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Mining, Minerals & Exploration: Highly Commended

Further Fines Processing Plant Upgrade
Paraburdoo, Pilbara region

THE Further Fines Processing Plant (FFPP) is a critical part of Rio Tinto’s Paraburdoo operation, processing ore from the Channar and Eastern Range mines and upgrading the concentration while reducing the amount of alumina, phosphorus and silica. However, over recent years the FFPP had become largely inoperative, affecting not only the quality of the ore produced at the operation, but also the profitability of the business.

Management decided to invest in widespread upgrading of the plant to ensure that when greater demand was placed on the plant, it could respond and produce the quality of ore expected. The project required them to replace all of the gate valves, opting for valve positioners on the new valves which could more effectively respond to sudden in-feed changes and ore quality changes.

The availability of intelligent device information was deemed critical for future operations, to ensure the plant remained operationally efficient throughout and that any potential equipment issues were identified at the earliest. Plant availability was also critical and as such they made the decision to install redundant Profibus communication.

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