Tag Archives: Weir Minerals Africa

LIFECYCLE APPROACH WITH OEM PARTS FOR SUSTAINABLE PUMPING SOLUTIONS

Capital equipment like pumps operate only as well as their components and wear parts allow, so it makes little sense to risk this performance by installing a replicated part.

“Mining and other industrial applications rely heavily on continuous operations to reach the productivity levels that make them profitable,” says Marnus Koorts, General Manager Pumps at Weir Minerals Africa. “This productivity is in turn the result of decades of partnership with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) like Weir Minerals, who provide much of the technological foundation underpinning a mining operation.”

Koorts emphasises that the lifecycle cost of key equipment like pumps is many orders of magnitude higher than its upfront capital cost – as they all need a high standard of maintenance that matches the quality of their initial manufacture. As long as the equipment performs to expectation, it will contribute to the mine’s success.

“What is often not fully understood, however, is that OEM spare parts are as carefully designed and manufactured as the core equipment itself,” he explains. “As an OEM with over 150 years of field experience, we have deep insights into how our parts perform – and can confidently provide our customers with performance predictions and service intervals.”

These promises that an OEM makes become the basis of its long term partnerships with customers, he says, and allow the mining industry to effectively mitigate operational risk so that mines succeed. By contrast, a replicated part is a reverse-engineered product that tries to look the same as the original, and must simply fit in the appropriate space.

“This is where the similarity with the OEM part ends,” argues Koorts. “The performance and longevity of the replicated part can seldom be guaranteed, and this undermines the principles of risk mitigation and productivity that the mine is trying to achieve.”

Weir Minerals’ original spares form an essential part of the journey that it walks with customers toward sustainability and commercial success, he explains. While the efficiency and robustness of the parts reduce mines’ energy consumption and carbon footprint, the sustainability efforts of Weir Minerals also contribute to improving customers’ Scope 3 emissions.

“Having a parts supplier with a concerted sustainability commitment – including the use of renewable energy in many of our facilities – further assists our customers in reaching their strategic corporate objectives,” he concludes.

LARGE 20-WAY CAVEX® HYDROCYCLONE CLUSTER FOR GOLD PROJECT IN WEST AFRICA

Weir Minerals Africa recently manufactured a 20-way cluster of Cavex® 500 CVX hydrocyclones. This hydrocyclone delivers exceptional operational efficiencies, reduced wear and consistent metallurgical performance. With a design built for longevity, this unit is anticipated to exceed a 20 year lifespan because of its easily replaceable wear parts that ensure peak performance throughout its service life.

The hydrocyclone cluster was specifically tailored to the classification and processing requirements of a gold project in West Africa. Lerato Ramanala, Product Manager Hydrocyclones at Weir Minerals Africa, says it will be used in a milling application as part of a flowsheet with an HPGR and ball mill – the Cavex® hydrocyclones will classify the mill discharge. Operating at a relatively low pressure of 73 kPa, the hydrocyclones are meticulously engineered to minimise equipment wear under demanding conditions.

“Our design process considered factors such as port sizes and pipe schedules, ensuring obstruction-free operation, even under challenging conditions in which the hydrocyclones have to contend with a wide range of particle sizes. The feed and discharge pipes were engineered to accommodate the required flow rate and pressure, maintaining a launder geometry that ensures optimal slurry levels during regular operation, without any spillage during normal and design operation,” she explains.

The hydrocyclone cluster operates efficiently: the overflow goes to the trash screen, the underflow launder diverts the discharge, returning some to the ball mill for further grinding, while the other portion is fed to a gravity circuit.

Ramanala says the hydrocyclone cluster is custom-engineered featuring Cavex® hydrocyclones, Linatex® rubber linings and Isogate® WR valves. The Cavex® hydrocyclone features an innovative 360⁰ laminar spiral inlet that significantly enhances separation performance.

“To prolong wear life and reduce the need for frequent replacements, we’ve used R55 rubber, a patented Weir Minerals material, in the hydrocyclones’ rubber inserts,” she adds.

To address abrasion resistance, Linatex® premium rubber, known to consistently outperform other rubber materials in abrasive wet processing applications, was selected. The integration of Linatex® rubber minimises maintenance requirements and guarantees optimal equipment performance.

