Tag Archives: Vertimill

Metso Outotec enhances fine grinding offering with stirred milling portfolio

Metso Outotec’s stirred milling innovations have been bolstered by the introduction of a “comprehensive” portfolio featuring three solutions – Vertimill®, Stirred Media Detritor (pictured) and HIGmill™.

Ideal for grinding finer products, stirred mills are known for their energy efficiency and compact design, reducing floor space requirements and installation complexity. These mills are based on gravity-induced and fluidised technologies, allowing for the optimum equipment solution for all comminution circuits covering secondary, tertiary, fine, ultrafine, regrind and lime slaking applications.

“Stirred milling is an important growth area and integral to our customer’s efforts for sustainable and cost-efficient comminution,” Christoph Hoetzel, Head of Grinding business line at Metso Outotec, said. “With our combined portfolio and our unrivalled experience in this field, Metso Outotec is in the unique position to offer the most suitable solution for any specific application. We are doing this with a holistic view towards efficiency, sustainability, availability and total cost of ownership.”

Metso Outotec stirred mills are suitable for a large range of product sizes. The standardised range includes chamber units of up to 50,000 litres and the world’s largest industry units with up to 6,500 kW of installed power.

All of the company’s stirred mills are part of Metso Outotec’s Planet Positive product portfolio, thanks to the sustainability benefits they deliver.

Vertimill is globally recognised as a market-leading energy-efficient grinding mill.

“Through a low total cost of ownership due to its simple and robust design, it brings substantial improvement to the profitability of concentrators,” the company says.

HIGmill is an advanced, energy-efficient fine and ultra-fine grinding solution that relies on proven technology. With the tall, narrow, vertical body arrangement, grinding media is evenly distributed and mineral particles remain in constant contact, significantly increasing grinding efficiency, the company says. It takes advantage of gravitational forces and GrindForce™ rotor technology to produce a finer grind for mineral liberation.

Stirred Media Detritor (SMD) is a fluidised, vertical stirred mill designed for optimum grinding efficiency for fine and ultrafine grinding products. SMDs have the capacity to operate continuously at full load power draw with no steel contamination of the product, according to the company. They are suitable for both open- and closed-circuit operation.

Metso Outotec ball mills, Vertimills heading to Mapa’s Liberia and Burkina Faso gold mines

The Turkish conglomerate, Mapa Group, has awarded Metso Outotec a contract for the delivery of key grinding technology to its gold mine expansion projects in Liberia and Burkina Faso.

The value of the order is approximately €19 million ($23 million), and it has been booked in the company’s Minerals June quarter orders received.

Mapa is a major conglomerate working in various industrial and construction sectors, including mining.

Mustafa Bülent Karaarslan, COO of the Mapa Group, said: “For us, good support, reliable project execution, and sustainable equipment and process performance are essential. Alongside the existing good relationship between the companies, they’re the reasons why we selected Metso Outotec for these projects.”

Metso Outotec will deliver identical grinding lines to both sites, consisting of state-of-the-art Premier™ ball mills (one pictured) and energy-efficient Vertimill® VTM-3000 stirred mills, each line featuring a capacity of 400 t/h. The deliveries are expected to take place in January 2022.

Mert Katkay, Head of Minerals Sales for Metso Outotec in the Middle East and Turkey, said: “We are excited that Mapa has chosen us to deliver the key equipment for the expansion of these two projects in Liberia and Burkina Faso. Previously, we have delivered the key crushing, screening and grinding equipment to these two mines.”

Metso Outotec to supply Vertimills, cone crusher to IAMGOLD’s Côté project

Metso Outotec is to supply key comminution technology to IAMGOLD Corporation and Sumitomo Metal Mining’s joint venture Côté gold project, in north-eastern Ontario, Canada.

The delivery consists of two energy-efficient Vertimill® 4500 grinding mills (pictured) and one MP1250 cone crusher for the Côté gold project.

Andy Lingenfelter, Vice President, Minerals Sales, North & Central America, Metso Outotec, said: “Low energy and wear part consumption, as well as process flexibility, were decisive factors for the Côté gold project team when selecting the comminution equipment.

“Metso Outotec was consulted during the prefeasibility study and supported IAMGOLD on several projects. IAMGOLD’s technical team had solid confidence in the Vertimill technology, and they were also familiar with the high-performance capability of the MP crushers.”

