Multotec leverages vast global expertise and experience to support the booming lithium sector in Brazil

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Multotec leverages expertise to support the lithium sector in Brazil

Multotec’s experience and expertise in dense media separation (DMS) across the world is hugely benefiting lithium operations in Brazil. This sector is currently booming due to global demand for renewable energy storage.

Multotec Brazil Country Manager Anthony Artin explains that DMS technology has been around for decades and gained extensive international recognition when it was adopted by the South African mining industry. Headquartered in South Africa, Multotec has established itself as a leader in metallurgy and process engineering around the globe.

“As a result, Multotec has conducted extensive test work in DMS technology over the years. The results of this test work now serve as a reference for our DMS applications in mining worldwide, providing valuable data for graphs and drainage rates,” says Artin.

“This is why Multotec today boasts a huge install base worldwide. Our DMS expertise and experience have grown alongside the coal and diamond sectors, and then started diversifying into base metals like iron ore, and then industrial minerals.”

Artin notes that the lithium boom in recent years has led to the widespread adoption of DMS technology as a means of pre-concentration in some lithium operations or as a primary concentration method in others.

Leveraging extensive knowledge

With major lithium projects recently coming online in Brazil’s Araçuai Valley region and various others set to come onstream soon, Multotec established a presence in the country to leverage its extensive DMS knowledge to support this booming industry.

“We are involved in most lithium operations in the world at this stage and this allows us to start linking the knowledge that we gain, whether it be in North America, Australia or South Africa. We are using this as a basis for good practices that we can bring back to the lithium operation here in Brazil,” says Artin.

He notes that the Multotec factory in Brazil supplies equipment such as DMS cyclones, screen panels, magnetic separators, ceramic-lined chutes and densifiers to the local lithium mining industry. Adding that the DMS cyclone is at the heart of the DMS plant, in Brazil.

“Brazilian mining operations rely on DMS as the main concentration method, unlike some plants in other parts of the world which would include milling and flotation into the process. This makes our cyclones the key to these operations,” he says.

“We need to therefore make sure that our equipment operates efficiently. The cyclone has a few seconds to distinguish between a lithium spodumene particle and gangue material and whether to send it to the underflow or the overflow.”

Currently, Multotec Brazil is focusing on localising the supply chain in the local lithium industry due to the unique Brazilian business environment. This supports Multotec’s strategy of supporting customers in the quickest and most efficient way possible.

Local manufacturing

“Now that we have established a factory here, we are starting to manufacture more and more of our products locally. This makes lead times, pricing, and the availability of stock much more attractive for our clients,” says Artin.

He explains that Multotec ensures skills transfer to staff in Brazil, citing a major ceramic chute lining project as a good example of this initiative.

“A client had requested that we carry out a ceramic chute lining project based on our global expertise. At the time, we did not have the facilities to do it here, so we brought in specialists from South Africa to support us for three months and to teach our team how to line chutes with ceramic,” says Artin.

“This transfer of knowledge has allowed us to offer this service locally to the mines. We now have the facilities in our factory to cut ceramics and install them. So, it was a successful project, entirely carried out locally.”

Greater local support

As part of its efforts to offer even greater support to the local mining sector, Artin says that Multotec Brazil intends to open a depot in the Araçuai Valley region with service crews who will be within close proximity of the company’s clients. This will help overcome the logistical issues stemming from the main factory being situated in Belo Horizonte, about 600km away.

Multotec participated in the Brazil Lithium Business 2024 conference, a groundbreaking pioneer event which took place in Araçuai, and attracted industry players and international companies interested in Brazil’s lithium reserves. Multotec showed its commitment to knowledge sharing with the mineral processing industry through exhibiting, speaking, and sponsoring the event.

“Worldwide, we aim to position ourselves as a key partner for the DMS operations, regardless of what mineral sector it is. As a key partner to DMS operations in the lithium space, we want to take this opportunity to show our presence, showcase the different technologies that we can bring to the market as well as the different product lines that we offer,” says Artin.

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