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FUTURE OF MINING MATERIALS HANDLING VOLUME 113/01 | FEBRUARY 2021

MINING SERVICES

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FUTURE OF MINING MATERIALS HANDLING VOLUME 113/01 | FEBRUARY 2021

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COMMENT

INDUSTRY AGILITY TO REMAIN KEY FOCUS BEN CREAGH

Ben.Creagh@primecreative.com.au

MINING STARTS 2021 IN A POSITIVE POSITION IN AUSTRALIA, BUT GLOBAL UNCERTAINTY CONTINUES TO PUT PRESSURE ON THE INDUSTRY’S SUPPLY CHAIN.

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ining companies will be optimistic that 2021 heralds a return to a number of things that they previously took for granted. Travel and the movement of goods, for example, were integral parts of an increasingly globalised mining industry prior to last year. The potential for more domestic and international movement of workers and machinery as the year progresses shapes as an opportunity for the industry. While travel interruptions remain (even domestically as borders within Australia open and close), the industry will be hoping to reestablish more of the mobility it once had. The industry supply chain and therefore many of the METS (mining equipment, technology and services) partners mining companies work with depend on this. Being such a geographically broad industry, mining requires an efficient supply chain and has become increasingly agile in its response to the restrictions. The remote working revolution has helped drive this agility and as much as it benefitted the industry last year, these technologies could go to another level with a fully operational global supply chain. Mining companies will also bank on improved mobility to enhance their social licence to operate, which an Ernst & Young survey late last year rated as the key risk that companies face heading into 2021. As stakeholders strengthen their demands from the industry, mining companies are bolstering their community impact and

also their efforts when it comes to climate concerns. While mainstream attention on mining’s social licence fell in 2020, it remains firmly on the radar for the industry and will take centre stage again this year. Added mobility will enable mining companies to positively impact communities and deliver the outcomes they need to back up their aspirations from a socioeconomic perspective. Despite the upheaval of 2020, mining in Australia finds itself in an enviable position with many commodity prices in a strong place and extensive project development on the horizon. It means demand for workers will be high, with potentially as many as 24,000 resources industry jobs needed across 98 projects over the next five years, according to forecasting by the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA). If this jobs boom does eventuate it will highlight the importance of worker mobility in Australia’s remote locations and how the industry can positively impact these communities through job creation. It puts the spotlight on an immense opportunity amid ongoing uncertainty that will continue to require an agile approach.

FRONT COVER

In this edition, we include a special feature on the crushing and screening sector, with a series of articles profiling key suppliers in this area. This issue puts the spotlight on the iron ore sector with analysis of junior and mid-tier companies aiming to capitalise on high prices for the steelmaking material. We look at the electrification of mining equipment and how the industry will take the next step in this direction as technology improves. This edition also reviews the 2020 International Mining and Resources Conference with coverage of key speeches and presentations. And as usual, we cover the latest mining equipment and technology in our products section.

Cover image: Haver & Boecker. Ben Creagh Managing Editor

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IN INTHIS THISISSUE ISSUE 32

14 12 FUTURE OF MINING

28 FUTURE OF MINING

44 INNOVATION

30 TRAINING & EDUCATION

48 MINING SERVICES

18 COMMODITY SPOTLIGHT

32 WATER MANAGEMENT

52 INDUSTRY COMMENT

22 SUSTAINABILITY

34 MATERIALS HANDLING

54 COMMODITY SPOTLIGHT

26 COMMUNITY RELATIONS

38 TECHNOLOGY

56 MINING INFRASTRUCTURE

ext generation machines N Cleaner vehicles electrify the future

14 COMMODITY SPOTLIGHT

Rising uranium miners Marenica and Boss Energy bolster Australia’s uranium sector Iron ore companies join the race Junior miners strike while its hot

The viability of green ambitions Global miners take unique approach

Aboriginal communities explain their stance on mining projects Tjiwarl and Yindjibarndi title holders speak up

A strategy for the next century Anglo American to deliver a clean slate in the years ahead

Tyre technicians remain engaged Kal Tire transcends physical boundaries

Cost-friendly choice for dewatering Xylem boosts rental division’s capability All eyes on product development Fenner Dunlop, Thejo expand their vision

Modern tech’s new possibilities Eco-Design, Altra Motion, LASE share their applications

Development by industry leaders From fire-resistant lubricant to preconcentration Breadth and depth of mining assistance Minprovise, SKF pursue service excellence Austmine casts its eyes on 2021 A new wave of METS opportunities Futuristic copper mining In-situ recovery emerges as an opportunity

Making water flow efficiently Steel Mains overcomes great Australian distances

58 CRUSHING & SCREENING

Cutting-edge developments Processing the latest crushing and screening advances

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69 PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

Finding the right hose Hardy Spicer shows the way

71 EVENTS SPOTLIGHT

AusIMM’s 2021 ambitions A clear path to greater professional development

REGULARS 5 COMMENT 8 NEWS 72 PRODUCTS 74 EVENTS AUSTRALIANMINING AUSTRALIANMINING

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NEWS

THE LATEST MINING AND SAFETY NEWS AUSTRALIAN MINING PRESENTS THE LATEST NEWS FROM THE BOARDROOM TO THE MINE AND EVERYWHERE IN BETWEEN. VISIT WWW.AUSTRALIANMINING.COM.AU TO KEEP UP TO DATE WITH WHAT IS HAPPENING. WA CUTS RED TAPE TO SPEED UP DEVELOPMENT The Western Australian Government has fast-tracked the state’s mine approval process to move the next wave of projects into construction sooner. The Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has brought in changes that allow mining companies to begin construction in a staged manner along infrastructure corridors while access licences are still pending. Traditionally, mining companies are required to have all land access permits granted prior to lodging environmental applications for approval.

This prevented miners from starting construction until its land access was approved along the entire corridor. With the new changes, companies will now be able to start construction in phases along the corridors, and the state government will conduct environmental assessments while licences are pending approval. Western Australia’s Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston stressed that the changes would not affect existing environmental, safety or heritage standards, and that construction wouldn’t be permitted to start until the mining proposal was assessed and judged to be

environmentally acceptable. “The new rules have the potential to cut months off the construction timeline for companies, which is important for creating jobs for Western Australians and growing our economy,” Johnston said. “Environmental assessments of the whole mining infrastructure corridor will now only have to be conducted once at the start of the project, rather than on multiple occasions.” Fortescue Metals Group was able to take advantage of these changes at the Eliwana iron ore project in the Pilbara, which celebrated its first processing of iron ore in December last year.

AUSTRALIAN MINING GETS THE LATEST NEWS EVERY DAY, PROVIDING MINING PROFESSIONALS WITH UP-TOTHE-MINUTE INFORMATION ON SAFETY, NEWS AND TECHNOLOGY FOR THE AUSTRALIAN MINING AND RESOURCES INDUSTRY.

RIO TINTO NAMES STAUSHOLM AS CEO stint as chairman of the audit committee and non-executive director of Woodside Petroleum. Stausholm said he was “truly delighted and humbled” to be given the opportunity to lead Rio Tinto and was ready to take on the important task of restoring trust with the Puutu Kunti Kurrama Pinikura (PKKP) Traditional Owners. “Rio Tinto’s purpose is to produce the materials essential to human progress and I remain deeply committed to this after the difficult times we have faced during 2020,” Stausholm said. “I look forward to leading Rio Tinto and working with my colleagues across the business to ensure we maintain strong safety, operational and financial performance, while progressing our growth, sustainability and technology strategies. “I am also acutely aware of the need to restore trust with Traditional Owners and our other stakeholders, which I view as a key priority for the company.” Former Rio Tinto group controller Peter Cunningham will step into Stausholm’s role as interim chief financial officer of the company.

AUSTRALIANMINING

RIO TINTO CEO JAKOB STAUSHOLM.

CREDIT: RIO TINTO.

Jakob Stausholm, formerly Rio Tinto chief financial officer and executive director of Rio Tinto, has replaced Jean-Sébastien Jacques as the company’s chief executive officer. Rio Tinto chairman Simon Thompson said Stausholm’s strong values and blend of leadership skills, strategic and commercial expertise were ideal qualities for the company’s leader. Stausholm joined Rio Tinto in 2018, and since then has played a leading role in the company’s strong performance, maintaining financial discipline and delivering shareholder returns while strengthening the balance sheet. He is an experienced global executive of 25 years, with leadership roles including group financial officer and strategy and transformation officer of logistics company A.P. Moeller. Previously, he was group chief financial officer of facility services provider International Service System (ISS), and prior to this spent two decades with Royal Dutch Shell in various financial roles. He has also served as nonexecutive director of Statoil ASA (now Equinor), including a six-year

Jacques has stepped down from his role as executive director and chief executive of Rio Tinto in January and will leave the group in March.

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Thompson said that Jacques, who had led the company since 2016, was leaving the group in an exceptionally strong financial position and safety performance.



NEWS

CIVMEC STRENGTHENS FORTESCUE RELATIONSHIP AT IRON BRIDGE Civmec has secured new work at Fortescue Metals Group’s Iron Bridge magnetite operation in Western Australia, having been awarded a contract for a major on-site project. The heavy construction and engineering group will complete onsite structural, mechanical, piping and electrical works at Iron Bridge, which is a joint venture (JV) between Fortescue Metals Group subsidiary FMG Magnetite and Taiwan’s

Formosa Steel IB. Civmec has also won contracts of lesser value with various other clients, with the combined value of the agreements hitting $140 million. The latest Iron Bridge contract involves the instalment of the crushing circuit, primary grinding, dry separation and air classification equipment, as well as dry tailing for the dry plant. Civmec is set to commence works

in early 2021, and employ 400 people at the Pilbara site at the peak of the project. “We are delighted to extend our relationship with the Iron Bridge JV with further work awarded on the Iron Bridge magnetite project,” Civmec chief executive officer Patrick Tallon said. “We are currently delivering site civil concrete works and have commenced work for the supply of 4700 tonnes of

steel structures and modules for the same project, so this latest award is a very rewarding outcome and aligns well with our multi-discipline capability business model.” Civmec secured the contract to supply 4700 tonnes of conveyor, trusses and trestles at the site in October last year. It also won a civil contract for dry plant detailed earthworks at Iron Bridge in July last year.

CREDIT: FORTESCUE METALS GROUP.

FORTESCUE’S IRON BRIDGE PROJECT IN THE PILBARA.

MACA TO BUY DOWNER WA MINING BUSINESS FOR $175M MACA is acquiring Downer EDI’s surface contract mining business, Mining West, for $175 million, taking over $1.1 billion worth of contracts. The business comprises four large Western Australian contracts: Fortescue Metals Group’s Eliwana iron ore mine and rail project; Ansteel’s Karara iron ore project; Citic Pacific’s Sino iron project; and Gold Fields and Gold Road Resources’ Gruyere gold project. MACA will also expand its fleet through the addition of 126 items of Downer’s mobile mining equipment, providing the company with an increased capacity to deliver to a broader range of projects. This includes 14 excavators and shovels, 65 dump trucks, 11 surface drills and 36 other ancillary machines.

MACA chief executive Mike Sutton said the acquisition provided the Perth-based contractor with a meaningful addition of a largescale mining fleet that was engaged across four life-long projects. “All (projects are) with quality customers that are well known to me and other key members of MACA’s management team,” he said. “With the inclusion of Mining West, MACA now has total contracted work in hand of over $3.4 billion, that provides a robust revenue base well past (the 2025 fiscal year).” MACA expects the acquisition to improve its position as the leading provider of surface contract mining services to the Western Australian resources sector. AUSTRALIANMINING

It will also diversify MACA’s current works in the gold sector, with the introduction of iron ore to its portfolio of secured works. MACA has won a number of major contracts since the start of the 2021 financial year, including Atlas Iron’s Corunna Downs project, Capricorn Metals’ Karlawinda project, Fenix Resources’ Iron Ridge project and Red 5’s King of the Hills EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) project. Downer chief executive Grant Fenn said the sale of Mining West marked another important step in the implementation of Downer’s urban services strategy. “An important part of our urban services strategy is to exit our capital-intensive mining business,” he said.

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“The sale of open cut Mining West follows the sale of Downer Blasting Services, the Snowden consulting business and our share in the RTL Mining and Earthworks joint venture. The proceeds received from these four transactions is in line with the carrying value of these businesses. “We remain in active discussions with a number of interested parties in relation to the other parts of the mining portfolio namely open cut Mining East, underground and the Otraco tyre management business.” MACA stated that there would be no change expected in day-to-day operations at any of Mining West’s four projects, nor to its existing contracts. All Mining West project employees will also join MACA. The transaction is expected to complete early this year.


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FUTURE OF MINING

SPARKING THE NEXT PHASE OF ELECTRIFICATION THE MINING INDUSTRY HAS BEEN A FRONTRUNNER IN ADOPTING NEW TECHNOLOGIES OVER THE PAST DECADE, WITH ELECTRIFICATION SERVING AS THE NEXT FRONTIER FOR A CLEANER AND COST-EFFECTIVE FUTURE. NICKOLAS ZAKHARIA WRITES.

I

n 2018, the International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) launched the Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles (ICSV) initiative. The ICSV hopes to introduce emission-free surface mining vehicles by 2040, reduce the impact of diesel exhaust by 2025 and make collision avoidance technology available for mining companies by 2025. It brings 27 mining companies and 19 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) together, all aiming to ramp up the next generation of mining vehicles, while improving existing models. The likes of BHP, Anglo American, Caterpillar, Sandvik and Komatsu are among the initiative’s CEO advisory group. BHP chief executive Mike Henry, speaking at the 2020 International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), says the ICSV is helping to accelerate the innovations required to advance mining technology. “The Innovation for cleaner, safer vehicles initiative brings together equipment manufacturers and ICMM members to accelerate the innovations required to improve equipment safety and reduce emissions,” he says.

“This is a great example of the collaborative industry-level effort that can help bring about the scale and pace of change that is needed.” The ICSV has advised OEMs and technology providers on what is needed to boost the adoption rates of new technologies in the mining industry. “Progress made on the Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles initiative has been building the widespread confidence needed to accelerate the level of innovation investment required to scale up commercial solutions,” ICMM chief executive officer Tom Butler says. And those commercial solutions are gradually coming online. Major mining operations across Australia are gradually increasing the presence of electric vehicles (EVs) on site. Speaking at IMARC’s machinery, equipment and modernisation presentation, Kirkland Lake chief mining engineer Rob McLean explains the areas of technological advancement that the company is exploring at the Fosterville gold mine in Victoria. Kirkland Lake’s future focusses include automation, remote technology and the electrification of its equipment, according to McClean, who

believes technological advancements will improve its overall operation. “For us, we see that it allows improvement and optimisation of our processes in all areas with the focus being on zero harm, reducing our environmental footprint and improvement value to our stakeholders,” he says. The company’s vision for Fosterville is to transition the site into a fully electric mine. “The big advantage of this is obviously the removal of significant diesel emissions and reduced heat because the electric machines will produce a lot less heat than the diesel machines,” McLean says. Kirkland Lake is trialling a Sandvik LH518B electric loader this year as it continues to work towards this vision.

