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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: June 1st 2007


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:: Thickening Systems for Khumani Iron Ore

Bateman Engineering has been awarded a turnkey contract to design and supply the paste thickener for the secondary thickening stage of Phase 1 of the Assmang Khumani Iron Ore-BKM project in South Africa and is, in addition, supplying the primary traction thickener for the project. Assmang Limited is jointly owned and controlled by African Rainbow Minerals Limited and Assore Limited.

The paste deposition contract, awarded in conjunction with ECMP (Pty) Ltd, requires the design through to hot and cold commissioning of the paste thickener and ancillary equipment. The complete deposition facilities, which are being supplied jointly by ECMP and Bateman Engineering, include a paste disposal facility, an 18 m diameter Bateman-WesTech Paste Thickener, a dry discard dump and a waste rock dump.

The design of the paste thickener and paste disposal facility is being based on the feasibility design and testwork conducted jointly by PasteThick & Associates and ECMP using a 1 m diameter paste pilot plant supplied by Bateman Engineering at Assmang’s Beeshoek mine in 2005. They will handle a nominal maximum particle size distribution of 500 µm but with the capacity to handle a coarser top size approaching 1,000 µm. The paste-thickener will produce thickened tailings in the form of a high-density paste with minimal free water, thus maximising the utilisation of water resources. This approach, with the thickener now forming part of the tailings operations controlled by the tailings operator, is a first in the industry and allows for the ECMP - Bateman Engineering team to control the output of the thickener to ensure that it meets the requirements of building the paste disposal facility.

The contract for the 90 m Bateman-WesTech primary traction thickener, received from Assmang Ltd, also covers the design of the thickener through to cold and hot commissioning. The thickener, operating as a buffer before the paste thickener, will return the bulk of the clarified water to the main plant via the clarified process water tank. The design of the thickener is similar to the existing 90 m traction thickener operating at Assmang’s Beeshoek mine, and it will accommodate feed flow rates varying between 9,600 m3/hr and 12,000 m3/hr, with the feed solids content as low as 1.5 %. As with the paste thickener, the nominal particle size distribution will be 500 µm, but the thickener is designed to accommodate top sizes approaching 1,000 µm, which could result from abnormal conditions such as upset conditions or bypassing of the plant.

The Khumani Iron Ore mine in the Northern Cape province of South Africa will initially produce 10 million t/yr of iron ore, but this will be nearly doubled when the second phase is complete.

Bateman-WesTech Thickeners are used for a wide range of industrial sedimentation and filtration applications and offer many advantages including very effective settling of the solids, long operating lives and low maintenance requirements. Protection against overloads is provided by Torkmatic units while the drives can handle shock loads, uplifting loads and large overturning moments without damage.




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