Lightnin Africa is a division of international group, SPX Process Equipment and has supplied well over sixty large mixers into the African mining industry over the past four years, with some 25 units being sold to the Ashanti group of mines.

According to applications engineer, Gerrit Kotze, successful installations for gold mining applications have been in Ghana, Guinea, Botswana, Ethiopia, South Africa and Tanzania.

“Major installations were at Bibiani, Oubuasi and Iduapriem gold mine. The contracts consisted of our 783 and 780 series mixers, which are designed to drive long overhung shafts without steady bearings and are thus able to withstand severe bending and high torque loads imposed by in-tank fluid forces,” says Kotze.

“Some of our largest mixers to be used in a leach application are operating at Siguiri mine in Guinea. These shafts measure 15 metres using dual large diameter impellers.”

The company has installed mixers to convert old air agitated pachukas to enhance mixing capability at a South African gold mine. In this instance the plant is treating a mixture of virgin material and dump re-treatment.

An international contract for a bioleaching plant was commissioned last year at Suzdal Gold Mine, with further applications being installed on Zambia’s copper mines as well base metals processing in Zimbabwe.

Lightnin is internationally renowned for its mixers that have been sold throughout the world for more than 80 years. However, it has also become an African leader in the supply of thickeners to the minerals processing industry.

Mining areas where the company has units operating successfully are gold, platinum, diamonds, chromites and uranium to name but a few. Despite Lightnin Africa’s relatively short involvement in this market, it already boasts a thickener installation list exceeding forty successfully commissioned units.

According to Lightnin Africa’s process manager, Yashin Ramdhin, the high rate thickeners supplied allow for larger throughput and high underflow densities. Units are fitted with numerous technological innovations, such as proprietary variable feed dilution systems allowing effective dilution of the incoming feed to harness the maximum flocculation potential.

Lightinin 1

Lightnin process
solutions, from
top mixer, attrition
scrubber and top
entry mixer.

“Specific attention is paid to customer needs following intensive on-site or local laboratory/pilot testing to investigate the best and worst case scenarios with regards to thickening requirements.”

Control of the installed components can vary from simplistic local mounted manual systems to automated logic controlled sytems from a DCS/SCADA.

Lightnin’s continual improvement process ensures the selection of control instrumentation, which works with minimal human interface and maximum reliable accuracy.

One of the current projects comprises the supply of the complete Lightnin portfolio:

  • Lightnin mixers and gearboxes
  • Lightnin thickeners and clarifiers
  • Lightnin attrition scrubbers
  • Lightnin slurry samplers.

“This process is quite unlike any of the current uranium extraction processes, in that it is an alkaline leach circuit” says Ramdhin.

Lightnin Africa was intimately involved in the testing and design phase with regards to the counter current decantation (CCD) circuit.

As a result it won the bid for design, supply, installation on site and hot/cold commissioning of the CCD circuit as well as the ancillary thickeners. In addition the company supplied all instrumentation, pumps, piping and support structures applicable to the CCD circuit

The plant, due for commissioning later this year, comprises a six stage (CCD) type high rate thickener circuit, a high density pre-leach thickener, pregnant liquor clarifier and associated settler/clarifiers. This brings the total supply portion of thickeners to ten.

A number of high intensity attrition scrubbers which liberate uranium from the coarse solids fractions to the very much finer fractions for downstream processing will also be supplied.

“Crucial considerations during testing were to offer equipment that will achieve maximum soluble uranium recovery with minimal fresh water consumption,” comments Ramdhin. Due diligence has been paid to the thickening circuit by the end client, EPCM, and Lightnin Africa to cover all scenarios.

Lightinin 2

A Lightnin thickener in a coal
thickening application.

A further contract that has recently been awarded is for the design, supply, installation and commissioning of six high rate thickeners and clarifiers. The project is for a prominent platinum producer on its most recent mineral processing complex in the Northern Province, South Africa. The plant is due for commissioning in July 2007.

Lightnin Africa developed its thickener/clarifier in South Africa for the local and international market. This technology is sold worldwide through its parent company, the SPX Corporation.

Innovative design and techniques have taken the company to new levels not only in the mining industry but also markets such as petrochemicals, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, foods and beverages.

“The company has a global reputation for its mixing technology and is renowned for durable, long-lasting mixers, agitators, aerators and flocculators for fluid processing systems. The attrition scrubbers will be fitted with Lightnin mixers,” said Ramdhin.

Lightnin mixers, Bran + Luebbe metering processing pumps, Plenty mixers and pumps as well as Waukesha Cherry-Burrell pumps are used across a broad spectrum of industries.

Developing technology that is particularly pertinent to local conditions in conjunction with its customers makes Lightnin Africa one of the most versatile process equipment suppliers in South Africa.

Lightnin Africa, will be exhibiting a comprehensive range of their equipment at Electra Mining. Process equipment and mixers for the minerals, mining, chemical and petrochemical process industries will be featured.MRA

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