An electric future

Sandvik is no stranger to pushing the envelope in the mining industry through its equipment and solutions. As the industry looks to cut emissions and save costs, Sandvik has started to roll out its fleet of electric vehicles, including the LH518B electric loader that will be trialled by Kirkland Lake in 2021. Sandvik business line manager,

THE SANDVIK LH518B ELECTRIC LOADER. AUSTRALIANMINING

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load & haul Andrew Dawson says the future of mining is electric. “If we look at the future of mining as a whole, it’s going to be more electrified and a lot more energy efficient with a reduction in the use of fossil fuels,” he says. “I think it’s fair to say that Sandvik’s vision is to use engineering and innovation to drive more sustainable business for our customers and clients.” Designed for underground mining environments, the LH518B is the world’s first 18-tonne electric loader and is designed around Sandvik’s Artisan battery system. “The LH518B is a great example of engineering and innovation that has already used and deployed battery technology for the highest capacity payload in underground loaders in the smallest footprint. It’s great engineering and we’re really proud to have developed that.” While battery electric vehicles are still an emerging technology, the market has been showing strong interest in Sandvik’s offerings, Dawson says. “We’re seeing this particularly from customers with a developed or a developing sustainability roadmap


FUTURE OF MINING

THE LH518B IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF ENGINEERING AND INNOVATION THAT HAS ALREADY USED AND DEPLOYED BATTERY TECHNOLOGY FOR THE HIGHEST CAPACITY PAYLOAD IN UNDERGROUND LOADERS IN THE SMALLEST FOOTPRINT.” and there are actually quite a few companies out there,” he says. “There is a lot of hype behind electrification outside of the mining industry and that’s demonstrated through Tesla and companies with electric cars, and we think this is really acting as a driver within the mining industry as well. It’s certainly a push point we think.” There are a number of long-term benefits to battery electric vehicles in mining environments, including less maintenance compared with a combustion engine. Dawson says reduced heat, no exhaust gas and zero CO2 emissions are other features that allow Sandvik’s electric vehicles to excel over their diesel counterparts.

Industrial EVs

Light EV options are also on the rise in mining applications, including Safescape’s Bortana EV. Safescape, which was founded in Australia, finished testing the Bortana EV prototype in Kirkland Lake’s Fosterville mine between late 2019 and early 2020. Currently in its beta phase, the Bortana EV features low maintenance costs, high uptime, zero emissions, low heat generation and safer controls, while using a high-performance, 3ME Technology battery that is made in Australia. Safescape founder and managing director Steve Durkin says the overall working environment in a mining operation is improved through zero emission vehicles. “With zero emissions at the tailpipe and significantly reduced heat emissions there is an improvement in the working environment provided by use of electric vehicles,” Durkin tells Australian Mining. While electric vehicles are still in their infancy stage, Durkin says demand will rise once the products have been proven in the market. “Most mining companies aspire to be fast followers, which means they can’t create demand until others have proven various electric products in the environment first,” he says. “The level of demand at the moment is that of ‘we want to see proof that these things work and

what their ultimate total cost of ownership actually is.’” Compared with diesel engines, EVs provide a lower cost of ownership overall, Durkin says. “Cost is always a critical factor, the evidence suggests electric mining equipment will provide a lower total cost of ownership than diesel powered fleet even without the benefits in terms of health and ventilation costs,” he says. “The split between capital and operating costs is quite different, however, and that is leading to new business models with OEMs and other players looking to provide rental/lease/batteries as service options.”

THE BORTANA EV HAS BEEN TRIALLED AT UNDERGROUND OPERATIONS INCLUDING THE FOSTERVILLE MINE.

Charged up

3ME Technology specialises in the supply of electric vehicle systems and its proprietary high-performance batteries to its OEM partners. With a focus on driving innovation through collaboration, 3ME Technology supplies the EV system and batteries used in Safescape’s Bortana EV. For mining, 3ME Technology has patented a proprietary battery management system that prevents lithium-ion battery fires. “3ME Technology have developed a proprietary battery management system the employs a range of proactive and reactive measures to prevent lithium-ion battery fires,” 3ME Technology’s chief business development officer Steve Lawn explains. “The system will be officially released once patents are confirmed.” 3ME Technology’s vision is to offer clean technologies for heavy industries, including mining. And with the addition of lithium-ion fire preventions, 3ME Technology’s batteries offer market-leading levels of safety with increased performance benefits “Our goal is to provide ‘clean tech for tough industries’,” Lawn says. “Removing the threat of lithiumion thermal runaway means our scalable, large format lithium-ion battery packs can be deployed into a range of high-risk, no-fail environments such as underground AUSTRALIANMINING

THE BORTANA EV USES A HIGH TECH BATTERY MADE BY 3ME TECHNOLOGY.

mining and oil and gas for example.” As EV technologies become the norm, their economic benefits are attracting new customers, Lawn says. “My belief is that recession or not there needs to be clear economic benefit present before the uptake of new technology is pursued,” he says. According to Lawn, the mining industry’s adoption of EVs is also expanding after various companies have proven that the concept of a large underground electric vehicle is possible. “We’re grateful to be working

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with a number of early adopters and innovative OEM partners such as Safescape who have put in a lot of hard work in to get this tech off the ground,” he says. “We are seeing an explosion of interest now that the concept of large, battery-powered vehicles underground has been proven via the trails our OEM partners have been able to successfully complete. “We believe the economic benefit is now there and hence are very happy to be helping OEM partners access battery electric technology.” AM


COMMODITY SPOTLIGHT

MARENICA IS EXPLORING URANIUM DEPOSITS ACROSS NAMIBIA AND AUSTRALIA.

TAPPING INTO URANIUM’S FUTURE POTENTIAL AS A VITAL COMMODITY FOR COUNTRIES THAT USE NUCLEAR POWER, AUSTRALIA’S NEXT WAVE OF URANIUM MINERS ARE HOPING TO LAUNCH THEMSELVES INTO THE EXPORT MARKET TO CAPITALISE ON THE POTENTIAL OF A REVIVAL IN PRICES.

A

ustralia has the largest uranium resource in the world at 1.174 million tonnes or 34 per cent of the global total. While it is the third largest producer of the commodity, there are currently only three active uranium mines in Australia as 2021 begins. The fuel for nuclear power reactors, uranium is a cleaner source of power compared with fossil fuels such as coal and oil. According to the World Nuclear Association, the energy density of uranium means that one kilogram of the commodity is the power equivalent to one tonne of coal, with nuclear power contributing to 10.5 per cent of the world’s electricity. Australia, however, is the only G20 country with a federal government ban on nuclear energy, leaving uranium as an export-only commodity. Unlike other commodities, uranium does not trade on an open market with prices published by independent market consultancies, including UxC and TradeTech.

Cameco, the world’s largest publiclytraded uranium company, calculates industry average prices guided by the data published by these consultancies. The Canadian company reports that uranium’s spot price was US$29.70 ($40.20) in October 2020 – a far cry from the January 2011 peak of US$72.63. With flatlining prices causing uranium demand to shrink in recent years, there is a chance the commodity will return to form, Tribeca Investment Partners commodities analyst and portfolio manager of the nuclear energy opportunities fund, Guy Keller says. “Over the last two years, there have been a myriad of excuses for US and European utilities to do nothing to procure future supply,” Keller tells Australian Mining. “Cameco, one of the largest uranium producers, have been physical buyers and regularly report difficulties in sourcing physical material. They will continue to buy into 2021 and may also be joined by KazAtomProm, the largest uranium producer. AUSTRALIANMINING

“This is an unprecedented situation where the two largest miners of a commodity are not producing enough to meet their sales commitments.” Keller says future supplies are dwindling as mines stop producing due to the volatile market conditions. “Western utilities prefer to diversify their sources of supply so I would expect a number of countries to be interested in procuring any extra Australian pounds as they get closer to production,” he says. “The supply (and) demand imbalance in uranium is the largest out of every commodity we model. Just the demand from China alone in the next five years is expected to result in large deficits. “At these prices, there is no idled or new sources of uranium incentivised to come into production, so quite simply, prices have to rise.”

Nuclear’s place in the energy mix

While renewables and nuclear power are in constant debate for what is a “better” energy source, Keller

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believes nuclear can coexist with renewables. He says uranium and nuclear power should complement renewables, adding that nuclear electricity should replace fossil fuel base load electricity generation. “The federal government completed a review into the prohibition on nuclear power and recommended some longer-term sensible solutions,” he says. “We have also observed a shift in social bias as the Australian people and the media come to accept that in order to achieve a truly carbon-free electricity grid (as opposed to a NET carbon neutral grid), nuclear power and therefore uranium, needs a seat at the table to complement renewable sources. “After all, nuclear power is the only low-to-zero carbon source of base load (i.e 24 hours a day, seven days a week) electricity.” Uranium mining in Australia has been a heavily debated political battle between Liberal/National and Labor governments around Australia. In 2008, an eight-year ban on


COMMODITY SPOTLIGHT

uranium mining in Western Australia was lifted after the Liberal/National Government was elected. Current Western Australia Labor leader Mark McGowan then won the 2017 election and reinstated a ban on uranium mining in the state. According to the Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, there is a “no uranium” condition on future mining leases, with only the four projects that received approval from the previous Liberal/National Government allowed to proceed. This includes Cameco’s Yeelirrie and Kintyre uranium projects, Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock project and Toro Energy’s Wiluna project. Keller describes Australia’s uranium resources as “extremely important” and expects the country to be favoured by United States and European utilities in the future. “Despite some state government bans on uranium mining, Australia remains a Tier 1 mining jurisdiction and will be favoured by US and European utilities looking to secure future supply,” he says.

Growing global prospects

Marenica Energy is an ASX-listed exploration company with uranium assets in Namibia and Australia. The company’s managing director

AUSTRALIA IS THE THIRD LARGEST PRODUCER OF URANIUM WORLDWIDE.

and chief executive officer Murray Hill says small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) could prove to be an attractive investment both internationally and locally, but only if Australia shifts its tone on using nuclear power. In late 2019, Marenica acquired a number of uranium assets across

Western Australia and the Northern Territory, with the equivalent of 48 million pounds of high-grade uranium resources. “We bought these assets at a very low price and hence we are substantially leveraged to the uranium price,” Hill says. “From a company perspective,

we built a counter cyclical strategy whereby we decided to develop a solid base for the company while the uranium price is low,” he says. “We picked up all this ground in Namibia and we are now the largest landholder for nuclear fuels in Namibia. “We’ve picked up these projects

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COMMODITY SPOTLIGHT

in Australia cheaply, which can only increase in value as the uranium price goes up.” Marenica’s patented U-pgrade beneficiation process expects to reduce the cost of uranium processing by removing clay and carbonate materials from ore, lowering costs by 50 per cent compared with conventional processing. The process has significantly cut its acid consumption at the Angela deposit in the Northern Territory. “We reduced the acid consumption by close to 80 per cent so we’ve gone from 104 kilograms per tonne down to 24 kilograms per tonne,” Hill says. “The delivered cost of acid to Alice Springs at this point is about $0.40 per kilogram. You end up

with a huge reduction in costs (80 kilograms per tonne at $0.40 per kilogram) and that’s just from a $20,000 proof-of-concept program, we expect this to improve with optimisation testing.” Hill believes there will be significant economic gains if nuclear power is adopted in Australia. “If we replaced our ageing fossil fuel fleet in Australia with nuclear, the power cost would be lower and

wouldn’t that be a fantastic stimulus for the economy,” he says. From a global perspective, small modular reactors (SMRs) may also shake up the uranium sector due to their modularity and flexibility. Hill says there’s a lot of money being invested by governments to develop SMRs and the industry can expect them to be available in the next 10 years. “They’re small and they’re

THIS IS AN UNPRECEDENTED SITUATION WHERE THE TWO LARGEST MINERS OF A COMMODITY ARE NOT PRODUCING ENOUGH TO MEET THEIR SALES COMMITMENTS.”

MARENICA ENERGY URANIUM OPERATIONS IN NAMIBIA.

modular, so say you’re in a remote Australian town you could have an SMR powering that town for 30 years without refuelling,” he says. “Large reactors, you have to have a huge amount of power consumption for them, so they’ve tended to be attractive to large cities. The SMRs can be put anywhere around Australia. “These are really going to be an important part of nuclear power production in the coming years. “But you’ve got to convince both sides of politics. Science says nuclear is the best, but politics is the interference.” Despite the political noise and current global dynamics, Hill is positive about where uranium prices are heading. “We’re excited about what the future holds and I think it’s a fantastic time to be a uranium company, and also a shareholder in a uranium company because there’s only one way for the uranium price to go, and that’s north,” he says.

Next steps

Boss Energy’s (formerly Boss Resources) Honeymoon uranium mine at Kalkaroo in South Australia is positioned as a frontrunner in a uranium mining revival in Australia. The Honeymoon project is fully permitted to export 3.3 million pounds of triuranium octoxide (U3O8) equivalent per annum. Boss managing director and chief executive officer Duncan Craib is confident the company will be Australia’s next uranium producer. “The Honeymoon uranium project is accordingly very well positioned being located in the premier uranium state of South Australia,” Craib explains. “We have first mover advantage and will be Australia’s next uranium producer.” According to Craib, uranium deposits are taking longer to develop while supplies become harder to source, but the Honeymoon project has already had $170 million of historical infrastructure expenditure. “Security of supply and the geopolitical landscape are becoming increasingly important to utilities,” he says. “Irrespective of favourable uranium prices, uranium deposits have become more expensive to delineate and take longer to develop in the modern world. “Adding to that, permitting and licensing remains a defining factor between a mineral deposit that is characterised as geologically competent, and mineable ore body that is jurisdictionally ready.” AM

MARENICA HAS SECURED URANIUM DEPOSITS IN AUSTRALIA THAT HAVE POTENTIAL IF THE PRICE OF THE COMMODITY REBOUNDS.

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COMMODITY SPOTLIGHT

STRIKING THE IRON ORE WHILE ITS HOT WITH THE UNITED STATES ELECTING NEW PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN, THE SUPER NATION LOOKS SET TO RE-ENTER THE PARIS AGREEMENT, WHICH MEANS AUSTRALIAN IRON ORE PRODUCERS ARE EXPERIENCING INCREASED DEMAND FOR HIGHER GRADE PRODUCT. SALOMAE HASELGROVE SPEAKS WITH THREE JUNIOR COMPANIES ABOUT THEIR PLACE IN THIS ACTIVE MARKET.

