Kuwait -  La’ Ala Al-Kuwait Real Estate Company has partnered with CDE, a leading supplier of sand and aggregate washing solutions, to meet the busy production schedule of its visionary project – Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City (Saasc) a sprawling metropolis of man-made islands and waterways located 90km south of Kuwait City.

More than 3,000 contractors from 20 countries, working 24/7, have delivered five phases of the planned 10-phase project that is considered one of the largest real estate developments in the world, and that will eventually house over 250,000 residents.

With construction gaining pace, some 1.35 million cubic metres of in-spec beach sand is required by the middle of 2024 to meet production targets.

“Plant optimisation and up-time is key to deliver upon targets of this magnitude,” CDE’s Area Sales Manager, James Murphy said.

“The material specifications for the desired beach sand are quite stringent. Pair this with feed material that varies greatly, and you can see the need for an adaptable solution in order to keep up with production demands.”

A pre-existing wash plant set-up that was reaching the end of its operational life was employed on site for over a decade.

A configuration of bucket wheel classifiers and tracked screens, the system was unable to adapt to variations in the raw feed material and was operating beyond its efficiency range, resulting in the loss of high-value sand to tailings ponds.

Mark Dunglison, Director for Planning & Design, Earthworks & Marine at the La’ Ala Al-Kuwait Real Estate Company, said the system had served the project well but a more modern solution was needed to sustain the momentum behind the project.

“It played an important role in getting the project to where it is today, but our production demands required a more adaptable solution.

“We’re working with dry feed material excavated from below sea-level, which can be highly variable, and so we needed a solution that could respond to these variations and deliver consistent output without disruption to the production schedule.

“Traditionally, most wash plants work with fresh water or some sort of brackish water. At this site we’re dealing with salt water, which has salinity of up to 35,000ppm (parts per million). It's very corrosive. The plant had to be able to work with high saline levels,” Dunglison said.

In response, CDE proposed a solution comprising its M5500 modular wash plant, which integrates feeding, screening, washing and stockpiling on a single chassis; the EvoWash 151, a compact sand washing system that screens and separates smaller sand and gravel fractions through integrated high-frequency dewatering screen, sump and hydrocyclones; a configuration of six Infinity fine screens; and an efficient water management and recycling system to recover up to 90% of process water for immediate reuse.

To address high levels of salinity, CDE introduced a series of additional measures to protect the plant.

“CDE added additional protective measures to the pipework, to the tanks, wherever they could. Stainless steel non-corrosive products, rubber linings, special coatings, and more are all carefully considered to ensure this plant can work in a very extreme saline environment,” Dunglison said.

“We explored a variety of solutions with different suppliers, but CDE’s approach won out.

“The team demonstrated real technical expertise and understanding of our needs when they proposed an alternative approach to what others were recommending.”

CDE’s Regional Manager for the Middle East & Africa, Ruchin Garg, said: “Our solution is built around improving fine screening capabilities and optimising product blending to maintain high material throughout and improve product yield.”

“The varying feed can be managed remarkably well by blending more or less of the fine product into the target beach sand. The ability to fine tune ensures optimum plant utilisation and maximum up-time. The net result being a higher overall yield.”

With the capacity to process up to 435 tonnes per hour, the CDE wash plant is delivering over 2,500 tonnes of fine sand for pipe bedding and almost 1,800 tonnes of coarse beach sand every day as part of ambitious targets to deliver 1.3 million cubic metres of in-spec beach sand by the summer.

On average, the plant is receiving and processing over 6,000 tonnes of feed material every day.

Commenting on the environmental benefits of the plant, Dunglison said: “We’re more efficient in our diesel use. The flocculant that we're using within the thickener allows water to be recycled, which we didn't have previously.

“It means we require significantly less top-up water. This is good because it limits how much we need to draw from the natural environment and any we discharge back into the water course is well within EPA tolerance.”

“This solution is our purpose in action,” Garg added.

“We’re driven to create our best world, a tonne at a time. That means maximising the potential of natural resources in the most sustainable way possible, with greater efficiency and less waste than ever before.”

A central feature of the solution is the integration of CDE’s plant management app, CDE SmartTech.

Dunglison said the innovation underlying the app is in keeping with the vision of the Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City.

“The ability to monitor the operation and health of the plant in real time with in-depth data is highly valued and demonstrates real commitment to innovation. It’s providing us with important metrics to be able to measure production against forecasts, and we’re very pleased to say that the plant is helping us exceed our targets.”

CDE SmartTech enables customers to understand their plant’s performance, schedule maintenance and easily order parts. It enables operators, managers, and owners to make informed decisions to increase productivity, improve operational efficiency and maximise up-time.

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