Flexibility and ingenuity lead to better productivity in iron ore beneficiation

India’s developing economy has brought many opportunities for FLSmidth to work with local companies in supplying world-class systems and equipment for the cement, minerals and power industries.

THREE OF THE FOUR BALL MILLS INSTALLED AT THE JINDAL SAW IRON ORE BENEFICIATION PLANT IN INDIA

THREE OF THE FOUR BALL MILLS INSTALLED AT THE JINDAL SAW IRON ORE BENEFICIATION PLANT IN INDIA

Because of the large consumption of energy in India, crude oil and gas are very important commodities, with local coal deposits contributing to a large proportion of the needed electrical production. Other mining activities revolve around bauxite and iron ore with India being a large producer of aluminium and steel, as well as the country seeing increased requirements for processing limestone for cement production. 

To best accommodate and service the country, FLSmidth has a well-established office located in Chennai—the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Maintaining over 3,500 locals in this office, FLSmidth’s Indian employees take care of not only the 29 Indian states but also service, manage, assist and engineer for customer projects located all over the globe.

In the expanding iron ore market, FLSmidth has, over the years, supplied various comminution and process equipment systems for the country’s iron ore beneficiation plants. This continues to be a focus with a number of successful projects helping to better establish the company as a one-source supplier in the area.

[FLSmidth’s] safety, design, engineering, process and commissioning knowledge is the best in the industry.”
— Vimal Morbia – General Manager of Projects, Jindal Saw Ltd (JSL)

With a proven reputation in supplying quality workmanship and excellent performance, FLSmidth’s India team secured a contract in 2013 for supplying process expertise, technology and equipment for an iron ore beneficiation plant with Jindal Saw Ltd (JSL). Known as the flagship company of O.P. Jindal Group (estimated worth of US$18 billion), JSL is India's most recognized industry house for steel producers and exporters. 

Winning this project was not an easy task in this fiercely competitive Indian market. In making the decision, JSL management saw FLSmidth as a reputable supplier with a long history of experience. They looked for distinguishing factors in a supplier that would help them best accomplish their objectives. The FLSmidth team worked hard to demonstrate the value of in-depth process know-how, the need for quality products and services, and how these key points translate into lowering the overall life-cycle costs.

FLSmidth’s project scope was to design, engineer, manufacture, supply and supervise the erection and commissioning of a 4x125 tph iron ore beneficiation plant located in Bhilwara, in the Mewar region of Rajasthan, India. 

Apart from complete plant engineering, FLSmidth supplied the following equipment to JSL:

  • 4 x 2800 kw ball mills
  • 4 x Krebs® hydrocyclone clusters
  • Various capacity Krebs slurry pumps
  • Low-intensity magnetic separators
  • Feed conveyors
  • Weigh feeders
  • Technological structures 
  • Electricals
  • Utilities
  • Process piping and valves
  • Automation

During detail engineering, possible improvements were identified by the team that would increase plant capacity by incorporating additional magnetic separators into the process to maximize returns. With JSL's confidence in FLSmidth’s technical know-how and abilities, the process flowsheet was modified, equipment sourced, and FLSmidth was able to guarantee an increase in capacity from 4x125 tph to 4x170 tph—a  36% increase in production—all without changing the ball mills' size and motor power requirements.

PLANT CAPACITY WAS INCREASED WITHOUT CHANGING BALL MILL SIZE OR MOTOR REQUIREMENTS (2800 KW MILL SHOWN)

PLANT CAPACITY WAS INCREASED WITHOUT CHANGING BALL MILL SIZE OR MOTOR REQUIREMENTS (2800 KW MILL SHOWN)

The iron ore beneficiation plant was commissioned in 2015, with subsequent performance testing carried out between December 28, 2015 and January 1, 2016. Results proved the process flowsheet to be a success, and sign-off for full operational ramp up of feed rate and plant stabilization was achieved in the shortest possible time. 

JSL’s Bhilwara iron ore beneficiation plant now consistently produces an iron ore (Fe) concentrate grade of 65% from a feed 

of magnetite iron ore, which contains 28–30% Fe. The recovery for the plant has been at 60% and above with an overall yield of 30%. The plant was initially designed for acceptance of 18% Fe going to tailings, but we are seeing results bring in an improved rate as low as 15–16% Fe going to tailings. 

Involved in this project from conception and satisfied with FLSmidth’s performance, General Manager of Projects for JSL, Mr. Vimal Morbia, said, “Considering the limited presence in the field of iron ore beneficiation in India, it was a tough decision to place an order with FLSmidth. Now, after commissioning, we are happy to say it was the right decision. The product quality and standard is value for the money. Their safety, design, engineering, process and commissioning knowledge is the best in the industry. There were some hiccups initially during project execution, but we overcame them by establishing a collaborative relationship, thus resulting in a capacity increment by smart engineering and reduced time for ROI.”

As a result of knowledge sharing, flexibility and a close working relationship with the customer, we were able to use an innovative process that increased plant capacity and brought a 4 mtpa iron ore beneficiation plant online. With iron ore being one of FLSmidth’s focus industries, this success continues to build FLSmidth’s strong footprint as a full-service provider in the iron ore sector.  

CONTACTS: Shankar Narayan Subramaniam and Jeyakumar Gilbert