The value of the order exceeds €10 million ($11.9 million) and has been booked in Minerals’ March quarter 2021 orders received.

Côté comes with estimated contained gold reserves of over 7 Moz. Construction of the gold mine commenced in late 2020, and is expected be completed in mid-2023.

Metso Outotec Vertimill energy efficient tech heading to Australia gold mine

Metso Outotec has won an order to deliver two energy-efficient Vertimill® VTM-4500 stirred mills to a gold mine in Australia.

These vertical grinding mills will be the largest of their kind to be installed in Australia when the delivery occurs in 2021, the company says.

The typical value for this type of an order is in the range of €10-15 million ($11.7-17.5 million), depending on the scope of delivery. The order has been booked in Metso Outotec’s orders received in the September quarter of 2020.

Metso Outotec’s Vertimill provides the lowest total cost of ownership compared with other grinding mills in many applications thanks to its high energy efficiency, reduced media consumption, low installation cost as well as minimal liner wear and maintenance, the company says. It is capable of handling feed sizes up to 6 mm and grinding to products less than 20 microns. It is available in standard mill sizes ranging from 11 kW to 3,353 kW.

Metso Outotec says it is the only manufacturer worldwide than can offer multiple stirred mill technologies (Vertimill®, HIG™mill and SMD) to support their customers with the most suitable and efficient mill for their application.

Filling the mineral processing flowsheet gaps

Crushing, grinding, flotation, solvent extraction, electro winning, tailings management…Metso Outotec covers it all.

The new mineral processing entity might be less than a week old, but many in the industry would have, no doubt, had some burning questions to ask since the planned merger was announced on July 4, 2019.

IM had a chance to put some of these questions to Stephan Kirsch, President Minerals business area, Metso Outotec, gaining an initial impression of what the combination of the two companies means for the Minerals business he heads up.

IM: What big mining industry challenge will the combined group be better placed to tackle? What equipment/solutions/expertise within the group are the most important in achieving these goals?

SK: One issue – although not technology-focused – is community engagement.

Some mining operations in the world face challenges in terms of engaging with local communities and returning benefits to them. There is a social responsibility for mining companies, as they are the operators, but also for mining industry supporters involved in such projects.

That said, the vast majority of the mining industry runs initiatives that ensure communities understand mining companies are not just there to extract the iron, copper or gold and make money from it. They give back to local stakeholders and help improve community standards.

Stephan Kirsch, President Minerals business area, Metso Outotec

From a technology perspective, an industry issue we are well equipped to tackle is tailings management. With our combined offering, we look very seriously into solutions that can involve dewatering, dry stacking, and the reprocessing of tailings.

You asked about the products involved in solving these challenges…that includes filtration technologies, bulk materials handling products for conveying and stacking, and then various ore sorting technologies for the reprocessing.

Another trend to highlight is the use of energy or, more specifically, the need to reduce power consumption. There is some work to do here.

When you go and buy a car, you tend to focus on the fuel consumption. The mining industry, however, aims for high installed power because there is a sentiment that more power in the mill means more product out of the mill, more fines and, as a result, better downstream recoveries. In a way that is true for technologies like horizontal mills, ball mills and SAG mills, but when you turn to different, newer technologies it is not always the case.

One of these technologies is HPGRs which were introduced in the minerals industry in the mid-80s. Today, HPGRs are used in high tonnage, competent, abrasive ore applications due to their lower specific power draw and other downstream benefits compared to conventional technologies.

One can add to this, conserving other natural resources such as water. Water scarcity is obviously a problem and we should look at the recycling of process water wherever possible (that is where the filtration technology comes into play again) at the same time as examining more energy-efficient flowsheets.

There is quite a bit we can do to solve some of these challenges from a mineral processing perspective, but, the problem is, the industry remains conservative and anything new takes time to be implemented sustainably.

IM: I know Metso has previously talked about creating a bulk ore sorting solution for industry. Considering this, do you as Metso Outotec expect to continue leveraging the agreement Outotec has in place with TOMRA to carry out more sensor-based ore sorting projects? Alongside this, will you continue with your own bulk sorting projects?

