Tag Archives: FLSmidth

FLSMIDTH LEVERAGES GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY FOR LOCAL IMPACT

Driving its leading technology through a pure play mining strategy, FLSmidth has been optimising its footprint to be closer to customers with local solutions and expertise.

Alistair McKay, FLSmidth’s Head of Site and Service Sales Sub Saharan Africa, Middle East & South Asia (SSAMESA), highlights the CORE’26 mission at the centre of this strategy. CORE’26, explains McKay, is based on the principles of sustainability, technology, service and performance. 

“We go to the market through our five regional structures around the world, which deliver sales, service and order execution,” he says. “The regions are in turn supported by our global organisation and its leading product lines. The global resources are strategically located in countries such as the US, Denmark, Germany, India and South Africa, where we have a concentration of expertise to support our offerings.”

As part of the footprint optimisation, resources have been deployed and infrastructure investments made in key areas, with Johannesburg remaining as the mining hub for the SSAMESA region. World class facilities in the region include the Stormill service centre – for KREBS® pumps, valves and cyclones – and the Delmas manufacturing facility for vibrating screens and other equipment. There is also the fully integrated engineering facility and a service centre at Chloorkop, focused as a centre of excellence on refurbishing high pressure grinding rolls. 

McKay highlights that the manufacturing, assembly and refurbishment capacity of these centres cater for product lines not just for this region but for FLSmidth globally.

The regional footprint includes local sales and services offices in Ghana, Saudi Arabia and India. “Our strategy allows us to get closer to customers around Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Middle East, while building the local manufacturing base as part of our global supply chain,” says McKay. 

He also emphasises the importance of technical knowledge in successfully building the SSAMESA footprint. “Relevant expertise and know-how remain important enablers to our customers for projects and broader development in Africa especially,” he says. 

The company’s focus on local manufacture in countries like South Africa also means that the domestic economy is supported while local skills are employed and developed. With a focus on skills development, FLSmidth contributes to the training of customers’ staff, while pursuing talent development through learnerships, apprenticeships and scholarships. 

“As a technology provider of world class sustainable offerings across the full flowsheet, the expertise in our regional footprint is key,” he says. “We also prioritise research and development that supports our sustainability ambitions and our customers’ green journey.”

MAXIMISING GRINDING EFFICIENCY AND REDUCING WEAR WITH KREBS® SMARTCYCLONE™

Efficient operation and minimal downtime are crucial for maintaining productivity and profitability in grinding circuits. To address these challenges, many operations are opting for the KREBS® SmartCyclone™ technology from FLSmidth.

Abrie Schutte, senior applications engineer, product business line KREBS® pumps, cyclones and valves at FLSmidth.
Abrie Schutte, senior applications engineer, product business line KREBS® pumps, cyclones and valves at FLSmidth.

According to Abrie Schutte, Senior Applications Engineer at FLSmidth responsible for the KREBS® pumps cyclones and valves product business line, this innovative technology combines advanced monitoring and automation features to optimise closed-circuit grinding operations.

“SmartCyclone™ integrates various components and software to provide a comprehensive solution for grinding circuit management, and significantly incorporates roping sensor technology, wear detection technology, a wireless controller system and ECS/ProcessExpert® process control software,” Schutte says. “End-users have found that by leveraging these elements, maintenance planning is enhanced, wear reduced and there is an overall improvement in grinding circuit performance.”

The wear detection technology of SmartCyclone™ employs specialised sensors to monitor the wear status of cyclone components. This real-time information enables operators to proactively plan for part replacements and schedule maintenance activities, minimising unexpected downtime caused by component failures.

Schutte further explains that an automated monitoring system is a key feature of SmartCyclone™. “This is important as it allows operators to detect wear and troubleshoot issues from a centralised control room, eliminating the need for manual equipment inspections with a reduction in associated risks.”

By promptly identifying and addressing potential problems, process disruptions are minimised, ensuring optimal performance of the grinding circuit.

The SmartCyclone™ system also includes a roping detection feature, which identifies and corrects disturbances known as “roping.” Overloaded cyclones or those experiencing roping can lead to increased bypass of coarse solids to the overflow and greater particle size variation.

