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Company developing filter press prototype

BHEKA MAJOLA
Filter press technology has long been a well-proven mechanical dewatering strategy

BHEKA MAJOLA Filter press technology has long been a well-proven mechanical dewatering strategy

26th March 2021

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Mineral processing company Multotec is in the final stages of developing a South African-manufactured filter press, Multotec Process Equipment MD Bheka Majola tells Mining Weekly.

The prototype design is currently in its final stages, with the company in the process of procuring all the necessary components to manufacture a sizable pilot filter press.

The unit will be completed by the end of the first half of 2021, ready for the concept to be proven on its clients’ sites.

A filter press separates liquids and solids using pressure filtration, contributes to the elimination of slimes dams and enables water recovery for reuse.

The company, which has extensive experience working on coal mines across the country, believes this will go a long way in enabling a cost-effective environment-first approach.

Filter press technology has long been a well-proven mechanical dewatering strategy, recovering water and enabling coal miners to co-dispose of their fines tailings without creating separate slimes dams.

Over the past 12 years, Multotec has been selling filter presses under distribution agreements with international firms.

However, it has often been difficult to develop a cost-effective or robust solution that is attractive to clients, considering that tailings treatments offer little value.

“We wanted to stay in the tailings dewatering game and we are a manufacturing company. We do best when we manufacture products for our customers and ensure proper quality control,” he says.

In line with this, Multotec started the development of a design for its own in-house filter press.

“We are going to bring out a unit that is more robust and has even fewer cylinders than traditional units. We are also incorporating some optimisations – [developed] from our own experience or where filter presses have been a headache for customers – that we think will hugely improve dewatering operations,” he explains.

The local production of the product will also enable a more efficient customer support system.

“We are also proud that it will be a South African product.”

At this stage, the filter press plate will be imported, while everything from cylinders to the steelwork and control systems will be locally produced.

Multotec is aiming to complete the proof of concept and on site trials phase with its clients within six to 12 months of the deployment of the pilot unit.

This would allow for the generation of enough data and to have the unit in the field long enough for customers to obtain confidence in the product.

“As one of the first companies to obtain local content verification, we are excited to deliver another product made locally and bring down the cost for customers,” Majola concludes.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor

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