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s Australia watched the election unfold from afar, the nation’s iron ore miners anticipated not only a surge in prices but also an increase in demand for high-grade iron ore, which is considered more environmentally friendly than its lower grade cousins. During his campaign, Joe Biden stated his intent to restart the United States’ plan for a clean energy revolution and environmental justice, and the target of hitting zero net carbon emissions by 2050. With the United States looking likely to re-enter the Paris Agreement under Biden’s leadership, mining companies and steel manufacturers are opening to sales agreements for loweremission products. This includes one of the world’s largest markets, China, which is facing stricter government regulations for more pure iron ore inputs. For iron ore producers looking

to reduce their emissions, mining a higher grade is the most productive fix, as higher-grade iron ore produces more steel from the furnace during blasting. Higher-grade iron ore only requires crushing and screening so can be put to market quicker than lower-grade product. It also attracts a higher price, giving producers more price resilience in the market, which is particularly attractive for juniors. Australian iron ore producers were already enjoying prices of $US110 ($157.40) per tonne during 2020, as Brazil’s short supply forced markets to turn Down Under more than ever for the metal. These prices have supported an ideal environment for juniors to bask in the opportunities of high prices and increased demand for their commodity. One of these juniors is Strike Resources, which announced its Paulsen’s East project in Western

Australia’s key iron ore region, the Pilbara, would enter production in 2021 after completing a project feasibility study. Strike already had valuable experience mining iron ore at the Apurimac project in Peru. The company has been active in the iron ore sector in Peru since 2008 via its 100 per cent holding of Peruvian company Apurimac Ferrum SA. However, when COVID-19 halted the company’s progress at the South

FENIX RESOURCES HAS PURCHASED A SHARE IN GERALDTON PORT TO EXPORT IRON ORE.

AUSTRALIANMINING

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American site, its focus turned to developing Paulsen’s East, which is set up to produce six million tonnes of iron ore over an initial four-year mine life. Back in the Pilbara, with the feasibility study complete, the native title agreement signed by the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) traditional owners and iron ore prices on the rise, the timing came together to kick-start Paulsen’s East. “As iron ore prices crept up, we could see the great potential we had for Paulsen’s East,” Strike Resources managing director William Johnson tells Australian Mining. “The next step is for us to obtain mine permits from the Western Australian Government and other associated approvals with the hope to start mining early (in 2021) and targeting first production within the first half of 2021.” In terms of the market, Strike is looking to the Chinese Government stimulus with wide eyes, as that stimulus is translating to demand for more steel, and therefore more iron ore. Strike is engaging with several parties to advance sales opportunities with Chinese steel mills, global iron ore traders and other marketing groups. The company plans to send lump


COMMODITY SPOTLIGHT

AN IRON ORE STOCKPILE AT FENIX RESOURCES’ IRON RIDGE MINE.

and fines products to interested parties for independent testing before finalising sales agreements. One of the main characteristics of the Paulsen’s East project is that it is of higher grade then traditional iron ore projects, with its product having an average grade of 62 per cent iron.

With more customers being mindful of greening their supply chain, Johnson anticipates the demand for higher grade iron ore will continue to stay strong. “The deposit Strike is looking to mine is extremely high grade and once crushed it will mostly become

lump rather than fines, which attracts a premium price in the market,” Johnson explains. “It is inevitable that the world is going to demand higher grade iron ore, especially following the United States election, as Biden has a much greener outlook than his predecessor. “That’s the way the world is going, it does favour higher grade products and that works to Strike’s favour.” Another company that understands the advantages of a high-grade iron ore deposit is Carpentaria Resources, which is answering the world’s call for high-grade iron ore products with its Hawsons project near Broken Hill, New South Wales. The Hawsons project will extract iron ore concentrate with a grade of 70 per cent iron, which makes Carpentaria capable of producing the highest-grade iron ore product in the world. With steel mills going through dramatic changes globally, Carpentaria managing director Quentin Hill says that the company is best placed to give the steel mills the premium product they need, and only the first movers will get the world’s best product. “The shift to low carbon steel is real and growing, those with access to the highest quality ores will be a step ahead,” Hill explains. “Globally, the incoming president has committed to get the United States back in the Paris Agreement, BHP announced it is forming a partnership with China (Baowu) to reduce emissions from steel and Vale and Mitsui are looking to partner on low carbon metallics. “The trend over the past few years is that higher grade iron ore, 64 to 68

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per cent iron concentrate, has started to sell for a considerable premium, which is now entrenched.” The Hawsons project boasts a longterm orebody with a maiden probable reserve of 755 million tonnes near historical mining town, Broken Hill, which is surrounded by mining and rail infrastructure. Hill says the key for iron ore juniors to attract development capital is having the right asset and providing the product that customers need, which is what Carpentaria is aiming to do with Hawsons. “Hawsons is unique as a large-scale magnetite project, its soft ore and world’s best quality product sets it apart. The market is looking for these high product quality projects and good opportunities for steel mills and miners are very limited,” he says. “Hawsons does stand out, being one of the few companies that has attractive returns at low iron ore prices. Wood Mackenzie places Hawsons as the leading high quality iron project of its type ahead of Fortescue’s Iron Bridge development, because of its low-cost structure and higher revenue from the highest quality product.” Carpentaria is setting its sights on commercial success and has recently appointed a new chairman Bryan Granzien, former chief executive officer of Tata Steel Australia. Granzien brings important and necessary commercial and industry experience to the board improving the company’s prospects. He says he was attracted to the company because of the quality of the Hawsons asset and the demand for its Hawsons Supergrade product. “The project meets the market and

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COMMODITY SPOTLIGHT

STRIKE IS TARGETING FIRST PRODUCTION FROM PAULSEN’S EAST IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2021.

there are real opportunities to grow shareholder value,” Granzien says. He inherits leadership of a company awaiting Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval for a transformational ownership transaction with joint venture partner Pure Metals, which owns the 30.2 per cent of the Hawsons project not owned by Carpentaria. Assuming FIRB approval, Carpentaria will own 94 per cent of the asset, setting an excellent platform to attract partners and capital. Although high-grade iron ore is becoming more popular as markets look to manufacture greener steel, companies must strike while the iron (ore) is hot before the opportunity passes. While there are still new highgrade iron ore deposits waiting to be unearthed, the industry is quite mature in Australia. Fenix Resources has been an active explorer for high-grade iron ore deposits in Western Australia and is now transitioning to the title of producer. The company has worked hard to set itself up not only as a miner but also preparing for exports, having purchased a share in Geraldton Port, the nearest port to its Mid West-based Iron Ridge project. Without needing to construct port infrastructure, Fenix is set to dispatch its first shipment of high-grade iron ore during the first quarter of 2021. The Iron Ridge project is also close to main highways, with sealed

roads allowing travel to within three kilometres of its project, saving further valuable time and capital. “What’s great about the Iron Ridge project is it’s of very low capital intensity and it’s very quick to market,” Fenix Resources managing director Rob Brierley says. “We expect to be in production by the end of 2020, there’s a lot of activity on site at the moment and being fully permitted, with port infrastructure, with road transport ready, it’s all happening very quickly.” The other advantage of higher-grade iron ore is that it is a softer material, it requires less processing and creates less wastage, significantly slashing the capital required to build the processing and tailings infrastructure at the mine. In the case of Fenix, the ore being targeted at Iron Ridge is also close to the surface, meaning that the day the company begins mining the company will be extracting saleable ore. With less processing infrastructure required to prepare high-grade iron ore for export, the Iron Ridge project could be mobilised within 12 to 18 weeks. This is just as well. As high-grade iron ore operations may be in high demand, these mine types will have a shorter lifespan than lower-grade iron ore mines while new deposits become more difficult to unearth. “Most traditional deposits historically run around the 62 per cent iron mark, but Fenix’s Iron Ridge project has a mineral resource AUSTRALIANMINING

grading of 64.2 per cent and an ore reserve of 63.9 per cent, which are both very high grade by today’s standards,” Brierley explains. “High-grade iron ore projects are an easy fix for customers to lower emissions and to make blast furnaces more productive, producing more steel from the furnace. But they are becoming increasingly rare deposits to find. “This is why some of the major companies are actually under pressure at the moment, going for lower grades because their new deposits tend to be of lesser quality than their foundation assets.” When the iron ore market settles after record highs during mid-2020, supply of lower-grade iron ore should match demand again,

according to Brierley. “When the market rebalances and goes back to matched supply and demand or even a slight over-supply, that’s when buyers will begin to favour high grades again,” he says. “At the moment, the difference between a product that is 58 per cent iron versus 65 per cent is probably only $18 to $20 per tonne, but if you go back two or three years the discount between those two was almost $50. “What Fenix likes about being a high-grade iron ore producer is the price resilience it gives us. “There is no shortage of people buying our iron ore and with first sales coming in the first quarter then ongoing production and sales, we hope to feed into an iron ore price that stays buoyant for many years to come.” AM

FENIX IS PREPARING TO SHIP FIRST ORE FROM IRON RIDGE IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2021.

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SUSTAINABILITY

STEADY MARCH TO A GREEN MINING FUTURE OZ MINERALS, HATCH AND KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD ARE TAKING THEIR OWN UNIQUE APPROACH TO SUSTAINABILITY, BUT ALL POINT TO A GREENER FUTURE. AUSTRALIAN MINING LOOKS AT HOW THEY ARE DRIVING CHANGE.

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eeting sustainability goals shouldn’t equate to ticking off marks on a scoreboard, but instead be internalised to induce change to a company’s system, culture and leadership principles. This is the message of OZ Minerals managing director and chief executive Andrew Cole, who believes that with the above approach, no sector is going to get remotely close to where they need to be in creating a sustainable business. All sectors now have less than 10 years to fulfill the 2015 sustainability development goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations General Assembly. However, the call for no poverty, zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, as well as life below water

and on land are a big ask. What it will take, Cole says, is a company that has a genuine determination to operate for the greater good of society. “While you might get short-term profits out of using the SDGs as a scorecard, it will destroy value in the long term,” Cole, speaking during the 2020 International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), says. “We report against those metrics, we score ourselves and put it in our reports. I’d argue that alone, it isn’t going to create a change that we need to see. “Short-term profits at the expense of overarching purpose will result in long-term value destruction for everybody.” OZ Minerals is walking a revolutionary path at the West Musgrave nickel-copper project in Western Australia after deciding to develop it into an emission-free

operation. The project will include off-grid renewable power and processing solutions that include battery storage and diesel or trucked gasfired generation, according to OZ Minerals’ pre-feasibility study for West Musgrave. The company is around a year away from making a construction decision on the project and is using the time

SHORT-TERM PROFITS, AT THE EXPENSE OF OVERARCHING PURPOSE, WILL RESULT IN LONGTERM VALUE DESTRUCTION FOR EVERYBODY.” to redesign all aspects of the mine operation from the bottom up. “The old ways of thinking and mining don’t work and (would become) too expensive to create an emissions-free operation, so it requires an awful lot of thinking to technically make that work,” Cole says. “I think it’s really exciting, but it’s also really hard. You need the input (of) and collaboration with many,

OZ MINERALS PLANS TO USE HYBRID RENEWABLES TO POWER THE WEST MUSGRAVE PROJECT. AUSTRALIANMINING

many parties to make it happen.” Having the conviction in the mining sector’s ability to get to a net neutral impact position, and even a net positive impact area, Cole is practising what he preaches. He believes that change comes from the top, as people in leadership positions move from the approach of compliance and accusations of non-compliance, to that of a greater

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purpose. “I personally believe that we need to change the way we conduct business,” Cole says. “We all need to be striving for a higher purpose, if you like, something that betters society and the planet and not just generate profits, which has historically been the core driver of business.” While SDGs shouldn’t act as an administrative report card for


SUSTAINABILITY

EPIROC’S DEVELOPMENT OF THE BOLTEC M BATTERY OPERATED BOLTING RIG SIGNIFIES ITS MOVE TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY.

companies, Cole acknowledges that they play a role in keeping organisations accountable. In fact, they systemise the way OZ Minerals undertakes its business. The company doesn’t define its value by its net present value – a measure of value historically used by many organisations – but in terms of the value it creates for shareholders, employees, communities, governments and suppliers. Hatch managing director – Australia and Asia, Jan Kwak, agrees that there’s a subset of the mining industry that does not treat SDGs as an opportunity to window dress or put out a glossy report on, but instead takes them very seriously. “You can’t just imagine that you can buy social licence by building a school or hospital for the community. You can’t just treat it as a ‘dollar’,” he says. “(Instead), we’ve got to figure out how to see these things as benefits and value centres in the way we construct our businesses.” At a copper project in Indonesia, Hatch is incorporating sustainable thinking in each stage of the site’s development. This is something that Kwak says wouldn’t have happened five to 10 years ago, but is proof that the resources sector is making its way to becoming more responsible and sustainable. “We’re making shared values, land use, carbon footprint and residual social value important. We’re right in the beginning of a study where we still have a long runway in front of us to make a difference,” he says. Kwak says the way the mining sector drives its projects shouldn’t be based on risk analysis as that is not the place to find opportunities. Kirkland Lake Gold, for example, is identifying opportunities in and setting aside a significant amount of funds to reinvest into mine electrification at a time when gold prices are favourable. Company president and chief

executive Tony Makuch says Kirkland Lake has focussed on creating a safer working environment for its people. To realise this, Kirkland Lake commissioned four 36-tonne electric underground haul trucks at the Macassa gold mine in Canada and is about to add a fifth vehicle to the operation. The company is also investing a significant amount of funds in battery-powered loaders, while reviewing its energy use and hauling options at the Macassa underground mine, the Fosterville mine in Victoria and the Detour Lake operation in Canada. “From a climate change point of view, the Macassa mine is probably the lowest greenhouse gas emitter – not just in the gold industry, but also the mining industry as a whole,” Makuch explains at IMARC. Makuch believes that all members of the World Gold Council (WGC), such as Kirkland Lake comply with the WGC responsible gold mining principles – they bring together issues related to environmental, social and governance aspects of gold mining into one overarching framework. He says there is a communication issue in the way the gold sector is communicating its responsible mining initiatives to the industry. Makuch says this should not just include investors, but also the local communities, employees and industry peers. “When you read through the responsible gold mining principles, there’s nothing there that we don’t do or we don’t want to do,” Makuch says. “We comply with them, but it’s (about) how we set up our communication process.” While OZ Minerals’ Cole believes that the resources sector has a long way to go in generating clean products right through the supply chain, it is moving towards a better place of responsibility. After all, opportunities to do so are in the eyes of the beholder. AM AUSTRALIANMINING

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SUSTAINABILITY

MAKING DECARBONISATION IN THE MID-TIER MARKET POSSIBLE AT THE GOLD INDUSTRY GROUP AND DELOITTE DIGGERS & DEALERS BREAKFAST LAST YEAR, PILBARA MINERALS, NORTHERN STAR RESOURCES AND IGO JOINED THE HOSTS TO DISCUSS HOW A LOWER-CARBON BASE CAN BE A REALITY FOR MID-TIER MINING COMPANIES.

