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Metso scalper delivers a heavyweight punch with lightweight agility

The success and efficient operation in South Africa of several of the recently launched Metso Lokotrack®ST2.8™ heavy duty scalpers has led to a sale and successful installation at a major open cast manganese mining operation in the Northern Cape province.

The scalper was delivered by the exclusive Metso Mobiles distributor in southern Africa and crushing and screening specialist Pilot Crushtec International following a surge in the price of manganese. The request for an immediate increase in output was made as a matter of some urgency by highly respected mining contractor and infrastructure specialist African Mining and Crushing (AMC).

While the delivery of the new product was effected within days, it was not a simple matter of placing an order for another machine to add to the crushing and screening train, as AMC chief Operations Director Zane Murray explains:

“While the need to up tonnages was an urgent one, it was critical that the additional machine be capable of reliably processing an exceptionally difficult mineral like manganese,” says Murray.

“To put the issue into perspective, a commodity like coal has a density of 0.8 tonnes per cube while manganese at the opposite end of the scale has a density of 2.4 tonnes per cube. It is also an exceptionally abrasive material which is a challenge for crushing, screening and materials handling equipment,” he says.

AMC has since its establishment eight years ago been a stalwart user of Metso equipment and the first step was to contact southern Africa Metso distributor Pilot Crushtec International for specialist advice.

Using a wealth of Metso data which profiles individual product attributes against customer application and output expectations, the Jet Park-based company was soon able to make a value based judgement that recommended the use of the Lokotrack ®ST2.8™.

“The main influencing factor around our recommendation was the exceptional strength of this scalper,” says Pilot Crushtec International CEO Sandro Scherf.

The heavier the feed material, the greater the eccentric throw needed to aggressively vibrate the screen. The ®ST2.8™ has the most powerful screen throw of any mobile scalper on the market which makes it a natural choice for this type of application,” he says.

Scherf adds that the Metso scalper is fitted with a heavy duty apron feeder and impact aprons on the oversize discharge conveyor as well as a feature unique to the scalper, the two-way split option which combines feed from the first and second deck onto the main conveyor. This feature has proved to be a major benefit in practice.

“This takes one conveyor and a transfer point out of the system and there is now a single stockpile instead of two. AMC also made the point that eliminating a conveyor in this application saves wear and tear on the machine, which obviously exerts a positive influence on running costs, especially with the very abrasive manganese ore.

“While on the subject of maintenance, Metso engineers have made a considerable advance over previous products by enlarging the space between the screen and the fines conveyor. Access to this area has been greatly improved, making it much easier to conduct routine inspections as and when required.”

In terms of simple business economics AMC, in keeping with other users of the Metso Lokotrack® ®ST2.8™, finds that the machine has a great deal to offer. Metso has trimmed the overall weight of the product by no less than 25%, or nearly 9000kgs, not only enhancing in-pit tractability and handling but also unlocking enormous cost saving potential in terms of intersite transportation.

AMC was established in Bloemfontein in 2009 and is strategically poised to become a significant player in the road building and construction industries. Originally known as African Mobile Crushing, the name change was triggered when the company’s increasing success in cross border mining activities made it simply inevitable.

The company is involved in several sizeable mineral extraction operations across the continent, including an iron ore site in west Africa where it currently produces in the region of 900,000 run of mine tonnes a month.