SK: Early removal of tailings/overburden from the processing plant feed has been the operator’s dream for probably a century! This concept of preconcentration has been a consideration for many years, but in the last 30 or so years, technologies with different sensors have been developed to help with this separation process.

It is the ability to use sensor technology to single out particles on a conveyor belt at an appropriate speed and quantity that is the industry challenge. After all, when it comes to mining, we are talking about bulk materials that must be processed, not single elements like you have in the recycling and food sectors where much of this sensor technology originated from.

You need to look at the operating economics of such plants. When I say economics, I am factoring in throughput and recovery rates: you want a high tonnage and you don’t want to waste your ore, which is already low grade compared with what was being mined, say, 30 years ago.

The answer to your question is that Metso has been looking into preconcentration technologies for some time – we have R&D projects and partners looking at it. The same is the case with Outotec. Going forward, we will analyse this and make a call on whatever is the best combination to continue with such work.

Personally, I am a big believer in segregating waste as early in the process as possible to save energy downstream. But there are technical challenges to this.

IM: Both companies have been expanding their modular offering in recent years (Metso with its flexible FIT™ stations and the smart Foresight™ stations/Outotec with its modular paste backfill plants and HIGmill): is a lot of your mining and metals R&D currently focused on reducing the footprint of your solutions?

SK: Our R&D budget – as you probably heard on the webcast last week – is quite significant when put together. As Metso Outotec committed to keep both of our budgets unchanged, the spend comes to about €100 million ($112 million). A market survey we carried out revealed that, in terms of R&D spend, we are at the top of the industry.

Then, we must spend this money wisely wherever we see it being applied most economically for the benefit of our customers and for Metso Outotec. The modular crushing stations you mention are an area of interest we started developing years ago. We see good potential for this modular offering and will continue to develop it.

As for the percentage of the budget we will dedicate to it, this will – like all R&D projects – be analysed alongside others for crushing, grinding and all separation technologies with a strong focus on product innovations, digitalisation and sustainability.

IM: As you hinted at earlier, do you see tailings management being one of the combined group’s core strengths?

SK: It is one big focus area for us, but only one.

Crushing and grinding, which I mentioned earlier, is another strong area. We are a market leader in some of the crushing technologies we offer, and high up the industry when it comes to grinding technologies. We plan to really expand on this side.

I mentioned HPGRs where we have brilliant, world-class technology, but are missing the installed base. With 20-25 years of HPGR experience, I know we have the technology to make a difference, we just need to effectively bring it to market.

The whole re-grind space is really a future area for us to pursue due to industry-wide issues of falling grades, the need to reduce power consumption and fine grinding requirements.

Back to the original question, I expect Metso Outotec to be a strong player for dewatering and tailings management solutions.

IM: Outotec has a much more developed downstream business in areas like hydrometallurgy and smelting, etc in mining than Metso – will this remain a core part of the combined group?

SK: The front-end strength of Metso for mineral processing plants and the wet processing business focus of Outotec shows how well both companies complement one another. From a technical perspective, this is one of the reasons why the merger of Metso and Outotec makes much sense.

IM: In what segments of the mining and metals market do you see the most complementary solutions within Metso and Outotec?

SK: When we brought these two companies together it is amazing how many renowned international mineral processing experts came with it. We can provide much more comprehensive services to the industry because we can look at the entire flowsheet – from run of mine ore, to metal.

Why is this so important for our customers? You can bundle equipment together to make tenders and dealing with OEMs more economical for mining companies. But, more than that, we can bring a much larger pool of experts to a project to interact and talk with each other to provide the right innovations. This is the ‘one plus one equals three’ effect.

We can also look at balancing the equipment so, for example, the primary crusher is appropriately configured to produce the right ore for the secondary crushing process and the screens are amply sized to effectively carry out their job. That then leads to finding the optimal operating point for the HPGRs and milling equipment and then the downstream processing segment. This type of equipment balancing is highly interesting for the market, creating win-win situations for customers and us as an OEM.

IM: Do you see your relationship with mining customers changing because of this holistic approach?

SK: Yes and no. There are companies that will appreciate this wider offering and there are others that will continue to come to us as part of a more traditional way of tendering for mineral processing equipment.