The Isogate® WR valve is a lightweight valve designed for a hydrocyclone cluster of this size, featuring advanced rubber sleeve technology for improved wear life and full bore design for unrestricted flow.

“Notably, this is the first greenfield cluster to incorporate Synertrex IIoT technology for performance monitoring, specifically to detect any roping or splashing events,” Ramanala says. This proactive performance monitoring platform enhances the overall effectiveness of the Cavex® hydrocyclones by providing accurate data on cyclone performance, supporting the operator in maintaining optimal operating conditions, and enabling proactive intervention for unforeseen incidents.

“Synertrex is much more than a condition monitoring system for individual pieces of equipment. As the technology continues to develop and Weir Minerals works to leverage the equipment and process data it alone has as the OEM, its customers are increasingly seeing it as the preferred partner for intelligent solutions and digitally-enabled services,” she says.

Hydrocyclones provide cost efficient separation in mineral processing applications, especially compared to traditional screens. Even with its substantial size, a cluster of this magnitude maintains a more compact overall footprint, facilitating space optimisation within the process plant while still achieving the necessary cut point.

Weir Minerals Africa’s experienced local team carefully analysed operational requirements, flow rates and pressure differentials when designing this Cavex® hydrocyclone cluster to maximise efficiency and meet required throughput rates. Structural integrity was a primary focus due to the cluster’s large size, and extensive use was made of computer-aided design (CAD) to ensure a robust design capable of withstanding demanding conditions. The structural design includes walkways, support beams and bracing mechanisms. The large cluster was manufactured at Weir Minerals Africa’s facility, undergoing trial assembly and quality checks before being disassembled and packaged for shipment to the customer. Installation on-site will be part of the greenfields process plant construction project, with Weir Minerals Africa specialists readily available for installation and commissioning support.

UNLOCKING EFFECTIVE DEWATERING: MASTERING FUNDAMENTAL SOLUTIONS

With every mine or quarry site needing to evaluate dewatering requirements at some point, it is important to determine the exact nature of potential water problems to inform the design of a fit-for-purpose dewatering solution. Marnus Koorts, General Manager Pump Products at Weir Minerals Africa, advises that for every dewatering project it is important that the customer works with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) that understands the environment, site conditions and specialises in dewatering solutions. 

In any mining environment, water comes from several sources, with rain being the most prolific in some regions. However, other sources such as natural seepage and aquifers can yield a significant amount of groundwater, especially in underground mining operations which can lead to considerable disruption of operations with costly consequences. A comprehensive, reliable and flexible dewatering plan is therefore essential to remove excess water from working areas in order to allow operations to continue while safeguarding operators and maintaining productivity. 

Several factors are worth considering before selecting and installing a dewatering solution, and this should start with a thorough assessment to facilitate the design and build of a fit-for-purpose dewatering solution that is site-specific, cost effective and manageable. “Each operation’s dewatering requirements are different,” says Koorts. “Consequently, we believe that dewatering solutions should be customised to suit the site conditions. At Weir Minerals, we don’t supply a dewatering solution without first going to the site to assess the different parameters that determine an optimal solution for the operation.” 

Another critical factor to consider is the head pressure required to pump the water out of the pit. Many of the pits are very deep, which means additional booster pumps are needed to overcome the large vertical lift. Based on the mine site configuration and whether an open pit or underground operation, these could be positioned at multiple levels to help raise the water..

“The characteristics of the water can have an impact on the final equipment and materials used. For example, the pH range, temperature, corrosive and abrasive content all play a critical role in selecting the equipment to transport water effectively. The presence of solids in the water, the specific gravity, size distribution and content percentage will determine the type of pumps required,” he says. 

In addition, Koorts notes that there is an industry perception that dewatering is just about the pump itself. He, however, cautions that a pump is only one part of the equation with a dewatering systems comprising numerous critical components including pumps, drive units, priming systems, control systems, control valves and discharge piping.  

“It is critical that the preferred dewatering system OEM be able to integrate all these various components into a single system. At Weir Minerals we have a large portfolio of in-house and external components that allow us to provide a fit-for-purpose dewatering solution and take responsibility for the entire system’s performance. These include multiple pumping solutions, drive units, pontoon barges, electrical control systems, hoses,  discharge piping systems and hydrocyclone separators, amongst others.,” concludes Koorts.

