Increased demand for South African smelting tech – by Pimani Baloyi ( – August 1, 2014)

As Africa’s mining industries consider new methods of processing precious metals and base metals, the demand for South African induction-heating technologies on the continent is increasing, says induction-heating solutions company Hot Platinum.

Hot Platinum MD Ali Brey tells Mining Weekly that this renewed demand has significantly increased company clientele on the continent. The company manufactures induction-heating equipment and develops technology for melting and casting gold, platinum, copper and various other metals.

“There is a significant increase in the demand for our equipment from West, Central and Southern Africa owing to the number of new mining operations starting and many African countries wanting to process their metals in their countries,” he explains.

Brey highlights Hot Platinum’s status as a South African company as a contributing factor to its success in the African market, as it understands the African environment better than European and Asian competitors and can tailor clients’ systems and technologies to the African environment. The company customises systems and technologies to suit client specifications.

Brey also points out that mining companies operating in Africa take part in the development of local expertise when contracting Hot Platinum.

He tells Mining Weekly that the company has registered heightened demand from small-scale mining projects, adding that small-scale miners commonly use flames and resistance furnace heating as melting techniques, but that these techniques are time consuming and inefficient.

“Resistance furnaces also do not last very long. The melting techniques tend not to mix the gold properly, which results in inaccurate sample measures of the gold content in what is being melted,” Brey elaborates.

Hot Platinum’s induction-heating technology is a frequency-conversion technology, commonly known as an inverter or power pack, which converts State-owned power utility Eskom’s standard 50 Hz supply frequency and three-phase 400 V to the requirements of an induction-heating application. This typically ranges from 500 Hz to 50 kHz at an output voltage of 100 V to 1 000 V. This allows for gold to be melted much faster, using significantly less energy.

Brey explains that demand from the South African mining industry usually stems from refineries, which are upgrading their systems and equipment to enable quicker melt times and operational cost reductions.

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