JULY /AUGUST 2021 VOLUME 4 ISSUE 5
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Australia: Marching Towards A Lower Carbon Future Philippe Baudry, RPMGlobal, shines a light on the Australian mining industry’s carbon reduction push.
Bjorn Dierx, Weir Minerals, the Netherlands, explains why greenfield projects are increasingly turning to high pressure grinding rolls technology to reduce their energy consumption, lower their greenhouse gas emissions, and improve their throughput capacity.
Worth Its Weight In Gold?
ESG: An Ethical Explorationist’s Quandry Dr Cathryn MacCallum, Sazani Associates, and Dr Matt Jackson, Akobo Minerals AB, discuss the growing importance of environmental, social, and governance principles to mineral exploration.
Putting Reliability Through The Mill Farrukh Yaqub, SKF Australia, discusses the advances in condition monitoring and data analytics that are helping owners to optimise the reliability, availability, and cost of grinding operations.
Decisions, Decisions Fabio Mielli, Rockwell Automation, USA, discusses how autonomous decision-making for material handling can help mining operations meet productivity, quality, schedule compliance, and cost-savings goals.
The Smart Way To Dewater Jessy Parmar, Xylem Industrial Solutions, Americas, explores how smart technologies can support efficient and automated mine dewatering.
Crushing It Don Howard, Whitmore® | Jet-Lube®, USA, outlines the importance of quality lubricants for compression crushers in order to help maintain maximum uptime at a minimum cost.
Electrifying The Mining Industry Dr Barry Flannery, Xerotech, Ireland, provides an insider’s perspective on the fundamentals of electrifying a typical piece of heavy equipment for the mining industry.
Leveraging History To Transform The Future Demetre Harris, Sandvik, USA, outlines how product and solution providers have adapted, and are continuing to adapt, to the challenges of the ever-evolving mining industry.
Initiate Blast! Juan Carlos García, Dyno Nobel Mexico, reviews the benefits of implementing a hydbrid detonator at a polymetallic mine in Mexico.
Ingredients For Integrating Battery Electric Vehicles Integrating battery electric vehicles constitutes the final stage in the journey to all-electric mines, helping operators to reduce carbon dioixde emissions and improve efficiency. Mehrzad Ashnagaran and Nic Beutler, ABB, explain how partnering with trusted technology and equipment vendors is the key to success.
Terry Heymann, World Gold Council, UK, provides insight into gold’s role as an environmental, social, and governance compliant asset.
Seeking Sustainable Comminution Solutions
MINExpo Preview 2021 Ahead of this year’s MINExpo INTERNATIONAL®, 13 – 15 September 2021, Global Mining Review (Booth 1840, North Hall) previews some of the companies that will be exhibiting at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
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JULY /AUGUST 2021 VOLUME 4 ISSUE 5
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n 50 years from now, the global mining industry is likely to be smaller than it is today. Within the shrinking pool of mined output there will be winners and losers: the mining of mineral fuels will decline; the mining of green minerals – copper, lithium and nickel, required for a low carbon world economy – will rise. Sustainable mining is critical to the future. New mines will only come on stream if they meet stricter environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards. Driven by climate awareness, government policy and a shift in consumer preferences, the pathway to net zero will be enabled by technological advancements. Environmental concerns are rising. There is no doubt that mining companies will end up with zero-tolerance policies towards environmental degradation, as they have with respect to mine safety, but the pace of change will inevitably differ across countries. Europe is currently leading: here, the expectation is that new mines will only be approved if they are fully reliant on renewable energy. Change is likely to be slower in Africa and Central and South Asia, where economies are still developing and net zero commitments will come later. The social license to operate a mine has become more expensive. Recent damage to Aboriginal heritage sites represents a landmark moment. It has made companies more averse to mining in areas of cultural, historical, and sacred significance to local communities. Furthermore, it has led to a more challenging operating environment and increased difficulties with regards to expansion plans, as in the case of Baffinland in Canada. Governance and standards are tightening too, if only to secure finance or satisfy customers. The Brumadinho dam disaster, for example, has given rise to global tailing standards. In China, local pollution levels have constrained mine production in the past. These will only get tougher as part of China’s 14th Five Year Plan and related pledge to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. The circular economy – improved scrap collection and recycling of metals – will subtract from the need for primary mineral production. This will be further supported by the search for metal alternatives including natural, synthetic, or composite materials. The energy transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydro, will determine which minerals win and which lose. Advances in technology mean the future of mining won’t be as we know it. Emissions will be low to absent. Destruction will be minimal. Mining exploration will be informed by scanning and imaging of sites and less so by drilling. Decisions will be determined by big data and digital technology. The closure of mines and the reclamation of land will be fully optimised. Technology will enable consumers to track and trace the sustainability of the products they buy. Mines with a low sustainability rating will be exposed. The mining industry is on the cusp of transformation. Production is likely to peak in the coming decades. In 50 years’ time the demand for primary metals will be lower than it is today. The life of your mine may be shorter than you think.
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UZBEKISTAN Uralmashplant and Enter Engineering to build ore mining and processing plant
onsortium of Enter Engineering (EE), a leader in industrial building construction in the market of Central Asia and Russia, and Uralmashplant JSC (part of the industrial group of Gazprombank) are set to build an ore mining and processing plant in Uzbekistan. Representatives of the alliance between the companies have recently signed an agreement with Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Combine (AMMC), a major producer of cathode copper in Uzbekistan. Alfonso Samonte Tengko, an Authorised Representative of EE, and Yan Tsenter, CEO of UZTM-KARTEX Group, signed an EPC contract for the engineering, procurement and construction of a copper-concentration complex in the city of Almalyk (MOF-3), on behalf of the consortium. The total value of the contract is US$2 billion and the project will be completed in 2023. On behalf of AMMC, the document was signed by Bakhodirzhon Sidikov, Director of the project office for the implementation of the investment project ‘Development of the Yoshlik-1 deposit’. According to the document, EE and Uralmashplant will jointly build a turnkey plant at Almalyk MMC: EE will carry out the design
and construction of the facility, and UZTM will supply the full range of process equipment. UZTM plans to manufacture over 100 pieces of equipment for MOF No. 3, with a capacity of 60 million tpy, including large-capacity mills, crushing and handling plants, secondary cone crushers, press-rolls, screens of various types, and other equipment. According to Sidikov, the choice of consortium for the performance of the contract was based on its competitive advantages in terms of cost, plant commissioning period, and conditions of financing for the entire value of the contract. When evaluating the proposals, the company also considered the possibility of local labour force intake by the consortium, as well as local manufacture of spare parts and materials for the equipment at the central repair and mechanical plant of Almalyk MMC JSC. The construction of a concentration plant at Almalyk MMC is the first joint project of UZTM-KARTEX (incorporates Uralmashplant and IZ-KARTEX) and EE. In the future, the companies within the framework of the created association plan to participate in the construction of other facilities both in Central Asia and Russia.
CANADA McLaren Resources receives exploration permit for Kerrs Gold property
cLaren Resources Inc. has been issued a mineral exploration permit by the Ontario Ministry of Energy, Northern Development, and Mines (MENDM) for its 100% owned Kerrs gold property, located in the prolific Timmins Gold District of Northeastern Ontario, Canada, where over 70 million oz of gold have been produced to date. The Kerrs Permit has been issued to McLaren for an initial 3 year term. This permit allows McLaren to undertake various surface exploration activities on the property including line-cutting, geological and geophysical surveys, and diamond drilling. It is anticipated that initial data compilation and field studies are to be undertaken on the Kerrs property during the summer of 2021. McLaren has also applied to MENDM for an exploration permit for its 100%-owned McCool gold property. The application is currently under review by MENDM and it is anticipated that an exploration permit will be issued to McLaren in the coming weeks. The 775 ha. Kerrs gold property, along with 275 ha. McCool gold property, were acquired from Newmont Corporation in
mid-2020 in exchange for a 4 year option on McLaren’s Augdome gold property, which lies immediately east of Newmont’s past-producing Dome Gold Mine in Timmins. The McCool and Kerrs gold properties are located within the Abitibi Greenstone Belt along the Porcupine-Destor Deformation Zone, which is host to many of the gold deposits in the area, approximately 73 km east of Timmins city centre. The McCool and Kerrs properties are located near several gold mines and development projects, including the Black Fox Mine, the Fenn Gib project, the Golden Highway project, the Garrison project and the Holt Holloway Mine complex, which are all situated along Hwy 101 east of Timmins. McLaren also owns a 100% interest in the past-producing Blue Quartz Gold Mine property, which is located approximately 22 km west of the McCool property. Considering the permitting delays brought about by the pandemic, McLaren is extending the expiry date on 342 000 outstanding warrants by 3 months from the 30 June 2021 to 30 September 2021. GLOBal mining review // July/August 2021
WORLD NEWS Diary Dates Mines and Money Online Connect 31 August – 02 September 2021 VIRTUAL EVENT https://minesandmoney.com/online MINExpo INTERNATIONAL 2021 13 – 15 September 2021 Las Vegas, USA www.minexpo.com
International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) 2021 25 – 27 October 2021 Virtual & Melbourne, Australia www.imarcglobal.com
China Coal & Mining Expo 2021 26 – 29 October 2021 Beijing, China www.chinaminingcoal.com Iron Ore Conference 2021 08 – 10 November 2021 Virtual & Perth, Australia www.ausimm.com/ conferences-and-events/iron-ore AIMEX 2021 16 – 18 November 2021 Sydney, Australia www.aimex.com.au Mining Indonesia 2021 17 – 20 November 2021 Jakarta, Indonesia www.mining-indonesia.com
To stay informed about the status of industry events and any potential cancellations of events due to COVID-19, visit Global Mining Review’s events page: www.globalminingreview.com/events
July/August 2021 // global mining review
AUSTRALIA Caterpillar Holdings Australia acquires Minetec
aterpillar Holdings Australia Pty Ltd has announced its acquisition of Australia-based Minetec Pty Ltd from Codan Ltd. Specialising in communications technology for mining, Minetec supplies high-precision tracking and data communications networks, as well as a purpose-built set of software applications that address both productivity and safety for underground mining. Part of Caterpillar’s ongoing focus on providing mining solutions for safety, autonomy and productivity, the acquisition demonstrates a commitment by the company to the expansion of Cat® MineStarTM Solutions for integrated underground operations. Since 2018, Caterpillar and Minetec have worked under a collaborative agreement to develop and deliver technologies targeting the unique challenges faced with underground hard rock mining operations. The result has delivered unique site solutions that have expanded the capabilities of MineStar to offer real-time, GPS-type tracking for the underground space. As part of the acquisition agreement, Codan will provide manufacturing services to Caterpillar for up to 5 years to ensure a successful transition and continuous supply to customers.
CANADA Vale invests CAN$150 million to extend life of
ale has announced a CAN$150 million investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba, by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040. The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The recent announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity, and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%. Coupled with the announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling programme to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralisation. The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration programme to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
ZAMBIA Castillo Copper to commence geophysical campaigns
astillo Copper Limited has announced the appointment of Geophex Surveys, an experienced geophysical consultancy firm, to under-take comprehensive induced polarisation surveys across the Luanshya and Mkushi Projects, which are located within Zambia’s copper-belt. Given the scale of the campaign, it will take 6 – 8 weeks to complete and fully analyse the results; however, reconciling these findings with known anomalous areas at surface should identify priority targets to drill.
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USA Jervois Board approves full construction of Idaho Cobalt Operations
ervois Mining Ltd has advised that its Board has approved the final construction of Jervois’ Idaho Cobalt Operations (ICO) in the US. ICO is situated approximately 40 km west of the town of Salmon in the east central part of Idaho. Approval follows pricing and closure of the book of Jervois’ subsidiary’s offering of senior secured bonds to raise US$100 million, guaranteed by Jervois. Upon satisfaction of the conditions precedent to the release from escrow of the proceeds of the bonds, which is expected in 4Q21, they will be used for the payment of capital expenditures, operating costs, and other costs associated with the construction of ICO and bringing it into production. First production from ICO continues to be expected from mid-2022. M3 was appointed as lead engineer for the detailed design and site early works in November 2020, and an EPCM contract for full construction is expected to be executed shortly. Final construction of ICO will include developing an underground mine over a period of 10 months starting in September 2021, which is scheduled to deliver first ore to an operational mill in July 2022. Development of the mine is being executed by Small Mine Development (SMD), based in Battle Mountain, Nevada. SMD also participated in the mine design and costing for the updated BFS. ICO will comprise a 1200 short tpd of ore mill and concentrator to produce separated cobalt and copper concentrates. Gold mineralisation in the mine reserve at ICO will largely report to the cobalt concentrate and will be recovered at São Miguel Paulista (SMP) refinery in Brazil, subject to Jervois completing its SMP
acquisition and successfully restarting the refinery in stages during 2022 and 2023. Copper concentrates will be sold into North American markets. Tailings will either be placed back underground or filtered and safely placed in a dry stack waste storage facility. Jervois has developed detailed plans to operate ICO in an environmentally responsible manner. Demonstrations by Jervois of its ability to construct and operate safely for the environment, together with necessary drilling success once underground access has been opened (to both convert existing and future mineral resources into mine reserves), are expected to positively support discussions with the USFS, as well as other US regulators, regarding a future expansion utilising the currently disturbed site footprint. Site early works are well underway, with full construction to commence on the ground in September 2021. ICO will create approximately 200 local construction jobs and 180 operational positions once the site transitions into commercial operation. The mine site is equipped with all the required infrastructure, including: access roads from both Salmon and Challis, full grid power (at less than US$0.05/kwh; Idaho Power has offered ICO 100% renewable power from 2023, the first full year of mine and mill operation), a bore field for water supply, communications, and all site earthworks and terracing. Once in operation, ICO will be the first US cobalt mine in generations. Given cobalt’s many applications and significant supply chain risks, it has been designated a critical mineral by the US government, and was listed by the Department of the Interior.
CANADA Epiroc completes acquisition of Meglab
piroc, a leading productivity and sustainability partner for the mining and infrastructure industries, has completed its acquisition of Meglab, a Canadian company with expertise in providing electrification infrastructure solutions to mines. The solutions support mining customers in their transition to battery-electric vehicles. Meglab, based in Val-D’Or, Quebec, Canada, is a technology integrator that designs, manufactures, installs, and supports practical and cost-effective electrification and
8 July/August 2021
// global mining review
telecommunications infrastructure solutions to customers in several countries. Its products and solutions include system design, substations, switch-gears and automation system solutions, enabling the infrastructure needed for mine electrification and equipment charging solutions, as well as for digitalisation and automation of operations. Meglab has more than 240 employees and had revenues in 2020 of approximately CAN$49 million (SEK 335 million).
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Philippe Baudry, RPMGlobal, shines a light on the Australian mining industry’s carbon reduction push.
ith sustainability now viewed as an ethical norm and an important part of businesses’ social licence to operate, the challenge for the mining industry to move to a greener future is an opportunity to reset the industry’s reputation within the broader public. Like its global peers, Australia’s mining industry is welcoming this challenge, with many companies making a firm commitment to reduce carbon emissions as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which came into place in 2020.
10 July/August 2021 // global mining review
Australia, which is home to four of the world’s 10 biggest coal mines and is the biggest coal exporter in the world, certainly has a lot of work to do to push into clean energy and emissions abatement. But, with the abundant economic opportunities of decarbonisation, Australia, and its world-class resources sector, has strong imperative to emerge as a zero-carbon energy powerhouse. In addition, underground coal mines are proving to be the most electrified mines today. The Australian mining sector is already developing advanced
technologies that will help cut emissions. Technological improvements such as increasing automation and electrification of mining equipment creates opportunities for the mining sector to turn the goal of net zero emissions by 2050 into reality, while simultaneously creating a range of productivity and efficiency benefits, including fuel consumption savings. According to a recent study by investor coalition, The Climate Action 100 initiative, Australian companies are second only to Europe with regards to setting net-zero targets.1 Furthermore, the Australian governments’ new Energy Technology Roadmap offers a feasible way forward for activating an array of technologies that can sustainably support a net-zero emissions future. Australia’s mining sector is itself taking the right steps to not only innovate so that it can produce metals in an energy efficient and socially responsible way, but is doing so to support the rest of the world’s goal of a greener future through supplying the key metals necessary to do this. Analysis by consultancy firm, Wood Mackenzie, states mining companies will need to invest US$1.7 trillion in the next 15 years to help supply enough copper, cobalt, nickel, and other metals needed for the shift to a low carbon world. Whichever metric one looks at it, this will require a significant uplift in activity and investment across the entire mining value chain.2 The following are the key trends taking place in the Australian mining industry, all of which aim to lay the groundwork for a lower carbon future and the transition to greener energy.