WEIR MINERALS’ LINATEX SCORES ITS CENTURY OF SERVICE

It is now a full century that mines and industry have been relying on Linatex® rubber products from Weir Minerals to protect equipment from abrasion, impact and corrosion. 

“The remarkable qualities of natural rubber in a range of demanding mining and processing applications have made Linatex integral to our customers’ success over the past 100 years,” says Boitumelo Zimba, Rubber Product Manager at Weir Minerals Africa. “The product breakthrough which has differentiated us in the market is our proprietary liquid phase compounding (LPC) process. This is a gentle process that retains all the valuable qualities of the high quality natural latex which is our central ingredient.”

The more common processes, used by competitors in the market, effectively change the molecular structure of the natural rubber, resulting in shearing that undermines the resistant qualities of the final product, she explains. By contrast, Linatex® Premium Rubber exhibits outstanding strength, resilience and resistance to cutting and tearing, giving superior performance in wet abrasion conditions.

“The LPC process gives us a product that is 95% natural latex – and we are the only company producing rubber this way,” she says. The applications are well known, from impact liners in transfer chutes to abrasion resistant lining in pumps and hoses. Over the decades, the applications have broadened as the company applies its research and development to various potential modifications.

Proven value

Over the course of the last century, there have been plenty of success stories in mining. What has become increasingly crucial, however, is the quantification of the benefits that Linatex® Premium Rubber can bring to specific applications, argues Zimba. As mining embraces increasing levels of technology and digital monitoring, it becomes easier to monitor equipment performance and cost of ownership.

“One of our mining customers in central Africa needed to extend the service life of their tailings pipeline,” she explains. “Due to the abrasion resistant qualities of our Linatex Premium Rubber, the customer was able to save over US$110,000 per annum on their tailings pipeline, after ceramic liners were replaced by a 12 mm layer of Linatex Premium Rubber.”

This meant that the pipeline would last 36 months instead of nine months, reducing the cost of liner replacement and downtime. In another successful application, Weir Minerals Africa used a nitrile-based rubber compound in a mining customer’s flotation tanks, which were previously lined with ceramic tiles. The results were again dramatic, increasing the replacement intervals from two months to 36 months. 

“This ultimately saved that customer almost US$570,000 a year, reducing downtime considerably,” she says.

In another successful application, Linatex® modular panels has solved the challenge of high wear rates on a mine’s hydrocyclones in Kazakhstan. KAZ Minerals’ Bozshakol copper mine was facing difficulty with wear rates on the rubber and ceramic-lined launders in its primary hydrocyclone clusters. This resulted in costly downtime every two to three months, when time consuming rubber patching would have to be carried out by the Bozshakol maintenance team.

After conducting 3D scanning of the cyclone cluster launder, Weir Minerals wear experts proposed the wear resistant 25mm Linatex® steel-backed bolt-down modular panels with high open area. The modularity of these panels allowed KAZ Minerals to replace the worn parts one by one, without the need to patch-repair.

The Linatex® modular anti-abrasion panels were installed in October 2019, and it was an impressive 21 months before some of the panels were finally ready to be replaced. This meant an increase in wear life of 584%, saving on downtime as well as on about 450 labour hours in maintenance. The success achieved at Bozshakol led other KAZ Minerals mines to also order the Linatex® modular antiabrasion panels.

At its copper, gold and silver mine in the Grasberg minerals district, PT Freeport Indonesia was also experiencing the challenge of high wear rates. In this case on its SAG mill discharge box dart valve seat liners. With the incumbent liners lasting only three months, the mine was forced to conduct early shutdowns as the SAG mill maintenance interval was every six months.

The Weir Minerals solution was to introduce superior Linatex® rubber material and mould the product into the existing dart valve seat configuration. The team also re-engineered and

introduced a taper shape to give extra impact absorption for the rubber-lined product. This extended its life to up to seven months, allowing the SAG mills to run uninterrupted for the full six months between scheduled shutdowns.

