THE KNOWLEDGE YOU NEED
Highly commended 2011 PICA Cover of the Year - B2B Publishing
FROM THE INDUSTRY EXPERTS
Chairman of RSV Group, Hennie Read, on bridging the generation and skills divide P10
FERROUS AND NON-FERROUS METALS Tapping into the untapped
Ensuring effective downstream beneficiation
ENGINEERING AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Rising to new levels
A diversified African project leader ISSN 1999-8872 • R35.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 5 • No. 11 • November/December 2012
T H E K N O W L E D G E YO U N E E D
FROM THE INDUSTRY EXPERTS
Highly commended 2011 PICA Cover of the Year - B2B Publishing
THE KNOWLEDGE YOU NEED
LQLQJ FROM THE INDUSTRY EXPERTS
Chairman of RSV Group, Hennie Read, on bridging the generation and skills divide P10
FERROUS AND NON-FERROUS METALS Tapping into the untapped
ALUMINIUM Ensuring effective downstream beneﬁciation
ENGINEERING AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT Rising to new levels
A diversified African project leader ISSN 1999-8872 • R35.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 5 • No. 11 • November/December 2012
ON THE COVER The DRA Group’s recent expansion into Africa underscores its decision to diversify its offering. The continent is seeing a particular resurgence in gold, copper and uranium and as existing mining operations are upgraded and new mines are developed, DRA is well positioned to benefit from this new “rush” P6
The death of a mining town
The top mining stories headlining this month
10 Bridging the generation and skills divide in engineering consulting
FERROUS AND NON-FERROUS METALS
16 Baobab Resources – Unlocking Mozambique’s iron 20
and steel potential Ironveld – Going for pig iron in the Bushveld
BOTSWANA FOCUS: PART 2
24 Botswana – The feeding has started ENGINEERING AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT
26 Ingwenya takes BEE ownership to 45% 28 Steval Engineering – SMPP contractor extends its horizons
31 Consulmet – The LSTK leader BENEFICIATION
32 Ensuring effective downstream beneficiation 36
in aluminium Mintek – SA’s first commercial pressure leaching plant
38 How to become a low-cost producer MINING EQUIPMENT
42 Sandvik Mining finds its perfect match in the Northern Cape
44 Pilot Crushtec appointed as Sandvik’s African distributor
46 Sulzer Pumps launches intelligent dewatering pump 48 Enprotec cleans up on ultra-fines GEARS AND MOTORS
50 SEW Eurodrive says size matters, and so does service
51 Flexible transmission solutions CETERUM CENSEO
56 Dawn of the mining supermajors is breaking Inside Mining 11.12/2012
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Editor’s comment Publisher Elizabeth Shorten Associate publisher Ferdie Pieterse Editor Hans Alink Head of design Frédérick Danton Senior designer Hayley Mendelow Chief sub-editor Claire Nozaic Sub-editor Patience Gumbo Marketing & online manager Martin Hiller Production manager Antois-Leigh Botma
THE DEATH OF A MINING TOWN
From boom town to ghost town
Production coordinator Jacqueline Modise Financial manager Andrew Lobban Administration Tonya Hebenton Distribution manager Nomsa Masina Distribution coordinator Asha Pursotham
I want to tell you some interesting facts about Welkom, one of South Africa’s biggest and wealthiest mining towns of yesteryear, facts which most readers are possibly not aware of.
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South Africa: R350.00 (incl VAT & postage) SADC countries: US$80 Foreign: US$100 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ISSN 1999-8872 Inside Mining Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. ___________________________________ All material in Inside Mining is copyright protected and may not be reproduced either in whole or in part without the prior written permission of the publisher. The views of contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the the publishers.
During the first half of the 20th century, gold was discovered on several farms south of the Free State town of Odendaalsrus. After the Second World War, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer and his Anglo American Corporation, the progenitor of Anglo Gold, bought up all the prospecting rights in the area and decided to mine the richest gold find in the history of South Africa. Prices of property in Odendaalsrus skyrocketed, so Oppenheimer decided that he would build his own town for his miners, instead of paying the exorbitant prices in Odendaalsrus. He drove 20 km south and climbed a hill called Koppie-alleen and looked down on the plains, where his mines would be and decided to build a town from scratch, called Welkom, named after the farm where the gold was first discovered. In 1947, the Orange Free State Provincial Council issued Oppenheimer with the ‘birth certificate’ of the town of Welkom. In his mind, Oppenheimer envisioned a beautiful garden city with broad streets. He commissioned the design of Welkom to leading town planner William Backhouse and landscape gardener Joane Prim. For Backhouse, the design of a town from scratch was a dream come true. Space was not a problem on the Free State plains, so he designed the streets broad, with no traffic lights only roundabouts, to keep the traffic flowing and no high-rise buildings in the new town. In the centre of town, he wanted a ‘Roman Forum’ with a square, where town folk could gather. It was surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped road of 75 m, known affectionately by the town people as the ‘Hoefie’, short for the Afrikaans word hoefyster. Sports clubs, golf clubs, Olympic-size swimming pools, cinemas, theatres, hospitals, parks, schools, a technical college and an airport were built, all with the riches of the gold below the fertile soil. The town attracted people from all over South Africa. Money was flowing, salaries were high. By the 1970s, Anglo Gold was operating six massive
mines, with 22 deep level shafts, in which 122 000 people worked. The mines of Welkom were producing 35% of the gold in South Africa, which in turn was producing 75% of the world’s gold. Everyone was buying a new car every year. They would say that when the ashtray was full, it was time to buy a new car. The ‘hoefie’ gave rise to the hot-rod culture of Welkom, where young men would drive around at night showing off their new Ford Cortinas with eagles painted on the engine bonnets and flames on the sides, fur on the dashboard and plastic oranges on the radio antennae! This culture also gave rise to the building of a Grand Prix racing track at Welkom. Times were good for blue-collar whites. Even in the nearby black township of Thabong and the coloured township of Bronville, the living standards were very high. Since 1994, things have not been going so well for Welkom. In the past 10 to 15 years, more than 100 000 jobs have been lost, the skip-wheels of the mines are not turning anymore and the noise of the mines, as well as the hot-rods, have fallen silent. The ziggurat-like walls of the slimes-dams next to the R73 road are the last remnants of a once-thriving mining industry. To say that the town is a shadow of its former self is an understatement. It is fast becoming a ghost town, with 1 500 staff houses at the mines standing empty and even churches having closed their doors. Are more towns to follow? Hans Alink
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Inside Mining 11.12/2012
Mining news www.miningne.ws
The top mining stories making the news in the past month
compiled by Ameerah Griffin
| SOUTH AFRICA | Glencore, Xstrata merger approved Source: www.miningne.ws The South African Competition Commission has recommended that the Competition Tribunal
approve the acquisition of Xstrata by Glencore International subject to conditions regarding employment. Glencore is active in anthracite and thermal coal mining through its shareholding interests in Xstrata‚ Shanduka‚ Umcebo and Optimum. In its analysis of the merger, the commission focused on the domestic market for thermal coal and on arrangements for the export of coal through Richards Bay Coal Terminal. The analysis
examined how the transaction would affect the biggest users of thermal coal, in particular Eskom and other industrial customers. It also consulted various stakeholders who may be affected by the merger, including Eskom, Sappi, the Department of Public Enterprises and the National Union of Mineworkers. The Competition Commission established that sales to Eskom are governed by long-term supply contracts that are typically tied to the life of a coal mine. Further, Eskom has countervailing power that constrains the pricing behaviour of coal producers. The commission also conducted an assessment of
Eskom’s source of coal at power station level and found that there is no instance where a power station serviced by one merging party has, as its next best alternative supplier, a mine of the other party to the merger. The Commission concluded that the transaction is not likely to lead to a substantial prevention or lessening of competition. While there were concerns raised by some of the users of coal, it was found that they do not arise as a result of the merger. The commission also highlighted various existing and proposed measures that could address these concerns. These include regulatory instruments in the
Green light for sale of Aviva Mining Kenya
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Source: www.miningne.ws Aviva Corporation has received approval from the Kenyan Competition Authority to go ahead with the sale of Aviva Mining Kenya (AMK) to African Barrick Gold (ABG). The granting of approval by the Kenyan Competition Authority satisfies the last remaining condition precedent of the sale and purchase agreement that will see Aviva net an initial A$20 million Austrialian dollars (R181.34 million). Under the agreement, there is a further payment of A$10
million due to Aviva if a National Instrument 43-101 indicated resource of 3 million ounces or more is declared over AMK’s project areas. Lindsay Reed, CEO of Aviva Corporation, commented: “Aviva is delighted that the final condition precedent to the sale of AMK to ABG has been satisfied.” The funding from the sale provides certainty of cash and allows the company to assess its strategic growth options for its coal-based projects in Botswana.
Mining news mining rights regime that allow government to impose conditions relating to the pricing and supply of mineral resources, if necessary, and protect local buyers from being discriminated against or subject to uncompetitive pricing.
| SOUTH AMERICA | Colombian mining minister says mining industry needs formalisation Source: www.miningne.ws Colombia’s mining minister, Federico Renjifo, said that he believes the mining industry needs to be formalised urgently in order to combat illicit mining and its consequences, such as miners being extorted by illegal armed groups. The Colombian government has struggled with controlling and formalising mining for years, which is allegedly crucial to the advancement of the industry.
“We want control, in the interests of improving industrial quality, to prioritise the titles of mining production. All we think about is how to consolidate Colombia as a mining country, which would be an example in the region,” Renjifo said, Renjifo also conveyed that the mining industry was doing well, exceeding many of its past goals but that improvement still needs to be made. Ultimately, Renjifo said the mining industry needed to be trusted, stable and responsible in expanding production and take ‘respectful initiatives’ in relation to its workers, the environment and legalisation.
Sandfire produces first output at DeGrussa mine
Source: www.miningne.ws Sandfire Resources announced that it has produced its first copper concentrate at its DeGrussa mine in Western Australia. The company is currently commissioning the mines processing plant. Sandfire MD, Karl Simich, said: “This signals the start of our ramp-up towards full production, which we expect to achieve during the first half of 2013.” Sandfire has said previously it expects to begin shipments of concentrates from DeGrussa before the end of the year; the mine
is Australia’s biggest new copper mine in some years. OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine started production in early 2009, joining BHP Billiton and Xstrata in the ranks of major Australian copper producers. Sandfire said it has mined and stockpiled 78 000 t of ore with an average grade of 4.3% copper ready for processing at the new facility. Underground mining was also expected to reach full production rates in the first half of next year, the company said.
A leader in mining and mineral processing The DRA Group’s recent expansion into Africa underscores its decision to diversify its offering. The continent is seeing a particular resurgence in gold, copper and uranium and as existing mining operations are upgraded and new mines are developed, DRA is well positioned to benefit from this new “rush”.
ABOVE Konkola North copper project located in Zambia currently in commissioning stage BELOW Ngezi Platinum Concentrator Phase 1 by the DRA Group. Phase 2 is being completed by the DRA Group at present
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
RA has an extensive track record in coal, PGMs and diamonds both in Africa as well as internationally. While this experience has held DRA in good stead in these industries, diversification holds the key to fuelling its expansion plans. The company is honing its skills in uranium and looking at opportunities in phosphates. In addition, it is busy with studies for potential rare earth projects and is expanding fast into gold, having completed three gold projects. When it comes to mineral processing, DRA is among the world leaders. The DRA Group specialises in project management and engineering in mining, infrastructure and mineral process plant design and construction. It has 14 offices around the world and has designed and built plants on five continents. This project management and engineering company has, in the past 28 years, grown into a world leader in platinum concentrator design and construction, the leading coal and chromium processing plant constructor in
South Africa, and a major contractor internationally in the fields of diamonds, gold, copper and iron ore. It maintains a staff complement of over 3 000, including a large number of highly qualified and experienced engineers supported by draughting personnel, support services and safety management teams. The group’s various divisions include expertise in mine design and development, infrastructure, mineral processing, winder engineering, resource development and exploration, drilling management, and works closely with clients to compile innovative, practical and cost-effective engineering solutions, using leading-edge technologies. In addition, through Minopex, the group offers contract operation and maintenance services for mineral processing plants. Recent projects that the group has been involved in include the K6 project at Kroondal, Assmang’s Khumani Iron Ore project, Perseus Mining’s Central Ashanti Gold Mine in Ghana, Zimplats’ N’gezi Platinum Mine expansion and Anglo American’s Unki
Cover story RIGHT Karowe diamond mine in Botswana completed earlier this year for Boteti Mining. Phase 2 is being completed by DRA at present BELOW RIGHT Edikan gold plant located in Ghana. Jungle clearing to first gold pour was accomplished in just under 14 months
Platinum Mine in Zimbabwe, as well as projects in the frozen north of Canada and Russia, to name only a few. Having worked on all the big coal projects in South Africa, DRA is now involved in the second phase of the Moatize project in the Tete Province of Mozambique. The company is also making considerable inroads into iron ore beneficiation, based on its experience in dense medium separation and the depth of skills in the group. With time, iron ore will be processed at lower grades, which is when beneficiation will have to kick in. The group definitely sees gold as a growth point, while uranium offers huge potential. DRA is currently involved in front-end studies of rare earth projects like Steenkampskraal.
Projects in Africa Africa has a wealth of mineral resources and DRA is already leading the pack in feasibility studies and projects in Central and West Africa. To DRA, projects in Africa offer exciting challenges in terms of logistics, lack of infrastructure such as roads and electricity, communications, and environmental factors. However, the various teams see these as simply all part of the job. One particularly big project on DRA’s plate is the Kibali gold mine in the DRC, a Randgold, Anglogold and OKIMO joint venture for one of the largest gold mines in Africa. DRA has reached the construction phase after completing the detailed design and engineering stage for the processing plant and infrastructure, as well as a complete hydroelectric facility. DRA is the EPCM contractor for the BMC copper project, located in the southern region of the country. This project will see the design, construction and commissioning of a 3.8 Mtpa concentrator, further extending DRA’s project portfolio in base metals.
