Tag Archives: FLSMIDTH (PTY) LTD


The cement sector in West Africa could make exciting use of clay calcination technology to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption in cement production, in line with the industry’s sustainability goals. 

As a leader in clay calcination, FLSmidth offers its technology to replace a portion of clinker with environmentally friendly calcined clay, thereby cutting carbon dioxide emissions in comparison conventional cement production. 

According to Deon de Kock, FLSmidth President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia, clay calcination is one of three main areas of technology advancement in cement that the company is currently pursuing. In terms of the company’s MissionZero pledge, it is committed to enable FLSmidth customers to run cement production at zero emissions by the year 2030.

“In addition to clay calcination, we are also focused on enabling the replacement of fossil fuels with alternative fuel sources, and on enhancing carbon capture in cement plants,” says De Kock. “Our current involvement in Europe’s first full-scale clay calcination installation has raised interest globally, and we look forward to applying this technology in our Africa, Middle East and South Asian region.”

The cement sector has had a difficult few years, says De Kock, having to deal with a challenging economic climate while under pressure to meet ever-more stringent environmental regulations and expectations. 

Sridhar Shanmugha Sundaram, FLSmidth Vice President for Cement in Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Africa highlights that FLSmidth’s new flash calciner system can produce a highly reactive clay that increases the clinker substitution by up to 40% in the final product.

“Addressing the bottom-line issue, this solution also brings energy savings as calcined clay activates at a much lower temperature than clinker – with required temperatures of 750 to 850˚C instead of 1400 to 1500˚C,” Shanmugha Sundaram he says. “This means lower costs to generate the necessary power.”

He notes the process can deliver significant fuel and power savings of 30% and 40% respectively, when comparing the operating cost of making a tonne of clay versus a tonne of clinker. While a traditional ‘ordinary Portland cement’ (OPC) contains 95% clinker and 5% gypsum, ‘green’ cement can contain as little as 50% clinker – with 30% activated clay, 15% limestone and 5% gypsum. This has a dramatic impact on the plant’s carbon footprint, reducing CO₂ emissions per tonne of cement by 40%.

In addition to FLSmidth’s strong presence in South Africa is its Ghana office – a 13-strong team of local people which is committed to developing local expertise and capacity in the West African region. According to Joseph Appiah-Kubi, General Manager of FLSmidth in Ghana, the company’s corporate social responsibility programme includes a graduate scheme to empower Ghanaians, transfer skills and provide opportunities in the economy to young graduates. 

“This year we have had our first cohort of graduates working with us as part of the government’s compulsory National Service Scheme,” he says. “We will also soon be receiving our first cohort of graduate trainees – those who have finished one year at service engineering school and are coming to us to learn. This gives young people vital experience in the workplace to improve their employability in the market.”


Leveraging the fast moving world of digital technology, FLSmidth is driving efficiency across the mining sector in Africa – and West Africa is among the key focal areas.

According to Deon de Kock, FLSmidth President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia, the company’s MissionZero philosophy means that its productivity innovations must also reduce mines’ environmental footprint. Using less water and energy, while generating lower carbon emissions, are fundamental steps in the journey towards the flowsheet of the future.

“Our development of significant game changing technologies includes our REFLUX™ Flotation Cell (RFC™), High Pressure Grinding Rolls (HPGRs), filtration and dry-stacked tailings,” says De Kock. “Going forward, another focus for us will be in-pit crushing and conveying (IPCC) for new mines, to replace diesel powered transport for mined ore.”

This value-engineering requires close proximity to, and collaboration with, customers, one of the factors behind the establishment of FLSmidth’s fully-fledged subsidiary in Ghana in 2017. This presence enhances local skills transfer and capacity building – vital elements that support the local application of the latest technology, says FLSmidth’s General Manager in Ghana, Joseph Appiah-Kubi. His team of 13 local people mainly service the gold mining sector in the region, including in countries like Mali and Guinea. 

“This local base improves the quality of our sales, service and maintenance function, and our capability also allows us to execute projects and commission equipment,” says Appiah-Kubi. “We have to date managed consignment stock for customers, but have now secured 2,000 m2 of open warehouse facility and invested heavily in spare parts – enhancing our offering to customers in the region.”