Sourcing clean energy With climate change concerns accelerating the mining industry’s shift away from fossil fuels, there is likely to be a significant uplift in demand for green power. In an effort to reduce the use of diesel generators and minimise Scope 2 carbon footprints, mining companies are increasingly looking for off-grid power solutions. According to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Australian mining sector consumes roughly 500 PJ/y, equating to 10% of Australia’s total energy use.3 The mining sector derives most of its energy from diesel (41%), followed by natural gas (33%), and grid electricity (22%). With Australia’s industry broadly welcoming a decarbonisation agenda, reflected in the strong commitments to transition to alternative means of energy for transportation, there is likely to be a significant uplift in demand for electricity at mine sites. As part of the collective push under the reduction of Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (indirect emissions) to source electricity through renewable sources or more carbon efficient means, the mining sector’s investment in alternative power options will continue to grow. Solar power, particularly in remote locations, is proving to be an attractive energy alternative for Australian mines, albeit with some challenges around land use in heritage sensitive areas. Figures from ARENA show that approximately 35% of Australia’s 400 mining operations are not connected to the primary energy markets, with operating off-grid historically meaning that diesel or – for the few within reach of existing gas pipelines,
global mining review // July/August 2021
such as the goldfields of Western Australia – gas turbines have been the mainstay of mine power generation. In recent years, a spate of Australian mining companies have implemented green energy initiatives, including Sandfire Resources, which installed a mega-sized solar, battery, and diesel hybrid system at the Degrussa mine in Western Australia. Other renewable developments across the industry include a 3 – 4 MW solar system at Image Resources’ Boonanarring mineral sands project and the installation of a 6.7 MW solar system at Rio Tinto’s Weipa bauxite mine. Recent projects and studies have now started to consider adding into the mix solar and wind, with large, long life, energy intensive projects looking into hydrogen. Some overseas projects have even gone as far as considering portable nuclear reactors, which can provide 70 MW of electricity or 300 MW of heat, or co-generation of electricity and heat for projects in colder climates. With the cost of both solar and wind coming down, as well as the opportunity to store energy through batteries (or in the case
Figure 1. Miners are increasingly turning to solar energy in a bid to decarbonise operations.
of district scale project, possibly pumped hydro schemes as is currently being developed by Genex Power at its Kidston Stage 2 Pumped Storage Hydro Project), the possibility of off grid assets to move to fully renewable energy sources is closer than ever.
Electrification of mines Electrification is seen as the biggest enabler of achieving net zero by the mining industry. A recent report commissioned by the Weir Group plc identified that in a typical opencast copper mine producing a concentrate, 60% of energy consumed was through mining equipment, 36% comminution (crushing and grinding), and 4% for other processing.4 While the figure will vary depending on mining and processing methods, it provides valuable insight into the decision by miners to initially focus their clean energy efforts on the electrification of fleets as a way to decarbonise mining operations. Mining electrification discussions are dominated by a move to electrical (trolley assist or battery) or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, with a majority of Tier 1 producers already taking a position as to which technology will form part of their electrified mine of the future. While these are no doubt the technologies which will provide a similar flexibility to that which miners currently enjoy, there is also an opportunity for larger longer life project alternative means of moving both ore and waste from the mine. RPMGlobal has previously been involved with material mass movement studies for some of the world’s biggest mines where consideration was given to using in-pit crushing and conveying (IPCC), or taking this even further and developing ore passes to a point below the lowest levels of the projected opencast, with crushing stations and conveyors taking the ore and waste out through tunnels back to the process plant and waste dump. While the capital requirement is significant, the savings over the life of mine in terms of fleet replacement and reduction in congestion as the mine gets deeper made this an interesting project. At the time, the impact of the alternative option on GHG emissions was never considered as part of the decision-making process. Was this study to be redone today, there is no doubt that on top of safety, practicality and net present value, the long-term GHG emission footprint of such a decision would also now be considered. This move to considering options, not simply on technical and financial merits, but also the impact on GHG emissions, is a trend that is starting to take place and that has driven an evolution in both the project study process and scoping, as well as technology development.
Figure 2. The Pilbara region is the heart of Australia's world-leading iron ore industry, and is the epicentre of the industry's push to develop sustainable steel.
12 July/August 2021 // global mining review
The other big trend sweeping the industry is the march towards hydrogen and ‘green’ steel. Hydrogen (blue and green) is created through the electrolysis of water, with blue hydrogen relying on natural gas to generate the electricity for electrolysis with gas sequestration. Green, however, is truly renewable, only using solar, wind, etc., to drive the electrolysis, thus creating the opportunity for a shift to sustainable renewable energy for both fixed and mobile plants. Currently, metallurgical coal is the only known alternative to hydrogen which is used as a flux in steel manufacturing. If hydrogen could be generated and safely transported and stored in sufficient quantities from renewable sources (solar, wind, natural gas with sequestration) then it is technically feasible to generate steel with almost no
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GHG emissions. So far, green hydrogen is only available in homeopathic doses at high prices. However, APAC countries have already made positive steps, with China already operating entire bus and urban truck fleets on hydrogen, while Japan secured a first-mover advantage by pivoting some of its car manufacturers towards hydrogen and rolling out refuelling stations across the country a decade ago. For the Australian mining industry, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) is leading the charge when it comes to aspiring for green steel production, powered by zero-emissions energy. The Pilbara iron ore miner, founded by Andrew Forrest, has set an ambitious goal of being able to supply at least 15 million t of green hydrogen in 2030. The company has not wasted any time investing in green hydrogen production and technologies to make its goal a reality, including securing a partnership with the CSIRO to develop new hydrogen technologies, as well as committing AUS$32 million to a hydrogen mobility project at its Christmas Creek operation in the Pilbara. Hydrogen as a fuel source is also generating a lot of attention from a transportation standpoint. Significant investment is already being made in hydrogen-powered mining vehicles, most notably seen with a commitment from Anglo American for the build of a 290 t hydrogen-powered mining truck. Harnessing hydrogen as a fuel source goes well beyond the mine gate, with trains already running on hydrogen in Europe, and, over the next decade, likely to appear in the Pilbara, with the conversion of bulk carriers to ammonia being tested by FMG. While the appetite for hydrogen in the Australian mining sector is growing, challenges remain for
the uptake of hydrogen technologies in the industry globally, given that hydrogen solutions have not reached commercial scale.
Fugitive emissions and reduction of energy processing intensity Other areas that the Australian mining industry is focusing on in a bid to decarbonise include: increased capture and use of fugitive emissions, and the optimisation of processing to reduce the energy intensity of a mine. Fugitive emissions are released during the extraction, processing and transport of fossil fuels, and account for approximately 10% of Australia’s GHG emissions being generated. The primary drivers of emissions are the amount of coal produced, the emissions intensity of the mine, and the amount of methane captured. The industry is placing a concerted effort on managing and reducing its fugitive emissions, given they make up a significant component of GHG emissions, with work taking place in methane capture technologies amongst other initiatives. With the report from Weir Group identifying that the crushing and grinding process is the single biggest consumers of energy at mine sites – accounting for at least 25% of the overall energy consumption – opportunities to reduce the energy intensity of a mines’ materials through processing plants will be the next big focus for the sector. This represents a huge opportunity for Australia’s miners to limit emissions through the adoption of different methodologies and emerging technologies, and is therefore an area to watch. This will require an increased understanding of geometallurgical characteristics of ore types and how they impact blasting and crushing characteristics.
Momentum for clean energy tipped to continue across industry
Figure 3. Australia’s mining industry continues to source most of its energy from diesel. However, with a broad commitment to a lower carbon future, the uptake of greener energy sources is emerging.
With environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues taking a front seat on the shareholder agenda, the business case for renewable energy adoption in the mining industry is stronger than ever. The mining sector will continue to evolve and develop new innovative initiatives, technology, and partnerships to collectively meet decarbonisation targets. The next decade, in particular, is likely to see some of the biggest and fastest shifts in mining technology adoption, all driven by a singular goal to decarbonise. Australia’s mining sector already has a strong track record as a leader in sustainability performance, and with a strong commitment from key players in the industry to reduce carbon emissions, it is clear Australia’s miners are proving steadfast in their ability to apply green thinking into action.
Figure 4. Swedish mining company, Boliden, is expanding the electrified trolley system. Electrification of mine sites is a key enabler for the industry’s shift to decarbonisation.
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‘Climate Action 100+ issues first-ever net zero company benchmark of the world’s largest corporate emitters’, Climate Action 100+, https://www. climateaction100.org/news/climate-action-100-issues-its-first-ever-netzero-company-benchmark-of-the-worlds-largest-corporate-emitters/ ‘Faster decarbonisation and mining: A crisis of confidence or capital?’, Wood Mackenzie, (2020), https://www.woodmac.com/news/opinion/ faster-decarbonisation-and-mining-a-crisis-of-confidence-or-capital/ ‘Renewable Energy in the Australian Mining Sector’, Australian Renewable Energy Agency, https://arena.gov.au/knowledgebank/renewable-energy-australian-mining-sector/ 'New report identifies major carbon reduction opportunities in global mining’, The Weir Group, https://www.global.weir/newsroom/newsarticles/new-report-identifies-major-carbon-reduction-opportunities-inglobal-mining/
Terry Heymann, World Gold Council, UK, provides insight into gold’s role as an environmental, social, and governance compliant asset.
t is sometimes easy to forget that gold plays a critically important role in many aspects of everyday life – it is all around us, often hidden from view. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the biggest challenges society has faced in decades, gold helped to make lives easier. Every time someone video called their family and friends, this was made possible through the gold in the microchips in phones, laptops, and wireless infrastructure.
In addition, gold nanoparticles are a major component in rapid tests, helping to realise results quickly, as it is the gold that is responsible for the indicator on the test changing colour. Many countries have relied on these tests to get back to something approaching ‘normality’. Furthermore, gold is a unique metal which does not corrode or tarnish over time. It is, in effect, the ultimate recyclable product. This longevity and permanence is one
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last year, World Gold Council (WGC) members have supported the communities and countries in which they operate in the fight against COVID-19 – from providing tests and access to personal protective equipment and hospitals, to giving Figure 1. The World Gold Council's Responsible Gold Mining Principles. support through financial donations. Gold mining has focused on protecting lives and supporting community resilience.
Gold and ESG Over recent years, the industry has seen more focus from consumers and investors on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles and the future of the planet. There has been greater interest in responsible sourcing, with consumers wanting to understand if the products they buy have been ethically sourced. This has been a broad movement across all business, and it is to be welcomed. As should be expected, this has led to questions as to whether gold can be considered as ‘ESG compliant’. Of course, there is no universal definition of what is meant by ‘ESG compliant’, and this is a complex topic, with many considerations. However, the WGC considers gold to be an excellent asset class for investors who are looking to support high ESG standards. There are really two questions to consider when it comes to gold. Should the gold production process – and in particular gold mining – be considered ‘ESG compliant’? And even further, should gold itself – an inert, shiny yellow metal – be considered ‘ESG compliant’?
Figure 2. AngloGold Ashanti has partnered with the Ghanaian government in the fight against malaria. Source: AngloGold Ashanti.
of the reasons why gold has become intimately linked with legacy and inheritance in many societies, and why it is both given and received as a ceremonial gift in many cultures around the world. Furthermore, because it is a highly-liquid, enduring store of value, gold has provided financial security for individuals and countries for millennia. The process of finding and producing gold also plays a vital role in supporting social and economic development. Responsible gold miners make significant contributions to society by bringing jobs and opportunities to communities around the world, especially in remote areas. Over the
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Looking first at gold mining, the WGC firmly believes that responsible gold mining supports sustained social and economic development – and therefore, should very much be considered as a positive impact when viewed through an ESG lens. Of course, mining is, by its nature, extractive. And there have been a number of unfortunate incidents related to mining over recent years. Nobody in the sector is unaware of that; in many ways, that creates an even greater incentive for this industry to carefully consider how it can better support the lives of all those connected to mining. In order to instill confidence, clearly define expected best practices, and to show transparency in how responsible gold miners operate, the WGC in 2019 launched the Responsible Gold Mining Principles (RGMPs). The RGMPs are a framework which clearly set out expectations as to what constitutes responsible gold mining. They include 51 principles looking at all material ESG factors associated with gold mining. This includes
water management, climate change, gender diversity, anti-bribery and community engagement, just to name a few. The aim was not to ‘reinvent the wheel’, recognising that there are many standards and frameworks out there which the WGC have built on in developing the RGMPs. However, prior to the RGMPs, there was not one framework that spoke specifically to responsible gold mining. It took 2 years of intensive consultations with civil society, investors, non-governmental organisations, governments, and other stakeholders to develop the RGMPs. Through these consultations, which included formal submissions from more than 200 individuals and organisations, as well as numerous conversations, the WGC made the RGMPs more robust and gained confidence that companies who conformed to the RGMPs would be recognised as responsible by consumers, investors, and the down-stream gold supply chain.
are committed to the RGMPs, and this has now become a membership requirement. But the RGMPs are designed to work for all gold mining companies globally; and the WGC is pleased to see a broad range of mining companies commit to them, and hopes that this will be increasingly required by providers or capital.
UN Sustainable Development Goals During the development process for the RGMPs, they were also mapped against the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The WGC believes that when undertaken responsibly, in conformance with the RGMPs,
Gender in the mining industry One area that received significant input during the consultation process was the approach to gender, at and around the mine site. The input on this topic was taken on board and is explicitly addressed in the RGMPs. Principle 6.6: Women and Mining has two components, the first of which requires companies to identify and resolve any barriers to the advancement and fair treatment of women in the workplace. The second component of the principle creates a clear expectation that companies should contribute to the socio-economic empowerment of women in the local communities around their operations – not only as employers, but also through the supply chain, training, and community investment programmes. Principle 7.2: Understanding Communities states that companies, when engaging with local communities, must be especially alert to the dangers of causing harm that disproportionately affects women, children, Indigenous Peoples, and other potentially vulnerable or marginalised groups. These principles have been singled out for praise by Figure 3. Resolute Mining has invested in 20 micro-projects Women in Mining UK, a non-profit organisation that near its mine in Mali to help improve integration with the local promotes and progresses the development of women in economy and esure sustainability. Source: Resolute Mining. the mining and mineral sector. Conformance with the RGMPs requires implementing companies to obtain external assurance, in much the same way that companies obtain assurance on their financial statements. As part of the consultation, the company obtained feedback on the assurance framework. It is important that assurance is recognised as the WGC is setting the bar high when it comes to the RGMPs. It has put together a 3 year implementation timeline for full conformance. Whilst many companies already operate to the level set out in the RGMPs, the documentation and management systems are not always in place to allow them to demonstrate this to an external assurance provider. All members of the WGC, 33 of the Figure 4. One of the world's largest solar arrays in Burkina Faso at one of world's leading gold mining companies, IAMGOLD's mines. Source: IAMGOLD.
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over the next decade and beyond.
Figure 5. Sensitivity of annual returns.
the gold mining sector significantly contributes to sustained social and economic development and progress towards the SDGs for those communities and countries that host gold mining operations. In 2020, the WGC released a report entitled Gold Mining’s Contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The report features over 40 case studies looking at 15 of the 17 SDGs. SDG 17 (global partnerships) is key to the success of the SDGs, and in the report it is highlighted how companies are tackling disease, showcasing for instance AngloGold Ashanti’s partnership with the Ghanaian government in the fight against malaria. Their outreach programmes, together with improved community access to diagnostics and therapeutics through the mine’s hospital facilities, resulted in the incidence of malaria being reduced by 74% over 3 years and the methodologies of this programme being used to reduce malaria in other parts of the country. In the report, the WGC also highlights how gold mining supports economic development through the construction of schools, livelihoods programmes for communities, teaching farming and business skills, creating direct and indirect jobs, and improving infrastructure. WGC members are doing incredible work to support local communities: from Golden Star Resources building 43 school classrooms and dormitories near its operation in Ghana; to Resolute Mining investing in 20 micro-projects near its mine in Mali, selected by the local authorities to help improve integration with the local economy and ensure sustainability. Ultimately, if they are to be successful and be welcome neighbours, gold mining companies must strive to work with their host communities to turn mineral wealth into a means of advancing human development. Gold mines bring opportunities and act as an engine of economic growth, especially in poorer, more remote locations where there are often few alternative avenues for economic activity and community advancement. Looking ahead to 2030, there is much that needs to be done and COVID-19 has meant that achieving the SDGs will require even more of a concerted effort from government and businesses. The gold mining industry is well placed to further advance the SDGs and the leading gold mining companies are committed to doing their part in supporting their host governments and communities
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In addition, it is important to note what gold miners are doing to tackle climate change. The gold mining industry is in a good position to decarbonise, including by switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy alternatives. There are many examples where gold miners are taking the lead, including, for example, the world’s first all-electric mine – the Borden mine in Ontario, Canada, operated by Newmont – and the installation of one of the world’s largest solar arrays in Burkina Faso at an IAMGOLD mine, which not only supplies the mine but also the surrounding communities. The WGC believes that the rate of transition means that it is credible that gold mining will reach net-zero by 2050, in alignment with the Paris Accord.
Gold as an ‘ESG compliant’ So, coming back to the second question, should gold itself be considered as ‘ESG compliant? Research undertaken by the WGC shows that investing in gold means that an investment portfolio can reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions exposure over time. This is because once gold is mined it has virtually no emissions associated with it. The downstream use of gold – bars, jewellery, and for electronic products – does not have a significant impact on gold's overall carbon footprint or global GHG emissions. Importantly, holding gold in a portfolio can increase the resilience of that portfolio to climate shocks, according to the WGC’s initial research. It examined the exposure of different investment assets to four climate-related scenarios. This included a range of temperatures and the potential impact on returns over a timescale looking from 2030 to 2100. The findings suggest that gold will perform better than the likes of equities, commodities, and real estate. As such, gold is increasingly likely to be sought as an ESG-compliant asset that helps investors mitigate climate-related risks in their portfolios.
Conclusion Whilst the gold industry has done a lot to improve – and better communicate – its ESG credentials, from responsible gold mining to tackling climate change, more work needs to be done to ensure that gold continues to be a ‘go-to’ asset for investors and a cherished product for jewellery consumers. However, it is clear that gold, an essential part of everyday life, can support sustainable development and is a key enabler of the transition to a lower carbon economy.