The total turnkey package The depth of DRA’s expertise means that it can complete projects on a turnkey basis as required. One recent example is the refurbishment and conversion of the Konkola Copper Mine’s No 2 Shaft into a fully functional mine. Located 450 km north-west of Lusaka in the heart of Zambia’s Copper Belt, the
shaft remained unmined since 1958 due to flooding. Originally operated by Anglo American’s Bancroft Mines and recently acquired by Teal Mining, a joint venture
the ore processing plant, including the surface materials handling system feeding the mine’s stockpile and transporting from the stockpile to the plant. The plant includes a
With more than 44 DRA-designed and built flotation/ concentrator plants in operation all over the world, it is safe to say that the group knows its business between ARM and Vale, the new owners are now refurbishing the shaft, which was dewatered in the early 2000s. While DRA Mining designed the new decline and oversaw the sinking of four ventilation shafts, DRA Technical Services undertook the refurbishment and reinstallation of the existing drum and Koepe winders as well as the installation of a third winder. DRA Mineral Projects designed and built
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milling and flotation section, the latter integrating a high degree of sophistication in its design to facilitate the recovery of both sulphide and oxide copper. In addition, the company designed and built the thickeners, tailings plant and dam, as well as the filter, reagent and water treatment plants. DRA also built the mine offices, change houses, workshops and stores, and oversaw the reconnection of water and power,
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
the latter requiring the upgrading of the local substation.
DRA capabilities – changing stride With gold the big attraction for miners in Africa, DRA has been developing technology such as flotation systems at a rapid pace. With more than 44 DRA designed and built flotation/concentrator plants in operation all over the world, it is safe to say that the group knows its business. Historically, gold projects used oxidised ore in a simplistic cyanidation process. These projects became obsolete due to the
complexity of the mineralogy and lacking the technology to extract the gold from the sulphide ore. Today, there is flotation technology available to extract and treat sulphide ore. With a high gold price, it becomes more viable to treat refractory gold ore. In the case of extracting refractory gold, DRA can engineer and design a process that includes ultra-fine grinding and intensive cyanidation. The group’s expertise in flotation design has garnered particular attention from miners in Australia and America where such sophisticated technology is not commonly used.
Hydrometallurgy DRA has also expanded its hydrometallurgy capabilities. Its copper hydrometallurgy includes technologies such as counter-current decantation (CCD) and solvent extraction and electrowinning. However, the company has recently been focusing specifically on hydrometallurgical processes for treating uranium. This includes technologies and processes such as dynamic leaching, CCD, ion exchange, precipitation and the resin-in-pulp process, which is commonly used in Russia for gold recovery.
Innovative uranium technology DRA is also busy with various uranium studies and should they convert into projects, its portfolio in uranium would have the potential to become a growth point. DRA Mineral Projects integrates all the mining, structural and civil designs under one umbrella, eliminating the various interfaces from a client management perspective in order to provide a seamless project. The group has developed a good relationship with the Nuclear Energy Council of South Africa and has tailored its designs to ameliorate the radiological issues of dealing with uranium, including safety, health, environmental and zoning procedures. All in all, the DRA Group has hedged its mineral bets both in Africa and internationally. Its diversification into new areas of mining and mineral processing has enabled it to build a client base consisting of some of the world’s leading miners and a track record that is continually becoming hard to beat.
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
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SKILLS SHORTAGE IN INDUSTRY
Bridging the generation and skills divide Aside from the dwindling numbers of engineering graduates, there is also a significant skills gap between the young and emerging engineers and the “grey beards” in engineering. Hennie Read, chairman of Read, Swatman & Voigt, speaks to Hans Alink about how his mining engineering consultancy group bridges this skills gap.
ith the average older generation engineers reaching the end of their useful working careers, there is great concern in the South African engineering fraternity about the dwindling number of young engineers emerging from university to replenish the pool of experienced senior engineers available in the country. Potential engineering students are increasingly opting for alternative careers, such as ICT and accounting, where prospects seem to be financially
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
more lucrative within a much shorter span of time. Read, Swatman & Voigt (RSV) is working to bridge this gap. “RSV is a solid brand. We are the first EPCM consultant to provide engineering and project management services for mining houses around the shaft envelope,” states Read. “It’s an undeniable fact that the South African engineering fraternity is ageing. All engineering companies are facing the same challenge. People are working longer these days because they
live longer. They are therefore productive for a longer period. If you look at the statistics, 20 years ago the normal distribution curve for the age profile was between 45 and 55. Since then it has moved to between 50 and 65 – and that is industry-wide. At least 66% of our employees fall into that category, which is no different to other companies.” Having come from the corporate world himself, Read did not want RSV to become just another ‘corporate’. For this reason, this international group created separate
enterprises called ‘linked enterprises’ rather than divisions when it started growing into the other services. Under the umbrella of RSV (Pty) Ltd, linked enterprises like RSV ENCO, K’Enyuka, EHL, GEM Ventrawell, RSV SA (a BEE entity only active in South Africa) and RSV International were formed, with RSV holding a controlling share. The group is also represented in the US, Australia and Mozambique. Some of the RSV enterprises employ a large number of young engineers entering the industry, while the founding company comprises the more mature engineers and management. This is probably where this image of a ‘greying’ RSV comes from. “It is all about perception, image and reputation,” says Read. “If there is a problem, you can’t run away from it. You have to address it thoroughly.” Like other engineering companies, RSV’s Human Development department regularly goes to the universities on recruitment drives. The company currently offers four bursaries and is focusing particularly on mechanical engineering students. “My particular focus is to get RSV populated with historically disadvantaged individuals (HDI). This is where we will get our biggest advances from. HDI females are very high on our agenda – two
“If there is a problem, you can’t run away from it. You have to address it thoroughly.” Hennie Read, chairman of RSV of our industrial engineers are female – and there are some very bright engineers coming through the ranks. Bringing HDIs into the business is morally correct, the right thing to do in South Africa and it is a new resource that we didn’t have before,” argues Read. Once bursars have completed their studies, they have to work for RSV for the same number of years that they received a bursary from the company, which ranges from three to five years. Having HDI bursars is sometimes a challenge. As there are not too many of them, there generally is a 30% premium on these graduates. Apart from offering higher salaries, other companies are also prepared to buy out those three- to five-year bursary commitments. RSV has brought a number of young graduate engineers into the organisation, but in the mining industry you can’t put a person into a job if he doesn’t have the experience, and experience is only gained with time. It takes a university graduate an average of 10 years to become an efficient project engineer. Read recognises that there is a sparsely filled gap between the graduates and less
experienced engineers on the one side and the more mature, experienced engineers on the other. “We are very thin in engineers in the 5 to 12 years’ experience bracket. We don’t have as many as we would like to have,” explains Read. “You can’t solve this problem other than through training people. They need to incubate that knowledge so that they can gain experience and become useful engineers.” RSV gets most of its engineers from the mines, where they support production, do practical maintenance and are trained in operations, but not in project work.
FAR LEFT A vertical shaft box cut MIDDLE Installation of the pre-sinking stage BELOW Partial installation of a permanent stage sinking platform
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
According to Read, it takes up to six years of training before these engineers become competent project engineers. To speed up the training process, RSV introduced a mentorship programme in which a group of three or four young engineers are assigned to a “greybeard” to
that it can draw on for projects or shortterm assignments. This gives the company a good insight into what is happening in the market and enables it to keep ahead of what the demands are and what kind of remuneration is commanded in the market place.
Without continuous improvement you are sliding backwards. We therefore continuously measure the development of our people and benchmark their progress be coached on the job. The amount of mentorship varies from person to person depending on each individual’s needs, says Read. “There is no fast-track programme for bringing people up to speed to the required level as the risks are too high. We do design and project management work and all of that is done on a fast-track basis. When you do something in our line of work you only have one shot at it and it better be right, otherwise it costs you money and your reputation. We constantly need to ensure that we don’t exceed our risk taking profile, and if we notice that we do, we’d rather not take on the job,” says Read. RSV has its own personnel consultancy with a database of more than 600 people BELOW Tower-mounted koepe winders at Impala 16 Shaft
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
Most of the mining houses require a lot of study work before implementation. As these mining houses are its clients, RSV does a lot of study work. Initially the company frowned on this type of work and was reluctant to do it because it saw itself as a “practical engineer” that wanted to see its projects grow, but nowadays it forms a major part of its income. The company gets study work from all over the globe. Today, RSV does this lucrative study work, knowing it will be lucky if 30% of its work goes into implementation. However, it is very important to get into the very early stages of these studies as it gives the company the competitive advantage, because once the study has been done, it is more likely to get the implementation of that study. The mining industry is highly focused on feasibility studies. A mine won’t be started without an investor, and
the investor won’t invest unless it has a very robust study done that clearly spells out what the risk profile is. “Over the years the whole leadership model of companies has changed,” remarks Read. “Everyone used to look at the leader as the guy at the top. If a company had a good leader, then everything fell into place. Today, you can’t run a company from the top anymore as that command and control model doesn’t work any longer. You need to have a continuum of leaders right up the ladder. Due to a shortage of leadership skills, you have to bring in people from outside who come with a different culture, which results in people becoming uncomfortable with the new leader. This is why very few of the top leaders in the mining industry last in their position for more than three years,” comments Read. Read is an inspirational leader. He urges his people to continuously improve themselves. “Without continuous improvement you are sliding backwards. We therefore continuously measure the development of our people and benchmark their progress. If things go wrong it is not the system that went wrong, it is the people who are not doing what they are supposed to be doing.” RSV has a KPI system in place to objectively monitor and benchmark the performance of its workforce and apply correction action if and where needed. Read says it is vitally important that employees have the right attitude. “If you have employees who have a bad attitude towards the company and they are exposed to the client, then the chances are slim that the client will give you work, despite the company being good at what it does. “Management needs to understand what really inspires and motivates people,” Read explains. “The first is praise, the second is recognition. Money is only a temporary gratification. I get annoyed about these socalled incentive schemes. I don’t want to bribe someone to do a job for me. First of all, I must pay the employee the right amount of money. If the employee does something exceptional I won’t give the person a reward, but an award for that achievement. You must recognise and praise the person – and you must mean it,” concludes Read.
OSBORN ENGINEERED PRODUCTS
Leading the product innovation race
Osborn Engineered Products is a leading name in mining and quarry markets, providing a full range of engineering products, including crushers, feeders, screens and idlers, and further specialises in skidmounted crushing and screening plants.
Osborn has experienced impressive growth in the past five years and the company believes customer satisfaction was a primary driver of this growth. It never walks away from a problem with one of its machines. Purchasing the equipment from Osborn is only the start of a long-standing relationship with customers.
sborn also deals with the full manufacturing process from concept and installation through to commissioning. Osborn has a rock solid reputation as one of South Africa’s foremost materials handling contractors. According to Stephen Ireland, commercial director at Osborn, the company has a continuous devotion to meet the needs of its customers. “With honesty and integrity in all aspects of our business, having respect for individuals and preserving entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, we prioritise meeting the demands of our customers,” says Ireland. “These are our key company values that we base our customer satisfaction model on.”
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
International partnership proves commitment to service Don’t miss Osborn’s combined stand at Mining Indaba 2013, where it will be exhibiting with its international partner Astec Aggregate and Mining Group (AAMG). The event will take place between 4 and 7 February 2013 in Cape Town. Osborn is also exhibiting at Bauma Africa, together with AAMG. The AAMG, namely Telsmith, Kolberg Pioneer, Johnson Crushers International (KPI-JCI), Breaker Technology (BTi), Astec Mobile Screens and Osborn Engineered Products, provides innovative solutions for the material handling, mining, quarry, recycling, construction and demolition industries.
Osborn is one of South Africa’s foremost manufacturers of equipment for the mining and quarrying industries. The company offers an extensive range of installation-ready products. Its primary clients are the mining (70%) and aggregate (30%) industries. The organisation is also a leading turnkey materials handling contractor, specialising in mobile and fixed crushing and screening plants. Manufacturing is carried out at Osborn’s head office and manufacturing facility in Elandsfontein, South Africa. Employing over 300 people, Osborn has achieved OHSAS 18000 system certification for occupational health and safety management. Osborn is a member of the Astec Industries Inc. group of companies – a leading
Profile American manufacturer of plant and equipment for aggregate processing, asphalt road building, pipeline and utility trenching.
Comprehensive service network Osborn has a comprehensive distribution network with sales staff working out of well-established branches in Cape Town, Durban and Witbank. Agents in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Ghana handle international distribution. The company views Africa as a strategic growth market for its products and services. The extensive, modern manufacturing facilities at Elandsfontein are supported by strong procurement, expediting and management functions to ensure contracts are fulfilled and plants commissioned on time.
Jaw crushers Osborn has a complete range of single and double toggle jaw crushers from laboratory size to 1.5 x 2 m, used in a wide range of processing applications from stone quarries to manganese and chrome mines. Osborn, with Telsmith in the US, is dedicated to ongoing research to produce advances in the capabilities and efficiencies. The latest models feature patented innovations like hydraulic relief, automatic oil lubrication and hydraulic wedge locking systems
Gyrasphere cone crushers With over one hundred worldwide patents, the Telsmith Gyrasphere is one of the most respected names in crushing technology today and the technology continues to expand. The Gyrasphere features hydraulic relief and lock/unlocking as standard, and anti-spin as an option.
Track-mounted units Osborn plans to introduce track models from its USA sister companies in a range of sizes, allowing customers to choose models that best suit their mobile needs.
applications. On a unit cost basis, these are among the most economical machines on the market today. Osborn designs and manufactures the Hadfields range of double roll crushers, which are primarily for use in the coal industry and soft rock applications. Sizes range up to 1 200 mm diameter rolls and 2 000 mm long. The company supplies rotary breakers and mineral sizers for the coal market. Osborn Rotary Coal Breakers are ideal for breaking and cleaning run-of-mine coal.
• BTI Rock Breakers and underground vehicles. Telsmith Super Scrubbers are designed and built in a range of sizes to handle lumpy materials, which are typically contaminated with clay and other waste material, to produce a washed product suitable for screening or further downstream processes. This is very popular in the diamond (kimberlite) industry.