I see a trend where larger companies are coming back to reliable OEMs because the availability, sustainability and reliability of equipment is much more important than saving a dollar in capex in the first place. That is a trend we have seen strengthen even more recently with COVID; we all know when a plant is not running, it costs operators hundreds of thousands of dollars per day in lost revenue.

Yet, there are always customers that say capex is king. They will do everything they can to tender it most competitively from a capital expense perspective, regardless of the long-term total cost of ownership benefits choosing another solution will have.

IM: How will your digital offering be strengthened through the combination?

SK: At Metso, we started, especially in South America, with a strong operation and presence in terms of remote control and remote operating and maintenance support for processing plants.

The service solutions that have been developed and established in some countries, specifically for Metso and for Metso equipment, in the new company will, of course, be transferred into the installed base of Outotec (for example, a facility previous owned by Outotec in Espoo, Finland, is now a Metso Outotec Performance Center facility).

We often heard from customers: ‘We have great equipment from the Outotec side, but we have never experienced the great Metso services.’

What is so encouraging to see is that there is demand from the industry for such a combination of equipment and services.

IM: Where do you see an overlap of solutions (for instance, possibly crushing and grinding equipment (SAG/AG/ball mills), vertical crushing tech (Vertimill/HIG mill)) or flotation (Outotec has a greater market share but Metso supplies some interesting options like column flotation, plus is the leader in flotation camera monitoring with VisioFroth)? Historically, have you been competing against each other for contracts in these market segments?

SK: As you know, for 12 months or so, there was intense scrutiny from the regulatory authorities to find out if the companies could merge or not because of an overlap, and the answer that came back is yes.

From a regulatory authority perspective, there is no overlap, and, from a technical perspective, I view it in a similar way.

One prime example to give would be the Vertimill (below, left) and the HIGmill (below, right). If you look at both in detail and you talk to customers – which has happened when we have our project meetings and negotiations – you often find that the applications being examined are so specific that both mills, although close when it comes to operating process, have their own sweet spots.

                      

Most of the cases where we, as Metso and Outotec, won or lost a tender, the argument was not around price or sentiment; it was always technical where, for example, the feed was too coarse for the HIGmill, or the end product needed to be so fine that the Vertimill was ruled out.

We, therefore, want to continue offering both technologies; we will not shelve one because we believe there is room for both solutions.

IM: Could this combination then enable you to offer a more customised solution for customers?

SK: That is where the benefit (from the combined Metso Outotec) for the industry really kicks in; our customers are not just getting standard solutions; some tailoring is involved. They will be able to get more specific and solution-oriented, performance-balanced pieces of equipment.

IM: Would you like to add anything else?

SK: I need to say that I am quite excited about the opportunities for the new company, Metso Outotec. There are benefits for both us and the wider industry.

Personally, I am humbled to be elected to run such a large organisation of industry experts and high-quality equipment. It is exciting times ahead.

Metso looks to grind down GHG emissions with energy-efficient technology

Having recently won the approval of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for its greenhouse gas (GHG) targets, Metso’s Climate Program now has the recognition it deserves.

The GHG goals are applicable to all relevant emission sources: production, procurement, inbound and outbound transportation as well as the use of Metso’s products.

Following on from this environmental win, IM put some questions to Metso’s Director of Sustainable Business Development, Kaisa Jungman, to find out what impact these climate change aims might have on the mining equipment manufacturers’ product offering and how the company is already leading from the front with its environmental sustainability initiatives.

It’s worth acknowledging, first, that these GHG goals are all-encompassing.

As a scope 1 and 2 GHG target, Metso has committed to a 25% reduction in carbon emissions in production by 2030, while 30% of its suppliers – in terms of spend – are required to set science-based emission targets by 2024. Metso also aims for a 20% reduction in transportation emissions by 2025 (scope 3 GHG emissions target) by streamlining transportation routes and optimising warehouse locations.

Through extensive research and development work, Metso says it has been able to significantly reduce the energy consumption in customer processes. To continue this development, the company is aiming for a 10% reduction in GHG emissions in the most “energy-intensive customer processes” using Metso products by 2025.

The company is also demanding energy-efficiency targets in its Metso R&D projects, and offsetting flight emissions by 100% by 2021.

The target to lower GHG emissions by 10% in the most “energy-intensive customer processes” stood out in these targets, and it was hardly surprising to find out grinding falls into this category.

