MBE Coal and Minerals Technology GMBH (formerly Humboldt Wedag Coal and Minerals Technology) announced in mid-September that its new R&D center, or Technikum, is ready for operation.

At a formal opening event, Managing Director Jochen Schwerdtfeger welcomed invited guests from MBE’s constituency, industrial associations, policy and several universities. He emphasized the importance of the R&D center plant for the company with respect to process design, research and development, as well as training of internal staff and clients. 

Prior to construction of the new facility, KHD and MBE-CMT jointly occupied a test center at an MBE location in Cologne, Germany, in which each company had installed its own equipment to conduct test work. Faced with a rising workload, and after KHD subsequently moved its testing equipment to a different location, MBE-CMT decided to construct a dedicated R&D facility on the property of MBE-CE, a sister company, in Cologne.

The company said the new facility provides a high level of flexibility and offers the capability of simulating a complete beneficiation process, from run-of-mine material to concentrate. The availability of a wide variety of different types of equipment, ranging from crushers and screens to magnetic separators, will allow the facility to conduct comprehensive pilot studies for all types of hard- and soft-mineral applications. The center will eventually be equipped with a ball mill.

Flotation tests can be carried out in a Pneuflot laboratory pneumatic flotation unit, or by using a conventional laboratory agitator cell. Two mobile Pneuflot pilot machines, with an operating capacity of 10 m3/h pulp, also are available.

The R&D center includes a laboratory for material characterization. Currently, it is capable of conducting limited testing, such as size fraction analysis, sink and float analysis / density analysis, microscopic analysis, and ash content analysis.

Other chemical and mineralogical analyses, according to the company, will be done in external laboratories. The center also will be used to conduct continuous research and development toward optimization of MBE-CMT’s own machine technology.

In Canada, the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) officially opened its new mineral processing pilot plant in Saskatoon recently. The pilot plant, according to the SRC, is now fully operational and is already taking requests from clients in Saskatchewan and across Canada.

The plant, said the SRC, when combined with the council’s existing mineral processing expertise, laboratory and testing facilities—including a new Quantitative Evaluation of Minerals by SCANning electron microscopy (QEMSCAN) service—will allow mining companies to access a full range of mineral processing services making it more efficient, convenient and economical to do business.

The facility will specifically support the development and demonstration of new and improved methods for processing minerals such as potash, uranium, gold, base metals, coal, oil sands and oil shale, along with being one of the few centers in Canada with an emphasis on rare earth minerals. According to the SRC, by enabling the pilot-scale demonstration of new technologies, it will be able to assist companies with increasing mining yields and decreasing associated costs.

The plant adjoins SRC’s diamond facilities and Pipe Flow Technology Center. Operating at a throughput capacity of about 2 metric tons (mt) per day, the plant can process 400–500 mt/y for multiple clients and projects.

Funding of $1.27 million was provided through the Canada-Saskatchewan Western Economic Partnership Agreement, with SRC providing $930,000 to the project. SRC has 400 employees, $67 million in annual revenue and has provided services and products to 1,800 clients in 24 countries.