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hile the decarbonisation movement has so far been led by major mining companies, their smaller counterparts often face the dilemma of committing to the costs associated with becoming greener. Despite this situation, Deloitte director – sustainability and climate change services, Michael Wood, considers decarbonisation as something that cannot be compromised. “What has accelerated in the last two years and moved from a soft to hard issue is investor pressure and through the supply chain,” Wood, speaking at the 2020 Gold Industry Group (GIG) and Deloitte Diggers & Dealers breakfast in KalgoorlieBoulder, says. “They’re putting upward pressure on producers and saying, ‘We want low or zero-carbon products through our supply chain.’” Deloitte partner Nicki Ivory often hears companies lament the costs involved with being greener, a domain of the big miners that they cannot afford to venture into.

(L-R) MICHAEL WOOD (DELOITTE), MARY HACKETT (NORTHERN STAR), DALE HENDERSON (PILBARA MINERALS), NICKI IVORY (DELOITTE), JOANNE MCDONALD (IGO), RICHARD HAYES (GIG) AND REBECCA JOHNSTON (GIG).

But is it not imperative even for mining companies to have an answer when investors ask, what is your carbon footprint? What is your emissions target and when will you reach it? How are you going to get there? “Being able to answer those questions is not a particularly expensive exercise,” Ivory says. “It’s primarily a diagnostic. There are scientific tools, techniques and processes that are being developed and are out there that can make that exercise relatively straightforward. “The mid-market is not going to be immune to (investor demand) and standing still is not going to be good enough anymore.” Pilbara Minerals is a mid-tier company that has felt the pinch of rising investor expectations in this way. “We’re in the battery business, we’re very much mid tier, we’re young (and we’re in the) second year of operation,” Pilbara minerals chief operating officer Dale Henderson says. “We have debt on the balance sheet, pricing pressure and we have partnered with some really, really big battery-related companies. These AUSTRALIANMINING

THE MID-MARKET IS NOT GOING TO BE IMMUNE TO (INVESTOR DEMAND) AND STANDING STILL IS NOT GOING TO BE GOOD ENOUGH ANYMORE.” pressures are really real. “(But) frankly it’s a great space to be involved in and do everything we can to integrate (decarbonisation) to our core business.” Pilbara Minerals has found success by balancing investments and cash on its balance sheet, which has helped the company to determine how far it wants to go on the decarbonisation path and when. The company has also chosen to be an early adopter, instead of an innovator or a laggard, in committing to a three megawatt increase in its solar penetration to five megawatts. On the other hand, Henderson says the domain of the supply chain is a new world that Pilbara Minerals is moving into.

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“To understand carbon flow, (we’ve) got to have a deep understanding of (our) partners to a level we’ve never (been) before,” Henderson says. “It’s a whole new relationship (and) we’re getting into that very quickly.” IGO company secretary and head of corporate affairs Joanne McDonald says that companies have to consider all the diverse elements of decarbonisation to reduce carbon impacts effectively. This calls for looking at the bigger picture beyond the narrow focus of emission targets. For Northern Star Resources non-executive director and chair of the environment, sustainability and safety committee, Mary Hackett, decarbonising mining is not symbolic of the industry bowing down to society’s expectations. She says it is neither a result of society’s pressure, nor is it because it’s the right thing to do. Instead, Hackett believes the opportunities to decarbonise make good business sense for many companies. “Over time, safety has absolutely become an imperative, and we know that a safe work site is an efficient work site. It’s a great place to work,” Hackett says. “The combination of all that makes a very good business outcome.” The opportunities for decarbonisation run even deeper in Australia’s mineral-rich ground. Deloitte’s Ivory believes the world’s move to decarbonisation is attracting the kind of commodities that are abound in Australia, particularly in Western Australia. This extends beyond just nickel and lithium, but to a host of commodities that will be needed to make batteries and other technologies. “There’s a huge opportunity for Western Australia,” Hackett says. “And the even bigger opportunity is to then start adding value to those commodities in our country instead of exporting them all. “We have seen that happening in the lithium space, and we will be seeing many more.” AM


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TRADITIONAL OWNERS STEP INTO A BRIGHTER FUTURE

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ining companies and Indigenous Australians have sustained many cracks in their relationship over

the years. After living through numerous court disputes over Indigenous rights and damage to heritage sites, the destruction of the Juukan Gorge rockshelters in the Pilbara region of Western Australia last year served as a serious blow to the relationship. Despite these disputes, the chief executives of the Tjiwarl and Yindjibarndi Aboriginal corporations reinforce their support for and understanding of the government’s need to advance Australia’s economy. Tjiwarl Aboriginal Corporation (Tjiwarl AC) chief executive Greg

Ryan-Gadsden says the Tjiwarl Native Title Holders are not opposed to the idea of exploration and mining occurring on their country. “They fully understand the contribution to the Australian and (world) economy. They believe that mining rights can coexist with native title rights,” he tells Australian Mining. But just as a company needs to play by the rules when venturing into international territories, Australian miners also need to respect their local counterparties in the regions in which they operate. The Tjiwarl Native Title Holders, for example, are the counterparty for a mining companies like BHP at its Nickel West operations in the Goldfields region of Western Australia. Their connection to country is described as something that is deeply

CREDIT: OZ MINERALS.

TENSION SURROUNDS THE PRECARIOUS RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENTS, MINING COMPANIES AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLE. VANESSA ZHOU REVIEWS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS TO THIS RELATIONSHIP ACCORDING TO THE TJIWARL AND YINDJIBARNDI ABORIGINAL CORPORATIONS.

OZ MINERALS COMPLETED CONSTRUCTION OF THE CARRAPATEENA MINE IN EARLY 2020.

sacred, and continues to this day through ceremony, song, visiting sites and sharing stories passed down orally through countless generations. “Native Title Holders have lived for thousands of years within a structured societal system with complex rules and obligations to care for country and culture,” Tjiwarl AC chairperson and Native Title Holder Brett Lewis says. “Failure to meet these obligations, even today, can result in significant

cultural shame and punishment.” But the favour doesn’t rest on the Native Title Holders, with Warren Entsch, the chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia, which conducted the inquiry into the Juukan Gorge destruction, saying that federal law has proved to be of limited value when protecting Indigenous heritage. “The Aboriginal and Torrest Strait Island Heritage Protection Act 1984 is virtually moribund,” he states in the

CREDIT: TJIWARL (ABORIGINAL CORPORATION) RNTBC.

LAKE MIRANDA IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA, A CULTURALLY SIGNIFICANT SITE.

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CREDIT: TJIWARL (ABORIGINAL CORPORATION) RNTBC.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

TAC DIRECTORS WITH THE BHP NICKEL WEST TEAM IN LEINSTER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA.

Juukan Gorge interim report. Tjiwarl AC’s Ryan-Gadsden also acknowledges that the experience of Native Title Holders with mining companies and governments in the past has been disproportionately in favour of mining development. He credits this to the “obvious potential contribution” to employment and the economy, unfortunately at the expense of the environment and the heritage and culture of First Nations people. Like many native title groups, Tjiwarl places very high value on heritage protection, and can consider progressing mining projects if accommodated respectfully and fairly. This weighs on the viewpoint of Michael Woodley, chief executive of Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (Yindjibarndi AC), which last year confronted Fortescue Metals Group over Native Title rights that covered the Solomon iron ore mine in the Pilbara, Western Australia. Woodley says the systems of laws and processes are etched on a discriminatory framework and an irrelevant charter. “Our position on mining (companies) operating on sacred Ngurra (lands) is very challenging. As First Nations people, we are torn between government needs for our ongoing natural resources to be mined for growth and productivity that drive our state’s economy, and the miners’ needs for production,

expansion and shareholder value (creation),” he tells Australian Mining. “(This) makes our task very difficult in staying the course when it comes to fulfilling our obligations to protect and preserve our ecosystem, heritage values and cultural practices. “When governments and miners have one common interest, it is at this point our Native Title support for mining and mining projects gets put through a system of laws and processes, which disappointingly gives miners more rights and control of how these laws and processes apply when it comes to mining and exploration.” However, this tension doesn’t have to end in locked horns, with cultural competency a key ingredient that lines a successful relationship, according to Tjiwarl AC’s Lewis. “Often, the success in business with a foreign land relies on cultural competence and understanding of fundamental communication protocols. The situation is the same with First Nations people,” he says. “Companies may seek to fast-track approvals by engaging directly with a few locals. However, this can cause more friction with the community and factions will form. Decisions and agreements made by a few locals are unauthorised and therefore cannot be legally or culturally supported.” While conflicts can often form due to language, Lewis underlines the importance in distinguishing the AUSTRALIANMINING

difference between a Native Title Holder saying, “Yes, I understand,” and “Yes, I agree.” Mining operators are also encouraged to have a genuine interest in engaging with and learning the deep cultural value of the land before commencing ground disturbance. This, along with transparency throughout a mining project’s lifecycle, will prove invaluable to the continuity of a mining project. Lewis is convinced that any engineering problems can be solved through conversation with the trust of locals. “Companies that can align their business development process and policies to cultural perspectives are more likely to successfully progress from exploration to mining, addressing their social licence to operate by demonstrating their commitment to protecting culturally significant areas and preserving a unique culture,” he says. OZ Minerals chose this approach from the outset when setting a pathway for development of the Carrapateena copper-gold project in South Australia, according to managing director and chief executive Andrew Cole. “When we first met with the local Traditional Owners (the Kokatha People) about this new construction some five years ago, we said to them on day one that if we couldn’t find a pathway that they would approve and support us on, we would not

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build this mine,” Cole, speaking at the 2020 International Mining and Resources Conference, says. “And that is a really difficult thing for people to get their heads around, that you’re going to hand over the approval of a brand new mine to landconnected people who didn’t know very much about us or the operating environment. “But we spent the next three years with that community earning their trust, and them ours.” OZ Minerals then walked the Kokatha People through “every inch” of the Carrapateena project, moving pieces of infrastructure around so that it could minimise its disturbance on their land and protect their heritage. This genuine and protracted effort has proven to be fruitful. As OZ Minerals handed its mining application for Carrapateena to the Traditional Owners, they gave their endorsement and letter of support to the company. “That’s an example where we put our trust in the land-connected people – the Traditional Owners in this case – to support us in our new mine development, and I think it worked really, really well,” Cole says. “We’re now doing the same exact thing at our West Musgrave (nickel-copper) project (in Western Australia), and I think if you treat people with trust and respect, they will reciprocate.” Tjiwarl AC’s Ryan-Gadsden says it is in the interest of government and mining companies to facilitate equitable engagement, underpinned by legislation that effectively protects the country, which includes mining, heritage and the environment. “Australia can celebrate the longest, continuous culture in the world, showcasing its cultural and environmental diversity and richness to the world,” he says. “All this, while also promoting progress in an ethical and sustainable manner that will continue to lift living standards, grow the economy and employment, and importantly, close an unacceptably large gap in nearly every measure of life between mainstream Australia and Aboriginal people.” With mining companies such as OZ Minerals charting a path to an equitable relationship between Native Title Holders and corporations, every problem is ultimately solved by true collaboration. “All we ask is that miners and governments accept First Nations people as real partners and key stakeholders when it comes to deciding on our nation’s sovereign wealth,” Woodley concludes. AM


FUTURE OF MINING

ANGLO AMERICAN CLEANS FOOTPRINT FOR 2021 AND BEYOND FOR THE BEST PART OF A CENTURY, MANY OF THE MINING INDUSTRY’S PROCESSES HAVE REMAINED LARGELY UNCHANGED. ANGLO AMERICAN CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER MARK CUTIFANI DISCUSSES HOW THE COMPANY WILL APPROACH MINERALS PROCESSING, ENERGY USAGE AND OTHER PROCESSES AT ITS MINES FOR THE NEXT 100 YEARS AND BEYOND. International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), explains how this is giving miners an opportunity to process coarser ore and recover higher quality product through flotation, enabling the extraction of 85 per cent of water, lowering water usage footprint by 50 per cent. “We looked at all of our processes and recognised that we have been doing things very similarly for about 100 years and felt there was a significant need for change,” Cutifani explains. “We see the way forward as changing our footprint; I’m talking in physical mine areas, consumption of energy, consumption of water and generation of carbon gas. “By changing the flowsheet and

energy consumption we’re also able to change a whole range of other physical variables in operations.” By using technology such as particle flotation, Anglo American is not only reducing its footprint, but its operation costs. Another aim for the company is introducing more renewable energies to support its operations, including hydrogen, to replace diesel and other fossil fuels it uses to power its Australian and international mines. Cutifani says another change for Anglo American between 100 years ago and modern day 2021 is the proximity of local communities to mining operations, both physically and emotionally. “Back then, federal governments

backed mining operations, then regional and now it’s local communities that mines have got to connect with,” he says. “Social licence to operate, or as we’ve changed the term to, social licence to innovate is so important when changing processes and reducing our footprint. “That is the first place the local community and wider society will judge whether or not we are doing a good job.” Anglo American’s Social Way program, which was launched in 2003, is critical in its aim to connect to local communities. Through Social Way, Anglo American engages with the communities in which it operates

ANGLO AMERICAN IS USING TECHNOLOGIES LIKE PARTICLE FLOTATION TO LOWER ITS CARBON FOOTPRINT.

CREDIT: ANGLO AMERICAN.

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big part of Anglo American’s future is its goal to be carbon neutral by 2040, which is driving portfolio changes, such as an exit from thermal coal. Anglo American’s technology, however, has the largest role to play in its path forward, introducing technologies, such as particle flotation. Particle flotation, which allows operators to float ore particles at two to three times larger than the usual size, is helping Anglo American achieve its goals of reducing both energy costs and water usage by 30 per cent by 2030. Cutifani, speaking at the 2020

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to minimise the social impacts of its mining operations on these communities and maximise development opportunities. This includes local employment and businesses, and treating mining communities as a partner of its operations, rather than just a location. “Our commitment is for five local jobs for every job we create on a mine site is part of our recognition that we have to be part of and contribute to our communities,” Cutifani says. “For the future of our work, we have to be partners with our community members, everything we do connects with them to generate returns to the community.” This connection also applies to Anglo American’s customers and supply chain, understanding not only the impact of the communities its minerals come from, but that the responsibility continues within its supply chain of where its minerals go after sales. Ensuring a responsible supply chain has been a key priority for Anglo American for the past seven years, as a founding member of the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance. “People expect the products they use to have come from legitimate sources where people have been treated with dignity and respect

and there to have been no corrupt activities where we’ve sourced our products from,” Cutifani says. “From our point of view, this is a part of who we are. We started with diamonds before moving more broadly to platinum group metals and other products to ensure a responsible supply chain.” To keep up this path of creating a more sustainable long-term industry, Anglo American has committed to its FutureSmart Mining initiative, which uses technology, digitalisation and sustainability to transform how it sources, mines, processes, moves and markets its products. Since implementing this plan, Anglo American has already downsized its portfolio by half, while producing 15 per cent more product. “Our physical footprint has reduced almost 50 per cent, operating costs by 45 per cent with a third of this being our portfolio, a third in using automation and the last third being changing our mining methods to reflect FutureSmart,” Cutifani explains. “Rolling bulk ore sorting through three of our sites over the next couple of years and continuing to trial flotation and introduce hydrogen trucks will be key steps ahead to march down costs and our footprint.”

