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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: December 9th 2003


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:: Xstrata Develops World’s Largest Fine Grinding Mill

Xstrata Technology has developed the world’s largest fine grinding mill in conjunction with Anglo Platinum for their Western Limb Tailings Retreatment Project near Rustenburg, South Africa. The large 10,000 litre, 2.6 megawatt IsaMill is due for commissioning in December this year. The landmark development follows the sale of the first commercial size IsaMill into the South Africa platinum industry, a 3,000 litre, 1.1 megawatt unit. This mill has been successfully operating at Lonmin Platinum’s EP-C concentrator for over a year.

The large 10,000 litre, 2.6 megawatt IsaMill during the installation phase at Anglo Platinum’s Western Limb Tailings Retreatment Project near Rustenburg, South Africa

The large IsaMill had been developed as part of a collaborative agreement between Xstrata Technology, Anglo Platinum and Netzsch of Germany, as a scale-up from the existing 3,000 litre, 1.1 megawatt IsaMill. Currently seventeen 1.1 megawatt units are operating in mining plants in Australia and South Africa, treating zinc, lead, gold and platinum concentrates.

Lindsay Clark, Xstrata Technology’s Mineral Processing Manager, said: “The development of the IsaMill technology will simplify fine grinding circuits and significantly reduce the overall installed plant cost. The progression of the design is very important to Xstrata Technology. With the use of coarser inert media the IsaMill could become a real alternative in some applications currently using ball mills, particularly where there are downstream processing advantages from the inert grinding environment.

This is an excellent example of our capacity to provide leading edge technical solutions to our customers, which arise from the expert knowledge and experience of developing and operating the IsaMill technology at our own operations over many years."

IsaMill is a continuously operated, horizontally configured, fine grinding machine, capable of producing finer than 6 micron sized products for large scale mineral processing and leaching applications. It was developed by the former MIM to grind ores at its Mount Isa and McArthur River operations in the production lead and zinc concentrates. The technology is now being increasingly used by other mining companies for gold and platinum production. There is also strong interest in further application of the technology, including treatment of copper and nickel concentrates.




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