ESG: An Ethical Explorationist’s Quandary Dr Cathryn MacCallum, Sazani Associates, and Dr Matt Jackson, Akobo Minerals AB, discuss the growing importance of environmental, social, and governance principles to mineral exploration.
change in attitude towards environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues has been brewing in the exploration industry for several decades, but exploration geologists have recognised this for much longer. Perhaps for centuries, ambitious exploration geologists have travelled the world to realise a profit from newly discovered mineralisation. In many cases, these geologists enter the industry with a desire for adventure and spend many years living among remote communities and in pristine wildernesses. With such experiences, it is natural to
develop a fondness for the people and nature, and a desire to protect both. Given the high profile failures of some mines, it is hardly surprising that some exploration geologists might be disappointed when they are successful. It would certainly not be unusual for a geologist to view the site of their career highlight – a profitable mine – and actually be disappointed. Humans often live with contradictory feelings and as such, a successful exploration geologist lives with pride in their success but also profound disappointment at the destruction they have initiated.
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As part of the global push towards a greener society, minerals are required to support the generation of new battery technologies and to construct renewable energy infrastructure. It has been accepted that while it is important to round the economy circle, there is still a requirement for minerals. This is particularly true of critical raw materials. As the climate crisis develops and the impacts on society become worse, the need to discover new minerals for the green-transition will also become clearer. While the successful exploration geologist might be disappointed with the impact on society and the environment, mining is in fact essential to society itself. So, perhaps the quandary seems reasonable. Working in Latin America in the 'noughties', the complexities of what is now known as ESG context became apparent to both authors of this article. Years later, facing similar complexities in Ethiopia, Akobo Minerals reached out to Sazani Associates to guide and place ESG consideration at the heart of their exploration activities.
Global megatrends have created an ESG spotlight This quandary no longer exists exclusively in the explorationists mind. In recent years, other groups in the mining industry have become more focused on
the problem. The world is growing, demand for raw materials is increasing, and these raw materials are simultaneously becoming harder to find. All of the mineral assets that are easy to exploit have been discovered, leaving behind those in increasingly complex geological, technological, environmental, and social contexts.1 In a study of the world’s next copper mines, the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) found that 75% of the copper metal tonnes included non-price sensitive risks. Gold explorers are obsessed with the grade and tonnage of their deposits because they have a huge impact on profitability. Humans are now moving into a world where much of the success of a mining project lies not only in the quantity and quality of an orebody, but also on its impact on society. Indeed, as the SMI discovered, 75% of the world’s future copper production may never be mined due to ‘price-insensitive’ factors.2 Such price insensitive factors include many considerations within the remit of ESG that can lead to conflict including Indigenous people’s rights, complex land tenure, poor or weak governance, and corruption issues.3 Skyrocketing demand for minerals is clashing with increasing scarcity, and that scarcity puts pressure on people and the environment. Understanding the ESG context from the outset and considering risks to both the project and the ESG context is increasingly accepted as a viable way forwards. It is often the exploration geologists who are a project’s first boots on the ground (depending on the mineral asset), sometimes following the local footsteps of artisanal miners, so the way forwards must start with them. Understanding and managing ESG risks and impacts from the outset can positively affect both exploration work and the value of a discovery.4
The role of international reporting codes
Figure 1. Aerial view of the Akobo River, an important regional resource.
Figure 2. The Akobo River.
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Since the early 2000’s, the mining sector has committed itself to transparency and materiality in their reporting of exploration activities through use of reporting international codes, governed by the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO). These CRIRSCO codes and/or instruments include names familiar to exploration geologists: PERC, JORC, NI-43-101, SAMREC, etc. While each is linked to a region, such as PERC in Europe or JORC in Australia, many of the codes are used transnationally, with a shared aim of enabling investors to make informed decisions based on an understanding of grade, tonnage, and ‘modifying factors’. The ‘modifying factors’, once only considered when sufficient grade and tonnage was inferred, are increasingly being required from the outset as the determination of ESG factors becomes associated with the value of a resource. The South African Mineral Reporting Codes have led the way forward, including ESG within their modifying factors. At the time of writing, PERC, JORC, and SME codes are following suit. The Canadian NI-43-101, as a government instrument, presents a more complex process that has resulted in the Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) preparing a good practice ESG guidance to sit alongside the NI-43-101.
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So where does this leave the exploration geologist and their hammer? What should an exploration team do when facing ESG issues? Junior exploration companies dominate the sector, having made more than 60% of all discoveries over the last 10 years.5,6 Most junior exploration companies are highly cost conscious, and their exploration geologists are likely to feel pressure to focus on rocks as opposed to ESG, but it is argued that juniors cannot afford to ignore ESG. This presents a big challenge, but a potentially manageable one if such consideration can be proven to add value to the project.
A question of value and values In parallel with the reporting codes, the investment sector is putting a spotlight on ESG factors at the exploration stage. A good example is the Digbee on-demand data, research, and ESG platform for the mining industry, which provides an online screening and matchmaking service for projects and investors. Major mining companies are also prioritising acquisition of junior discoveries that have a low ESG risk profile. Environmental issues, for the most part, are understandable and manageable at the exploration stage, because of their quantitative and scientific nature and characteristics. Social and associated governance issues, while increasingly acknowledged as being material, are complex, qualitative, and subject to change without prior warning. Exploration permits rarely require formal engagement processes and communities are rarely consulted as part of the process. More often than not, engagements are grounded in the culture and values of the explorer with a conscience. When managed well with demonstrable relationships of trust and ongoing dialogue, it is often said that a social licence has been achieved. Social licence to operate, originally coined to describe acceptance more than 30 years ago, is accepted and acknowledged as a key business risk to the sector, topping the EY risk charts for 3 years in a row, and has been used by national governments as a defence in international arbitrations.7 However, while accepted, it remains a value laden term, a feature of doctoral and academic social science research and being wrongly associated with an absence of protest instead of a strategic approach to achieving acceptance.8 Geologists, often as the first to make contact with the communities and people whose livelihoods depend on the area they are wanting to explore, are rarely social scientists or social performance specialists. For the exploration geologist, this just adds to confusion as to what does and what should this mean in the field?
Achieving and maintaining a social licence How should an exploration geologist navigate and manage securing a social licence? What attributes should they adopt? How should they address issues from previous explorers? Understanding the importance and value of a social licence is as important as understanding when to call in the ‘specialists’. In an attempt to answer these questions and translate social science for geoscientists, Dr Cathryn MacCallum,
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co-author of this article, proposed that a social licence requires an understanding of the human terrain, ubiquity and diversity of social fissures, cracks, and seams.9 In other words, a social licence to operate can be regarded as the outcome of three interrelated aspects: understanding the ESG context, effective engagement, and shared value opportunities.
Understanding the ESG context The pre-existing relationships, values, and dependencies on and with the natural resources in the area where exploration activity is planned. In short: who does what, where, when and how, and who owns and/or controls access to the natural resources? What is the status of relationships and interrelationships within and between communities and governance structures, how is power defined, determined, and manifested?
Effective engagement Initiating, responding to, and maintaining effective relationships requires the aforementioned understanding, knowledge and defining of the characteristics of different stakeholders, with stakeholders defined as individuals and entities with an interest in the project, potentially affected by or able to have an effect on the desired outcome. Building relationships of trust and transparency, that are both respectful, responsive and culturally appropriate, requires dialogue.
Shared value Linking the vitality and sustainable development of an area to a company’s competitiveness. This is achieved by building on the knowledge of the local context and determining mutual opportunities for shared benefits.10 This prepares the ground for strategic, manageable investments that do not create unsustainable dependencies.
Case study: Ethiopia The Akobo Minerals AB gold project in southwest Ethiopia is at resource definition stage with numerous additional targets. While working alongside local artisanal miners, company geologists discovered a high-grade gold deposit (20.9 g/t). The discovery has the potential to open up a new mining province in an area which was pristine wilderness only 12 years ago. Company geologists regard themselves as having an excellent relationship with the communities around where they work, but they are also cognisant that as their project develops, the relationship may well change. The project is situated in a region where artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) takes place. There are established artisanal mining villages on the periphery of the licence area with extensive ASM activity across the Akobo project licence area. There are no rehabilitation or restoration measures in place to ameliorate the environmental impacts caused by artisanal mining, which in turn impact negatively on the region’s ecosystem services. As the Akobo Minerals project develops and infrastructure improves, the project can expect a further
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influx of people either engaging in ASM and or seeking employment. The presence of such a rich natural resource base, combined with the ASM activity, presents both a potential opportunity and a risk to Akobo Minerals. As a junior exploration company with a conscience and desire to be responsible and minimise the potential ESG risks to the operation, it realised there was a need to get external support to maintain what it now calls its social licence. The company reached out to Sazani Associates, a non-profit group specialising in community engagement and sustainable livelihoods, with an established history of working across East Africa. Working together, Akobo Minerals is building on its current standing to further develop an effective relationship with the communities in the area, built on dialogue, mutual respect, and trust. Through mapping the existing natural resource use and the ecosystem services in the area, the intent is to work with the host communities to reduce ecosystem vulnerability and support the communities that depend on natural resources in the area to improve their quality of life in a sustainable manner, without causing dependency on Akobo Minerals. To achieve this, Sazani is in the process of developing a sustainable natural resource management plan (SNRMP). SNRMP is a working title for the plan, which will hopefully be renamed by the community through the development process. This plan will involve three stages: Stage 1 will prepare a situation analysis that combines an ESG risk and opportunity assessment with a rapid rural appraisal of the area to assess the stability of the ecosystem, as well as the vulnerability of the communities in the project area. Stage 2 will focus on the preparation of a sustainable natural resource management plan to guide effective and progressive management of relationships. The plan will draw on the situation analysis of what ecosystem services that the community depend up on and how access, control, and ownership of the natural resources is governed.
Figure 3. Artisanal mining near the Akobo River.
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Stage 3 will be a provision of ongoing technical support for the establishment of a payment for ecosystem services (PES) scheme, managed by the community for the community, as a key outcome of the implementation of the SNRMP. PES schemes are community focused approaches to generating income through conserving the natural environment. The establishment of a PES scheme, as a market-based mechanism to encourage the conservation of natural resources, will facilitate the autonomous sustainable development of the area and will be a ground-breaking approach for the mining sector.
Conclusion As social licence continues to dominate the business risk indices, an understanding of the basic principles of social licence to operate are essential skills for the junior exploration companies that dominate this activity.7 Understanding what is not known is equally important, as well as also knowing when to bring in the specialists. By partnering with Sazani at an early stage, Akobo Minerals hopes it will enable the project to truly demonstrate the importance of being strategic and considering social license, in terms of strategic competitiveness and as being responsible miners. ESG has become an essential consideration for the exploration geologist. Gaining an understanding of what is required is an essential attribute for success in the minerals sector of the 21st century. Hence the quandary for an exploration geologist has become not whether to engage in ESG studies, but rather: how to do it?
VALENTA, R.K., KEMP, D., OWEN, J.R., CORDER, G.D., and LÉBRE, É., ‘Re-thinking complex orebodies: Consequences for the future world supply of copper’, Journal of Cleaner Production, (2019), Vol. 220, pp. 816 – 826. 2. VALENTA, R., ‘Future metal supply – why price rises and cost innovations alone won’t save us’, Ore Deposits Hub, (20 May 2020). 3. MACKENZIE, S. EVERINGHAM, J., and BOURKE, P., ‘The Social Dimensions of Mineral Exploration’, SEG Discovery, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland, (April 2020), No. 121. 4. ‘e3 Plus: A framework for responsible exploration: Principles and guidance notes’, Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), (2014), www.pdac.ca/priorities/responsible-exploration/ e3-plus 5. SCHODDE, R., ‘Trends in exploration’, presented at the International Mining and Resources Conference, Melbourne (30 October 2019), https://minexconsulting.com/trends-in-exploration/ 6. WIDDUP, H., ‘The past, present and future of exploration funding’, AusIMM Bulletin, (June 2019), www.ausimmbulletin.com/opinion/ the-past-present-and-future-of exploration- funding/ 7. ‘The top risks facing mining and metals in 2020 – 21 reflect a new era of disruption from both within and outside of the sector:’, EY, (2020), www.ey.com/en_gl/mining-metals/10-businessrisks-facingmining-and-metals 8. KEMP, D., and OWEN, J.R., ‘Establishing the foundations for effective social performance in the global mining industry’, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining, Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland, (2019). 9. MACCALLUM, C.S, ‘A Social License for Sustainable Development through Mining’, InfoMine, (2016). 10. FRASER, J., KUNZ, N., and BATDORI, B., ‘Can mineral exploration projects create and share value with communities? A case study from Mongolia’, Resources Policy, (2019), Vol. 63, Article 101455, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resourpol.2019.101455
with the EZshot® hybrid, as there was no need to train employees or buy additional equipment whilst still generating the benefits of an electronic detonator.
Figure 1. EZshot Electronic Detonator. Table 1. Use of NONEls and EZshot implementation at the mine in Zacatecas, Mexico Delay
NONEL LP Serie
EZshot 11 000 msec.
11 050 msec.
11 100 msec.
11 150 msec.
Dyno Nobel Mexico carried out 10 trial blasts with the EZshot system for perimeter blasts in a polymetallic underground mine located in Zacatecas, Mexico (Figure 1). The system combines the precision of electronic timing with the ease of the NONEL shock tube. This easy to use electronic detonator comes in factory programmed delay times, ranging from 1100 – 20 000 msec., making it well-suited to underground perimeter blasting. The customer provided blast designs specific to the rock they were working on (skarn and limestone), and from there a firing sequence was created in order to reduce over-break and the associated over-excavation. The goal was also to produce a stable tunnel ceiling to reduce the scaling and the risk factor involved in this activity. The NONELs used at the mine follow the Mexican delay series comprised of 15 periods, ending at 9600 msec. (Table 1). With the EZshot implementation, the series was increased in four periods: P1 (11 000 msec.). P2 (11 050 msec.). P3 (11 100 msec.). P4 (11 150 msec.). This allowed the mine to use 19 delays in total, and the benefits obtained included: Reduction of over-excavation and overbreaking of the rock, which improved tunnel quality by reducing the operations of scaling on the crown and walls. Better granulometry of the rock improved fragmentation, due to better energy distribution. Increased safety by reducing overbreak of the rock and the time spent in scaling. This meant that the risk of falling rock was lower and the exposure time was reduced.
Figure 2. Firing sequence (4 m x 4 m). NONEL + EZshot used in limestone.
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Mine operations were observed and surveys were carried out with a Void Scanner (provided by Oviedo, a Dyno Nobel Mexico distributor), prior to the implementation of EZshot. This allowed for a comparison of over-excavation with NONEL vs EZshot. Before EZshot was implemented, the way crews worked on preparation and development works was observed. This made it possible to identify parameters that needed adjustments. However, when starting to utilise EZshot, the decision was made not to modify them, and instead to identify the benefit that the product can provide on its own. For example, it was identified that the parallelism and symmetry of the drill template had considerable variations, but it was not modified to identify how much overbreaking could be diminished without correcting the lack of symmetry and parallelism. When EZshot was first used, the drill template was marked to serve as a guide to the distribution of the holes, mainly on the perimeter, although the workers did not respect the marking. Large boards and spacings were generated and
made it difficult to break the rock Table 2. Estimated values based on costs provided by different clients. 4.1 m advance is being considered in a 6 m x 4.5 m section. Units: L (labour), p (piece). – this could also be observed in the quality of the work. Without EZshot With EZshot Reduction Unit cost Saving The effective drilling depth Scaling (Labour) 3L 1L 2L US$11.22 US$22.44 varied from 3.5 m to 4.4 m (the Anchor 52 p 44 p 8p US$9.40 US$75,20 length of the bar was 4.9 m). Labour (per anchor) 52 L 44 L 8L US$2.30 US$18.40 Despite the poor drilling accuracy, 3 3 3 good results were obtained with 7m 2m US$127.79 US$262.23 Shotcrete 9m the shots that were made, mainly Wire mesh (2 x 3 m) 14 p 11 p 3p US$29.98 US$93.21 in terms of the quality of the 3 Labour (per m ) 9 L 7L 2L US$4.60 US$9.44 perimeter, since the half barrels 3 3 3 151 m 63 m US$13.08 US$829.91 Transportation cost 215 m were marked and scaling labour was reduced. Estimated savings from use of EZshot US$1310.84 By obtaining the results from the modelling produced by the Void Scanner while the blasting was being carried out, the overbreak generated when using EZshot was calculated and compared with what was generated without using EZshot (Figure 2). The section width, section height, and the volume extracted with each blast were considered. With all the data obtained, the necessary calculations were carried out to determine whether the product provided any benefits in safety, stability, and/or control. Figure 3 shows the improvement after starting to implement EZshot in the production and development works. The half barrels marked can be observed, without overbreak in the upper part of the tunnel and in the upper area of the walls.
Results The over-excavation was reduced, on average 63 m3 in large section works, generating the following estimate of savings: Using volume as a base, it was found that when using Figure 3. Quality of the work after implementing EZshot. EZshot, the over-excavation on average was reduced to 8 – 9%, while it was previously 45 – 50%. It can be observed that the indirect savings generated The workers placed a lot of emphasis on this point, were significant, based on a single blast (Table 2). When commenting that they had to perform scaling because considering that the unit on which the tests were carried it is part of the mining cycle established by the mine out performs an average of three blasts per shift on works procedures, but that the scaling task was now minimal. It was found that the use of EZshot had a positive effect with section of 6 m x 4.5 m, and accounting for three shifts on blasting, generating less scaling, improving the a day, a daily saving of US$11 797 can be calculated. Although there are still areas of opportunity in drilling stability of the work, improving the fragmentation of (symmetry and parallelism), with the implementation of the material, generating vibrations that are below the EZshot it was possible to decrease the over-excavation. regulations, and, most importantly, reducing the risk With the support of the mine, work will continue to factor and improving worker safety. improve the areas of opportunity in the aforementioned Conclusion points to seek to get the maximum potential from utilising After the trials were carried out, it was concluded that the use EZshot. The quality of the work improved considerably – the half of hybrid detonators, such as the EZshot, can be of great barrels marked on the perimeter are observed without benefit in improving the perimeter blasting of mining works, overbreak of rock in the areas where the drilling was thus helping to achieve safer workplaces for personnel who adequate, and in areas where the spacing was greater carry out mining activities. than that established in the template (caused by the lack Note of symmetry and parallelism between holes). However, Written by Juan Carlos García, in collaboration with it can be further improved by correcting the drilling Arturo Poupard and Daniel Arreazola, supported during the parameters. The scaling labour was reduced, including receiving test by Nitro Explosivos S.A. de C.V. The author appreciates the comments from mine personnel about the excellent support provided by Eduardo Briceño in order to carry out results and the minimum scaling required in the area. such tests.
