Dust clouds whirling in the sweltering heat welcome you to the busy Mission Point Mining site in South Africa’s Free State Province on a sunny spring day. A CDE EvoWash 151 coupled with an AquaCycle 400 water recovery system go about their daily duties of treating raw silica sand, a free-dig alluvial deposit, to produce up to 130 tonnes per hour of 0-1mm fine sand, which will be sold as plaster and building sand, and as foundry sand for instance to the local specialist sand market.
Since MPM switched to the CDE cyclone and water recycling technology, demand for its products has grown to the point that the company is now expanding its business and exploring the best value for money solutions to increase sand production on its mining site.
Founded in 2011, Mission Point Mining is now a major player in the South African sand production industry and employs 30 people on its mining site in Sasolburg.
Today, stringent governmental restrictions on water licences is as hot a topic as the ongoing drought for mining operator and Managing Director of MPM Johann Pretorius.
“Although the lack of water remains an ongoing issue for mine and quarry operators who produce specialised sand, there is no denying that the market is now requiring that sand is washed to high quality standards. But to wash, you need water, and obtaining a water licence from the government to access larger volumes of fresh water is a lengthy and challenging process, so it is up to us to stay competitive by adopting the best water-saving washing solutions. In MPM’s case, CDE provided the perfect solution.”
Johann Pretorius continues, “Since we replaced our bucket wheel with a CDE turnkey plant four years ago, we have witnessed a significant increase in the quality of our product and a no less significant decrease in our water consumption, so switching to CDE technology has proven to be the smart choice.”
“With the EvoWash and Aquacycle working in tandem, the quality of our washed product is much better and much drier than any other producers’ in the region.
“With our previous bucket wheel system, we were lucky if we were getting 90% pure silica sand from our old wash plant. With our CDE equipment, we now only get 2% impurities in our product.
“Quality-wise, we are the best. Looking ahead to the future we will add more CDE equipment to meet our rising demand and ensure service excellence.”
Smart water management
The Mission Point Mining CDE EvoWash 151 processes 90 to 130 tonnes of material per hour. To run the EvoWash, MPM feeds the plant up to 500,000 litres of water per day for a total running time of 11 hours. To ensure optimal efficiency, the company has put in place highly effective water saving systems benefiting both the business and the environment.
Pretorius comments: “We’re one of the few producers who put the effort in and recycle every drop. We are proud of it as we are living proof that in the materials washing sector, being environmentally responsible also makes complete business sense, especially in countries that are vulnerable to drought.”
As well as running a CDE AquaCycle that saves up to 90% of waste water, MPM’s water recovery system for stockpiles is also instrumental in accelerating the drying process of the end product so that it can be sold quickly to make space for new stockpiles.
Pretorius adds: “Stockpiles used to dry for days before being sold but thanks to the CDE water recovery system our product can now be sold within hours.”
Nicolan Govender, CDE Regional Manager for Africa, explains: “The addition of the AquaCycle A400 to the Mission Point plant ensures that our customer is master of his own destiny because he manages his water in an optimal manner by recycling up to 90% of the waste water in his plant.
“Also, with the installation of our stockpile dewatering system under the main 0-1mm stockpile, the customer produces a sand with below 8% moisture almost immediately, which makes handling of the sand easier and allows for very high savings on drying costs when preparing the product at the company’s drying facility for specialist sands.”
The CDE direct sales approach makes customer engagement simple
It simply took a visit from CDE to the MPM offices in 2012 to start a conversation on how to maximise production with cyclonic sand washing. As CDE representatives are based locally, there are no communication or time zone barriers.
Nicolan Govender, CDE Regional Manager for Africa said: “Being based in South Africa means that I am only just a phone call or a short trip away, so I have the opportunity to visit Johann and the Mission Point Mining CDE plant regularly. It allows us to iron out any arising issues and keep the conversation going on how CDE can help to reach new performance requirements quickly and efficiently.
“It is very gratifying to witness the steady performance of a piece of equipment year after year. Mission Point Mining has become one of the best-performing sand washing operators in South Africa due to the upgrading of their installation to cyclone technology.
“It just makes business sense to improve plants that waste fines and water and ultimately affect a company’s performance and ability to compete in a growing market. Mission Point Mining is proof that adopting cyclonic water-saving technology works”, Govender continues.
Return on investment
Johann Pretorius concludes: “Swapping our bucket wheel for a CDE EvoWash and AquaCycle has been a great investment. We have had no regrets making this decision. The sand quality achieved thanks to the CDE equipment has generated such a boost in demand for our product that we now need to expand our operations.
“An additional advantage is that we have been able to commit to safer operations as CDE equipment is a high-tech system which is simple to use. Together with well-conceived safety details this guarantees a comfortable working environment.”
- Energy, water are 'huge' opportunities, says Ramaphosa investment envoy
- Weir Minerals Pontoon solution at Madagascar mine
- Vital Engineering: Ensuring quality and safety standards don’t slip in the local and pan-African mining sector
- South32 kicks off sale process for South African thermal coal business
- SA traders urged to focus on neighbours