Process instrumentation solutions for the Australian bauxite industry

18 September 2019 (Last Updated November 25th, 2019 13:15)

Australian bauxite mines are famous for their high-grade ore, which is established not only by aluminium content but also by associate minerals, such as anatase, iron oxide and the volume of reactive silica.

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Process instrumentation solutions for the Australian bauxite industry
Extracting aluminium from natural deposits of bauxite involves expensive and intricate processes. Credit: Paul Brennan from Pixabay.

Australian bauxite mines are famous for their high-grade ore, which is established not only by aluminium content but also by associate minerals, such as anatase, iron oxide and the volume of reactive silica.

The extensive bauxite resources at Amrun and Weipa in Gove and Queensland in the Northern Territory are among the highest grade deposits globally. Other deposits can be found in Western Australia at Cape Bougainville, in the Mitchell Plateau and the Darling Range. The former two are currently less developed and located in Kimberley National Park.

Countries such as China have witnessed a rise in independent smelters. However, Australia’s aluminium industry remains a highly integrated division of mining, refining, semi-fabrication and smelting centres, which is of major economic significance both nationally and worldwide. Over the past several years, however, the Australian industry has become less vertically assimilated with increasing quantities of bauxite traded as direct shipping ore (DSO) by independent miners, as well as large producers.

Process instrumentation solutions from Vega

Extracting aluminium from natural deposits of bauxite involves expensive and intricate processes. Leading supplier of level, switching and pressure measurement equipment Vega provide a proven level measuring system for the alumina powder stirring tank which, during the Bayer Process, combines the bauxite with sodium hydroxide, where it is first autoclaved and then stirred. Subsequently, it gets fed into a high-temperature kiln, the calciner, where it desiccates to aluminium oxide, a fine white powder. Level measurement within the tank guarantees optimum operation of the process.

Vega’s radar level transmitter is cost-effective, with optimal tank volume utilisation. It is user-friendly, with simple mounting and set-up processes, accurately measuring the contents inside with the stirrer. During the extraction process, challenges such as waste build-up or heavy condensation can occur. While maintaining exemplary standards, Vega’s radar level transmitter is built to overcome these challenges.

Vega does not just sell the instruments necessary to overcome demanding measuring tasks; it sells solutions to consumer problems. Each customer is treated individually and a solution is reached via a sit-down meeting to talk through their issues and options.

Vega employs more than 1,480 individuals globally, 730 of whom are located within its headquarters in the Black Forest in Germany. For over 50 years, the company has conceived and brought into realisation resolutions to challenging measuring tasks for various fields and industries, including drinking water supply systems, landfills, chemical and pharmaceutical plants and the food industry, as well as on ships and airplanes, oil platforms and mining operations around the world.

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