Tag Archives: minerals processing

Metso Outotec introduces scalable thickening options for minerals processing

Metso Outotec has introduced scalable thickening plant units to, it says, ensure outstanding circuit performance and reliability for any minerals processing application or capacity.

Comprising high-rate thickeners, high-compression thickeners, paste thickeners, clarifiers and polymer dosing units, the Metso Outotec thickening plant units fit seamlessly with other dewatering units, like filtration or any type of water treatment applications, according to the company. The pre-engineered units incorporate Planet Positive Reactorwell™ feedwell technology, maximising thickener performance while minimising flocculant consumption.

Toni Kuisma, Product Manager for Dewatering Islands at Metso Outotec, said: “Decreasing ore grades set new challenges for the mining industry. Equipment design needs to integrate seamlessly across the process to avoid underperformance and recovery losses. Our new thickening plant units feature scalable, modular components, and the integrated units deliver consistent performance even in changing process conditions. What’s more, the productised and partially modular units are quick and safe to install and commission.”

Metso Outotec says these units offer unique benefits including:

  • A wide and proven range of proprietary equipment with innate digitalisation for the whole plant, providing consistent performance in changing process conditions
  • Industry-leading Reactorwell feedwell technology to ensure efficient use of the clarification area;
  • Better risk management through process performance guarantees;
  • In-house testing and sizing;
  • Expert support in the design of individual applications, based on extensive plant design know-how and numerous references for various applications, concentrate and tailings.

Metso Outotec has one of the widest portfolios of thickening solutions on the market, with an installed base of around 3,000 thickener equipment installations around the world.

The thickening plant units are Metso Outotec’s fifth complete plant unit launch for concentrator plants, with previous launches including stirred mill plant units, horizontal mill plant units, filtration plant units and flotation plant units

Mixing in the minerals processing industry

For many operations in the minerals processing industries, the contacting of ore particles with a liquid is critical to the successful extraction of the desired metal product, Richard K Greenville* (pictured) says.

This operation is carried out in large vessels in which an agitator provides energy to suspend the particles above the base of the vessel and to promote contacting of the liquid with them.

There is a minimum speed at which the agitator must operate, often referred to as the “just suspension speed”. At this speed, no particles are stationary on the vessel base for an extended period. They are constantly in contact with the liquid.

When this mixing criterion has been met, the resistance to mass transfer between the particles and the liquid is diffusion through the liquid film around each particle. At lower speeds, when the particles can settle, the mass transfer rate depends on diffusion through the bed of settled particles, which is much slower. Also, at speeds below the just suspended speed, particles will accumulate on the base, since they are not moving. Eventually the vessel will have to be drained so these particles can be cleaned out. This reduces the productivity of the plant and adds to operational costs.

While mixing can affect the rate of mass transfer between the liquid and the particles, the overall rate of an extraction process will also be determined by the diffusion within the ore particle. This is independent of mixing. The rate in this step of the process can be increased by grinding the particles to a smaller size, but that can make the particles more difficult to separate from the liquid after extraction, because their settling velocity will be lower.

Sometimes there is a requirement for the particles to be distributed throughout the liquid to some fraction of the total depth. For example, if the particles leave the vessel by overflow, they must be suspended to the liquid surface. Operation at the just suspended speed does not guarantee the particles will be uniformly distributed, and the power and torque delivered by the agitator must be increased significantly to achieve this condition.

Another important operation is the dispersion of gas into the vessel. Like solids suspension, there is a minimum speed at which the agitator must operate called the “flooding speed”. At this speed, the flow generated by the impeller overcomes the buoyancy of the gas bubbles, ensuring they are well distributed throughout the liquid. Also, the impeller creates stresses in the liquid, reducing the size of the bubbles increasing the area for mass transfer between the gas and liquid.

Three-phase systems are common in minerals processing. The presence of the bubbles will reduce the agitator’s ability to suspend the particles, and it will usually have to operate at a higher speed to ensure the particles are all in motion and the gas is well dispersed.