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Demetre Harris, Sandvik, USA, outlines how product and solution providers have adapted, and are continuing to adapt, to the challenges of the ever-evolving mining industry.
mining company must always anticipate that its products will be used in any possible scenario. Whether terrain is flat or rocky, or temperatures are tropical or arctic, a drill rig must be able to withstand all kinds of conditions, in order for it to be transferable across different climates, terrains, and mineral deposits. Sandvik, an engineering company that provides solutions for the mining and construction markets, has a legacy that spans well over a century, and is therefore very familiar with this need to be adaptable. Founded in Sweden in 1862, Sandvik has always believed in pushing itself to provide cost-effective, sustainable products that are designed with productivity, technology and maintainability in mind, regardless of the circumstances. To continue to innovate requires a strategic mindset and dedication to one’s craft. Sandvik invests SEK 3.4 billion (approximately US$398 million) every year into research and development, while also devoting countless hours to designing equipment that bolsters innovation. In order to understand Sandvik’s longevity and its global outlook, it is helpful to look back at its founder to conceptualise
how mining, drilling, and innovation has always been an integral part of Sandvik’s DNA.
Göran Fredrik Göransson: ‘The Maverick’ In a coincidental twist, Sandvik’s founder, Göran Fredrik Göransson, possessed a life trajectory that mirrors the company’s values generations after his passing in 1900. As a young adult, Göransson worked at a shipping company and later travelled abroad – not an easy feat at that time. His travel experiences provided Göransson with the international perspective Sandvik still upholds to this day. Göransson’s vision helped the shipping company to invest in iron and steel. When the company came to purchase an annual production of pig iron, it was this acquisition which ultimately kick-started Sandviken Jernverk – now known as Sandvik since 1972. As a pioneer Göransson became the first person to utilise the Bessmer process on a massive scale. This process assists steel production by removing impurities from iron via oxidation. Currently 80% of the metal in Sandvik’s steel is recycled, which conveys how Sandvik continues to take sustainability seriously.
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The following sections outline how Sandvik continues to strive to uphold the values and vision of its founder through its products and services.
Figure 1. iSeries drill rigs utilise high precision GPS to help the onboard operator produce clean holes in the correct locations, improving fragmentation.
The iSeries family The iSeries drill rig family is the cornerstone of Sandvik’s rotary drilling portfolio. The series features the DR410i, DR412i, and the DR416i. Although each drill has its respective features, there is consistency across all models in terms of operator experience. Sandvik’s iSeries is the embodiment of Sandvik’s commitment to implementing modern design. Overall, the iSeries increases efficiency because of the onboard functionality of the drill. iSeries drill rigs have sensors on the drill and within the rig itself. These multiple sensors allow the operator to make calculated decisions regarding drill depth when taking into consideration the terrain and altitude of a drill site. The feedback provided by the sensors monitors crucial information, such as fuel and water levels and information about pull-down, just to name a few. Sandvik’s iSeries represents the future because it provides a window into automation and data reporting, while concurrently having a focus on who operates the machinery. The iSeries informs the present, but will always be a symbol of the future, and of how Sandvik will continue to strive to push the envelope and lead the mining industry forward.
Figure 2. The Sandvik TIM3D Navigation Solution, which operates on the Sandvik Intelligent Control System Architecture (SICA), uses advanced visual tools for planning, reporting and analysis, in order to enable operations to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time drilling accurate and consistent holes.
The link between human and machine is inextricable and undeniable. An advancement in drill rigs means a completely different experience for the operator. If a rig is efficient and easy to use, that means it democratises the experience of the operator by levelling the playing field. Operators with different skill levels will be able to utilise the rig, which means that not only an ‘expert’ would have to be in charge. Designing from an ergonomic perspective involves maintaining the operator’s day-to-day tasks as a top priority. Sandvik’s drill rigs have an adjustable operator’s seat, large touch screens, seat mounted buttons, and joysticks within an arm’s length. All of these attributes keep the operator’s body and mind from working too strenuously. The operator will therefore be more productive, and the site as a whole reaps these benefits. For over 150 years, Sandvik has prioritised customer feedback, as it is a catalyst for innovation. Mining is an industry that deals with many variables, some known and some that may arise at a moment’s notice. Therefore, a paramount sentiment among the mining industry has to include safety as one of its core tenets. For Sandvik in particular, it believes in ‘zero harm’ and this motto is inclusive of its own employees and customers’ employees as well.
Supporting the customer
Figure 3. Ergonomic cabin design features enhance the operators interface with the machine leading to improved production.
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Data is the driving force behind how customers make informed decisions about purchases and how companies are able to assist customers. Although mining has to focus on the present and the task at hand to maximise productivity, concurrently mining companies must always grapple with the future. Mining companies must be nimble and plan ahead. They want to see tangible improvements and the data that backs up a particular innovation. Mining customers are especially active in the buying process because they are deeply invested in learning about products before they purchase them. Even after a purchase, customers require a personal connection, particularly when it comes to a tech issue.
Figure 4. Instant access to information, drill plans, and machine health improve operator engagement and productivity.
If a problem arises, Sandvik’s technical service team can assist an engineer using different methods of remote support, no matter where an operator is located. With the permission of the client, a Sandvik support team member can assist an operator or engineer using technology that allows the support team member to see what the operator sees. This technology makes the Sandvik support team feel as though they are inside of the drill rig, allowing the support team member to accurately pinpoint the issue causing a malfunction and provide specific directions to rectify the problem. Currently a malfunction is rectified after it has occurred, but with continued technological advances there will be a point where it is possible to anticipate a malfunction before it happens. Remote support is not just about maintenance, it is about equipment uptime and efficiency as well. Advanced diagnostics can provide suggestions on how to optimise drill performance. As the world continues to move more and more into a world that relies on virtual interactions, remote support will continue to evolve.
Toughest conditions, coarsest materials – time for EFFICIENT PROCESSES Autogenous/ Semi-autogenous mills
The future is now As opposed to an industry like automobiles that has always been rapidly changing and innovating, the mining industry has taken a different approach in that it did not initially latch on to the use of advanced technology. The shift in adopting a more technological mindset has meant major upgrades throughout the mining industry, including high precision (HP) GPS navigation. Embracing this technology means being committed to the management of change, implementing improved processes which use less energy and in turn increase productivity, thereby producing a ripple effect of efficiency. The mining industry has always been connected to technology in varying ways, but now we are living in an era that ensures that data is always of the utmost importance. Although automation cannot solve every problem, it is an important part of how technology has advanced. It is clear from the last couple of decades that the mining industry has been making tangible progress with innovation. As the mining industry continues to grow, sustainability, productivity, and maintainability will be the trifecta that guides progress.
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Don Howard, Whitmore® | Jet-Lube®, USA, outlines the importance of quality lubricants for compression crushers in order to help maintain maximum uptime at a minimum cost.
rushers are machines used to reduce the size of materials in the primary, secondary, and tertiary crushing stages in the size reduction process. They are utilised in aggregates production, construction, material recycling, and in mining operations. Size reduction is accomplished by two primary methods: impact and compression. Impact crushers reduce size by initially impacting the feed material with rapidly moving hammers or blow bars. As material feeds through the crusher, the size is further reduced by impacting with the walls of the unit and with the process material itself.
Compression crushers, the subject of this article, reduce feed material size by compressing or squeezing the particles between two surfaces. As process material moves through the crusher, the crushing zone becomes progressively narrower, resulting in continued particle size reduction until the material is small enough to be discharged. The three most common compression crushers are jaw, gyratory, and cone crushers. Cone and gyratory crushers are similar in operation and lubrication requirements. Before discussing the primary compression crusher lubrication points, it is suggested that all electric motors bearings be correctly lubricated with a suitable grease.
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Many operators use polyurea greases, which are recognised for their mechanical stability and oxidation resistance. An example of such a grease is Jet-Lube Polyurea Grease. Although EM bearings do not require extreme pressure (EP) properties, Jet-Lube Polyurea Grease has mild EP and is suitable for the application.
Jaw crushers Jaw crushers are a type of compression crusher. They are usually used at the primary stage where material size is reduced for easier transport to the next stage by conveyor. Jaw crushers crush material by compressing it between a stationary and moving jaw or swing arm. There are two
types of jaw crushers: single toggle, and double toggle. The single toggle jaw crusher is more commonly used due to its higher throughput. In the single toggle jaw crusher, the eccentric, which creates the ‘chewing’ action of the moving jaw towards the stationary jaw, is located at the top of the swing arm. The jaws are positioned so the gap between them narrows as the process feed is crushed into progressively smaller pieces. The main lubrication points in a jaw crusher are the eccentric shaft main or outer bearings and the pitman bearings. Often, spherical roller bearings are used for their self-aligning characteristics. Main and pitman bearings are heavily loaded and subject to shock loading or load spikes and vibration. Both bearings require a mechanically stable grease that maintains its consistency. In harsh environments, the grease should have a high base oil viscosity to provide adequate film thickness during periods of high vibration and shock loading. Although the components are sealed and protected to a degree, best greasing practices should prevent external contamination. An example of a suitable grease for jaw crushers includes Jet-Lube Jet-Plex EPTM Grease. This grease is suited for both main and pitman bearings, as well as other applications, including all single or double toggle grease points of a jaw crusher. Jet-Lube Jet-Plex EP Grease is a lithium complex grease with an ISO VG 680 base oil. The grease has sufficient load-carrying properties, as suggested by its 315 kgf Four Ball EP Test (ASTM D2596) Weld Point, to provide protection during high and shock loading operation. The high base fluid viscosity supports film formation, durability, and thickness for superior wear protection.
Figure 1. Deacon Crush-Bac backing compound (blue).
Figure 2. Crusher in use in a quarry.
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Gyratory and cone crushers are compression crushers. They crush material in a crushing cavity between a fixed external surface called the bowl liner and an oscillating cone-shaped mantle. Gyratory crushers are usually used at the primary stage, while cone crushers are more often used at the secondary and tertiary stages due to their higher speed and ability to produce smaller sized discharge particles. Gyratory crushers utilise oil lubrication to perform several functions. The oil is drawn from a common remote reservoir and serves two circuits. In the lubrication circuit, oil is drawn from the reservoir through a filter to remove solids and possibly cooled. The oil is pumped to the thrust bearing, eccentric bushing, and to the bevel gear and pinion on its return to the reservoir. The oil must be suitable for use with steel gears, bronze thrust bearing, and the Babbitt eccentric bushing. In addition to these lubrication duties, the oil may also be used in the main shaft positioning system which controls mantle height or gap. The main shaft positioning system, sometimes referred to a hydroset system, draws oil from the reservoir in its own circuit. This oil enters the unit below the main shaft adjusting its position through continuously self-adjusting hydraulic pressure on the step bearing assembly according to operational needs. Components in the oil circuit are generally lubricated with an EP or anti-scuff (AS) gear oil. Whitmore’s ParagonTM Heavy Duty Enclosed Gear Oil, Paragon Gold High Performance EP
Gear Oil, Paragon Synthetic Blend Gear Oil, and Decathlon® Extreme Synthetic EP Gear Oil Series are examples of gear oils meeting the requirements of the application. The Paragon Series includes mineral oil and synthetic blend EP/AS based gear oils. The Decathlon Extreme Series are full synthetic EP/AS gear oils based on PAO technology. It is suggested that the operator follow original equipment manufacturer (OEM) recommendations regarding viscosity grade. The spider bearing is a main feature in a gyratory crusher. It acts as the upper pivot or centring point of the mantle which is rotated at its lower end. The spider bearing is located beneath the spider cap. The spider cap and spider arms, which extend across the crushers feed opening, split the feed material distributing it into the crusher. The spider arms also protect grease lines used to lubricate the spider bearing. This is a difficult application. A mechanically stable grease with a high base oil viscosity, like the Jet-Lube Jet-Plex EP Grease, performs well in this application.
Cone crushers Cone crushers are secondary and tertiary stage crushers. They are higher speed than gyratory crushers and their parallel crushing zone at the discharge end of the bowl-mantle gap tends to yield smaller and more consistent particles. Like gyratory crushers, cone crushers utilise a remote reservoir system to provide filtered and temperature adjusted oil to the step bearing, eccentric bushing or bearing, main shaft and wear plates, upper bearings, and the bevel gear and pinion on its return to the reservoir. Components in the oil circuit are generally lubricated with an EP/AS gear oil. As discussed in the previous section on gyratory crushers, the Paragon and Decathlon Extreme Series are examples of gear oils meeting the requirements of the application. It is suggested that the operator follow OEM recommendations regarding viscosity grade. Cone crushers do not have a spider bearing. Instead, the mantle is supported by a set of oil lubricated bearings further down the shaft creating a lower pivot point. A billet thread system may be used to control gap and to release tramp, uncrushable material. The threads are generally lubricated with grease and often a grease containing molybdenum disulfide, a friction and wear controlling solid lubricant. Either Jet-Lube Jet-Plex EP Grease or Jet-Lube Alco EP Grease, which contain molybdenum disulfide, are suitable for the gap control system. Some cone crushers may utilise a hydraulic system to control gap and to release tramp, uncrushable material. This may require a hydraulic oil, typically ISO VG 32-68 oils will be used but it is recommended that operators follow OEM viscosity guidelines. Examples of ashless hydraulic oils suitable for this purpose are Whitmore HyperionTM and Whitmore Hyperion Synthetic Blend Oils.
Non-lubricant requirements and recommendations for gyratory and cone crushers
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Backing compound Gyratory and cone crushers require a non-lubricant compound called a backing compound. These crushers process thousands of tonnes of material with varying
hardness and at high process rates. Hardened liners protect the bowl and mantle from damage; the liners take the beating and hammering effect of the process. Liners are routinely changed as part of crusher maintenance. A set of liners may have a service life ranging from a few weeks to a few months. In some cases, they are routinely changed several times per year. There is always an annular gap between the liner and the surface that it is protecting; leaving this gap would shorten the life of the liner and potentially damage the head (mantle support component) or bowl themselves. This gap is filled with a backing compound. The backing compound must be durable and impact and crack resistant.
Backing compounds are multi-part epoxy systems. They require accurate measuring to obtain the correct curing time, hardness and durability. The crusher is out of production during the relining process. An example of a backing compound is Jet-Lube’s Deacon® Crush-BacTM, which is a two-part epoxy. The resin and hardener are packaged and blended in a 1:1 ratio. In the process, the bowl walls and head are sprayed with Jet-Lube EMSTM to prevent Deacon Crush-Bac from bonding to machine surfaces. The bottom seams are sealed with Deacon 327-RTV, holes and gaps are sealed with Deacon Mold Pac to prevent leakage. Pouring the Deacon Crush-Bac into the liner gap is made easier by forming funnels using Deacon Mold-Pac Casting Retainer Putty. The unit is ready to go back into service up to 50% faster due to Deacon Crush-Bac’s functional cure time of 5 – 6 hours. Experience suggests that Deacon Crush-Bac remains serviceable longer, resisting cracking and fracturing, allowing for increased production per relining of up to 37.5%. Because Deacon Crush-Bac uses no fillers such as quartz, silica or limestone, one 22 lb pail of the product yields approximately 77% more volume. That is, a 22 lb pail of Deacon Crush-Bac yields 601 in.3 (9849 cm3) to fill the gap vs 340 in.3 (5573 cm3), which is typical of other products.
Figure 3. Deacon Crush-Bac being poured.
Figure 4. Crusher being fed by a large excavator.
In the harsh environment in which gyratory and cone crushers operate, there is real potential for contamination of the oil in the reservoir, which lubricates virtually all critical components, with abrasive contaminants and moisture. Severe abrasive wear of bearings, gears, hydraulic pumps, and the control of rust and loss of lubricating properties, additive depletion, and corrosion due to moisture contamination are important considerations. Service lives of all components in these systems can be extended by using desiccant breathers to keep oil clean and dry. Desiccant breathers remove moisture and abrasive particles from the air during normal air exchange between the reservoir’s head space and the environment. An example of a desiccant breather line is the Air Sentry® line. An example of a desiccant breather within this line is the Guardian® Series. With a higher silica gel capacity, these breathers can remain in service for longer than most. They will also remove abrasive particles down to 0.2 microns ensuring that components of both the gear and hydraulic oil circuits of gyratory and cone crushers are protected from damage caused by moisture and abrasive particles.
Figure 5. In-pit primary crusher.
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Crushers, regardless of the type of crusher and the material being crushed, work continuously under harsh conditions. Chronic conditions of high loads, including shock loads or load spikes, severe vibration and very high dust conditions, have the potential to cause frequent production interruptions and high maintenance costs. Quality lubricants and a focused reliability programme are essential to maintaining maximum uptime at a minimum cost.
