Level 1, BEE-compliant minerals processing company MIP Process Technologies has after 12 years in business affirmed its position as a leading supplier of thickeners and flocculant plants in the southern African mining sector.
This can be attributed to the company’s ability to quickly adapt to the industry’ evolving needs which at present is looking for automation technologies to enhance the operational performance of all key equipment items, MD PHILIP HOFF tells LAURA CORNISH.
This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 3, 2019
On the back of consistent growth since its establishment in 2007, it appears there is no limit to MIP’s successes.
Hoff believes 2018 was one of the company’s record years, having secured more orders for thickeners and flocculant plants in South Africa than any other supplier in the industry.
One of the industries contributing largely to this success is the coal sector – “a quarter of our entire order book was generated through new project work for major coal suppliers in the country,” Hoff notes.
This can be attributed to the quality of its equipment, which is positively impacted by MIP’s in-house fabrication facility and its ability to properly monitor quality control.
As a result of its small overhead structure, the company also offers cost-effective designs.
“We aim to supply equipment quickly and cost-effectively,” Hoff affirms.
Embracing a new era of automation
Beyond these advantages, MIP is flexible and able to quickly adapt to the changing needs of its clients.
Most recently, this includes the need for greater automation procedures across processing plants.
The company was consequently awarded the design, fabrication, installation and commissioning of a 25 m diameter thickener and flocculant plant for a new digitally-focused coal plant in South Africa’s Belfast coal field.
“We quickly embraced the client’s automation philosophy for this thickener which incorporates predictive models to closely monitor and understand thickening behaviour.
"This will enable the mine’s plant personnel to operate the thickener proactively rather than taking a reactive approach to dealing with unforeseen challenges after they have already taken place,” Hoff explains.
The in-house developed predictive modelling software more specifically evaluates material coming into and out of the thickener and can as a result forecast how the thickener will behave or alert the operator to a potential problem so it can be immediately rectified or solved.
“Because this is the first time MIP has incorporated this level of automation technology into one of our thickeners, and flocculant plant, it represents a milestone achievement in our 12-year lifespan.
"This technology will enhance the way our equipment performs and will contribute to improved process plant performance for the client.”
Outside of this project, in the last 12 months MIP has also supplied a 10 m diameter thickener and flocculant plant to a new coal project in Middleburg.
The equipment was delivered to site in February to be commissioned in April.
A 13 m diameter thickener supplied to a coal miner in the Ermelo region in the same period highlights another component of MIP’s success – repeat business.
“We have supplied numerous thickeners to this client in past years and their choice to continue working with us is testimony to their satisfaction with our service delivery,” Hoff highlights.
Gas cleaning solutions deliver massive benefits for coal plants as well
Minerals processing solutions are not the only offering within the MIP portfolio.
The company is also establishing a solid footprint in the mining industry with its gas cleaning product range which has revealed significant benefits for the coal industry.
Hoff refers to the recent supply of gas cleaning bag filters for a coal project in South Africa which required a high volume of particulate matter to be removed.
“Our bag filters typically guarantee less than 30 mg/m³ per of particulates is released into the air. However, on a particular arduous application for a ferrochrome producer, the latest results reveal our filters are achieving less than 5 mg/m³.
"While this alone is impressive, the achievement is even greater when considering the particulate loading in the feed is 50% more than what our bag filters were designed to handle.”
“We have embraced our skills set in this market sector and believe this business will help elevate our company to greater heights.
"And because we are unafraid to work with any gas, no matter its toxicity level, we are confident of building a truly strong reputation in the industry,” Hoff continues.
On the back of its new peristaltic pump division and growing order book for thickeners in the coal, base and precious metals sectors which currently includes four 30 m diameter thickeners in production, Hoff is predicting another excellent year for MIP, that at this stage already looks set to surpass its achievements in 2018.
The company launched its new peristaltic range of pumps at Electra Mining 2018. The pumps are manufactured in Europe with a local gearbox and electric motor.
The pumps cover the full range of flowrates, from lab-scale to large thickener underflow.
Hoff highlights a success story already achieved in an application for a platinum thickener underflow application.
“It has been operating for five months with no need for spares – this compared to the client’s previous installation that had to be serviced weekly,” he reveals.
The peristaltic pumps for flocculant plants also guarantees more reliable flocculant delivery to the thickeners.