AUSTRALIANMINING

CREDIT: ANGLO AMERICAN.

FUTURE OF MINING

ANGLO AMERICAN CEO MARK CUTIFANI SAYS A CONNECTION WITH COMMUNITIES IS VITAL FOR MINES.

As Anglo American reflects on its past and forges a new path forward, Cutifani says technology is absolutely critical. With mines going an average of 40 metres deeper each year and ore grades dropping, while community and social licence to operate concerns continue, this strategy will be key for cleaning its footprint in 2021 and beyond, to continue

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sustainable mining. “Commodities touch every part of society, whether its building materials, energy, purified water, new energy sources and we are part of everything in terms of our supply chain and the future state of the planet,” Cutifani says. “Every commodity plays its part and mining remains as exciting today as it was for me 40 years ago.” AM


TRAINING & EDUCATION

KAL TIRE KEEPS TRAINING ROLLING IN VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENT AS A REGISTERED TRAINING ORGANISATION, KAL TIRE HELPS TRAINEE TYRE TECHNICIANS RISE UP THROUGH THE INDUSTRY RANKS WITH AN ONLINE VIRTUAL TRAINING ROOM AND ON-THE-JOB LEARNING WITHIN ITS AUSTRALIAN OPERATIONS.

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uring 2020, many companies were forced to transition their work, training and education to an online format to keep students engaged with their coursework. Registered training organisation and tyre management and supply partner to the mining sector, Kal Tire, joined this trend by introducing a virtual training room to deliver the theoretical components of its tyre fitting course. What started as a solution that kept its own students learning throughout the pandemic has become a permanent service offered by Kal Tire, which now runs a virtual training room for external students. Kal Tire’s courses teach its future tyre technicians the fundamentals of the job, with safety as the primary focus. By completing theory in the virtual training room and the physical components of the job in their own workplace, Kal Tire human resources manager Dominique Kesler says students become familiar with their site, team and equipment.

“As all training is done at their appointed site, using familiar tools and equipment, it is a huge benefit because it gives students that familiarity while they’re starting to learn a new trade,” Kesler tells Australian Mining. “We have introduced a virtual training room which allows us to deliver the theory components weekly. It’s been great in that we have been given opportunities to find new mediums to expand our training.” The Kal Tire virtual training room is held as an open session by the company’s lead trainer, taking every trainee in Australia through 16 sessions to support them during their on-the-job learning and prepare them for their practical assessment component of the course. Kal Tire training coordinator Nigel Watson says it has not only allowed the company to keep its trainees actively learning during the pandemic, but has also given them a less intrusive environment to cover these topics. “The virtual training room is improved on a previous training model,” Watson says.

“In the past, students may not have been able to go into such in-depth discussion and trainers wouldn’t be able to deliver knowledge this way in a normal workplace situation, with the busy activities around the tyre workshop. “In this way, the virtual training room has really improved the delivery of the theory aspect and accelerated students’ learning towards assessment.” In addition to giving Kal Tire the flexibility to make changes to how its courses were offered during the height of the pandemic, being a registered training organisation also allows the company to assess and certify potential or existing team members. It enables Kal Tire to reduce the need to recruit new tyre technicians externally, bringing them directly into the business to complete their qualifications while learning on the job. “Experienced and qualified earthmover tyre technicians can be hard to find so the ability to recruit, train, assess and certify our own team members has enabled Kal Tire to expand its workforce in line with KAL TIRE OFFERS A COMBINATION OF VIRTUAL AND IN-PERSON TRAINING.

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our growing mining tyre servicing business,” Kesler explains. “This approach allows Kal Tire to train new recruits to the highest standards, with safety always at the forefront of learning. “It is our number one priority to be able to use our knowledge, skills and experience, and sharing that is creating a safer environment for not just the Kal Tire community, but the customer sites we service as well.” After identifying tyre safety and maintenance knowledge gaps in the mine maintenance field, Kal Tire set out to not only recruit eager, new technicians but upskill existing maintenance workers with the knowledge required in a typical tyre workshop. Kal Tire also offers refresher and training assessments, as well as recognition of prior learning for students with experience in a tyre workshop or within the mining industry, tailoring the best course for each individual student’s needs. “With a skills gap in the industry and tyres being part of a mine’s maintenance department, tyre workshops are often overseen by people who have a mechanical background, for example previous diesel fitters who have risen through the maintenance ranks,” Watson explains. “These people may not necessarily understand the finer details of the hazards and controls of tyre maintenance, so we have developed training which gives them a real inside look to expose them to the risks and controls of a tyre workshop.” With some of Kal Tire’s earlier trainees progressing as trainers themselves, the company’s training options are a solid investment in its future and the wider tyre management industry. “We are extremely proud to be a registered training organisation and with that our ability to improve and maintain a high safety standard,” Kesler says. “It’s a great initiative. Majority of the time our trainees are locals, so we are putting back into and supporting local communities, which is part of our aim for Kal Tire.” AM


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WATER MANAGEMENT

XYLEM’S RENTAL OFFERING PROVIDES COST EFFICIENCIES IN MINING OPERATIONS XYLEM’S GODWIN DIESEL DRIVE AUTOMATIC SELF-DRIVING PUMP.

RENTING EQUIPMENT HAS BECOME A POPULAR OPTION IN THE MINING INDUSTRY, LOWERING OPERATING COSTS. AUSTRALIAN MINING SPEAKS WITH XYLEM ABOUT ITS RENTAL DIVISION AND HOW THIS OPTION HELPS THE MINING INDUSTRY MEET SUSTAINABILITY GOALS.

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s a leading water technology provider to the mining industry, sustainability is at the core of Xylem’s business of smart water management strategies, solutions and equipment. Xylem’s rental division meets this vision: Dewatering equipment that is used to process and reuse water from above and underground mining activities. In addition to saving capital, Xylem’s rental fleet, as an alternative to purchasing equipment, reflects the company value, ‘Let’s Solve Water’, helping mining companies to use water more sustainably and efficiently. “Xylem is all about maximising the potential of water and sustainability on site,” Xylem’s national rental business development manager Brett Hudson tells Australian Mining. “Offering tailored rental solutions with our specialty products aligns with Xylem’s philosophy of saving and solving water safely, cost effectively and in an environmentally responsible manner. “Rental equipment also allows a cyclic opportunity to rotate equipment that is not required for long periods XYLEM’S RENTAL DEPARTMENT HELPS MINERS LOWER THEIR FOOTPRINT WITH DEWATERING EQUIPMENT.

from site to site, changing pump size as mine pits get deeper or conditions change.” The flexibility of rented water management equipment helps mining companies to allocate equipment according to what is fit for purpose, day to day, and job to job. In addition to the sustainability of reusing equipment, Xylem also designs its water management solutions with the harsh operating environment in mind. Xylem’s rental fleet includes market leading solutions in electric submersible and diesel drive units, for both above and underground mining applications. “Xylem has a range of submersible electric units catering for high head, low PH and explosion proof applications, which is key to mining success in the hard rock and coal sector,” Hudson explains. “The diesel drive units can work in multiple applications including mass dewatering and high head scenarios to meet site requirements.” Mining companies that rent their water management equipment from Xylem also have less to worry about in terms of maintenance costs and down time with Xylem incorporating the service and repair costs into the hire rate and ensuring they have suitable

AUSTRALIANMINING

equipment coverage should there be any issue. “To purchase your own fleet, there is not only the upfront capital outlay for the equipment but also ongoing costs for repairs, service and maintenance,” Hudson says. “Xylem takes responsibility for the costs of maintenance and repairs as part of the overall package, so it takes minimal capital to obtain and operate the required equipment. “Companies also have the option to expand their fleet further without significant additional capital outlay over time.” With such an expansive rental fleet, Xylem is able to work side-by-side in partnership with its mining customers and partners to create a flexible relationship that can be modified as required by the operation. Xylem’s sales solutions specialists will visit the site to investigate the application and the medium to be pumped and create a custom solution to fit the mine’s needs. “Our sales teams works with the site to gain an understanding of the current dewatering needs to ensure our equipment is aligned with the mine’s requirements or if needed to challenge the current methodology at the site and provide a tailored solution,” Hudson continues. “We have the flexibility to go to site, set up the solution and assist with ongoing dewatering. “Xylem will always apply our water management expertise to help customers select the right pump for their particular application.”

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This approach helped Xylem to create a tailored solution for a customer in the Pilbara in Western Australia. “Our salesperson attended the site to gain a better understanding of the customer’s application and subsequent requirements,” Hudson says. “Following this meeting, our sales specialist returned with a tailored turnkey packaged solution which will be on rent to the customer for the next 12 months with a further five potential units to be built and supplied to support the demand requirements. “We have been able to replicate similar turnkey solutions across the mining sector on a national basis.” Offering a wide fleet of diesel driven units, stainless submersible pumps, explosion proof pumps, slurry pumps, control panels and field smart technology (FST) Xylem supports a wide range of mining applications and processes, from small dewatering projects to reusing large volumes of water throughout minerals processing. “One piece of equipment might not always fit a particular site or application, but Xylem’s extensive rental fleet is able to cover a wide variety of applications even when onsite conditions change,” Hudson says. “Xylem is proud to be a specialist provider of rental solutions and trusted water advisor to the mining industry. Be it a short-term single pump hire, a major shutdown, or finding a tailored solution and working within or challenging the site methodology, our aim is to meet and exceed our customers’ requirements in a safe, cost effective and timely manner.” AM


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MATERIALS HANDLING

FENNER DUNLOP GAUGES CONVEYOR BELT PERFORMANCE WITH BELTGAUGE FENNER DUNLOP EXPLAINS HOW ITS IBELT TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS SUCH AS BELTGAUGE AND DIGITAL HUB ARE HELPING MINING COMPANIES TAKE EARLIER ACTION TO PREVENT CONVEYOR BELT DAMAGE AND ACCESS MONITORING RESULTS IN REAL TIME.

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hen a Pilbara iron ore producer experienced abnormal wear to one of its conveyor belts, it approached Fenner Dunlop to find a better solution than conducting thickness testing every 12 weeks during planned maintenance shutdowns. The belt, valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars, should have an expected life of two years, but because of the rate of abnormal damage, it was looking like barely reaching half that. Once Fenner Dunlop verified the issue, it was able to help the customer to put a strategy in place for the short and long-term, elongating the current conveyor belt’s expected life by an additional three to six months. It also has generated the opportunity for the issue to be engineered out, optimising the belt’s performance. Checking the belt’s thickness at 12-week intervals left too much time between checks for further damage to occur, so Fenner Dunlop installed the BeltGauge diagnostic device onto the system. As one of Fenner Dunlop’s iBelt technology solutions, BeltGauge was used to allow the miner to quickly identify that the skirt was responsible for the abnormally high rate of wear on the belt. Fenner Dunlop Conveyor Technology manager Samuel Wiffen says once BeltGauge helped to identify the issue, the company was able to recommend a range of solutions to extend the troublesome conveyor belt’s life by more than 30 per cent. “With BeltGauge autonomously checking, monitoring and calculating where, if anything could jeopardise the belt life, companies are able to get on top of the issue before it destroys their belt,” Wiffen tells Australian Mining. “If BeltGauge comes across an issue, it creates an event which

WITH BELTGAUGE, FENNER DUNLOP IMPROVED AN IRON ORE MINE’S BELT LIFE BY THREE TO SIX MONTHS.

issues the customer a notification via SMS or email and displayed in DigitalHub, which is the application where customers view the monitoring results. “BeltGauge and DigitalHub combined allows the customer to better manage their conveyors performance with ease. It’s all about intelligent conveying.” Traditionally, this diagnostic process was completed manually by specialist technicians but with BeltGauge, Fenner Dunlop and its clients can autonomously check conveyor belt condition 24/7. The report was then distributed via email in PDF form, which often meant that the data being received was one to two weeks old, and results may be outdated or inaccurate. In the case of Fenner Dunlop’s Pilbara iron ore client, after analysing the data collected in DigitalHub, the site opted to repair the belt and set up users within DigitalHub to allow the maintenance team to monitor the belt wear via the web portal. With DigitalHub, results are online and immediate, so the iron ore client could access the data from its head office in Perth, on the mine site or even from a different site, allowing AUSTRALIANMINING

the team to work together and take immediate action in the event of belt damage. “BeltGauge empowers our customers to be able to react in almost real time and make data driven decisions on what is the best course of action,” Wiffen explains. “Data intelligence and autonomous monitoring are creating big shifts in the conveyor industry at present. With our intelligent conveying approach, we have given the customer the ability to access (their) conveyor system data without any complex integration or impact to their IT networks. Our solutions are full turn key, managed and supported by Fenner Dunlop.” How external influences impact conveyor belt life is an industry trend that Fenner Dunlop has monitored over the years, helping the company evolve its technology and diagnostic tools to mitigate the risks. “The business made a commitment in 2020 to further develop its technology and diagnostic tools so we can start assessing these issues early, not after the fact as it is happening,” Wiffen says. “For many years now Fenner Dunlop has had a range of diagnostic

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tools. One of them, Online Thickness Tester (OTT), was (a predecessor) to BeltGauge. “We had been using OTT to scan belts since 2013 so the timing was right for the business to review its diagnostic tools and made a commitment bringing them up to the next generation of conveyor technology solutions.” The new BeltGauge was then piloted at Fenner Dunlop’s Kwinana factory training conveyor, before being sent to the Pilbara iron ore site to complete a fully operational test. Now that BeltGauge has successfully helped the mine to mitigate the issue and extend the belt life by 30 per cent, the tool is commercially available in 2021. Wiffen says Fenner Dunlop’s agile approach to technology enabled the company to develop, trial then deliver the BeltGauge solution within 16 weeks. “BeltGauge and DigitalHub are the first of our next generation iBelt solutions with many more to come. We’re really excited for some of the projects coming next year that will further enable intelligent conveying outcomes for our customers,” he concludes. AM


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MATERIALS HANDLING

THEJO ENGINEERING BUILDS AUSTRALIAN PRESENCE AFTER STARTING FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS IN CHENNAI CITY (ERSTWHILE MADRAS), INDIA, THEJO ENGINEERING HAS BECOME A PIONEERING GLOBAL COMPANY THAT CREATES ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS FOR THE AUSTRALIAN MINING INDUSTRY.

