Iron ore major Kumba Iron Ore has awarded Tenova Bateman Technologies’ modular business unit an LSTK contract to supply a 50 tph modular beneficiation plant to its Sishen mine in the Northern Cape.

This follows Kumba Iron Ore and Exxaro Resources’joint development agreement (announced in April 2012) to commercialise the ultra-high dense medium separation (UHDMS) technology concept developed by Exxaro.The contract was awarded to the integrated minerals processing technology provider in September 2012 and is on track to be commissioned and handed over by the end of May 2013.

The plant will be used to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of separating iron ore at operating densities above 4.2 g/cm³ using the cyclone-based UHDMS technology.Should the demonstration prove successful, this would offer Kumba Iron Ore the opportunity to improve separation efficiencies in certain particle size fractions above that of the jigging technology.

Following Exxaro’s determination of the rheology of the ferrosilicon medium, specific applications will be demonstrated, including the use of UHDMS technology to process jig discard and low-grade ore. The ferrosilicon is also produced at Exxaro’s ferroalloys production facility, which boasts a superior gas atomised product with unique properties that complement the technology.

Should the UHDMS plant demonstrate the commercial ability to operate at anticipated high cut densities, it will achieve significantly higher yields of the same product grades as conventional jigging technology – due tosuperior separation efficiencies.The potential to process lower grades of iron ore will also be an option. This is in line with plans for future expansions and optimisation of production, through process optimisation of low-grade material at Sishen and Kumba Iron Ore’s other mines.

An Exxaro team has been developing and piloting this technology over many years and believes that the technology is superior to current beneficiation technologies forprocessing these types of ores.

Operating at high densities and processing ore thathas a high percentage of near-density material was not possible until Exxaro successfully proved this using a 30 tph pilot plant on this type of ore.

For many years, DMS plants have been successfully designed using washability data, but the data was restricted to lower density applications. Exxaro has also developed the capability to characterise ores at high densities, which could not be done previously, but has now enabled quantification of the potential and value of the UHDMS technology.

The Tenova Bateman Technologies’ modular plant, complete with feed and product/waste handling arrangements, will be fully equipped with instrumentation and control systems as required for demonstration purposes as well as for data gathering needs.The plant will be designed to accommodate the higher density material being processed and will include pumps designed to pump the ferrosilicon medium at the required densities and volume.

Tenova Bateman Technologies is committed to investigating, developing and acquiring novel technologies that will optimise clients’ return on investment, as well as making possible the processing and beneficiation of ores that were previously not feasible or practical using conventional technologies.A number of alternative technologies using ultra-high DMS for high-density bulk materials are being developed by Tenova Bateman Technologies and are nearing commercial application.

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