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Bateman - global project engineering.

From platinum in Zimbabwe to gold in Siberia

Edward L. Bateman celebrated 75 years of business in 1994 - business that has largely focused on the mining industry, both in South Africa and abroad. It is a company that splits into two distinct sections - manufacturing and engineering. Bateman Industrial Holdings is the manufacturing side and includes such products as Bateman Equipment's mineral processing line and Bateman Mining Equipment's underground line, both of which are examined in the suppliers' section, page RSA 42. The other half of the company is Bateman Project Holdings (Bateman) which includes the South African subsidiaries, in particular Bateman Minerals and Industrial Ltd (BMI), Bateman Materials Handling (BMH) and ELB-Brand Contracting (Pty) Ltd.

Bateman operates in four major areas worldwide - Africa, the Americas, Middle East and Australasia. The operating centres are near Johannesburg (Boksburg), Harare, Beersheva, Haifa, London, Denver, Mexico City, Tucson, Vancouver, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney. The order books are encouraging and the engineering teams are currently engaged in some of the world's most diverse and interesting projects. These include diamond work in Angola and Zaire, graphite in Mozambique and platinum, nickel and iron ore in Zimbabwe.

John Herselman, executive chairman, reports that: "The South African scene has also turned a corner and the project activity level has increased significantly with platinum, mineral sands, coal, gold, diamonds and industrial minerals being the star commodities. We continue to have significant project work for the materials handling industry (BMH), ranging from coal stackers, reclaimers and load-out stations, to overland conveyors and Japanese pipe conveyor installations".

The Americas

Based in Denver, Bateman Americas has been working as a sub-contractor to Lurgi Metallurgie on the construction and commissioning of the world's largest circulating fluid bed roaster for Newmont Gold at the Gold Quarry mine on Nevada's Carlin trend. The Denver office is also involved with a gold project in the CIS - Muruntau in Uzbekistan.

The Muruntau heap leach project is one of the first to be developed in the CIS and relies heavily on cooperation between the Denver and Haifa offices. Russian engineers in the latter translate the drawings and all documentation into Russian before issue to the site.

This huge $200 million project awarded by Newmont (Uzbekistan) is the first in the central Asian area of the former Soviet Union to apply western gold heap leaching technology on a large scale. After 25 years of operation by the Russians, the Muruntau open pit had accumulated some 14,000 Mt of waste on the desert floor. These waste piles, including about 200 Mt of low-grade ore, contain about 8 Moz of gold.

Major earthworks and concrete placement for the Muruntau heap leach, which will be one of the largest in the world, were completed last year and plant construction is progressing, ready for commissioning before mid-1995.

Australasia and Africa

Roger Falls, executive director responsible for Australasia, reports that Bateman Kinhill, the Australian-based partnership, has successfully completed the coal project at Saxonvale for Cyprus Coal and the gold project for Acacia (previously Shell) in the Northern Territory and has recently, in association with Fraser Osborne, secured the Nolans gold project for Mt Isa's Carpentaria Gold and Haoma Mining near Ravenswood in north Queensland. Bateman Kinhill Brisbane also secured the coal preparation plant upgrade for Gordonstone Coal Management. Bateman Kinhill, Perth, is association with Kilborn Canada has secured the feasibility studies for the Mt Todd gold project for Zapopan/Pegasus in the Northern Territory.

Dudley Smith, executive director responsible for Africa, reports that Bateman last year was awarded one of two major engineering, procurement and construction contracts let by the Hartley platinum project's joint owners, BHP Minerals Zimbabwe and Delta Gold. The Hartley project has an overall value of about R800 million. Bateman's involvement includes the plant to treat 180,000 t/month of platinum ore and comprises the concentrator, smelter, base metal refinery and associated infrastructure. The latter includes tailings disposal, water supply and reticulation, 40 km of new electric power lines and building facilities.

