Waste not, want not: Cluster Holdings in West Rand, South Africa, recovers valuable plaster sand fines from ponds with CDE EvoWash.

CDE customer Cluster Holdings in West Rand, South Africa, had given up on ever recovering fines their sand screw classifier system had discharged into ponds. With the introduction of the CDE EvoWash 71 sand washing plant to their operations, they are now producing high quality plaster sand from waste pond material. With CDE technology, fines are fully recovered and turned into profit and a very competitive return on investment.

Cluster Holdings is a family business like no other: not only does the company wash materials for the construction industry, but it also runs a farming business. Cattle graze and crops grow in fields adjacent to the family’s quarry located half way between Carletonville and Randfontein.

Rich in decomposed granite, the farm and its surrounding presented an ideal terrain to develop a materials processing business to supply local construction companies with washed plaster sand. At the start of its washing operations in 1986, the company opted for sand screw classifiers to wash the granite, a cheap and popular choice in South Africa, but also an option that creates a lot of waste to ponds and loss of potential profits. The subsequent switch to a cyclone tower resulted from identifying the potential in the plaster sand market in the area, but did not achieve the desired results in quality and led to wet stockpiles.

Wayne Warren, Business Development Manager for sub-Saharan Africa at CDE, noticed Cluster Holdings operations while on the road to visit a client and stopped by. He said: “Being in a reasonably remote area, the road past Cluster Holdings’ mining area allows you to get an overview of their operations. I could see where issues might be and knew that CDE had solutions that could up most current washing plants. I stopped in and introduced myself.

“Little did I realise that this site had such extreme potential in what up until then was called waste. In effect, unknown to our customer plaster sand was laying in abundance, hidden at the bottom of ponds, and with adapted CDE technology could be recovered and processed into a valuable product. Kobus Jv Rensburg of Cluster Holdings, provided samples for tests. It turned out that the waste sand had one of the best plaster sand grading I had come across in some time and it became Cluster Holdings’ priority to recover it.”

CDE having a solid footprint in South Africa, the customer had the opportunity to visit a few sites showcasing the CDE EvoWash in action. Having witnessed the efficiency of the EvoWash that produced a sand dry enough to be handled and loaded as it came off the stockpile conveyor, Cluster Holdings opted for CDE technology as the perfect solution to their issue.

An EvoWash 71 materials washing plant was commissioned and installed to process the raw decomposed granite feed. The EvoWash removes the -75µ from the sand slurry feed and dewaters it to produce up to 50 tonnes per hour within specification for plaster sand that will be used by the local construction sector to plaster buildings.

Kobus Jv Rensburg comments: “After years of trial and error, we are delighted with our choice. We had two plants that were not efficient enough for our purposes and replacing them with a single plant and process was beneficial in terms of footprint, value for money and efficiency. “The CDE EvoWash is a very neat plant that we are exceptionally happy with. It is compact, efficient and economical. But crucially, it has allowed us to recover a high quality plaster sand that had been lying unnoticed in ponds and make it a very profitable product.

“I was going to say – Who knew? But then again, CDE knew. It only took a visit from Wayne and some testing at the CDE labs to make us realise we were literally sitting on a high value quantity of quality plaster sand. All we needed to turn it into a profitable material was the right technology. The CDE EvoWash was the answer.”

Wayne Warren, Business Development Manager for sub-Saharan Africa at CDE concludes: “The thing that stands out most when watching the plant go up was to see how each member of the family has an expertise that is used like one well-oiled machine. Whether there are requirements for electrical, mechanical, fitting, welding, operational, or accounting expertise, there is a family member on top of their game. “It is always a pleasure to help a client make the most of the resources available to them, in the most economical and environmental friendly manner. The EvoWash has long been a favourite of South African quarries. It is modular and compact, and can fit in the most challenging spaces, but also very economical to run and consistent in producing sands in quality and quantities required by the customer.”


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