Quality production

The specialised science of processing natural rubber latex has been maintained at the company’s global production facility in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – ensuring the highest levels of quality are consistently delivered in a continuous production process. The progressive manufacturing expansion ensure a reliable supply for the worldwide market, she says. The supply chain for the natural rubber is also based on sustainable principles, ensuring that the trees are not destroyed and that the harvesting process is environmentally responsible. 

“As the most significant input to the Linatex products, the latex we use is tested extensively before processing – first at our suppliers’ facility and again at our manufacturing facility,” she explains. “Each batch of rubber produced is sampled and tested, and customers have the option to request a product test certificate.”

Zimba concludes that Weir Minerals will continue to find innovative ways for Linatex® Premium Rubber to add value to customer applications, ensuring that the distinctive quality of this market leading product range finds new and exciting uses. 

KEEPING MILL CIRCUIT PUMPS RUNNING: THE KEY TO EFFICIENT OPERATIONS

The requisite levels of support are critical to ensure optimal performance of a mill circuit, as is the correct selection of the mill circuit pump. Attention to both these aspects will facilitate cost efficient and optimum operation of the circuit; however, cautions Marnus Koorts, General Manager Pump Products at Weir Minerals Africa, each is as important as the other. 

Weir Minerals Africa has a focus on delivering reliable solutions to customers that will provide the required performance while facilitating the lowest total cost of ownership. This, Koorts says, has seen the Warman® mill circuit pump become the preferred choice across numerous plants in Africa.

Commenting further, Koorts says that the requisite support level often requires significant investment by the pump Original Equipment Manufacturer and means having the correct parts readily available on or close to a customer site. This should be backed by the technical competency required to keep the pump running, he says.  

“What is essential to understand is that a mill circuit pump is not an off-the-shelf solution. Mill circuit pumps are engineered to provide optimum performance under the arduous operating conditions on individual customer sites and need to be configured to achieve the requisite hours between scheduled maintenance shutdowns,” he says. 

“Close collaboration with customers and a comprehensive understanding of the plant’s operating parameters are crucial to ensure the solution provided will meet the operational requirements,” he says. 

One of the primary considerations when it comes to mill circuit pumps is the ability to handle large particles and high flow rates. Wear and tear in these pumps are directly proportional to the size of particles passing through, necessitating specific construction materials and design features. 

Koorts says a major differentiator is that the Warman® mill circuit pumps are physically larger for the same flow rate, reducing wear by operating at lower speeds. This strategy has paid major dividends for customers and is one of the reasons for the popularity of the Warman® brand in Africa. 

“Another crucial aspect is the engineering of the hydraulic chamber, which enhances wear resistance and increases efficiency. This is achieved through the unique design of the vanelet which significantly minimises unwanted turbulence and reduces both wear and energy consumption,” he explains. The reduced energy consumption not only contributes to the bottom line but also ensures a relatively short payback period for the capital investment.

“Material selection for mill pumps often sparks debate, but experience in the field has shown the undeniable benefits of rubber liners,” Koorts says. “Rubber liners extend wear life, handle impact associated with large particles, and are more cost effective and easier to handle.” Recognising the advantages, Weir Minerals has made substantial investments in rubber production facilities to manufacture these liners for customers. 

However, when applications demand it, a wide range of metal options are also available. Koorts says good examples would be Hyperchrome® A61 alloy which is particularly good for fine particle wear that’s often seen between the impeller and the throat bush, and Ultrachrome® A05 alloy which would be used for the shell as it works well with general coarse particle abrasion. 

“If the wear characteristics are higher than anticipated in an application, this is where the interchangeability of components plays an important role. Most of our designs allow for interchangeability between metal and rubber components based on specific wear characteristics.” 

Koorts also points out that over time, changes in the slurry composition or ore grade processed by a plant can affect pump efficiency and increase wear. He says that Warman® mill circuit pumps offer standard and low flow liner capabilities, enabling operators to adjust the flow rate as needed without compromising the original installation.

Retrofit optimisations are increasingly common as mineral processing plants evolve and seek to reduce their total cost of ownership. Weir Minerals Africa has made substantial investments in an engineering team capable of seamlessly integrating the Warman® mill circuit pumps into existing installations, and they work closely with engineering, procurement, construction management (EPCM) contractor, and project houses ensuring all stakeholders can make an informed decision regarding pump selection and configuration.