There are rules for sizing agitators for solid-liquid and gas-liquid contacting and for three-phase systems. These have been applied successfully to design equipment for many minerals processing plants and research into mixing these processes continues today.

*Richard K Greenville is Director of Mixing Technology for Philadelphia Mixing Solutions Ltd

Metso breaks records as it looks forward to more growth

It was a record year in terms of profitability for Metso in 2019; a year that saw the minerals processing company make several strategic decisions to fundamentally change its group structure.

Orders received across the group increased 5% to €3.7 billion ($4.1 billion), with sales growing 15% to €3.635 billion. Adjusted EBITA rose from €369 million in 2018 to €474 million (13% of sales) in 2019, while operating profit jumped to €418 million from €351 million.

Metso President and CEO, Pekka Vauramo, said 2019 was in many ways historical and transformational for the company.

“It also marked a record in our financial performance, as our sales increased in both segments and our profitability was higher than ever in the company’s history,” he said.

The company also launched some major new products – including the Metso Truck Body and the VPX filter – in addition to publishing the Metso Climate Program, which aims for notable reductions in emissions.

The year will be remembered for two major strategic decisions from Metso.

“The first was the acquisition of McCloskey, a Canadian supplier of mobile aggregates crushers and screens,” Vauramo said. “After the closing of the acquisition in October, Metso’s offering strengthened in the mobile aggregates equipment market, which is estimated to see the industry’s fastest-growing demand.”

“The second and truly transformative step was the decision related to the partial demerger of Metso, after which Metso’s Minerals business will be combined with Outotec to create Metso Outotec, a unique company in the minerals, metals and aggregates industries,” Vauramo said.

At the same time as this, the company took the decision to allow its valves business to continue as an independent listed company named Neles.

Vauramo said: “We are confident that, as a result of this transaction, both companies will be well-positioned to grow and create value for our customers and other stakeholders.”

Shareholders of both Metso and Outotec approved the transaction in October at respective meetings and internal preparations have proceeded according to plan, Vauramo said.

The completion of the transaction still requires approvals from the competition authorities in various markets, but according to the company’s estimate, closing should take place on June 30, 2020.

Paul Sohlberg becomes Outotec’s new head of minerals processing

Outotec has appointed Paul Sohlberg as interim Executive Vice President of its Minerals Processing business unit following Kimmo Kontola’s decision to leave the company.

The position, which also sees him join the executive board, is temporary until the expected closing of the Outotec and Metso Minerals combination, which is expected to complete in the June quarter.

Paul Sohlberg joined Outotec in 2011 and, since 2014, has worked as the President of Market Area North & Central America.

Outotec’s President and CEO, Markku Teräsvasara, said Sohlberg has “versatile experience” in business leadership roles at Outotec and Elektrobit.

“Under Paul’s leadership, we have seen strong development in North and Central America. I warmly welcome Paul to our executive board, where his task will be to further strengthen and develop our growing minerals processing business.

“At the same time, I want to thank Kimmo for his long career and contributions in developing Outotec’s minerals processing business and wish him all the best in his next career chapter.”

Future-proofing mineral processing plants

As minerals processing, digital plants and effective plant operations become more important for mining companies, Australia’s largest mining event is set to examine the challenges of processing plants of the future.

Finding intelligent solutions, future-proofing grinding circuits and embracing the opportunities of digitisation will be discussed at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne next month (October 29-31).

Ahead of the conference, Sandvik Lifecycle Development Manager, Simon Adams; CRC ORE Chief Executive and Managing Director, Ben Adair; and Weir Minerals Global HPGR Product Specialist, Bjorn Dierx, discussed the issues in a special IMARC webinar.

All agreed mining companies faced increased challenges as ore stocks depleted, forcing them to move to more remote locations and dig deeper in a bid to maintain recovery rates of past years.

