Base Metals

The most common base metals are copper, lead,nickel, tin, aluminium, and zinc. Base metals are used in a wide variety of applications. For example, lead has proven to be a reliable source for batteries, and nickel often is used to strengthen and harden metal alloys, including stainless steel. Base metals also are used frequently to coat other metals. For example, zinc is used to coat galvanized steel.


The company provides innovative solutions to the mining, minerals, ports and industrial sectors. Its core platform is cooperation agreements with worldleading technology and knowhow providers.

ELB Engineering Services has four technology clusters in the company — Bulk Handling, Pneumatic Conveying and Associated Equipment, Modular Process Plants, and Life Extension Services. The demands from the global market on world-class expertise have taken their toll on the South African resource pool, and to this end ELB has opened a technology / engineering centre in Germany, providing machine and rebuild design capability backed by a design office. This office allows ELB to augment its in-house capability with the best machine design ability.


Nigel Townshend
TWP Holdings CEO
Nigel Townshend

TWP Holdings Limited CEO Nigel Townshend says that the company is going through massive expansion, driven largely by the booming demand for resources. “To achieve sustainable growth we need to follow the trends and needs of new and existing clients as they shift their search for metals and minerals to underexplored parts of the world and at greater depths than ever before,” he adds.


Research and development specifically aimed at more cost-effective management of mine water usage has led local water treatment specialists, TAG Water Systems/MC Process, to design a new turnkey water treatment system, the first of which has been commissioned in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“Clean potable drinking and process water, to run the plant, was the motivation to develop a dual purpose system.” says TAG managing director Rogan Roulstone. “To meet the criteria we designed a dissolved air flotation (DAF) system with a combined potable drinking water treatment unit that recovers process water unfit for human consumption, but suitable for re-use in the plant,” he adds.


DCD-Dorbyl Heavy Engineering has been commissioned by various divisions of Outotec – a leading global provider of process solutions, technologies and services for the mining and metallurgical industries – to produce no fewer than 19 ball and SAG mill shells for customers in three African and six overseas countries. This is a set of orders which will take the company well into 2008, according to marketing manager Bennie Bosch.


These predictions come from Joe Hamilton, chief executive officer of African Copper plc – the Londonbased international mineral and exploration company behind the project – in an exclusive interview with Mining Review Africa.

“The new mine’s production figure is difficult to confirm right now,” he says. “The initial number we have in the public market is that we expect to be able to produce 20 000 tpa copper in concentrate on average over the six to eight-year life of the open pit mine.”


The Namibia/Botswana border,
where Mount Burgess is exploring
on licence areas in
both countries

Known as the Kihabe zinc project, it is situated in far north-western Botswana, on the border with Namibia. Behind the initiative is Mount Burgess Mining NL – a Perth-based mining exploration company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.


Managing director Dale Rogers says the US$100 million (R700 million) project has targeted an initial throughput rate of 900 000 tpa, which will produce an eventual 9 000 tpa of contained nickel, but he explains in an exclusive interview with Mining Review Africa that the mill can be upgraded easily.

“Operating costs are relatively cheap, and the metallurgy involves a very simple sulphide flotation circuit,” he points out. “Effectively it is crush, grind, through the flotation cells and the concentrate is produced – and recovery is around 80%, which is good by world standards,” he claims.


Listed on the Toronto, London, Australian and Botswana stock exchanges, LionOre is an international nickel concentrate producer with operations in South Africa, Botswana and Western Australia. It has been the subject of a US$6.8 billion (close to R48 billion) bid from Norilsk.

Tati Nickel1
The Tati Nickel concentrator
plant in Botswana

“The two LionOre nickel processing growth projects in Botswana will continue under the Norilsk mantle at a cost of US$620 million (almost R4.5 billion),” says group chief operating officer Peter Breese in an exclusive interview with Mining Review Africa, “an initiative which is comfortably the biggest ever single investment in the southern African region.” They are at Tati Nickel, 30 km east of Francistown in the north-east of the country.


Mano’s principal iron ore asset is the Putu Range project in Liberia, for which the company has a three-year exclusive exploration licence.

Covering an area of 425 km2 in the Grand Gedeh County of Liberia, the Putu Range lies approximately 100km north-east of the potential deep water port of Greenville. The deposit is about 200 km south-east of the 1 billion tonne Mt. Nimba iron ore project that straddles the border with Guinea, and which is being developed at a reported cost of US$1 billion (R7 billion) by Mittal Steel. It consists of a series of north-south trending ridges of which the most easterly – the Mt. Jide ridge project – has been the focus of work to date.


Vanguard convoy
The Vanguard convoy moving through
Namibia transporting a 140t cold box

Specialist heavy rigging and lifting company Vanguard has been awarded a contract to transport a 140t cold box to a copper mine in Zambia.

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