TOMRA Mining XRT technology...

TOMRA has installed a first X-Ray Transmission (XRT) sorter at Saloro’s tungsten mine...

Scrap metal ban is...

The SEIFSA Office has noted with concern submissions to the DTIC calling for the extension...

Steel Awards Pan-African Trailblazer...

Innovation, quality and capability are hallmarks of a Pan-Africa trailblazer, and therefore no...

IMDEX BOLT bridges the...

If the maxim in building is measure twice, cut once, then the underground...
Home Blog

TOMRA Mining XRT technology delivers significant grade improvement at Saloro’s tungsten mine


TOMRA has installed a first X-Ray Transmission (XRT) sorter at Saloro’s tungsten mine in Barruecopardo, Spain. The sorter, implemented in the beneficiation stage, is consistently delivering a much higher head grade to the processing plant, significantly reducing costs.

Tungsten is an essential industrial metal with unique properties used in the production of hard metals, specialist steels and super alloys, as well as aerospace, electronics and military applications. Its production is concentrated in China, where 80% of the world’s tungsten is mined.

For this reason, it is considered a strategic commodity and is categorized as a “critical raw material” by the EU. The Saloro mine in Barruecopardo is one of the most important in Europe, and one of the few outside China that produces concentrate with high tungsten grade with limited impurities, making it a high-value product in the industry.

Saloro approached TOMRA Mining to explore ways to further improve the head grade to the processing plant: “We were looking for equipment capable of sorting ore with scheelite content in order to remove the non-mineralized product from the feed line,” explains Pedro Jiménez, Plant Manager at the Barruecopardo mine.

TOMRA XRT technology: high-grade feed and cost savings at Barruecopardo

TOMRA proposed its XRT ore sorter, which has the capability to identify fine high atomic dense tungsten inclusions with a detection technology developed in-house. “Our ‘Inclusions Technology’ is a perfect combination of a high-resolution XRT sensor with tailored sorting algorithms,” explains Carolina Vargas, Area Sales Manager Europe, India and Rest of the World at TOMRA Mining. “At the Barruecopardo mine, this technology enables the detection of 1-mm or even smaller tungsten inclusions –This is unique in the market.”

TOMRA conducted test work with its XRT technology on 10-30mm and 30-60mm particle sizes at its Test Center in Wedel, Germany in 2019, which yielded positive results. “We chose TOMRA because of the reliability of the equipment in the tests and the time required to supply it,” adds Pedro Jiménez.

In July 2023, TOMRA installed a COM Tertiary XRT ore sorter in the beneficiation stage. It is fed with raw material in the 8-25mm size range at a rate of around 30 tons per hour. The sorter achieves +90% recovery of scheelite and removes 85 to 90% of host rock prior to downstream processing through gravity concentration, magnetic separation and flotation. By only processing the material with scheelite content, the plant achieves significant cost savings.

The sorter has clearly demonstrated the value of this technology for the Barruecopardo mine. “The tests and the results achieved so far are very positive and favorable. We are convinced that this sorting technology from TOMRA Mining will help Saloro to significantly improve efficiency and production at the plant,” says Pedro Jiménez. In fact, Saloro has decided to purchase additional TOMRA XRT sorters for the mine: “By purchasing more sorters, we aim to further increase the feed grade to the plant, remove material that does not contain scheelite.”

TOMRA’s hallmark collaborative approach stands out

TOMRA Mining has developed a solid reputation for its collaborative approach to helping mining operations add value to their mines. This project was no exception, and Pedro Jiménez has found that TOMRA stood out for “its involvement with Saloro. Communication with members of their team is very fluid and fast. Their willingness to solve the problems that have arisen has been very effective. From the very beginning, they have kept a close eye on the status of the project and monitored its progress on an almost daily basis.”

TOMRA Mining

TOMRA Mining designs and manufactures sorting technologies for the global mineral processing and mining industries. The company’s solutions aim to transform how natural resources are processed to maximize recovery and minimize our ecological footprint.

As the global market leader in sensor-based ore sorting, TOMRA Mining is responsible for developing and engineering intelligent technology to deliver resource efficiency and reshape the industry for the better.

Scrap metal ban is not working and should not be extended


The SEIFSA Office has noted with concern submissions to the DTIC calling for the extension to the scrap metal export ban which is scheduled to come to an end in December 2023.