This underground mine is located 80 km southwest of Harare and will produce 2.1 Mt/y of ore. The products will be platinum, palladium, rhodium, gold, nickel and copper. Bateman has been involved continuously with the project since 1988 when it undertook the preliminary feasibility study with BHP Engineering from Australia. Mike Blois, Bateman process manager, has been involved in it from the start and has seen it grow from the first study to the current execution phase. He describes the flowsheet as :"Generally conventional technology - mined ore will be reduced in size using SAG milling followed by ball milling. A concentrate will be recovered by flotation, smelted in an electric furnace followed by a converting step. The resulting converter matte will form the feed to the base metal refinery, where the nickel will be leached first and recovered by electrowinning as nickel cathodes. The copper will then be recovered in similar fashion.

"The undissolved residue from the base metal refinery which contains the PGMs will be sent outside the country for refining."

The main construction effort has started and project completion is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 1996. Sub-contracts for equipment and services totalling more than R200 million are expected to go out to tender both locally and internationally later this year.

The other major contract for Hartley is of course the mine construction, won by the GFC Mining/Cementation Zimbabwe joint venture. BMH was recently awarded a R12 million contract by this joint venture to design and supply a complete suite of conveyors for both the Central and South declines. These conveyors will have a total length of 1,889 m and 1,823 m respectively, with the longest single flight 748 m at an inclination of 11 [degrees].

Van Eck & Lurie (Pty) Ltd (BMI (VEL)), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bateman Mineral & Industrial Ltd has commissioned a 7,500 t/y plant for the production of dried flake graphite at Ancuabe, N. Mozambique. Valued at more than R12 million, the project was undertaken for Graphites de Ancuabe S.A.R.L., a subsidiary of Kenmare Resources PLC (Ireland).

Most recently, BMI (VEL) has commissioned the Primary Concentration Process plant (PCP) at the Namakwa Sands project in South Africa. The plant recovers heavy minerals from inland sand deposits near Brand-se-Baai. BMI (VEL) project manager John Scott reports: "The joint team set up by Anglo American's central technical office and BMI (VEL) to engineer the plant had several problems to deal with. First, the deposit is between 1 and 4 m thick and a vast area will have to be mined. During the first phase of the contract we evaluated ways of disposing of the tailings: they had to be placed according to the contours as they existed before mining commenced - and an area the size of a football field had to be replaced each day.

"After detailed comparisons of alternative methods (wet and dry) of preparing them, dewatering using cyclones and screens was selected followed by transport by earthmoving vehicles.

"Secondly, because of the large areas involved, the mining and rehabilitation operations would move further from the PCP and it appeared likely that this would have to be moved periodically."

Diamonds

BMI (VEL) can meet requirements for all diamond processing plants from multi-million dollar projects to small modular plants. The latter have become a speciality since the first of these pre-packaged units was delivered to Brazil Diamante in 1967. This was a small, portable 10 t/h HMS unit.

Diamond recovery is the largest market for these modular plants, although they are sold for many applications. A 5 t/h module has been developed for prospecting. This is equipped with one vibrating screen and is mounted on its own spillage catch sump, eliminating concrete foundations.

A 1 t/h DMS complete with an underwater screen purchased by a client in U.S. was successfully commissioned in February. A recent installation in Zaire for MIBA involved replacing the jig installation on a dredge with an HMS plant using only the components of a 40 t/h HMS model and installing them in the dredge structure. The same principle was used to install a 50 t/h HMS plant on an ocean-going vessel for Gal Marine, used to recover marine diamonds off the west coast of South Africa.

For X-Ray recovery plants, BMI (VEL) is currently testing a new type of wet X-ray sorting machine. This does not require air ejection for the separation of diamonds from the concentrate gravels. It is far less expensive than conventional X-ray machines.
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Title Annotation:Mining South Africa; Bateman Project Holdings
Publication:Mining Magazine
Date:May 1, 1995
Words:1423
Previous Article:Boart Longyear - a global success story.
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