Local engineering, expertise allow for low-risk manufacturing

McLanahan 10m Elevated High Rate Thickener - assembly

McLanahan provides mining companies with the option of local thickener fabrication.

McLanahan continues to provide customised solutions to allow mining companies to realise the benefits of local manufacture compared with overseas manufacture and supply.

Australia is known for the size and quality of its mining equipment on the global METS (mining equipment, technology and services) stage. 

With such expertise and high-quality at hand, local manufacturers can offer low-risk fabrication and domestic supply chain opportunities to mining companies. 

McLanahan, a global process solutions provider, sets itself apart by providing local engineering, support and customisation. 

By providing customised solutions to its customers, McLanahan can design and deliver each project to meet its unique processing, delivery and site requirements.

Example one: Victorian gold project

Located in the Bendigo region, the customer was looking to increase its plant capacity through improving water handling capabilities post-extraction. 

The customer had a definitive installation date, meaning that local fabrication was an important factor to have the project delivered and commissioned in time.

McLanahan was engaged to consult on the project by the customer’s engineering firm. The chosen solution was a 10-metre elevated thickener. 

The design was customised to meet the specific requirements of site, including bridge modifications.

McLanahan’s local capability and engineering support enabled the bridge to be customised accordingly. McLanahan was able to incorporate the changes into their thickener design to allow for specific pipe flanges without increasing the delivery lead time on the project.

The customer also requested changes from the standard steel floor grating to fibre reinforced poly (FRP) grating, which required collaboration with the McLanahan engineering and design team. 

The modification required an increase in supports for the grating to comply with the FRP grating support requirements.

“As they chose local fabrication, our engineering team was able to sit down with them and come up with a solution that suited their technical requirements on the same day. We were able to maintain project momentum and not lose significant time to communication delays,” McLanahan sales specialist Paul Skelton says.

“We responded to changes on the fly because the engineering was done in the same time zone, and we were able to communicate with our Australian sub-contractors without delay and ensure the thickener exceeded the mining company’s expectations.”

Example two: New South Wales mineral sands project

Located in the Murray Basin, the newly established greenfield site will be aiming to process 500 tonnes of mineral sands per hour. 

The customer has a stringent deadline and has announced that the plant is on schedule to be completed and operational by the end of 2021.

Through local design and support, McLanahan is on track to meet the deadline for the project. 

The customer came to McLanahan as an expert in mineral processing and dewatering of tailings to collaborate on the bespoke requirements of the project. 

McLanahan’s solution is a 19-metre thickener. While the size of the proposed thickener is a common size in the industry, its unique application meant that local engineering and design support was paramount to complete the project. 

McLanahan’s unique offering for the customer was to develop a transportation method to relocate the thickener after five years to another position on site. 

The solution was a custom-engineered transport frame with a flanged thickener design. The modular bolted design allows for sections to be unbolted as required and the thickener tank to be loaded onto the transport frame.

With the flexibility of local engineering design support, customisations can be easily integrated and still comply with Australian specifications.

Recently, issues with overseas supply and shipping have caused great concern for operators, which are now weighing up the benefits to local supply. 

“Sometimes mining companies source their equipment from overseas,” Skelton says. 

“But during the last 18 months, they have all experienced delays in receiving equipment, parts and chemicals they had ordered. Everything is becoming more difficult when you put international freight in the equation.”

McLanahan has maintained close relationships with local suppliers and is able to choose based on proximity to the mine site. 

“It’s about making sure we trust everyone on the supply chain,” Skelton says. “It helps having that closer relationship and high level of communication. You gain from receiving a correct and timely response.”

With many mining companies now actively choosing local manufacturers, the long-term benefits outweigh the risks associated with overseas manufacture, allowing the customer to have closer connections with its equipment manufacturer and faster response times.  

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