FLSmidth’s business in Ghana will share its expertise with learning institutions. He notes that the company is exploring partnership opportunities with the University of Mines and Technology in Tarkwa, which has provided much of the skills base currently deployed in the region’s mining sector. The office’s growth strategy also includes a graduate programme to empower Ghanaians and transfer skills, providing opportunities in the sector to young graduates.

“This year we have had our first cohort of graduates working with us as part of the government’s compulsory National Service Scheme,” he says. “We will also be receiving our first cohort of graduate trainees – those who have finished one year at service engineering school and are coming to us to learn.”

FLSmidth’s strong West African presence has positive spin-offs for the rest of its global operations too, says Alistair McKay, FLSmidth Vice-President for Mining in Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia.

“Ghana is blessed with a strong mining culture and has a great pool of experience in mining and processing,” says McKay. “This strong skills base allows FLSmidth to share our experts across the region – deploying them where they are most required as projects demand. We are committed to building these skills for our own ranks as well as for the broader economies in West Africa.”

The company has long-established manufacturing facilities in South Africa, as well as a rebuild and servicing capability. This local capability has always been a cornerstone of its success here, says De Kock, enabling the levels of responsiveness that customers expect while developing capacity and skills in the local economy. 

“We employ almost 600 people in manufacturing activities in South Africa alone, contributing directly to the beneficiation of the country’s natural resources,” he says. “This manufacturing base, which includes our 13,000 m2Supercenter facility in Delmas, also allows us to export to customers globally.”


Decades of product evolution have given FLSmidth a range of solutions – including its LoadIQ smart sensor technology – both to supply and optimise all the technology in the grinding circuit.

According to Terence Osborn, director – regional product line and key account management at FLSmidth, grinding typically accounts for about a 30% of the operational cost of a concentrator plant. Energy, liners and grinding media are among the many elements that make up this substantial cost. The milling circuit consumes about 50% of the concentrator plant’s power demand.

“Any improvements – however small – that a mine can make in the efficiency of milling and grinding can therefore have significant financial benefit,” says Osborn. “This is why FLSmidth has compiled an enviable portfolio of technical hardware and software serving the comminution space.”

This full suite of equipment allows FLSmidth to design the most efficient grinding circuit. In addition to semi-autogenous and autogenous grinding mills, the company’s offering includes a wide range of slurry pumps and cyclones. For optimal performance, its SmartCyclone™ technologies automate the monitoring and control of cyclones, providing real-time data on key indicators such as spigot wear and roping. He highlights that integrating the performance of all aspects of the circuit is vital to the company’s value-add proposition.

An important recent step in this process was the acquisition of technology company KnowledgeScape, placing FLSmidth in a leading position to offer a plant-wide digital optimisation solution. This capability enables customers to reduce operational costs and environmental impact across the entire minerals processing flowsheet.

“Among the new solutions acquired is LoadIQ, for monitoring and optimising the performance of semi-autogenous (SAG) mills,” he says. “The SAG mill is a key element of many milling circuits today, usually located between primary crushing and ball milling phases.”

LoadIQ utilises FLSmidth’s mill scanner smart sensor technology to accurately measure volumetric filling and ore trajectory in real-time, according to Lineshan Naidoo, FLSmidth’s regional product line manager – digitalisation for sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Africa.

“The unit measures vibration and impact among other parameters, to ensure the optimal ‘cataracting’ of the media and particles inside the mill,” says Naidoo. “It is vital for the material to cataract onto the charge toe rather than onto the liners. This allows energy to be optimised to promote breakage while the liners remain protected by the charge.”

The technology then combines its readings with data about the ore type and liner profile to determine the optimum mill load and mill speed. The target load is then set automatically and adjusted in real time as grinding conditions change.

He highlights that LoadIQ has seen global success with about 60 units installed to date, mainly in the Americas. Customers using this solution have typically experienced mill throughput increases of 3 to 6%, with some customers benefiting from over 10% increases in tonnage. These values vary based on a number of parameters such as ore characteristics and grinding circuit configuration. 

