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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: July 16th 2007


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:: US$59 million Blue Ridge Platinum Project Awarded to Bateman Engineering

Bateman Engineering has been awarded a US$59 million lump sum turnkey project by Blue Ridge Platinum (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of Ridge Mining plc, to construct the PGM (platinum group materials) concentrator for a mine Blue Ridge is developing near Groblersdal, South Africa.

The plant, which is scheduled for production in the fourth quarter of 2008, will treat UG2 type material from underground using a flow sheet utilising a milling and flotation arrangement jointly designed by Blue Ridge Platinum and Bateman Engineering and typical for this ore type.

The contract includes the engineering design, procurement and management of all construction activities and the commissioning of the concentrator to a level at which the concentrator can receive ore.

Bateman Engineering conducted the pre-feasibility study as well as the full feasibility study for this plant, which is targeting 125,000 ounces of PGM per year.

Bateman Engineering has been involved in many PGM concentrator plant projects, including the Hartley Project for BHP Billiton, Bafokeng Rasimone and Modikwa for Anglo Platinum and Impala Platinumís UG2 plant. A zinc concentrator with similar equipment and flowsheet is currently being built utilising Asian-sourced engineering services and procurement, a successful strategy recently adopted to curtail current, high inflationary capital costs for projects. It is intended to use the same strategy for the Blue Ridge concentrator without compromising the functionality and quality of the operational plant.

The flow sheet is simple and closely resembles standard UG2 flow sheets developed in the early 1990s, being a well proven technological solution to restrict the problematic chromatite in the concentrate. Ore will be delivered to the concentrator plant via a series of underground conveyors and will be fed onto an open stockpile then crushed using a jaw crusher. The crushed ore will be delivered to a mill feed silo and then into the primary mill where it will undergo coarse grinding in a closed circuit with a screen. The fine product from the screen feeds the primary rougher, cleaner, recleaner flotation circuit collecting the concentrate for filtration and shipping to a toll facility. The primary flotation tailings are dewatered, classified using hydrocyclones then fed to a secondary mill to achieve a fine grind. The mill product feeds the secondary flotation circuit where the concentrate is jointly filtered with the primary concentrate ready for shipment and the tailings are discarded.




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