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South Africa ships 54-tonne acid cooler

A 54-tonne acid cooler, used in the mining industry to produce sulphuric acid, was flown out of Dube Cargo Terminal in South Africa.

The unit is a special replacement component manufactured for the Vale Nickel mine in New Caledonia, just east of Australia. The mine is at a standstill, losing US$1 million a day, because its original unit has been non-operational.

The freighter used to transport the acid cooler was an Antonov AN-124 with a payload of 90 tonnes. It was the first of its kind to land at King Shaka International Airport in Durban, South Africa.

"Previously, we have handled auto components for the Toyota Prospecton Plant and large piping used for dredging at Durban seaport,” Ricky Isaac, manager at Dube Cargo Terminal, said. “However, this shipment is a significant milestone for Dube TradePort, as the acid cooler unit is the largest single piece of cargo that we have processed through our cargo terminal.”

The acid unit was manufactured by Metso ND Engineering, based in Queensburgh, Durban.

A special frame had to be built to enable the unit to be transported in the aircraft. The frame was constructed in two days.

"It's a long and complicated journey to New Caledonia, but we have been fortunate in having access to a world-class airport such as King Shaka and the Dube TradePort facilities,” Per Lofstrand, manager at Metso ND Engineering, said “As a result, the unit is on its way to Vale Nickel and they will soon be able to resume full production…The entire process, including arranging landing permits for the freighter, took less than a week, and the expediters from Austrailia were highly impressed by the efficiency of Dube TradePort and all the companies dealt with here in South Africa.”

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