“Grinding is the most energy-intensive stage of minerals processing,” Jungman said. “Overall, it is estimated that comminution counts for 3-5% of the energy consumption in the world and grinding is part of this.”

In the company’s climate program it has included three of its products – the HRC™ high pressure grinding roll, Vertimill® and stirred SMD (stirred media detritor) – to help achieve this 10% cut in GHGs.

“We have estimated, based on our installed base, in 2018, that approximately 1,073,648 t of CO2 emissions were saved through these energy efficient grinding technologies,” she said, explaining that these savings were calculated by comparing its three solutions with conventional technology.

At this stage, it is only the HRC, Vertimill and SMD included in this calculation – due to their substantial energy and emission reduction credentials and the company’s ability to quantify accurately the estimated savings – but Jungman said Metso plans to widen the scope of the technologies to be included.

“In addition to our climate program, we are also looking into other environmental benefits the customers are gaining through our solutions,” she said.

“To improve energy and emissions efficiency in the future, our target is that all our R&D projects will set energy-efficiency targets by 2021.”

She concluded on these technologies: “I would say that this climate program is an important first step and we will continue developing even more comprehensive sustainability targets for our technologies.”

When it comes to displaying evidence of where the company is reducing scope 1 (generated from fuels used in production) and 2 (generated from purchased energy) emissions, Jungman could point to several examples.

“We have installed solar panels in some of our locations already and are looking now for opportunities to install more in several locations in the coming years,” she said.

In some of the company’s facilities, a percentage of the electricity it purchases is already from renewable sources, and Metso is investigating the possibilities of expanding this, Jungman added.

“In addition to electricity consumption, we are also searching for renewable alternatives for the other forms of our energy consumption, including, for example, replacing natural gas consumption with renewable alternatives.”

The company has also, in recent years, invested in many energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, according to Jungman.

“As an example, in our foundry in China, we have invested in a new type of melting furnace to gain better energy efficiency.

“In another production location, we have installed technology to recover process heat from the exhaust air to be used as heating energy. We have also invested in the process automation and insulation of the furnaces to gain better energy efficiency.”

She concluded: “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is something we take seriously, and to which Metso is fully committed. We want all our stakeholders to be involved in the work to reach these important targets and to aim even higher.”

Vertimills continue to save energy and cut emissions, Metso says

Metso says its Vertimills® are globally recognised as some of the most energy efficient grinding machines, and the company has tried to make that clear in its 2018 annual report.

Vertimills have proven to grind more efficiently than horizontal ball mills, with typical energy savings of 25-35% and, in some cases, even 50%, according to Metso.

“In addition to grinding efficiency, reduced media consumption, lower installation cost, reduced maintenance, and reduced liner wear make the Metso Vertimill the lowest total cost of ownership option in many applications,” Metso said.

Based on a review of the Vertimills currently in operation and a comparison of their efficiency and media consumption relative to a ball mill, Metso estimates that approximately 1.48 million MWh of energy was saved and 652,000 t of CO2 emissions were abated in 2018, compared with 924,000 MWh of energy and 547,000 t CO2, respectively, in 2017.

Since its introduction in 1979, over 440 Vertimills have been delivered globally.

Metso and Ferrexpo Poltava Mining’s iron ore pellet evolution

Ferrexpo’s Poltava Mining subsidiary has been on a journey to both stimulate demand for iron ore pellets and increase the Fe content of its product. The crushing and flotation technology of Metso has played a key role in this evolution, according to Alexey Strikha*.

In 1960, the exploration of Kremenchug magnetic anomaly started on the left bank of the Dnieper River, Ukraine. At that time, the foundation of the future Poltava Mining refinery was laid, and, 10 years later, the plant produced its first batch of concentrate.

There were several phases of plant construction: in 1980, after launching the pelletising plant, the company presented a new type of product to the market – iron ore pellets. To stimulate the demand for this product, the company needed to improve the product’s quality, ie increase the iron content in the concentrate.

Keeping this in mind, the company’s managers decided to upgrade the ore pre-treatment operations: reduce the fragmentation size to cut the costs of further ore degradation. Due to space constraints at the crushing plant, the company was in need of new equipment with the exact dimensions of the current foundation structures. At that time, Svedala (acquired by Metso in 2001) engineers suggested testing the Barmac vertical shaft impact crusher.

