its own equipment, B&E International is extending its level of vertical integration through this collaboration with strategic partners.

“Not only do we design, manufacture and install complete processing plants across various commodity sectors, but we also operate and finance these facilities,” Basson says. “This places us in a unique position to partner with mines to reduce their capex, opex and risk.”

The company offers a build, own, operate and transfer model of plant procurement, ensuring a mining company of its planned throughput while also fixing the exact cost of that production, he says.

As part of its market offering, it already conducts optimisation and debottlenecking studies for mineral process plant operators. It also provides plant maintenance contracts, in which it will operate and maintain a customer’s process plant on a toll basis, charging a fixed rate per tonne. Other current services include plant audits, optimisation studies, dust extraction, sampling and breaker systems for oversize run of mine treatment.

“A vertically integrated service offering to mines holds great value for both greenfield and brownfield sites,” Basson says. “As important is our experience in developing local skills wherever we operate – with both formal and hands-on training.”

He highlights that this approach empowers the customer to retain their future options in how they will operate their plants, depending on their internal success and broader economic conditions.

Kwatani screens and feeders tackle manganese ore in South Africa

As a vital aspect of a plant expansion at a manganese mine in the Northern Cape of South Africa, Kwatani says it is supplying four heavy duty vibrating screens and 10 feeders to help boost throughput.

According to Kwatani CEO, Kim Schoepflin, this large-scale equipment is custom-designed and engineered for tonnage to meet the mine’s challenging operational requirements.

“Manganese ore is very demanding on vibrating screens as it has a high specific gravity and is also very abrasive,” Schoepflin says. “Our machines are engineered to perform the application’s duty requirement while being robust enough to deliver maximum uptime.”

The units being supplied include a 3.6 m double-deck scalping screen, a 3 m double-deck screen, a 2.4 m screen and a 1.8 m dewatering screen. A local OEM that has designed and engineered vibrating screens for over four decades, Kwatani has built a reputation for world-class expertise and capability, it says.

“Customers choose us for our engineering track record – developing technology that can manage the tonnages they require,” Schoepflin says. “This means understanding each mine’s specific conditions, and then building a design to meet a range of complex mechanical and metallurgical factors.”

The order to the mine is being rolled out on time and on specification to the customer’s satisfaction, according to Kwatani COO, Kenny Mayhew-Ridgers.

“The efficiency and quality of our work process allows us to design, manufacture and deliver custom-designed screens in the same timeframes that other OEMs deliver standard models,” Mayhew-Ridgers said.

This is particularly demanding as custom-designed equipment undergo an intensive design process after being verified by rigorous finite element analysis in-house, Kwatani says. Prior to dispatch, all units endure intensive testing before being commissioned on a customer’s site. For this reason, Kwatani boasts its own in-house advanced testing facilities at its Kempton Park facility, in South Africa. Aligned to ISO 9001 standards, the testing protocols have been developed in-house with decades of experience. This allows full testing similar to cold commissioning, even before delivery to site.