Mines can optimise mill load using a system of smart sensor technology and AI software. 

In South Africa, FLSmidth is installing LoadIQ in a leading platinum producer’s plant, where the strategic focus is on generating and analysing data for better decision making and prompt action. Osborn notes that the delay between data generation and the required decisions remains a real challenge in most process plants and technologies such as the LoadIQ are targeted at making more critical decision-making data available to the plant operation team enabling  quicker adaption to changing operational parameters in as agile a way as possible. 

“Process samples can take up to days to be analysed, while the material’s residence time in the plant may only be a matter of hours,” he says. “By the time any adjustment can be made to the process based on the data, considerable volumes of value mineral has been lost to tailings.”FLSmidth’s solutions therefore optimise key parameters such as bearing pressure, material density and power consumption in a continuous manner. He says the ECS/ProcessExpert software is able to make plant adjustment decisions consistently and accurately, and without fatigue. A South African nickel mine has been among the customers gaining high levels of success with this solution. 


FLSmidth vacuum disc filters are playing a vital role in preparing tailings slurry for a backfill application at a new copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to Maria-Paula Lucero, sales and account manager at FLSmidth, the company supplied four 3,8 metre diameter disc filters, each comprising 14 vacuum discs. They are installed in two modules, with two units in each. This provides a cost effective dewatering strategy resulting in a cake dry enough to be mixed with cement and other additives before being conveyed underground to be placed in mined-out workings as backfill. 

“The efficacy of the vacuum filter in this application allows the mine to consistently achieve its targeted level of dewatering,” says Howard Areington, general manager projects and account sales at FLSmidth. “This, in turn, means that the amount of cement and additives can be optimised, keeping operating costs down.”

Areington highlights that vacuum disk filters are the preferred technology for tailings dewatering in backfill applications, being the most cost effective form of vacuum filtration per square metre of footprint. 

A range of ancillary equipment was provided as part of the scope of supply, according to Lucero. This included the liquid-ring vacuum pump with capacity to pump almost 15,700 m3/h at a pressure of 67 kPa, as well as filtrate receiver and a filtrate pump of 32 m3/h capacity. FLSmidth also supplied a 1060 gallon snap air receiver, a 750 kPa air compressor, a plant air receiver and an air drier. The water used in the filter vacuum pump needs to be potable so it was important for the design to recycle as much as possible. It is therefore recirculated through a closed circuit, with a cooling tower added to dispel heat from the water before it is re-introduced to the system. 

“With disc filters delivering a drier product with more water savings, FLSmidth has provided this technology to many projects around the world,” says Areington. “With FLSmidth’s global reputation in the field for vacuum filtration backfill applications, we have secured a significant portion of this market – also supplying some of the largest vacuum disc filters in use today.”

A considerable portion of the disc filter installation was locally manufactured in South Africa, he notes. It was shipped in components to site, and installed by a third-party engineering company under FLSmidth supervision. Despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, the units were manufactured and delivered within a timeframe in line with the customer’s expectations.


When one of the world’s largest copper and cobalt producers wanted to double its production rates, it chose FLSmidth to provide a thickener solution that included six of its proven high density thickeners. The order was placed in 2020, and delivery has been completed. 

The mine, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), already had FLSmidth thickeners on site, and was satisfied with their performance. According to FLSmidth general manager projects and account sales Howard Areington, the company’s proposal for the mine’s expanded requirements was based on testwork to confirm the characteristics of the material that would be treated. 

“The tests confirmed that we could use a similar design to what we had installed on the mine some years previously,” he says. “This solution included six counter current decantation (CCD) thickeners and one pre-leach thickener, each measuring 31 metres in diameter.”

These units deliver high solids underflow to optimise the recovery of dissolved metals. In addition to the steeper floor slope, these FLSmidth thickeners were designed with a high torque ring gear drive design, with high tolerances that make for minimal maintenance over long periods of time.

“Our high density thickener design ensures consistently high underflow densities which allows the operator to sustain high production rates and better recoveries,” he says. 