Classifiers Vibrating screens Osborn has probably the largest range of vibrating screens available in South Africa. These include the Telsmith, PEP and in-house Osborn brands. The range extends to twin motor out-of-balance exciters to standard eccentric mechanical shafts or heavy-duty gearbox exciter types. PEP and Osborn designs offer unique screening solutions for extreme screening applications. Models include the SuperKing Incline Screen, the Osborn Linear Dewatering Screen, the Osborn Exciter Driven Screens and the Osborn Obex Screens.
Screw classifiers are used to separate water and silt, and other unwanted fines from sand while dewatering. Screw classifiers are built in single or twin-screw configurations with a large settling and are for best salvage of fine sands.
Mills Osborn/ NCP offers a wide range of standard and custom designed mills. Sizes range from 1.6 m up to 11 m in diameter for various mining operations. Osborn has over 220 mills in operation globally. The mill range includes AG, SAG, ball, rod and pebble mills.
Osborn has developed and sold modular plants to support the more popular range of machinery offered by the company. Established designs and costs provide ease of plant layouts and tender purposes. Rapid deployment and erection on-site standardisation ensures accurate lead times, even when units are not supplied ex-stock.
For heavy-duty feeding, Osborn offers a range of apron feeders suitable for the most arduous conditions encountered in the mining and quarrying industries. The company’s apron feeders handle heavy, lumpy and abrasive materials with accurate feed rate control. Osborn also designs and manufactures a complete range of vibrating feeders including the Osborn Linear Grizzly & Pan Feeder, the Osborn Obex Feeder and the Osborn Apron Feeder.
Coal crushers & rotary breakers
Astec aggregate & mining equipment
American rolling ring crushers are successfully operating in the South African coal industry and have also been applied in a variety of industrial crushing and screening
The group supplies the following equipment: • Astec Underground Directional Drills and Trenchers • KPI Stackers
Aerial shot of the Osborn head office
Conveyor idlers Osborn offers a complete range of standard and custom designed idlers and underground structures. A stage-by-stage quality controlled manufacturing programme ensures a product of the highest quality, providing customers with the benefits they seek. Some of the benefits include low maintenance, minimum downtime and long equipment life.
HSI/VSI A full range of robust vertical and horizontal shaft impact (VSI/HIS) crushers has been added to the product offering. Manufactured in South Africa under license to KPI-JCI, these versatile impactors have proved their mettle in the US, Canada and Europe.
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
Ferrous and non-ferrous metals
BAOBAB RESOURCES LOOKS FOR STRATEGIC PARTNER
Unlocking the iron and steel potential of Mozambique AIM-listed Baobab Resources is developing mineral resources in Mozambique, with its flagship project being the Tete iron ore deposit. Ben James, MD of Baobab resources, speaks to Hans Alink about unlocking the iron and steel potential of that country.
oabab’s main focus is to develop iron ore resources in the sub-Saharan Africa region and establish a significant pig iron operation. “Pig Iron is used alongside scrap iron in electric arc furnaces to produce steel products. The market size is significant (70 Mtpa and 350 Mtpa for pig and scrap respectively) and will continue to grow as the Chinese scrap market matures, and the quality and quantity of scrap elsewhere in the world decreases. Baobab believes that it will become one of the lowest cost producers of pig iron globally, with healthy production margins allowing it to compete at scrap prices if push comes to shove. “The resource inventory at the Tete project is sufficient to underpin the production of up to 5 Mtpa pig iron over a 25-year mine life. At production rates of 3 Mtpa or more, the Tete pig iron project wouldn’t just be world class, it would be the world’s single largest producer.” What makes this project so exciting is that it enjoys a unique geographical and geological setting. Baobab’s Tete project has large deposits of iron ore immediately adjacent to some of the largest undeveloped coal deposits left on the planet. The Tete Province
and the Zambezi River are also home to the Cahora Bassa Dam, Southern Africa’s largest hydroelectric scheme (plans are in place to significantly increase production in the coming years) and feasibility studies are being completed on at least three thermal power plants in the region. It is the project’s strategic access to the requisite steel making commodities of coal, power and water that differentiates Baobab’s project from any other in Africa, if not globally. “I always ask people ‘why are steel mills almost invariably on the coast?’ and the answer is that you have to bring together four critical commodities: iron ore, coal, power and water. In Tete, we are at the confluence of these commodities and this presents a unique opportunity to add a massive amount of value at the mine mouth through smelting a pig iron product.” The coalfields are being brought into production by some of the largest international mining companies, including Rio Tinto, Vale and Anglo American. Alongside the mining giants are some of the world’s tier 1 steel producers – Jindal Steel & Power and Tata out of India – and Nippon Steel and POSCO out of Asia are also developing coal deposits in the area. “Baobab is a small company with
Baobab at a glance • Baobab Resources listed on AIM in 2007 and wholly owns Mozambique company Capitol Resources lda. • Portfolio of five green- to brownfields projects boasting a range of commodities, including: – Tete: pig iron/vanadium/titanium – Muande JV: iron/phosphate – earning in to North River Resources tenure – Mundonguara: copper/gold/nickel – Changara: Broken Hill type base metals & manganese – Sanangoe&SengaSenga: base & precious metals • Baobab owns 85% of the Tete project since bringing in International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, in 2008/2009. IFC now has a 15% contributing interest in the project and is the company’s second largest shareholder.
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a big project, which will present challenges going forward. The major players already operating in Mozambique present a stellar cast of potential strategic partners for Baobab and the Tete project. “The company is also slipstreaming behind the majors as they refurbish and expand the rail corridors to the coast and the port
facilities. The government is also on-side and has maintained a firm position on equitable access for third parties on rail and port infrastructure. Once at the coast, we are strategically located on Africa’s eastern seaboard to access the growth markets in Asia, India and the Middle East,” says James. “This is not just another magnetite project, this is a project where we can beneficiate dramatically through our unique access to coal and power, and add a huge amount of value to our product right at the mine mouth. Being explorers and miners and not steel producers, the company is comfortable taking the project as far as pig iron. However, the ultimate value-add would be complete vertical integration to steel production that could be sold domestically and regionally to meet Southern Africa’s increasing appetite for construction steel. A strategic alliance with any one of our steel-focused neighbours could convert this potential into reality.” Probably one of the biggest highlights of the current Baobab pre-feasibility work is the cost of production. With a massive resource of
roughly half a billion tonnes (expected to grow to about 650 Mt by year end), which underpins a mine life of more than 125 years at a 1 Mtpa or 25 to 30 years at 5 Mtpa, everything over 3 Mtpa of pig iron production would make Baobab the world’s largest pig iron producer. The scoping study, which was completed last year, indicates that Baobab’s cost of production FOB would be in the order of US$180 (R1 549.57) to US$200/t, which puts them at less than half the cost of the cost of production of the Brazilians, who are the world’s largest pig iron producers. This may make Baobab the world’s lowest cost producer of pig iron and would give the company a massive competitive advantage as they will be able to sell their product across the entire pig iron market, including the domestic Chinese market. Looking at the timelines for construction, James says Baobab is now in the closing BELOW Project geologist Pillani Mangezi with drill core containing massive iron mineralisation
IN AFRICA THINK
With more than 27 years’ experience in the explosives industry, BME has built a reputation as a reliable supplier of a complete range of explosives, initiation systems and technical services. BME serves the African market primarily through its head ofﬁce in Johannesburg and its West African ‘hub’ ofﬁce in Bamako, Mali’s capital. The Bamako ofﬁce supports the company’s contracts in Mali, Mauritania, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso.
Forhas moreoperations information on BME inour most products and services contact countries in Sub-Saharan Africa BME on Tel: +27 11 709 8765 and West Africa. Outside or www.bme.co.za South Africa, BME has a West African ‘hub’ ofﬁce in Bamako, Mali’s capital that serves our contracts in Mali and neighbouring Mauritania, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso.
For explosives, think BME.
PIG IRON MARKET COMMODITY OVERVIEW • Pig iron is a raw material and an intermediate product of the smelting of iron ore. • Pig iron is used in electric arc furnaces (EAF) alongside scrap iron to produce crude and finished steel products. • Global consumption: – pig iron: ±70 Mtpa (including domestic China) – scrap iron: ±350 Mtpa (2010) STRONG MARKET FUNDAMENTALS • Fundamentals are driven by: – the industrialisation of BRIC countries and sub-Saharan Africa – appetite for steel products – declining quality and quantity of scrap vs growing number of EAFs. TETE PIG IRON • There is a unique confluence of iron making commodities (iron ore, coal, power and water). • The current JORC Resource inventory underpins a 1 to 5 Mtpa pig iron operation. • The scoping study indicates a first quartile cost of production enabling the Tete product to compete across the broader global pig iron market, including the Chinese market, as well as competing within the significantly larger scrap iron space. • Producing a higher-value product mitigates competing for port and rail access. phases of its pre-feasibility study. “We will have the final results of the pre-feasibility study by next year’s Mining Indaba, i.e. Jan/Feb 2013, and we will be launching our definitive feasibility study thereafter, which will take us another 12 to 18 months. Construction of this project will take around two years, followed by about six months of commissioning during which we will ramp up to full production by 2016. That is our timeline we are aiming for, which fits in well with the logistics timelines of the development of the Beira corridor. If you
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INTRINSICALLY SAFE SOLUTIONS
Ferrous and non-ferrous metals
consider that we drilled the first hole ever in this area back in 2009, this is a rapid development trajectory. Seven years is not bad going from discovery to full production for a project of this magnitude.” At Changara, Baobab had a joint venture (JV) with Ferrex, which was ended amicably earlier this year. The company is developing five projects (see panel) at
RC drilling, with Tenge mountain in the background
the moment. As Changara ranks fourth, it is low on the priority list. It is very much a greenfields project, which the company was looking to develop with Ferrex for base metals and manganese. “We did a lot of good work with Ferrex on Changara, which mostly involved geochemistry. Earlier this year, Ferrex was able to get licences granted in Togo, which overlay significant manganese resources that were much more interesting for them than our Changara project. They opted to focus their efforts there rather than Mozambique, so we ended the JV and parted on very amicable terms. We are now looking for a new JV
Tete Iron/Vanadium/Titanium project: a major asset in an emerging mining and industrial hub of Southern Africa
esourcby North Riverr R Resourcb so far es, with Baobab having earned a 60% interest in the project. At Monte Muande, ng at a Baobob is looking odd range of commodlities, principally magnetite, phosphate (for the fertiliser
“Seven years is not bad going from discovery to full production for a project of this magnitude.” Ben James, MD of Baobab partner to further develop the potential at Changara. This requires a lot of work, which more than anything else just means bodies on the ground.” Apart from Baobab’s five operations, with Tete being the flagship asset, the company also has a copper/gold/nickel deposit in the Manica area, right next door to Pan African Resources’ Manica project, which recently got shuffled into an Australian company called Terra Nova. Apart from some other greenfield interests, the company has the Monte Muande JV project in Tete, immediately adjacent to its Tete project. Monte Muande is held
market) and calcium carbonate (for both the thermal power and possibly the cement industry), and it is also checking a couple of very interesting copper anomalies in that area. “Next year, as we go through the definitive feasibility study (DFS) on our Tete project, we will also be developing discoveries and resources on our Monte Muande project. DFSs do not tend to generate significant news flow and it would be useful to maintain momentum in the market by the regular announcement of results at our other assets, particularly Muande,” James concludes.
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Ferrous and non-ferrous metals
IRONVELD GOES FOR PIG IRON IN THE BUSHVELD
Vanadium and titanium boost value of ore Ironveld, a pig-iron project-in-the-making on the northern limb of the Bushveld complex, was born when another company operating in the area, Sylvania Platinum, made an unexpected discovery on its Nonnenwerth farm , writes Tessa Kruger.
he platinum group, which retreats PGM-rich chrome tailings and develops shallow PGM projects, found a magnetite outcrop in 2007 and subsequently established that it extended across its properties on the northern limb of the complex. Sylvania confirmed that it held significant economic value – the Ti-magnetite iron ore was valued at US$23 million (R198.22 million) in August this year– but felt that it didn’t have a material impact on its share price. As a result, the group made the decision to spin it out to a new company with experience in magnetite iron. “At the time, we had a meeting with stockbrokers Shore Capital in London, which happened to have a client interested in the asset. The AIM-listed group Mercury Recycling, which recycles lamps and batteries, had already expressed an interest in becoming a mining company a year before,” says Ironveld chief executive, Peter Cox, formerly CEO of Sylvania. Mercury had passed on one or two other natural resources projects it didn’t view as
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too appealing, but saw potential in the pigiron project. A deal, which saw the reverse takeover of Mercury Recycling by Ironveld and the acquisition of the vanadium-bearing Ti-magnetite iron ore assets of the Sylvania Group, was subsequently structured and consummated in August this year. Cox explains Mercury liked the numbers of the project, which demand the mining of 2 Mt of ore per year for the production of 1 Mt of pig iron. The group plans to mine 20 Mt over 10 years and has achieved 37% confirmation of its target resource. Ironveld, which boasts mining entrepreneur, Terry McConnachie, and UK businessman Charles Giles, as non-executive director and chairman of its board respectively, punts the fact that it will produce a finished product (pig iron) for potential local take-off. According to Cox, Ironveld has already held talks with a number of local
groups that are interested in procuring the pig iron as feedstock for steel; there is interest from Europe too. And the boon in producing a final product is that the group could derive value from recovering the titanium and vanadium in the ore body, as opposed to forfeiting it by selling and shipping a raw, unprocessed material. In the Bushveld, Ironveld’s property is located on the Main Magnetite Layer that runs through the eastern, western and northern lobes of the outstanding mineral complex. It covers an area of 165 km², consisting of seven adjacent farms in the northernmost portion of the northern lobe. The company’s current inferred mineral resource extends over a combined strike length of approximately 9 km. It is located on two of the farms that have been covered by detailed diamond drilling. The massive mineral deposit on the property is not a new discovery, but the project area
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RIGHT Ironveld core samples
was not previously explored for its vanadiferous titano-magnetite (VTM) potential and no historic mineral resource estimates have been carried out on these VTM layers. MSA principal consulting geologist Dr Frieder Reichhardt, who manages the exploration programme for Ironveld, explains that the ore body consists of tabular titaniferous magnetite layers in the upper zone of the Bushveld Igneous Complex. “The lower layer, known as the Main Magnetite Layer, is rich in vanadium, which is recoverable as a valuable by-product. Then the uppermost layer, known as layer 21 or layer PQ, is relatively poor in vanadium, but rich in titanium and may be a source of titanium products.” Various test work for the commercially viable extraction of the titanium is currently conducted. Reichhardt says the presence of vanadium makes the ore potentially more valuable compared to haematite iron ore that
evaluating the use of fluidised bed pre-reduction technology, which is not new, but has not been widely adopted yet. Further, the group plans to build its own
The group plans to mine 20 Mt over 10 years and has achieved 37% confirmation of its target resource can be shipped directly to a steel furnace. However, Ti-magnetite ore is currently not seen as a viable source of direct shipping ore as it has to go through beneficiation and smelting to produce a marketable iron or product. “Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium has been mining and processing the same Main Magnetite Layer to produce pig iron, steel and vanadium products for more than 50 years,” adds Reichhardt.
modern smelter on the southern portion of its property. It will set out to secure a joint venture partner for the US$700 million project towards the middle of next year – after having applied for mining rights. Cox says acquiring a joint venture partner is “the least of our tasks” and that various players have already expressed an interest
in the smelter project. The group currently holds prospecting rights and is completing the feasibility process concurrently with exploration work. Production is supposed to kick off by the end of 2015, after which a ramp-up to 200 000 t of throughput a month will start.
