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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Australasia: October 18th 2006


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:: BHP Billiton Iron Ore Project Optimises Water Recoveries with Outokumpu Technology Plant

A turnkey fresh water recovery plant has been installed by Outokumpu Technology to optimise environmental benefits at BHP BiIlitonís Finucane Island facilities at Port Hedland in Western Australia.

The plant, incorporating SUPAFLO® high rate thickening technology, is integral to the plant expansion which forms part of BHP Billitonís Rapid Growth Project No3, which will increase annual iron ore sales capacity by approximately 20 million tonnes.

Successful completion of the order, just 29 weeks from award to commissioning, was announced by the Managing Director of Outokumpu Technology Pty Ltd in Australia, Mr Neil Jagger, who said the solutions delivered by the company were tailored to the strict environmental standards of BHP Billiton, which targets zero harm from its developments.

Operating on a design and construct basis - including all construction, mechanical and structural works - Outokumpu Technologyís turnkey package comprises a 15m SUPAFLO® high rate thickener, feed trommel, flocculant mixing plant, clarified water storage tank and more than 1.6km of pipework and associated valving.

Designed to cope with fluctuating feed rates that change from minute to minute, the system screens process water and filters solids, then removes the thickened tailings, before routing the process water to the clarified water storage tank for recirculation throughout the plant. Tailings, meanwhile, are carried by the pipework system to the plantís tailings dam.

"Not only were the projectís technical requirements quite demanding from an environmental perspective, but our delivery of a complete turnkey system on time, on budget and with an excellent safety record also proved challenging. Given the extremely tight delivery and installation schedule, the project is a credit to the smooth partnership between BHP Billiton, the EPCM Engineer (the Mine and Port Development Joint Venture, a joint venture between Fluor Australia and Sinclair Knight Merz) and our team, led by Jason King," said Mr Jagger.

"We had already successfully delivered a turnkey thickener at BHP Billitonís nearby Nelson Point facilities as part of an earlier expansion project, thereby establishing familiarity with our technology, personnel and partnership approach to doing business. This familiarity further contributed to smooth progress at Finucane Island. Ongoing benefits at Finucane will include operator familiarity with the technology from a maintenance and training perspective and also similarity of spares."

The thickening technology on the Finucane project is engineered for low maintenance even while accommodating fluctuating feed rates and feed material that is difficult to settle. Featuring a unique flanged design for quick and safe installation, SUPAFLO® thickening technology gives special attention to the design of feedwells, rake profiles, and control strategies to meet the challenge of dewatering materials that are often problematical for normal thickeners.




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