These CCD thickeners are manufactured from LDX2101 duplex stainless steel. This provides mechanical benefits without compromising chemical resistance, allowing the mass of each unit to be reduced. The pre-leach thickener, which was not exposed to corrosive conditions, is constructed from carbon steel. 

“We also designed and supplied five impurities removal thickeners, which are high rate thickeners, also in LDX2101 stainless steel,” he says. “The sizes of these units ranged from 20 to 30 metre in diameter.”

Fabrication of the equipment was done in South Africa, while accommodating the demands of the Covid-19 lockdown, which required careful planning and flexibility. With components and platework delivered to site, the welding and construction was conducted by the mine with installation assistance from FLSmidth and its agent in the region. 


FLSmidth was chosen as the preferred provider for four large bolted thickeners for a large customer in Mozambique. Two of the thickeners are designed to reduce water load on the filters allowing for a drier filter product, while the other two thickeners recover water from the plant tailings. 

The installation, which includes E-Volute™ feedwell technology for superior flow distribution, will contribute to achieving optimal water balance at the coal plant in Mozambique. 

“The thickeners measure 45 metres in diameter and will control the density of material to the belt filters, improving the plant’s output,” says Howard Areington, FLSmidth’s General Manager for Projects and Account Sales in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. “The design was based on the test work we conducted on the customer’s material, allowing us to determine the best thickener solution.”

He emphasises that a bolted thickener is quicker and safer to construct on-site, saving on costs and improving quality control. This suited the project’s remote location.

“The extent of welding in the construction of normal steel thickeners typically runs into kilometres,” he says. “By contrast, the amount of on-site welding required by a bolted thickener can be measured in metres.”

The four thickeners include E-Volute™ feedwell technology which improves flow distribution, leading to lower flocculant consumption, better settling rates and improved overflow clarity for the optimal performance of the thickener.

Despite the Covid-19 lockdown, good progress was made on the fabrication of the thickeners in South Africa, according to FLSmidth Project Manager Kevin Kockott. This has been managed by leveraging FLSmidth’s global resources and the design teams’ ability to work remotely.

“Our local South African office collaborated closely with our engineering hub in Salt Lake City in the United States, ensuring that our engineering work on the project was able to continue without interruption,” Kockott says. 

FLSmidth has been involved with this project for almost a decade and has provided a significant portion of the coal preparation equipment. To date, this has included reflux classifier technology, pumps, screens and feeders.


The use of FLSmidth thickeners in African mining operations has continued to grow, supported by global collaboration across the FLSmidth organisation’s offices in South Africa, China and the USA.

According to Alistair McKay, FLSmidth’s Vice President for Mining in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, the company is delivering six substantial thickener contracts to mines in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2020. McKay highlights that Chinese companies have been driving much of the growth in the continent’s mining sector.

“In our work in Africa with Chinese customers, we have found that our Beijing office plays a valuable role in ensuring streamlined communication and efficiency,” he says. “This allows a constructive combination of our local knowledge with the ability of our Chinese colleagues to facilitate relationships with our customers in China.”

This differentiator has enhanced FLSmidth’s acknowledged leadership in thickener technology in the region. The company will deliver 25 new thickeners, including high rate, high density and counter-current decantation (CCD) thickeners, in southern and central Africa during 2020.

“The design work for these contracts was conducted by FLSmidth’s centre of excellence in the USA,” he says. “Given our established local infrastructure and experience in this product range, the thickeners were cost-effectively manufactured in South Africa and China.”

While the fabrication and platework was completed using local skills, the FLSmidth on-site technical support presence to construct and commission the thickeners at Chinese-owned mines in the DRC will integrate staff from the Beijing office.

“This improved communication between FLSmidth and the customer has negated the risk of any misalignment that could slow the process down,” he says. “In fact, our Beijing office has become increasingly involved in the full delivery process, fulfilling the role of the project manager. This is significant as the building of relationships across East-West contracts becomes increasingly important.”

FLSmidth offers full-service capabilities in thickener technology, he says, starting with bench or pilot scale testwork to characterise customers’ material. This informs the customer’s flowsheet and equipment selection and sizing, and the right technology application for cost-effective, optimised operation.


