Innovation and investment to add value to mining

Metso mining AfricaMetso's solutions - and, particularly, its Lokotrack concept - shows how mining companies can achieve a holistic life-cycle approach to energy-saving and improved efficiency

There are active clusters of companies geared towards cleantech and energy solutions in Tampere, Finland, serving Africa's emerging markets in innovative technologies for primary sector industries - particularly with respect to minerals extraction and processing, and associated construction projects.

Amongst Finnish concerns actively engaged in Africa, Metso provides intelligent solutions for mining and construction operations, and oil and gas industries. Based in Tampere, at Lokomonkatu, its core focus is on support for sustainability and profitability through the provision of machines and services globally.

Around 51 per cent of its net sales of EUR3.9bn (US$5.3bn) is from services provision, the majority of which was from construction and mining. Of 16,000 employees in 50 countries, Metso manages 1,157 staff in Africa and the Middle East, where it generates net sales of EUR348mn (US$477mn). Currently, Metso is building an Africa strategy to increase its presence in the continent.

Metso's customer face challenges very much in keeping with global megatrends affecting economies generally - from globalisation of economies, sustainability and climate change, urbanisation, to the growth of emerging market populations. More specifically, Metso concerns itself with solutions that address general input efficiency and scarcity, reduced people intensity at work sites, yield improvement, waste handling, environmental impacts, and health and safety.

Metso grinding millSupporting minerals firms and energy generators in Africa

Metso is committed to supporting Africa's sustainable development, at all levels of country development. It identifies urbanisation as a key megatrend to serve; the increased need for infrastructure required to serve cities as their populations grow and become more affluent. 

At present, Metso serves Africa from 14 locations in five countries - South Africa, Ghana, Zambia, Algeria and Zimbabwe. It also has production operations in a few African locations, with the largest, Vereeniging, in South Africa. Its key contracts in 2013 include an order to supply a primary crusher and grinding equipment to B2Gold Namibia for its Greenfield Otjikoto gold mine project, and its tenth repeat order for the Norwegian company Green Energy Group AS to deliver valves for a geothermal power plant installation in Kenya. Its work, however, is exemplified in its efforts to serve the Anglo Gold Ashanti Iduapriem mine in Ghana.

Metso's involvement with in Ghana stretches back a number of decades. With respect to the Iduapriem mine, Metso became involved in 1997, when it recommended potential improvements to the mine site. In 2002 a second SAG mill was added to the site and Metso signed a mill lining supply and services contract. In 2003 Metso's process engineering team conducted a review of a post-expansion grinding circuit. In 2005 the company executed a mining and milling process integration and optimisation project, which led directly to a reduction in operating costs, and an increase in availability and throughput, at the mine. 

In 2008 Anglo Gold expanded operations at the Iduapriem mine, based on Metso's recommendations, which included the installation of a second ball mill and a completely new crushing plant. Anglo Gold also committed, at this time, to a three-year contract with Metso for the provision of life-cycle services, including on-site maintenance and parts supply.

Minimising costs, maximising productivity

The product portfolio for mining is quite extensive, including: integrated performance-based services; minerals processing solutions; and crushing and screening equipment to cover the entire aggregates production process. Specific equipment types include: crushers, grinding, pumps, and pyro processing solutions for mining; and crushers, screens, feeders, scalpers and conveyors, and both mobile equipment and complete stationary installations. In addition to equipment, Metso delivers "spares and wares", maintenance and performance services, and automation. Its involvement with mining companies can extend to active management of mine operations. 

Of particular note is the Lokotrack concept - manufactured in Finland, in India and soon under licence by LiuGong in China - the track-mounted crushers and screens designed to reduce the overall cost of aggregate production by minimising the handling and transportation of material.

The value added by Lokotrack to the customer's business is best described in terms of mobility, energy efficiency and productivity. There can be savings in fuel consumption alone of 25-30 per cent.

There are more than 20 models for track-mounted mobile crushing, and more than 10 models for track-mounted mobile screening, produced by Metso today. The company has delivered more than 400 track-mounted crushing and screening units to Africa to date - principally to customers in South Africa, but also to Angola, Mozambique and Botswana, and territories in North Africa.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
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