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MEI Online: Commodities: Metallic Ores: Nickel: Latest News: October 7th 2004


:: Outokumpu Laterite Nickel Expertise to Boost Efficiency for Launch of Rio Tuba

Australian engineering expertise will play a major role in key areas of efficiently processing laterite nickel when the Rio Tuba project commences operation in Philippines towards the end of this year.

Outokumpu Technology Pty Ltd, based in Australia, won the contract for 10 high-rate thickeners against worldwide competition. The project is scheduled to produce about 10,000 tonnes of nickel and 750 tonnes of cobalt a year.

"Major factors in securing the order from Japanese leading engineering contractor, JGC Corporation, were Outokumpuís global technical expertise in laterite nickel products, along with its relationship with JGC built up over many years of testwork and development," said Outokumpu Technologyís Project Manager, Barrie MacNaughton.

The order, encompassing all thickeners involved in the project, was awarded by JGC on behalf of Coral Bay Nickel Corporationís project, a joint venture headed by Sumitomo Metal Mining Co, Ltd.

"This is a truly international effort, involving a Japanese client, operating in the Philippines, drawing on Outokumpuís international expertise channeled through our Australian operations. It also involved the internationally- renowned high efficiency of our thickeners, which have been installed throughout the world," he said.

Included in the contract are a 20-metre thickener for ore preparation, seven 27-metre counter-current decantation (CCD) thickeners, a 21-metre thickener for neutralisation, a 14-metre model for mixed sulphides and seven mixing tanks with agitators.

The SUPAFLO® high compression thickeners involved have proven internationally to be the most cost-effective and easy-to-use means of achieving high density dewatered products for paste backfill, tailings, CCD circuits and mill feed, says Mr MacNaughton. The thickeners, with patented Autodilution system and Floc-Miser feedwell to minimise flocculate consumption, feature a simple control system to provide stable operation, reliability and low operating cost.

Outokumpuís Rio Tuba contract included the supply of bridges and mechanisms with full surface treatments, epoxy paint system for non wetted parts and a Bromo-Butyl rubber for wetted parts. Outokumpu was also responsible for the design of tankage, support structure and numerous access stairs, which were built by JGC.

Design and drafting work was carried out in Outokumpuís Perth and Sydney offices and fabrication was carried out by Outokumpuís Philippine- based sub-contractor. All ten thickeners have been installed with tank painting and rubber lining completed.




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