Sishen Expansion Project

allmineral, the Duisburg-based mineral processing specialist has fulfilled the single largest machine contract in its history with the design, engineering and delivery of 24 alljigs® jigs to Kumba’s Sishen Expansion Project (SEP) in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. The alljigs® are installed in eight modules, each with three different size alljigs® for the various iron ore sizes. The order was received from Kumba Iron Ore Ltd., South Africa’s largest iron ore producer and number four worldwide.

SEP is set to boost the growth of the domestic iron ore industry. New deposits adjoining the existing opencast mine, supplemented by an option for another mining area, have been under development since 2005. Estimated investments in the country’s entire mining sector are running into double-figure billions (2007:around 18 bill. Rand). Efforts by the South African government to upgrade its infrastructure will considerably improve its position for successful growth.

Kumba initially opted for 18 alljigs® from allmineral in autumn 2005. However, following extensive tests in mid-2006 an additional six alljigs® machines were ordered for the project. The machines were delivered in a phased approach with the first units on site in September 2006 and the second consignment in spring 2007. Commissioning began in autumn 2007 with completion scheduled for summer 2008. Kumba employees have received extensive training to ensure optimum operation of the machines.

Advantages for the Extraction of Iron Ore
The coarse feed material with a particle size from 8 to 25mm is processed in the first stage of the eight modules in the alljig® G(UB). These machines are 4000mm x 3000mm. The second stage, with 3500mm x 3000mm alljig® M(UB) machines, processes medium size particles from 3mm to 8mm. The alljig® F(UB) machines, 2200mm x 3000mm, process marketable products including fines with a particle size from 0.8mm to minus 3mm. With a throughput rate of over 4000t/h, the integrated plant with its 24 units is the largest of its type in the world.

All machines work with a three-chamber system. For the purpose of separation, water flows through the material bed. The water current pulsating upward loosens the material, and is virtually a wear free operation. Besides this highly efficient technology, the allmineral machines offer flexibility allowing the jigs to be adjusted during production to cater for changing parameters, which could include a change in the feed material.

The use of allmineral alljigs® within the beneficiation plant has enabled Kumba to tap two new sources for marketable iron ore products. Firstly, the company will now be able to process material which was previously considered overburden.

allmineral alljigs® offer a high degree of efficiency with a guaranteed export quality of 64% Fe in the final product. The same – but much more sustainable effect – is derived from the development of additional deposits at Sishen. The quality of the iron ore is not as high as that of the material from other Sishen deposits which makes processing more difficult and more complex. However, the efficiency of the alljigs® coupled with the persistently high price paid on the world market make the extraction of this material profitable. »The lifetime of the mine has been lengthened by almost 20 years«, allmineral’s South African boss Udo Busch, says. This corresponds to more than 300mill. t. that can be produced thanks to new mineral processing methods.

Growth in Response to the Raw Materials Demand
Since the award of the contract by Kumba to allmineral in October 2005, all those involved have been working at full steam, especially with China and India’s hunger for raw materials keeping producers worldwide very busy. Although the first slight cooling down of the Chinese economy is becoming apparent, the production of crude steel will continue to increase in 2008. Experts forecast a formidable 11% rise to around 540mill t. With an anticipated ratio of 1:1.6, for the iron ore production factor in 2008 the country will presumably consume 80mill. t more iron ore than in 2007. Domestic production in China cannot meet this demand despite considerable improvements in efficiency. According to the forecasts, imports will increase in the current year by another around 12% up to 450mill. t.

India is enjoying similar growth rates – even with only 10% meaning an additional demand of max. 20mill.t in absolute figures. By 2015 India’s ore demand will increase again by another 80mill. tonnes, providing that its domestic steel production reaches the planned volume of 100mill.t. For the year 2008, the financial institute Credit Suisse has issued a warning about a supply shortfall of 20 to 25mill.t iron ore world- wide. This is a global environment in which Kumba Iron Ore can chalk up double- figure growth rates. The aim: an increase in production to 38mill.t in 2008 and to build this up to 45mill. t by 2013.

»Our activities for Kumba are certainly a good reference for the whole South African region«, Busch says. The Northern Cape, rich in raw materials is profiting from the raw materials boom, from the growing demand for iron ore. South Africa is registering stable growth, which is estimated at 3,8% for 2008 and at 4,5% for 2009, a development that is making further investment profitable for Kumba. The Group is conducting a feasibility study for the second part of the Sishen Expansion Project, which is to be completed in this year.

This presents further opportunities for allmineral. But the Duisburg-based company has also identified opportunities elsewhere. South Africa’s fourth largest coal producer Exxaro has decided not only to convert an existing plant with allmineral technology, but also to order a new alljig®. Like Kumba Iron Ore, Exxaro has emerged from Kumba Resources and since 2005 has united the coal and heavy mineral activities.


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