high-production, low maintenance rotary kiln
A rotary kiln for cement is only as efficient as the seals on its inlet and outlet zones. After all, if false air enters the kiln system, fuel consumption goes up, production output goes down, and operating expenses skyrocket
ROTAX-2 Rotary Kiln installations feature direct electro-mechanical drive-through rollers, as well as a fully self-aligning roller support system. The roller suspension maintains constant contact with the supporting rollers. This ensures the efficient transmission of torque and cuts down on the stress that causes pitting and cracks
Kiln rotation is driven by friction between the rotating support rollers and the kiln tyre. At the same time, a redesigned tyre attachment system allows the kiln shell to expand radially, which means there’s no need for lubrication between the tyre and kiln
Because there’s no kiln girth gear and only two supports, maintenance costs are low. And kiln axis alignment is not affected by settling of the foundation, so periodical kiln axis realignment is unnecessary
Graphite seals at the inlet and the outlet of the kiln reduce false air intake, but they’re flexible enough to follow the kiln’s movements. These seals require no greasing and are practically maintenance-free
FLSmidth provides sustainable productivity to the global mining and cement industries. We deliver market-leading engineering, equipment and service solutions that enable our customers to improve performance, drive down costs and reduce environmental impact. Our operations span the globe and we are close to 10,700 employees, present in more than 60 countries. In 2020, FLSmidth generated revenue of DKK 16.4 billion. MissionZero is our sustainability ambition towards zero emissions in mining and cement by 2030
from tailings to treasure? miners make money reprocessing
The environmental concerns associated with mining are well known. Mining operations produce waste that must be responsibly processed and disposed of to prevent environmental damage. As a previous blog, Mining and the Environment: What Happens When A Mine Closes? explains, tailings—mineral waste products—are a major pollutant. Tailings may be dumped in or near water or transported by wind or water to contaminate the surrounding area. Mine sites typically manage tailings by constructing ponds secured by dams
According to the web site miningfacts.org, another strategy is to produce thickened tailings, which are pressed or have chemicals added to remove excess water. Thickened tailings can be mixed with cement and used in construction or as backfill in underground mines
Now, some mining companies are figuring out ways to turn tailings to profits with novel reprocessing technologies to extract valuable metals from the waste. One example reported in Rapaport Magazine describes the efforts of De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) to extract overlooked diamonds from 360 million tons of old tailings surrounding the Kimberley mines in South Africa. According to the company, thanks to advances in separating, sorting, and crushing equipment, very small diamonds can be recovered from the residue of the original diamond-bearing ore. De Beers recovered 815,036 carats of diamonds from 6,133,799 tons of tailings in 2013 and expects to continue operations beyond 2030
Tailing may turn out to be a viable source of another valuable and highly sought-after resource—rare earth elements. An article appearing on ABC News, Old Mine Tailings: New Mother Lode for Rare Elements, reported findings from the U.S. Geological Survey indicating that discarded mine tailings may yield significant amounts of rare earth elements; modern extraction techniques would now permit their recovery. This is good news because rare earth elements, which are extremely difficult and costly to mine, are critical components in consumer electronics such as televisions, computers, cameras, and mobile phones, as well as catalytic converters and metal alloys
Because China monopolizes the world’s supply and charges a premium, Western countries are looking for alternative sources. An article on The Wits Business School Journal website, Abandoned Mines Spark New Gold Rush, evaluates the situation in South Africa, where tailings reprocessing is gaining traction both for economic and environmental reasons. Examples include:
Australian Broadcasting Company reports that Western Australian company Carbine Resources is investigating the technical viability of extracting an estimated million ounces of gold and 60,000 tons of copper left in the tailings at the old Mt. Morgan Mine site in central Queensland. Numerous other tailings projects are underway in Australia
To accurately identify minerals within tailings, geologists turn to analytical technologies including both laboratory and portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) instruments. Portable XRF analyzers provide fast, accurate analysis of tailings to quickly and easily gauge the efficiency of extraction and enrichment processes. The real-time assay data provided by a portable XRF analyzer allows for timely process adjustments, improving productivity and reducing the need for reprocessing. Happy Mother’s (Lode) Day!
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