Tag Archives: Weir Minerals Africa

WEIR MINERALS AFRICA SHOWCASES END-TO-END SOLUTIONS

Visitors to this year’s Electra Mining Africa exhibition at Nasrec will be in for a feast of technology at the Weir Minerals Africa stand; particularly hard to miss will be their 7 metre high crushing station featuring a high performance Trio® cone crusher.

“We are reminding visitors and customers that Weir Minerals Africa – well known for our pump technology – has transformed into an integrated solutions provider in minerals processing,” says Hoosen Essack, Process Manager at Weir Minerals Africa.

“With our extensive footprint across Africa, we are adding even more value through this growing range of offerings.
Underpinning our service levels is our process expertise that equips us to partner closely with customers in finding answers to their daily challenges.”

Among the other items on display will be a large Cavex® hydrocyclone with a substantial 1500 mm diameter and weighing five tonnes.

With the company’s leading position in pumping equipment, the stand will also display the impressive Waman® 450MCR pump, measuring 2,5 metres in diameter.

Essack highlights the strategic importance of the company’s process department, which is staffed with experts who work closely with customers on efficiency and other issues, whether on a particular item of equipment or an entire comminution circuit.

“This capacity allows us to provide enhanced support to customers on their plants, taking our role well beyond just supplying product,” he says. “This centralised team of experts are available to all of our branches, so customers can always be assured of skilled input on challenging problems and equipment choices.”

He emphasises the value of specialised tools employed by Weir Minerals, such as the JKSimMet software to simulate comminution and classification circuits, in helping customers select the appropriate solutions for their mineral processing plants.

“To consolidate our continuous improvement efforts and stay at the leading edge of technology development, research and development is a strong focus for Weir Minerals,” he says. “Weir Minerals as a leading global player also has centres of excellence around the world to each focus on each particular field.
While South Africa focuses on screen performance, for instance, the United States focuses on comminution equipment and centrifugal pumps.”

WEIR PUSHES COMPOSITE LINER DESIGN TO IMPROVE MILL LIFE, PERFORMANCE

In the latest addition to its Vulco® composite range of mill lining systems, Weir Minerals Africa has introduced a new heavy-duty lifter bar to optimise service life and further contribute to lowering customers’ cost of mill ownership.

“The design and strength of this innovation makes us confident it will compete well against steel liners,” says Kevin Sherwen-Slater, Vulco Product Manager at Weir Minerals Africa. “It will also allow us to approach the bigger mills, in the size range of 6,5 metre diameter up to even 10 to 11 metre diameter.”

He notes that many process plants in the global mining sector are starting to ramp up production in response to higher commodity prices, putting them in a better position to benefit from more advanced liner technologies that offer longer life and less downtime. New mills being built tend to be larger, single-stream units that run at high tonnages for better efficiencies and throughput; as a result, mill uptime and lifespan have become more important factors in mine profitability.

“It is therefore increasingly imperative that mills run continuously, reliably and efficiently,” he says. “These new liner technologies – with stronger compounds and better designs – contribute significantly to mines’ efforts to achieve this.”

Manufactured with the new R67 rubber compound, which boasts higher wearing resistance than compound R63, the heavy-duty lifter also incorporates Hardox 500 steel to resist wear.

Vulco® composite liners have become popular for several reasons, says Sherwen-Slater, including a power consumption saving of 25% to drive the mill compared to steel lined mills, throughput increases of some 27% on grate discharge mills due to minimum blinding of the apertures on the grates and service life improvements of 30% compared to steel lined mills in certain applications.

“There is also a mill noise reduction of about 9 dB due to sound deadening from the rubber material, which is an important consideration for many mines as they work towards lower noise levels as part of improving mine health and safety,” he says.

The reduction of material lockup between the liners and the mill body, due to compression fit on installation, is a great benefit for low grade plant operations and reduces the risk of theft during liner replacement.

The liners – which are only two-thirds of the weight of steel liners – allow for a reduced installation time due to ease of handling, thereby cutting downtime and supporting plant productivity efforts. An added advantage is that the bearing loads applied by the mill itself are substantially less with composite liners.

“Due to the weight difference, a mill’s weight could be increased by 400 tonnes with the addition of steel liners, whereas the equivalent weight with composites would be less than 300 tonnes,” he says. “This represents a notable reduction in the pressure on the bearings, in turn improving their lifespan and reducing maintenance costs.”

TOTAL COMMINUTION TO TAILINGS SOLUTION FROM WEIR MINERALS

Adding a partnership with technology group Andritz to its range of Trio® crushing equipment, Enduron® screens and other established brands, Weir Minerals Africa is further entrenching its position as a total solution provider to process plants.

