Tag Archives: mineral processing

Harte Gold goes with the Watson-Marlow flow at Sugar Zone

Harte Gold’s wholly-owned Sugar Zone Mine in Ontario, Canada, is now benefiting from the adoption of Qdos and APEX peristaltic pumps from Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG).

Having deployed the pumps in two important applications, the Sugar Zone team are now enjoying far better flow rate efficiency, along with significant reductions in both maintenance requirements and downtime, according to WMFTG, with the miner subsequently looking to invest further in the company’s pumping technology.

The Sugar Zone Mine entered commercial production in 2019 and has an anticipated operating life of around 13 years at current output levels. Producing 60,000-65,000 oz/y of gold at a 800 t/d throughput rate, a mine expansion study is currently in progress to support a 1,200 t/d rate.

In the reagents room, Harte Gold operates eight diaphragm pumps on a 24/7 basis. However, issues over insufficient process efficiency, the amount of maintenance time needed to replace diaphragms and the potential for leaks prompted the company to look at alternative solutions.

Harte Gold invited WMFTG to trial its Qdos 30 chemical metering pump. For a period of one month, the mining company compared the Qdos with an existing electric diaphragm pump dosing flotation reagents such as potassium amyl xanthate (PAX).

With a flow rate for PAX of 100-300 ml/min, the Qdos 30 significantly outperformed the diaphragm pump on flow rate efficiency, according to WMFTG. Although the dosage rates were adjusted as required before and during the trial, the Qdos outputs were noticeably more consistent in comparison with the existing pump, bringing potential for process optimisation.

ReNu peristaltic pump head technology is at the core of the Qdos pump and is key to its success at Harte Gold, WMFTG says. ReNu ensures accurate and repeatable chemical dosing and, thanks to its contained design with integral leak detection, reduces wastage and eliminates any potential for operator exposure to chemicals.

In addition, Harte Gold personnel confirmed both operations and maintenance were trouble-free during the trial runs. Indeed, there were favourable reports of the colour TFT display, which shows both flow and speed, while the maintenance team was in full support of the single, no tools ReNu pump head replacement.

Such was the success of the trial that Harte Gold is now looking to gradually phase-out all eight of its existing diaphragm pumps in the reagents room over the coming few months. Although control of the first Qdos 30 on site is manual, the company will adopt 4-20 mA I/O moving forward, according to WMFTG. Harte Gold is also planning to replace diaphragm pumps with Qdos models on the water treatment side of its business.

In another area of its operations, Harte Gold has replaced an existing peristaltic pump (not Watson-Marlow) with an APEX 35 in a 24/7 application. Here, the pump transfers thickened gravity concentrate from a gold decanting tank to a shaker table. However, the company found itself replacing hoses every week in its existing peristaltic pump.

The company already had an APEX 35 in operation so thought the same model would provide a good solution for the thickened gravity concentrate. Instead of the one week hose life previously achieved, the APEX 35 with NR hose lasted for 12 weeks, reducing both maintenance and downtime in this critical application. Now, only four hoses are required per year, rather than 52, equating to a 1,200%-plus gain in maintenance intervals, the company said.

Anglo’s Quellaveco to receive the coarse particle recovery treatment

Anglo American has approved the construction of a coarse particle recovery (CPR) plant at its in-development Quellaveco copper project in Peru.

The announcement came within the company’s 2020 financial results, which showed Anglo generated underlying EBITDA of $9.8 billion and a profit attributable to equity shareholders of $2.1 billion for the year.

CPR, Anglo says, is one of many significant breakthrough technology initiatives that has the potential to increase throughput and productivity, while simultaneously reducing environmental footprint, through rejection of coarse gangue (near-worthless waste material), dry stacking of sand waste, minimising the production of traditional tailings and reducing overall water consumption.

The CPR plant signoff at Quellaveco follows a full-scale demo plant installation at the company’s El Soldado mine in Chile – which is ramping up to full capacity by mid-2021 – and the decision to construct a full-scale system at the Mogalakwena North PGM concentrator in South Africa.