Market demand Despite recent reports of a slowdown in Chinese demand for steel, Cox says the company feels confident about take-off for its product. “We are at the end of 2012 now and we are commissioning the mine at the end of 2015. Who really knows what the markets are going to look like then?” he asserts. “Demand will come from South Africa’s infrastructure growth projects, which all need
Mining plans Ironveld will use opencast mining to extract its ore body from 120 m underground. It plans to outsource this work to a South African group. Beneficiation and smelting will follow, with beneficiation carried out by a local group and smelting by a combined local and international team. In the process, the concentrate will be pre-reduced and smelted in a DC furnace. Cox says they are
OPPOSITE Drilling on the Ironveld project is under way RIGHT The Main Magnetite Layer that runs through the eastern, western and northern lobes of the outstanding mineral complex
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
Ferrous and non-ferrous metals LEFT There is water scarcity in the area
steel.” He points out that there are also massive gas developments taking place in Mozambique and that natural gas companies use steel for everything from casing to pipelines. What is more, similar infrastructure development is taking place all over Africa. “This is a cyclical business. Worldwide population growth means that the market will not be depressed for long. And Ironveld will come into production when we reach the top of the cycle again,” he adds. While Ironveld’s property in the Bushveld is currently bustling with exploration activity, a small core team – described as committed and highly skilled by Cox – is working to get the project off the ground at its Rivonia offices in Johannesburg.
The team’s overheads and costs are covered by Ironveld’s Mercury recycling business, which means the company can plough the money it has raised on the stock market directly into the exploration work. Ironveld raised £3 million (R41.48 million)
various milestones and develops the project into a mine. The group is backed by the Ironveld board, which includes not only Giles and McConnahie, but also Nick Harrison, who has served as financial director for a number of organisations in the United Kingdom and has a good number of years of experience of the stock market. Cox, the CEO, is a mechanical and chemical engineer who worked for JCI’s platinum and gold mines and ran engineering consulting company Goldline Global Consulting. In his own words, he is responsible for the technical expertise on the project, while Ironveld also uses the services of a team of consulting engineers in South Africa. An impressive group of individuals all round, but how do they perform as a team? “We are a mix of Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal supporters, so we fight a lot,” says Cox lightly. An obvious issue that arises when talking about mining investment in South Africa
Production is supposed to kick off by the end of 2015, after which a ramp-up to 200 000 t of throughput a month will start when it joined AIM and completed the reverse takeover of Mercury. Cox envisages the small team growing into a large company as Ironveld passes its
is the extent to which the ongoing labour action has made investors reluctant to put money into projects in South Africa. “Admittedly, there is a great deal of nervousness about investing in South Africa – we get questions every day. But the serious investors know that this is only a shortterm problem and that things will be sound again in the longer term,” comments Cox. Challenges faced by the Ironveld team include the fact that its power supply will come from the Medupi power station and that it is relying on the station to be completed on schedule in 2014. Like other mining companies, it also recognises the water scarcity in the project area. But Cox mentions in the same breath that Ironveld has joined the Olifant/Steelpoort Rivers Joint Water Forum, which is addressing this issue. Thus far, a story of various building blocks falling into place, Ironveld bases its optimism about its venture on a good-quality ore body, a well-positioned project, an exceptional team and a belief that the market will match its project.
LEFT Outcropping magnetite-rich ore
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
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Botswana focus: part 2
The feeding has started China has a well-documented and undiminished appetite for miner resources in Africa. It now appears the Chinese focus is also shifting firmly to Botswana. Dr Willem Smuts takes a look at the implications for the juniors active there. DISCOVERY METALS’ BACKGROUND Discovery Metals is an ASX/BSE-listed copper exploration and production company focused on the emerging Kalahari Copperbelt in north-west Botswana. The company is a copper producer at its 100%-owned Boseto Copper Project. The Kalahari Copperbelt sediment-hosted mineralisation of the Boseto Copper Project is similar in style to the well-known and large deposits of the Central African Copperbelt of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Discovery Metals has prospecting licences covering 11 872 km2 along the Kalahari Copperbelt. LEFT Discovery’s Boseto plant and mine infrastructure area during August this year
arlier in October, Discovery Metals (ASX/BSE: DML) announced that it had received an indicative, non-binding proposal from Cathay Fortune (CFC) and China-Africa Development Fund (CAD Fund) to acquire all its shares. The cash offer price of A$1.70 [Australian dollar] (R15.21) per share represents a 56% premium to the volume-weighted average price of DML for the 20 trading-day period ended 21 September 2012, and a 50% premium to the volume-weighted average price of DML for the 30 trading-day period ended 21 September 2012. With the greater part of Chinese regulatory approvals in place, CFC is also keen to retain the majority of staff and employees of the company and suggested “a compelling retention and incentive agreement to substantially all of DML’s senior management in positions similar to their existing roles”. At the time of writing, the board of Discovery Metals was considering the offer and Inside Mining will closely follow developments.
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Who will be next? As Discovery is the furthest advanced of its peers in the region, it is hardly surprising that it becomes the first target; however, one wonders if there are not some very good deals to be had among the less developed juniors in this camp? Against this backdrop the natural next questions have got to be: Who will be next? Are there any other M&A targets in Botswana? Can projects like these be viable given the lack of infrastructure? Of course it turns out that there are a number of low hanging fruits ready for the picking should one have the appetite and the pocketbook, including the likes of Hana Mining, Tsodilo Resources, New Hana Copper and African Copper. The first three companies are all situated on the extension of the Copperbelt in Botswana. The Kuke Project of New Hana Copper is located adjacent to Hana Mining’s Ghanzi copper-silver project, which hosts Indicated Resources of 780 million pounds of copper and 16 million ounces of silver, and inferred resources of 3.2 billion
pounds of copper and 51 million ounces of silver. The geological setting at Kuke is interpreted to be identical to that at Hana’s Ghanzi Project and Discovery Metals’ Boseto Copper Project. The previous issue of Inside Mining looked at the Tsodilo suite of projects in more detail. African Copper’s Mowana mine lies within a Palaeoproterozoic sedimentary basin of the Southern African Shield and by all indications is merely the tail of the leopard, what with the company likely sitting on a series of IOCG deposits much like the situation at Tsodilo further west in Ngamiland. Three metal areas identified on Tsodilo’s prospecting licences (14 900 km²): • xaudium magnetite BIF: Fe grades ~70% & anomalous Ag, Co, Mo, U, V. Belt 35 x 5 km • Copperbelt-type mineralisation: stratabound Cu (Co) & (Ni) in meta-sediments. Belt ~90 km long, 30 and 40 km wide • Sepupa skarn-type: Demonstrated CuFe-Au skarns associated with ~535 Ma intrusions (IOCG).
Can it be done? In the case of African Copper, it sits at the doorway to Francistown – Botswana’s
Botswana focus: part 2 CATHAY FORTUNE CORPORATION Cathay Fortune Corporation (CFC) is one of the earliest Chinese private equity investment firms. Since its launch in 1997, CFC has investments in about 14 companies in different sectors in China such as network equipment, aviation, industrial automation, financial services, resources and mining. CFC is a long-term, value-add investor. For its investment positions in private and public companies, CFC plays important roles in assisting with strategic decision-making, corporate governance, new market access/ expansion and bolt-on acquisitions. CFC is 99% owned by Yong Yu and currently has about 30 investment professionals in three offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.
China Molybdenum China Molybdenum is the largest moly producer in China and the fourth largest in the world; it is also the second largest tungsten producer in China and an emerging precious metals producer. In 2011, its moly production accounted for approximately 20% of total production in China and 8% of the world; its tungsten production accounted for 9% of total production in China. China Molybdenum is listed on the main board of HKSE under the code 3993 and has just been granted approval by CSRC to list on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. At the end of 2011, China Molybdenum’s
total assets were RMB14.9 billion [Chinese renminbi] (about R20.9 billion) and its net asset were RMB10.7 billion. Its revenue and net income for 2011 were RMB6.1 billion and RMB1.1 billion respectively. CFC owns 35.4% of China Molybdenum. WDC Diamond Proiect WDC Diamond Project is located in Wang Fang Dian of Dalian City. WDC controls diamond reserves of about 12.36 million carats and is the largest diamond reserve in Asia and the eleventh largest in the world. The WDC Diamond Project is 100% owned by CFC.
RIGHT Regional setting of the Neoproterozoic Copper Belt in Zambia, DRC and Botswana. Botswana is set to become as exciting a mining destination as Zambia and the DRC, but without the associated infrastructural and sovereign risk constraints
primary mining town. As to the companies further west, infrastructure is developing rapidly in the area (both transport and power) and is not expected to delay project development, timing or scale. So in conclusion, I believe that other than Discovery and African Copper – both producers and therefore obvious targets for the Chinese resource hunger – there are a number of other very exciting nearterm take-out opportunities lurking in Botswana and the significantly better infrastructure and lower sovereign risk has got to be a strong plus in their favour.
RIGHT The Botswana Power Corporation grid is in place – the largest question for the medium term is feeding that grid
LATE BREAKING NEWS At the time of going to press, Discovery announced that the directors have advised the representatives of CFC and CAD Fund that the price proposed by CFC and CAD Fund is inadequate and does not reflect, in the context of a change of control, the value of the company’s operations and expansion plans, the potential to increase the resources on the company’s tenements through further exploration, the strategic value of the company with an operating project and management team in Botswana, and the scarcity value of the company. The directors have advised the representatives of CFC and CAD Fund that if they wish to put a new proposal to the board, the board will consider and assess that new proposal on its merits.
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Engineering and project management
BEE IN MINING
Ingwenya takes BEE ownership to 45% Ingwenya Mineral Processing (IMP), a junior coal processing company, has concluded an agreement with Anglo American Khula Mining Fund in relation to a proposed BBBEE transaction.
he agreement is subject to certain conditions and the conclusion of all legal agreements. In terms of the proposed transaction, Mpho Mothoa, a founding shareholder, will be appointed as the new MD of the company. The transaction will also see Mothoa increase his shareholding to 45%. Neville Matodes, another founding shareholder and previous MD, will continue to play an active role in the company as technical director as well as serving on the board. Anglo American Khula Mining Fund (AAKMF) is a joint initiative between Anglo American and Khula Enterprise Finance Limited, a government entity that promotes small and medium mining-related investments. AAKMF will hold a 10% stake in the company that Vunani Corporate Finance helped to facilitate and advise Mothoa on the transaction. IMP is a South African-owned company based in Mpumalanga, with head offices in Witbank. The company strives to become an “operation and maintenance contractor of BELOW Beneficiation of low-grade coal. The full-scale FGX plant at Middelkraal is successfully used to upgrade coal for Eskom
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choice” to the coal mining industry in the supply of the following services: • cost-effective supply, operations and maintenance of modular coal processing plants (washing plants) that meet the throughput, quality and safety allocations of their client’s operations • professional services in the consulting field, including due diligence, pre-feasibility, bankable feasibility and metallurgical trouble shooting studies. IMP aims to develop the entrepreneurial skills of its BEE partner, provide training to its personnel to the levels of industry requirements, and achieve the status with its customers of a partner in the supply and cost-effective operation and maintenance of coal processing plants (mineral processing), which deliver effective returns to the shareholders. The company is committed to the highest standards of safety, environmental and health performance at all times and fully supports the SHEQ management standards and systems of its partner. It also undertakes to train and develop its employees to ensure appropriate levels of competence to efficiently perform their work activities. The strategy is to build the company into a profitable entity so as to maximise
Anglo Thermal Coal and Ingwenya Mineral Processing installed a three-product cyclone at Umlalazi colliery
shareholder value through the provision of a value-adding service, and requires that it aligns its activities to maximise its involvement in the clients’ vision in the development of efficient mineral processing objectives. IMP strives to have seven plants in contract operations and maintenance over a five-year period, with an additional three over a further five years. In addition, it aims to be at the forefront in providing quality modular processing plants, as either part of these contract operations or as separate entities. “We will continue to pursue relationships with service providers and clients alike who are both interested in developing local resources to their mutual benefit, as well as for the industry for which they serve,” the company states. BELOW An X-ray sorter used to recover coal from a discard dump with the final discards in the foreground
Engineering and project management
SMPP contractor extends its horizons Building long-term relationships has proven to be SMPP contractor Steval Engineering’s key to success. Over the past couple of years, the company has almost doubled its year-on-year turnover.
