Metso Outotec wins €45M 'clean comminution' order

Plant is expected to save 25% of installed power compared to a conventional HPGR/ball mill circuit

 Metso Outotec's HRCe

Metso Outotec's HRCe

Finnish mining equipment maker Metso Outotec has won a €45 million (US$47 million) order for sustainable crushing, screening, and grinding technologies for an unnamed greenfield iron ore project in South America.

Metso Outotec said the comminution circuit flowsheet developed for the new concentrator plant in cooperation with Metso Outotec represents "the most sustainable technology currently available".

Conventional horizontal mills have been replaced with the combination of the company's HRCe high pressure grinding rolls and Vertimill grinding mills to achieve better energy-efficiency, said the company. 

By utilizing this flowsheet, the plant is expected to save 25% of installed power compared to a conventional HPGR/ball mill circuit and over 40% compared to a conventional SABC circuit.

Metso Outotec's scope of delivery consists of the engineering, manufacturing, and supply of SuperiorTM MKIII Primary Crusher, HP SeriesTM cone crushers, HRCe HPGR high pressure grinding rolls, vibrating feeders as well as banana, horizontal and dewatering screens and Vertimill grinding mills. In addition, Metso Outotec will provide installation and commissioning advisory services and wear and spare parts.

"Metso Outotec is honoured to be chosen to deliver these state-of-the-art comminution technologies. The plant's Planet Positive comminution flowsheet combines the best solutions available, allowing to achieve superior energy-efficiency and lower wear rates" said Christoph Hoetzel, head of Grinding business line at Metso Outotec.

"This is a remarkable project and Metso Outotec will play a significant role also in the project start-up with its strong local operations and highly skilled service team," says Fernando Samanez, Vice President, Minerals Sales, South America market area at Metso Outotec.

The company's HRC HPGR, the Vertimill and the HIGmill solutions all aim to directly reduce the amount of energy required in comminution. For example, primary grinding in the HRC HPGR can reduce comminution energy requirements by up to 30% compared to a conventional SAG mill. Similarly, Vertimills and HIGmills have been shown to save 35% or more on fine grinding energy. 

The company says that its Vertimills typically consume 20% less media than an equivalent ball mill. Factoring in the 35% reduction in grinding energy required, a Vertimill will consume approximately one half the grinding media compared to a ball mill. In 2020 alone, Metso Outotec's installed base of Vertimills saved over 121 thousand metric tons of CO2 embodied in grinding media alone. Direct energy savings from the installed base of Vertimills saved a further 551,000 tons of CO2 in 2020. 

Emerging technologies, like ore sorting and early rejection of waste materials, can also reduce energy intensity by reducing the amount of ore that needs to be processed for a given amount of final product. 

Metso Outotec's FloatForce is a novel impeller mechanism available as a retro-fit in large flotation tanks cells. The new impeller operates at a lower rotational speed, which consumes less energy. In 2020, it is estimated that FloatForce mechanisms worldwide saved over 420 thousand tonnes of CO2 emissions. A key additional benefit of this technology is improved metallurgical performance. Improved recovery in flotation means that more concentrate can be produced per tonne of ore, thereby significantly reducing energy intensity per tonne of concentrate. 

Metso Outotec also leverages Advanced Process Control (APC) to reduce a customer's energy needs. APC comprises sensors and regulatory control systems that can pro-actively optimize the operation of various parts of a concentrator. For example, on-line particle size analyzers working on a ball mill circuit can be used with APC's control functions to tune the hydrocyclones and reduce overgrinding and wasted energy. 

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