Nicholas Barcza


Director and Metallurgical Engineering Consultant
Oriel Resources

Nicholas is a qualified Professional Engineer specialising in Pyrometallurgical with 45 years of experience mostly in chromium, manganese and nickel-containing ferroalloys for stainless-steel production. Mintek up to 2005 (South Africa) - Director of the Pyrometallurgy Division, General Manager: Business Development and Technology Commercialisation and Executive Consultant as well as Chairman: Mogale Alloys Ferrochrome plant in South Africa where the DC furnace technology was first implemented. Consultant on international chromium, manganese and nickel projects including Nickel and Chrome Projects in Kazakhstan from 2005 with Mintek and Oriel Resources Ltd. Andrew is a qualified Professional Engineer with 25 years in experience in mining and minerals processing in Southern Africa, the Americas, Australia and Asia including the Voskhod chromite project in Kazakhstan. These have included development and detailed design of process solutions for nickel, copper, chrome, gold and platinum as well as for equipment and plant design, cost estimation and project economics including construction and operations management. Several included mining consulting and the development and commercialisation of innovative mining and process technologies. In 2009 he founded MineSense Technologies in Canada that developed sensor-based grade control and bulk sorting solutions. He joined join Bara Consulting in 2017 in the UK and MD in 2018 where he has work on mining and mineral process projects and feasibility studies on several commodities and various regions.

Session 2: Securing supply of metals and critical raw materials from Eurasia
28 November 2022 / 11:00 - 12:30 |

Improving Environmental and Economic aspects through Process Innovation.

Innovations such as advanced DC furnace technology and upstream sorting technologies can combine to produce substantial efficiencies and improved environmental aspects in the processing of ferrous metals such as Chromium and Nickel that are mostly used as alloys in Stainless Steel. Mintek in South Africa has worked on several related projects including some in Brazil, Guatemala, Kazakhstan and elsewhere with the project developers. Several including Oriel Resources have evaluated the DC furnace technology Mintek developed and that has been applied to Ferrochrome and Ferronickel production in different locations by major companies. Bara Consulting has worked on several projects where the application of bulk sensing and sorting have been applied to reduce waste dilution as well as improve ore chemistry delivered to downstream processes. The DC process flow sheet technology is based in some applications on the use of upgraded ore fines concentrate and thermal pre-treatment as the preferred approach to manage the feed sources. The advanced process technology offers the potential to carry out pre-heating and partial pre-reduction of the reducible metallic oxides in the ores prior to the electric furnace smelting stage to produce the ferroalloys and that can significantly decrease the electrical MW power consumption. The combination of leaching of some laterite ore types to produce nickel and cobalt intermediates that can be used as feed sources for the flexible options of high-grade chemical purification to use as battery materials in addition to producing high-grade ferroalloys is a positive option to decrease the power consumption requirements and lower the carbon footprint. Upstream sensing and sorting can be used in some deposits to substantially improve the feed grade of the primary metal, as well as improve the management of elements such as Fe, Mg and Si content and their ratios in the context of pyrometallurgical treatment or separate out material preferred for leaching from material destined for the furnace smelting stage. Combined with advanced DC furnace technology this brings substantial potential savings in process cost as well as improved recovery of metal for overall improved process economics. Both Mintek and Bara are well placed to assist potential clients who plan to progress with these positive approaches in suitable regions such as Africa, Asia and Eurasia, and South America that want to use technology to reduce overall power consumption and carbon footprints.