“SEIFSA’s position has always been that the scrap metal export ban is misguided in the issue that it is attempting to solve for, namely infrastructure damage for scrap metal theft. It is an extremely blunt measure with unintended industrial policy consequences. More worryingly it communicates a very poor economic signal by not taking into account a total steel perspective” Mr Elias Monage, SEIFSA President states.

In the deliberations regarding the scrap metal export ban SEIFSA is beginning to note with some concern a shifting in the goal posts, where discussion are beginning to lean to the export ban being used as an industrial policy instrument to support scrap-based mills and the country’s decarbonisation efforts, which was never the original motivation for the ban.

“The initial intention was always security related aspects and to attempt to limit the damage to infrastructure, with other considerations – whether noble or adverse – being ancillary to the core issue” comments Mr Monage.

Related Articles

Apart from SEIFSA’s repeated submission that the export ban is the incorrect instrument to solve a security related matter, to introduce industrial policy by stealth in this manner would be very poor economic signalling on the part of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC).

“If it is the intention of the DTIC to introduce a new industrial policy regime then the economic signalling should have been communicated as such and developed, with industry, taking the total steel sector perspective into account” states Mr Monage.

Poor and/or misleading economic signals run the risk of the DTIC losing the trust of the investment community due to the instability created in the economic environment. This stability is paramount particularly to the long term nature of the investments associated with this sector.

“The scrap metal export ban creates a disproportionate and policy induced – not producer efficiency – input cost advantage that is afforded to only a select group of producers where scrap metal is used as an input” states Mr Monage.

In the absence of a mechanism similar to a Price-Preference-System (PPS) on iron ore, that attempts to level the playing field, pockets of the value chain are rendered uncompetitive, relative to the beneficiaries of the scrap metal ban. There also does not exist any regulatory mechanism that ensures that this input cost advantage is passed down the value chain, which again renders the intervention extremely narrow in its perceived benefits.

The scrap metal export ban also presents World Trade Organisation (WTO) contraventions and anti-competitive behaviour from a predatory pricing point of view, all of which the DTIC has opened the country up to from the decision to impose the export ban.

Whilst the unsuccessful export ban has undoubtedly been abused by consumers and lead to prejudicial consequences, the critical question that still remains is whether the unsuccessful ban on ferrous scrap exports and suspension of the Price Preference System (PPS) has contributed in any meaningful way to the fulfilment of the objective of the directive – the elimination and/or reduction of metal theft and associated criminal activity. The undeniable answer to this question is that it has not.

“Given all the negative consequences accompanying the scrap metal export ban and the fact that it is not working, SEIFSA strongly urges the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition not extend the scrap metal export ban beyond December 2023” states Mr Monage.

Steel Awards Pan-African Trailblazer sponsor Macsteel supports steel innovation and reinvention across Africa


Innovation, quality and capability are hallmarks of a Pan-Africa trailblazer, and therefore no surprise that Macsteel, a leading manufacturer, merchandiser and distributor of steel and value-added steel products was first in line to take up the highly sought-after Pan-African Trailblazer sponsorship opportunity at the 2023 South African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) Steel Awards.

Trailblazing innovation was also the mainstay of one of the Steel Awards’ most exciting category winners. The Azmet Reactors project – which won the Mining and Industrial as well as the Best Export Project categories – comprised a combination of six colossal reactors in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

This distinctive project was recognised for its precision engineering, use of steel and overcoming seemingly insurmountable logistical challenges. It also represents the innovation, tenacity and foresight – which Macsteel’s CEO Mike Benfield believes reflects the spirit and essence of what it means to be a pan-African trailblazer.

Pursuing reinvention

In addition, the project is closely aligned with Macsteel’s operational ethos of ‘Pursuing Reinvention’ which, in turn, reflects and supports the Pan-African Trailblazer sponsorship concept. Benfield believes it is important to support organisations such as the SAISC, which provide a platform for members of the steel value chain to drive a common agenda in the sector, while also fostering a ‘Team Africa’ approach to quality and collaboration across the continent. This is increasingly important, as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement becomes a reality.

IMDEX BOLT bridges the gap between success and failure underground


If the maxim in building is measure twice, cut once, then the underground mining equivalent would be to measure production hole deviation and analyse before blasting. Underground mining is challenging and the environment unforgiving of mistakes that often carry cost and safety implications.