The El Soldado plant used the HydroFloat™ CPR technology from Eriez’s Flotation Division. Here, a single 5 m diameter HydroFloat cell, the largest in the world, treats 100% of mill throughput, with the objective of proving the waste rejection process at full scale.

Anglo said of the Quellaveco CPR plant: “This breakthrough technology will initially allow retreatment of coarse particles from flotation tailings to improve recoveries by circa-3% on average over the life of the mine. This investment will also enable future throughput expansion which will bring a reduction in energy and water consumption per unit of production.”

The capital expenditure of the CPR project is around $130 million, with commissioning of the new plant expected in 2022. DRA Global previously carried out a feasibility study for the CPR plant at Quellaveco.

In terms of Quellaveco project progress, Anglo said today that, despite the COVID-19-related slowdown, first production was still expected in 2022. This was, in part, due to the excellent progress achieved prior to the national lockdown, and based on optimised construction and commissioning plans, Anglo said.

Key activities in 2021 include the start of pre-stripping, which will see the first greenfield use of automated hauling technology in Peru; progressing construction of the primary crusher and ore transport conveyor tunnel to the plant; completion of the 95 km freshwater pipeline that will deliver water from the water source area to the Quellaveco site; completing installation of the shells and motors for both milling lines; and completion of the tailings starter dam.

The mine, owned 60% by Anglo and 40% by Mitsubishi Corp, comes with a production blueprint of 300,000 t/y over the first 10 years of the mine.

Metso Outotec on ore sorting’s potential ‘revolutionary change’

Metso Outotec stands out among the mining original equipment manufacturers for having publicly acknowledged ore sorting is on its radar.

The Outotec business had a relationship with TOMRA Sorting Solutions dating back to 2014 when the two companies signed an agreement that would see the particle sorting company supply Outotec-branded sorting solutions to the mining and metallurgical industry. Metso, meanwhile, has previously disclosed it was developing “breakthrough proprietary technology to address the demand of high throughput accurate sorting”.

Close to eight months after the two companies merged to become Metso Outotec, IM put some questions to Erwin Huber, Vice President, Crushing and Conveying Systems; David Di Sandro, Business Development Manager – Optimisation and Test Labs; and Rashmi Kasat, VP, Digital Technologies, Minerals, to find out the current state of play with ore sorting at the mineral processing major.

IM: Back in November at your Capital Markets Day, there was mention of ‘AI-powered Ore Sorting Solutions’ during a presentation. Can you expand on what this offering might include? What stage is it at in terms of commercialisation?

DDS: Ore sorting is one of the most exciting recent developments in our industry. With improvements in sensor capabilities and adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), this may well become the revolutionary change this industry needs to sustain itself in the face of diminishing grades and orebody quality.

EH: With our ore sorting solution development, we are targeting the ability to deliver complete offerings of hardware and sensor-fusion platforms as it relates to both bulk and particle ore sorting. These platforms would utilise AI to optimise the feed material for the downstream process. Metso Outotec is uniquely positioned to understand and optimise that plant feed stream with deep knowledge and almost complete technology coverage in both the concentrator and tailings processing areas.

We plan to bring new solutions to the market in the short term and continuously launch new technologies to increase capabilities and capacities when the developments are mature enough.

IM: Will these solutions leverage existing tools within the Metso Outotec product offering? Will they make use of existing agreements with other companies (for instance, the agreement with TOMRA that Outotec previously had in place)?

EH: Metso Outotec carries out its own development of these solutions, and some partnerships are part of it once sensoring and analysing different minerals and elements are not possible with a single or only a few technologies. Mining and concentration are becoming more and more a digital world where breakthrough innovation is finding its space towards efficiency and sustainable possibilities. Smart systems will enable improved equipment uptime, efficiency and remote diagnosis of process and maintenance, and will be the bonding element between our traditional offering portfolio and new technologies.

IM: Previously Metso has talked about the development of a bulk sorting solution: do these ‘AI-powered Ore Sorting Solutions’ fit into that category, or are they more particle sorting solutions?

EH: Bulk ore sorting enables material selection at high throughput flows and particle technology is limited by capacity while bringing the benefit of high accuracy on selectivity.