With over 20 branches across Africa and the Middle East, Weir Minerals Africa ensures local technical support is readily available to customers. This proximity allows the Weir Minerals Africa teams to gain a deep understanding of each customer’s operation and provide comprehensive support to ensure uninterrupted pump operation. To facilitate easy access to parts, the company recommends a strategic parts list and encourages customers to keep these components on-site. Critical parts are also stocked at the nearest Weir Minerals Africa branch.

WEIR MINERALS’ INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS DELIVER PROCESS IMPROVEMENTS

Taking in the full scope of factors within any mining challenge or context, integrated solutions are the best way to reduce operational costs and increase throughput – while maximising water recovery and power savings.

Teddy Malunga, Regional Integrated Solutions Manager at Weir Minerals Africa.
Teddy Malunga, Regional Integrated Solutions Manager at Weir Minerals Africa.

According to Teddy Malunga, Regional Integrated Solutions Manager at Weir Minerals Africa, plant performance often drops over time – for various reasons. It may be that the combination of equipment is not optimal, or that the mined material being fed to the plant changes more than expected. The ad hoc replacement of individual items of equipment over the years could also lead to an imbalance in throughput capacity. All solutions, though, begin with close analysis leading to a thorough understanding of all the aspects of the circuit.

“When a client approaches us with a challenge in their circuit, we conduct a comprehensive audit in which we gather all the data we can on how the plant is currently running,” he explains. “This includes comparing its overall performance to its original design parameters.”

By analysing each stage of the process – and each item of equipment – conclusions can be drawn about where any bottlenecks might occur. The solution that is designed should then be aimed at achieving the required key performance indicators such as throughput and target P80, while reducing downtime and raising productivity. With the constant evolution of technology within the Weir Minerals range of solutions, the response to such an audit process usually provides the opportunity to optimise the process and address our customers’ pain points, he notes.

The Enduron HPGRs can crush material as small as 5mm to 8mm and requires significantly less water.
The Enduron HPGRs can crush material as small as 5mm to 8mm and requires significantly less water.

An important element of integrated solutions is the ability to measure where potential equipment under-performance occurs, and also to ensure optimal running conditions across the plant. Malunga points to Weir Minerals’ Synertrex® intelligent platform and its ecosystem of solutions.

“Measuring wear rates, vibrations and temperatures on a pump in real time, for example, is a valuable indicator of where problems might occur,” he says. “It also creates the opportunity to monitor performance and pick up variations from the expected performance parameters.”

An integrated solution would then also be able to demonstrate a tangible and measurable improvement to the customer, he adds. Among the potential benefits that would be identified could be improvements in plant throughput, capacity, availability, efficiency or recovery – and often a combination of these.

An important aspect of system optimisation is to improve energy efficiency, as mines look to reduce not only their costs but their carbon footprint. Traditional mill circuit flowsheets – comprising semi autogenous grinding (SAG) mills and ball mills – are inefficient, with 40 to 60% of the slurry returned to the mill for reprocessing. This recirculated load reduces the throughput and capacity of mill.

“The redesigned and reconfigured mill circuit that Weir Minerals envisages will see the SAG mill replaced by a more efficient HPGR, which is less energy intensive, while also reducing recirculating loads threefold,” he says. “Compared to traditional crushing and grinding methods, Enduron HPGRs can reduce energy consumption by up to 40%.”

Similarly, the development of Weir Minerals’ Cavex® 2 hydrocyclones allows a 27% improvement of capacity in the latest generation design, with a reduced bypass and better cut-point.

In terms of pump technology, Weir Minerals’ products improve the numbers of hours pumps can run while reducing power consumption. The Warman® WRT® impeller and throatbush combination, is a simple inexpensive upgrade compatible with all Warman® AH®, M and L Series slurry pumps.

“The aim of Weir Minerals’ integrated approach is to understand our customer’s pain points and identify ways in which we can improve their process which often leads to lower total cost of ownership,” he says. “This leads to higher availability, throughput and profitability.”

Underpinning its capability in providing integrated solutions is Weir Minerals Africa’s unrivalled manufacturing and service network. It has service centres within 200 km of most major mining regions to ensure the company can deliver value quickly and effectively to customers.