“This accumulation of slurry can adversely affect downstream equipment, such as flotation cells. By monitoring and detecting roping, operators can confidently operate the plant closer to its limits, thereby increasing production capacity and improving mineral recovery,” he says.

By integrating SmartCyclone™ with ECS/ProcessExpert software, the grinding circuit’s performance can be further optimised. The system dynamically adjusts variables such as water addition, pump speed and the number of operating cyclones based on real-time data from SmartCyclone™ sensors. This continuous optimisation enhances particle size distribution, maximises mineral recovery and improves the overall efficiency of the grinding circuit.

SmartCyclone™ offers a comprehensive solution for closed-circuit grinding operations. By leveraging advanced sensor technologies, automated monitoring and process control software, this innovative system empowers operators to enhance maintenance planning, reduce wear, and optimise the performance of their grinding circuits.

“With its ability to detect early warning signs, troubleshoot potential issues and dynamically adjust variables, SmartCyclone™ sets a new standard for smart and efficient grinding circuit management,” Schutte concludes.

KREBS® PUMPS SUPPORT MINES’ EFFICIENCY DRIVE

In the mining industry’s drive to conserve energy, a focus on pumps is essential, especially given the sheer scale of pumping equipment required on the average mine and mineral processing plant. 

On this score, global minerals process specialist FLSmidth has allowed mines to achieve new levels of efficiency with the initially patented wear ring technology on its KREBS pumps, according to Stephan Kruger, FLSmidth’s Vice President Pumps, Cyclones and Valves for Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia. Mines have seen significant efficiency gains by using KREBS pumps, explains Kruger, resulting in considerable bottom line impacts when multiplied by the dozens or even hundreds of pumps often employed on a single mine site. 

A KREBS® slurryMAX™ high pressure tailings pump on a mobile skid.
A KREBS® slurryMAX™ high pressure tailings pump on a mobile skid.

“It is not only the rising cost of electricity that drives mines’ energy strategies, but also their commitment to a low carbon future,” he says. “FLSmidth’s KREBS pumps directly support these efforts by our mining customers, thanks in great part to our innovative wear ring technology.”

He highlights that two key aspects that reduce efficiency in slurry pumps tend to be suction side recirculation and mechanical grinding between the casing and the impeller. The wear ring significantly reduces both of these factors, leading to lower power draw and longer pump life. 

“Through our case studies, we have seen power draw being cut by 5 to 10% for the same flow and head with the application of KREBS pumps,” he points out. “Similarly, we have measured the impact on pump life, and have shown that the life of wet end parts can be lengthened by one and a half to two times.”

Final adjustments on a KREBS® gravelMAX™ pump.
Final adjustments on a KREBS® gravelMAX™ pump.

According to Derek Lane, General Manager Operations, conventional products in the market solve only one of these factors through impeller and liner adjustment which may reduce recirculation but simultaneously exacerbates the grinding. “This leaves the pump user having to compromise on efficiency, which we do not expect our customers to do,” Lane explains.

He says adjusting the wear ring allows the speed of the pump to be maintained as a constant, rather than users having to speed up the pump in response to the impact of grinding and wear. The wear ring in KREBS pumps can be easily adjusted so that it continues drawing the same power for the required pressure, holding energy consumption to a minimum.

The regular adjustment of KREBS pumps can also be done without shutting down the pump and disrupting operations, says Morne Potgieter, FLSmidth Sales Manager Pumps, Cyclones and Valves for Central and Southern Africa. This is important as it contributes to the general continuity – and hence efficiency – of the whole operation. 

“The wear ring can be simply adjusted by hand while the pump is running, and without the use of any special tools,” he notes. “This allows the gaps to be kept as small as possible to avoid recirculation inside the pump, while maintaining speed and pressure.”

FLSmidth makes the most of this technological innovation through its skilled field service teams and training offerings, which ensure that customers understand and apply the wear ring adjustment to best effect. Potgieter says the training leaves on-mine operators more comfortable with the task of adjustment, even if many of them may be hesitant about working on rotating machinery.

