With South Africa now working hard to contain the cost of its coal-fired power generation, efficiencies are vital throughout the value chain – not least in beneficiation.

This means the continuous improvement in coal beneficiation technology and regular equipment upgrades in plants will become more important, according to MBE Minerals SA managing director Johannes Kottmann. With over a century of experience in the coal sector, MBE Minerals SA has built up a wide footprint of vibrating screens in Africa for sizing, scalping, dewatering and media recovery. It also provides destoning solutions to customers.

“Among the company’s innovations is the side plate mounted drive, a much lighter option to using vibrator motors,” says Kottmann. “The screens can also be supplied with vibrator motors if necessary, while resonance screens offer the added benefit of lower power consumption.”

All types of screening surfaces can be accommodated, with each screen incorporating mechanical design features such as vibration dampening, side plates, cross members and the appropriate feed and discharge chutes.

He highlights that MBE Minerals is actively engaged with developments in coal beneficiation technology through its international network, including the MBE Coal and Minerals’ Research and Development Centre in Cologne, Germany. 

“This centre consults with customers globally in terms of optimum processing solutions, with the support of an in-house laboratory and pilot test work facilities,” he says. The centre also offers customer training, which can range from general mineral processing to maintenance of MBE Minerals’ equipment. 

In addition to designing, engineering and supplying equipment, MBE Minerals conducts projects on a turnkey or EPC basis, he notes; the company can also operate complete coal processing plants. It is particularly well known for its BATAC® jig technology, which delivers high separation efficiencies and improved product quality, as well as high availability and throughput. This technology’s ease of operation, robust design and economical maintenance cost have also been important factors in its success.

The company developed the BATAC® jig to overcome the limitations of early stratification technologies, which achieved separation either by moving the entire jigging bed screen or through water pulsation generated in an air chamber beside the jigging bed. 

“The separation accuracy of BATAC® jigs is due to electronic control of the air pulse generator and sensing of the thickness and densities of the material layers being separated,” he says. The under-bed pulsated BATAC® jig has proved ideal for coarse applications from 150 mm down to fine coal in the 10 to 0,5 mm size range, with throughput rates of between 100 and 1,200 tph. 

MBE Minerals has also developed a reliable and economical solution in destoning raw coal – the ROMJIG® – which has produced impressive results in extensive testing around the world. It achieves an overall reduction in the stone handled, says Kottmann, and there are indications of a lower percentage of refuse in the washery feed.

“This allows costs to be saved in a number of areas, such as reduced wear on machinery and transporting equipment, less grain degradation, and less dust and slurry,” he says. “It also means that flocculation consumption is reduced, along with flotation agents in downstream fines recovery circuits.” 

The range of vibrating screens manufactured by the company includes dimensions up to 3,6 metres in width and 6,75 metres in length; they come in single or double deck configuration and with either circular or linear motion. They have been operating in the African mining industry for the past 40 years.

“We ensure that each application, whether greenfields or brownfields, is carefully assessed in conjunction with the customer, during a comprehensive engagement process to determine the optimum solution,” he says. Services available include detailed engineering, feasibility studies, raw material testing, financing concepts, erection and commissioning. 

Components – as well as automation and process control equipment – can be supplied and installed for complete plants and systems. Measures to modernise plants or improve capacity can also be proposed. The company’s scope of services includes personnel training, along with pre- and after-sales services and support.


In a tightening economy the focus shifts to maximised return on investment. Increasing beneficiation process outputs whilst simultaneously adhering to safety regulations and minimising maintenance can be challenging.

To sustain and ideally grow profitability and quality, processing plants need to align themselves with suppliers can customise solutions that fit specific applications. Capital equipment needs to be designed and selected with maximised throughput and uptime in mind.

Johannes Kottmann, managing director of MBE Minerals SA, says the company is able to access close to 160 years of experience gained in the tough and demanding global mining industry, of which 45 years have been achieved in Africa.

“This allows us to engineer and provide the necessary capital equipment for iron ore beneficiation processes within the harsh African beneficiation environment,” he explains.

