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Lighting and electronic-waste recycling company, EWaste Africa, appointed Bosch Projects to design a prototype rare earth metals recycling facility in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.

EWaste Africa entered into an agreement with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in May 2021, which gives the company exclusive access to the intellectual property, that will allow for the construction of the LPXTM plant. The LPXTM plant, which aims to extract the rare earth metals and mercury from the luminophosphor powder in lighting waste, is the first of its kind in the world and is due for commissioning in 2022.

EWaste Africa recycles all types of lighting waste, including incandescent, fluorescent, compact fluorescent (CFLs) and light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs. Bosch Projects is responsible for the multi-phased design and implementation planning for the LPXTM process plant, based on the patented process design applied to the original pilot plant. This project involves development of relevant process descriptions, specifications, design and diagrams pertaining to equipment, instrumentation and layout.

The Bosch Projects team has designed the prototype facility to minimise on-site construction, implementation and day-to-day operations. The plant design also reduces human interface operations, by incorporating automation, mechanisation and ergonomics.

The proposed prototype plant will be built and tested in Pietermaritzburg as a package solution, with the intention that it can be safely transported and installed in Africa, Asia and Europe.