IMDEX Commercial Manager – Underground Survey Applications Mike Ayris has been promoting the importance of surveying blast holes since he founded Downhole Surveys in 1989. DHS was majority owned by directional drilling specialists Devico and became part of the IMDEX group when IMDEX acquired Devico earlier this year.

For Mr Ayris, the process is not Drill and Blast; it’s Drill, Measure, Analyse, and Blast. IMDEX is developing a new system for the job: IMDEX BOLT TM , a production hole survey tool for underground applications measuring blast hole deviation using a north seeking gyro.


BOLT TM is in the commercial prototype phase and has been installed at four sites with two trials underway. Recent design changes have reduced the weight, making it easier to deploy overhead, thereby solving one of the key challenges of working in an underground environment.

Zambia Airways Flies To New Heights With Boeing 737-800 Acquisition



Zambia Airways has marked a significant milestone in its journey of growth and expansion as it welcomes a Boeing 737-800 aircraft, a move aimed at boosting its international flight operations.

The latest aircraft, which touched down at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, is a testament to Zambia Airways’ commitment to enhancing its services and increasing its global reach. This acquisition also signifies the airline’s dedication to providing a superior travel experience to its passengers and boosting Zambia’s presence in the aviation industry.

The Boeing 737-800 is recognized worldwide for its popularity and advanced technology. It features state-of-the-art technology that not only enhances fuel efficiency but also extends its flight range. This fuel-efficient aircraft is poised to be a game-changer for Zambia Airways as it seeks to explore new horizons in international travel.

One of the notable advantages of the Boeing 737-800 is its longer fuselage, which translates into a more spacious interior for passengers and increased cargo capacity. With a two-class configuration that includes Business and Economy class, the aircraft can accommodate approximately 160 passengers comfortably.

Transport and Logistics Minister, Hon Frank Tayali, who was present to welcome the aircraft alongside IDC Acting CEO Ms Leya Mtonga-Ngoma, expressed his enthusiasm for Zambia Airways’ growth. He highlighted that the airline’s progress has defied skeptics and demonstrated the government’s ambition to establish Zambia as a prominent player in the aviation sector.

“The addition of this new aircraft will take us a step further in enhancing our local and international aviation footprint, opening up new routes and connecting more cities,” Minister Tayali said. “It will facilitate trade and tourism and allow citizens to explore the world with ease.”

Mr. Cosam Ngoma, the acting Managing Director of Zambia Airports Corporation Limited, emphasized the airline’s significant achievement at a time when aviation passenger traffic is rebounding following the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He reported remarkable growth in both international and domestic air travel, with passenger numbers soaring by 106% and 133%, respectively, as of August 2023 compared to August 2019.

“The growth of domestic air travel has been faster than international travel because of local airlines such as Zambia Airways,” Mr. Ngoma added.

Abiy Asrat Jiru, CEO of Zambia Airways, reiterated the airline’s commitment to delivering top-quality travel experiences at the most competitive prices. He emphasized that the efficient Boeing 737-800 aircraft would enable Zambia Airways to explore new markets and reach new heights in the aviation industry.

Currently, Zambia Airways – jointly owned by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Ethiopian Airlines, operates routes to Harare and Johannesburg in addition to its domestic routes to Livingstone, Ndola, and Solwezi. With the acquisition of the Boeing 737-800, the airline is poised to expand its network and offer passengers an even more exceptional travel experience.

The US and EU jointly support a new African railway line between Zambia and Angola


The European Union and the United States are joining forces to support the development of a new railway line between Zambia and Angola, initiating the technical and economic justification

This is part of the Trans-African Corridor development, connecting the southern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and northwestern Zambia to regional and global trade markets via the Lobito port in Angola.

CRRC unveils a new railway train

The project was announced on the sidelines of the Global Infrastructure and Investment Partnership (GIIP) event at the G20 in India.

The Lobito Corridor presents an alternative strategic route to the export markets of Zambia and the DRC, offering the shortest path connecting the key mining regions of these two countries to the sea.

The partnership between the EU and the US will revitalize critical infrastructure in Africa south of the Sahara to unlock the “vast potential of this region,” according to a joint statement.

“We are pleased to join forces to realize economic benefits with our partners in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia.”

The partnership will pool financial resources and technical know-how to accelerate the development of the Trans-African Corridor, including investments in digital access and value-added agricultural value chains, enhancing regional competitiveness.