“In the end, it is vital to take a holistic approach to solving customer challenges, and to be close enough to understand our customers’ operations in detail,” says Malunga.

PUMPING INNOVATION UNDERPINS GEHO SUCCESS

The technical advancement of Weir Minerals’ GEHO® positive displacement pumps has ensured they play a key role in reducing mines’ environmental footprint.

The GEHO® pump range is well known in various pumping applications including tailings, backfill, ore transportation and dewatering. Weir Minerals Global Product Manager for GEHO® positive displacement (PD) pumps, Erik Vlot, highlights the pumps’ ability to pump highly viscous slurry, allowing mines to conserve water. The energy efficiency of pipeline transportation also helps cut energy costs and reduces mines’ carbon footprint. 

“The foundation of GEHO pumps’ success is our ongoing attention to technical innovation and improvement,” says Vlot. “This also allowed us to be pioneers in the pumping of very acidic material at high temperatures, such as nickel slurry at more than 200°C at a mine in Madagascar.”

Weir Minerals’ extensive branch network means customers have access to a local service crew to support the GEHO pumps.
Weir Minerals’ extensive branch network means customers have access to a local service crew to support the GEHO pumps.

With their high capacity, GEHO® pumps transport bauxite or iron ore over hundreds of kilometres, offering one of the most cost effective and sustainable transfer methods available to the mining industry. These pumps have also played an integral role in the success of a Weir Minerals paste solution at Finland’s largest open pit mine. Yara’s Siilinjärvi mine uses GEHO® pumps to move tailings from the plant, achieving the necessary beach slope on its tailings facility to meet its life-of-mine strategy. 

Backfilling is an important method for mining to achieve safety and environmental goals, and GEHO® pumps have been enabling this work. In a North American platinum operation, the equipment pumps over a thousand litres a minute of this viscous backfill material – measuring 70% solids by weight – back into the mine’s worked out areas. 

In the context of deep mines, GEHO® pumps provide an efficient and reliable way of dewatering from great depths, instead of using multiple smaller pumps to transfer water to surface. The powerful GEHO® pump range can do this by pumping from the bottom of a mine to the surface in just one lift – even over kilometres.

Erik Vlot, Global Product Manager GEHO positive displacement pumps at Weir Minerals.
Erik Vlot, Global Product Manager GEHO positive displacement pumps at Weir Minerals.

“Apart from the cost effectiveness of this solution, an important advantage is that it reduces the risk of one pump in a pumping chain failing, and disrupting the entire dewatering function,” he says. “It also reduces the cost and maintenance requirements of having multiple pumping stations at different levels within the mine.”

The reputation of GEHO® pumps has also been built on their reliability, he explains. This has resulted from Weir Minerals’ ongoing research and development into its pumps’ wear parts. This process is based on an in-depth understanding of the whole pumping system in which the pump operates. 

“Taking into account how our pumps interact with these systems, we focus on key aspects of the pumps such as the diaphragm and propelling liquid system,” he says. The propelling liquid provides the barrier between the piston and the diaphragm ensuring that all the moving parts move in oil and not slurry.

He emphasises the importance of diaphragm dynamics and the need to control the volume of propelling liquid in the chamber. This is done through the PLC control, to ensure that the diaphragm runs in the right position. 

“Rubber is good at bending, but if it stretches it can tear,” he says. “Our aim is to extend the replacement intervals between diaphragm replacements, helping mines to reduce both their downtime and their total cost of ownership.”

The monitoring of GEHO® pumps’ operation is conducted through digital technology so that operators can stay abreast – in real time – of the pump’s performance and condition. Weir Minerals’ digital layer for these pumps is being rolled out to customers, informing the maintenance schedules and enhancing pump availability. 

Vlot notes that Weir Minerals continues to innovate with the GEHO® pump range, and is even exploring possibilities for transferring coarse ore to the surface from deep in a mine – as a more cost effective option to traditional hoisting methods. 

“Vital to all our GEHO pump solutions is the Weir Minerals’ global service network, ensuring that wherever our pumps are operating there will be an experienced local service crew to support them,” he concludes.

PACKAGING QUALITY BRANDS WITH IN-HOUSE PLANT DESIGN

Leveraging its quality brands of screens and crushers, Weir Minerals Africa has the in-house capacity to design and build complete plants for customers – cost effectively and quickly.