“We also do extensive technical training with customers on aspects such as pump assemblies, and make sure that we are available when they need us,” he says.

The life of KREBS pumps is further enhanced by the range of materials of construction available to suit the application, says Kruger. “The choice of material is based on the application requirements and in particular minimising wear. There are a number of factors considered which determine the material of construction such as pump size, impeller size and tip speed as well as slurry hardness.”. 

Materials used in the construction of slurry pumps are classified into two main types: metals and elastomers. For metal pumps high-chrome alloys, hypereutectic alloys, hypoeutectic alloys and stainless steels are commonly used. Elastomers options vary between natural rubber, polyurethane and synthetics such as neoprene.

He emphasises that the application of these materials makes their own contribution to the mining sector’s sustainability agenda, by reducing the level of scrap produced due to equipment replacement. 

FLSMIDTH’S COMMINUTION LINE-UP NOW LEADS THE PACK

Leading technology and products have been added to the FLSmidth stable with the TK Mining acquisition, arguably making FLSmidth the world leader with its comminution portfolio.

Craig Brickhill, FLSmidth’s Regional Product Line Manager – Milling and HPGR, highlights that the FLSmidth brand now encompasses the best solutions, equipment and expertise from across the flowsheet.

“On the grinding side, for instance, FLSmidth is a leader in solutions such as semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mills, while TK Mining held decades of positive experience with High Pressure Grinding Rolls (HPGR),” says Brickhill.

FLSmidth Regional Product Line Manager – Crushing and Screening Demitri Kokoroyanis says the same applies to crushing. The company’s combined crushing technologies now put it well ahead of competitors, argues Kokoroyanis.

“Our Top Service Gyratory Crushers are advanced in both their ultra heavy-duty design and the way they facilitate safe and efficient servicing,” he says. He also points to company’s Eccentric Roll Crusher ERC®, which fits between the jaw and gyratory crushers in the range and this differentiates FLSmidth from the competition. The ERC® has a built-in static grizzly screen before the crushing zone to allow removal of the fine material. Large rocks are fractured at the opening of the jaw to increase throughput and reduce the power consumption.

With FLSmidth’s top service range of gyratory crusher models, 95% of the servicing can be conducted from the top.
With FLSmidth’s top service range of gyratory crusher models, 95% of the servicing can be conducted from the top.

A key addition to FLSmidth’s current offering is the HPGR range, says Brickhill, with an installed population of about 160 units. The technology is an energy efficient alternative to traditional milling, as it transfers energy directly into the rock. As a dry process, it is also likely to see growing uptake as mines pursue sustainability targets that minimise water use.

The wide range of crushing offerings feeds into FLSmidth’s role as a provider of semi-mobile in-pit crushing plants – of which there are over 285 installations worldwide.

“Our plants can be designed for direct feed – usually from gyratory crushers – and also for indirect feed, which can be accomplished with an apron feeder before a gyratory, ERC®, jaw crusher, double roll crusher or double roll sizer,” says Kokoroyanis. “We can take care of everything from the truck tip to the discharge conveyor, and the plant comes complete with auxiliary equipment for a smooth operation. The plants can be relocated to a new position in the pit with the use of transport crawlers with minimum disassembly required as mining progresses.

Brickhill notes that the acquisition also means that FLSmidth’s engineering infrastructure now includes a world class engineering facility at Chloorkop, Gauteng, focused on refurbishing HPGRs. The facility also includes a test centre where material can be tested for suitability for processing by HPGR and for sizing of full-scale units.

Among the enhancements in FLSmidth’s pit-to-plant range of technology and equipment are market leading High Pressure Grinding Rolls (HPGRs).
Among the enhancements in FLSmidth’s pit-to-plant range of technology and equipment are market leading High Pressure Grinding Rolls (HPGRs).

FLSMIDTH SHARPENS FOCUS TO SERVE ‘MINES OF TOMORROW’

The future of FLSmidth has been redefined as a pure play mining company, which will renew its focus on sustainability, service and technology. 

Speaking during the recent Investing in African Mining Indaba 2023 in Cape Town, FLSmidth Vice President for Mining Site and Service Sales Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia, Alistair McKay explains that this strategy will enable the business to better service existing and new mining customers.

