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Materials handling specialist, Weba Chute Systems has installed more than 300 transfer points at various sections of Assmang’s Khumani iron ore mine in the Northern Cape and has 19 chutes poised for hot commissioning, due to be completed at the end of February 2013.

The 300 chutes form part of the Khumani Wet High Intensity Magnetic Separation (WHIMS) project. The WHIMS plant includes a super fines beneficiation circuit and related infrastructure feeding into the existing Parsons processing plant.

The WHIMS plant is expected to improve the recovery of ore and optimise the life of Khumani, which is currently ramping up (through an expansion) from 10 Mtpa to 16 Mtpa of iron ore.

The Weba Chute team was tasked with engineering chutes capable of reducing production losses related to blockages, eliminating spillage and achieving an 80% maintenance-free transfer point.

“The major application requirement on the latest expansion project (WHIMS) was to cater for the extreme stickiness of the material, which is prone to choking and blocking in transfer points,” Weba Chute Systems’ MD, Mark Baller, says. “Although we have extensive experience with the type of material being handled at this operation, the application in itself presented certain challenges owing to the super fines being transferred from conveyor to conveyor.

“These particle sizes range downwards from 2 mm to micron proportions and the material is very abrasive and sticky. Our design has, therefore, incorporated 20 mm high alumina ceramic engineered tiles to facilitate the necessary level of abrasion resistance and the free flow of the sticky material.”

Baller adds that one of the primary objectives during the design phase was to ensure that the angle of flow within the chute was such that it would not choke or block during material transfer.

Four of the chutes supplied by Weba Chute Systems have been engineered to accommodate a Multotec cross belt sampler.

The company is now in the design phase for additional chutes for the Khumani optimisation project (KOP), with installation scheduled to start in February 2013 as part of an interface with the WHIMS project.

Each Weba Lined Chute System is custom designed for a specific application, taking into account factors such as belt width, belt speed, material sizes, shape and throughput. Easy access has been provided for inspection and maintenance purposes.

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