Mid-tier minerals and metals process engineering company, Consulmet, has completed the construction of a unique five-ton-per-hour Dense Media Separation (DMS) test plant at its facilities in Modderfontein, Johannesburg.
Consulmet Managing Director, Derek Lahee explains that one of the company’s core strengths is in the area of gravity separation of minerals using dense medium separation (DMS), and historically the company would outsource bulk DMS test work to various third-party test facilities.
“What we found was that the processes used by these facilities did not always meet our requirements or have the ability to deliver the bulk testing results we were looking for. Bringing this commercial facility inhouse compliments our business and allows us to deliver real, DMS plant results to our clients,” said Lahee.
Supplying the heart of the DMS plant
Wilna Hoffmann, Business Development Manager at Multotec, explains that Consulmet approached Multotec to supply the heart of the DMS plant, which is the company’s flagship equipment.
For this project, Multotec, supplied around 70% of the mechanicals for the DMS circuit. These included a Multotec DMS cyclone, magnetic separator for ferro silicon recovery, a densifier, sieve bend, static screen, polyurethane screen panels for the feed preparation, and DMS screens, as well as pumps.
“As the leading supplier of equipment for DMS plants around the globe, we were naturally interested in coming on board with this project. Furthermore, we immediately saw the constructive collaboration between our two companies, especially considering their close proximity to our own head office, and other test work facilities,” she says.
“This means that if we want to do any DMS-specific test work or product development, it is conveniently close.”
Hoffmann explains that industry collaboration between companies is vital and holds many advantages for Multotec, “it enables us to develop products that can be integrated into customer’s plant.”
“As part of our product development, we will be able to use the DMS to model and test different product configurations to improve current equipment and/ or develop new equipment. Since we both specialise in DMS, Multotec and Consulmet can also use this facility to test difficult-to-separate ores for our clients. So, for the first time, we now have a plant that allows us to run dense media separation, with the biggest advantage being a medium recovery circuit to prevent drifting of the density,” she adds.
Alongside Multotec, other big industry players in the mineral processing space were also brought on board for the project. Vibramech supplied vibrating screens for the plant, while EICON was responsible for the turnkey electrical supply for the project. Additionally, Mixtec provided the mechanical agitator and EMIS contributed electric motors and the conveyor gear box. Consulmet was responsible for the internal construction of the plant.
“Multotec and the other companies have brought together an extremely cost-effective solution, and we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without such industry collaboration. The primary objective was to get a bulk DMS test plant up and running, especially one with the latest technology for reliable bulk test results. We’ve seen that this has been lacking in South Africa,” says Lahee.
The DMS test plant with feed preparation and water reticulation allows for closed circuit DMS beneficiation of bulk samples, in batch, under real operating conditions. Samples taken during these pilot runs will be sent away for densiometric analytics. Process variables are captured and used for production plant design, thus reducing project risk and process uncertainty.
Huge capital investment benefits
“This project is massively beneficial to clients, both locally and globally. The veracity of the results from the DMS test plant are extremely important, as large capital investment typically follows on from this, and by installing this test DMS plant we are confident that we will cultivate the trust of clients for their next step.”
Lahee explains that the design principles used in this plant are very flexible and allow for a wider range of commodity testing – which is a first for not only South Africa but Africa. He adds that the project is a true representation of a full-scale plant, as the design of the plant, the test work, and the results can immediately be replicated in a larger plant.
Since the recent completion of this seven-month project, Consulmet has seen huge interest from clients across the world, including from countries like Nigeria, Finland, Turkey, Kosovo, and Australia. Lahee explains that testing services will be offered to clients on a commercial basis, with the company charging a base rate per tonne to cover the consumable costs.