MIDLANDS State University (MSU) has invented a multi-facetted model plant for milling gold that is expected to double production output.
In an interview, Mr Edson Mumba, a metallurgical technician from MSU, representing the Faculty of Mining and Mineral Processing said the university developed a 3 in 1 gold milling model that incorporates a stem mill, a roller crusher and a cyanidination tank. The prototype also incorporates a boiler for further processing of activated carbon.
‘I have realised that most miners are losing money by doing custom milling and not further processing their tailings through cyanidination. We have added an element of cyanidination so that all the locked up minerals will be beneficiated or further processed for economic use,’ he added.
He said the stem mill is expected to increase gold production output to 90 percent saying, ‘From the stem mill, you only extract between 40-55 percent of the gold. By using cyanidination, apart from the refractory gold that will remain, you can recover 90 percent of your gold.’
He noted that most small scale miners are losing money by going through custom milling and they end there when there is actually 40-45 percent of gold retained in the tailings, which a small scale operator is going to further process and get more revenue using the new milling model.
This model can be applied to many different minerals although the physical features on the model are more peculiar to gold.
The stem mill is more peculiar to small scale miners to do further processing, which they are more accustomed to.
The new model is more prevalent to gold extraction because most small scale miners know how to operate it.
Innovation Hubs have become a common feature in most universities and technical colleges as people try to find solutions to simplify workloads and living processes.
The project was initially designed at the universities Science and Technology faculty. It was the brainchild of MSU students before Mr Mumba made further improvements by redesigning and changing the mill to suit the faculty needs.
He lamented on the high cost of setting up a milling plant, which he said is beyond the reach of many small scale miners.
‘It costs between $30 000 to $40 000 to set up a stem mill alone that mills up to two tonnes an hour. It’s a concern from the small scale miners to get capital from banks,’ Said Mumba.
He urged small scale miners to start small, then upgrade their mining equipment as they grow their mining business.
He said that given the opportunity, mining can change the country looking at the reserves that we have.
MSU’s drive is to train students to become employers of tomorrow. Said Mumba, ‘If they come together as a team and look for funding, they can actually start their own mine and create employment for themselves and others and reduce unemployment rate in the country.’
‘The model that we have is a mining and mineral processing model which focuses mainly on career guidance and mineral beneficiation.
The stem mill can be used for both mining and processing dump.
‘We are there to train a full package of a mining house. We use this model for career guidance in the sense that when students come in to our faculty they will know exactly which areas they are going into after graduation. Like we train geologists, mining engineers, geo-physicists and extractive, physical and chemical metallurgists.’ He said.
He described the stem mill model as ‘a 3D kind of a picture which can actually show people the disciplines that we train. Psychologically, they will be prepared to understand or know and have an appreciation of the engineering trades that they will be choosing in that we don’t lose money training people in the wrong fields then in the later life they decide to change the trades.’
MSU programs depict the kinds of environments that they will be facing during work life.
‘If you are a miner, you have to be prepared to work underground. You have to be prepared to work under hot and wet conditions and you will have to have the natural physique needed to go up and down the staircase or pushing a wheelbarrow or using a jack hammer.’ He concluded. ENDS//