Wash plant produces glass sand by the bottle

Earth Commodities, an independent Queensland quarry operator, is headquartered in Brisbane and provides quality quarry products and high grade silica and products from its quarries in Gladstone and Mackay, and a mine operation in Bundaberg. These strategic locations service the main areas of Queensland and other Australian and international customers.

The company is also a valued partner to a wide range of contractors and infrastructure specialists. Earth Commodities is an integral part of Queensland’s strong economic and infrastructure growth, and plays a key role in laying the foundations and fuelling the future growth of the state.

In 2014 Earth Commodities secured a deal with glass container manufacturer O-I Australia, part of Owens-Illinois’ Asia-Pacific operations, to supply flint grade silica sand to its glass manufacturing facility in south Brisbane.

CDE Global, a provider of washing equipment for quarries, mines and recycling operations on the global market, has a preferred supplier status with O-I. Given the strict requirements of its agreement with O-I, Earth Commodities contracted CDE Global to improve its current system.

Earth Commodities’ existing plant was a small sand plant that it used to produce a washed sand material to feed a dry screening plant, to produce sand for rendering, filter sands and foundry applications. It had a very low throughput capacity and the capability to produce only two products at one time. This limited the markets Earth Commodities could service and the plant was unable to produce glass sand to the specifications required by O-I. To fulfil the contract, Earth Commodities required a new plant that could significantly increase production and meet the strict requirements for the O-I glass sand specification.


“Our unique approach to project delivery begins with extensive testing or representative feed material from the quarry,” CDE’s technical department manager Chris McKeown said. “In the case of the Bundaberg quarry, this involved a range of feed gradings of various blends of fines and coarse material within the pit.

“The samples were then tested at the CDE laboratory facility in Northern Ireland and were used as the basis of the plant specification. We then spent a considerable amount of time working closely with Earth Commodities to develop a plant concept that would meet all production requirements.”

As a result, the new CDE sand plant was configured specifically for Earth Commodities and the rigid requirements necessary for glass sand production. The plant incorporates several machines from the CDE core product range, including the M2500 mobile washing plant, multiple EvoWash sand washing plants, several ProGrade screens and an AquaCycle thickener.

The material is a clean, white high silica sand that requires sizing and spiral classification to remove refractory particle contamination. The plant capacity has a 130 tonnes per hour feed rate and produces 65 tonnes per hour of glass sand.

Additionally, the system has several specialised features, including high frequency screens for glass sand separation and dewatering, spiral separators and counter flow classification units.


Once installed, the new CDE wash plant increased production capacity by five times and has produced an in-specification glass sand product in addition to various other size fractions. This has allowed Earth Commodities to fulfil a long term contract with O-I to supply its bottle production facility in Brisbane.

The plant has also increased the efficiency and capacity of the existing dry screening operation at the site, by splitting the sand into more specific fractions in the washing process so only the required material is sent to the dry screening plant for processing. This minimises waste and reduces the energy costs required for the drying plant.

“With these specialist projects the communication process between CDE and the customer is vital,” McKeown said. “It is important at the outset to ensure accurate requirements and specification at the beginning of the project, and this level of communication is maintained throughout the project to ensure successful delivery.”

The products being produced now are a 0-0.5mm glass sand, a 0.5-1mm ultrafine sand, 1-1.7mm, 1.7-3mm, 3-5mm and +5mm.

The glass sand is being sold to O-I in Brisbane, rendering and filter sand products are servicing the local market, and some specialist sands are exported by sea to parts of Asia.

Earth Commodities general manager Darren Wardle was impressed with the improvements generated by the CDE system.

“The new CDE plant enabled us to produce a high quality glass sand product for O-I Australia and increased our overall production,” he said.

“It has enabled us to increase our overall production of quality materials and to facilitate growth to our export business to include local, national and global clients.”

The modular plant configuration was designed specifically to meet Earth Commodities’ requirements. CDE was also able to guarantee the plant’s performance and deliver it within the short timescale required.

Source: CDE Global

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