Energas Technologies, leading supplier of high-end and specialised equipment to the oil and gas industries in Southern Africa, was commissioned by DRA Global for the design of a High Fuel Oil (HFO) storage facility for the Elandsfontein phosphate mining project in the Western Cape.
Elandsfontein is home to the biggest known sedimentary phosphate deposit in South Africa and ranks second in the country, with the igneous Phalaborwa deposit occupying top position. Currently, South Africa imports roughly 60% of its fertiliser requirements, which makes access to phosphate vitally important to the future of food security in the country.
Kropz - explorer, mine developer and miner of fertiliser feed minerals (mainly phosphates), is the majority shareholder, key funder and debt provider for the development of the Elandsfontein phosphate project on the West Coast. Kropz is investing R1.35 billion developing the Elandsfontein project and upon completion, as a consequence of the combined rehabilitation mining process, the affected area will be returned to a functional ecological state that can be included as part of the Elandsfontein Nature Reserve. In association with Heritage Western Cape, the Elandsfontein Dune Fields has been declared a Provincial Heritage site (Fossil Site).
A world leader in advanced flotation technology, Eriez Flotation Division (EFD), was appointed to supply a variety of proprietary process equipment to the Elandsfontein phosphate project. The equipment comprised CrossFlow separators for size classification, a rotary slurry powered distributor for stream splitting and ten flotation columns. The equipment was commissioned in 2016.
Design of HFO storage facility by Energas
The scope of the Elandsfontein phosphate project called for the design, including the process, mechanical, piping, electrical and instrumentation, of a HFO (High Fuel Oil) Storage facility. This involved the fabrication, inspection, testing, coating, preparation for transportation and delivery to the Elandsfontein site. Also included in the project specification were two 80 cubic meter tanks (manufactured by Petrotank SA), an off-loading pump skid, and a pump and heating skid. The skids were manufactured by ERD Fabricators in Sasolburg.
Energas’s involvement in the project entailed the off-loading of HFO from the tanks via a dry-disconnect coupler. The HFO will be pumped into the storage tanks. A separate pump skid will then pump some of the HFO to an inline heater (ex-heat heater imported from England), and the remaining part will be re-circulated through the tanks to prevent an oil build-up in the tanks. If the oil in the tanks experiences a drop in temperature, the control system will respond by re-circulating the hot oil back into the tanks until the temperature is at expectable levels.
Breathing vents also known as pressure-vacuum vents are installed on the tank and this will allow the tank to operate at atmospheric pressure. The hot oil will then be used to fuel the burners, while the burners are used to dewater/dry the phosphate before it is conveyed to product handling. This is the last phase before it is loaded on to the trucks.
M. Lourens, Energas Technologies Project Engineer comments, “Energas has overseen the design, manufacture, assembly and testing, commissioning and on-time delivery to various projects in the oil and gas industry. The closest project in this field was the heater skid and heat exchanger for the HFO Depot at Pretoria West (Sasol Oil). Energas’ commissioned work in the Elandsfontein phosphate project was delivered by the contractual delivery date and within budget. The value of Energas’ contribution to the project is approximately R10 million and commissioning is scheduled to commence in mid-February 2017.”
“We believe that Energas secured the project work due to our capability to deliver the entire scope and having access to experienced consultants and reputable suppliers,” says Lourens. “The success of the Elandsfontein phosphate project will definitely highlight our reputation of providing excellent service and on-time delivery, and more so since this is our first project for DRA Global. It also allowed us to gain more exposure to HFO applications and we would like to do more of these types of projects in this field,” she concludes.
Mining at the site is expected to commence in March of this year. Approximately 1,100 people have been employed during the project’s construction phase with almost 50% local employment, and more than 450 people to be employed as part of the Elandsfontein operational workforce.