Farrukh Yaqub, SKF Australia, discusses the advances in condition monitoring and data analytics that are helping owners to optimise the reliability, availability, and cost of grinding operations.
rinding is a critical process in the mining value chain. The performance of downstream processes in the production of copper, iron, gold, and cement all depend on consistent grinding of input materials. Grinding mill throughput also plays a key role on the overall productivity and profitability of a mine. In recent years, grinding mills have become the focus of increased attention. To maximise yields and exploit lower quality ores, owners need their grinding mills to work harder and perform more consistently. Grinding is also a highly energy-intensive process, making mills a target for efficiency improvement efforts aimed at cutting operating costs and reducing the carbon footprint of materials production. Against this backdrop, the use of predictive technologies in grinding mills is growing, as owners seek ways to better understand the performance and reliability of their assets. By measuring a range of physical characteristics – such as temperature, vibration levels, and the position of key components – condition monitoring systems aim to provide early warning of wear, breakages, and other problems that could affect process performance or lead to unscheduled shutdowns.
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At its simplest, condition monitoring involves periodic manual measurements using hand-held data collectors, such as temperature or vibration probes. Operators or their contractors may make a series of measurements on a monthly basis, increasing that frequency if anomalies in the data suggest cause for concern. More recently, digitalisation and the growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies has enabled the development of more automated monitoring solutions. Networks of sensors permanently attached to machines can continuously record data in conjunction with the process parameters and transmit to a central on or offsite location for data analytics, diagnostics, and prognostics. Continuous condition monitoring has a number of advantages for owners: automated data collection is consistent, reliable, cheaper, and safer than manual monitoring. It also reduces the mobilisation cost to remote locations and allows on-site operations and maintenance personnel to spend more time on higher-value tasks. Permanently installed systems also pick-up problems far in advance. If an issue develops in the hours or days after a round of manual measurements, it may not be spotted for several weeks.
Data overload Modern wired condition monitoring systems create a different set of challenges, however. The most significant of those is the sheer volume of data. Together, the sensors installed on a mill can generate millions of data points every month. Combing manually through all that data to spot potential problems is too much of a task for even the most experienced data analyst. To overcome that issue, today’s most advanced mill condition monitoring systems use sophisticated analytical techniques to automate significant parts of their data processing. Reliability engineers have access to a large, and growing, set of analytical tools that allow them to filter data in different ways, identify transient events or long-term trends, and detect faint but important signals in complex, noisy data. Selecting and using the most appropriate tools for a grinding mill requires a combination of advanced analytical skills and deep knowledge of equipment performance and health. SKF has been involved in the design and analysis of rotating equipment for more than 110 years, and the company has decades of experience in condition monitoring – using both hand-held and permanently installed technology. In the mining and materials processing sectors, SKF's specifically designed mill monitoring systems (MMS') are deployed around the globe.
The mill monitoring system
Figure 1. Continuous condition monitoring can pick-up problems in advance.
Figure 2. SKF has used decades of experience to specifically design mill monitoring systems (MMS).
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While they share a number of common components, the company’s mill monitoring systems are customised to meet the requirements of each mill and each end-user. One key design decision is the number and type of sensors to install on the machine, and that depends on the design of the mill and associated failure modes. Depending upon the design, drive assembly and failure modes, SKF’s customised solution provides robust predictability through multiple sensing arrangements, which include: vibration, temperature, pressure, gap, and process data. MMS' not only collect data through their array of sensors, but they also interface with control systems to streamline data collection in conjunction with process and production parameters. That interface has a critical role to play in the overall performance of the condition monitoring system, as it provides context that aids the interpretation of the sensor data. The operational data is important because condition monitoring data points – such as temperatures, gaps, and vibration levels – are strongly affected by the mill’s working conditions. Differences in load, material characteristics, and operating speeds will impact the sensor readings. The thickness of the oil film in a hydrostatic bearing will depend on the pressure generated by the lubrication pump, for example. When the MMS is interfaced with the control systems, it can make decisions about whether the sensor data it is receiving is providing a useful picture of the mill’s condition. Typically, reliability engineers want to look at data from steady state operation, and the fieldbus
connection allows this to be determined automatically. Data recorded during transient events, such as start up or shut down procedures, is filtered through simultaneous sampling of all variables.
On the ground and in the cloud Data analysis in the mill monitoring system is carried out in two places: on-site within the data acquisition system, and off-site in the SKF cloud. Splitting the work this way means the system can respond quickly to urgent events, while also taking advantage of the greater computing power, and human expertise, available at SKF’s condition monitoring centres around the world. In normal use, the on-site system will detect times when the mill is operating at a suitable steady state, then transmit selected Figure 3. Advanced MMS are increasingly used to enable sustainable long-term sensor data over a secure internet performance improvements and optimise production. connection to the off-site servers. The on-site system also triggers an alarm if there is an abnormality in the data, in addition to capturing pre recommendations for future interventions. Is the and post event data. In such cases, the system also sends problem mild enough to wait until the next scheduled the sensors’ data to the SKF servers. overhaul, or should the operator plan an earlier It is at the SKF condition monitoring centres that the shutdown to replace the part? Based on the specialists’ analytical heavy lifting is done. Software at the centres feedback, the AI and machine learning (ML) system continually filters and monitors the incoming data, adapts and tunes itself for future diagnostics and hunting for signals that could indicate a developing prognostics. problem at the mill. The analytical techniques used are From predictability to performance based on the knowledge of the possible failure modes in Maintenance decisions are made in collaboration with different types of equipment, and the effect of such the mill operator, and they require the costs and benefits failures on sensor readings. of different intervention strategies to be carefully While many condition monitoring tools are based on balanced. Running a component to the end of its safe life explicit rules, coded into the system by experienced may be the least disruptive option, for example, but reliability engineers, the most advanced systems are now earlier replacement may allow the worn part to be using artificial intelligence and machine learning remanufactured and reinstalled at a later date. For large, techniques to increase their ability to detect potential high value components such as trunnion bearings, issues. In this approach, the monitoring system uses the remanufacturing offers significant cost savings for data it collects to build a ‘digital twin’ of the grinding operators. Remanufacturing also has environmental mill. This digital twin is a representation of the range of benefits, requiring fewer materials and less energy than data generated by normal operations. Comparing new the production of a new item. With colleagues in SKF AI, data against this historical baseline, the artificial SKF is already working on new approaches that automate intelligence (AI) system can flag unusual events, even if it more of the reliability analysis and which allow the has not been explicitly told to look for them, and ask the company to make more accurate predictions and reliability specialists to take a closer look at the data. actionable recommendations for its clients. When one of the MMS’ analytical tools identifies a Advanced MMS' are not just helping owners to potential issue, the next step involves human expertise. optimise the short and medium-term reliability and An SKF reliability specialist will look to the data, using cost-effectiveness of their assets. Increasingly, they are their experience and judgement to determine the most also being used to enable sustainable long-term appropriate action. Their recommendation will depend performance improvements and optimise production, on the nature of and severity of the issue. while having reliable rotation. By collecting data from Some problems require quick, but non-disruptive multiple mills, reliability experts can find reoccurring interventions. Data from a bearing might indicate problems and identify changes to equipment, operations, lubricant starvation, for example, and the condition and maintenance processes that prevent them. monitoring team will suggest that the mill operations Furthermore, the more data these systems collect, the personnel check or adjust its lubrication systems. smarter and more sophisticated their analytical tools In other cases, the data may indicate wear or damage become. to a component. Here, the SKF specialist will make
global mining review // July/August 2021
Bjorn Dierx, Weir Minerals, the Netherlands, explains why greenfield projects are increasingly turning to high pressure grinding rolls technology to reduce their energy consumption, lower their greenhouse gas emissions, and improve their throughput capacity.
he global mining industry must move away from legacy systems and processes if it is to meet the challenge of decarbonisation, according to a new report which calculates mining’s share of global energy consumption and identifies ways the industry can aid the transition to net zero emissions, in order to limit temperatures in line with the Paris Agreement. The report, commissioned by the Weir Group, quantifies energy use in five commodities: copper, gold, iron ore, nickel, and lithium. Bringing together mine energy use data from more than 40 published studies from 2007 to 2020 into a single
narrative (each of which references dozens more studies), the report aims to build a more comprehensive understanding of energy use in the mining industry. It shows that the total amount of power used by the mining industry – which plays an essential role providing the metals used at the heart of the modern economy – is equal to approximately 3.5% of global energy use. The metals produced by mining are critical for enabling the global transition to low-carbon infrastructure. However, without action, energy use in mining itself is set to trend higher in the coming years, as demand increases for the minerals required
global mining review // July/August 2021
for a clean energy transition. Assuming that present trends continue, there will be 250 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030. To meet this demand, production of cobalt, lithium, graphite, and nickel will need to be scaled up significantly. The report suggests there are technologies available today that could make a significant difference in reducing energy consumption. For example, it highlights that comminution – i.e. crushing and grinding processes – is the single biggest user of energy at mine sites, typically accounting for 25% of mining’s final energy consumption. This is equivalent to the power used by 221 million typical UK homes, or approximately 1% of total consumption globally. Comminution is therefore a natural target for the most impactful energy savings opportunities.
Improving comminution efficiency Small improvements in comminution technologies can lead to relatively large savings in both energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. For example, a 5% incremental improvement in energy efficiency across comminution could result in greenhouse gas emissions reductions of more than 30 million t of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). The replacement of traditional comminution equipment with new grinding technology also reduces indirect emissions in the mining value chain, for example by removing the need or reducing the manufacture of emission-intensive steel grinding balls, which absorb 6 kWh/kg within the supply chain.
High pressure grinding rolls
Figure 1. A 2.4 m Enduron® HPGR being built in Weir Minerals’ dedicated, state-of-the-art HPGR assembly centre in the Netherlands.
Figure 2. The Enduron HPGR’s larger rollers reduce the number of lines per concentrator.
Figure 3. An Enduron HPGR with unique L:D ratio for hard-rock grinding.
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Weir Minerals’ Enduron® high pressure grinding rolls (HPGRs) technology can help save up to 40% in power consumption when compared to traditional grinding circuits, allowing mine operators to produce more for less. Each installation of an Enduron HPGR unit is estimated to save 12 000 tpy of CO2, or the same as removing 3500 cars from the road. In the current market, this makes economic, social, and environmental sense. The Enduron HPGR reduces particles by compressing and grinding the feed between two counter rotating, parallel rollers. This forces the rocks against each other and compresses the feed’s density to 85% of its solid volume. This compression is achieved by applying high pressure of up to nearly 300 Mpa, exceeding the compressive strength of the feed material. In applications where HPGR is followed by tumbling mills, the induced micro cracks generally result in a reduction of the Bond Work Index. For most ores this reduction is in the range of 10 – 25%. Traditionally, HPGR manufacturers have shied away from skewing designs for fear of roller misalignment, which can create unfavourable load distributions and prevent the use of flanged guards to reduce the edge effect. However, the Enduron HPGR’s roller bearings design allows for skewing alongside effective self-adjusting cheek plates, reducing wear and promoting better grinding. Skewing ensures that pressure is distributed across the full width of the tyre, minimising recirculation. This is particularly applicable in segregated feed conditions, which are typical in mineral processing applications. The Enduron HPGR can dynamically accommodate these changing feed conditions through skewing, allowing for the passage of oversized crushing material and tramp metal, resulting in less downtime. In order to accommodate this uneven pressure, Enduron HPGRs utilise a spring-loaded cheekplate that has been specifically designed to facilitate roll skew and reduce the edge effect (maintaining a gap of as little as 1 mm). Put simply, it maintains an even pressure distribution across the entire feed, saving energy and reducing wear. Enduron HPGRs also include a protective bearing arrangement that has been designed to protect against premature failure and reduce the number of peak loads that can be transferred to the bearings. They are supplied with a multi-row cylindrical roller bearing system and a Weir Minerals bespoke tailored rubber thrust pad that is arranged directly in front of the
bearing housings. This unique design ensures the bearings are always parallel with the shaft, mitigating the peak pressures and bearing contamination. It also allows for oil lubrication to the main bearings, which delivers market leading bearing life with proven performance guarantees in excess of 100 000 hours. The Enduron HPGR’s roll length:diameter (L:D) ratio delivers the highest product quality, minimising recirculation, and reducing operational costs. It enables smaller tyre diameters for a given tonnage relative to all competitors. This optimises the operating gap, ensuring full pressure across the full tyre length, exceeding the ore’s compressive strength. This L:D ratio and compact cylindrical bearing arrangement means that Enduron HPGR operators enjoy significantly reduced infrastructure costs, as the required civil structural height is kept to a minimum.
Greenfield opportunities HPGRs, like Enduron, are increasingly replacing conventional mills in comminution circuits for greenfield projects because of their substantially lower energy consumption and potential for significant total cost of ownership reductions.
compared with traditional mining technologies, bringing substantial reductions in carbon emissions. Ferrexpo plans to increase output from its operations in Ukraine from 32 million tpy to more than 80 million tpy. Detailed test work with Weir Minerals’ Enduron HPGR technology showed it delivered significant capacity and environmental benefits.
Engineering a sustainable future In the coming decades, the mining industry will face the twin challenges of scaling up production of minerals required for the conversion to renewable energy sources, accelerated adoption of electric vehicles and the general move toward increased electrification, while simultaneously reducing its carbon footprint. This transition will require nothing less than a re-examination of every aspect of a mine’s operation, but because comminution is so energy intensive it is a logical starting point. The Enduron HPGR is one example of how energy savings can be achieved. Through innovative engineering and partnerships across the industry, mining can be more sustainable for generations to come.
Case study Weir Minerals was recently awarded a £36 million order to provide industry-leading energy saving solutions to Ferrexpo, one of the world’s largest exporters of iron ore pellets to the global steel industry. Ferrexpo is developing production of direct reduction (DR) pellets, which are higher grade (67% iron) and lower impurity than alternative forms of iron ore pellets. DR pellets are expected to represent the future of global steel production, as steelmakers transition to the production of carbon-free green steel, with DR pellets the primary source of virgin iron utilised in this process. As part of their Green Steel Initiative, Ferrexpo challenged Weir Minerals to help create the most energy and cost-efficient flow sheet. Weir Minerals’ process engineers provided a solution that uses its large-format high volume equipment to increase capacity while also delivering significant carbon savings. The initial order, which includes a range of Weir Minerals comminution products, including Enduron HPGRs and screens, will reduce energy consumption by more than 40%
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Integrating battery electric vehicles constitutes the final stage in the journey to all-electric mines, helping operators to reduce carbon dioixde emissions and improve efficiency. Mehrzad Ashnagaran and Nic Beutler, ABB, explain how partnering with trusted technology and equipment vendors is the key to success.
he mining sector is undergoing a radical transformation, driven by digitalisation and electrification. Digital technologies, such as the Industrial Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and data analytics, now give mine operators visualisation of the entire production chain: improving productivity and profitability; reducing downtime and maintenance; and informing smarter, data-driven business decisions. In tandem, the vision of the integrated, all-electric mine – one that incorporates optimal design and operations for more efficient, sustainable energy and resource consumption – is closer to becoming a reality. Central to this goal is eliminating diesel from haulage trucks, the largest source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in many opencast and underground mines, by shifting to hybrid and fully electric trucks.
Why electrify? ABB believes that electrification is a ‘must-have’ for mining companies, compared to ‘business as usual’. The industry is responsible for 4 – 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the onus is on operators to reduce their carbon footprint to comply with increasingly strict government environmental legislation, in line with the goals enshrined in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Failure to do so can result in financial penalties, the loss of competitive advantage, and reputational damage. Mining operators that remain behind the curve when it comes to sustainability, health, safety, and the environment risk losing the backing of their board and
investors, may not be permitted to work in certain jurisdictions, and could even lose their licence to operate. In certain countries, carbon taxes must already be factored into OPEX calculations, as governments and industry make a compelling business case for electric mines. This shift is more advanced in underground mines, where the electrification of truck fleets has already become reality, and solutions, such as ventilation on demand, are established innovations that significantly reduce energy consumption, as well as provide a safer, more amenable working environment. The industry is part of the problem of climate change. However, by providing commodities such as copper for use in wind turbines and lithium for the batteries in electric vehicles – both of which have a pivotal role to play in the global transition from fossil fuels to renewables – in a way that minimises energy usage, resource consumption, and CO2 footprint, mining is also part of the solution.
The three pillars of electrification ABB’s electrical, control, and instrumentation (EC&I) business has, for almost half a century, been a leader in mine electrification. By leveraging the technology within its portfolio and incorporating it along with the latest innovations in mine engineering and design, ABB is helping to create fit-for-purpose solutions that minimise CO2, improve safety, and, ultimately, boost profitability. ABB’s approach is built around three pillars: Electrification. Automation and digitalisation.
global mining review // July/August 2021
Being the key technical supplier in partnership with other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). What are the design requirements of electrified mines? Do they require centralised or decentralised storage systems? What are the optimum grid solutions and how
Figure 1. A mining truck on ABB trolley assist infrastructure at Boliden's Aitik Mine. Source: Mats Hillblom.