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hejo Engineering was formed 46 years ago when two childhood friends in India had a vision to develop a specialised engineering business in the future. Today, their vision continues to grow and has moved beyond India onto the global stage, including expansion into Australia’s mining industry. Originally a partnership between K.J. Joseph and Thomas John, Thejo is a combination of the two names – ‘TH’ for Thomas and ‘JO’ for Joseph, with the middle ‘E’ representing a chemical triple bond of the strongest variety that can’t be broken. The name is also derived from the word Thejus, which means radiant energy. This strong bond and energy remain key values within the company. They reflect the success and ambitions that have driven Thejo’s growth in India and around the world in countries like Australia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Chile. Thejo has become a specialist brand in conveyor belt splicing by the cold vulcanising process, in-situ pulley lagging and in-situ recapping of conveyor belts. The company is also today recognised as a leading industrial solution provider for belt conveyorbased bulk material handling systems, mining and mineral processing and corrosion protection application. As one of the few companies from the sub-continent that offers manufacturing, marketing and servicing activities under one roof, Thejo prides itself on delivering quality products and efficient services. Chairman K.J. Joseph, who has more than four decades of experience in manufacturing and service areas, says one of the company’s major strengths is that it has maintained a consistent set of clients from the beginning. “We are a small company compared to the global giants and the fact is that even though we are small, the unique feature we offer

to clients is our sensitivity to their needs,” Joseph tells Australian Mining. “One of the key areas where we have made a difference globally is that we have been sensitive to the needs of the client and by virtue of being a one-stop shop for services and manufacturing.” Through the support of these clients, Thejo has taken the opportunity to grow, expanding its business across India, Australia, Middle East and South America. “We initially had a client who called us and said I have a problem with this, can you make something to fix it. As a result, Thejo now has eight product verticals,” Thejo chief operating officer Manoj Joseph Kallarackal says. “Every step we have taken and every single product we have made, we have developed the technology and manufactured in house.” Thejo is convinced the benefits of this approach have ensured lower costs for its clients compared with what they would pay to other sources. Headquartered in Chennai, the company has five manufacturing plants and a research and development centre, which was approved by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science and Technology of India (DSIR). Thejo has figured among the top 25 innovative

THEJO CHAIRMAN K.J. JOSEPH, VICE CHAIRMAN THOMAS JOHN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR V.A. GEORGE.

AERIAL VIEW OF THEJO ENGINEERING’S MANUFACTURING UNIT AT CHENNAI, INDIA.

companies in India during the last two years and was awarded the Best Innovative Company in India (Manufacturing-Medium Industry Segment) for 2020 by the Confederation of Indian Industries. Since starting as a partnership, THEJO CONDUCTING CONVEYOR BELTING FOR ONSLOW SALT.

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Thejo has transformed into a publicly-listed company, becoming the first organisation to be listed on the ‘Emerge’ platform of the National Stock Exchange of India in 2012. Thejo managing director V.A. George, who has more than four decades experience in the corporate world, has been instrumental in transforming the company from a family-owned to a professionally-run business. When looking at ways to increase its global presence, George found that Australia’s mining industry had a demand for its products. “We decided to globalise and, even though we are a medium-sized company, Thejo Engineering Ltd started a wholly owned subsidiary Thejo Australia Pty Ltd in Perth, WA in which Bridgestone took 26 per cent stake of the company. Later, Thejo started its own branch in Perth. While Thejo Australia Pty Ltd is focussing on belt conveyor


MATERIALS HANDLING

services, the branch takes care of marketing of other products of Thejo Engineering Ltd,” George says. “We are still expanding our presence in Australia and find the market there to be one of the most competitive. Today, our prime focus is on Australia.” Thejo’s branch office offers abrasion and wear, filtration, screening and customised product related solutions for the mining, mineral processing and corrosion protection sectors. On the other hand, Thejo Australia Pty Ltd, with offices across Western Australia in Perth, Kalgoorlie and the Pilbara, specialises particularly in belt conveyor related services. The Australian subsidiary’s focus is on belt splicing and pulley lagging, rubber lining, supply of belting, splicing machines, belt winders, tool kits, splice kits, adhesives, pulley lagging products, belt conveyor accessory products and supply of belt maintenance equipment for the Western Australian mining industry. Looking to the future, Thejo plans to grow its $60 million business by three to four times, with expansion in Australia a key part of these plans. Despite outsiders questioning this goal, Thejo is confident it now has everything in place to advance its

position. “All these years, it was about developing products and getting the team ready. Now with eight product verticals the team is ready, and it is about launching off,” Kallarackal explains. “One of the biggest factors in our growth has been our people and we definitely want to expand that. The products, technology and services are all important, but without the people we wouldn’t be as successful.” Since 2010, Thejo has grown its business globally into the field of operation and maintenance of various processing plants. This expansion has been supported by a workforce of 1500 people, including highly-skilled engineers and technicians. With dedicated manpower, longterm supplier relationships and quality conscious production plants, Thejo is equipped to manufacture the widest assortment of materials and reduce lead time to suppliers. Building on the company’s strengths, its state-of-the-art manufacturing plants offer a wide range of engineered products, equipment and customised solutions to clients. With almost two decades of supply to various clients,

THEJO IS RECOGNISED AS A LEADING PROVIDER OF BELT CONVEYOR-BASED MATERIAL HANDLING SYSTEMS.

ranging from mineral processing, aggregates, power, metal, cement, ports, chemical and fertilisers, the company’s focus is on the growing demand for specialised and customised solutions. Thejo vice chairman Thomas John takes pride in knowing that the company’s range of machinery, technical competency and human resources allows it to deliver topquality products.

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“It is also one of the main reasons why today many international original equipment manufacturers outsource their requirements from Thejo,” John says. By continuing to increase a global presence that is backed by high-quality products and service, Thejo is dedicated to becoming a niche player for engineering and manufacturing solutions across a range of mining disciplines. AM


TECHNOLOGY

BESPOKE DESIGN SOFTWARE ELECTRIFIES COST, TIME SAVINGS EPLAN P8 AND ECODESIGN’S ESG SOFTWARE OPENS THE DOOR FOR MORE EFFICIENT ELECTRICAL AND CONTROL DESIGNS ACROSS HEAVY INDUSTRIES SUCH AS MINING.

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hen developing a mining project, there is much more to an electrical and control design than just keeping the lights on. CAD-designed electrical systems have been heavily reliant on manual inputs in the past, but as technology has evolved, the level of automation possible has increased. The onset of these advanced solutions has brought forth New Zealand-based company, Ecodesign. Since its inception, Ecodesign has provided its electrical design software to multiple industries and completed more than 300 projects, ranging from the simple designed to fully-fledged auto-designed electrical and control design solutions. Its base EPLAN P8 software can automate the production of schematics of electrical designs by creating macros (reusable circuits) with specific items that change, such as device tags, cable tags, motor and sensor circuit components. The company’s Excel-based Eco Schematic Generator (ESG) tool can then automatically sort through the data, using customised VBA code

and interface into EPLAN P8 to automatically generate schematic drawings and reports for electrical designs. If done manually, these drawings can waste valuable time during the design process. However, Ecodesign director and design engineer Sagren Govender says the EPLAN P8 and ESG solution can generate hundreds of drawings in minutes. “The efficiencies in workflow are definitely something that the mining industry can benefit from,” Govender tells Australian Mining. “Generally, there’s a lot of design work that can go into a mine. If you can bring efficiencies to those designs, it will definitely save them a lot and that’s where we come from – finding efficient ways to design a control system and efficient ways to work to improve them.” Govender says Ecodesign has focussed on creating the next step in its development with ESG. “EPLAN P8 will always be the base package but it still means copying and pasting and manually inserting macros,” he says. “But we have now created an interface into Excel with ESG and it can make changes within Excel and export

the changes into EPLAN P8 to autonomously create the schematic drawings. “We’re taking the sorted information out of Excel and placing it into those macros to then generate those drawings into EPLAN P8.” Ecodesign offers bespoke solutions if more specific data and drawings are needed from clients, enabling limitless possibilities to fit unique requirements for various environments. “In most cases, the clients would have that information on a spreadsheet so we can use the client’s information and auto-populate those variables within a macro and then generate those drawings,” Govender says. By providing an automatic solution for wiring diagrams, Ecodesign can prevent unexpected mistakes that are subject to human error. The electrical designs of mining operations tend to have hundreds of separate components with one error potentially resulting in an entire rework. “If you do something manually and accidentally copy and paste and type the wrong information, that could impact on the electrical design,” Govender says. “That has been a huge cost to companies we have worked

with, who have previously had to go back and fix these things – it always costs a lot more to do the rework than the original design. “One of the biggest benefits apart of the efficiency generated with our software is the accuracy. We have taken away human error with automation and that’s drastically reduced the errors that we have come across.” For Govender, Ecodesign’s software can save on time and simplify the process of electrical design. Ecodesign also allows clients to outsource their projects through its design and drafting service, who can create the electrical designs in-house, rather than having to use the EPLAN P8 and ESG software themselves. As more heavy industry companies shift to automated technologies, EPLAN P8 and ESG can reduce labour costs and utilise automated alternatives, Govender says. “People want to move away from drafting and they want to focus on the design,” he says. “So, my key phrase is ‘stop drafting and start designing’ – let the manual work take care of itself. Let’s automate to spend more time on the design and less on the drafting itself.” AM

Overview of ‘Auto-generation’

Import Macro’s

Data sorting and preparation in Excel

Create Macro’s in EPLAN P8

Auto-generate several pages AUSTRALIANMINING

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Generated Schematics and Reports


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TECHNOLOGY

ALTRA MOTION ACCELERATES IIOT UPTAKE TO MONITOR BRAKING SYSTEMS ALTRA MOTION’S BRAND, SVENDBORG BRAKES, IS EQUIPPING ITS NEW AND EXISTING BRAKES WITH FUTURE FACING TECHNOLOGIES, AS THE COMPANY PIONEERS INNOVATIONS SUCH AS DATA MINING AND THE INDUSTRIAL INTERNET OF THINGS.

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he year 2020 was transformational in many ways, not the least how it accelerated the mining sector’s transition to Industry 4.0. Central to this technological change is a greater extraction and use of data from devices, a paradigm that is fondly known as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). With promise to elevate mining efficiencies and productivity, those that have already taken advantage of IIoT are praising the many advantages of its technologies. Altra Motion has joined this trend by introducing IIoT and data mining technologies to its brand, Svendborg Brakes. The technologies will extract data from Svendborg Brakes systems via sensors, from which valuable information is uploaded to the cloud

and processed using edge computing algorithms to deliver condition monitoring on mining assets. This can include the status of brake components, such as system pressure and the state of the piston, brake fluid level and temperature. Operators can take immediate actions that are not only limited to stopping and holding, but all internal processes within the brake control systems. Having received actual data on brake usage and wear, users are now armed with additional knowledge about their brake systems’ remaining life before they have completely worn out. “You can now predict when you need to change your brake pads, rather than having to manually look and see whether they are still in good shape,” Altra Motion Australia area sales manager – Western Australia, Phil Synnott tells Australian Mining.

“You can actually tell when a breakdown is going to happen. This is one of the advantages of implementing IIoT in your brake systems. “Knowing that the next maintenance will have to be done in the next three, six or 12 months, you can plan for that. Maintenance is not a big job, but it can be time consuming so mining companies can do with a bit of planning.” In this way, companies are empowered to move away from an old approach of reacting to an issue as it arises, to scheduling the next service or replacement to prevent a breakdown. Not only can companies move from preventative to predictive maintenance, a disciplined maintenance regime will also lengthen the service life of braking components. “Having that data gives you the information that you need to keep your key mining equipment, such as SVENDBORG BRAKES BSFI200 DUAL SPRING BRAKE ON A CONVEYOR.

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conveyor drives, winches and stacker reclaimer applications, at the peak of their productivity and throughput,” Synnott says. Altra Motion Australia national sales manager Rex Sinclair agrees, saying that mining companies are always looking for ways to improve equipment uptime. “Even though brakes are a small part of the system, it’s a critical part because it’s installed in multimilliondollar equipment that needs protecting,” Sinclair, who has worked in mining for over two decades, says. Such data-based monitoring happens in real time, with Svendborg Brakes’ 24/7 service app being at the touch of a finger to allow mining operators to reach out to the expert team at Altra Motion. The free app, which is downloadable on the Apple and Android app stores, connects mining companies in Australia with Altra Motion technicians via a phone call or email, 24/7. The introduction of IIoT to Svendborg Brakes comes at a good time as companies are introducing remote operations to mine sites, where subject matter experts aren’t always available on site. Having received the commendation of a mining operation in Europe, Altra Motion is now working on a project in Western Australia to equip mining equipment with Svendborg Brakes and their IIoT and data mining technologies. “We’re looking at upgrading the existing systems they have on site. As soon as the site gives final consent, the hydraulic units will be installed, and they’ll be able to monitor the health of the brake control units immediately,” Synnott says. “This will enhance the reliability of their assets.” Altra Motion Australia will continue to respond to mining customer requirements to better assist with greater productivity, reliability, innovation and safety by staying ahead of IIoT developments in the future. AM



TECHNOLOGY

LASETVM ENSURES BULK MATERIAL MEASUREMENTS ARE MORE ACCURATE.

LASER SHARP MEASUREMENTS FOR HAUL TRUCKS LASE’S LASETVM HIGH PRECISION VOLUMETRIC BULK MATERIAL MEASUREMENT SYSTEMS PROMISE AN ACCURATE AND COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTION FOR MINING PAYLOAD MEASUREMENTS.

