This project involves designing and testing of new equipment and technologies that will be suitable for use at the artisanal and small scale.
Often the SMME’s in rural areas do not have electrical power and are therefore left using labour intensive methods. When the Mintek’s Small Scale Mining and Beneficiation Division identifies a need, research is done and suitable equipment is then designed to meet that need.
- A Foot Operated Pottery Wheel. This simple way of making pots is used in various parts of the world but equipment could not be bought. A pottery wheel that is turned by a foot peddle was built and installed for a group of potters in Limpopo.
- The Women of Mapuve. These women make all their pots by hand and fire them on the ground under a pile of sticks and grass. A kiln that uses the same fuel but one that is well insulated was developed. This has led to a higher firing temperature and improved quality of their pottery.
Other developments by Mintek’s Small Scale Mining Division include:
- A small diamond-coated circular saw that can be used for cutting ornamental stone;
- A glass bottle crusher;
- A foot operated gravity separator that uses water pulsations to assist with mineral separation.