“We are now very much a mining-focused company,” says McKay. “Moving forward, we are fundamentally more focused on our core technologies – moving away from the engineering project realm and really looking to our innovative products to drive value for our customers.”

He highlights that FLSmidth’s CORE’26 mining strategy prioritises sustainability, service, technology and performance. This provides the platform to pursue its purpose of ‘mining for a sustainable world’ with a mission of ‘delivering solutions for tomorrow’s mine’.

“This direction creates more clarity on where we will direct our resources – and that will be towards moving our best-in-class products forward through our extensive research and development capability,” he says. “As before, this also relies on our close working relationship with our customers, through our technical feedback loop.”

He emphasises the vital role that mining will play in the global energy transition. This, he says will rely on the efforts by mines and their technology partners to evolve sustainable strategies for mining to continue to deliver responsibly. 

The HPGR Pro will take grinding to the next level of efficiency.
The HPGR Pro will take grinding to the next level of efficiency.

“Mining will be an essential industry for many years, and we are ensuring that we play our part in the industry’s future – to the 2030 sustainability goals and well beyond,” he says. 

This focus on product evolution enhances the value of FLSmidth’s range of offerings within customers’ integrated projects. Venkatesan Punniyamurthy, FLSmidth’s Vice President for Capital Sales in Mining, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia, notes that the repositioning will see the company’s competence and resources fully focused on their products and their performance. 

“As we move toward a more service-centric model, we will continue to work with customers over the full lifecycle of the asset,” says Punniyamurthy. “Even after the equipment is sold and installed, our R&D insights can provide continuous optimisation through digital and other enhancements to our technology.”

Mines can therefore expect an ongoing contribution by FLSmidth to productivity and profitability, with products that also support the achievement of sustainability targets. 

Applying innovative technology to the energy-intensive crushing circuit, for instance, can reduce power costs and assist the decarbonisation process. Water saving technologies like filter presses and high pressure grinding rolls (HPGRs) will also play an increasingly important role in conserving water – especially in areas that become drier due to climate change. 

McKay says the scope for evolving mining technologies was significant as the world looked to Africa for many of the minerals demanded by a low-carbon future. The Mining Indaba Africa 2023 showed once again that stakeholders in the mining sector – from company shareholders to governments and communities – are expecting steadily more attention to be placed on how responsibly mining in conducted. 

“Through our CORE’26 strategy, we are strengthening our role as a global partner for equipment life-cycle performance and sustainability,” he says. “Our strategic acquisitions over the years – including the recent acquisition of thyssenkrupp’s mining business – have created a powerful portfolio of solutions across the flowsheet. Fine-tuning our strategy will allow customers to fully leverage both our decades of experience and our leading technology offering.”

FLSMIDTH DRIVES MISSIONZERO BY LEVERAGING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY

Mining customers at FLSmidth’s stand at Electra Mining Africa this year showed growing interest in digital solutions which drive sustainability while lifting productivity.

“Our customers recognise the value of reducing carbon emissions in plant operations, but are looking beyond a ‘big bang’ event to achieve MissionZero,” says Alistair McKay, FLSmidth Vice President for Mining in Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia. “Rather, they are looking for a longer term collaboration with technology partners like FLSmidth to steadily achieve sustainability goals.”

McKay highlighted that progress was not necessarily based on just new capital innovations, but on the ongoing optimisation of existing equipment throughout the process flowsheet. The performance of conventional equipment such as pumps can be optimised through smart monitoring and optimisation, he emphasises.

“An important question we are helping customers to answer is: How do we put the ‘building blocks’ of success together to support the MissionZero strategy?” he says. “This approach looks beyond quick wins to be etched up in an ESG rating, and considers a longer term and sustainable process.”

Digitalisation is already paving the path to greater efficiency and lower energy consumption, he explains. This includes making operational information on all equipment available to operators and decision makers in a usable format – on whichever device they are using. By pulling through all the relevant data and analysing it in real time, the performance of various equipment can be monitored and assessed for continuous improvement.