This has proved very valuable to customers wanting to rapidly ramp up their production in light of rising commodity prices in recent years, according to Weir Minerals Africa Product Manager for Comminution Theo Hendricks. With much of each plant’s equipment available ex-stock, and some even locally manufactured, the lead times for these plants can be considerably reduced.

“These tend to be process plants on the smaller side of the size spectrum, up to about 500 tonnes per hour capacity,” says Hendricks. “Designed in a modular format, these are fitted with any combination of our well-known Trio jaw and cone crushers, Trio feeders and Enduron vibrating screens.”

Theo Hendricks, Product Manager for Comminution at Weir Minerals Africa.
Theo Hendricks, Product Manager for Comminution at Weir Minerals Africa.

The turnkey approach includes providing all the structures for the equipment, and the conveyors to move material between different sections of the plant. Weir Minerals Africa Advanced Applications Engineer Karabo Moalamedi emphasises that best practice is applied in all aspects of the engineering and design. This ensures safety, performance and easy access for regular maintenance.

At the front end of the plant is the primary station – which usually includes a ROM hopper, a Trio® vibrating grizzly feeder, a Trio® jaw crusher and Enduron® screen. Where the material has a high clay or moisture content, a Trio® apron feeder is recommended. At the secondary crushing stage, a combination of Trio® cone crushers and Enduron® screens are usually installed, while Enduron® HPGRs are also included in the tertiary phase where finer material is required.

Enduron HPGR crushers offer a low energy consumption, low maintenance crushing solutions.
Enduron HPGR crushers offer a low energy consumption, low maintenance crushing solutions.

To accurately plan the design and location in existing facilities, 3D scanning is used to plot where infrastructure is already in place, says Moalamedi. The plant design itself can also be rendered in 3D, showing the customer and design team a detailed visualisation to guide final decision-making.

The plant is trial-erected at Weir Minerals Africa’s facility before being shipped to site, and its specialist technicians will supervise the on-site installation and commissioning. Ongoing technical support is then available from Weir Minerals Africa’s extensive branch network around the continent.

Karabo Moalamedi provides support during a project installation at a customer site.
Karabo Moalamedi provides support during a project installation at a customer site.

IN-HOUSE CAPABILITY PUTS WEIR MINERALS OUT FRONT

As mining projects look to optimise their pump and process performance while minimising risk, there is good reason why Weir Minerals Africa is regularly awarded the lion’s share of large execution projects. 

According to Marnus Koorts, general manager pump products at Weir Minerals Africa, the company wins about 95% of the process projects in the mining sector today for which it bids.

“Our success has everything to do with how we leverage our full design, engineering and manufacturing capability,” says Koorts. “This level of expertise and infrastructure is something that few of our competitors can match; indeed, we are the only pump manufacturer in Africa with this integrated resource base.”

He adds that most of its product offering is manufactured in-house. This internal capability gives the business a distinct advantage in developing and implementing custom designs and complex solutions. It also provides closer control over quality and can radically improve lead times. 

“An important differentiator for us is our two foundries – our Heavy Bay Foundry in Gqeberha and another in Isando which includes our innovative Replicast plant,” he says. “These two facilities give us greater reliability in our supply chain and scheduling, reducing the risk of late deliveries that could delay customers’ project roll out.”

With Weir Minerals Africa’s large team of hydraulic engineers, there is also considerable in-country capacity to support engineered-to-order (ETO) requirements. This enhances the value of early stage collaboration with customers, where the company can offer insights and guidance on pump and process related issues even at concept stage. This, emphasises Koorts, makes it easier for project managers to pre-empt technical challenges later. 

The world class facility in Isando is one of Weir Minerals’ technology hubs for a range of its pump brands including the Warman DWU and Envirotech range. As a result, it is able to export significant volumes of this equipment to sister companies worldwide. 

“While many competitors rely on distributors and agents to deal with customers, Weir Minerals Africa has over the years established an extensive branch network across the continent,” he says. “This footprint ensures our direct contact with customers, so that they receive the same high level of service irrespective of their location. They also have direct access to our highly skilled and experienced product experts.”