General Manager Comminution at Weir Minerals Africa, Vernon Steenbok, says: “Our offerings to mines now span all processes from the run-of-mine tip to the tailings dams including equipment such as crushers, conveyers, screens, feeders, pumps, cyclones, linings, hoses and valves.”

Steenbok emphasises that the company has been expanding into the comminution space as a vital part of its total integrated solution provided to customers across Africa and the Middle East, from the gold mines of West and East Africa to the copper mines of Central Africa. Infrastructure development in the Middle East has also been important driver of the aggregate business, with resultant demand for Weir Minerals’ crushers and screens.

As regulations governing the management of mine tailings become more onerous, the solutions available from Weir Minerals now includes a range of mechanical separation technologies such as thickeners, filter presses, centrifuges and vacuum belt filters.

“To ensure the effective application of our growing equipment range, we place experienced process engineers at the centre of our relationship with customers,” says Steenbok. “This is key to helping customers drive down their cost of ownership while raising efficiency, productivity and profitability.”

This involves building local capacity by actively developing mineral processing and other related skills in-country, nurturing young engineers in Weir Minerals Africa’s service-centred performance culture.

“Our team of process engineers brings years of experience from the mining sector, and through training and mentoring prepare the next generation of engineers for their role in supporting and building a sustainable mining sector,” he says.

Weir Minerals Africa’s talent pipeline includes 89 black learners – one third of them women – and this programme is set to grow to 115 learners participating in 2018. They are trained and prepared through a range of initiatives from bursary students and graduates to internships and apprenticeships.

“We are here for the long haul,” says Steenbok, “and our investment in developing and acquiring leading brands, alongside our commitment to world class expertise, shows our commitment to the future of our customers and the mining industry as a whole.”

TRIO CRUSHERS AND SCREENS ON A ROLL

In the three short years since Weir Minerals Africa acquired the Trio® range of crushing and screening equipment, a strong network of skills and aftermarket services has been built across Africa to support this quality brand.

According to Weir Minerals Africa Process Director JD Singleton, the support services are now in place in the organisation’s 18 service centres across the continent, as well as a Trio specific stockholding worth almost R100 million.

“This investment in the region is testament to Weir Mineral’s commitment to the Trio brand, and to our customers in operations large and small,” says Singleton. “Perhaps the most exciting aspect of our Trio journey to date is the strong local skills base we have developed, with the expertise in our comminution team amounting to 100 years of experience in the sector combined.”

The team has been recently boosted by the appointment of chemical engineer and process expert Vernon Steenkop as General Manager Comminution – a role previously performed by Singleton. Steenkop brings a wealth of experience in the mining sector, with 27 years of hands-on process experience across a range of commodities. Most recently, he has been managing the company’s flagship Middelburg branch.

“Our focus is to provide the customer with a total solution,” says Steenkop, “which we can do by combining our flexibility with our full suite of minerals process equipment. This means that our success can be measured by what the customer’s business achieves through better efficiencies, less downtime and higher output.”

The network includes specialised teams to deal with sales, applications, aftermarket and spares to ensure a seamless integration of expert input across the life cycle of projects and quick availability of spare parts and servicing.

“This has transformed the Trio offering into a truly local enterprise,” says Singleton. “Machines are brought in from our global manufacturing facilities, but we design our flow-sheets and solutions locally, and construct the steelwork and ancillary structures locally too.”

Weir Minerals Africa invests heavily in local skills development, training its own engineers so that customers can be assured of the best support and advice available. High-potential school leavers are selected for a bursary programme, and put through a graduate programme or learnership within the company. Further contributions to the sector include Weir Mineral’s active membership and support of industry bodies such as the Institute of Quarrying of Southern Africa.

The Trio® crusher range – which offers capacities of between 50 tph and 1500 tph – includes jaw crushers, cone crushers, grizzly and belt feeders, vertical shaft impact crushers, horizontal shaft impact crushers, conveyor sections and hoppers.

WEIR BOOSTS CAPACITY AND FOOTPRINT IN AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST

Process solutions is now the focus of Weir Minerals Africa, as it works to bring its growing range of services and products closer to customers in Africa and the Middle East.

According to Gavin Dyer, Regional Managing Director of Weir Minerals Africa, the company is investing continuously in both physical and human resources – building its footprint of branches and service centres across the continent, while drawing in process engineering skills to bolster its capacity to optimise plants.

His new leadership team of experienced experts are driving the company’s sales and service focus, to bring a wider range of offerings closer to the market and ensure that the business is solidly customer-focused. With Marketing Director Rajen Govender driving the strategic marketing effort and handling the relationships with key customers, William Cumming focuses on the ‘home ground’ and most neighbouring countries, as Sales Director for South Africa and SADC.

Sub-Saharan Africa from Zambia upwards – and also the Middle East – is the jurisdiction of Pieter Jordaan, Sales Director for the rest of Africa. The company’s process department is headed by JD Singleton; as Process Director, he manages the over-arching process engineering offering that will add value at service centre, branch and mine site level across the geographic footprint.

