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MEI Online: Comminution: Latest News: December 16th 2011


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:: Xstrata Technology’s 100th IsamillTM

Xstrata Technology (XT) has celebrated the sale of the 100th IsaMillTM into the mineral processing industry worldwide. The mill was one of four large 3 MW, M10,000 IsaMillsTM installed in South Africa at projects operated by Anglo American Platinum (AAP), two of which are partnered with Xstrata Alloys and African Rainbow Minerals.

The IsaMillTM has led the way in energy efficient fine grinding since its development in the early 1990s, delivering energy savings and improved metallurgical recoveries.

As part of the celebrations, a presentation was made to Chris Rule, Head of Concentrator Technology, Anglo American Platinum, in recognition of this important milestone and for his collaboration in the development of the technology. The presentation ceremony was attended by Xstrata Technology’s South African team, as well as Udo Enderle, the Managing Director of Netzsch, whose technology was transformed and modified for the mineral processing environment nearly 20 years ago.

Chris Rule said "The collaborative journey that AAP and XT have been on has been a dynamic and rewarding ten year experience. IsaMillTM stirred milling is now an accepted part of the PGM industry concentrator flow sheet in both concentrate regrind, (UFG or FG) and mainstream regrind (MIG) applications. The development of the M10,000 unit was a classic success in collaborative scale up - each party AAP, XT and Netzsch worked together cohesively to develop a large size unit which has raised the bar in terms of improved metallurgical recovery and higher product grade for mainstream regrind applications.

"AAP will have a 26 mill "fleet" with the completion of the four new mills in 2013, an installed IsaMillTM base of almost 80MW spread through 13 of our operating plants. The technology helps to address declining ore quality over the years by raising recovery rates and improving product grade through enhanced value mineral liberation and improved flotation kinetics, and by modifying the milled product surface and slurry chemistry. Along the way the cooperative approach to problem solving between the parties has allowed rapid and effective solutions to be put in place easing the notoriously difficult acceptance of new technology on operating plants.

"Personally it’s been hugely rewarding in playing the leading role for AAP from the initial conceptual stage in 2001 to full commercial delivery of such a successful initiative coming to fruition. Annual bottom line benefits in excess of US$100 million are already being achieved across our operations. I am confident that significantly more value remains to be delivered with further optimization and from the additional IsaMillTM units."

Lindsay Clark, General Manager of Mineral Processing at Xstrata Technology, said "The commitment of Anglo American Platinum working together with Xstrata Technology and Netzsch ensured the success of the landmark M10,000 IsaMillTM installation at Anglo’s Western Limb Platinum Tailings Retreatment operation in South Africa in 2003. This 3 MW (4000 hp) model provided the industry with a high capacity mill and led to the technology becoming accepted as a viable form of regrinding compared to ball and vertical mills. Today, after Anglo Platinum’s 26th installation, and the 100th IsaMillTM worldwide, the technology has found its way into numerous base metal and precious metal operations, and more recently into magnetite regrind duties. Importantly the duties of the mills have broadened over time to advance from ultrafine grinding operations to coarser main circuit and typical regrind applications, opening a larger market for the technology. We continue to work with a wide range of major, mid tier and small mining companies to implement IsaMillsTM throughout the world."




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