According to the EU, this represents a “powerful evolution of the Global Infrastructure and Investment Partnership approach to collaboration, which can be replicated in other strategic corridors around the world.”

Namibia Plans $2.1 Billion Port Expansion for Oil Boom


Namibia’s state-owned Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) has announced plans for a $2.1 billion port infrastructure expansion project to support the southern African country’s burgeoning energy industry.

The expansion project will involve the construction of new berths and quay walls at the country’s major port of Walvis Bay and the construction of a new port in the town of Lüderitz.

Under the plan, Namport will set aside roughly 350 hectares of land for development and will collaborate with the private sector through public-private partnership agreements, allowing companies to establish operations under a landlord port model.

“We are hoping to commence with the operation in the last quarter of next year, which will take about three years at most,” stated Namport CEO, Andrew Kanime, adding, “We are seeking private companies with technical expertise and financial resources to invest in this space.”

With offshore activity in Namibia accounting for approximately 13% of rigs working on African waters, the project will be designed to support drilling services at the country’s primary port of Walvis Bay. Meanwhile, a port at Lüderitz is poised to provide market access for the mineral-rich Northern Cape Province of South Africa.

The announcement comes after significant oil discoveries were made by supermajors, Total Energies and Shell, in Namibia’s offshore Orange Basin in 2022 and 2023, resulting in an estimated resource base of 7 million barrels of oil equivalent for the country. Namibia is expected to reach its first crude production by 2029 and is poised to become Africa’s fifth-largest oil producer by 2030.

MV Switchgear awarded SIS switchgear contract for DRC mine’s underground substations


MV Switchgear, which executed two large contracts over the past two years involving manufacture, supply, and installation of numer­ous air-insulated switchgear (AIS) panels for 11kV substations at the extensive new Kamoa-Kakula cop­per mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has subsequently been awarded a further contract for GELPAG solid insulated switchgear (SIS) units for more underground substations at the mine.

A total 233 of MV Switchgear’s well-known and widely used SBV4E brand of AIS switchgear panels were produced and supplied by the division to equip surface and underground substations at the new mine. They comprised 140 panels for eight surface substations and 93 panels for five underground substations.

Specialised switchgear

The latest contract for 149 GELPAG SIS units for eight underground substations, awarded late last year for delivery in August this year, came about as a result of having to address changes in underground conditions at the mine as mining operations progressed.

“Harsh environmental conditions such as high levels of humidity and dust were found to be present in these underground sections, necessitating having to introduce more specialised switchgear equipped to cope with these conditions,” said Rhett Kelly, MV Switchgear’s Design & Development Manager.

“In such a situation the choice is typically between fixed pattern gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) and solid-dielectric-insulated switchgear (SIS). We were confident in recommending to DRA Global of South Africa, the engineering consultants for the Kamoa project, our GELPAG SIS product for this purpose.”

With MV Switchgear experiencing growing demand for GELPAG since introducing it into the local market in late-2020, it recently arranged in collaboration with its overseas-based OEM partner to commence local manufacture of some of the product’s ancillary components.

“By taking this step we’ve substan­tially shortened the production lead times, as we can now manufacture the agreed locally produced components in parallel with the OEM’s production of the main product, thereby speeding up both final assembly of the product in our plant as well as delivery to the end-user,” Rhett said.

The Kamoa mine will be the first recipient of GELPAG panels in terms of the new arrangement. Johan Jordaan, the division’s Technology Development Specialist, said: “The components being manu­factured locally now and in the future are the LV compartment, internal arc ducting and the drop-down boxes for the cable terminations.

“While not normally required for the GELPAG product range, custom drop-down boxes have been designed to accommodate the 3-core cable terminations with core balance CT’s specified by the customer. To further speed up and simplify production and delivery, we’ve devel­oped an LV connector system which allows the panel’s circuit-breaker, disconnector and earth switch wiring to interface with the LV control wiring via a standard multi-pin plug-and-socket system,” he added.

MV Switchgear has also developed a wiring test rig to enable it to test and verify the wiring of each LV compartment before the GELPAG panels they are to be connected to arrive from abroad.

The evolution of mining infrastructure and EPCM collaboration


As the demand for raw material continues to surge, the spotlight has turned to the mining sector, bringing both greenfield and brownfield mining projects into focus.

Ensuring these ventures are efficiently executed without compromising on time or budget necessitates a tailored strategy. Often, this means relying on the expertise of an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Management (EPCM) contractor.

