Tenova Bateman Technologies’ Modular Business Unit has been awarded a contract by Kumba Iron Ore to supply a 50 tph modular beneficiation plant for Sishen mine, in the Northern Cape. This follows the signing a Joint Development Agreement by Kumba Iron Ore and Exxaro Resources in April 2012 to commercialise the ultra-high dense medium separation (UHDMS) technology concept developed by Exxaro.
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 runs prove successful, this would offer Kumba Iron Ore the opportunity to improve separation efficiencies in some particle size fractions above that of the jigging technology with UHDMS.
With the rheology of the ferrosilicon medium being determined by Exxaro, 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 Ferro Alloys production facility, which boasts a superior gas atomised product with unique properties that complement the technology.
Should the UHDMS plant design demonstrate the commercial ability to operate at anticipated high cut densities, it is expected to achieve significantly higher yields at the same product grades compared to jigging technology, due to the superior separation efficiencies that are achievable. The potential to process lower grades of iron ore will also be an option, which is in line with plans for future expansion and optimisation of production, through low-grade projects at Kumba Iron Ore.
Operating at high densities and processing ore that has a high percentage of near density material was not possible until Exxaro successfully proved this on a 30 tph pilot plant on this type of ore. An Exxaro team has been developing and piloting this technology over many years and believes that the technology is superior to current beneficiation technologies in processing these types of ores. For many years, DMS plants have been successfully designed using was hability data, with the data restricted to lower density applications. Exxaro has also developed the capability to characterise ores at high densities, which could not be done previously and which has now enabled quantification of the potential and value of the UHDMS technology. The demonstration plant will assist Kumba Iron Ore in unlocking the value of this material.
Meanwhile, 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’ standard size modular DMS plants are widely used and proven for a range of commodities and are well suited for areas with hard–to-access terrains. The plants are available as standard permanent-fixture processing facilities, as well as demonstration scale units for process development testing.
Tenova Bateman Technologies says it is committed to investigating, developing and acquiring novel technologies that will optimise a client’s return on investment, as well as make possible the processing and beneficiation of ores that were previously not feasible or practical using conventional technologies.
Further, it reveals that a number of alternative technologies for UHDMS for high-density bulk materials are being developed by Tenova Bateman Technologies and are nearing commercial application.
Kumba Iron Ore, a member of the Anglo American group, is a leading value-adding supplier of high-quality iron ore to the global steel industry. Its Sishen mine is one of the world’s seven largest opencast mines.
Exxaro is one of the largest South African-based diversified resources groups, with interests in the coal, mineral sands, iron ore and energy commodities.
The lump sum turnkey contract for a plant was awarded in September 2012 and will be commissioned and handed over to the client by the end of May 2013.