Engineer spruiks ore upgrade solutions

MSP News

Article in HIGHGRADE magazine, 02/03/2010

Staff reporter, 2 March 2010

 WITH few exceptions the next generation of Australian iron ore mines won’t be exploiting the high Fegrades that have become staple in the diets of Japanese, Korean and Chinese steel mills over the past four decades, and that’s foremost in the thinking of Peter McSweeney in taking on agencies for allmineral Processing Equipment (aPE).

The managing director of MSP Engineering sees a ready, and emerging, market for the aPE equipment, which includes gravity and magnetic separation devices made in Germany and Brazil.

A new division within the engineering company, MSP Process Solutions, has been established to sell and support aPE equipment in Australia and New Zealand.

“Testwork has shown that 50% Fe material can be upgraded to plus-64% Fe with good recoveries and yield,” McSweeney said. But each deposit had to be assessed to confirm its amenability to downstream processing. There was now a certified pilot scale test facility in Western Australia, with enquiries about test programs said to be numerous.

McSweeney said the technology was also suitable for most industrial minerals requiring beneficiation that was susceptible to gravity and magnetic separation, particularly in coarser size ranges.

Back to iron ore and he estimated processing costs, including all units of aPE equipment (jig, classifier, separator) for a two million tonnes per annum circuit were expected to be less than $A10/t excluding crushing costs. Capital costs for a 2Mtpa circuit depended on existing infrastructure but could be as low as $A10-15 million.

“The importance for existing iron ore producers and explorers is that if their deposits are amenable to downstream processing, they can significantly increase ore resources and mine life and offset the additional processing costs in the mining costs by way of bulk mining, less grade control, lower strip ratios and less handling of low grade ore to intermediate stockpiles,” McSweeney told

“The flow on effect is that the increase in mine resources and mine life will assist exporters in taking a longer term view in the market place, asset valuation, maximise resources, returns and provide leverage for sustainable infrastructure development, be it shared with other users or sole-funded.”

MSP said German-designed alljig units were used to beneficiate low grade iron ore, particularly hematite style ore deposits common in Western Australia and, increasingly, in the Northern Territory and South Australia. The technology had already been proven on a large production scale at Kumba’s Sishen expansion project in South Africa where 24 alljig units were installed for capacity of more than 4000tph. Large scale production facilities using the jigs were also under construction in India.

The allflux classifiers were the “largest production units on iron ore beneficiation worldwide”, with smaller units already installed in WA. The largest units are said to be able to handle more than 300tph of minus -2mm feed material on iron ore and allmineral was currently “considering developing larger production units”.

The Brazilian-designed gaustec WHIMS separator was also the largest of its kind in the world with rated capacities exceeding 200tph and a top size handling capability of up to 3mm feed material.

“Their coil technology is considered superior to any units on the market, making them air coiled as opposed to oil coiled units whilst still developing the same magnetic field strengths,” MSP said.

McSweeney said the iron ore industry was recognising resources could be enhanced and extended with cost effective, simplistic processing solutions.

“It is most likely that the raft of junior and mid-tier iron ore exporters and emerging producers will apply the technology in the first instance, whilst the majors undertake a longer term view on technology application,” he said.

“However, in final analysis downstream beneficiation of most DSO deposits is enviable and we feel we have the latest and most effective technology in low cost processing solutions which is already demonstrated in large scale industry applications.”

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Category: MSP News