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ccurate measurements of bulk materials in a mining operation are vital in ensuring the correct amount of product is being

hauled. Incorrect readings can lead to inflated costs, which can have repercussions across the entire operation or supply chain. Industrial laser specialist, LASE, has developed a laser-based truck volume measurement system that ensures the numbers are consistently accurate and non-manipulable. The LaseTVM system offers a reliable, automated process of measuring bulk materials. Headquartered in Germany, LASE has 30 years’ experience in laser technology and applies its expertise to heavy industries, including mining. LaseTVM is mounted on a gantry and is offered in both ‘motion’ (LaseTVM-M) and ‘static’ (LaseTVM-S) variants. LaseTVM-M uses a pair of 2D laser scanners to measure a haul truck’s volume while in motion, as the scanners are capable of producing a 3D profile of the loading area when combined. It allows the haul truck to drive through without stopping to enable smoother operations. “The system measures the bulk material as the truck drives through that gate so it doesn’t have to stop, which is especially important in mining applications,” Lase sales director Lars

Mohr tells Australian Mining. The LaseTVM-S model has as single 3D laser scanner that can generate a profile of the truck’s volume when it is parked underneath the gantry. Both systems capture an empty and filled profile to accurately calculate the volume of material in the tray. It allows for consistent and reliable measurements, with the laser technology enabling accurate readings every time, Mohr explains. “Companies want to be independent; they want to have processes that can be scheduled, which are the same each day and are not affected by human-error,” Mohr says. A key benefit of the LaseTVM is that it prevents any carry back from the truck beds, which means no material is accidentally left over. “Benefits of the systems are especially for mining, you can measure empty truck bed measurement, which is to prevent carry back,” Mohr says. It can also indirectly support customer and supplier relationships by ensuring fair invoicing takes place through accurate volume measurements. According to Mohr, the weight of a truck bed can increase if certain materials absorb moisture from humidity or rain, which can also lead to inaccurate readings. However, the LaseTVM system is able to bypass this issue through laser measurement. “When you measure material with a scale, you can always have problems with humidity because if humidity AUSTRALIANMINING

builds up the material gets heavier so even though you haul five tonnes of material, but the actual material is four tonnes and the rest is water from humidity,” Mohr says. LASE has also designed the system with automation and remote operations in mind. The full automation capabilities of LaseTVM can be unlocked by installing additional modules, which reduces the number of personnel required on site and drives down any risks associated with workers near hazardous equipment, such as large haul trucks. “One of the big benefits is that the system is automated,” Mohr says. “So you can have an automated gate where the truck driver only needs to swipe a card to access the gate.” Automation of LaseTVM also

enables contactless operations, which are particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mohr says. While the company is based in Germany, its LASE Australia subsidiary includes a team of local engineers and technicians to install the system and provide ongoing support. LASE continues to push the capabilities of laser measurement technologies with a number of future developments in the pipeline. Mohr says LASE’s products, including LaseTVM, can be offered to customers at competitive prices due to its access to OEM laser scanner technology. “We are giving this price aspect to the customer, which means we have a very good product which is versatile and can be integrated very easily,” he concludes. AM

LASETVM IS MOUNTED ON A GANTRY AND PROVIDES HIGH PRECISION VOLUMETRIC BULK MATERIAL MEASUREMENTS.

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INNOVATION

TOTAL STEPS AHEAD OF THE HYDRAULIC FLUIDS GAME TOTAL HAS INTRODUCED THE FIRE-RESISTANT HYDRANSAFE HFC-E HYDRAULIC FLUID THAT NOT ONLY REDUCES FIRE HAZARDS IN UNDERGROUND MINES, BUT ALSO DELIVERS HIGHER EQUIPMENT RELIABILITY.

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p to half of all fire incidences in underground mines can be caused by hydraulic leakages, earning hydraulic fluids a reputation in the mining industry for being a sensitive subject matter. Total Lubrifiant head of technical (industrial lubricants) and former global mining & key accounts manager David Kupiec says an increasing amount of mine sites are faced with this safety risk as hydraulic hoses are known to burst and can lead to fires. “The case of underground fires due to hydraulic leakages has been well-documented in many articles,” the Paris-based manager tells Australian Mining. “More and more authorities are asking mining companies to find a solution for this. But it’s not simple to find a solution because until now, there wasn’t any available in the market that would perfectly match the mining conditions.” Total has become a pioneer by developing a breakthrough product

TOTAL LUBRIFIANTS, GLOBAL PRODUCT MANAGER (HYDRAULIC FLUIDS) AIMILIA NEROUTSOU.

called HYDRANSAFE HFC-E, a high-performance fire-resistant fluid that is suitable for use in hydraulic systems and underground mobile equipment such as drills, loaders and trucks. Currently, the mining industry’s use of vegetable oil-based hydraulic fluids remains widespread. It has advantages in that fluids that are derived from vegetable oil are less flammable than standard petroleum mineral-based hydraulic fluids. However, although vegetable oil-

TOTAL’S HYDRANSAFE HFC-E HYDRAULIC FLUID HELPS REDUCE THE RISKS OF UNDERGROUND FIRES.

AUSTRALIANMINING

TOTAL LUBRIFIANTS, HEAD OF TECHNICAL (INDUSTRIAL LUBRICANTS) DAVID KUPIEC.

based fluids have a lower fire hazard, they still burn and pose reliability risks to the mine, according to Kupiec, who leads the development of the HYDRANSAFE HFC-E. While HYDRANSAFE HFC-E eliminates this risk, it surpasses the strengths of vegetable oil and is superior to other standard mineral oil due to its biodegradability. Total Lubrifiant’s global product manager (hydraulic fluids) Aimilia Neroutsou says HYDRANSAFE HFC-E boasts four key features of hydraulic fluids: fire resistance, highly improved wear performance, nontoxicity and biodegradability. It is also developed on the existing concept of water-based hydraulic fluids, but with additional molecules added to HYDRANSAFE HFC-E, it results in a higher mechanical performance that meets the standard and requirements of the mining sector. “Mobile mining equipment is exposed to severe shocks and vibrations, so you need a stronger mechanical performance for your hydraulic fluids,” Neroutsou says. “For HYDRANSAFE HFC-E, we added several molecules inside our water-based formulation that provide anti-wear characteristics so that equipment can withstand the extreme shocks of harsh mining operations.” Total’s HYDRANSAFE HFC-E formula is designed to be compatible with water by absorbing water pollutants and will therefore no longer cause the common problem of machine wear. “We did a trial with a major Tier

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1 underground mine that was facing considerable safety and operational issues due to the type of oil they were using in the mine site, which was the vegetable oil,” Kupiec says. “Due to the high humidity of the mining environment, water came into the system. As you know, water and oil don’t mix very well. This resulted in a high level of wear in the drills. “They then made the switch to HYDRANSAFE HFC-E due to its ability to absorb water. Immediately after, the level of pollutants went down during the trial period of 2.5 months. “When they went back to the standard hydraulic fluid, their wear levels went up again, proving HYDRANSAFE HFC-E’s superior mechanical performance compared with any other fire-resistant products. “Selecting the right fluid is really critical for increasing equipment reliability.” Acknowledging HYDRANSAFE HFC-E’s safety and environmental benefits, German original equipment manufacturer (OEM) GHH Group has approved the fluid’s use for specialised underground equipment. Considering that testing for HYDRANSAFE HFC-E with GHH only began in early 2020, Kupiec says it is quite an achievement to receive an OEM’s approval within such a short period of time. “It confirms that there is a need for this product in the mining industry,” he says. “We have field engineers around the world that are ready to share their best practices, including in preventing the fluid from getting into contact with other engine oil in the equipment. We are ready to work with mining companies to implement this solution.” While the mining sector will be a core market for the HYDRANSAFE HFC-E, Neroutsou believes that other sectors that operate in an underground environment such as tunnelling and steel manufacturing will also benefit from this new product development. “We are the first to offer this technology to Tier 1 mines, because safety comes first in a lot of industries, including mining. We have the same principle here at Total,” she concludes. AM


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INNOVATION

IMAGE: CRC ORE.

INTEGRATED SCREENING AND PARTICLE SORTING COLLABORATIVE (ISPS) STUDY TRIAL IN WA.

THE COMING AGE OF PRECONCENTRATION THE BRISBANE-BASED COOPERATIVE RESEARCH CENTRE FOCUSSED ON OPTIMISING RESOURCE EXTRACTION (CRC ORE) HAS INTRODUCED A SUITE OF TECHNOLOGIES THAT COULD INTEGRATE THE VALUE OF PRECONCENTRATION INTO AN ENTIRE MINING VALUE CHAIN. VANESSA ZHOU WRITES.

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inclusion of preconcentration it enables can truly boost mine life and dramatically reduce a miner’s operational costs. Grade Engineering technologies, now exclusively commercialised by Hatch, enable waste material to be removed from ore at different stages of the mining process. The removal of waste is achieved

by using screens to separate based on size, sensors to separate based on physical properties or jigs to separate based on density differences, according to CRC Ore chief operating officer Luke Keeney. “In a conventional operation, ore is mined and then all of it is sent to the concentrator. With Grade Engineering, some of the ore IMAGE: CRC ORE.

CRC ORE breakthrough in the preconcentration space will potentially change the way mining has been undertaken for decades. Describing its Grade Engineering suite of technologies as a gamechanger, the effective

CRC ORE PRINCIPAL MINING ENGINEER DAVID LA ROSA OVERSEES A PRODUCTION TRIAL OF GRADE ENGINEERING AT THE SAN CRISTÓBAL MINE.

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undergoes preconcentration and only a component of the mined ore is sent to the concentrator. This component is depleted in waste and increased in metal content,” Keeney tells Australian Mining. “This changes the material movement flows around an operation and changes the characteristics of the feed to the concentrator, which will have metallurgical impacts.” Grade Engineering is capable of matching a suite of separation technologies to ore specific characteristics and comparing the net value of rejecting low value components in current feed streams to existing mine plans. “Our achievement in preconcentration has been around systemising and standardising the approach for industry to assess the preconcentration opportunities, from desktop studies to value-add opportunities, all the way through to production trials where you’re demonstrating the impact and value on site,” Keeney says. “In the past, there’s been a lot of solutions made, but they all failed because the impact of preconcentration is so broad that you need to evaluate it in such a way.” BHP has engaged CRC ORE to examine bulk ore sensing


INNOVATION

and opportunities that fit within the Grade Engineering suite of technologies at the Olympic Dam polymetallic mine in South Australia. The two companies have explored sublevel open stoping under the current mining environment, along with block caving as part of futurestate mining options. Beyond finding bulk ore opportunities, Keeney believes the effective inclusion of preconcentration in mine design can have a profound impact on mine functions. “The real benefit of putting in preconcentration in existing mine operations absolutely adds value, but it is also more challenging to retrofit existing operations with new preconcentration technologies,” he says. “However, the real benefit – and this is where the mining industry is going – is where next generation mines will start to be built and include preconcentration from the beginning.” The concept of preconcentration existed long before CRC ORE was established, but the research centre may be the first to integrate all the necessary technologies into the mining value chain that involves screens, sensors, jigs and others. This way, the impact of preconcentration on an entire mining operation can be modelled and quantified. It allows mining companies to truly understand how to build its ore resource models and gauge the impact of including preconcentration on material movement and productivity. Mining companies can also use much smaller equipment to produce the same metal, slashing capital intensity and dramatically changing a mine’s economics. Other huge benefits for the taking include increased feed grades, lower operational costs, higher conversion from resources to reserves and lower energy and water intensity. “The industry is becoming increasingly aware of the benefits preconcentration provides in reducing energy and water intensities. These benefits are intimately linked to global social licence to operate challenges,” Keeney says. The inclusion of preconcentration also means that mining zones previously outside of the mine life, or those considered subeconomic or not able to be extracted from can now come into the picture, giving a mine a much longer life. Deposits that were previously very difficult to attain also now become more appealing, according

HOWEVER, THE REAL BENEFIT – AND THIS IS WHERE THE MINING INDUSTRY IS GOING – IS WHERE NEXT GENERATION MINES WILL START TO BE BUILT AND INCLUDE PRECONCENTRATION FROM THE BEGINNING.”

CRC ORE CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER LUKE KEENEY.

to Keeney. “CRC ORE has worked very closely with mining participants – the end users – and we’ve really understood what the fundamental challenges are when implementing preconcentration strategies on operation,” Keeney says. “We’re not trying to push a solution or looking for a home for our technologies, but we know what the industry problem is and customise the solution for that problem.” With this thorough understanding, CRC ORE has also developed its second primary technology suite, named Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES). The IES is a cloud-based system software platform where everything from blasting through to concentrate can be modelled in one simulation environment. Working hand in hand with CRC ORE’s Grade Engineering, Keeney says IES gives mining operators the ability to do millions of simulations to understand all of its options, where bottlenecks might be occurring and to combine all those factors in the process. “We’ve been very successful in taking an integrated approach … (as) we’ve really understood how to evaluate everything from resource model through to concentrate production, in terms of how we model deposits, how we change the material movements into the system and the impact on concentrators,” he explains. “If you’re applying preconcentration technologies to a site, it kicks in on how we blast, crush, grind and process the rocks through to concentrator. “We can model the response of the ore, what equipment we need to deliver the preconcentration technology, and also understand what the impacts are on the concentrator. Because at the end of

AUSTRALIANMINING

the day, that’s where mines get their money from.” Contradicting the beliefs of some that cooperative research centres run in competition with mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies, Keeney argues that conversely, CRC ORE aims to work with mining companies to implement its technologies, with the support of the METS sector. “They’re the ones providing the service to mining companies, so we get the three groups working together. That’s been one reason why CRC ORE has been so successful. We harness that ecosystem and get everyone working together,” Keeney says. “CRC ORE simply operates

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like a translator or intermediary in that process.” This role is definitely not understated, as its technologies hold a tremendous power to change the game in the mining sector. “We still have challenges around productivity, energy, water usage and intensity. While doing more of the same and becoming more efficient are all good, they’re not helping us to make the step change to the social challenges we are facing. On the other hand, the inclusion of preconcentration offers the opportunity to do that,” Keeney says. “It’s going to be in the not-sodistant future where mines start implementing this right from the beginning of a new mine operation.” AM


MINING SERVICES

A CULTURE REFLECTED BY ACCOLADES MINPROVISE HAS EARNED TWO INDUSTRY CERTIFICATIONS THAT ONLY NINE OTHER AUSTRALIAN COMPANIES HOLD, ALLOWING THE COMPANY TO MOVE ONTO LARGER AND MORE COMPLEX RESOURCES INDUSTRY PROJECTS.

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inprovise is one of 10 Australian companies that hold both the AS/NZS 5131 – Structural Steelwork – Fabrication and Erection and ISO 3834 – Comprehensive quality requirements for fusion welding of metallic materials certifications. As more people are encouraged to support Australian businesses, it’s important that local companies are backed by a positive workforce culture. The management process these accreditations require, foster accountability, transparency, quality and great pride in work accomplishment. This extends to the mining sector, where trust and high-quality services can put certain companies, like Minprovise, ahead of the pack. Minprovise general manager Tony Sutton acknowledges that these merits are derived from a set of company values that promotes a dedicated and trustworthy culture for the business. “We are only as good as our people,” Sutton tells Australian Mining. “The accreditations certainly back this up.” Serving as a products, engineering and services company for the mining, construction and oil and gas sectors in Australia, Minprovise aims to be respected as a premium provider of specialist maintenance and engineering solutions. Founded in 2004, the company has since earned its stripes, with these two accreditations adding to their competitive arsenal. They demonstrate that Minprovise has been successful in reducing risks while enhancing the quality of its services, allowing the company to expand its offerings into broader supply chains and industries. Sutton explains that these certifications have enabled the company to reach Construction Category 3 (AS/NZS 5131) for more complex projects. “Minprovise has been what I would call mining-centric from when it started, but this now allows us to do more work in the infrastructure and the

MINPROVISE HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN LOWERING RISKS WHILE ENHANCING THE QUALITY OF ITS SERVICES.

construction space,” he says. “It allows us to fabricate large structures, bridges and sign structures that go over freeways, so pretty much everything where there is potential for people involved if you look at it that way.” The AS/NZS 5131 is the basis of the National Structural Steelwork Compliance Scheme and covers design, engineering fabrication, erection and corrosion control requirements for structural steelwork projects, which can open the door to larger scale mining projects. It represents reduced compliance risks and prevents the possibility of project delays and costs associated with reworks. ISO 3834 outlines the quality requirements for fusion welding of metallic materials, ensuring there

are quality management systems for the fabrication, manufacturing, construction and maintenance of metals. It also adds to Minprovise’s ability to work on much larger projects. Sutton says the certifications give Minprovise a competitive advantage as mining companies begin to buy local over international goods and services. “The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in many of Australia’s large mining companies talking about buying local,” he says. “With us having AS/NZS 5131, Construction Category 3 and ISO 3834, it shows that we have a recognised culture of producing high quality products at a fair price. “I believe that Minprovise is well positioned to support the Australian structural steel it needs for construction infrastructure and the

MINPROVISE’S ACCREDITATIONS HAVE ENABLED THE COMPANY TO CARRY OUT MUCH LARGER PROJECTS.