Dierx, who will deliver an IMARC presentation on dry air classification technology to remove the need for water, said: “Our customers are under immense pressure to reduce energy consumption, use less water and reduce carbon emissions.

“Overall, as commodities are depleting, companies are making large investments in new plants to dig deeper, crush more ore and at remote locations with limited access to power and water to achieve the same recovery rates as the past 20 years.”

He said about 3% of global energy consumption was attributed to crushing rock so greater efficiencies in comminution would make a big contribution to reduced emissions.

For Adair, efficiencies are available now in existing operations.

“It’s important to optimise and run your equipment to the best of its ability,” he said. “Most sites I visit that’s simply not the case. We are a little bit delusional if we think we are there at the moment in a digital sense in optimising various grinding circuits.”

He agreed limited access to water was a critical element.

“It’s interesting water was mentioned. That is one of the major challenges for the industry. It simply won’t have access to potable water and it will have to head rapidly to a closed-loop situation otherwise the costs will be extraordinarily prohibitive,” he said.

“Most of our work is done in the sorting space. . . It’s patently ridiculous and it has been for the past 15 to 20 years that we mine something and stick it through various expensive process plants when in fact 99% of it has no value whatsoever.

“If you are looking at the mine of the future, it is going to be about exploiting heterogeneity at the mine face as opposed to deliberately destroying heterogeneity and looking for homogenous feeds for downstream processing plants.”

The digital transformation at the plant and processing level offered opportunities for miners, with Adams saying the ability to collect and analyse data was crucial.

“If you can have digitisation and automation that moves towards cognitive behaviour, once you get those algorithms down you can have far more efficient plants operating through that process,” he said.

“We have to turn data into knowledge; looking at power consumption and efficiencies and getting to the cognitive stage where we can foresee failures or predicted failures and we can capture them early and shut down in an organised fashion.”

Dierx said digital transformation presented a big opportunity for the industry to attract new people from traditional software programmers and those in the gaming industry to work in the mining industry.

“The big iron ore miners, if those autonomous devices need to be switched off, they use Xbox controllers to correct them. That’s good news for children of today,” he said.

“From an education perspective, there is still some work to be done. Universities need restructuring to ensure we not only educate traditional operators, metallurgists and process engineers but ensure that understanding algorithms and working with digital tools become standard practice.”

IMARC, developed in collaboration with its founding partners the Victorian State Government of Australia, Austmine, AusIMM and Mines and Money, is where global mining leaders connect with technology, finance and the future. For more information, please visit https://imarcmelbourne.com/

International Mining is a media sponsor of the IMARC event

Weir Minerals Africa on the Cavex CVXT hydrocyclone

Weir Minerals Africa says its locally-manufactured Cavex® CVXT tile lined hydrocyclone features unique laminar spiral inlet geometry designed to deliver sharper separation, maximum capacity and longer wear life.

The CVXT tile lined hydrocyclones are available in a large range of sizes to process any feed tonnage requirement, the company said. All components are designed for ease of maintenance and efficient operation, it added.

“This innovative design provides a natural flow path into the cyclone body, allowing the feed stream to blend smoothly with the rotating slurry inside the chamber,” Weir said. The result is greatly reduced turbulence through the whole cyclone, dramatically improving the separation efficiency of the hydrocyclone, according to the company. It is also offers a much longer wear life than conventional involute and tangential feed inlet designs, the company added.

The Cavex® CVXT hydrocyclone can be fitted with an extended barrel which, again, increases efficiency by increasing the residence time in the hydrocyclone. This is especially for use with ores carrying a high content of near-density materials. The hydrocyclone is also available with different overflow configuration options to suit operational needs.

To maintain separate efficiency at different operating yields and spigot sizes, a wide range of vortex finder sizes ranging from 0.4 to 0.5 are available. “These are designed to maintain a strong air-core at the different sizes. The spigot sizes range from normal to extra high capacity to accommodate low yield ores. These can also be manufactured in different material to prolong the hydrocyclone life and efficiency,” Weir said.

