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Optimising gold operations with experience and technology

Incineration specialist Saubatech has developed an advanced gold recovery technology that will enable gold mining firms to increase their recovery yield.

The company’s gold-from-fine-carbon-residue incinerator is a reliable and cost-effective method to recover gold without compromising on the environment. It also requires little maintenance.

Among its product offerings to the mining industry is the Macrotech gold recovery incinerator which recovers gold from activated carbon or woodchips.

During the elution process, activated carbon that is deemed too fine for re-use is removed. This fine carbon residue contains on average of between 50 and 200 g of gold per ton.

In the past, these carbon fines were discarded, or had to be recovered in chemical plants that cannot achieve industrial scale and had high operating costs.

This article first appeared in Mining Elites in Africa 2020

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Andreas Thieme, director at Saubatech explains:

“The Macrotec gold recovery incinerator has revolutionised the way gold is recovered from fine activated carbon.”

Already, the system has enjoyed global success, with units operating in South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Mali, the US, and we currently have projects underway in Asia.

The system utilises a thermal process that burns off the carbon and captures the gold residue in the resultant fly ash, using highly efficient ceramic filters.

It operates on a continuous basis, recovering 60/90 kg/hr. This translates into processing 25 to 30 t of carbon per month, allowing for start-up times and maintenance.

“With a recovery rate of 93 – 95%, our system far exceeds other industrial processes, helping mines increase their gold yield,” adds Thieme.

In addition, a simplified design with few moving parts translates into less maintenance and longer running times. Thieme further states that with no chemicals used in the process, combustion at a high temperatures, and ceramic filters to remove particulate matter, the process achieves results without compromising the environment.

Quick return on investment

In keeping the principles of Industry 4.0, the entire process is fully automated to increase productivity of the plant.

“With the development of the Macrotech gold recovery incinerator, new advancements have been made to automate the plant as much as possible with remote monitoring being possible,” adds Thieme.

“Given these developments, the PLC controls are introducing mining equipment to Industry 4.0.”

“What’s more, this incinerator is unique. Return on investment can be as little as 18 months. With most of the raw materials and equipment for manufacture being South Africa-based, the price of the plant is favourable in US dollar terms.”

Africa has potential

In 2020, Saubatech will continue to maintain its momentum across the African continent.

Thieme states: “Africa as a whole has huge potential for the mining industry. As technology advances, more mines can be opened which means more incineration requirements to reduce illegal dumping of waste and with proper filtration we help our environment and save our future.”

He advises that in order for those companies in the mining sector to be successful in this new age of mining, they need to mine smarter.  

“Today, it’s about working together with the local community and government. It is about reducing the carbon footprint, making sure the environment and the future is secured. Forward thinking is critical and proper incineration can assist in this,” he concludes.

The Saubatech–Macrotech story

The Safurnco-Macrotech relationship goes back to the 1950s when Spencer Dowdle and Brian Thomson met at university. They both worked for Steam & Mining before going their separate ways to form Macrotech and Protectaire about 30 years ago.

Thomson reached an agreement with Dowdle that he would design and manufacture the incinerators and Dowdle would market the product. After the purchase of Safurnco in 1984, Dowdle’s partner Peter Thieme took over the sales, marketing and aftersales service of the incinerators, cremators, waste gas flares and sewage presses.

The relationship between the two companies has strengthened over the years, making the Macroburn, a world-leading technically advanced unit that conforms to European standards.

About 600 units have been shipped to companies and organisations in more than 32 countries including UNICEF in Zambia, Nigeria and Iran; WHO in Zambia; and the South African Reserve Bank.

In July 2003, Safurnco formed a new company to deal particularly with incinerators, called Saubatech. Peter Thieme and his son Andreas head this venture. Now in its 16th year, Saubatech has gone from strength to strength broadening the field of incineration through ongoing research and development of the Macroburn brand.

Enquiries for gold recovery incinerators and general mine incinerators have increased dramatically over the last few years, of which bode well for the continued success Saubatech.

Contact Saubatech on:

Email: info@saubatech.com

Website: saubatech.com/

Tel: 0027 11 794 8798