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Mining & beneficiation solutions for zinc mine in South Africa

The world’s largest and developed zinc deposit site was discovered over 30 years ago but remained unexcavated due to its viability. TCE’s SMM business unit provided detailed feasibility studies and provided solutions to turn around the mine with a three-pronged solution.

1) The prime challenge was the complexity of the terrain. The ore itself was positioned at a depth of 200 metres the two-year capex expenditure for excavation to get to the ore made the project unviable.

Solution: M&M applied mine planning software and geomodelling systems to determine the mining techniques relevant to the terrain. This helped to get to the ore in a cost-effective manner.

2) The rich deposit of zinc, concentrated as it were, was low grade zinc and high in manganese content.

Solution: TCE provided solutions to apply mineral beneficiation techniques and operation strategies to extract high zinc concentrate and separate the manganese concentrate. This made the zinc ore a profitable product.

3) Regulatory standards imposed a penalty for manganese dump which affected the margins severely.

Solution: A combination of material handling and technology innovations for recycling waste effectively helped to manage the manganese dump

What TCE did differently?

  • Collaborating and partnering with global experts/consultancy firms and institutes
  • Alignment of campaign process with marketability
  • Additional marketable product (Lead) other than prime metal (Zinc)
  • Mine option study and beneficiation simulation to suit the demand
  • Mine closure plans for the mine pit area, plant area
  • Introduction of impermeable membrane in the tailing storage area to prevent ground water contamination
  • Engineered layout to protect bio-diversity hotspots
  • Relocation and rehabilitation of flora and fauna unique to Gamsberg
  • Introduction of global procurement covering SEA, China and India

In effect, the M&M business recommended a mine planning strategy to reduce capex cost in excavation, mineral beneficiation strategies to comply with regulatory standards and ensure margins on the end product and technology innovations for recycling waste effectively.