The resurgence of the alluvial diamond mining industry is boosting the sale of screening equipment across the African continent.

One of the equipment ranges benefiting from this resurgence is the Terex Finlay products, supplied by local crushing and screening specialist Crushtec.

“These machines are made for Africa. They’re mobile, require little maintenance and are very reliable,” says Steyn’s Diamante owner Schalk Steyn. He operates a sizeable fleet of Terex Finlay equipment, including six mobile Terex Finlay 883 heavy duty scalping screens and one Terex Finlay 984 3 deck horizontal screen.

The company bought its first Terex Finlay product more than seven years ago, and found it to be ideally suited to the business of alluvial diamond mining.

“Right from the beginning we found the equipment to be compatible with our existing plant and systems, and the versatility of the Terex Finlay 883 mobile scalping screen means we can do in-pit screening, which saves a lot of money,” says Steyn.

Large, as-dug material can be placed by excavator directly onto the heavy duty apron feeder of the Terex Finlay 883, which then feeds the rock onto a doubled deck screen fitted with heavy-duty, replaceable tyres on either top or bottom decks.

According to Pilot Crushtec director of sales, Graham Kleinhans, versatility and cost effectiveness is definitely the Terex Finlay strong suit.

“If you mine, you have to rehabilitate the land you have disturbed and in the case of alluvial diamond mining, this means river beds containing the ore. Even while it screens, the Terex Finlay 883 is engaged in the rehabilitation process, as its oversize conveyor automatically returns reject material, even boulders, back into the ground.”

Steyn’s Diamante is currently mining a stretch of land between the towns of Prieska and Douglas in the Northern Cape province, which Kleinhans says is where a Terex Finlay comes into its own.

“Firstly, Terex Finlays are diesel powered, so they can operate free of the restrictions associated with electric power. Secondly, even under rugged conditions, they can comfortably screen around 400 tph. Being tracked, they can also be easily walked from one screening section to another,” says Kleinhans. From time to time the operation also uses the Terex Finlay 883 screen in conjunction with the Terex Finlay 984 3 deck horizontal screen to produce five products at high capacities.

Steyn believes that much of the Terex Finlay’s proven reliability comes down to its basic design.

“It is a very mechanical machine and does not have complex electronic controls, which can be a problem when working under African conditions.”

Steyn’s business acquired three 883 mobile screens between November 2011 and January 2012. At a cost of approximately R2 million each, this shows he has genuine faith in Pilot Crushtec’s ability to back up its products as Douglas is nearly 700 km away from the Pilot Crushtec factory in Jet Park, east of Johannesburg.

“Their support is excellent and so is the service. If we need a part, Pilot Crushtec gets it to us overnight or even over a weekend. Their management and sales engineers visit us regularly and we regard them as the market leader,” Steyn concludes.

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