Multotec Process Equipment’s high-precision sampling equipment has found a home in Guinea, with bauxite producers in the West African country using the South Africa-based company’s tools to verify the quality of mined material before it is shipped overseas.
The company has recently provided two tariff sampling plants to a major bauxite producer in the country, including what is possibly one of the largest hammer samplers in the world, it said.
One of the plants is located at the bauxite mining operation itself, while the other is at the export facility where the high-grade bauxite is loaded onto ships.
According to Willem Slabbert, Sampling and Magnetics Specialist at Multotec Process Equipment, the samplers serve a vital role in representatively measuring the quality of the material mined and then exported, as well as its physical characteristics.
“At the mine, the sampling plant gives the mining company and their third-party mining contractor a scientific basis on which to check compliance with their contractual requirements,” Slabbert says.
“Similarly, the plant at the export facility assures the end customer of the quality of bauxite they are purchasing.”
The solution designed for this specific application includes hammer samplers, double-roll crushers, rotating plate dividers, feeder conveyors and barcoded carousels to link the sampling plant’s hourly performance to the indexed samples produced, Multotec explained. There is also protection equipment – a moisture analyser, overbelt magnet and metal detector – and inter-sampling plant conveyors.
“The plants were designed as a holistic solution, to deliver measurements in line with the international standard ISO8685 – ensuring that both sides of a contractual agreement can feel confident in the results,” Slabbert says. “They are also fully automatic and PLC-controlled for maximum efficiency.”
He highlighted that the sampling and materials handling solution was based on extensive test work carried out at Multotec’s facilities in Spartan, near Johannesburg. Crusher tests were also conducted on the specific bauxite, which comprised a substrate material with very hard embedded nodules.
“We identified custom-designed, heavy-duty, double-roll crushers as the optimal solution to deal with the extreme hardness of the nodules in the material,” Slabbert says. “The abrasiveness and stickiness of the Guinean bauxite also required low-friction liners to be designed into each plant.”
Multotec also has a West Africa branch in Ghana to supporting its installations. This branch also sources local components for customers.
Multotec Process Equipment has experience in sampling bauxite in Guinea, says Slabbert, with a sampling plant installed two decades ago for another bauxite producer.