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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: August 14th 2007


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:: Reagent-plant Upgrade for Impala Platinum

Bateman Engineering has upgraded the depressant-dosing circuit in the reagent plant at Impala Platinum Ltd’s platinum concentrator near Rustenburg, North West Province, South Africa.

The project involved the design, supply, installation and commissioning of a new depressant mixing facility and storage area and the upgrading of the existing depressant dosing systems.

The facility is used to feed a solution of guar gum depressant into the flotation tanks handling the Merensky and UG2 ores being beneficiated in the concentrator. The depressant is obtained as a solid powder, which is loaded manually into hoppers and then fed at a controlled rate by screw feeders into a wetting bowl. Water is pumped into the bowl to wet the powder, forming a mixture of the depressant that is pumped through a hydro-shear blender to prepare a homogeneous solution that is then diluted in recycling tanks. This hydrated depressant is then stored and supplied to the flotation circuits as required.

The whole process is controlled by a SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system that automatically shuts down if the water level is too low and restarts when the level is restored. A manual system is provided in the event that there is a breakdown in the automatic control.

Bateman Engineering was awarded this R8.8 million (US$1.25 million) lump-sum turnkey project in competition with other tenders. Work commenced in July 2006 and the depressant-dosing circuit was successfully commissioned at the end of February 2007. The project was completed without any reported safety-related incidents or accidents.




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