Mining’s accelerated move toward digital solutions since the outbreak the Covid-19 pandemic is being supported by FLSmidth’s decades of research and development.

Terence Osborn, FLSmidth’s director of product and account management for sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, highlights that R&D is the lifeblood of the company’s new technologies. So much so, that it has some 80 projects underway to improve its mining-related offerings.

“The power of digital technology is certainly a key element of these efforts,” says Osborn. “Together with our Blue Box digital concept, based on our ECS/ControlCenter™, which is a cybersecure interface between our equipment and cloud data storage, we use our SiteConnect™ mobile app to monitor the performance of equipment and process plants in real time. The ECS/ControlCenter™ V8 process control platform sits at the heart of our digital vision, a key component in our growing portfolio of digital solutions and services that we call ENABLR.”

An example of this applied capability is an FLSmidth REFLUX® Classifier modular plant operating on a South African mine. Using SiteConnect, operations managers can have real-time access to over a hundred operational parameters on the plant. Data analytics linked to the cloud data can also generate time-based trends for instant viewing on the app.

“We have also developed SmartCyclone™  technology for our hydrocyclones,” Osborn notes. “This innovation uses sensors to detect wear and roping, a condition that reduces separation efficiency. By sending an alert when certain operating parameters are breached, the system ensures optimal efficiency is maintained, even as slurry conditions in the circuit vary.”

He highlights that the company’s machine-level solutions are offered as part of plant and process  packages. At both plant and process level, there is also FLSmidth’s advanced ECS/ProcessExpert®  solutions, which facilitate not just monitoring and control, but advanced optimisation enabled by state-of-the-art AI technologies.

“It is important to remember that control systems need to be flexible, so that they adapt to customers’ needs and to their existing systems,” he says. “With FLSmidth’s depth of expertise in software engineering and machine control, we can ensure that our machine-level systems connect with all market leading control systems – to seamlessly deliver the data that mines need for effective decision-making.” The company’s R&D pushes the boundaries of performance in a range of mineral processing fields. These include advancing its lamella plate technology in mineral separation applications, adapting its vertical roller mill for dry grinding in mining, and extending wear life of pumps with new polymers.


A comprehensive refurbishment on an FLSmidth stacker reclaimer in South Africa is preparing this giant machine for another decade of sustainable productivity.

“As OEM and intellectual property owner, FLSmidth is undertaking the mid-life refurbishment of a stacker reclaimer and tripper car for a customer in a large iron ore application,” says Buks Roodt, Director of Mining Site Sales at FLSmidth. “The extensive work programme is being conducted over two shutdown periods – one in 2019 and another one this year.”

The 2019 scope of work was carried out over three weeks, followed by commissioning and handover. After site access was authorised, the bucket wheel structure and component arrived on site and secondary structural steel fabrication was also completed timeously and delivered.

A comprehensive refurbishment on an FLSmidth stacker reclaimer in South Africa is preparing this giant machine for another decade of sustainable productivity.

According to Gunther Guse, Manager of Mining Site Salesat FLSmidth, structural integrity repairs were carried out alongside large-scale corrosion protection. To ensure life expectancy and maintain reliability, a range of components and systems were refurbished. These included items that would normally only be exposed to standard maintenance practices and services. The integrity of electrical components was also renewed.

In addition to the bucket wheel fabrication and replacement, the full programme scope included refurbishing the long travel drive assembly, rail clamps and end buffer, as well as the hydraulic system, lubrication system and water hose reeler. Bucket wheel boom stay ropes were replaced, and the spillage conveyor was redesigned, fabricated and installed.

“An important aspect of this refurbishment contract is the installation of technological improvements,” says Guse. “Our continuous improvement process at FLSmidth leads to the introduction of components that are more energy efficient, for instance, or allow greater ease of maintenance. We are incorporating these advancements as part of the scope, reducing the client’s cost per tonne loaded.”

These upgrades, when combined with regular maintenance, can also enhance the machine’s life expectancy, extending its longevity even beyond the initial design life of about 30 years. Guse highlights that FLSmidth’s extensive capability in three engineering disciplines is being brought to bear in the project. This expertise covers mechanical, structural and electrical, control and instrumentation engineering.