Successful partnerships

David Claassen, Managing Director of Trafo Power Solutions, firmly believes in the importance of partnering with adept EPCM professionals and says the key to successful partnerships lies in comprehending the EPCM domain. Established in 2017, Trafo Power Solutions specialises in dry-type transformers and has established robust collaborations with EPCM contractors globally, especially across South Africa, Africa, Australia, and Canada.

According to Claassen, Trafo Power Solutions’ consistent successes hinge on several principles, which include understanding project complexities, fostering effective communication, flexibility in adjusting to evolving project scopes, access to proven technology and products, and delivering timely results.

“It’s vital to understand that each project has its uniqueness, and our team successfully navigates this by adopting an “understanding strategy”, emphasising the importance of collaboration to manage the complexities,” he says. “Our deep comprehension of the project process helps us pinpoint and provide the most suitable solution tailored to customer needs.”

EPCM contractors handle intricate tasks such as detailed engineering and design. Trafo Power Solutions contributes by suggesting alternate solutions, ensuring efficient procurement, avoiding redundancy and ensuring the best outcomes for every project.

Communication is the cornerstone of successful project execution. With various EPCM entities employing different communication tools and software, Trafo Power Solutions prides itself on its adaptability. “Our flexibility allows us to mesh with any project team, irrespective of their chose software,” Claassen notes. He emphasises that this adaptability optimises project management processes, contributing to each project’s success.

Integrity and collaboration remain at the core of Trafo Power Solutions’ operations. Their dedication to understanding project requirements and prompt responses ensures minimal risks and streamlined operations. As Claassen aptly puts it, “The collective goal of stakeholders is the successful execution of a project. “Trafo Power Solutions, in partnership with TMC Transformers from Italy, offers top-tier dry-type transformers, emphasising quality and reliability. As the world shifts towards rapid infrastructural developments, such collaborations and expertise will only become more invaluable,” Claassen concludes.

Technequip knife gate valves a cut above


Long regarded as a leading brand in abrasive slurry applications, KREBS® Technequip® knife gate valves now allow less stockholding of spares through the enhanced interchangeability of components.

Most of the components are standard across the range, explains Herman Britz, Regional Product Line Manager for Pumps, Cyclones and Valves at FLSmidth. The upgrade of the legacy products has ensured that customers need to keep a smaller variety of parts in their inventory.

“While the bodies of the flange-type valve and the wafer-type valve will differ, for instance, other components like the gate, actuator and wiper blades are standard,” says Britz. “This means that the components for a 200 mm flange valve, for instance, will also fit on the 200 mm wafer-type valve.”

This benefits the supply chain and helps customers to reduce their stockholding. With an extensive footprint in mineral processing, the KREBS® Technequip® valves are used across a range of commodities and materials – from phosphates to the platinum group metals.


“The focus of our design was for harsh, abrasive applications – where these valves have proved their worth globally,” he says. In sizes from 50 mm up to 1,3 m in diameter, the valves match the pipe sizes in the market and are designed to deal with a wide range of pressures and process conditions. He highlights the ‘full port’ nature of the valve, reflecting that the valve’s inside diameter will be the same as the pipe when the valve is fully open.

“This reduces any pressure loss as the material passes through the valve, and ensures that there is no turbulence, which also reduces the wear rate,” he explains. “The gate removes itself completely from the flow of material, which is a key differentiating factor.”

He also points to the valves’ push-through or self-cleaning design. This is essentially a self-flushing function which eliminates the need for a packing gland. As the gate closes during actuation, material is ejected out of the bottom of the valve, ensuring that there is full closure of the gate and a reliable seal is created. Another vital contributor to the valves’ durability and performance is the internal wear sleeve.

“The wear sleeves on our knife gate valves are the only surface that is in direct contact with the slurry,” says Britz. “By protecting the other parts from wear and tear, the sleeves reduce the need for replacement of parts.”

A bubble-tight seal ensures that there is no spillage, whether the valve is open or closed. Importantly, the sleeves can also be replaced in the field, so there is no need to take the valve to a specialised workshop.

“On our flange-type valve, a technician can simply remove the retainer flange and take out the sleeve, replacing it with a new part and returning the retainer to its position,” he says. “This is certainly a stand-out feature when compared to most products on the market, and helps our customers avoid undue downtime.”