RK: Bulk sorting is in its early stages in industry and no single sensor can determine minerals content across all ore types and mine sites. This is where AI algorithms play a significant role in ‘self-learning’ ore characteristics, mine site by mine site. It also provides great opportunities to do sensor fusion and more accurately determine the minerals content based on outputs from various sensors and sensor types. AI augments our expert’s tacit knowledge and provides a more reliable way over time to analyse big data generated from online mineral analysis.

IM: Where in the flowsheet do you envisage these solutions going?

EH: The earlier we can remove the gangue from the flow stream, the better our energy efficiency will be by reducing the volume of waste material that is processed by downstream equipment. Deposits in advanced development allow for in-pit backfill bulk ore sorters that may be deployed behind mobile in-pit crushers, or before the coarse ore stockpile where backfilling is not an option. There are several pre-concentration technologies that can be applied at each stage of mineral processing and the ideal operation should combine those tools to remove the liberated gangue at multiple stages of the processing plant in order to achieve the most sustainable process (ie bulk/particle ore sorting, selective breakage, coarse flotation).

IM: Will the benefits of your solution be felt beyond the crushing and grinding stage? Do you intend to use the data generated from the ore sorting solutions to benefit the whole downstream flowsheet?

DDS: One of the benefits of ore sorting is more efficient removal of waste from the process feed. Under certain circumstances, this also means removal of deleterious material which otherwise would adversely affect downstream process performance such as flotation recoveries. In these cases, the downstream benefits are intrinsic. The key would be understanding the geometallurgical mapping of all rock types and their mineralogy, so a philosophy of ‘include or reject’ can be applied on a metallurgical response basis. This mapping can be improved with SmartTag™ and GeoMetso™ technologies from Metso Outotec.

EH: The ability to sort, the geometallurgical mapping and metallurgical response obviously feed back into the block model and allow for more options in the mine plan and life of mine resource recovery, for example with the deployment of low-grade stockpiles. This further enhances the sustainability of the mining operation.

IM: Is the market ready for and receptive to such a powerful ore sorting solution?

DDS: As we all know, for good reason, our industry is full of early adopters rather than innovators. Most operations will need to see the technology succeed elsewhere before increasing their uptake of the technology. The initial implementation will likely occur in partnership with customers whose operations need this technology to be economically viable.

EH: The key is to understand the ore variability through the deposit and through the life of mine. Adopting ore sorting as an integrated processing step does not differ that much from testing and sizing flotation circuits, where small changes in ore properties can affect the overall recovery. It is important to understand these changes and how to react to them during operations.

The confidence level in sensor-based ore sorting testing will grow over time. We already see real-life examples where customers report on ore reserves based on lower cutoff grades due to ore sorting.

IM: Anything else to add?

EH: Despite the fact that the concept of ore sorting, and the sensors required to detect the valuable ore from the waste, have existed for several years, if not decades, the implementation of these systems in full-scale operations have been relatively restricted to particular cases with the right kind of orebody to make the process viable. Implementing ore sorting more broadly remains the challenge and requires the dual application of the right sensors working effectively with the right mechanical handling systems to detect and remove the waste stream efficiently and accurately. The skills required to solve these challenges are not just for the traditional mining and mineral processing engineers, but need to include a cross-disciplinary team addressing the issues from all angles.

This Q&A interview was carried out as part of the IM March 2021 annual ore sorting feature, to be published early next month

Primero completes WHIMS project at Fortescue’s Christmas Creek iron ore op

Primero Group says it has completed the construction of a Wet High Intensity Magnetic Separation (WHIMS) processing plant at Fortescue Metals Group’s Christmas Creek iron ore mine in Western Australia.

The plant is expected to improve product grade and mass recovery from the desands unit at the Christmas Creek Ore Process Facility #2.

The flowsheet is based on a simple and robust configuration, where wet screen undersize at a nominal -1 mm is treated in open circuit through a low intensity magnetic stage, followed by a vertical WHIMS stage to produce a concentrate stream and a tailings stream, which can be integrated with the existing process and auxiliary equipment. The vertical WHIMS project entails the redirection of the wet screen undersize stream from the existing scrubbing circuit to feed the brownfield magnetic separation plant.