Figure 2. Hitachi Construction Machinery rigid dump truck on trolley line.
can they incorporate the flexible loading of mobile equipment and integration of renewables? The first step on this journey is to develop existing equipment and components so they are digitally enabled, and then connect them in a smart way with the flexibility to cope with supply and demand. Open communication standards and multi-vendor integration are key to effective automation and digitalisation. This means developing a single automation platform that can communicate with all the different mine assets, mobile and fixed, as opposed to a standalone architecture for each individual system. In addition, real-time data acquisition and visualisation allows the operator to make smart decisions, and data analysis using advanced algorithms allows them to assess the state of the mine operation. How can new technologies be embedded effectively? By putting in the third pillar, alliances of key technical suppliers and OEMs, each with their own domain expertise, can jointly develop solutions that benefit the customer, rather than one party being responsible for the whole project scope. This is increasingly becoming the working model of choice for electrification projects, particularly when it comes to integrating a mobile fleet. At Boliden’s Aitik copper mine in Sweden, for example, ABB successfully collaborated with a vehicle supplier (a third-party OEM) – bringing together two entities which traditionally would not have worked together – to install a trolley assist line for hybrid trucks. ABB recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Hitachi Construction Machinery to explore opportunities to apply ABB’s electrification, automation, and digital solutions to mining trucks and excavators provided by Hitachi. Together, the two companies hope to present a combined solution to the market that will help mining customers achieve net-zero emissions from their operations. ABB is also working with other OEMs to create a platform for early-stage collaboration; for example, to explore the potential of incorporating batteries into the trolley assist mix at opencast mines. Furthermore, ABB is collaborating on electrification retrofit projects, including converting a diesel-powered Western Star 4900 XD truck with MEDATech Engineering and Tardif.
Six ingredients for effective integration ABB has identified six essential ingredients for the effective integration of battery electric vehicles into an existing mining operation: interoperability, mobility/flexibility, energy management, connection interface, trolley and charger technology, and favourable process and mine design.
Interoperability Figure 3. Panorama of the Copper Mountain site near Princeton, British Columbia, Canada.
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Mine fleets comprise vehicles from multiple vendors. ABB charging infrastructure follows open standards, such as CCS and OPPCharge, in order to remain vendor-agnostic,
Reduce CO2 by tens of thousands of tons? The answer is Enduron®
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meaning that it can used across all vehicle types and OEMs. This allows the customer to make a one-off investment and maximise the uptime, productivity, and return on investment of every piece of charging equipment.
Mobility/flexibility Strategically placing charging points throughout the mine means trucks remain charged for longer, optimising their usage and overall mine productivity, and avoiding the need for additional tramming routes and vehicles. These points of charge need to be able to adapt to changes in the mine’s design throughout the lifetime of the mine.
Energy management Integrating battery electric vehicles into mines, the final stage of the electrification journey, means energy load requirements are much more volatile. While renewables are becoming more relevant, in particular for remote sites, they do impose additional constraints. Smart planning of grid infrastructure and battery energy storage systems, combined with mine production forecasting, can be used to minimise load peaks and address possible volatility on the generation side.
Connection interface Ruggedised and mine-approved automated connection interfaces must be designed to withstand the harsh environmental conditions in many mines, as well as the high-power demands of large mining trucks. This requires open mechanical and electrical standards, as well as effective collaboration with vehicle suppliers.
engineering, project and construction management, equipment supply, and system commissioning. The trolley control system can provide connectivity to the existing distributed control system automation platform, allowing for seamless integration and monitoring of trolley operations and energy consumption. It is estimated that Copper Mountain will reduce emissions by 7% during the first phase of the project, and the goal is a 50% reduction in CO2 during the next 5 – 7 years. Other benefits include improved efficiency; each electric-drive truck will be fitted with a pantograph to receive external electric power, meaning they will run faster when connected to the trolley system, use less fuel, and require less maintenance. ABB is collaborating directly with Copper Mountain and the truck OEM to deploy the 1 km proof-of-concept. This approach encompasses the entire ‘grid-to-wheel’ process, starting with: the power distribution via the rectifier substation, design and execution of the overhead line, installation and civil work, and the creation of the surrounding infrastructure. In this way, if future retrofitting takes place or an OEM supplies a new generation of hybrid trucks, ABB can use its electrification expertise to create and coordinate a complete integrated solution. ABB has already enjoyed success with trolley assist solutions at the aforementioned Aitik mine, for Boliden. The company has designed, delivered and commissioned an effective electrical infrastructure to power several mine trucks. The lane is approximately 700 m and is expected to save approximately 830 m3/y of diesel.
The journey to electrification Trolley and charging infrastructure ABB is building on existing solutions and long-lasting experience related to trolley and charging infrastructure for battery electric mining vehicles. Again, these must be robust enough for the mining environment and capable of matching the high power demands of battery electric trucks, in order to ensure maximum vehicle uptime.
Favourable process and mine design Adopting new technologies will change how mines and mining assets are operated. Does the civil infrastructure and operational schedule need to be changed in order to meet the demands of these battery electric vehicles, for example? Early-stage design thinking and planning is crucial to success.
Case study: Copper Mountain, Canada ABB is currently working with Copper Mountain Mining to provide a complete haul truck trolley assist solution for its Copper Mountain mine, located near Princeton, British Columbia. The conventional opencast operation produces approximately 45 000 tpy of copper equivalent. ABB is responsible for all the off-truck trolley assist infrastructure – including the overhead catenary system (OCS) design and a rectifier substation, providing in excess of 12 MW of direct current power – as well as the
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Electrification is well underway across most of the mining chain. Electrifying the last puzzle piece by incorporating battery electric vehicles is still in its infancy and will require mining companies to adopt new technologies and working practices, in addition to addressing new challenges with regards to planning, fleet management and skill sets. The benefits are clear, however. In addition to complying with regulations aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and improving workplace safety, using diesel-electric trucks on trolley assist lines, for example, is proven to boost speed-on-grade for greater throughput, enable more efficient and proactive maintenance, and reduce heavy vehicle use for better fleet availability and longevity. Reducing emissions through electrification also makes good business sense. Electricity is becoming more cost competitive, and premiums are being offered by energy suppliers to incentivise its use. This, coupled with taxes on emissions and the removal of tax advantages from diesel, means that mining companies can no longer afford to be behind the curve when it comes to electrification. Partnering with a trusted technology provider with proven domain expertise, such as ABB, is key to: incorporating battery electric vehicles into mines as part of the industry’s wider digital transformation, driving sustainability, minimising carbon footprint, and optimising both production and profitability.
Dr Barry Flannery, Xerotech, Ireland, provides an insider’s perspective on the fundamentals of electrifying a typical piece of heavy equipment for the mining industry.
t is an open secret in the mining industry today that virtually every original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in the world has an active electrification programme. Global trends towards sustainable and zero-emission equipment are creating tremendous pressure on manufacturers to deliver battery electric or plug-in machinery. In-market research indicates that leadership at major OEMs are forecasting up to 50% mine equipment electrification by 2025, and near-full electrification by 2030. Eliminating emissions from underground equipment can reduce mine OPEX by as much as 15 – 20% per year through ventilation system electricity savings. Furthermore, the
benefits of enhanced miner safety and air quality improvements in the underground working environment cannot be understated. Despite these obvious benefits, a new market pull has emerged in recent months with mine operators specifically mandating all-electric equipment for new mine developments. This effective ban on diesel equipment has caused many OEMs to scramble for solutions from a supply chain that is at best unprepared, and at worst non-existent. This article is an insider’s guide to the fundamentals of electrifying a typical piece of heavy equipment, with particular emphasis on: the high-voltage battery,
global mining review // July/August 2021
the common challenges that an OEM is likely to face, and suggestions on how to overcome them.
who will manufacture a system to an OEM’s specification, but this usually requires significant time, non-recurring engineering, tooling, and manufacturing charges. In layman’s Ditching the diesel engine terms, the battery supply chain is currently geared for One of the greatest challenges OEMs face on their high-volume automotive applications like cars, buses, and electrification journey today is a lack of experience and trucks, and not low volume markets like mining. familiarity with electrified power systems. Diesel engines are The automotive industry is fixated with cost per kWh, and effectively a commodity product today. The only unfortunately, some of this mindset has trickled into the differentiation is usually supply chain considerations, mining industry, creating significant confusion and distorting regional support, and engine emission legislative the realities of operating in this market. It is widely reported compliance. Increasingly more stringent emission laws have that major automotive OEMs have battery pack costs in the typically resulted in more expensive and complex engines, region of US$100 – US$150/kWh today. A typical price in low but existing Tier-1 engine suppliers have generally had a volume markets like mining could be US$300 – US$1000/kWh solution. depending on the configuration of the battery, but this is not The disruption that is happening today is due to the shift the complete economic picture. from stricter emissions to no emissions. This has left most of Separate to the cost per kWh, but arguably more the engine supply chain (and OEMs) without a clear solution important, is the overall programme cost. This is often for their customers. For the past century, the mining industry overlooked by mining equipment OEMs who are more has built itself on one key assumption – that a diesel engine concerned with battery prices. Automotive has the luxury of would be available from Tier-1 engine suppliers in any size being able to amortise multi-million and even and power it needs for a given piece of mining equipment. multi-billion-dollar development programme costs over This assumption is now being tested. millions of units. This is fundamentally different to the mining A major gap in low-volume high-diversity markets like industry where even the largest OEMs only build a few mining is that there are no readily available platform thousand machines a year (all of which are usually very solutions. Of course, there are battery pack manufacturers diverse). This can significantly add to the ‘effective price per kWh’ for very low volume applications. The only viable solution for low-volume markets is standardisation or platform approaches to electrification. It is not economic to develop ‘silver bullet’ solutions for every individual product line. Instead, modular and scalable architectures using standard components and high commonality across the OEM’s product portfolio is necessary. Highly scalable battery platforms are a new concept that have recently become available to the mining industry, with the aim of offering a ‘catalogue’ of battery solutions to OEMs without significant design and development costs or lead-times. Figure 1 shows the major elements of a diesel powertrain and their corresponding Figure 1. The major elements of a diesel powertrain and their corresponding electrified equivalents. It is important to note electrified equivalents. that ‘going electric’ requires far more than identifying a battery supplier. In fact, in most cases, the OEM will need to seek out multiple different suppliers; a battery manufacturer, a motor drive and traction inverter manufacturer (often sold matched together), an onboard charger and DC-DC converter supplier, and finally a thermal system manufacturer.
Choosing a battery chemistry Figure 2. Battery module featuring 2170 cylindrical cells, sidewall thermal management and passive propagation resistant safety technology.
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Before even attempting to choose a battery pack manufacturer, it is important to understand the terminology. A battery pack is made up of battery modules, which in turn
are made up of individual battery cells. A mining vehicle may have one or more battery packs comprising tens of modules and thousands of cells. Typically, lithium-ion battery technology is used. A key point to understand is that lithium-ion is a family of technologies and not one single thing. The most popular general chemistries are defined by their cathode materials: nickel-cobalt aluminium (NCA), nickel cobalt manganese (NCM), or lithium-iron phosphate (LFP). Within these families, there are many variations (silicon anodes, high nickel, etc.). Building a lithium-ion cell is like baking a cake; there are several key ingredients and adjusting their proportions can change performance characteristics significantly (energy, power, and lifetime). Different chemistries are used for different use-cases. NCA is the highest energy density and most expensive. An NCA battery will hold twice as much energy as an LFP battery for a given weight and volume. LFP has very high stability giving it very long cycle life (>3000 vs >1000 cycles for NCA) and it is also lower cost. NCM is an intermediate solution, but much closer to NCA in terms of performance and cost than to LFP. A major recommendation to OEMs is to align technology strategies with the automotive industry. Today, there are several very exotic battery chemistries used in the mining industry, such as: sodium nickel, lithium-titanate, and others. These solutions are unlikely to be cost competitive, nor sustainable in the long-term. Automotive economies of scale will create a 1000:1 manufacturing advantage for the conventional chemistries, meaning long-term availability and a variety of high-quality suppliers.
Cylindrical, prismatic, or pouch cells? The next major step after choosing a chemistry is understanding battery cell formats. Oftentimes, this will not be selectable by the OEM directly, but it is crucial to understand the implications of a battery pack manufacturer’s decision. There are three major cell formats, cylindrical (popularised by Tesla and used by most electric vehicle startups), pouch (very popular amongst European electric vehicle OEMs), and prismatic (popular in Chinese markets, particularly for LFP).
Figure 3. Containing a failed battery cell and stopping the spread of heat from causing a domino-like chain reaction failure is one of the hardest and most important aspects of battery systems engineering. Larger prismatic and pouch battery cells are extremely hard to contain in the event of failure.
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An entire article could be written on choosing battery cell formats but, for the purposes of brevity, the strongest recommendation to OEMs is to use cylindrical cells (preferably 21700 format). They are the most cost effective, highest energy density, and, most importantly, they are available from virtually all suppliers. Pouch cells are extremely popular with the major Korean cell manufacturers, but an OEM is effectively ‘locked-in’ by using this format. Major cell shortages are currently disrupting the market in 2021, and these Tier-1 battery cells suppliers are quoting ‘TBD shipping dates’ even with contracted supply agreements. It is an extremely dangerous market today to be locked-in to any supplier. Cell supplier flexibility is paramount in today’s market, especially for the next 2 – 3 years until supply stabilises. Remember that the chemistry is simply what goes into the cell housing – each manufacturer has their own ingredients for the ‘cake’ and the cell format is just the final shape of the ‘cake’. Cylindrical cells are the closest thing to a global standard and most suppliers are offering the latest chemistries in 21700 form factor, in order to gain access to the automotive market. Figure 2 shows a typical cylindrical cell battery module design. Prismatic cells are a tricky topic. At first, they appear like a good solution – available in a range of large sizes, meaning much lower numbers of cells per pack/module. However, the fundamental difficulty with prismatic cells is that they are virtually impossible to cool properly in demanding applications (fast charging, high regenerative braking, and rapid discharging typically found in mining). Basically, the bigger the cell, the longer the heat transfer path out of the cell, meaning higher internal cell temperatures. Furthermore, with regards to safety, bigger is not always better. Large cells contain more energy meaning they are extremely difficult to contain in the event of a thermal runaway or fire event. Very sophisticated active suppression systems are required. By contrast, smaller cells can utilise passive propagation technologies, such as intumescent encapsulation technologies, which are highly insulating when burned and are naturally fire retardant (Figure 3).
Heating and cooling batteries: thermal management and the thermal system Lithium-ion batteries do not like adverse temperatures. Most chemistries cannot be recharged below 0˚C and have a risk of thermally running away above 60˚C. Outside of these safety critical regions, there are some other major benefits for controlling the temperature of a lithium-ion battery – most notably lifetime. A general rule of thumb is that every 10˚C above 25˚C will reduce battery lifetime by half. Cold ambient environments are uncommon in underground mining applications, but oftentimes equipment might return to the surface at end of shift or for maintenance. Heating the battery is very important in this scenario. Heating batteries is relatively straightforward and can be done using electrical heating systems, or by using more advanced technologies like heat pumps. Batteries also self-heat when used so this is typically only required for starting. Deep underground mining is typically known for being hot with wall-rock temperatures that can exceed 60˚C. Active battery cooling is mandatory in these types of
applications to maintain safety and achieve satisfactory lifetimes. Not all thermal management is created equal. Many battery systems today are being marketed as ‘liquid-cooled’, but there are tremendous differences between the type of cooling employed. Most systems today are using cold-pate technology, which is simply an extruded aluminium plate with glycol-water circulated through it. The battery cells or Figure 4. (left to right) 1: Cold plate cooling. 2: Sidewall modules sit on this plate and can be heated or cooled. More (conventional) cooling. 3: Sidewall (Xerotherm®) cooling. advanced solutions use side-wall battery cooling or 4: Immersion cooling. 5: Air cooling. immersion cooling technologies. Figure 4 shows the four BMS go hand-in-hand, therefore they must be developed by main methods of battery cooling: cold plate cooling, the same company. sidewall cooling, immersion cooling, and air cooling. Some key considerations when selecting a battery pack Cooling large prismatic or pouch cells can be very manufacturer include: challenging, as the internals of a battery cells are extremely Do they offer thermal management – if so, what type of poor at conducting heat. This results in the thermal technology do they use? management systems only heating or cooling the outer skin or Do they have battery pack test capability? region of the battery and having little effect on the core. This Do they support integration (electrical, thermal, and could theoretically allow thermal runaway if the core of the cell controls)? exceeds its safety threshold. Can they meet the requirements of the full product The internal aspects of battery pack heating and cooling is portfolio? called thermal management. This, however, is only half of the Do they manufacturer their own BMS? solution, as most battery pack manufacturers today just Do they create the software and control algorithms for specify a required flowrate and temperature in and out of the the battery pack? battery pack. The battery pack manufacturer provides a Do they have any capability around battery cell method to get the heat out of the battery, but it is left as an characterisation? exercise for the OEM to get it off the vehicle. Can they support thermal system design and Getting heat off the vehicle is one of the most challenging development? parts of electrification today. Overlooking the thermal system can easily add 6-months worth of development time to an Conclusions electrification programme. Electrification is hard. A key challenge for OEMs is that Choosing a battery manufacturer electrification solutions are unlikely to become a commodity There are a variety of battery pack manufacturers supplying solution until closer to the end of the decade. OEMs need to the mining industry today. They vary significantly in capability quickly educate themselves and take a holistic view of their and product offering – from basic assemblers of prismatic cells product portfolios and to make their machinery compatible in sheet metal boxes, to the leading European pack suppliers with emerging battery platform solutions. with advanced manufacturing, cell characterisation, safety, There are major capacity constraints in the market today, and thermal management technology. with most leading battery pack manufacturers overwhelmed OEMs are strongly encouraged to buy a complete battery with OEM requests and orders. It is highly recommended that system, and not just a battery box and add a separate control OEMs engage with suppliers immediately and secure supply box or battery management system (BMS). The integration agreements, or risk missing the greatest disruption the and testing of the whole system is the bulk of the engineering mining equipment industry has seen since the invention of challenge with battery pack design. The battery pack and the the steam engine.
