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Process and optimisation technology company Metso has launched the first of its Concorde Cell high-intensity pneumatic flotation units in Africa through local manufacturing partner Betterect, which fabricated Metso’s design in South Africa for the first time.

Metso’s Concorde Cell flotation technology is designed to improve the recovery of fine and ultra-fine particles when processing finely disseminated and complex ore grades, as well as declining ore grades.

The Concorde Cell provides a very high shear environment with increased bubble surface area flux, which ensures faster flotation kinetics. It features improved froth recovery and selectivity, while forced air allows wider process control and stability for further flotation optimisation, Metso technology manager Nathalie Kupka explained during a media event on March 8.

She said this was the first fine and ultra-fine solution for processing previously inaccessible ore types, thanks to the pre-aerated slurry raised to supersonic velocities and exposed to high local energy dissipation for increased bubble particle collection.

Kupka explained that the Concorde Cell’s forced air blast tubes treat 100% of fresh feed combined with tailings recycling for improved performance, so it allows for finer grinding to improve liberation without the risk of valuable particles being reported into tailings.

Moreover, the flotation cell froth area and froth washing was designed for process duty requirements.

The technology offers easier maintenance as it has no moving parts.

Kupka highlighted that the Concorde Cell technology is more sustainable because of the increased recovery of fines and smaller plant footprint, thereby helping mining clients to further reduce their energy and water consumption in relation to their metal production targets.

As such, the Concorde Cell has been added to Metso’s Planet Positive portfolio, which focuses on the most environmentally efficient technologies that Metso offers.

Metso’s Planet Positive portfolio was curated in response to the sustainability requirements of its customers in the aggregatesmining and metal refining industries. The customer requirements relate to energy or water efficiency, reduction of emissions, circularity and safety

Metso Africa minerals VP Charles Ntsele told Mining Weekly Online that Metso was introducing the Concorde Cell to Africa now, several years after its original introduction in Europe, as a unit was recently ordered by a client in Zambia and it simply made more sense from a logistics perspective to manufacture it nearby.

“From a logistics point of view, it just made sense to find a manufacturing facility closer to the operations in Zambia. [Manufacturing in South Africa] is obviously much closer than manufacturing in China.

“The other key thing about that is obviously customers are looking at minimising their carbon footprint. So that saving of the transportation from far away to Zambia, as opposed to from South Africa, impacts emissions,” Ntsele said.

He added that using Betterect as a manufacturing partner made sense since Metso has a longstanding relationship with Betterect, which fabricates other Metso equipment and products for local markets. However, it is the first time that the company had fabricated a Concorde Cell.

“That’s the level of trust we have with them, even when we manufacture something that’s never been manufactured in Africa. We know we can rely on them, to partner with them, to course correct as things go along, to really make sure that the quality of the equipment at the end of the day is great,” Nstele said.

He added that Metso would be receiving a test rig that could be moved to various sites so that the company could assist clients by conducting on-site testing.

“Our objective really is to support our customers. I know there’s a lot of customers that are having issues with recovering fines. [We want to] review the operations, do some scouting work, to see if there’s an opportunity and then use this technology to help them,” Ntsele said.