“We can proudly say that despite the impacts of COVID-19 and the fast-tracked nature of the project, the plant was successfully delivered and commissioned in less than 12 months – meeting all safety and project key performance indicators,” the company said.

Primero put the project’s success down partly to the “enhanced opportunity for collaboration early contractor involvement (ECI) provides”.

It added: “A flexible approach to project development that ensures the needs of all project stakeholders can be met prior to detailed design and implementation in a lump sum engineering procurement and construction (EPC) environment. This constructive, relationship-based contracting continued throughout construction, commissioning and now operation – demonstrating the power of the ECI contracting model when coupled with Primero’s unique, vertically integrated EPC capability.”

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.”

Metso Outotec to help modernise Nornickel’s Talnakh processing plant

Metso Outotec says it has signed an agreement to deliver its “industry-leading comminution equipment” to Norilsk Nickel’s refurbishment project at the Talnakh processing plant in Norilsk, Russia.

The contract includes delivery of one SAG mill and two ball mills with a total installed power of 36 MW, as well as two HP series pebble crushers. Metso Outotec will also supply spare parts and consumables, including metallic mill liners, and will supervise the installation of the equipment. The delivery is scheduled for 2022.

While the order value was not disclosed, Metso Outotec said the order has been booked in its December quarter 2020 orders received.

Sergey Dubovitsky, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Strategic Projects, Logistics & Procurement at Norilsk Nickel, said: “The modernisation of the Talnakh processing plant is one of the priority projects for Norilsk Nickel. Its implementation will significantly increase the volume and efficiency of production. To achieve this, we utilise the most modern technologies from Metso Outotec.”

Stephan Kirsch, President, Minerals business area, Metso Outotec, added: “We are pleased to continue our partnership with Norilsk Nickel. The supply of leading-edge equipment from Metso Outotec for the reconstruction of the comminution section at the Talnakh concentrator will enable an increase in the amount of ore processed. Our company has taken part in several projects with Norilsk Nickel to boost throughput rates of the processing facilities, and we are grateful for having been again selected to provide reliable solutions for a project as significant as Talnakh.”

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.

Hatch to commercialise CRC ORE’s Grade Engineering services

CRC ORE says it has taken an exciting step forward with Hatch, signing a deal that allows the multidisciplinary management, engineering and development consultancy to commercialise its Grade Engineering® Consulting Services.

Developed by the Brisbane-based Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE), Grade Engineering enables miners to reduce their energy, water and waste signatures while enhancing the productivity and profitability of their operations, according to CRC ORE.

It is an integrated approach to coarse rejection that matches a suite of separation technologies to ore specific characteristics and compares the net value of rejecting low value components in current feed streams with existing mine plans as part of a system-view.

Grade Engineering makes it possible to more efficiently treat lower grade ores and waste to extract valuable minerals, significantly increasing the life of mines and reducing their environmental footprint.

Achievable outcomes for mines, when deploying Grade Engineering at production scale, include significantly improved return on investment and lower capital intensity, according to CRC ORE.

BHP recently engaged CRC ORE and the Grade Engineering solution at its Olympic Dam mine, in South Australia, a location where the mine is actively examining bulk ore sensing and sorting opportunities.

“As Hatch adopts Grade Engineering and extends its reach into the mining industry, the value of such outcomes will increase for operations, clients and communities globally,” it added.

CRC ORE Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ben Adair (pictured signing the agreement on the left), said: “Hatch is a valued a long-term participant in CRC ORE and has actively championed Grade Engineering and its benefits to the industry. As a CRC ORE innovation, we are pleased that Grade Engineering will continue to be delivered by such a capable and engaged team.”

Dr Adair added: “At CRC ORE, our goal has been to develop our solutions to the highest possible standard and then ensure these are then managed by the most capable practitioners to take them to industry. Hatch is the perfect partner to ensure the long-term future of Grade Engineering.”

Under the terms of the commercialisation arrangement, Hatch will use Grade Engineering Intellectual Property for its consulting services.

