Tag Archives: B&E International

BOT MODEL CAN BOOST EMERGING CONTRACTORS, TRANSFORM MINING

Opening the doors of the mining sector to junior miners and emerging contractors can be boosted by partnerships based on the build-operate-transfer (BOT) concept, according to B&E International.

Experts in integrated crushing, mining and mineral processing solutions, B&E International brings its experience of not just operating crushing plants but designing and manufacturing its innovative equipment locally, according to the company’s director of plant and engineering, Ken Basson.

“As a committed Level 1 BBBEE contributor, we understand the importance of transforming our industry, by building local expertise and capacity,” says Basson. “We have therefore partnered with junior miners and emerging contractors to assume some of their initial risk in mining projects and giving them a firmer basis for sustainable growth.”

He highlights that new entrants to the mining sector face both financial and technical hurdles. Sourcing a fit-for-purpose processing plant is frequently a ‘bridge too far’ in terms of capital expenditure. Financial institutions usually require a strong balance sheet, which many young companies do not have. There is also the risk that a new plant may not run smoothly or to specified capacity, demanding a depth of technical expertise not yet developed by a new contractor.

“With our experience of running plants, combined with our in-house design and manufacturing capabilities, we shoulder a large portion of this initial risk for the smaller players,” he says. “We design and build the plant to suit our BOT partner’s operational needs, and then run the plant ourselves. The partner pays us only for the final saleable product from the plant.”

The arrangement is a close collaboration with the partner, who must be assured of meeting their contractual obligations to the end-customer – in the case of a coal-producing operation, for example. The production experience in B&E International – which has for decades run crushing and screening operations for its own account – is what puts their BOT partners’ minds at ease.

“The ‘transfer’ aspect of the BOT contract is also an important step in growing a new generation of miners and contractors in South Africa,” he says. “This allows for our BOT partners to take ownership of the plant after an agreed period of time, should they wish to take over the operation of processing activities.”

This allows a junior miner to build its balance sheet and skills base over a manageable timeframe, while mitigating its operational risk and ensuring a sound growth trajectory. Basson also emphasises the value of B&E International’s local manufacturing experience, especially given the steady deterioration of the Rand against the US dollar and Euro – the currencies in which most mineral processing equipment is sold.

“Our Rand-based manufacturing capability has always been cost effective, and is becoming increasingly so,” he says. “This further improves the economics of our plants’ performance and maintenance.”

B&E INTERNATIONAL IS INDUSTRY’S PARTNER IN CRUSHING FROM START TO FINISH

Cost effective crushing is vital to the competitiveness of mining and quarrying operations, and experienced experts can ensure the right amount of the required product, while reducing the risk of operational downtime.

Dewald Janse van Rensburg, managing director of B&E International, says it is essential to consider the comminution and sizing operations as an integrated process.

“We have been hands-on in crushing and screening for over 45 years, and so we can bring our detailed insights into every aspect of design, manufacture and operation,” says Janse van Rensburg.

He notes the importance of focusing their designs on the precise nature and volume of output that the customer requires in a specific timeframe. To do this a good understanding of the source material is also required, such as the size of the rock entering the process, its abrasiveness and its hardness.

For instance, the hardness of the material may well reduce the throughput that can be achieved through the crushing circuit and high silica levels and other abrasiveness factors will influence wear levels, so operators need to be aware that maintenance interventions may be more frequent under these conditions.

“Our engagement with the customer can start much earlier in the process, with the identification and approval of a quarry site for aggregate production, for example,” he says. “We can test the stone available and advise on blast design and practices.”

Janse van Rensburg highlights that each customer’s application will be specific, so it is crucial to design and manufacture crushing plants with appropriately sized and staged equipment – as well as the right screening and other infrastructure – to suit the purpose.

“Customer requirements include the right grading envelope – the ratio between the coarser and finer aggregates – that must be achieved,” says Janse Van Rensburg. “The expected throughput rate is determined by what the market demands, or the daily draw-off levels for a specific project and the design must reliably achieve this.”

Factors like fines generation or stone shape may also need to be addressed when producing aggregate. When dealing with flaky material, specialised equipment like a vertical shaft impactor (VSI) can be included in the process, to break down the edges of the stones to make them more cubical.

“In those rare applications where tramp metal is an issue in the source material, we also provide solutions such as metal detectors to stop the belt when necessary, or even magnets to remove metal objects before they damage the crushers,” he says.