MBE Minerals SA is a leading supplier of iron ore and coal beneficiation technology offering basic and detailed engineering, components for complete plants and systems including modernisation and capacity increase measures, as well as automation and process control equipment. The company’s scope of services includes feasibility studies, raw material testing, financing concepts, erection and commissioning, personnel training and pre- and after-sales services and support.

By strategically reacting to customer demand and tailoring solutions that closely match explicit needs, MBE Minerals has amassed a large footprint of customers and a stable of products with robustness and productivity in mind. Its solid customer base in the Northern Cape provides a clear example of anticipating and servicing customer needs, and the company operates a branch in the Kathu Industrial Area to deliver fast turnaround times on the supply and maintenance of its entire product range to its local customers. Considerable consignment stock is also held at the branch to support Service Level Agreements in place with customers in the region.

Targeted range of products

MBE Minerals employs extensive R&D to design and engineer equipment that not only ensures optimised throughput of product but is also affordable and durable. The company’s BATAC® jigs are becoming increasingly popular in the iron ore beneficiation sector due to their rapid detection of changes in the raw material, quick reaction to such changes and easy operation.

Kottmann says that BATAC® jig technology has excellent separation accuracy, is relatively small in footprint and has a comparatively low capital cost.

A large footprint of MBE Minerals’ vibrating screens in the African mining industry stand testament to the durability and effectiveness of the products. Options are available for wet and dry classification as well as for dewatering and depulping of coal, minerals and ores. Variants include RSL and RFS resonance screens and conveyors; type VSL and USL linear motion screens; type VSK and USK circular motion screens; type VRL micro screens; andtype VMSL vibrating screens.

A range of vibrating feeders, designed in Germany and manufactured locally, feature feed capacities of 100 up to 3 000 tph. These feeders are suitable for all applications where controllable discharge of bulk materials is required. Replaceable bolt-on wear liners are fitted to the feeder troughs to prolong feeder life.

Ongoing R&D

Due to extremely wide variations of mineral deposits and requirements for final products, MBE invests substantially in undertaking pilot scale test work at its fully equipped R&D centre in Cologne, Germany. The R&D Centre is able to simulate complete separation processes with its own crushers and mills, using wet as well as dry classification on screens, in cyclones or in air classifiers, and finally separating the minerals by gravity, magnetic properties or using specific chemical surface attributes for flotation.

“A well-established product base, a team of experienced and knowledgeable engineers and technicians and a large and varied database of customers, provides MBE Minerals with the ability to customise efficient solutions for the iron ore beneficiation sector,” Kottmann concludes.


Leveraging decades of industry experience and its in-house design expertise, MBE Minerals has been strengthening its footprint of vibrating screens across a range of commodities.

Sales manager Graham Standers says the company has recently supplied 15 new screens to mining customers in coal, diamonds, iron ore and manganese. These operations are based in South Africa, Botswana and Australia. MBE Minerals has also fully refurbished a further four screens to ‘as new’ condition as they approached the end of their planned lifecycle.

“We place high priority on design capacity, to ensure that every screen suits the application and material it must screen,” says Standers. “Five of the screens supplied were newly designed to suit changing customer needs and processes.”

Each screen is designed by the company’s design office, and the design is then confirmed by finite element analysis (FEA) through highly specialised software using data from the drawing model.

“We have also introduced a range of screens designed specifically for fine coal dewatering, using a design which has proven to be cost effective, efficient and reliable,” he says. “Focus was placed on the design of the screen deck support system and screen drive, with a view to reducing downtime by minimising maintenance and enhancing reliability.”

The design is efficient in terms of the required spares stockholding, further reducing the screen’s overall lifecycle costs.

“Our unique T-Lock pinless panel fastening system for polyurethane screen panels also significantly reduces the need to hold spares in stock, while reducing the changeout time for screen panels,” he says.

Technical and sales staff conduct regular on-site visits to customers to carry out inspections of equipment in operation. The teams report on equipment condition and performance, and provide customers with value-adding feedback and advice.

MBE Minerals – previously known as Humboldt Wedag – has been designing, manufacturing, installing and servicing vibrating screens in southern Africa for over 40 years.

“Our record for reliability is well known, with some of our units having been in service for over 20 years,” says Standers.