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MEI Online: Pyrometallurgy: Latest News: June 12th 2003

:: Launch of Metals-Recovery Empowerment Project  

A consortium, comprising Mindev, a wholly-owned subsidiary of State-owned minerals researcher Mintek, Atoll, a joint venture between Mintek and Bateman Titaco, private company PGR Investments 17, and Sebeso, a black-empowered joint venture between Leswikeng Minerals & Energy and Safika Resources, has launched a new metals-recycling project based on Mintek's dc arc smelting technology.

Using a mothballed 40 MVA furnace at Samancor's Palmiet ferrochrome plant near Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, the venture, which will be known as Mogale Alloys, will smelt stainless-steel plant dust and other wastes, recovering nickel and chromium into an iron alloy for recycling to the stainless-steel- making process.

Sebeso holds the majority share in the consortium (30%), while Mindev and PGR 17 each have a 25% stake.

Atoll owns 20% of the consortium, leaving the remaining 10% of shares in the hands of Mogale employees.

Speaking at the official launch of the metals-recycling project, Mogale Alloys chairperson Dr Nic Barcza said that the venture has already created almost 100 direct jobs, most of which are filled by former Palmiet employees.

Representing the first industrial-scale use of Mintek's Enviroplas process for the treatment of metallurgical waste materials, this project will employ the latest application of Mintek's dc transferred arc smelting technology.

The dc furnace at Samancor's Palmiet plant was refurbished at a capital cost of just under R20-million.

However, a further R20-million will be needed to re-engineer part of the plant to accommodate the feed system for the stainless-steel wastes.

Having been recommissioned in March this year, the furnace reached a full-powered steady-state operation in early April.

The furnace is currently producing high-purity ferrochromium, which is being marketed by Samancor.

Mining Weekly understands that the plant will switch to dust treatment in the fourth quarter of this year.

The Mogale venture will initially process about 30 000 t of stainless-steel dust and wastes per year for an alloy production of some 18 000 t.

An agreement has been entered into with the Columbus Joint Venture for the supply of their stockpiled dust and waste materials.

Mogale is also discussing with Columbus Stainless the possibility of treating its stockpiled dust and wastes, as well as its current arisings.

To ensure the full use of the furnace, Mogale will also produce limited quantities of ferrochromium from chromite supplied by Samancor on a toll-conversion swing production basis.

Barcza commented that the operation will serve as a showcase for the Enviroplas process, which has a number of other potential applications.




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