South Africa-based mineral extrusion processing company Mineral Agglomeration Solutions (MAS) is offering its Briquettes By Extrusion (Brex) technology to the international mining industry.
“The Brex technology, a pelletising process that transforms mineral fines and sludges into compressed pellets for sale or beneficiation, can achieve agglomeration at high volumes at lower production and capital costs,” MAS MD Mike Wilkins tells Mining Weekly.
This economic solution adds commercial value to stockpiles and specified by-products of mining operations, usually considered waste, and significantly mitigates the environmental impact of mining.
MAS’s Brex was launched to the general market at the beginning of this year and forms part of a total solution that enables mining and smelting companies worldwide to exploit waste and/or by-products from all commodities, he adds.
“MAS’s highly efficient process involves the evacuation of air from the various materials and the extrusion of mineral fines, sludges and granular materials under high pressure, applying binders and stabilisers to form the final product,” Wilkins explains.
He advances that the solution is a “vast improvement on existing briquetting methods”, noting that, in comparison, it can produce a superior yield and is compatible with a range of recipes used by clients to produce their end products.
The company is set to work with miners and smelters of manganese, chrome, coal, nickel, iron-ore and magnetite, and the process is also suitable for the manufacturing of fuel pellets.
“The company developed the solution in South Africa over the past four years, during which it investigated, modified and tested the extrusion process to provide the international mining industry with an excellent solution for its mineral waste and by-products,” Wilkins explains, pointing out that US-based machining manufacturer JC Steele & Sons had considerable input in the development of the technology.
The Brex solution comprises machinery manufactured by JC Steele & Sons, which is supported by South Africa-based Brick Management & Manufacturing Supplies (BMMS).
“JC Steele & Sons are world leaders in the stiff extrusion of fine dusts, wet sludges and fine granular materials. The company supplies a range of extrusion machines, which can process up to 70 t/h of mineral materials,” Wilkins enthuses.
MAS successfully completed local bulk trials at the end of last year at manganese mining company Assmang’s smelter in Machadodorp, Mpumalanga, where the solution “proved that its process of extruding mineral fines produces yields higher than 95% and the pellets exceed a cold strength of 1 200 N”.
Wilkins notes that this is a “dramatic improvement on the yields of existing beneficiation processes for fines and sludges, which generally produce yields of about 65%”.
Another bulk trial is under way in Mpumalanga, where MAS is “making strides in proving that a smart pellet, incorporating carbon, can be successfully produced for smelting or sale in the international market”.
He further adds that the company’s success with its bulk trials has resulted in the selection of its technology by a major Malaysian manganese smelter owned by international and South African stakeholders. The technology has been installed at the smelter and is in the commissioning phase.
“We offer mining and smelting companies the full service of competent management and operational teams running extrusion plants on the ground for three to seven years,” he explains.
Each project is structured according to the specific business and socioeconomic environment, which enables the customer to own the plant or take ownership of the plant after a specified period.
MAS has more than 40 years of experience in stiff extrusion gained in the production of heavy clays for brickmaking. The company is 52% black-owned and has a management team of qualified experts in plant design, engineering and business development, as well as financial and general management.