2021 IN RETROSPECT

Ferric Sulphate Skid

2021 came with many challenges. Nevertheless, the team at ProProcess persevered and produced some world-class modular process plants.

Pilot, Demonstration and Production Process Plants

ProProcess has been supplying modular process plant solutions for the mining, oilsands and oil&gas sector for over 12 years. In 2021 a flotation pilot plant and a containerised polymer make-down plant for a cEOR application stand out.

Flotation Pilot Plant

ProProcess designed, procured and constructed a modular floatation pilot plant for Anglo American. This plant is a world class test facility for flowsheet optimision to produce platinum concentrate. The aim of the project was to produce a modular, transportable, cost effective and built for purpose pilot plant. The plant was designed with maximum road transportability in mind, as it is earmarked to be moved around various concentrator sites owned by Anglo. To this end, the entire plant consisting of 40+ flotation cells (including a high intensity flotation cell), a mill, ~30 tanks, ~50 pumps, blowers and compressors were fitted onto 16 road transportable ISO frame skids conforming to 40ft marine container dimensions.

Flotation Pilot Plant

cEOR

The EOR team completed a variety of projects, ranging from independent polymer test work, assisting in FEED studies for upcoming cEOR projects, and construction of an E5M containerised process plant for the arctic region. We are well positioned to supply both modular pilot and commercial plants and boast an independent EOR test facility.

Independent polymer scoping tests were conducted on different polymers from 4 suppliers using both dynamic and static wetting equipment. Mother Solutions with a polymer concentration of >1.5wt% of various medium-to-high molecular weight polymers were prepared and consistently achieved Millipore Filtration Ratios of <1.2.

ProProcess has a standard range of containerised and skid mounted polymer make-down units suitable for preparing 5m3/hr (757bbl/d) to 40m3/hr (6,060bbl/d) of mother solution. The units consist of the core modules together with various client specific add on modules.

EOR Injection Pump
E5M Hydration Container

Reagent Plants

In 2021 we supplied many reagent plants in skid, containerised and modular format. They went to  locations such as the DRC, Mali, RSA, Saudi Arbia and the Dominican Republic, many of them being remote locations with demanding site conditions. Only a few of these projects are discussed here, with emphasis on ‘out of the ordinary designs’ and/or applications.

Ferric Sulphate Make-Up and Distribution Facility

Multotec Group of Companies assisted a large-scale gold operation in West Africa with a water treatment plant for removing both cyanide and arsenic from their water discharge stream. Arsenic removal is achieved in a treatment process which uses ferric sulphate for precipitation of arsenic. ProProcess designed and supplied the process plant to produce ferric sulphate solution from ferrous sulphate crystals. The ferrous sulphate, delivered in bulk bags, is dissolved in acid water to produce a ferrous sulphate solution. Hydrogen peroxide is added to the solution to oxidise the ferrous to ferric, thus producing a consistent quality ferric sulphate solution for dosing at the arsenic removal plant.

Ferric Sulphate

Guar Make-Up Systems

Guar Storage Tanka
Guar Feed

Guar gum is an additive commonly used in copper electrowinning as a smoothing agent. ProProcess supplied a new guar preparation process plant to a prominent copper producer in the DRC. The system uses spent electrolyte as the solvent, so all the equipment was manufactured from 316L stainless steel. The plant includes two debagging and pneumatic conveying systems, which feed the guar powder to a wetting apparatus on each of the tanks. The two tanks cycle between make-up and dosing mode. A dosing skid fitted with peristaltic pumps delivers the guar solution to the EW tank-houses.

Another use for Guar gum is as a depressant in flotation. ProProcess designed and built a guar make-up and dosing facility for a mineral processing operation in the Dominican Republic. Guar powder is delivered in 1000 kg bags and lifted via an electric hoist to the bulk bag breaker. The bulk bags are emptied into the powder storage silo. The guar powder addition is metered by means of screw feeders, and powder is conveyed pneumatically in two parallel circuits consisting of side channel blowers and eductors. The guar is contacted with filtered raw water in a wetting head, which ensures the production of smooth and consistent solution in the mixing tank. It is then transferred to the storage tank for dosing to the flotation circuit.

Frother

ProProcess designed and supplied the complete frother storage and distribution system of the flotation circuit for the Umm Wu’al Phosphate Project. The project was executed by FLSmidth and owned by Ma’aden and JV partners Mosaic and SABIC. The frother is delivered to site in tanker trucks and is offloaded into a 130m3 bulk storage tank by a skid-mounted, self-priming centrifugal pump system. It is transferred from the bulk storage tank to three dosing tanks located at the flotation area. Thereafter, it is distributed from the dosing tanks to the end users via peristaltic dosing pumps. The frother is flammable, therefore the system is designed to comply with Zone 2 electrical hazardous area requirements, which includes suitably rated instruments and motors, as well as flame arrestors on the tank vents. It is also corrosive, and the entire system is therefore manufactured from 304L stainless steel.

Agencies

Crud Treatment Services

On many hydrometallurgical processing facilities usilising solvent extraction technology, crud presents itself as a major problem. It can appear at the bottom of the settlers, at the aqueous-organic interface or float on-top of the organic. This results in reduced processing capacity and settlers periodically need to be taken off-line to remove the solids. To combat this ProProcess has a range of equipment that is capable of removing crud on-line, without process interruptions. In 2021 we supplied both CrudForxTM and CrugFrogz to 5 different sites in the DRC, Australia and Indonesia. The units were used in copper and uranium applications.

Skimmers

Organic from solvent extraction settlers often remain entrained in the aqueous phase and report to the pregnant Leach Solution or Electrowinning storage tanks/ponds. This organic, if accumulated in significant quantities, contaminate the final product and present a fire risk in the leach and electrowinning circuits. ProProcess has supplied organic skimmers, rated for hazardous area operation, to a number of our clients in the DRC in 2021.

PLA Smart Diver

ProProcess has partnered with PLA and supplies the Smart Diver to its client base in Africa. The Smart Diver measures mud levels, settling zones and overflow clarity in thickeners, clarifiers, washers and decanters. In 2021 two of these units were supplied to Anglo American for in-situ trials.

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