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Fabio Mielli, Rockwell Automation, USA, discusses how autonomous decision-making for material handling can help mining operations meet productivity, quality, schedule compliance, and cost-savings goals.
aterial handling equipment is a critical part of any supply chain – and it is especially critical in the mining industry. Material handling equipment coordinates the movement, storage, blending, and delivery of materials across the mine site – serving as the link between a mine site and the market. While all industries must coordinate logistical planning, equipment maintenance, operator performance, and production scheduling for successful material handling in some shape or form, material handling challenges in mining are more complex. Mining companies face unique challenges when seeking to ship the right product at the right time. Unscheduled equipment relocation, a lack of process standardisation, and operator variability can all lead to consequential costs through the supply chain. Miners are working with large equipment that transports massive amounts of materials over long distances – sometimes several kilometres – which means a problem upstream will reverberate across the site and down the supply chain. This can lead to backlogs, downtime, spillage, and major delays. So, the right execution plan for material movement is
incredibly important. No mining company is immune to these challenges, but for many, reducing complexity as much as possible can provide a more consistent ability to get the right product out the door at the right time. In addition, material handling on mine sites poses safety risks to workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that material handling is the leading cause of non-fatal days lost injuries in mining – with the bulk of these injuries stemming from above-ground movement of coal, stone, and metal.1 Automating material handling wherever possible, shifting workers to a safe distance to operate equipment, and becoming more proactive with equipment maintenance can make a big difference. The risk for production issues and injuries increases at sites that perform complex material transfer without a fully automated system in place. At these sites, operators are often overwhelmed with responding to inputs from multiple interfaces, while simultaneously coordinating the flow of work. Even with the best trained operators, companies are susceptible to unscheduled delays, spillage, and a lack of standardisation due to operator variability and miscommunication.
global mining review // July/August 2021
A day at the train load system Issues often come to a head at the load controller. The load controller is the central hub for plant operations, which means that during the busiest parts of the day, train load system (TLO) operators may find themselves working in multiple systems simultaneously, as they seek to remedy several issues at the same time. Each of these systems requires a manual response to every single issue and event, which leads to a lot of variability in operator decision-making and inefficient use of operator time. Effectiveness becomes heavily dependent on an operator’s personal capability, experience, and training. Compound this by the fact that during busy moments, TLO operators often face an overload of alarm information without clear prioritisation of which alerts are most pressing. It is up to the operator to make a call – and even the best operator can easily become overwhelmed and make a mistake. The most common result is equipment not being in the right place at the right time to load a train or ship. Every minute of delay costs the company money and causes further issues down the supply chain. This reactive means of operation prevents operators from ever getting a proper handle on what is actually happening, and the opportunity for analysing ‘what if’ scenarios thoroughly becomes nearly impossible.
The solution coordinates the resources in the customer’s mine. It automates the orchestration of the equipment decision-making process by integrating with the site’s job management system (in this case from the ERP system) to automatically convert a job into a list of all the tasks and equipment needed to correctly execute the job. The solution then integrates with existing control systems to align the pieces of equipment needed to complete the job. Once the existing control system permissives for the route and equipment are enabled, the stacking/reclaiming job automatically begins. There is no need for an operator to plan or kick off the job. The solution will also continuously update the stockpile inventory management system, as well as the job management system, on the job progress. Once the job has been completed, the solution will automatically relocate the equipment to the correct position for the next job. This means no surprises. All elements of a job are planned and accounted for before the job initiates. Timing is locked in, and equipment is in position for the next job on time. All of this is done automatically, so that operators can focus on issues that require critical thinking. It also means workers are less distracted and overwhelmed, which leads to fewer accidents.
Moving in the right direction
How it works
A major mining customer wanted to lower their operating costs by ensuring the material was shipped according to the set schedule, setting out to overcome the challenges that exist for the train loading operation. The solution was decision automation (execution management) for material handling based on FactoryTalk® ProductionCentre® and Logix Controllers. Other industries have benefited from automated execution management systems for years. It was time to take some of those learnings and apply them to the TLO.
The solution consists of two main components. First, the production management system (based on FactoryTalk ProductionCentre) defines the job number, job quantity, and type of material. Second, the real-time execution management (REM) – based on Logix Controllers – behaves like the interface between the field and the production layers by ‘feeding’ the production management system with information about the start or completion of a job, measurements of materials needed, and measurements of material produced. In addition, the REM commands and orchestrates the automation system from each area, ensuring that all the operations will successfully complete the job.
Production management system:
Figure 1. Autonomous decision making simplified architecture: train loadout.
Integrates schedule and control systems (from any vendor). Models material flow paths, work centres, equipment, and process segments. Integrates rail and port systems. Pending train/ship arrivals, orchestrates a plan to be ‘read’ to load/dispatch.
Real-time execution management:
Figure 2. Stockyard management is usually a complex coordination of people, processes, and systems.
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Contains sets of tools for managing a job, such as: handshaking, process parameters (e.g. material FIFO), workflows, and tracking the progress of a job. Each work centre (e.g. stacker reclaimer, TLO) has a workflow,
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which is a sequence responsible for issuing commands and receive responses between the existing plant.
Case study Here is an example of what a job looks like from start to finish:
Step 1: Create job (e.g. reclaim 10 000 t) REM receives job from production management system.
Step 2: Production management system dispatches job Break down steps and contextualise job (resources, materials, and parameters). Job context downloaded to control system (job available and ready for execution).
Step 3: Control system requests start of job REM responds with details about how the job should be executed (ingredients, process, and engineering parameters). REM locks resources and hands over control of execution to control system.
Step 4: Control system executes job
REM releases resources.
Maximising asset return on investment For this mining company, implementation was easy – the execution management solution integrated with the existing control system, so all the existing control and safety systems remained in place. Once installed, the benefits of the implementation exceeded the company’s expectations. Improvements to conformance scheduling were seen immediately based on a standardisation of the most efficient operational processes for the site. The customer also saw a reduction in the workload and dependency on the operators, as well as reduced unscheduled process delays. This solution resulted in an annual saving of US$200 million for the company. The customer is currently investigating the possibility of rolling this solution out at additional sites.
Conclusion Production management and real-time execution management have obvious applications in the TLO, but they can also bring business value to other parts of the operation as well. Solutions can be deployed at a single site or at multiple sites – helping miners meet a range of productivity, quality, compliance, and cost-saving goals.
Control systems notifies REM of job progress.
References Step 5: Control system completes job Control system notifies REM of job completion.
‘Mining Topic: Manual Materials Handling’, CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/ niosh/mining/topics/manualmaterialshandling.html
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Perth, Australia and online | 8 – 10 November Hosted by AusIMM and CSIRO, the Iron Ore Conference 2021 will explore current and future challenges facing the iron ore industry and offer sustainable solutions to address the carbon footprint of iron and steel mining. Hear from industry experts from some of the world’s top mining companies and steel producers, including Dr Koji Saito, Nippon Steel Corporation; Gerard Danckert, Rio Tinto and Alison Terry, Fortescue Metals Group. Delegates can join robust discussions, see the latest innovations at the full trade exhibition and virtual booths and connect with over 600 industry professionals. www.ausimm.com/iron-ore
Jessy Parmar, Xylem Industrial Solutions, Americas, explores how smart technologies can support efficient and automated mine dewatering.
any years of experience working with customers across all aspects of mine water management has shown that achieving optimal water processes begins with a holistic view of how the mining operation uses water – from sourcing to dewatering, to treatment and reuse. Every step involving water on site – from intake to reuse – is part of a process that can support increased productivity and lower costs. Time and resources spent ensuring that mine water is
global mining review // July/August 2021
managed as efficiently and sustainably as possible is well worth the investment, and the return can be clearly measured and tracked.
The golden rule of pumping systems Dewatering is a particularly critical aspect of mine water management, as it is one of the vital processes that ensures resources can be mined efficiently and effectively. If a mine floods, production is halted, and revenue is negatively affected. Dewatering demands
tough and reliable pumping equipment and a system tailored to the characteristics of the individual application. It is crucial that the right dewatering pump is selected for the job at hand. Time should be taken to consider all the different factors at play, such as where the pump will be located, the head and flow requirements, and the pressure and quantity of water to be pumped. The availability of electric power and the type of solids to be pumped should also be taken into account, as well as determining if the pump needs a backup for increased demand. A golden rule of all pumping systems, including dewatering systems, is ensuring that each pump in the system is operating as close as possible to its best efficiency point (BEP). This is the crucial first step to establishing a reliable and efficient dewatering system with minimal downtime. Straying too far from a pump’s BEP leads to premature wear, higher energy consumption, increased maintenance requirements, a reduction in overall efficiency, and, as a result, more downtime. Unplanned downtime can cost up to 10 times more than routine maintenance.
Figure 1. Sample pump performance curve. Straying too far from a pump’s best efficiency point (BEP) reduces overall efficiency, leads to premature wear, higher energy consumption, increased maintenance requirements, and, as a result, more downtime.
Smart technologies that support efficient and automated dewatering Once confident that the right pumps are in place, operating as close to the BEP as possible, it is time to consider smart technology that can enhance the efficiency of mine water management. Smart technologies that can support efficient and reliable dewatering include the following:
Variable speed drives and controls These help to optimise pump operations by enabling pumps to respond smoothly and efficiently to fluctuations in demand, and to reduce energy costs by as much as 70%. This minimises equipment wear and tear and unnecessary operating costs.
Figure 2. The Xylem team installed Godwin surface-mounted diesel-driven pumps operated by a remote M&C system at a large opencast copper mine in Peru. This remote dewatering solution helps control the pumps’ flow and operation in a matter of seconds and was particularly beneficial during the rainy season.
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Adaptive mixers can support efficient dewatering by helping to prevent pump clogging. Hard iron mixers are designed to easily handle chemically aggressive and mechanically abrasive mine slime. They deliver maximum thrust using minimal energy. Distinctive backswept propeller blades allow fibrous material to pass through, while their wide-hub design also deflects fibrous material. By keeping the liquid agitated, they prevent the media from getting too viscous and particles from collecting on the sump floor, which in turn would clog the dewatering pump.
Remote monitoring and control Monitoring and control (M&C) with real-time continuous monitoring systems give mine operators a better understanding of water use and ensures water can be extracted from multiple sources, transported, and treated at the desired pressure and quantity. They also support operational continuity and efficiency, minimising costly, unplanned maintenance and unwanted downtime, while reducing safety risks. Visibility and understanding the health of dewatering pumps, for example, enables efficient scheduled maintenance, smart inventory management, and reduced energy consumption.
Smart dewatering in action An example of the benefits of remote M&C can be demonstrated using an application the company worked on in Peru. With the discovery of more copper and the forthcoming rainy season, a large opencast mining operation in Peru sought a smart dewatering solution. The depth of the mine – 1200 ft (365 m) below the surface – made routing power for electric-driven dewatering pumps challenging, as well as heightening safety risks; staff were required to travel down into the pit to physically handle the dewatering pumps’ controls. Explosives used to excavate deeper into the mine added to safety concerns. Xylem’s team installed Godwin surface-mounted diesel-driven pumps operated by a remote M&C system.
Connected to the mine’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, the M&C solution can remotely start and stop the pumps, monitor capacity and fuel levels, and communicate operating parameter data to mine staff. Mine operators can now monitor and control the pumps’ flow and operation in just a matter of seconds when the pump is approaching maximum capacity, for example, or in advance of anticipated heavy rain events. Previously, reconfiguring pumps required retrieving the power cable and disconnecting hoses. As well as increased safety and efficiency, labour costs associated with switching pumps or running electrical power down into the mine were eliminated.
New technologies coming on stream In addition to the wealth of smart technologies already on the market, exciting developments are unfolding. For example, Xylem has been working closely with New Boliden's RenstrÖm mine in Sweden on a pilot project as part of a process to introduce automation into its mines. New Boliden first began experimenting with digital solutions in 2012 and was the first to employ a combination of wireless networks, IP telephony and positioning at its Kristineberg mine. The New Boliden vision is of a mine where production continues non-stop, safety is maximised through remote control and monitoring, and the overall cost of operation is minimised.
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Xylem provided a next generation dewatering pump that utilises digital intelligence beyond standard pumping solutions: the Flygt Biboα. The fully automated dewatering pump shares the same platform of integrated power electronics as Xylem’s Flygt Concertor, an intelligent wastewater pump. Compact and stable, the solution breaks the mould of traditional dewatering pumps with its robust design, built with 30% fewer components for a more stable operation, and reduced need for inventory. With built in intelligence, the pump will cover a range of traditional drainage pumps since it adapts speed and performance covering a field instead of a static curve. The pump’s fully embedded variable frequency drive (VFD) automatically controls the motor’s speed and rotation, without any hands-on intervention or configuration by the operator.
Snoring is also a common problem in typical dewatering practices, causing significant system wear over time as the pump continues to operate at full-speed without enough water inflow. Flygt Biboα's advanced technology optimises pumping and overall performance, and, by only pumping when needed, it eliminates snoring to significantly extend the lifetime of the pump and reduce service time and maintenance costs. The company’s submersible dewatering pump can adjust itself to the water inflow – its optimum performance is determined in direct response to its operating environment. When water starts to enter the sump, the pump will speed up, and it will continue to increase its speed until the water level is low again. By letting the pump run continuously, there is no need for any additional sensor – the incoming water triggers the pump to start, so it will always be ready to respond to changeable conditions in the field. As the pump constantly adapts to its environment, each 10 hp (7.4 kW) pump can cover an equivalent range up to 15 hp (10 kW), enabling greater flexibility and allowing standardisation to fewer pump models. This flexibility is paramount to a mine like Renström, which is constantly adapting and evolving its operations to meet operational requirements. Previously, operators at Renström would have to change to a different pump model every other shift, due to the variable duty points created across the different pumping stages as the mine expanded. The prototypes have developed the way dewatering processes are carried out at the mine. Due to the adaptive capabilities of the pump, operational wear at the mine has been Figure 3. Xylem’s remote M&C solutions support operational continuity reduced by 80%, leading to less pump downtime and efficiency, minimising costly, unplanned maintenance and and disruptions to production. In addition, unwanted downtime, while reducing safety risks. Visibility and maintenance costs as a result of service call-outs understanding the health of dewatering pumps, for example, enables have been reduced, with the mine experiencing efficient scheduled maintenance, smart inventory management, and periods of trouble-free pumping up to four times reduced energy consumption. longer when compared to traditional pumps, representing a cost saving of 20%/y. Fleet management at the mine has also been simplified, as the pump can handle a wide range of applications, limiting the need for pumps of different sizes and parts on site. After 3 years of field testing at Renström, the solution has delivered product and repair savings of up to 40%, while also reducing the cost of its dewatering processes at the mine by almost 30%.
Conclusion Figure 4. Flygt Biboα prototypes have developed the way dewatering processes are carried out at New Boliden’s Renström mine in Sweden. After 3 years of field testing at Renström, Xylem’s Flygt Biboα has delivered product and repair savings of up to 40%, while also reducing the cost of its dewatering processes at the mine by almost 30%.
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With exciting technical solutions coming to market, the future looks bright. Now is the time to embrace digital technologies and get smart about mine dewatering. Doing so will enhance not only reliability and sustainability but ultimately, productivity on site.
MINExpo INTERNATIONAL® and its logo are registered trademarks of the National Mining Association (NMA). Used with permission.
Global Mining Review Is Going To Vegas!
Visit us at MINExpo 2021 – Booth 1840, North Hall
Ahead of this year's MINExpo INTERNATIONAL®, 13 – 15 September 2021, Global Mining Review (Booth 1840, North Hall) previews some of the companies that will be exhibiting at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
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ABB Booth 8825, Central Hall
exclusive Quick Replacement System, which helps ensure a full-time running machine.
Global technology leader, ABB, will be celebrating 130 years of innovation in technology from the advent of electricity to the data-driven industry of today. Having led the way over many years as pioneers in the integration of electrification, automation and digitalisation, ABB will be showcasing the newest technologies to support customers in their journey to the all-electric and digital mine of the future. ABB collaborates with mining companies from initial feasibility studies through to full deployment with its unified, cross-functional, enterprise-wide approach, ABB AbilityTM MineOptimize, that connects islands of automation to a fully integrated, digitalised, mobile, and collaborative mine.
Booth 1779, North Hall & 28031, South Hall
Booth 5801, Central Hall
Aramine is a partner of underground mining and worksites, all over the world. The company offers advice and solutions, Aramine narrow and medium section machines, remanufactured machines from all brands, multi-brand spare parts and components, and different services with skilled and experienced technicians. Aramine will be displaying its spare parts offer at Booth 1779 and its machines offer at Booth 28031, where the French company will bring the battery powered miniLoader L140B with the
Becker/SMC was originally established in 1971 in Huntington, West Virginia, and is now located in Bristol, Virginia. The company provides over 90 000 ft2 of manufacturing space and designs and manufactures electrical components, open-type and explosion proof motor starters,
Booth 4033, Central Hall The PI System, now brought to customers by AVEVA, is the leading industrial operations data management platform for the mining industry. Every day, industrial professionals in 146 countries rely on the PI System to improve operational performance, protect health and safety, keep the lights on, and make the world run more smoothly. To learn why nine of the world’s top 10 mining companies choose the PI System, stop by Booth 4033 at MINExpo.
global mining review // July/August 2021
longwall electrical controls, and power distribution equipment for a variety of industries. Throughout the production process, the work force uses strict quality assurance compliances, customer specification, and regulatory requirements to ensure the product is 100% what was purchased. Becker/SMC is one of the industry’s leaders in increasingly more sophisticated electrical control systems, developing a large amount of major innovations, design features, and specialised electrical components. The success and growth of SMC resulted in seven major facility expansions. Several key acquisitions increased the product lines to include transformers, distribution equipment, and complete lines of vacuum switches, connectors, and electronic monitoring devices. Its Custom Equipment Operation can now transform specifications into precision products, utilising state-of-the-art parametric engineering and advanced lean manufacturing techniques. The acquisition of OB Systems, with 20 years of experience in providing electrical products, places Becker/SMC as a major supplier to the transit industry. OB electrical substations are found in heavy and light rail transit systems throughout North America. OB Systems rectifiers, AC and DC switchgear, Traction Power substations, lightning arrestors, ‘Swartz’ relay products, trolley hardware, and transfer switches are readily available from Becker/SMC.