“The conventional crusher-based closed cycle of check screening was not an option for us, so we were offered inertial crushers for coarse lumps. And this proved to be a good technical solution,” said Vladimir Khovanets, Chief Concentrating Engineer at Poltava Mining.

Alexander Lysenko, Poltava Mining’s Chief Technical Officer said: “Metso always does lots of research and testing to offer us an integrated solution, i.e. technology that gives us exactly what we want.”

After the pilot testing, the middle and small fraction crusher lines were upgraded with Barmac crushers. That project was a success, so both companies decided to expand further joint activities: two double-drum separators were installed instead of eight locally manufactured triple-drum separators with no loss in productivity.

Flotation technology

These earlier projects to upgrade the crushing and magnetic concentration processes laid the foundation for further improvement in the concentrate quality.

Lysenko said: “It’s common knowledge that our ore is quite lean, and the market was in demand of high-quality iron ore pellets containing 62-65% Fe.”

Two methods are used for concentration of lean ores: magnetic and flotation concentration. During the engineering study of these methods, Metso installed a pilot plant with laboratory mills, flotation cells, magnetic separators and hydrocyclones.

Igor Grebeniuk, Regional Sales Manager at Metso, said: “The pilot results proved that 67-68% Fe content in the pellets manufactured from Poltava Mining ores was quite possible after the flotation upgrading.”

In 2002, the company launched Flotation Plant 1 equipped with Metso RCS130. It was the first project in the former Soviet Union to use flotation upgrading in the ferrous industry. Keeping this in mind, the engineers at Poltava Mining ran a detailed preliminary analysis of the new technology, studying the cases of Metso equipment supplied to the concentration plants in the USA and Canada.

Lysenko said: “Metso explained all the benefits and the hidden risks. And we saw that the technology works. It’s friendly to the environment and commercially feasible.”

Reducing grain size

Commissioning of the new flotation plant entailed the modification of the crushing lines, since super-fine grain is required for efficient magnetic upgrading of concentrate.

Khovanets recalled: “While working with Flotation Plant 1, we gained the insight that Flotation Plants 2 and 3 need to be constructed for the strategic development of the company. And conventional drum mills were not so good for that process.”

Lysenko said: “Thanks to flotation, we were able to increase the yield of iron from quite lean ores, but we couldn’t get enough homogeneous product using the conventional crushing line.”

Metso engineers suggested Vertimill for high-quality and fine milling of the product. In coordination with Ferrexpo engineers, a concentration line with vertical mills for all flotation cells was developed.

Khovanets said: “After magnetic concentration, we get about 85-89% of below 44 microns grade. Vertimill machines help to bring up the fineness of grinding, ie up to 90% of ground materials are minus 33 microns.

“Vertimill machines offer a new design. A conventional drum mill operates in the horizontal position, while Vertimill is installed vertically. The space needed of such equipment is much smaller, and it provides proper crushing grade.”

Boosting pellet iron content

Two additional flotation cells were commissioned in 2014. These additional cells gave a step change in the concentration technology. Today, ore from different fields is processed separately at Flotation Plants 1 and 2, while Flotation Plant 3 is used for iron recovery from froth.

Lysenko said: “Before commissioning the plant, we produced pellets with 62% Fe content. Due to flotation upgrading we now have 67% concentrate, and this brings the product’s quality to a new level. I mean pellets with 65% Fe content.”

Introduction of the new iron ore concentration technologies entails upgrading the next downstream process, namely filtration. After the equipment upgrade, it will be possible to reach the maximum dehumidification of concentrate to gain additional quality.

Grebeniuk said about the current projects: “But we go the extra mile. To increase production, we’re now constructing two additional plants, a crushing plant and filtration plant.”

A tough market requires high-grade product rich in iron and with minimum impurities. After the process upgrade, Poltava Mining was able to improve the pellet quality, which also means more investments in the infrastructure of its hometown.

Ruslan Klimenko, Chief Communication Officer of Poltava Mining, said: “We want to offer benefits to as many people in the city as possible.”

*This story was written by Alexey Strikha, one of Metso’s Regional Directors