On the mechanical side, the work includes components and systems such as the open gear systems, gearboxes and hydraulic systems, as well as rotating and moving parts such as trunnions and car-clamps. Structural work includes wear liners, supporting structures and areas of possible structural damage. Also, maintenance detection is undertaken including non-destructive testing for fatigue fracturing. This is done in areas where access to certain structures is not normally possible while equipment is in service.

The electrical, control and instrumentation work includes panels and drives that are approaching the ends of their useful lives. As part of the scope, variable speed drives, motor control centres and the E-house will be refurbished. Where any equipment had become obsolete, newer technologies will be incorporated.

“Our FLSmidth site engineering team had initially conducted a detailed site condition assessment,” he says. “We documented all our findings in three inspection reports – one for each discipline. These findings were used as the basis for the client’s final project scope.”

Roodt emphasises the relationship of trust between customer and OEM, which is vital to mitigate risk and ensure quality performance within demanding deadlines.

“As the OEM, FLSmidth was able to offer our premium technologies and our leading process know-how and services,” he says. “The customer could also rest assured with their direct access to the designers of the OEM equipment.”

A global track record of safe working practices while complying to the project timelines also contributes to minimised risk and smooth implementation, competitively. The scope of work during the customer’s 2019 shutdown was completed without incident or any lost time injuries.

“The customer also valued FLSmidth’s commitment to B-BBEE, supplier development and integration with the local community,” Roodt says.

The second phase of the refurbishment is planned to be carried out in the third quarter of 2020, says Guse.

“We are known for our expertise in large-scope upgrades, refurbishments and retrofit projects,” he says. “This gives customers confidence in our methodology, risk assessment, engineering support and analysis. We are also experienced in project planning, scheduling and implementation, combined with quality assurance and control, commissioning and close-out.”

FLSmidth also assays iron ore for customers and has designed and built fully automated, robotic on-site laboratories. According to Martin Matthysen, Director of Sampling, Preparation and Analysis – Mining at FLSmidth, the company independently operates and maintains sampling systems on behalf of customers.


With the general decline in ore grades in mining, FLSmidth’s market-leading expertise in mineral sampling and laboratory automation holds increasing value to mines.

“The more you understand about the characteristics of the ore entering your process plant, the better you can treat it,” says Martin Matthysen, director, SPA (sampling, preparation and analysis), Sub Saharan African and Middle East at FLSmidth. “But this needs technology that can sample high volumes, maintain rapid turnaround times, and deliver quality results.”

Only then can plant operators respond to laboratory data in real time, which is one of the keys to effective plant optimisation. With over 30 years of experience, FLSmidth has been a pioneer in laboratory systems integration, as well as driving automation in the laboratory environment.

“Our particular expertise in laboratory automation is now recognised world-wide,” says Matthysen. “This is why we have supplied 95% of all automated laboratories to the global mining industry constructed over the past dozen years or so.”

The company’s offerings address all stages of mines’ sampling and analysis requirements. It designs solutions for exploration and ore characterisation, grade control, process plants and port shipment. The highest quality equipment is sourced and applied to a laboratory solution to achieve accurate sampling, effective sample preparation and detailed sample analysis.

Each laboratory design is unique, he emphasises, as it must suit each customer’s particular operating conditions and strategic goals. The design process therefore demands close collaboration with the customer and a detailed examination of mined material and process demands. This ensures that the laboratory generates exactly the type of analytical data that the plant operators require.

“With our world-class mineral research and testing facilities, we are constantly pioneering innovations that add value to customers,” he says. “Our automated solutions also offer consistency and traceability, while improving ergonomics and eliminating hazards to laboratory personnel.”

Among the company’s innovations has been an environmentally-friendly methodology that replaces traditional wet chemistry. With no acid being used to dissolve platinum ore, for instance, the process produces no toxic waste – dramatically reducing the impact on the environment.

“We are accredited in terms of international quality standards, and work strictly to our customers’ stringent specifications regarding health, safety and environment,” he says. “Our expertise gives customers the confidence not only to procure laboratories from us, but increasingly to contract us to maintain and operate those facilities on their behalf.”