Hatch Managing Director Australia and Asia, Jan Kwak (pictured signing the agreement on the right), said it was an honour to provide Grade Engineering consulting services.

“Being able to offer Grade Engineering as service is an exciting and positive step forward for Hatch and the mining industry,” Kwak said. “Grade Engineering enables miners to reduce their energy, water and waste signatures while enhancing the productivity and profitability of their operations.

“It also brings us a step closer to our vision for process intensification.”

The Grade Engineering team at Hatch will be headed by Dr Sevda Dehkhoda who has been working closely with CRC ORE since 2019.

“We look forward to continuing the legacy of CRC ORE by enabling the mining industry to intensify operational performance and minimise environmental footprint of the process by refining less waste,” Dr Dehkhoda said. “Adopting Grade Engineering into Hatch’s end-to-end value chain optimisation service offering strengthens Hatch’s position and its commitment to making positive change for mining operations and their communities.”

To facilitate the transition, CRC ORE’s Grade Engineering team will relocate to Hatch’s Brisbane office, supporting Hatch with current and potential users of Grade Engineering.

TAKRAF dry-stacked tailings test work boost for Los Andes Copper’s Vizcachitas project

Los Andes Copper says it has received additional positive results from the ongoing prefeasibility study (PFS) metallurgical test work at its Vizcachitas project in Chile.

These results show improved filtration rates for both the fine and coarse fraction tailings compared with previous testing, it said, reinforcing the decision to adopt dry-stacked tailings at the project.

An October press release regarding PFS metallurgical test work carried out by SGS demonstrated that the Vizcachitas tailings were amenable to being filtered and dry-stacked.

These same coarse and fine representative tailings samples were sent to the TAKRAF laboratories for further settling and filtration assessments. Los Andes said the TAKRAF work tested various settling and filtration parameters, including those previously tested.

The studies demonstrated that for the coarse fraction vacuum filtration, the rates improved from 1.9 t/h/sq.m to 3.4 t/h/sq.m when compared with the previous results. For the finer fraction, the settling velocities improved from 8.4 m/h to 16 m/h and the pressure filtration rates improved from 0.6 t/h/sq.m to 0.7 t/h/sq.m. The expected cake moistures for both filtration technologies were 15%.

These positive results mean that the Vizcachitas project, processing 110,000 t/d of ore, would only need to use eleven standard 162 sq.m belt filters and four 2.5 m x 2.5 m pressure filters for the tailings dewatering operation, Los Andes said, noting that other operations in the world were successfully operating with similar filter arrangements.

“Tailings filtration reduces water consumption by 50% when compared to thickened tailings disposal alternatives,” Los Andes said. “Furthermore, filtered tailings can be handled by trucks, conveyors and shovels, eliminating the need for the construction and operation of a tailings dam.

“The adoption of this technology puts the Vizcachitas project at the forefront of the environmentally responsible practices being adopted for the future of sustainable mining globally.”

Metso Outotec ups mill relinine equipment capacity with MRM

Metso Outotec is extending its mill reline equipment offering with a high-capacity Mill Reline Machine (MRM).

The new robust MRM has a capacity of 4,000 kg, enabling easy and safe replacement of steel lining systems inside even the largest grinding mills, according to the company.

“Replacing steel lining systems inside the confined space of grinding mills is a time-consuming and demanding job requiring strict safety measures and highly reliable equipment,” Jared Le Cras, Senior Manager, Mill Reline Equipment at Metso Outotec, said. “With the addition of the high-capacity MRM, Metso Outotec now provides a comprehensive range of Mill Reline Machines designed to ISO and IEC standards. The new MRM is designed for heavy-duty lining replacement tasks, with safety and efficiency as our top priorities.”

Benefits of the Metso Outotec MRM, according to the company, include efficient mill relining enabled by unique mechanical design features; maximised reliability, thanks to easy data access and spares replacement; minimised risk, thanks to safety features; and comprehensive service support via Metso Outotec’s global service network

In addition to mill reline machines, Metso Outotec’s mill reline equipment offering includes feed chute transporters, Tube MRMs and bolt hammers.