“The work of this team will raise the profile of the wider product range and ensure that customers are achieving the best possible returns from this technology,” says Dyer. “There are still areas where Weir is known largely as an original equipment supplier in the field of slurry pumps. Our new structure and capacity will help alert customers to the many opportunities available from Weir Minerals Africa to improve plant efficiencies and performance.”

Singleton highlights the process division’s growing capacity to provide a complete process solution. Weir Minerals Africa’s services and products span a range of mine processes from the run-of-mine tip to the tailings dams, including equipment such as crushers, pumps, cyclones, linings, hoses, conveyors and valves. This positions Weir Minerals Africa increasingly as a total solutions partner rather than a mechanical engineering company focused on pumps.

“We have engaged more process engineers in our team, and with these skills can optimise mine operations from pit dewatering and jaw crushing, right through to screening, process functions within the mill, and even tailings disposal,” he says.

Another key aspect of the current strategy is to build on Weir Minerals Africa’s extensive footprint in Africa and the Middle East, allowing better responsiveness to customers’ needs.

“Our growing branch and service centre network provides the necessary springboard for the process engineers to get access to customer sites quicker and more often,” says Jordaan.

The strategic placement of more engineers now gives customers the opportunity to have site evaluations and plant audits more readily, says Cumming. By providing services like condition monitoring and better inventory strategies, unplanned breakdowns can be avoided and downtime reduced.

In a significant step into the world of e-commerce, Weir Minerals Africa customers have for the past year had easier access to its large range of spare parts, thanks to the online Weir Africa Store. By registering on the store at https://weirafricastore.com, customers can browse, search and order from the stock of Warman®, Cavex®, Linatex® and Trio® product spares. The purchase process is simple and parts can be collected or delivered within 48 hours; payment can be made easily by electronic funds transfer or even by credit card.

CAVEX® HYDROCYCLONES BOOST RECOVERIES AT THARISA

Tharisa Minerals’ platinum mining operation on the south-western limb of South Africa’s Bushveld igneous complex has boosted its mill circuit production performance by 36% by replacing its original cyclones with Cavex® hydrocyclones from Weir Minerals Africa.

Changing to the Cavex® hydrocyclones allowed the mine to recover an additional 98 ounces of platinum group metals (PGMs) each month, giving an additional annual revenue of some US$800,000 – almost R11 million. With this improved performance, Tharisa’s payback period for the cluster of new units was just 29 days.

The Tharisa mine, in production since 2009, produces metallurgical grade PGM concentrate and chemical grade chrome concentrate from a shallow open pit operation. It had been using conventional 510 mm flat-bottom cyclones fitted onto their secondary mill circuit cluster. However, according to the mine, these cyclones were cutting too coarse, were inefficient and were experiencing a low mass split to underflow.

The mine’s objective was to allow the secondary mill circuit to improve mass pull to the underflow and produce a much finer cyclone overflow material reporting to downstream flotation and spiral circuit. By providing a finer feed material to flotation and the spiral circuits, PGM and chrome recovery increases significantly. Using the data supplied by the customer, Weir Minerals generated a mass balance simulation, highlighting the performance capability of its Cavex® 500CVX hydrocyclones. These units have a 360 degree laminar spiral inlet that reduces turbulence within the hydrocyclone, improving performance and classification.

In an initial trial, Tharisa mine installed a single Cavex® 500CVX hydrocyclone on site, retrofitting the unit onto the existing competitor cyclone cluster. It then conducted a sample analysis, comparing the performance of the Cavex® hydrocyclone to that of the competitor cyclone. The data from this trial confirmed that the Cavex® unit outperformed the incumbent competitor’s cyclone.

Once the results of the first trial were made available, the competitor was offered another trial opportunity to make adjustments that would improve its equipment’s performance. To do this, it modified one of its on-site cyclones by installing an angled conventional cone section onto the flat-bottom cyclone, intending to sharpen the cut point and improve efficiency.

In a second sampling campaign undertaken by the mine, the performance of the Cavex® 500CVX hydrocyclone was compared with both the competitor’s original cyclones and its newly modified cyclones. The Cavex® unit again outperformed both competitor cyclone models, showing a significantly reduced level of +75 micron material reporting to the overflow. This result highlighted the benefits of the 360 degree laminar spiral inlet.

As a result of the tests, Tharisa Minerals decided to remove the installed competitor cyclones on its secondary mill 13 way cluster and replace these with Cavex® hydrocyclones. This has contributed to the mine’s vision of being a low cost producer with significant resources on the Bushveld complex, which is host to over half the world’s platinum, chrome, vanadium and refractory minerals.

Sheldon Gabriel, product manager for hydrocyclones at Weir Minerals Africa