What will crushing plants of the future look like? Mineral Resources Ltd and Metso Outotec have pondered that question and have since gone on to answer it with the delivery of a modular, scalable and relocatable plant at an iron ore operation owned by one of the world’s biggest miners.
Called ‘NextGen II’, the solution represents a ground-breaking approach to delivering safe and reliable production to the hard-rock crushing industry, Mike Grey, Chief Executive of Mining Services for Mineral Resources, says.
And it all started with a test for one of the company’s most technically minded individuals.
“We were sitting around the boardroom table with David De Haas, one of our key engineers on this project, and gave him the challenge to come up with a crushing plant that we could literally relocate anywhere very quickly, build on a very small footprint, and have it plug and play,” Grey told IM in a recent IM Insight Interview.
Mineral Resources, which counts CSI Mining Services (CSI) as a wholly-owned subsidiary, was in a unique position to deliver on this.
A provider of world-class tailored crushing, screening and processing solutions for some of the world’s largest mining companies, CSI specialises in build, own, operate (BOO) projects where it provides both the capital infrastructure and the operational expertise to ensure these crushing plants operate to their potential on site.
It carries out crushing services for Mineral Resources’ own mines, as well others across the mining sector.
When offering such ‘crushing as a service’ type of contracts, the service must be underpinned by the best equipment possible.
Enter Metso Outotec.
Having initially commenced discussions with the global OEM in early 2019 (when it was still Metso), Mineral Resources, later that year, agreed with Metso on the design and delivery of a new type of crushing solution.
The pair recognised early on in these conversations that the industry was changing and they, as service and solution providers, needed to change with it.
The largest bulk commodity operations in the world are made up of multiple pits that get mined over time. As these operations expand, miners are left with a dilemma: extend the haulage time from the pit to the plant or build another plant.
The NextGen II crushing plant has provided a third option.
De Haas, collaborating with Metso Outotec, has delivered on the board’s brief with the design for a crushing plant able to produce 15 Mt/y using a modular design made up of several stations. The plant can move with the mining, being erected and taken down quickly without the type of in-ground services that can scupper such moves.
The first plant delivered under this collaboration is now operating in the Pilbara at a very well-known iron ore operation.
Guillaume Lambert, Vice President of Crushing for Metso Outotec, provided some specifics.
“The NextGen II is a crushing and screening plant to crush iron ore and produce lump and fine products,” he said in the IM Insight Interview. “The process starts with a primary station made up of a Metso Outotec apron feeder (below left), followed by a vibrating grizzly scalper.” Then starts the size reduction process with a Nordberg C150 jaw crusher (below middle).
From this primary station, the ore goes to three secondary crushing stations, each comprised of an MF3072 banana screen (below right) and Nordberg HP400 cone crusher.