Mining customers at FLSmidth’s stand at Electra Mining Africa this year showed growing interest in digital solutions which drive lower emissions while lifting productivity.
Mining customers at FLSmidth’s stand at Electra Mining Africa this year showed growing interest in digital solutions which drive lower emissions while lifting productivity.

“Our LoadIQ™ smart sensor, which is used to optimise mill loads, is a perfect example of this,” he says. “By measuring volumetric filling and ore trajectory in real-time, LoadIQ™ allows mill operating parameters to be automatically adjusted as grinding conditions change.”

Its application on a mill at a large copper mine in South America led to throughput improvements of 10% – translating to additional revenues of some $150 million per year.

Deon de Kock, FLSmidth President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia, supports this assessment, pointing to customers’ concern to ‘achieve more with less’. They are looking for more production from the same plant, with less energy and less water, says de Kock. 

“Plant operators are looking to us to help them get more from their existing plants,” he says. “This means reducing their carbon footprint and water consumption while optimising production.”

The expertise to apply the necessary technology to do this is readily available in FLSmidth’s operations around this region, he says. Further specialist knowledge can be drawn in from the company’s global network, providing the necessary insights and experience. 

Electra Mining Africa also provided a great platform for FLSmidth to confirm the exciting news of its acquisition of thyssenkrupp’s Mining business. De Kock highlighted that the organisational integration was underway for the two companies to be operating as one by year-end. 

“This acquisition boosts FLSmidth’s position as a global leader in mineral process solutions, particularly with the newly acquired high pressure grinding roll (HPGR) technology, eccentric roll crushers and bulk materials handling equipment,” he says. “This expands our pit-to-plant range of sustainable solutions and supports our central ambition of bringing sustainable technology to mines, increasing productivity and reducing the environmental footprint.”

LEVEL 1 B-BBEE IS BIG STEP IN FLSMIDTH’S TRANSFORMATION JOURNEY

The recent earning of Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) status was not an end-goal but a step in FLSmidth’s transformation journey in South Africa.

Deon de Kock, FLSmidth President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia, emphasises that diversity, inclusion and engagement are imperatives for good business.

Deon de Kock, FLSmidth President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia.
Deon de Kock, FLSmidth President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia.

“As we drive success through productivity enhancement, we draw on the best available human and technological resources,” says De Kock. “This includes not just our staff but all stakeholders in our supply chain.”

Investing in its talent pipeline was particularly important in promoting diversity, he says. This has included skills development through apprenticeships, learnerships, scholarships and graduate programmes. The success of these candidates has ensured solid progress in employment equity, as one B-BBEE element within its integrated approach.

“B-BBEE is not a once-a-year event for FLSmidth, but rather a long-term business strategy,” says Estelle Steytler, head of People and Organisational Development and Transformation at FLSmidth. Steytler highlighted the important role of dedicated champions within the business to implement B-BBEE policy. 

“Each of these champions focuses on a particular aspect of B-BBEE,” she says. “These include management control, skills development, ownership, socio-economic development, and enterprise and supplier development.”

Structures have also been set up to support the FLSmidth board, keeping transformation as a top priority on the agenda. A social and ethics committee reports to the board. This committee in turn receives input from an employment equity and skills development committee, an enterprise and supplier development committee, and a corporate social responsibility committee. 

“It has always been our aim to deliver transformation through a focus on shared value, with clear aims and intent,” she says. 

She also emphasises the success in building the talent pipeline. Many university students supported by FLSmidth bursaries are now employed in roles such as mechanical engineers, technology specialists and HR experts. De Kock points out the vital importance of taking young graduates and trainees into the business. 

“It is one thing to support students, apprentices and learners in their studies, but it is also necessary to have uptake capacity,” he says. “We pick the cream of the crop to start their careers with us, and to grow with the company.”

The same applies to FLSmidth’s supplier development programme. He emphasises that small businesses are not only given capacity-building support, but they are also contracted to supply goods and services to the company. 

The direct benefit to FLSmidth’s Level 1 status is that customers receive 135% recognition for their expenditure with the business – higher than many competitors. This helps customers meet their preferential procurement targets. 