he company specialises in the fabrication and erection of structural steel, plate work, steel bulk storage tanks, process piping and mechanical installations. Focusing on mining, oil and gas, paper and pulp, and milling industries, the structural, mechanical, plate work and piping (SMPP) contractor has completed projects and exported plant to more than 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo and Zambia. Its client list includes the big role players in the mining industry, such as DRA, TWP, Sasol, Great Basin Gold, EastPlats, BHP Billiton, Aquarius and K&T. Steval recently completed a R100 million project at the Konkola North Copper Project in the Chililabombwe district in Zambia. The main client of this project is the African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) and Vale 50:50 joint venture, with DRA being the consulting engineer. “Steval did the front-end of this project, which included
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
all the conveyors leading out from the shaft; in total 10 conveyors circuits, three transfer towers, two steel buildings, three overhead cranes, 5 km of process piping, 5 km of overland piping, various pump installations, three bridges and loading structures. A total of 740 t of steel was fabricated, supplied and installed by Steval during this project. Commissioning of the project started last week and the client is satisfied with the work done,” states marketing manager Thys van Emmenis. Under a separate contract, Steval completed two mill installations at Konkola North for Polysius, the mill division of technology providers ThyssenKrupp Engineering. Work entailed the assembly and installation of a ball mill and an SAG mill. “Moving away from maintenance projects, Steval’s main focus is on complete capital expansion projects,” explains Van Emmenis. “Being an SMPP contractor, process plants are more our game. This includes structural steel and platework fabrication
ABOVE Steval head office in White River BELOW Konkola North construction
and installation, mechanical installations, process piping and overland piping. “Apart from doubling our turnover to an expected R400 million from last year, Steval has also grown in terms of its capabilities. We have completed numerous turnkey projects where we do the engineering design ourselves, right through to installation and commissioning of the project. We try to keep as much as possible of the work in-house and try to avoid subcontracting.” Located near White River, Mpumalanga, Steval’s workshop covers 8 150 m² and includes five overhead cranes, guillotines, bending machines, punch and cropper units, press-breaks, pipe-rollers, radial arm drilling units, profile plasma cutters, CNC beam drilling lines and angle-cropping machines. The company’s combined fabrication capability is 600 tpm, with effective capacity of 400 tpm. This medium-sized construction contractor has about 550 employees, of which 80 are permanent staff, with 30 in management in the Project Support Unit. The company has a core technical team of specialists, who provide the competence and expertise for the technical work and move from project to project. The majority of staff are contractors employed for a specific project on a limited duration contract. “We at Steval are proud of the fact that we get things done. In this extremely competitive market where one contractor struggles to differentiate itself from another, we want to build long-term relationships with our clients. We therefore believe that our purpose is to help our clients achieve their purpose. This is why the company adopted the motto ‘possibility is everything’,” concludes Van Emmenis.
POSSIBILITY IS EVERYTHING ESTABLISHED IN 1997, IN NELSPRUIT, MPUMALANGA TODAY COMPLETING PROJECTS THROUGHOUT SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA WE SPECIALIZE IN THE FABRICATION AND ERECTION OF STEEL. WE DON’T JUST CONSTRUCT STRUCTURAL STEEL, WE WORK WITH OUR CLIENTS TO HELP MAKE THEIR VISIONARY PROJECTS A REALITY. THIS IS OUR PURPOSE; TO EXPERIENCE THE SHEER JOY AND PRIDE THAT DEVELOP FROM MAKING OUR CLIENTS DREAMS COME TRUE WHEN BUILDING AND COMPLETING THEIR PROJECTS SUCCESSFULLY. TOGETHER WE DARE TO
CHALLENGE THE IMPOSSIBLE, BELIEVING THAT SUCCESS IS THE OBJECTIVE. WELCOME TO STEVAL ENGINEERING WHERE POSSIBILITY IS EVERYTHING
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Engineering and project management
A differentiating factor Consulmet specialises in the design, supply and construction of mineral processing plants. The company has developed a range of modular niche mining technologies for the beneficiation, extraction and recovery of minerals and metals. MD Derek Lahee explains his company’s lump sum turnkey full project delivery to Hans Alink.
hat differentiates Consulmet’s full lump sum turn key (LSTK) project delivery from that of the regular EPCM service providers is that we offer a fixed LSTK price for a project up front and we commit to those costs. Our clients are happy with this, because they don’t have to go back to the board of directors to request additional funds. We don’t work on a reimbursable rates basis like most of industry where costs can get out of hand, which then kills the project. LSTK projects are high risk, but if the scope of the project is clearly defined, you know what you are doing, and you are able to improvise when it comes to logistics and site establishment and site civil, mechanical and electrical erection, then it can be very rewarding,” explains Lahee. Since its inception eight years ago, Consulmet created a niche for itself in heavy mineral processing, with more than 80 projects in Africa. Most of its designs are pre-designed, which reduces the design risk, and they have the required systems to manage the logistics, procurement, construction, commissioning and ramp-up of a complete project. “Delivering LSTK projects in Africa can prove to be very tricky. Conditions are difficult – the logistics, lack of infrastructure, weather conditions, red tape and politics – and can lead to major delays in project delivery. The company must be able to deal with set-backs. Improvisation is key,” says Lahee. Consulmet’s current and most recent deliverables in Africa include projects in Southern and West Africa. In Sierra Leone, West Africa, the company is currently providing spiral plants for a heavy minerals project. In Southern and Central Africa, Consulmet is involved in projects in the DRC, DMS copper concentrator circuit for various clients), Zambia (a Consulmet copper and gold project at Ndola), Zimbabwe (seven modular diamond and gold projects), and Botswana
(diamond autogenous milling project.) A large portion of the 80 projects delivered into Africa are in the diamond industry making Consulmet one of the leading diamond process engineering companies in Africa. Having delivered an average of 10 diamond projects a year for the past eight years (more than 80 projects in total) probably makes Consulmet one of the leading diamond process engineering companies in Africa. “Having significantly diversified our portfolio, our clients typically are mid-tier, entrepreneurial mining companies, with good growth and cash in bank. These clients are aware of the high fee structure of the bigger industry players and prefer our LSTK system. Also, our methodology – this includes the modular concept and the way we implement elements like civils and structural steel – and our technology is better suited for implementation in remote areas,” states Lahee.
Specialising in process engineering, Consulmet also has a core of about 30 qualified process engineers with experience across all the minerals and metals and 150 permanent employees, including its office in Australia. Complementing these services is a strong 3D Inventor design office. Consulmet has its own manufacturing workshop in Klerksdorp where the company fabricates its structural steel and plate work and does rubber lining. Modules are trial erected and then exported to site. “Consulmet is proudly South African and has a strong and loyal relationship with its local suppliers, which enables it to meet its LSTK obligations. On time, on budget, is key to our reputation.”
BELOW Consulmet’s standard 150tph DMS plant, DRC RIGHT 100tph AG milling installation, Botswana
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
ALUMINIUM FEDERATION OF SOUTH AFRICA
Directing South Africa’s aluminium value chain The Aluminium Federation of South Africa acts as a pivotal information platform for the aluminium industry and plays a critical role in ensuring downstream product beneficiation of aluminium in South Africa.
ince 1981, the Aluminium Federation of South Africa (AFSA) has been actively involved in increasing the awareness and use of aluminium in South Africa. The organisation acts as a voice for the aluminium industry and currently comprises 130 members. Mark Krieg, AFSA’s executive director, provides some insight into the role AFSA plays in the industry, specifically by ensuring effective
downstream beneficiation and local product value-add in South Africa.
Aluminium production Aluminium is the third most common element in the earth’s crust. It is, however, only commercially extractable in certain countries. There are significant deposits of bauxite, or raw aluminium ore, in Guinea, the United States, Brazil, Russia, China,
Kazakhstan, India, Indonesia and Australia. Australia remains the world’s largest bauxite producer, and the biggest supplier of aluminium oxide (Al2O3) to South Africa. Aluminium oxide, generally referred to as alumina (α-alumina), is a white powder that is formed during the beneficiating of bauxite – in the so-called Bayer process. South Africa does not mine any bauxite. Although the mineral is prevalent in the country, it does not occur in a commercially mineable form (at least not when compared to the price of obtaining aluminium oxide at LEFT aluminium extrusions being fabricated BELOW Rolling mill – South Africa has one rolling mill, in Pietermaritzburg. It produces several rolled aluminium strips for further downstream beneficiation
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
Beneficiation world market prices), which is why the country imports alumina from Australia. The production of commercially pure aluminium happens during the smelting process. Through a process of using carbon and a substantial amount of electricity, aluminium is extracted from its oxide, alumina, to produce 99.5% pure aluminium. As a general rule of thumb, 4 t of bauxite produces 2 t of alumina, while 2 t of alumina produces 1 t of aluminium. In South Africa, BHP Billiton does primary production of aluminium at its Hillside and Bayside smelters in Richards Bay. The Hillside smelter annually produces 720 000 t of aluminium, while Bayside produces 95 000 t of aluminium per annum. The smelters collectively export 600 000 t of primary ingot per year.
Alloying and secondary processing Aluminium is the generic term for a group of alloys (wrought and cast) that are characterised by its chemical composition. The typical aluminium alloying elements are copper, magnesium, manganese, silicon and zinc. Alloyed aluminium is classified in various series. The series classifications depend on the type of alloying elements added to the aluminium. There is also a large variety of minor alloying elements such as iron, chromium, titanium, lead, bismuth, nickel, boron, vanadium, zirconium and beryllium. Pure aluminium (without any alloying elements added) is used for tinfoil packaging in the food industry and for electrical
equipment, because it is such a good conductor of electricity. It is also extremely soft. As the strength of the alloys increases, the ductility (bendability) generally decreases. The seven-series alloys (with added copper and magnesium, among some of the main alloys) are stronger, but less bendable, and are used in high-tech aero- and space applications. The behaviour of the alloys depends largely on its composition, hardness and temper (there are both heat treatable and non-heat treatable alloys). One of AFSA’s key roles is to provide technical advice on the properties, design criteria, corrosion resistance, machinability, formability, weldability and surface finishing of the various alloys, says Krieg. Although BHP Billiton produces some alloys, South Africa also imports 84 000 t of alloys annually (specifically the six-series). The products from the BHP smelters serve as input to the semi-fabricators. In South Africa, the semi-fabricators (five in total, plus the foundries and cable manufacturers) produce extrusions, plate, sheet, foil, cable and aluminium casting for the diversity of downstream fabricators and manufacturers in South Africa – as well for export. South Africa produces 40 000 t of extruded aluminium, 30 000 t of cable aluminium, 25 000 t of casting and 210 000 t of rolled aluminium. The fabricators supply practically all the requirements of local manufacturers and other end-users in South Africa. Increasingly, semi-fabricated and finished products are being imported, largely from South East Asia. Rolled aluminium is produced from South Africa’s only rolling mill, owned by Hulamin, situated in Pietermaritzburg. Hulamin is a conventional flat rolled aluminium products producer and operates a direct chill, remelt facility and hot, cold and foil rolling mills.
ABOVE The aluminium value chain – showing imports, production and exports, as well as how much value is added downstream
The secondary aluminium smelters use South African scrap aluminium to produce the input raw material used by the foundries. Of the scrap aluminium, 41 000 t is exported and 25 000 t is beneficiated locally. The largest secondary smelters in South Africa are Zimalco and Insimbi; there are also smaller smelters, each with their own capabilities. As an extremely versatile material, aluminium is often referred to as the ‘the magic metal’. Qualities such as ductility, non-corrosiveness, non-magnetic, non-combustible, non-toxic, imperviousness and a high strength to mass ratio makes it an upper-end metal for various applications. However, aluminium is often criticised for the large amounts of electricity consumed during the smelting process, therefore being attacked as a ‘non-green’ metal. “What very few people realise about aluminium production is that on average 50% of aluminium products contain recycled aluminium. The secondary smelting of aluminium uses only 5% of the energy a primary smelter uses,” notes Krieg. These facts contribute greatly to the sustainability and environmental benefits of aluminium. A substantial amount of energy saving therefore occurs through the fact that aluminium has such a long product life cycle and is such a highly durable product. A case in point is the Johannesburg Post Office in Jeppe Street. The 75-year-old building still contains its original window and doorframes, made out of aluminium. Because the metal is so light, it also results in significant fuel savings in the transport
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
Beneficiation industry, and it is generally perceived as a much better insulator in building materials because it seals so much tighter than wood or steel frames.
AFSA – a voice for the industry AFSA claims to be one of the more active aluminium industry associations in the world
specifically as Eskom will still invest a lot in construction of transmission lines and power stations, in which aluminium products can play a key role,” Krieg informs. Additionally, AFSA is actively engaging with government players to represent the industry in the Competitive Supplier Development Programme (CSDP) – a socio-economic initiative for
As far as skills are concerned, the challenge is the same throughout the industry, notes Krieg. The majority of South Africa’s engineers with key skills and experience are now close to retirement age and there has not been an influx of young engineers to the industry. Instead, youngsters pursue careers in marketing or accounting, leaving the engineering fraternity with a critical skills gap across the board. AFSA plays an advisory role, specifically to the MERSETA (Manufacturing, EnMark Krieg, AFSA executive director gineering and Related Services Sector state-owned enterprises to develop the loEducation and Training Authority) to assist cal infrastructure (electricity plant, renewawith the development of training material ble energy equipment, rail coaches, wagons and curriculums. “We provide information and tankers) with the aim of increasing the to the MERSETA on the typical qualificacompetitiveness, capacity and capabilities of tions and skills necessary for welding, boillocal suppliers. ermaking, fabrication and foundry skills, A second important role of AFSA is that for example. of being a technical information platform. “We also sponsor the Young Welder of the “We have a team comprising four technical Year competition, and we are also busy with experts and we are able to give assistance a project to develop an Aluminium Welding and technical advice to members. Someone Centre of Excellence, working closely with would, for instance, approach us and say ‘I the Institute of Welding,” says Krieg. The prowant to build a microlight, what type of aluject is still in its early stages, but it is set to minium should I use?’ We will then provide further expand the skills pool required for the the details of a local extruder in that catealuminium industry to be sustainable. gory and give technical advice on the type AFSA is also on the steering committee of welding rods to use, etc,” Krieg explains. the National Foundry Technology Network “We do not get involved in the pricing or (NFTN) – another DTI-led initiative. The commercial aspects of the industry,” he says. NFTN is a collective government and indus“Things like wage negotiations and pricing are try association effort to develop a globally completely out of our mandate.” competitive local foundry industry through appropriate skills training, technology transfer and the diffusion of new technologies. The Aluminium Casters Association, the Aluminium Fabricators and Sheet Products Associations, and the Aluminium Surface Finishers Association operate under the aegis of AFSA. The sector associations are the cornerstones of the federation. Some of the associations/institutes that AFSA partners with include the South African Industry of Foundrymen, the South African Institute of Welding and the South African Institute of Steel Construction. Through its strong backbone of technical expertise, and the major engagement and lobbying role, AFSA plays an integral role in adding downstream value to South Africa’s aluminium industry.
