Low-grade, high-tonnage challenge significant

2nd October 2015

By: Kimberley Smuts

Creamer Media Reporter


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Multinational corporation ThyssenKrupp notes that the low-grade, high-tonnage challenge is the most significant hurdle the mining industry is facing in relation to the comminution process.

The company explains that most of the higher-grade orebodies have been mined, requiring the processing of large tonnages of low-grade ore at a low cost and in an energy efficient manner. This challenge is compounded by the increase in sample preparation requirements and the complexity of mineralogy analysis.

“Our focus currently is on service and process optimisation for our clients. Amid low commodity prices, clients are continuously considering ways of optimising their comminution processes and increasing the efficiency of their equipment. The design of efficient and cost-effective comminution systems is complicated and requires specific experience,” explains ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions South Africa minerals processing, power and energy manager Dr Wilfred Barkhuizen.

The company adds that it is very difficult to estimate the value of the mining industry, owing to the variances in commodity prices and the continuous impact of this on project feasibilities. However, the company does see a major downturn in large new projects, while upgrades and the optimisation of existing plants are increasing.

Meanwhile, ThyssenKrupp continues to develop its milling technologies, such as its unique shell-supported mills.

Shell-supported mills offer large benefits, with their hydrodynamic pivoted shoe bearings (as opposed to trunnion bearings) ensuring effective load distribution. Combined with manufactured end-walls (as opposed to castings), this drastically reduces the risks and time associated with the mill shell-manufacturing schedules.

The mill drive system transfers power more efficiently to the straight-cut forged girth gear, with a dual pinion drive ensuring perfect load distribution and power transfer.

A further distinctive technology employed by ThyssenKrupp is field-welded mill shells, which are becoming increasingly more popular because of the larger mill sizes and associated logistics challenges in Africa. This technology is distinctive as it allows a final single-piece mill shell with reduced weight owing to the absence of bolted flanges.

The company has also noted major interest in its high-pressure grinding rolls, as a result of the energy efficiency and low operating cost they offer in certain crushing applications.

Generally, ThyssenKrupp products are developed in Germany and manufactured globally, while in certain instances, ThyssenKrupp subsidiaries worldwide combine engineering expertise to expand the product ranges on the already proven designs.

The company has designed, manufactured and supplied various mobile, stationary and semimobile crushing systems for a variety of commodity applications worldwide over the past 100 years. It also offers standard machines and customised solutions to applications in mineral and coal mining of up to 14 000 t/h capacity.

“The designs of the mobile units have been continuously updated, and we now offer some of the most economically operated systems in pit mining, specifically in coal pit applications with capacities of up to 3 500 t/h, but we have recently added our standard machine range in mobile form to also offer solutions to clients below 500 t/h,” Barkhuizen explains.

He mentions the gyratory crusher systems, of which 58 units were sold in the last eight years, for use in different applications, adding that, “of these 58 units, 29 were in a semimobile arrangement for in-pit crushing applications, resulting in savings for the client in civil and construction costs.” In addition to this equipment , the unique ThyssenKrupp Jaw-Gyratory Crusher has been installed in underground operations in various countries, where they are used mainly for block cave mining applications in copper and diamonds and other mineral applications that suit this crushing method.

“As a result of the impact of commodity prices on project feasibility, our project focus in sub- Saharan Africa is closely linked to the performance and forecast of commodities in the next five years,” he concludes.

Edited by Leandi Kolver
Creamer Media Deputy Editor


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