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MEI Online: People News: Africa: May 3rd 2005


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:: Bateman Intensifies Focus on Technology

Steve Burks has been appointed to the position of Chief Technology Officer of Bateman Engineering BV. This newly created role is designed to strengthen and build on Bateman's reputation as a technology-focused project house, both through growing the in-house process and technology capability and ensuring that effective technology partnerships continue to be developed with important players worldwide.

Process plants to upgrade raw materials invariably involve several sequential circuits based on quite different technologies, and Bateman's success as a reliable provider to the minerals and metals industry has been maintained through the provision of specialist niche technologies which can add value to its clients. In the context of Bateman's objective of providing total project solutions, Burks will be promoting novel flowsheets, proven but innovative unit-process technologies, applications know-how and proprietary or other innovative equipment and engineered systems, since all of these are contributors to the Bateman technology suite.

Bateman develops and invests in new technologies as opportunities arise, and also supports the commercialisation and implementation of technologies owned by others, often through joint-venture arrangements. Over the years, the company has built up an impressive array of technological capabilities in which it is particularly strong and in some of the applications can even claim world leadership. Some of the proven technologies it now markets include advanced platinum-group metals (PGM) concentrator and also mineral-sands and phosphates beneficiation flowsheets; modular and other diamond processing plants; DC and AC furnaces for ferroalloy production; pulsed columns for solvent extraction; secondary copper-sulphide pressure-leach processes; leaching alternatives for gold recovery; PGM-refining applications knowledge; and many items of proprietary equipment and systems applicable to minerals processing, pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical plants of all types.

"However, greater challenges are now facing the natural-resources industry worldwide, such as the general decline in ore grades, profit margins and numbers of skilled individuals entering the industry, as well as the increasing complexity of the metallurgical and environmental solutions now required. This, together with the increased pace of technological change, has led to Bateman identifying the need to increase its focus on further developing its technological edge in support of its project-execution capability," says Burks.

Steve Burks is well known to the natural-resources industry having spent the previous four years as Managing Director of Bateman Metals, the globally-active business unit responsible for Bateman's services to the PGM and ferrous and non-ferrous base metals industries. Steve has a BSc (Eng) Minerals Processing from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. Prior to joining Bateman in 1991, he gained invaluable practical experience in the South African mining industry with Impala Platinum and Rand Mines in plant-operations management, as well as in projects and technical support functions.




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