Case Studies

Softening the sharp edges

Komatsu was able to provide an integrated solution to help a mine in Africa address a major processing issue.

With decades of experience creating value for customers through manufacturing and technology innovation, Komatsu was able to provide an integrated solution to help a mine in Africa address a major processing issue.

Industries Chimiques du Senegal (ICS) is a mine located 100km outside of Dakar, in Senegal.

Sitting on the north-west coast of the African continent and bordered by Mauritania, Mali, Guinea. and Guinea Bissau, ICS is the largest producer of phosphate fertiliser products in sub-Saharan Africa. The mine has been owned by Indonesia’ Indorama since 2014.

Commencing business in 1960, ICS has mining concessions based across three sites in Senegal (an area of over 300 square kilometres) and is home to integrated logistics, including access to a railway system. ICS has its own fleet of locomotives and wagons, with a dedicated berth at Dakar port. Its fertiliser products are sold to West Africa and to various international markets.

The mineral is excavated via an open-cast mining method, initially removing overburden using bucket wheel excavators, hydraulic shovels and draglines. The phosphate layer (ROM) is then extracted with draglines and loaded onto 100t and 150t dump trucks for transportation to a scalping screen station.

Previously, flint stones in the ROM would pass through the vibrating scalping screen, with impact of the sharp stones damaging the downstream 7km steel cord conveyor belt. This created a major inherent risk within the plant that often resulted in belt rippage. This meant belts frequently had to be re-spliced or replaced, often at a significant time and financial cost.

Komatsu was able to visit ICS in 2017 to assess the issue and provide an integrated solution within the customer’s existing operational footprint. It was then able to determine a specific pick design to match the customer’s flint-contaminated phosphate application.

Komatsu recommended the use of their DRX 800-2500 Primary Sizer. This product utilises wear-resistant pick technology developed from shearers, continuous miners and the experience garnered from more than 3500 Komatsu feeder breakers operating in the field.

The DRX’s low-profile crushing envelope could be integrated inside the scalping screen, enabling the customer to maintain the 1500Mtph belt feeding capacity despite the mineral showing a rock hardness of up to 200MPa.

The sizer was able to crush the primary feed down to a -200mm product size all year round. This has proven especially useful during Senegal’s wet season, which turned the feed material into an extremely sticky compound.

Komatsu sizers are able to handle the wet and sticky mineral, which made the DRX perfectly suited to the environmental changes of the application, which may have been problematic with a compression crushing methodology.

ICS has been using the Komatsu DRX 800-2500 in a 24–7 operation since 2019 and, with over 11,320 hours of use, it is now well and truly proven within this demanding application.

This feature appeared in the April issue of Quarry.

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