“This also makes us an employer of choice, as people want to be associated with an organisation that takes transformation seriously,” he says.

Steytler concludes that FLSmidth’s empowerment of stakeholders – and the resulting Level 1 status – is its license to operate. 

“While increasing our opportunities in bidding for and winning tenders, we are also proud to be contributing towards empowering the overall market,” she says. “This impacts the wider economy in a positive manner while strengthening our brand.”

FLSMIDTH TO FOCUS ON MISSIONZERO AT ELECTRA MINING

FLSmidth, a global leader in the supply of equipment and solutions to the minerals processing industry, will be using this year’s Electra Mining Africa exhibition to demonstrate the progress it is making in realising its MissionZero strategy, an ambitious programme which aims at allowing mines and process plants to achieve zero emissions, zero water waste and zero energy waste by 2030.

“We believe that MissionZero is achievable and we will be highlighting the technical advances we have already made towards achieving this goal at the exhibition,” says Deon de Kock, FLSmidth’s President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia. “Visitors to our stand will see working models and visualisations of our products and systems and how these will integrate into the MissionZero mine of the future.”

De Kock says that MissionZero goals can be achieved most easily on greenfield sites, where everything can be designed from the ground-up to enhance energy and water saving and reduce emissions. He notes though that much can be done with brownfield plants.

“If you can make an existing plant work more efficiently, producing the same output from reduced energy and water inputs, then you’re already taking a big step forward towards the MissionZero objective,” he says. “FLSmidth has many solutions to achieve this and we’re very practised at achieving more from less at brownfield plants.”

Innovative products to be featured on the stand will include FLSmidth’s REFLUX® Flotation Cell (RFC). “This draws on FLSmidth’s established REFLUX technology, which has been in the industry for many years now and has proved outstandingly successful, particularly in the coal industry” says De Kock ‘s colleague, Alistair McKay, FLSmidth Vice President for Mining in Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia. “The RFC brings together the REFLUX concept with flotation technology and will allow process plant operators to start recovering the smaller fractions in their ore feeds, as well as introducing coarse flotation into existing systems.”

McKay adds that the RFC is now at an advanced stage of development and that FLSmidth is hoping to have a pilot plant operating in South Africa before Electra Mining Africa. 

FLSmidth has many existing products and technologies that are already contributing strongly to MissionZero. Among them are its SmartCyclone™ solution, which automates the monitoring and control of cyclones; LoadIQ, a remarkable product which uses a system of smart sensors and AI software to determine the optimal load in SAG mills; and its EcoTails™ system, developed in collaboration with Goldcorp (now part of Newmont), which blends filtered tailings with waste rock to create a geotechnically stable product called GeoWaste which can be used to fill excavated areas.

LoadIQ and SmartCyclone are part of a growing portfolio of digital solutions and services from FLSmidth. A good example of what can be achieved through digitalisation is provided by a REFLUX classifier modular plant operating at a South African mine. Using FLSmidth’s SiteConnect mobile app, operations managers can access over 100 operational parameters of the plant. Data analytics linked to the cloud can also generate time-based trends for instant viewing on the app. 

“Digitalisation is crucially important to FLSmidth and we’re making rapid progress in this area,” says de Kock. “Certainly, it is essential if we’re to achieve Net Zero. We are probably slightly more advanced with digital technology in the cement field, where we have some truly impressive installations at cement plants, but applications in the mining industry are catching up fast and already one platinum mine in South Africa has successfully deployed both our LoadIQ and SmartCyclone technology with excellent results.”

While FLSmidth is a global group, much of the equipment that will be featured on its Electra Mining stand is produced in South Africa, either in whole or in part, at its Delmas SuperCenter, which manufactures vibrating screens; feeders, breakers and sizers; and polyurethane screening media and flotation parts. The facility, which has recently been substantially expanded, has played a major role in allowing FLSmidth to achieve Level 1 B-BBEE status in respect of its South African operation 

 

WEST AFRICA OPPORTUNITY FOR PIONEERING CEMENT TECHNOLOGY

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.”

FLSMIDTH BUILDS AFRICAN CAPABILITY FOR TOMORROW’S MINES

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.”