“What very few people realise about aluminium production is that on average 50% of aluminium products contain recycled aluminium. The secondary smelting of aluminium uses only 5% of the energy a primary smelter uses.” – and the depth of its well-developed website certainly supports this claim. The organisation acts in the best interest of the industry and its members, and supports projects that will directly or indirectly lead to the aluminium industry’s growth and development. AFSA plays a critical lobbying role for the aluminium industry as a whole and represents the issues the industry faces at governmental level. It provides general and technical information to government and supports programmes that will lead to job creation and the development of local products and markets. One specific project that AFSA is currently focusing on is the DTI’s designation of products initiative. Product designation refers to an instruction to government departments by the DTI to only use specified or ‘designated’ local products when engaging in public spent. “We are working hard towards getting certain aluminium products designated,
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
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NEW TECHNOLOGY AT MINTEK
SA’s first commercial pressure leaching plant The first commercial continuous pressure leaching pilot plant in South Africa has been erected at Mintek in Randburg for use by local and international mining and metallurgical industries for test work.
he six-stage continuous autoclave can be used for a number of industries, including precious metals – in difficult-to-treat refractory gold and platinum (PGM leaching and the removal of base metals) – as well as the base metals industries for copper, cobalt, nickel (for nickel laterites) and zinc. Although these plants are not unique, they are relatively rare, with the only other commercially available pilot plants being in Canada and Australia. In the past, mining and metallurgical projects in the African region were forced to take their material to commercial testwork providers in Australia and Canada as such a service was not available in South Africa. “Pressure oxidation was developed for processing refractory ores,” explains Dr Leon Kruger, manager of Mintek’s Hydrometallurgy division. “In these ores the gold is often occluded in the sulphide minerals, typically pyrite or arsenopyrite, which makes it extremely difficult to recover this gold. The pressure oxidation process takes place when sealing a reactor with a mineral in solution under high temperature and then increasing the pressure and raising the temperature to about 150 to 200°C. The combination of an elevated temperature and pressure provides the chemical potential required to alter the sulphides so that they become amenable to conventional leaching, allowing it to be recovered economically by conventional circuits.” A typical process flow sheet is given in Figure 1. “The selection of what pre-oxidation technology is most appropriate is always siteand ore-specific. The currently preferred processes are pressure and biological oxidation. The acquisition of this pressure oxidation pilot plant means that Mintek now has modern, continuous pilot facilities to test
LEFT Dr Leon Kruger, manager of Mintek’s hydrometallurgy division (left), and Tendai Tambudze, engineer at Mintek Hydromet’s gold and uranium group, at South Africa’s first commercial continuous pressure leaching pilot plant
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
both the biological and pressure oxidation metal powder from liquid metal,” explains duration demonstration programmes are approaches,” Kruger concludes. Rodney Jones, specialist consultant and particularly valuable in pyrometallurgical The six-stage continuous autoclave was acting manager of the pyrometallurgy diviprocesses where many important engineerdonated by independent consultant Dr sion at Mintek. ing issues only surface and can then be Grenvil Dunn to the Engineering Faculty In this process, the molten alloy is tapped addressed over much longer periods than of the University of Cape Town (UCT). into a ladle furnace where its temperature typical pilot plant tests of a month or less. The faculty, in turn, elected to donate it to is controlled before it is discharged by using The overall aim is to demonstrate the Mintek, as the research organisation has a slide-gate valve into a tundish that feeds effectiveness and safety of the technolthe appropriate operational and maintethe water atomiser. Inside the atomiser, ogy over the next two years. After that, it nance expertise, personnel and back-up high-pressure jets impinge on the molten should open up opportunities in various services to operate the plant, as well as the stream to break it down into fine particles, new areas, wherever malleable metal alloys physical space to house such a facility. In which can vary in size depending on the alare required in powder form. return, Mintek will train UCT chemical enloy and the pressure of the jets. The solidigineering students in using the technology fied particles are initially separated from and pay the university a commission on the the water by a magnetic separator, followed commercial service work done. by a dewatering screw. The final drying of The plant was transported from Cape the powder takes place in a rotary kiln. Town and reassembeled in the hydrometal“These powders are well suited for subselurgy bay at Mintek where it has been presquent leaching operations where surface sure tested and is currently being recomarea is an important consideration. It is also missioned to provide a commercial service suitable for pneumatic conveying and other to mining and metallurgy clients who want material handling systems that require acto apply the latest technique in a new wave curate feed rate control,” says Jones. of technology. “The fact that such a facility Designed and built by MDM Engineering, is now available on their doorstep and comwhich sourced the atomisation technology panies operating in Africa no longer have to from UK-based metals processing compasend their samples abroad is good news for ny Atomising Systems, the new plant will industry, locally and regionally,” says Peter initially be used for a two-year R&D proCraven, Mintek’s general manager: Busiject for Anglo American Platinum. Long ness Development. In another Mintek development, the alLEFT The six-stage continuous autoclave loy atomisation plant, which was recently at Mintek, which will be used locally and officially opened by the minister of Mineral regionally for continuous pressure leaching pilot plant test work Resources, Susan Shabangu, is currently being commissioned. With this plant, the pyrometMill cyclone overŇow allurgy division of Mintek intends to research Gas/Stream and develop atomisation technology for the preScrubber cious and base metals Surge tank And Stack industries. The plant Heat Recovery will provide an effective means for the production of solid metal powder from 6 t batches of Splash molten metal. Flash HeĂƟn Cyclone Cooling “Many smelting proTowers Towers Loaded cesses that selectively carbon recover metals yield an NaCN Gas alloy that is too malleFresh Condenser NaOH Blee carbon Surge Proces able to be crushed or Carbon tank water milled. However, the Oxygen Steam downstream processing of the alloy often reAutoclave FIGURE 1 POX circuit quires it to be in powder Carbon-In-Leach Tanks Slurry Coolers form and atomisation Reference: Thomas K.G., Pressure oxidation overview, provides an effective Developments in Mineral Processing, Volume 15, 2005, Pages 346–369, Advances in Gold Ore Processing means of producing Tailings Pond
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
HOW TO BECOME A LOW-COST PRODUCER
Chasing profitability for the mining fabricator Until recently, automation was unavailable to smaller fabricators. Ocean Machinery’s Danny Steyn, BSc Mech Eng, looks at the affordable options now available and how they help reduce costs.
t was late 2001. The boom was over. NASDAQ and the tech sector had imploded and come crashing down just a few months earlier. The US economy was in a state of turmoil, and uncertainty and fear were written on everyone’s faces. Yet there we were, a very small and relatively unknown machinery company, selling CNC Automation into small ‘mom-and-pop’ steel fabricating shops across the US at a previously unheard of rate. How was it possible that in the midst of this drastic downturn in the economy that we were selling more machines than in any time in our history? At the time we were just as surprised by our success as anyone else, but with hindsight and analysis, it became clear
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to us that there was a strong macro trend emerging in the fabricating arena and, for the first time, it was happening at the level of the small to medium fabricator. Life as a small mining fabricator has always been a pretty tough way to make a living. Just getting started was hard enough. You needed a bottomless pit of money, expensive machinery, a good location, patient vendors, great cash flow, steady paying customers and an expensive skilled, energetic and well-disciplined workforce. For the most part, small mining fabricating shops are either swamped with work or don’t have enough, and their owners are always too busy with the day-to-day pressures of satisfying customers, chasing up orders, dealing
with uncooperative vendors and employees, and the never-ending administration of running a business that they have built painstakingly from scratch. They seldom have the time to give much thought to how they can be making incremental productivity improvements in their operations. Most just keep on doing what they have always done and for many, productivity is an often misunderstood term. But unless the fabricator gets out from under this cycle, and seriously starts looking at productivity, there will be a lot of hard work, sweat and grind, and very little profit at the end of the day. To complicate matters, in countries where we have had an abundant supply of relatively
Technical commentary ABOVE With the ongoing improvements in steel fabricating machinery, many activities that have traditionally been done manually can now be done with some form of automation
cheap labour and an on-off approach to labour, through various means we have been able to crew up when we are swamped with work, and trim down when we are short of work. This on-off approach to labour has had longterm negative effects on our understanding of how to make productivity improvements. In other countries where employees are typically very difficult to terminate, owners take a long, hard look at all possible options prior to hiring a new employee who might have to be there for the next 20 years! Two of the most commonly considered tactics are outsourcing (contracting) the work, or investing in machinery to do the work, as the machine can be paid off in a few years and it will continue to work for free for many more years, while the new employee will require a salary for as long as they are at the company.
Becoming a low-cost producer When commodity mineral prices are going through the roof, noone cares about productivity. Mines need the steel now and are prepared to pay. But no commodity prices remain elevated indefinitely. They always come back down, which is when you know you can’t continue doing it the same old way. Becoming a low-cost producer has to be the single most important goal of any fabricator. And improving productivity is the only way that this goal is achieved – steadily, incrementally and methodically; one step at a time.
So how do you start going about becoming a low-cost producer? By and large, the costs for all fabricators with respect to their steel costs, wages, overheads, consumables, etc., are all very similar. And
most have very little ability to control these costs. The only real variable in the mix is how many man-hours he has in each tonne of fabricated steel. By lowering the man-hours per tonne, the fabricator is able to dramatically reduce costs, improve the bottom line and be more competitive in the bidding market. One of the first areas that should be addressed is any tedious repetitive manual operation that can easily and economically be extracted from the fabricating process. Throwing labour at a problem often appears on the surface to be the quick and easy solution, but experience dictates that this is often the most expensive approach in the long term. With the ongoing improvements in steel fabricating machinery, many activities that have traditionally been done manually can now be done with some form of automation, and the cost of automating the plant has dropped to very affordable levels. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the approach to beam fabrication. In the past, the small to medium fabricator had two options: either manually lay out and
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mag drill the holes, or invest a tremendous amount of capital in a conventional beam drill line. For the average fabricator, this was always out of his reach, but nowadays there are several options designed to increase the productivity of the hole drilling process. Focusing on the cost of layout alone, the most expensive person on the shop floor, your layout man, has to repetitively layout a variety of parts, including beams, base plates, angles, channels, etc. Yet the actual process of laying out adds no value to the steel. It is only the subsequent processes of drilling/punching/welding, etc., that transform the profile and add value. So here we are with this conundrum: our most expensive man adds no value. So from purely a cost perspective, layout has to be the primary focus. So how do we remove the layout activity from the process of fabricating steel?
Extracting man-hours per tonne Today there are many affordable solutions on the market and all of them embrace some
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Technical commentary form of automation, essentially CNC fabrication. In the realm of beam fabrication, the proven solution for the small to medium fabricator is the single-spindle beam line like the Ocean Avenger. With more than 500 Avengers installed in more than 60 countries worldwide – and more than 30 installations in South Africa – this is the machine that has literally transformed fabrication for steel fabricators that would never otherwise be able to afford larger and more expensive multi-spindle beam lines. It is specifically the flexibility of the single spindle drill to process the entire spectrum of steel profiles including angles, base plates, channels, stair stringers, etc., that has made it very attractive to even the smallest of fabricators. Moreover, the ability to tackle the heaviest jumbo columns, as well as large tonnage projects, has allowed the steel fabricator to cast the net to a far wider range of jobs than he had traditionally gone after. Because of this, we have seen many small fabricators with exceptional tonnage and revenue figures for relatively small shops. Furthermore, 3D detailing software has become prevalent and affordable, and this has simplified importing the data from the detail drawings directly to the CNC machine, essentially eliminating the unnecessary costly and potentially inaccurate step of laying out the steel. This has resulted in significant improvements in productivity, speed and accuracy. Not only does this type of machine automatically layout and drill all the holes, but it also lays out the marks where all the welded attachments are to be fitted. This significantly speeds up production through the plant and gives the owner confidence that the parts will fit in the field. No more layout errors and omissions.
Processes that reduce material handling go a long way to improve profitability
Going back to our first ventures into CNC automation back in 2001, our original expectations were that around 10% of the
Two other overlooked areas in small fabricating shops are workflow and material handling. Steel is heavy and it takes expensive labour to move it. Those fabricators who have taken the initiative and studied the material handling aspect of the structural steel business, using standard time and motion studies, are horrified to find out that as much as 50% of their labour costs go into moving the steel out of raw material storage, through the various processes on the shop floor and finally to finished goods. Obviously, any process that reduces material handling goes a long way to improve profitability. Good overhead cranes, conveyors and other simple steps to introduce systems will greatly reduce the double and triple handling that robs companies of their profits.
ABOVE Nowadays there are several options available to increase the productivity of the hole drilling process
small to medium fabricators would adopt some form of CNC fabrication. Today the picture is significantly clearer. Except for the smallest of shops, small to medium fabricators will have to make the transition to CNC fabrication in order to remain in business. They have no option. It’s no different to the way we had to embrace the fax, cellphones, internet and e-mail, despite how much we might have resisted at the beginning. It is no longer possible to throw labour at this work and expect to see any profits left at the end of the day. Making an investment in your company, its employees and its future will reward you handsomely. And as we all know, the sooner you do it, the sooner you perfect its use and start getting the gains.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Danny Steyn is a mechanical engineering graduate from the University of Natal now living in the US. Through Ocean Machinery, he and his partner Hunter Fry, have completely rewritten the way that small to medium fabricators process steel. Steyn has had the privilege of visiting more than 6 000 steel fabricators around the world, and with over 700 Ocean CNC machines installed worldwide, he has a rare insight into the way fabricators around the world are addressing the ever-increasing issue of labour productivity.
