Innovation And Efficiency
Depressed markets have seen both the construction and mining sectors sweating their assets, with consumers preferring to put the purchase of new equipment on hold until markets improve. However materials-producing company Ground Breakers has recently defied the market sentiment and invested in an all-in-one washing and water-recycling CDE Combo, which the company reports has trebled the output previously achieved with a bucket wheel system. SA Mining caught up with CDE’s Wayne Warren, business development manager for the company in sub-Saharan Africa, to chat about the key trends influencing the equipment market.
What are the key trends driving developments in the wet processing equipment market?
The South African quarrying market has matured in recent years with regards to its approach to wet processing. Many sand producers now recognise that in order to remain competitive, they have to offer washed, in-spec products that match the construction industry’s standards and cost expectations. Many have switched from dry screening to traditional wet processing systems, be they bucket wheels or sand screws, which give better results than dry screening.
However they are aware of the limitations of both dry and wet traditional systems that produce limited grade options, materials of uneven consistency, require regular maintenance work and downtime, and cannot stop valuable fines from being lost to settling ponds.
CDE South Africa introduced new wet processing technology to the region, incorporating high-efficiency cyclones for cut point efficiency and the retention of every valuable sand or aggregate product processed through the system. CDE has developed its footprint at speed, with multiple projects installed to date in sub-Saharan Africa in specialist sand, mining, construction and demolition waste recycling, sand and aggregates, with repeat customers.
We continue to introduce innovative wet processing systems to the industry, which allow our clients to achieve exceptional return on investment and to position themselves ahead of the competition.
For instance Ground Breakers, a materials-producing company located near Johannesburg, recently switched from a bucket wheel system to an all-in-one washing and water-recycling CDE Combo that produces two high-quality river and plaster sands simultaneously.
A few months following the installation of their new plant, the owners of Ground Breakers have reported that their output has trebled for the same cost as previously spent to run the bucket wheel, and that the final products are of the highest quality.
In the mining sector, operators tend to explore wet processing options during bust cycles, when unlocking as much value as possible from existing low-grade stockpiles, considered as waste during boom cycles, becomes essential to the health of their businesses.
Reprocessing overburden and waste dumps to recover all available fractions allows for the delivery of iron ore and other minerals at a lower cost per tonne, helping to mitigate the economic risks that come with fluctuating mineral prices.
To date, CDE has delivered a number of successful projects in Australia’s opencast mining sector, including its flagship iron ore installation for SIMEC Mining, where two CDE processing plants wash, separate and gravity beneficiate 17mt of low-grade overburden iron ore from the site waste dumps.
The final high-grade iron ore product features 63% iron content – upgraded from an average low-grade of between 45% and 50% iron content.
CDE’s expertise in wet processing treatments is also highly respected in the construction and demolition waste recycling, industrial sands and environmental sectors, in which its hi-tech processes allow for the reduction in levels of diversion to landfill, the production of high-quality in-spec sands for specialised applications and the cleaning up of the worst of modern society’s waste recovering commercial sludge from breweries to road sweepings.
How are aspects such as safety, sustainability and water challenges influencing product development?
CDE manufactures all its equipment to European Union safety standards, and as each project is co-created with the customer to meet their needs, any other safety requirements that are specific to their site can be met.
The consumption and recycling of water are crucial criteria when it comes to offering the most efficient materials wet processing system in South Africa. We have witnessed an increased demand for high levels of water conservation without compromising on the quantity and quality of the final products.
This set of requirements has generated an uptick in the demand for our all-in-one washing, water recovery and storage Combo technology. With all washing and water-recycling processes housed on one compact chassis, we anticipate that the Combo will soon become the solution of choice for operators as it produces up to two in-spec sand products simultaneously from virgin or crushed rock feed, ready for market straight off the belts, while recycling up to 90% of the process water.
Substantially reduced slimes area requirements and easier handling also allow for easier management of slimes ponds and a lower required footprint to accommodate them.
There is also a global drive in the industry to achieve zero waste in all sectors, reducing the cost associated with the mining of any type of minerals. Customers do not want to leave value in waste stockpiles.
How are these factors influencing CDE’s product development?
CDE is solution-driven, which translates into continuous investment in product development. Focusing our energy solely on wet processing technology allows us to keep innovating. The combination of sector knowledge and the drive in research and development allow us to always be a step ahead in the sector and to offer efficient bespoke washing systems to our clients.
With equipment such as the CDE Combo all-in-one sand-washing and water-recycling system, crushed rock is no longer seen as quarry waste that is only good for low-value applications such as sub-base roads.
With our technology, operators can process crushed rock into high-value construction sands for a diversification of their product offer and fast return on investment. The Combo combines feeding, sizing, cleaning and water recovery on a single chassis featuring a small footprint.
The CDE ShearClean technology tackles stubborn feed materials and conditions them prior to washing, while the CDE Aggmax portable logwasher offers an ideal solution for coarse material sizing, cleaning and contaminant removal.
All products in the CDE modular equipment range can be associated to form the most efficient solution and work in perfect synergy to achieve optimal production results with minimal waste.
How important is the mining sector to CDE?
As part of the sector mix, it is exceptionally important, bringing CDE solutions in a way often overlooked by the primary mining plant. CDE’s mining-focused technologies add to the operators’ revenues by viably processing previously low-grade stockpiles and suitably enriching them before final recovery. It’s a win-win solution in terms of managing mining waste and extracting high value from waste in the context of a fast return on investment.
What is the importance of Africa to CDE’s overall strategy?
Africa is a priority region for CDE as our bespoke cyclone-based mining solutions have the potential for sustaining mines in countries where economic difficulties hold back on capital spending in new mining. Significant value can be created from historical diggings. CDE’s pedigree in the materials wet processing industry is impressive, with flagship iron, diamond, phosphate and gold washing projects across the world.
The company has also carved a competitive edge in the general concrete sector in which the quality standards for building materials are getting increasingly higher as new technologies prove that in-spec, high-quality materials can be produced in a consistent, sustainable and value-for-money manner.