The Asia Miner

SEP-OCT 2014

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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September/October 2014 | ASIA Miner | 59 IN 1969 two brothers from Germany set up a small toolmaking shop in a backyard in Perth. Today their manufacturing business, Hofmann Engineering, employs 150 people in engineering works in Melbourne, Bendigo and Perth. It also has sales offces in North America, South America and India. More than half the products the company produces are exported to the Americas, Europe and Asia. Hofmann focuses on the development and production of grinding mill shells. A mill shell is a large cylinder made of steel or stainless plate and is used to process ore. Hofmann can manufacture large diameter grinding mill heads and shells for mineral processing. In 2012 they dispatched their frst mega-unit - a mill shell and heads - for the frst of three grinding mills at Barrick Gold's Pascua Lama gold-silver mine on the border of Chile and Argentina. The mill shell is manufactured in three cylindrical cans, each split lon- gitudinally into semicircles for transport. Three even larger mill shells are now on order for another client; and will go to iron ore and copper projects in South America. "When completed these will become some of the largest grinding mills in service" says Hofmann's product manager Geoff Kinniburgh. Hofmann has also developed forged steel, rather than cast, large diameter girth gears. The company has been able to do this in part because it has one of the largest heavy fabrication, heat-treatment and machining facilities in Australia. Big mine sites prefer forged steel gears with fne-grained, high-integrity microstructure, as opposed to castings with imperfections. "We know we've got some of the best engineers and tradesper- sons in the country working for us," Geoff Kinniburgh says. "We put it down to our focus on training apprentices and retaining our staff." Hofmann Engineering's Bendigo site, for instance, now employs nine apprentices, all of whom were recruited from regional areas. CANARIES are no longer found in coal mines but humans who work there still need to breathe. It is, therefore, essential to keep air pollution as low as possible, especially from potentially cancer-causing diesel fumes. Micro Fresh Filters developed its disposable diesel exhaust flters for un- derground mines in conjunction with the 3M Company and BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal. Micro Fresh ftted its frst flter to a scoop loader at the Tower Colliery in 1995. These flters use advanced polymers that also help to reduce the risk of fres, by being less fammable than paper or fbreglass and by being able to function with mandatory wet scrubber exhaust coolers. Using these flters removes up to 90% of carcinogenic particles in diesel fumes. Having conquered Australian underground coal mines, Micro Fresh Fil- ters is moving on to other technologies, like diesel particulate catalysts suit- able for all large equipment and open cut mines and to markets in coun- tries such as South Africa, the United States and Canada. They are also targeting other dangerous pollutants like carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and acrolein. Micro Fresh particulate catalysts are being used by a variety of major min- ing companies operating in Australia's largest underground mining regions - Mt Isa and Kalgoorlie. In addition to production equipment, catalysts are being evaluated on Toyota Landcruisers which, like in most metalliferous mines around the world, are used as underground transport. To help these international operations, Micro Fresh has formed a joint venture with German company Freudenberg Filtration Technologies (FTT). "This is an exciting development for Micro Fresh with the prospect of us being able to access FFT's considerable product range together with their internationally recognized technology and solutions for our customers," says Micro Fresh Filters' founder Raymond de Jersey. Regional mill shells forging new ground Hofmann Engineering focuses on the production of grinding mill shells. Micro Fresh Filters help provide fresh air in underground mining situations and flters have been ftted to a wide range of equipment used underground. A breath of fresh air underground

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