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MEI Online: General Minerals Engineering: Latest News: June 6th 2002

:: Mintek establishes mineral beneficiation technology-transfer subsidiary  

Mintek has established a local 100 per cent owned company, Mindev (Pty) Ltd to support the commercialisation of its technologies in industry and to enable it to be pro-active in carrying out its national mandate to facilitate greater mineral beneficiation. Mindev will also enable greater flexibility in the implementation of Mintek's commercial technologies, and assist in the protection of its rights in these technologies.

Industry's reluctance to embrace new technology is often related to perceived technical risk. Owing to its expertise base, Mintek is well placed to assess and manage such risk on a project-by-project basis. Through Mindev, and in association with industrial partners and joint ventures, Mintek will play an increasingly active role in implementing its own and other technologies to add value to South Africas mineral resources. In terms of this model, the first application of some technologies could well be on an industrial-scale demonstration plant.

Revenue from increased technology transfer would support Minteks ability to continue to increase research and development work on technologies critical to unlocking South Africas mineral resources and adding value to them through downstream beneficiation.

Over the years, Mintek has developed a significant number of technologies that have been taken up by the market after being proven at a laboratory or pilot- plant scale. These include Minteks patented DC arc furnace technology, used for ferro-chrome smelting, ilmenite smelting (titanium slag and iron), ferro-nickel smelting, heavy metal waste treatment and magnesium production, and its gold-refining technologies (eg. CIP, RIP, Gravitaur, Minataur). This is in line with Minteks strategy for the increased commercialisation of its technologies to improve metal recoveries and add value to the nations mineral products to increase export earnings and to supply appropriate mineral-based feedstocks to industry.

Mindev, which has been structured with the assistance of industry consultants, will establish, in turn, subsidiary joint ventures, both locally and internationally, in support of Minteks in-house technologies. Although Mintek holds a 100 per cent interest in Mindev, the implementation of technologies on an industrial scale will often require joint ventures and/or participation of various partners in order to be successful.



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