Metso Minerals division expands with incorporation of Pumps business area

Metso says it is looking to better support the common customer interface and growth plans of its Pumps business area by moving it into its Minerals division.

Previously, Pumps was reported under the Flow Control segment together with Valves. Metso said it will continue to report externally under the two segments, Minerals and Flow Control, and will run its operations through seven business areas grouped under these two segments.

“The majority of Metso’s Pumps business area’s customers are common to the Minerals segment, and sales already largely operate through the Minerals market area structure,” Metso said. The Pumps business area will now be headed by Mikko Keto, who acts also as President of Metso’s Minerals Services business area, while John Quinlivan will continue as President of the Valves business area.

The change is effective immediately, with Pumps to be reported under the Minerals segment as of January 1.

Outotec processing expertise and tech on its way to Mexico precious metals project

Outotec has won a contract for the delivery of a complete minerals processing plant for a precious metals project in Mexico, as part of wider €30 million ($34 million) order.

The company will also deliver process equipment for upgrades of two other sulphide silver ore processes for the same customer.

The total value of the contracts booked in Outotec’s December quarter order intake is approximately €30 million ($34 million), Outotec said.

The scope of the delivery includes the entire process flowsheet of grinding mills, flotation machines, concentrate and tailings thickeners, as well as concentrate filters, automation, and various spares and supervision services for the new precious metals concentrator.

For the upgrade of existing silver processes, Outotec will deliver additional flotation machines and multiple fine grinding equipment for improved recovery.

The deliveries will take place in the end of 2019, Outotec said.

Kimmo Kontola, Head of Outotec’s Minerals Processing Business, said: “We are pleased that we were chosen to deliver our leading technologies and services that enable our customer to improve their profitability in a sustainable way.”

The company was also recently awarded a pressure leaching and solvent extraction technologies for a battery chemicals plant to be built in Sotkamo, Finland. The total order value booked in the December quarter order intake for this contract is some €34 million.

Harsco receives decade-long extension at ArcelorMittal Tubarao

The metals and minerals division of diversified industrial firm Harsco Corp has won a 10-year extension to its contract with Brazil steel producer ArcelorMittal Tubarao.

The $150 million agreement will include meltshop cleaning, slag handling and crushing, metal recovery, and drop ball services.

Harsco Metals & Minerals Chief Operating Officer Russ Mitchell said: “This agreement is key to maintaining our strong strategic presence in Latin America, and it underpins our commitment to our customer by delivering value and adding solutions with the highest quality and safety standards.”

Tubarao is one of the largest integrated steel mills in Brazil, with an annual production capacity of 7.5 Mt/y.

Harsco says its metals and minerals division is the largest and most comprehensive provider of onsite material processing and environmental services to the global metals industry, with operations at approximately 140 customer sites across more than 30 countries.

It provides customers with economically and environmentally viable solutions for the treatment and reuse of production waste streams, according to the company. It has been particularly successful in providing these services to the steel and aluminium industries.

Outotec to supply new South America copper concentrator with minerals processing tech

Outotec has been awarded an order for the delivery of minerals processing technology to a new copper concentrator to be built in South America.

The contract value, booked in Outotec’s 2018 September quarter order intake, is approximately €25 million ($29 million).

Outotec’s scope includes engineering and the delivery of flotation cells and filters, with deliveries taking place by the end of 2019.

Kimmo Kontola, head of Outotec’s Minerals Processing business, said: “We are pleased to be part of one of the most important mining projects in South America through Outotec’s energy-efficient flotation cells and our proven filter technology. This order will strengthen Outotec’s position as a supplier of advanced minerals processing technologies in South America.”

This contract comes on top of last month’s orders, which saw Outotec book €24 million for minerals processing technology and equipment for a base metals concentrator plant from a Russian mining company and €15 million for flotation cells and automation going to a base metal concentrator in Kazakhstan.