Pasek Minerales launches new dunite product

Published: Wednesday, 03 September 2014

Pasek diversifies portfolio and market offering by offering new product. which has been welcomed by market and can be used at 40% of mix weight.

As a mineral, dunite is one of the few which remains below the radar. It is a medium-to-coarse grained igneous rock with 90% or more of its volume made up of olivine.

Dunite has several end markets, chief among them being sinter and blast furnace fluxes, EBT Taphole sand refractories and foundry applications.

In August, Spain’s Pasek launched a new calcined dunite product named Calcidun, a raw material which partially replaces magnesite in refractory castable gunning mixes, which it says will cut costs for producers.

The cost savings come from the fact the new product can be used in rates of up to 40% of the total mix weight.

“Since the year 2000, Pasek has been producing basic gunning mixes with raw dunite,” commercial manager, Enrique Somolinos, told IM.

“As a matter of a fact, mixes with a dunite content of up to 15% were produced with satisfactory results, but we understood there was additional potential in it; in particular, focusing on the mineral phases present on the final basic mix. Our research and development (R&D) department concluded that our mineral needed to be treated in order to improve its refractory applications,” he added.

“By carrying out a low temperature calcination process on the dunite, it was shown that a stable content lower than 1% LOI is reached; as a result, higher contents of dunite may be used in the basic refractory manufacturing process,” he finished.

Pasek said that the product has been welcomed “with open arms” by the market because it reduces manufacturing costs while maintaining a high quality product.

“We have recently finished both the product development and associated production investment for this market, as Calcidun requires the calcination and production of new grain sizes; in particular AFAs, such as AFA50, AFA100, 0,1/1mm. We have started introducing Calcidun to some European and US refractory producers,” Somolinos said.

“The feedback we have received from them is really positive, both from the technical and economical point of view,” he added.


R&D effort

Like many other companies, Pasek has invested a great deal into R&D over the last few years. This was both in order to stay ahead of competitors and to look for new market opportunities in different new sectors, like EBT and other industries such as mineral wools, fertilisers, fluidised bed sands, ceramics, and others.

“We have a strong and focused R&D department supporting every product development, which is focused on adding value to the minerals that Pasek Minerales commercialises,” Somolinos said.

“We also have collaborations with companies, like our German partner Weerulin, R&D centres and universities here in Spain and abroad, in order to develop new products and applications,” he added.

The company’s resource comes from two dunite mines in Cabo Ortegal, Galicia, in north-west Spain which have been in operation since the 1970s.

The mines currently have a yearly production level of between 700,000-900,000 tonnes, which the company could increase if market demand called for it.


New markets

Last year Pasek told IM that it was seeking to diversify its product mix.

“Eight years ago, the mining division of Pasek was only present in the blast furnace sector and had only two products: dunite fines and lumps,” Somolinos told IM.

“Today we are proud to say that we commercialise 17 different products, multiple grain size distributions for every application, such as the so called Minilumps 0-10mm, 1-10mm and 3-10mm, some multi mineral mixes, like the Magdun product line (for sinter applications) and some other mineral products like pure silex, high quality silica sands and chamotes,” he added.

The diversification has helped the company to not only offer the market more in terms of products, but it has also seen Pasek expanding past the domestic and European market to 15 countries internationally. It is now looking to expand its portfolio into BRIC, MENA and South East Asia regions.

New partnerships have been formed with logistics companies, meaning that Pasek can now ship 15,000 tonne cargoes from the port of Cari–o, just seven kilometres away from its mine; larger cargoes up to 70,000 tonnes can be shipped from the Ferrol port.