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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: January 24th 2008


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:: Thickening and Clarification Circuit for Phase 2 of Uranium One Project

Following the completion of a contract to supply the complete thickening circuit for Phase 1 of the Uranium One Africa project in South Africa, Bateman Engineering is providing the thickeners and clarifiers for Phase 2.

The R32 million contract comprises the supply of a 20 m milling and densification thickener, a 24.4 m high density counter-current decantation (CCD) thickener and a 10 m Bateman Pinned Bed Clarifier (PBC™), with the project scope covering the design, supply, fabrication and erection of the equipment.

The high density thickener, which is the fifth such thickener supplied by Bateman Engineering for the project’s CCD thickener circuit, has been designed with a 7.5 m high sidewall. This will enable it to achieve a higher underflow density and therefore improve the washing efficiency by making it possible to remove as much solution as possible in the last stage. As with Phase 1, a PBC™ has been included into the thickening circuit thus enabling Bateman Engineering to overcome many of the production problems associated with old-style flow sheets. These include the need to oversize the thickeners and add additional flocculant to settle the ultra-fine material to eliminate or reduce crud formation from the pre-leach thickeners or CCD circuit.

The Phase 1 thickening contract covered the supply of nine CCD and high-rate thickeners, as well as a pinned-bed clarifier (see Globe No 58, November 2006). Bateman Engineering was also contracted by Uranium One Africa to carry out the complete metallurgical process design for the uranium plant (see Globe 49, June 2005). Phase 1 was completed earlier this year and Phase 2 is due for completion in August 2007.

The plant has been established as part of the Dominion Uranium Project owned by Uranium One Inc., a Canadian-based uranium producing company, to process ore mined from the Dominion and Rietkuil uranium deposits. These deposits contain potentially in excess of 136,000 t uranium oxide and represent about 6 % of the world’s uranium resource.

Bateman Engineering’s high-rate thickeners separate liquid and solids at very high rates because the hydraulic rates of the systems can be 10 to 20 times greater than those in conventional thickeners. The innovative design greatly reduces the plant area required for a thickener, while the technology offers substantially reduced capital and installation costs, when compared with conventional thickening units sized for the same production requirements.

The Bateman Pinned Bed Clarifier is a unique process for hydrometallurgical plants where solution clarity is important. Offering very low suspended-solids counts in the overflows, the clarifier regularly achieves clarities of less than 30 ppm solids, and even as low as 10 ppm. The simple, yet effective design means that the technology has a small footprint, low comparative capital expenditure and no moving parts, virtually eliminating the need for maintenance.




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