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
BLUE CHIP MINING AND DRILLING
A match made in heaven Northern Cape-based Blue Chip Mining and Drilling has emerged as the regions’ biggest drilling, load and haul, and crushing and screening contractor. This is due to its ability to identify its clients’ needs and complement them with the bestsuited equipment for the job, says CEO Martin van Zyl.
t has taken Van Zyl only seven years to establish his company as a dominant and successful contractor in the Northern Cape’s booming mining sector. “I attribute the company’s ongoing growth and success to our core business model, which focuses predominantly on servicing the area’s manganese and iron ore mines. We have established a sound knowledge of these minerals and their typical geological composition, which require abrasive, hard rock application enduring machines to prosper,” explains Van Zyl. With this in mind, Blue Chip Mining and Drilling (BCM) has focused, with equal fervour, on establishing long-term relationships with equipment solutions and service providers that can meet the application demand of typical hard rock mineral projects – particularly with regards to surface drilling. “One service provider,
Sandvik Mining, has proven its ability to meet our large diameter DTH drilling requirements. As such, our relationship has
trial tested at Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen mine. Van Zyl says the machines impressed from the start: “They performed and also fitted the
The recent purchase of three new drills is indicative of the growth Sandvik Mining’s Northern Cape business unit has seen and is capable of achieving grown and continues to strengthen with momentum, especially since the company established a local branch late last year. Our clients, who include all major mining houses in the area, have shown a preference for Sandvik drills, particularly the DR580 drill, the company’s biggest seller in the area,” Van Zyl continues. BCM originally acquired two DR580 (originally named Cubex) drills in 2008, which it
size specifications of the client.” This was the beginning of what has become a very fruitful relationship for both companies. In addition to the Sandvik drills, BCM was also attracted to the company’s ground engaging tools system, which according to Van Zyl offers extended drill components wear life without compromising on performance. “The man-machine interaction is also impressive.”
Growing together In line with its own growth strategy, BCM recently took delivery of three new Sandvik DR580 surface drill rigs, taking its Sandvik Mining drill complement up to 11 machines in total. All are based and operate at the Sishen mine or the Assmang/ African Rainbow Minerals’ jointly owned Khumani iron ore mine. “Sandvik drill specs are all perfectly suited to hard rock applications because they are built and designed for endurance. They are also economical in terms of cost, and their delivery turnaround time is quick as well,” Van Zyl points out. The recent purchase of three new drills is indicative of the growth Sandvik Mining’s
LEFT Blue Chip Mining and Drilling recently took delivery of three new Sandvik DR580 surface drill rigs. From the left are: Arne Lewis (vice president: Sandvik Mining SA) and Martin van Zyl (CEO of Blue Chip Mining and Drilling), with one of the new drill rigs
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
Mining equipment Northern Cape business unit has seen and is capable of achieving. “The branch is officially just a year old, and we have already achieved considerable growth, which we intend to continue. We are also thrilled at the response of local customers, like BCM, to the establishment of a dedicated Sandvik branch closer to their operations. These customers have recognised that we are more than just an equipment provider – we are a solutions provider that can assist them with finding the most appropriate and cost-effective solutions to their unique operational requirements,” says Raymond Grobler, business unit manager of Sandvik Mining’s Northern Cape operations. “Because our core values are so well aligned, and our objectives for growth are similar, we have earmarked BCM as a strategic partner to work with in future. The company is a major anchor in the Northern Cape and together we can both benefit from aligning our businesses,” he adds. Van Zyl notes that Sandvik Mining equipment remains at the forefront of his business when current and future considerations will be made regarding new equipment purchases. “The machines meet clients’ expectations.” And the intention to work together as an aligned entity is already under way – the two companies are engaged in preliminary talks with a mining rights holder, which, if successful, will bring the two companies even closer together. As a close working unit, the two companies have also modified a drill component together. “We identified the need for a larger dust hood, which Sandvik modified and provided to us based on our need,” says Van Zyl. “Our relationship is open and transparent, and we believe that together we can jointly find solutions to fit our mining clients’ every need,” Grobler adds.
underground and surface exploration. “We provide drill and blast services (as a registered explosives handler), crushing and screening, load and haul, and reha-
employed during the recession period. Although it focuses predominantly on manganese and iron ore projects in the Northern Cape, it also provides explora-
Sandvik Mining has earmarked BCM as a strategic partner to work with in future bilitation activities – either individually or as a package,” says Van Zyl. With its own mechanical and maintenance team and facilities, the company today employs 600 permanent staff, of which 81 were
tion drilling activity for Optimum Coal and has also worked in the chrome industry. Its current client base, in addition to Kumba Iron Ore and Assmang, includes Sedibeng Mining, Kudumane and BHP Billiton.
Who is Blue Chip Mining and Drilling? Although BCM was registered in 2003, it first became operational in 2005, and became a fully fledged and diversified service provider and contractor in 2006. The company provides soft services to the mining industry, including mining right applications and inter-government liaison, among others. Its hard core service arm includes RIGHT From the left are: Raymond Grobler (business unit manager of Sandvik Mining’s Northern Cape operations), Martin van Zyl (CEO of Blue Chip Mining and Drilling), and Peet Schoeman (business development: Sandvik Mining Northern Cape)
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
SANDVIK-PILOT CRUSHTEC ALLIANCE
Distributor agreement formalised Pilot Crushtec, South Africa’s leading supplier of crushing and screening equipment, has signed a distributor agreement for Sandvik Construction’s mobile range of products: crushers and screens for exclusively assigned territories in Africa.
he agreement, which is effective 1 October 2012, forges a strategic partnership between the Jet Parkbased company and Sandvik Construction. It is expected that this alignment will be of significant benefit to local and regional mine and quarry operators. The alliance follows an approach by Sandvik Construction for Pilot Crushtec to take over the regional distribution of its full range of mobile crushing and screening products. The major territories that will fall under the distribution agreement will be Southern Africa and all countries to the north as far as Kenya. “There are a number of sound reasons why Sandvik Construction considered Pilot Crushtec as a business partner. Pilot Crushtec has a reputation for being a dynamic and successful company, an independent business that is a major player in local and Southern African markets. The company has the technical expertise and field service capabilities to support the Sandvik brand and we share similar values about the environment, health and safety,
and most importantly, Pilot has a great attitude towards serving customers,” says Duncan McGregor, product area president: mobile crushers and screens. There were some compelling reasons for Pilot Crushtec to take the proposal forward: • It is in perfect alignment with the company’s policy of associating itself with worldclass brands. • Sandvik is an engineering company with more than 150 years of experience. Through various acquisitions, it is now one of the largest suppliers of crushing and screening equipment globally. • The Sandvik product range includes large capacity mobile products for hard rock mining and quarrying applications. This provides Pilot Crushtec customers with an enhanced product selection that, at the top end, offers far higher productivity than was previously available. • The relationship with Sandvik Construction means that Pilot Crushtec will have full access to Sandvik’s entire mobile range of crushing and screening equipment. This Sandvik’s QJ331 Mobile Jaw Crusher
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
The Sandvik range distributed by Pilot Crushtec includes: Mid-range mobiles: Jaw crushers: QJ 340, QJ 330: QJ 240 Cone crushers: QH 440, QH 330 Impact crushers: QI 440, QI 340, QI 240 Screen: QA 450; QA 440, QA 430, QA 340, QA 331, QA 240, QA 140 Scalper: QE 440, QE 340, QE 330, QE 140 Heavy-range mobiles: Jaw crushers: UJ 640, UJ 540, UJ 440i, UJ 440E Cone crusher: UH 640, UH 440i, US 440i Scalper: QE 440 Wheeled-range mobiles Cone crusher: UH 421, UH 320 Impact crusher: UV 320 Screen: UF 320 will facilitate the entry of Pilot Crushtec customers into valuable new markets. “This strategic alliance will take us to another level. Some of our customers are looking for a larger and more powerful range of equipment, including increased crushing capacities, and we are giving them exactly that to help them grow their businesses,” says Sandro Scherf, CEO of Pilot Crushtec. By sizing up its range in terms of products and increased output capacities, the new agreement means that the 20-year alliance that existed between Pilot Crushtec and Terex Finlay, which at times contributed up to 45% of Pilot Crushtec’s business, has ended. Scherf emphasises that Pilot Crushtec will continue supporting current users of Terex Finlay products, namely: • Pilot Crushtec will continue to sell Terex Finlay equipment until its stock is depleted. • The company will do its utmost to have a constructive and proactive termination with Terex Finlay. • All Terex Finlay warranties will be honoured. • Pilot Crushtec will continue to offer full support on all of its products. • Terex Finlay spare parts represent a significant part of Pilot Crushtec’s business, and the company will continue to grow its spares offering and support. “This is a wonderful opportunity. We are extremely excited about our association with a great international brand that opens the door to a much wider selection of the highest quality mobile equipment,” concludes Scherf.
NEW INTELLIGENT DEWATERING PUMP
It’s the next generation Sulzer Pumps’ recent launch of what has been called ‘the next generation of dewatering pumps’ was on display at the Electra Mining Conference in September 2012.
pecifically suited to the harsh conditions prevalent on mining sites, the ABS submersible dewatering pumps are available in two series, one for drainage (the XJ pump) and the other for sludge (the XJS pump). “The ABS submersible dewatering pump range is the world’s toughest and smartest
dewatering pump,” says Jonas Enevold, Sulzer Pumps spokesperson.
A tough environment Surface and underground mining sites are notoriously difficult places to work. Large
The Sulzer pumping solution
All photos: Sulzer
According to Enevold, the ABS submersible dewatering pump range offers stable operation, long life and high portability, and is also packed with electronic intelligence called AquaTronic and AquaPlug. These two features save energy, reduce wear and allow pump condition to be checked without disassembly. Further major benefits include: • correct motor rotation every time as the pump electronically adjusts for incorrect phase order • motor protection as the pump stops in the event of a power overload and/or high temperature • rapid assessment of operation/fault history through a USB port, which allows the pump condition to be checked with a PC, without disassembly • no control panels required as the builtin pump electronics eliminate traditional electrical panels • reduced energy consumption and wear as the pump can be set to stop at dry running and start again at a specified level.
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
Enevold explains that “building the world’s most intelligent dewatering pump” means eliminating electrical control panels. The AquaTronic unit integrates electronic intelligence into the pump, while the Aqua-
The result is a pump featuring electronic intelligence coupled with robust reliability – a pump made for the real world volumes of water often need to be removed in order to keep production moving. This, according to the team, is the real world and therefore has necessitated the introduction of a range of dewatering pumps “made for the real world.”
Plug control and monitoring module integrates it into the power supply. As previously highlighted, the direction of impeller rotation is also always correct. This is because the AquaTronic unit electronically compensates for incorrect phase order – a first among dewatering pumps. The AquaTronic unit also ensures that pumping with the ABS submersible dewatering pump range starts immediately with
The XJ pump
Environmental preservation full capacity and runs consistently. Although the pump can be run continuously, the AquaPlug – an optional control and monitoring module – can also be used to stop it when snoring. By stopping at dry running and starting automatically at a specified level, energy use can be optimised and wear can be reduced. According to Enevold, the inclusion of the AquaTronic unit also prevents unnecessary servicing. By connecting it to a PC via USB, pump diagnostics can be carried out rapidly and easily without disassembly. “Light emitting diodes easily give the status of the pumps.” In addition, the AquaTronic unit also has internal software that presents the pump’s service history and can assist in monitoring – and managing – the pump’s performance over its life cycle.
ABOVE The ABS submersible dewatering pump XJ/XJS submersed in water
The XJS pump
High performance A double outer casing and good heat convection further allows continuous operation at low water levels, or even dry running, without water damage. This has been ensured through the use of
When I say I’ll deliver... I deliver! Peter Yaman
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robust and reliable materials, with the outer casing cast in aluminium, and other cast parts in a lightweight aluminium alloy. The mechanical shaft seals have been cast in silicon carbide. Additionally, the impeller and adjustable wear-ring’s long life has been ensured through their casting in a high-chrome alloy steel – and the lifespan of the diffuser has also been ensured through the use of an oil-resistant nitrile rubber. “The result is a pump featuring electronic intelligence coupled with robust reliability – a pump made for the real world,” concludes Enevold.