The company prides itself on solutions-based thinking and offers premium blasting and explosives materials, technology, services, and software across the entire value chain. Due to the agile operating models, the company can cater to the full spectrum of blasting and explosives industries, from surface and underground mining to construction and demolition. BME’s goal is a holistic approach – collaborating with customers, as well as third parties, for better outcomes – maintaining safety as a culture across the business and ensuring optimisation of outputs, while being cognitive of a reduced carbon footprint and ensuring the communities it operates in are enhanced through long-term engagement with them.
Brokk Booth 29121, South Hall The Brokk 200 is an ideal tool for ultra-deep mining applications, providing industry-leading power and productivity with zero emissions. Compactness, combined with the power of a machine three times its size, revolutionises efficiency and safety for the deepest, most challenging applications. Additionally, the demolition robot can carry heavy tools, such as breakers, rock drills, buckets and shotcrete attachments, providing unparalleled versatility for tasks such as drilling, breaking, and shaft maintenance.
Brunner & Lay
Booth 8471, Central Hall BEUMER Group (based in Beckum, Germany, with group companies around the globe) develops and implements system solutions which provide greater efficiency in the mining and bulk industry. The company can draw on more than 80 years of experience in this international sector. Controlled growth, a global presence and a wide product range in conveying and loading, palletising, and packaging technology has ensured the long-term success of the company. BEUMER Group employs around 4500 people and achieved an annual turnover of approximately €950 million in 2020.
Booth 2669, North Hall Brunner & Lay products are designed to deliver high production footage at the lowest possible cost. Products are precision machined from high quality steel, then heat treated to insure strength and durability. The extensive Brunner & Lay line includes: striking bars, couplings, carburized drill steel, hi-frequency hardened drill steel, and Rok-BitsTM – available with standard, conical, ballistic, or parabolic inserts. In-field specialists are available to help with technical support.
Caterpillar Booth 6229, Central Hall
Booth 24640, South Hall BME, a member of the Omnia Group: a global, diversified chemicals group, is a global player in the blasting and explosive's industry, providing a broad range of products, services, integrated software solutions, and expertise in its field. The company combines over three decades of experience with extensive expertise, through its origins in Africa – where it has taken its learnings to better serve its customers across industries and continents. Its global footprint now extends to 21 countries and 6 continents and includes a vast network of manufacturing, innovation, technology, and product development facilities. The goal is to maintain strategic partnerships around the world to ensure supply security and localised solutions.
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Themed ‘Together, we’re mining better,’ Caterpillar’s MINExpo experience celebrates the company’s partnership with mines and the way it assists customers to mine more efficiently. The Cat exhibit will be grouped under three specific core areas: ESG and sustainability, technology and automation, and equipment lifecycle management solutions. Caterpillar will unveil the new Cat D11 XE, the world’s largest, most powerful, and efficient electric drive dozer with high drive. For underground mining, the new Cat R1700 XE LHD features 100% battery electric propulsion that generates significantly less heat and noise. Additionally, the new Cat 777G Water Truck will be equipped with MineStar Command for hauling, the market’s first autonomous water delivery system.
Dos Santos International Booth 25515, South Hall Dos Santos International (DSI) is the world’s foremost authority on Sandwich Belt high angle conveyors, founded and led by the inventor of the system, Joe Dos Santos. DSI was founded on its extensive worldwide experience in sales, engineering, and construction of bulk materials handling systems and equipment. This has included major contributions that have expanded the range of bulk handling and transport solutions. Most notably, advances in Sandwich Belt high angle conveyors have led to their worldwide utilisation. DSI’s mission is to provide the most economical and versatile materials handling systems for the industry, while adapting to the changing needs and demands of its customers. DSI has over 40 years of expertise in providing solutions for mining, power plants, steel mills, wood chips at pulp and paper mills, tunnelling, wastewater treatment, cement plants, fertilizer plants, recycling plants, diamond mines, gold mines, oil refineries, and mobile shiploading. The innovation of DSI has offered these industries cost-saving solutions with reduction of real estate and dock space, environmentally helpful answers, and low maintenance equipment. Aside from high angle conveying, DSI offers engineering consulting, conventional and overland conveying, upgrades of existing conveyor systems, plant modifications and field assistance, as well as technical and economic studies and evaluations.
At MINExpo, DSI will be showcasing an interactive model of the DSI Sandwich belt high angle conveyor.
Dyno Nobel Booth 6027, Central Hall Dyno Nobel provides customer solutions through its people, products, and services. The company's blasters are among the most highly trained in the industry. It offers a full range of reliable explosives products from manufacturing plants around the world and blasting services from a distribution network unmatched in the industry. The company's research and development is focused on cutting-edge ways to use new technologies to benefit its customers. Renowned for its safety performance and innovative explosive products and services, Dyno Nobel continuously delivers groundbreaking performance through practical innovation.
Eaton Booth 1943, North Hall Join Eaton at MINExpo to discover how the company can help harness the power of digitalisation to improve cost and energy efficiency, increase uptime in critical operations and protect people, property, and the environment. As a global leader with deep regional application expertise, Eaton provides power distribution and circuit protection; power quality, backup power,
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and energy storage; control and automation; life safety and security; structural solutions; and harsh and hazardous environment solutions. Through end-to-end services and integrated digital solutions that enable insights, Eaton is powering what matters across industries and around the world.
Elgin Booth 3203, North Hall The HVC-1000 expands Elgin’s Horizontal Vibratory Centrifuge product line with a more compact, cost-effective unit. It joins HVC-1400 abd HVC-1500 machines, offering Elgin’s unique dual-mass, two-mode suspension technology. This suspension system provides isolation of vibration forces from centrifuge and from plant structure. With low vibration transmission, no rubber isolation elements are required under the machine. HVC centrifuges incorporate reliable sump lubrication for rotation bearings and grease lubrication for vibrator motors. HVC centrifuges offer user-friendly, above floor maintenance and enhanced guarding. Both 50 Hz and 60 Hz operation is supported with no need for variable frequency drives. Processing options are broad due to availability of screens in single-piece, self-supporting style and multi-piece screen/basket systems. Screens are offered in multiple aperture sizes, and two different screen angles.
Eriez Booth 24439, South Hall Stop by the Eriez booth to learn more about state-of-the-art suspended electromagnets (SEs), wet drum separators, and revolutionary flotation technology. Eriez is the world authority in separation technology used throughout mineral processing operations. SEs, available in both manual and self-cleaning models, provide tramp metal collection from conveyed materials. Wet drum separators feature the latest advances in magnetic circuitry design, and offer continuous recovery of magnetite or ferrosilicon. The Eriez flotation product line encompasses flotation cells, gas spargers, slurry distributors, and flotation test equipment.
ESCO Booth 4229, Central Hall ESCO, a Weir Group division, will have a team of product experts at MINExpo to answer questions regarding ESCO’s products and services. Products on display will include: Mining Hoe bucket. Wheel Loader bucket. Cable shovel cast lip. Nemisys® tooth system for mining buckets. Dragline ProFill® and ProFill Delta buckets. From material extraction to hauling and processing, ESCO offers a field-proven range of blades, crusher wear
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parts, lip systems, ground engaging tools, attachments, and wear management.
Freeport-McMoRan Inc. Booth 7310, Central Hall Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) is a leading international mining company with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. FCX operates large, long-lived, geographically diverse assets with significant proven and probable reserves of copper, gold and molybdenum, and is one of the world’s largest publicly traded copper producers. The company's portfolio of assets includes the Grasberg minerals district in Indonesia and significant mining operations in North America and South America. By supplying responsibly produced copper, FCX is proud to be a positive contributor to the world well beyond its operational boundaries.
HARD-LINE Booth 1013, North Hall HARD-LINE is a global technology company specialising in remote and tele-remote-control solutions for heavy machinery that allow its customers to move personnel away from dangerous areas – increasing production safety. No matter what type, make, age, or model of machinery, HARD-LINE can configure any equipment to operate remotely across all industries including mining and construction. After 25 years of operations, HARD-LINE continues to evolve – with two offices in Sudbury, Ontario, including a new technology centre in the city’s downtown, as well offices in Chile, Peru and Utah, along with a global network of distributors.
Haver & Boecker Niagara Booth 7301, Central Hall Haver & Boecker Niagara will showcase its Pulse Vibration Analysis Service technology at MINExpo 2021. The company’s service programme uses its Pulse vibration analysis technology to evaluate vibrating screen performance and provide recommendations to increase uptime and efficiency. The service helps customers achieve production targets, minimise unscheduled downtime, and demonstrate sustainable improvements through online asset management, in partnership with Haver & Boecker Niagara’s vibrating screen service expertise. The company’s Pulse vibration analysis software examines the health of a vibrating screen and monitors for irregularities to ensure optimum screening performance and equipment reliability.
Herrenknecht Booth 5301, Central Hall Herrenknecht is a global market leader for mechanised tunnelling technology, employing more than 5000 employees worldwide. Based on its proven experience, Herrenknecht provides an entire range of innovative machines for the mechanised construction of underground
mining infrastructure. Whether for vertical access or production shafts, inclined vehicle access ramps, ventilation shafts or transport tunnels, its mining technology is designed for diameters of 0.3 – 12 m and can reach depths of up to 2000 m. The company’s solutions achieve high advance rates while maintaining high occupational health and safety standards.
Hitachi Booth 8525, Central Hall Hitachi product experts will be at their booth to answer mining questions and discuss more about Hitachi’s line of mining excavators, including the new EX-7 Series. As just one way that Hitachi brings reliable solutions to life, the EX-7 Series includes the EX1200-7, EX2000-7, EX2600-7, EX3600-7, and EX5600-7 – available as electric or fuel-efficient models that help reduce total costs of ownership, while achieving superior productivity. Battery electric vehicles and trolley trucks will also be discussed, including how the sustainable and environmentally friendly products can be leveraged. Hitachi’s haul trucks will also be highlighted on-screen.
J.H. Fletcher & Co. Booth 2603, North Hall
Monitor and improve mill performance to reduce total cost of operations
J.H. Fletcher & Co. is a world leader in engineering and manufacturing custom mining equipment designed for all underground applications. At this year’s show, Fletcher will be showcasing several machines with innovative technology focused on improving safety and productivity. Visit Fletcher to start a conversation about custom-built solutions.
Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group Booth 8609, Central Hall Servicing more than 150 mine sites across five continents, Kal Tire leverages mining tyre management innovation, highly skilled teams, and close to 50 years’ experience partnering with customers to achieve their goals for safety, sustainability, and productivity. A multi-brand dealer offering a range of retreading, repair, and recycling solutions at every stage of the tyre life cycle.
Maestro Digital Mine
Move to a cost-efﬁcient and predictive maintenance model with a data-driven approach •
Identify key areas for maximizing savings and improvements through connected technologies and services
Predict, plan and optimize horizontal grinding mill performance
Increase efﬁciency by reducing the likelihood of failures and reduce both the cost of production and cost of maintenance
Booths 1551 – 1650, North Hall Maestro Digital Mine manufactures Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices and last mile digital networks for the underground mining sector. Working with mining companies to develop solutions to real-time challenges, its digital solutions are recognised in over 35 countries and deployed globally in 145+ mines. Maestro provides significant CAPEX and OPEX savings to the mines project ventilation, energy, occupational health, and safety professionals.
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® SKF is a registered trademark of the SKF Group. | © SKF Group
Join Maestro at MINExpo for exciting news as the company continues to innovate its solutions to deliver worker safety and productivity improvements, while reducing the energy and greenhouse gas emissions of mines.
MAJOR Booth 7501, Central Hall MAJOR will showcase its FLEX-MAT® Modular screen media panels and other screening efficiency-boosting products at MINExpo 2021. FLEX-MAT, the company’s signature screen media, delivers increased throughput by providing more open area than traditional panels. The screen media features up to 40% more screen capacity than traditional woven wire and up to 50% more than traditional polyurethane and rubber panels, setting a new standard in performance for mining, aggregate, and industrial producers. The innovative product’s high-frequency movement makes media an active part of the screening process, improving efficiency compared to static media, such as woven cloth or synthetic panels.
Martin Engineering Booth 4615, Central Hall Martin Engineering will be featuring a number of innovative technologies at its booth, including its new N2 belt cleaner position indicator and automated tensioner systems. The company will also be showcasing conveyor belt cleaners, belt cradles, conveyor sealing products, belt trackers, and settling components to control bulk material loads. In addition, visitors will find practical solutions, such as industrial vibration and replacement motors for screening equipment, as well as the Martin Roll Gen system for generating power from a moving conveyor belt. The wide array of products are all developed for cleaner, safer, and more productive bulk material handling.
Master Builders Solutions Booth 149, North Hall The Master Builders Solutions team is a world leader in reliable, customer-oriented solutions, focused on customer needs. The company supports customers with product training and quality control, and its technical services team is on hand around the clock, helping with technical advice and trouble shooting. By accompanying customers from the start of their project, Master Builders Solutions supports them every step of the way.
ME Elecmetal Booth 3225, North Hall ME Elecmetal offers more than mill liners, grinding media, and crusher wear parts – it also offers
70 July/August 2021 // global mining review
innovation, support, custom designs, and valuable tools to develop a total milling and comminution solution specific to customer needs. As a trusted partner at every stage of the optimisation process, the company provides valuable insight based on over 100 years of experience and advanced technologies. The company will help customer optimise their process, reduce downtime and increase productivity, resulting in higher profits. Products include: grinding mill liners, grinding media, crusher wear parts, ladles and slag pots, 3D laser scanning services, reline simulation services, and 2D/3D simulation services.
Mincon Booth 3027, North Hall Mincon is an international engineering group specialising in the design, manufacture, sales, and service of rock-drilling solutions for the surface mining, construction, water, geothermal, and renewable energy installations industries. Headquartered in Shannon, Ireland, Mincon has a global presence with research and development facilities, factories, and service centres in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific regions. Mincon’s comprehensive product range comprises bespoke mast attachments and drill rigs, down-the-hole hammers and drill bits, rotary drill bits, reverse circulation systems for exploration drilling, construction and geotechnical systems, horizontal directional drilling systems, drill pipes, and all associated drilling accessories.
Philippi-Hagenbuch Booth 6047, Central Hall Philippi-Hagenbuch will highlight its Material Spreader Body during MINExpo 2021. The Material Spreader easily spreads road grit, sand, or other material ranging in size from very fine to more than 2 in. Operators can easily adjust the material spreading width from about 15 ft to more than 60 ft. The haul truck operator controls the material spreading rate and width from the truck’s cab. The Material Spreader Body eliminates the need to purchase a dedicated piece of sanding equipment. It adapts to year-round use from adding traction to icy roads during the winter to maintaining haul roads and spreading material in the spring, summer, and autumn.
Rajant Corporation Booth 1261, North Hall Rajant Corporation enables mining operators to maximise uptime in extreme conditions with its exclusive patented and private, wireless industrial Kinetic Mesh®. Kinetic Mesh, with wireless BreadCrumb® nodes and InstaMesh® software protocol, is an adaptable, autonomous network that is readily scalable to hundreds of high-bandwidth radios and built
specifically to suit the characteristics of the mining industry. Operators can continuously monitor, manage, and control their large fleets of high-value equipment, vehicles and personnel, which are always on the move across large areas of rugged mining terrain. Through its robustness and mobility, Rajant enables autonomous operations and provides unwavering connectivity in adverse, changing conditions. The result is reliable, mission-critical communications to keep mining operations thriving. Rajant mobile nodes can communicate directly with each other, enabling vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications between both manned and unmanned vehicles.
RPMGlobal Booth 7081, Central Hall RPMGlobal has been helping organisations remain at the forefront of mining for more than 20 years. Its software, advisory, and training services help companies unlock powerful insights to amplify decision-making. RPMGlobal is committed to helping its customers achieve a competitive advantage by delivering integrated solutions that optimise every stage of the mining value chain. The company’s software offerings integrate a mining operation’s design, scheduling, asset management, operations, and finances to seamlessly connect systems and information – all of which will be showcased at MINExpo.
The company’s shift into mobile solutions and cloud applications will be on display, ensuring companies can operate their business remotely no matter where their people are located.
Weir Minerals Booth 4239, Central Hall Weir Minerals, a Weir Group division, will feature market-leading products showcasing its whole-of-mine capabilities, from extraction to comminution and mill circuit. Delegates will be able to view the Trio® cone crusher with ESCO® lining, the Cavex® 2 hydrocyclone – which marks a new era in separation technology – as well as a hologram of the Enduron® high pressure grinding rolls (HPGR). Synertrex® intelligence platform that harnesses the latest digital technology to transform productivity will also be on display.
World Coal Booth 1838, North Hall World Coal, Global Mining Review's sister publication, is a leading industry magazine covering the global coal chain. Distributed globally, the magazine receives bonus distribution at key events throughout the year. Visit World Coal's booth to meet the team and hear about the editorial and advertising opportunities that will be available in 2022.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS 30 years experience on the global market
Innovative ideas and quality products
Tailored solutions for each customer
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