From its beginnings in the 1940s, separating heavy minerals from local sands on Australia’s East Coast, Mineral Technologies has today become recognized by customers worldwide, including large parts of Africa, for delivering innovative, cost-effective processing solutions for iron ore, mineral sands , silica sands, coal, chromite, gold, tin, tungsten, tantalum and a wide range of other fine minerals worldwide.
The company employs over 260 people, located in most major mining regions around the world – Australia, India, Africa, Canada, South and North America.
General manager, Alex de Andrade, states that the company offers a range of mining equipment, technology and support services across all stages of a mining project. “This includes metallurgical testwork, concept and pre-feasibility studies through to plant design, mineral processing equipment supply, training and commissioning,” he outlines.
Mineral Technologies also provides a variety of customizable services from flowsheet optimization and process audits to operational refinement, field maintenance and refurbishment plans and bespoke engineering design.
Their OEM products are manufactured on the Gold Coast in Australia, which was where the business started 80 years ago, and more recently at their operations facility in South Africa.
“All of our minerals processing equipment is designed and manufactured using the latest technologies and they are tested in full-scale processing operations to ensure optimal performance,” explains De Andrade.
Over the past 20 years, technology has been a key component in ensuring that Mineral Technologies is able to continue to provide the most advanced processing equipment to its customers.
One of the company’s latest offerings is the FLEXSERIES modular plant that combines simple modular design with large-scale engineering. The FLEXSERIES was designed with the agility to be adapted to any flowsheet model.
According to De Andrade, this plant was cleverly conceived as an off-the-shelf, affordable solution which does not compromise on metallurgical performance.
“It was developed with a focus on how we can design plants, to be more efficient, improve access to complex ore bodies, reduce water consumption and tailings output, and / or process existing tailings deposits. It has been designed to have the least environmental impact, making it easier to return the site to pre-mine condition. ”
The FLEXSERIES array of features include:
- Compact modular format, thereby reducing shipping costs and unloading time.
- Robust and relocatable, reducing the complexity of accessing hard to reach ore bodies.
- Stand-alone modules can be added to existing operations or expanded upon at a future time.
A strong African footprint
De Andrade points out that it was early on in its establishment that Mineral Technologies made Africa a top priority and in 1973, it established an office in Richards Bay, South Africa.
“The South African facility has ISO 9001: 2015 certification and here the team operates a spiral production and wet high intensity magnetic separation (WHIMS) refurbishment facility as well as delivering support services to customers across the African continent,” he states.
De Andrade states that Mineral Technologies’ footprint in Africa is vast and its clients include Grande Côte, Tronox, Kenmare Resources, Rio Tinto, Exxaro and Base Resources to name a few. The company offerings range from very large engineering projects to plant and equipment supply.
In 2014, Minerals Technologies completed the design of the world’s largest wet concentrator plant (WCP) for the Grande Côte mineral sands project in Senegal. The WCP design incorporated state-of-the-art high-capacity spiral technology sourced from Mineral Technologies’ proprietary equipment range. It also included a purpose designed Lyons feed control unit to deliver a feed surge bin and tails densifying bin to meet specific process needs.
“Today, Grande Côte is a leading example of excellence in mineral sands separation and through smart design and innovative technology is expected to continue through the anticipated 20-year life of the mine,” adds De Andrade.
Furthermore, since 2015, Mineral Technologies has delivered WHIMS to Samancor’s chromite processing plants in southern Africa. The most recent installation in 2018, included a modular plant for Samancor which was designed, constructed and commissioned by Mineral Technologies.
The most recent plant was the fourth for Samancor’s African operations and was installed, commissioned and successfully passed performance testing within four weeks. Incorporating Mineral Technologies’ WHIMS equipment, aids the recovery of legacy chrome tailings, with the unique design consistently producing additional mass yield.
As an alternative to mining more feed material, the WHIMS modular plants process existing waste streams from current operations, recovering what conventional plants leave behind.
A large part of Mineral Technologies’ success over the past 80 years is its culture of innovation. “We feel it is our responsibility to continue to develop technology for the industry to become sustainable and continue to support local communities.
“By challenging traditional methods, we have helped extract maximum value from customer’s resources so that today’s mining waste (or low grade) can become tomorrow’s quality ore body,” concludes De Andrade.
Mineral Technologies is part of the Downer Group, a leading provider of infrastructure services in Australia and New Zealand. Of the four pillars that the company is built on, safety is the first. Zero Harm is embedded in Downer’s culture and is fundamental to its future success. Its approach to Zero Harm enables employees to work safely and responsibly and the company firmly believes that its work can be conducted with zero harm to its people, the environment and the communities within which it operates.