Providing turnkey solutions for ultra-fine minerals
To ensure the sustainability of mining operations, mining companies need to seriously consider the preservation and sustainability of their environment and natural resources, such as water, by minimising their environmental pollution and carbon footprint, Jayson Jacobs, operational director of Enprotec, explains to Hans Alink.
he solution to preserve scarce commodities should also be sustainable, in terms of simplicity of operation, technical back up, professional and thorough project planning and execution, and cost effectiveness – this is where Enprotec believes we are making a huge difference to the industry and will continue to do so,” says Jacobs. Enprotec specialises in providing the mining industry with individually customised turnkey solutions for the treatment of ultra-fine minerals. “In industries like coal, ultra-fine materials are treated as waste streams. With our specialised technology, we have successfully managed to turn these waste streams into sustainable revenue-generating streams, eliminating slurry ponds and the risk of acid mine drainage. These solutions also constitute into a substantial decrease in raw water consumption,” he adds. Enprotec has proven to be more than just a technology provider. Its expertise and experience in designing, constructing, commissioning, operating and maintaining of ultra-fine coal treatment facilities is what separates the company from its competitors. This expertise is backed up by fully functional lab-scale facilities, through which comprehensive test work is done, ensuring Enprotec
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
provides the best customised solutions to fulfil each client’s needs. Enprotec’s technological contribution to the industry is based on the Dual Cell Flotation System and the Enprotec plate and frame filter-press. The Dual Cell Flotation System incorporates unique methods of energy transfer, aeration and reagent dosage to achieve a high yielding and extremely efficient flotation cell. The Enprotec plate and frame filter provides the lowest possible cake moisture by incorporating membrane squeezed and cake-blow functionalities within every cycle, thereby increasing water recovery and subsequently decreasing the raw water requirements for the operation. Filtering of ultra-fine coal has traditionally been perceived as a very expensive and complicated process, but the simplicity and affordability of the Enprotec plate and frame filter proves otherwise. The efficiency and effectiveness is evident in the success of installed equipment at various operations. The coal industry has traditionally been pumping ultra-fine coal to slimes disposal facilities and even underground, because a process that could sustainably dewater or upgrade that fraction had not been previously available. Besides the negative effect these practices have on the environment,
ABOVE Greenside colliery flotation plant
potentially profitable combustible coal is being discarded. With Dual Cell Flotation, the option will be to upgrade the calorific value of the coal to a typical 27.5 MJ/kg product, after which the product and tails are dewatered, maintaining a zero percent effluent system. However, the main driver for finding solutions for ultra-fine coal is not predominantly revenue generating, but rather decrease the environmental footprint through reduction of raw water consumption and the elimination of slurry ponds. In 2012, Enprotec completed three major projects, including the Savmore colliery (a 30 tph flotation and filtration plant), Anglo American Thermal Coal’s Greenside colliery (a 50 tph flotation and filtration plant producing 17 000 tpm export material) and the Hakhano colliery (dewatering and filtering 36 tph ultra-fines). “At Hakhano colliery, our most recent project that was commissioned in July, we managed to reduce the water consumption from 43 000 m3 to 8 500 m3. The water is reused in the closed loop process water circuit of the plant, while the filter cake is sold for domestic power generation,” concludes Jacobs. Enprotec is also busy with other projects, the most advanced of which is a project at Stuart Coal.
“The lowest operational cost plate and frame filter press by far!!” ENPROTEC offers the latest technology in plate and frame ﬁlter press units in the market. With the latest developments in high quality components, and process technologies, the ENPROTEC plate and Frame ﬁlter press units offer the lowest possible operational cost. ENPROTEC’s expertise in the ﬁeld of solid/liquid separation, or dewatering by means of plate and frame ﬁlter presses, is unmatched. Together with ENPROTEC’s plant design and construction capabilities, a unique turn-key solution is provided with guaranteed performance.
Fully automatic 1500 Plate and Frame Filter Press with automatic cloth wash function
The highest quality PP plates ensures the best amount of cycles be obtained A wide range of ﬁlter plates and ﬁlter cloths is available together all peripheral spares including service contracts
Environmental and Process Technology (Pty) Ltd specialises in the supply of a full range of plate and frame ﬁlter presses used in the mining and metallurgical industry.
Tel: +2713 246 1399 • Fax: +2713 246 1070 • email@example.com • www.enprotec.co.za
Gears and motors
Size matters – and so does service SEW-Eurodrive displayed its latest intelligent, comprehensive X Series of industrial gear units at the Electra Mining 2012 exhibition. The robust helical and bevel-helical gear units cover a torque range of 6.8 to 475 kNm and feature finely graduated size, variable installation and a wide variety of modular options.
f particular interest is the X3K helical bevel unit, which was designed with the mining industry in mind. It includes the latest condition monitoring equipment in the form of a temperature feedback probe, the DUO oil analysis sensor and the DUV vibration analysis sensor. Also fitted in the unit is an integral one-directional backstop bearing, which allows for a more compact design of the geared motor. An auxiliary drive was fitted to allow for easy maintenance when the drive needs edging. This type of set up allows for better energy efficiency during maintenance when the smaller auxiliary drive can be used instead of the larger industrial gearbox. This type of unit would suit a bucket-elevator-type set up. One main area of application for SEW industrial gear units is conveyor systems. In this context, the gear units perform reliable service in driving conveyor belts and bucket elevators for the horizontal and vertical transport of bulk material and packages, which makes it very popular in the mining industry. They also run the travel and hoist drive on cranes, or serve as a drive with reinforced bearings for mixers and agitators. The German drive automation specialist produces the robust X Series units on an independent platform. With their finely graduated size, they cover a torque range of up to 475 kNm. Recently, SEW rounded off the lower power range of this series and is now also offering the proven gear units for the torque range of 6.8 to 475 kNm. The extremely large gear ratio of 6.3 to 450 is evidence that with its X Series, the manufacturer has met all the requirements for a complete, comprehensive range of industrial gear units. When it comes to helical and bevel-helical gear units, nearly any mounting
Inside Mining 11.12/2012
position or shaft arrangement can be implemented. The X Series’ finely graduated sizes and high-power density results in savings in terms of both weight and cost. The large amount of pre-defined accessory equipment creates flexibility in terms of adjusting the unit to each respective application. This includes a wide range of modular options such as motor adapters and mounting flanges, backstops and cooling systems, as well as sealing systems for the most varied environmental conditions. SEW compiles drive packages for the customers that include industrial gear units, a motor, couplings, brakes and steel frames. In this case, customers benefit from the fact that they can obtain the complete, fully assembled drive package from a single source. SEW has an engineering department that assists customers with the complete drive package and custom-designed solutions, and a large local stockholding allows for shorter delivery times and more flexibility.
BELOW The X Series unit designed for the mining industry, which was on show at Electra Mining 2012
Gears and motors
FLEXIBLE TRANSMISSION SOLUTIONS
Geared up motors CMG Electric Motors South Africa has added a wide range of flexible transmission solutions to its product portfolio. The off-the-shelf range of worm-geared reducers, helical shaft mounted reducers and associated fittings continue to grow increasingly attractive to the mining industry, says mechanical product manager, Gary Smith.
fter an increase in demand for packaged solutions, CEO Brian Campbell took the decision to bring the gearboxes, which has been part of CMG Australiaâ€™s product portfolio for over 25 years, to the South African industry,â€? explains Smith. â€œWhile we are still essentially an electric motor company, the addition of these well-designed and manufactured gearboxes allows us to convert our motors into geared motors to offer customers a comprehensive, flexible, worldclass selection of drive solutions. â€œWe can select off-the-shelf gearbox and motor combination units, allowing us to size, configure and couple them to exact demand power and output shaft speed specifications within hours. Our extensive
o the stockholding, coupled to ves flexibility of design, gives us the scope to providee a turnkey solution for varied applications,â€? elaboratesÂ Smith. The current gearboxx CRT Motor range, available in 10 sizes from CMG orque from 0.06 to 15 kW with torque m, are worm conranges from 3 to 2 000 Nm, figuration units with standard hollow shaft casings that allow a single or double output shaft to be fitted. According to Smith, with appropriate services at regular intervals, these units are quite capable of performing for up to 20 years. â€œAnd servicing is quick and easy. The gearboxes have three rubber seals and one
blank closing cap and because the rubber seals will perish long before the bearings are affected, the service only requires replacing the seals and oil. It is only when a complete overhaul is called for that the two taper roller bearings, the two deepgrooved roller bearings, as well as the seals and the welsh plug are replaced.â€? All technical employees receive extensive, professional and ongoing training. â€œWe will make sure that everyone is completely familiar and up to date with the product and stock availability.â€?
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ATLAS COPCO GENERATORS
Designed to perform, built to last Reliability in the most adverse and abrasive environmental conditions is possible with Atlas Copco’s QAS range of generators.
riven by Perkins, Kubota or Volvo engines, Atlas Copco’s QAS range of generators are intelligent multitaskers that can power a wide range of electrical equipment in different applications, particularly in a mining environment. Reliability in the most adverse and abrasive environmental conditions is ensured thanks to their highly rugged construction. These economical units offer a low total cost of ownership and a high resale value. Operation is easy, with a wide range of control modules, electrical settings and mechanical options. In addition, they operate with minimal noise and emissions. David Stanford, business line manager: Portable Energy division at Atlas Copco
Construction Technique South Africa, provides an insight into the technical aspects of the QAS generator range: “This product range complies with demands for on-site reliable, uninterrupted power supply, irrespective of the location, application or climate. The technology is not only a back-up in the event of a power failure, it is a complete, intelligent, turnkey power solution.” The generators achieve the best frequency stability at any load level, and deliver and manage continuous power supply to a wide range of electrical equipment for varied applications. “In terms of performance, they are accurate and provide stable power regardless of conditions, due to carefully selected components and accurately
Atlas Copco’s QAS generator
developed and tested configuration. The QAS is a robust generator range, built to last,” comments Stanford. “We want our clients to see Atlas Copco as a real performance partner that contributes to the productivity of the processes in their business operations by optimising equipment availability and product operational life,” he concludes.
Driving customer service through skills development
The Atlas Copco ACademy is responsible for the in-house skills development of all employees. Through its Apprenticeship and Training in Africa programme, the ACademy provides employees with the knowledge that empowers and inspires them to deliver excellent customer service. www.atlascopco.co.za
INTRODUCING THE BROADEST PRODUCT LINE IN THE MINING INDUSTRY
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BELL ARTICULATED DUMP TRUCKS
Bell and Deere remain firm partners Bell Equipment and its American strategic alliance partner, John Deere, will no longer collaborate on the manufacture of articulated dump trucks in the Americas, but the relationship between the two companies remains solid in all other regions and aspects.
ell and John Deere have been strategic alliance partners since 1996 when Bell was signed on as John Deere’s construction and forestry dealer for Southern Africa. Later, Deere acquired a stake in the South African manufacturing company. Underpinning the shareholders’ agreement was a supply and distribution agreement that gave Deere the exclusive right to distribute and support Bell-designed articulated dump trucks (ADTs) in certain markets, including North and South America, under an exclusive distributor mandate. Deere’s launch earlier this year of its own range of ADTs and confirmation by Bell that it will continue with the design and manufacture of its own successful range of ADTs led to a revisit of the various agreements between the companies. The new agreement also allows Bell access to the American markets. Bell chief executive, Gary Bell, believes his company is well positioned going forward. “Apart from our long-standing partnership with John Deere, we have also aligned with other leading manufacturers, including
Bomag and Liebherr, to offer our customers a one-stop shop for quality products. “We are currently gearing up for the release of our E Series range of ADTs. The B30E and smaller truck models will be released in 2013, with the higher capacity trucks following in 2014. The B30E was previewed at Intermat showing significant technological advancements to deliver better customer value.” He adds that the company is continuing to do leading research and development. “The design is what gives us our edge in an environment where customers are facing increased competition and rising fuel costs. New and upgraded products will ensure that we maintain our technological advantage in the market and give our customers the added benefits of higher productivity, greater durability and lower lifetime operating costs.”
Bell chief executive, Gary Bell …we are currently gearing up for the release of our E series range of ADTs. The B30E and smaller truck models will be released in 2013 with the higher capacity trucks following in 2014
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Dawn of the mining supermajors is breaking BY WILLEM SMUTS
There have been a few false starts, but ap-
What does the New Year hold for us?
proval by Xstrata independent directors of the revised US$33 billion (R284.77 billion) takeover bid from Glencore in early October not only sees the formation of the world’s third-largest mining business in terms of market capitalisation, it also sees the creation of an entity that will hold an impressive 11% share of annual global mined zinc production. What is more, this deal, in my opinion, truly is the breaking dawn of the supermajors in the mining industry and undoubtedly will follow the path of the ExxonMobil and Chevron-Texaco in the oil industry. I will wager that we will see a few more transactions like this one in the months and years to come and we will need them – how else will the industry stand up against the looming red dragon that wants to consume and control all? One, of course, wonders who will remain once the feeding frenzy is over... we will surely find that, like the oil industry a few years back, the playground will look very different from what it is today.
While the madness continues in traditional mining destinations in Africa, I am of the opinion that more players will turn elsewhere to newer frontiers. By way of example I quote a comment from a junior miner: “Malawi’s favourable political backdrop, its excellent geological potential and improving infrastructure, including major rail, road and power developments, together with the continued support of the government of Malawi and its Ministry of Energy and Mines, the Mines Department and Geological Survey, provide a very strong basis for development of this important mineral resource and for our continued growth in the region”. Diamonds – the crunch is coming: Global production of diamonds amounted to 124 million carats in 2011, and according to a recent report, 13 new mines will add 23 million carats by end of the decade. Balancing this against the depletion of existing mines, aggregate diamond production is forecast will increase by 2.8% a year to 2020. But that figure is not sufficient to
match forecast demand – a Bain report predicted demand to nearly double by the end of the decade, leaving a deficit of some 28 million carats in the scenario! Although the US remains the largest market for diamonds, the rapid growth of the Chinese and Indian middle classes is expected to have the biggest impact on the equation. In these two countries, the number of households with a disposable income of US$15 000 is expected to rise to about 469 million in 2020 from about 220 million today. By 2020, Bain predicts that annual production will swell to nearly 175 million carats and surpass peak 2007 pre-crisis production levels, although no new discoveries are expected in the foreseeable future. Diamonds are exceptionally difficult to find, in fact maybe about 1% of kimberlites discovered to date have proved to be commercially viable. With this low success rate and a finite number of kimberlites left to explore, Bain believes there is very slim chance of a sudden increase in supply. In my opinion, I do believe that Bain will be proven wrong as to new discoveries that
could have a significant impact on the industry. Gold: Analysis from Standard Bank recently suggested that the current gold price of around US$1 780/oz, at the time of writing, factors in around 15 months of quantitative easing from the US Federal Reserve. That’s not a view shared by everyone, however. Evy Hambro of Blackrock was more than happy to go on record with a view that gold will hit US$2 400/oz in 2013, while Rick Rule, the well-known Canadian resources investor now associated with Sprott, has also been expressing his views: “In this environment, all financial assets, including gold, will be very volatile, but gold will do well because the value of currencies will continue to erode. If you look at history, gold does very well in troubled times… Gold is a store of value, it’s a currency and it will continue to outperform fiat paper currencies around the world over time.” I am firmly with Hambro and Rule on this! Enjoy what is left of the holidays and here’s hoping to find you reading Ceterum Censeo again next year...
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