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mining projects.” The company’s culture, from the ground up, has played a significant role in it successfully receiving both accreditations, Sutton continues. Minprovise is striving to be recognised at the highest level for its services, starting with its culture, which involves ensuring everything is tried and tested to the highest standard. “In October, Minprovise owner Graham Townsend walked onto the shop floor and the team were magnetic particle testing some handrails,” Sutton laughs. “That’s what you would call over the top for this particular job.” The supervisor told Townsend, “We treat everything the same way. It sets the culture. It makes it easier all of the way through,” so Graham walked away smiling. “That’s our culture, that is who we are,” Sutton says. “Our culture represents what is required by the ISO 3834 and AS/ NZS 5131 certifications, which meant there weren’t many changes that had to be made to the day-to-day routine of the workforce. The auditors could quite clearly see this is what we do, it’s not done to receive a tick and put a certificate on the wall.” As a local company, Sutton believes the new certifications will generate more business for Minprovise, which will in turn create more jobs in Australia. “Our expectation is to focus on projects in Australia. There’s a lot of expansion going on so if we were to start looking at overseas then we’re not doing the right service for the Australian economy,” Sutton concludes. AM


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MINING SERVICES

SKF OFFERS A NEW GRINDING MILL MONITORING SYSTEM SKF’S ROTATING EQUIPMENT PERFORMANCE SOLUTIONS ENABLE MINING OPERATIONS TO STAY RELIABLE THROUGHOUT THE LIFESPAN OF ITS GRINDING MILLS.

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grinding mills. “There’s obviously a lot of variations of the actual issues, but one of the biggest challenges in Australia is a lot of the grinding mills are quite old, worn and being driven hard to deliver production needs. Because of a range of challenges as they age and wear they start to lose their reliability, which affects uptime, maintenance and planning,” Orne-Gliemann tells Australian Mining. “The main benefit of providing them with a better MMS is that it provides predictable maintenance activities where it matters, which equates to uptime. While a grinding mill is SKF’S HORIZONTAL GRINDING MILL PROGRAM OFFERS INCREASED RELIABILITY AND SAFETY. running it’s generating revenue. As soon as it is shut down, processing plant and may suffer from pushing mills to and in some cases past they’re losing anywhere from $40,000 contamination, loss of lubricant and design limits to monitor the impact on to $200,000 an hour.” poor mounting techniques if they are the health of the drive line.” According to Orne-Gliemann, SKF’s not maintained correctly. SKF’s REP program also provides condition monitoring for mills has also Orne-Gliemann says SKF remains remanufacturing of bearings and spares, surpassed the machine’s bearings as focussed on developing new designs which can be stored at an SKF facility it now incorporates other sources of and variants of its bearings and in ideal storage condition. operational data by using a range of housings. Spare bearings are generally carried additional sensors on different parts “We’ve continued to evolve to meet by mine operations as part of their of the mill. machine needs in the design of bearing insurance policy, in some instances the “Not only do we monitor the assemblies for grinding mills,” he storage facility is not ideal. Packaging bearings, but we also look at the overall explains. and preservatives used today can equipment operational condition and Orne-Gliemann adds that SKF’s also lose its integrity over time (more we do that by collecting inputs such REP programs for horizontal grinding than five years), allowing bearings to as mill loads and mill speed while it’s mills are also offered through its corrode, become contaminated and in running,” he says. “This allows us to pay-for-performance business model, some severe cases false brinelling. also work with clients when they are “With remanufacturing, we inspect, allowing mining companies to enhance clean and repackage the bearings their performance within a desired in special packaging for long-term budget. storage,” Orne-Gliemann says. “When we talk about performance, “In addition when customers are able we talk about the impact on a business, to remove a bearing before it starts to so we have a business model (REP) have extensive wear, we’ve been able that links SKF’s commitment to our to refurbish it in our solution factory clients results – this is a risk and reward so they can essentially use the same program,” he says. bearing more than once and get another “If they increase their production, life out of it.” we get a reward; if they don’t achieve it, In addition to REP, SKF offers we get a penalty. Its focussed on their solutions for horizontal grinding objects not ours. mills, which are designed to prevent “For most manufacturers in a normal unpredicted failures while enhancing business model it is about selling more, reliability and safety by minimising whereas this is where we work as a personnel interaction. business, working for a business with Horizontal grinding mill trunnion mutual rewards.” AM SKF’S ROTATING EQUIPMENT PERFORMANCE PROGRAMS CAN bearings are part of a mineral Read more: https://ter.li/bg0xcu MONITOR THE CONDITION OF BEARINGS.

he impact of unplanned downtime at a mining operation can cost miners huge losses in productivity and profitability. More companies are adopting predictable maintenance and condition monitoring solutions, with SKF’s Rotating Equipment Performance (REP) programs enabling customers to easily implement SKF’s services and technology programs based on a monthly agreed monthly fee. REP programs assess condition, detect faults, monitor drive line health, support maintenance activities, diagnose and redesign where required and rebuild drive lines for mining operations. The programs can range from the condition monitoring of bearings and similar products, to total solutions with performance guarantees. At its base level, REP offers a mill monitoring system (MMS) and similar services, while also featuring machine health dashboards, mill monitoring system maintenance and SKF bearings and associated parts. SKF general manager Ian OrneGliemann says many grinding mills at Australian mine sites are showing their age, which can lead to unpredicted failures. Orne-Gliemann, the project owner of SKF REP and horizontal grinding mills, says the enhanced utilisation and predictable maintenance that is derived from REP delivers less downtime in mining operation equipment, including

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INDUSTRY COMMENT

MINING EQUIPMENT, TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES OUTLOOK FOR 2021 METS INDUSTRY BODY AUSTMINE TAKES A LOOK AT THE WAVES OF LAST YEAR AND SHARES ITS ANTICIPATION FOR OPPORTUNITIES THAT LAY AHEAD IN 2021.

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ustmine, the leading industry association for the METS (mining equipment, technology and services) sector, explores the key themes set to impact the industry in 2021, including the COVID-19 recovery, solid resources project pipeline, opportunities in the export market, practical government assistance and the acceleration of digital transformation.

Gradual recovery from COVID-19

As we progress into 2021, METS businesses will begin to shift from managing and mitigating COVID-19 to planning for life beyond it. METS businesses should be optimistic about growth prospects, but must be mindful that the global recovery from COVID-19 will be gradual. Despite weathering the storm quite well in Australia, our METS sector has still been greatly impacted by COVID-19. According to the Austmine 2020 National METS Survey of 619 businesses, 56 per cent experienced a decrease in revenue due to

THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION EXTENDS BEYOND MINE SITES TO THE PROCUREMENT PROCESS.

COVID-19, with the average drop being 33 per cent. While government support mechanisms helped to cushion the blow, several factors still significantly impacted business development opportunities for METS, including projects being put on hold, delayed investment decisions, and domestic and international border closures. While we can expect vaccinations

to roll out throughout the year, the virus will continue to cause interruptions to business as usual. As such, we encourage METS companies to continue in their current agile approach to adapt to the rapidly changing conditions.

Great uncertainty, but significant opportunity

Despite this uncertainty, the case for AUSTRALIA COULD BE ONE OF THE FIRST NATIONS ENGAGED BY GLOBAL TRADING PARTNERS.

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cautious optimism is strong. Metals prices have remained buoyant throughout the global pandemic and Australia’s mining businesses have gained significant advantages over competing nations where operations were drastically disrupted. Capital will continue to focus on driving operational efficiency and performance, and Australian METS are well positioned to capitalise on these opportunities with our worldleading mining expertise and valueadding technology. Furthermore, the project pipeline in Australia is still looking positive and remains far more favorable than many other nations. According to the Office of the Chief Economist, there are 335 major projects in the development pipeline to the value of $334 billion. Additionally, a renewed emphasis on developing Australia’s critical minerals industry will allow METS businesses to access new supply chains and set the course for a sustainable future. Businesses can look to these growth opportunities and should remain vigilant to not only guard against COVID-19 risks, but also mitigate potential risks from trade tensions, global instability and other disruptors.


INDUSTRY COMMENT

A return to the international arena

International travel may well be on the cards in 2021, an important tonic for the Australian METS sector. The METS sector is one of the most internationalised in Australia, with businesses providing critical products and services to the mining industry in every corner of the globe. Austmine’s 2020 National METS Survey revealed that 65 per cent of respondents export, with a high exposure in significantly impacted markets such as the United States, Indonesia, Chile, South Africa and Brazil. With our strong track record in mitigating the risks surrounding COVID-19, Australia is uniquely positioned to be one of the first nations with whom global trading partners engage. This will position our solutions at the head of the field and allow Australian METS leaders to be face-toface with key customers sooner rather than later. A return to the international arena could also see the resumption of major trade shows and global events at the backend of 2021, providing important opportunities to promote Australian METS innovation to the world.

Government support for METS

Austmine has aimed to put the METS sector at the forefront of government conversations for many years and it is fantastic to see growing recognition of METS as a key industry for our nation. Federal and state governments have signaled a considerable intent to support Australian businesses in the COVID-19 recovery, particularly those in strategic industries such as mining and METS. In October 2020, the federal government launched the $1.5 billion modern manufacturing strategy, which committed investments into large transformative projects, supply chain resilience and investments in manufacturing technologies and

AUSTRALIA HAS 335 MAJOR PROJECTS IN THE DEVELOPMENT PIPELINE.

WITH OUR STRONG TRACK RECORD IN MITIGATING THE RISKS SURROUNDING COVID-19, AUSTRALIA IS UNIQUELY POSITIONED TO BE ONE OF THE FIRST NATIONS WITH WHOM GLOBAL TRADING PARTNERS ENGAGE.” processes. Resources technology and critical minerals processing were selected as national manufacturing priorities under this strategy, and we expect to see continued support provided to the METS sector in the coming months. Along with the modern manufacturing grants, a vast range of support services and funding are

AUSTRALIANMINING

available to METS organisations to use in their COVID-19 recovery and business leaders must look to use these avenues. Other key funds and support services include the entrepreneurs’ program, export assistance grants, the export market development grant (EMDG), the research and development tax incentive and METS Ignited collaborative project funds.

Pace of digital transformation One positive outcome from COVID-19 has been the rapid increase in digital transformation for mining, with systems being put in place to allow for remote working, monitoring personnel health and safety, and driving efficiencies with fewer people. Mining companies are now more open than ever to explore digital solutions. Australia is home to a broad ecosystem of leading mining technology and software businesses that will benefit from this trend and have the offerings ready to drive the

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industry forward. The engagement between buyers and suppliers has also shifted, with traditional procurement practices increasingly transitioning to open innovation approaches that scan the market for new technologies and open the door for increased collaboration. Austmine is working with BHP on this approach in Australia through the Supplier Innovation Program, which has already seen the commencement of a successful pilot project. We are also working in the international arena with Tata Steel (India) on its Innoventure initiative and Expande with its Open Innovation Program for mining. No doubt this reimagination of traditional relationships in mining will lead to increased digital change. We look forward to discussing this trend further at the Austmine 2021 ‘Harnessing Intelligence’ Conference & Exhibition in Perth from May 25-27. AM Find more information about Austmine at www.austmine.com.au.


COMMODITY SPOTLIGHT

A FUTURISTIC MINING METHOD FOR A MINERAL OF THE FUTURE

THOR’S KAPUNDA AND ALFORD COPPER PROJECTS ARE SALINE DEPOSITS, MEANING THEY ARE APPROPRIATE FOR IN-SITU COPPER RECOVERY.

THOR MINING AND ENVIROCOPPER ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO DEVELOP SOUTH AUSTRALIAN COPPER PROJECTS.

AS AN ESSENTIAL COMPONENT FOR TECHNOLOGIES SUCH AS ELECTRIC VEHICLES AND WIND POWER TURBINES, COPPER IS A CRITICAL ELEMENT OF THE FUTURE. SALOMAE HASELGROVE FINDS OUT HOW METHODS FOR MINING COPPER ARE CHANGING TO MATCH ITS GREEN POTENTIAL.

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wo years ago, copper miner OZ Minerals turned heads when it released data from the Mt Woods project in South Australia on the internet for anyone in the world to access. This bold move is one that OZ head of exploration and growth Richard Holmes stands by, with him saying at the 2020 International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) that sharing knowledge and collaboration is the way forward to make new discoveries in the mining industry. “The collaborative aspect is really what is going to push exploration in Australia and globally. It’s much faster than the old traditional ways,” Holmes explains at the event. “I absolutely encourage it. It’s something I’m very passionate about. It takes time for people to grasp getting their executive management and board comfortable with releasing all of their data to the internet, it’s been a very interesting journey.” However, Holmes believes the AUSTRALIANMINING

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risk is worth the reward and the way forward to making more new copper discoveries. New copper discoveries are essential to modern development, with the mineral being used in vital infrastructure, including electric vehicles, wind turbines, electrical wiring and motors and infrastructure. Junior explorer Thor Mining is taking its own approach in this way. Rather than sharing data of completed exploration, Thor is changing the way it mines the copper itself. At its South Australian projects in Kapunda in the Barossa Valley and Alford on the Yorke Peninsula, Thor is experimenting with in-situ copper recovery, which has a lesser impact on the environment and allows for cheap mineral extraction. This is particularly important for the regions in which Thor operates, with the Barossa Valley and Yorke Peninsula being key tourism and farming regions, meaning there can be some community fear about


COMMODITY SPOTLIGHT

the impact mining has on the land needed for these primary industries. As Thor executive chairman Mick Billing explains, in-situ allows for minerals to be dissolved out of the ground while leaving the surface untouched, allowing for reuse of the land quicker than in a conventional mining operation. “What we do in in-situ recovery is we don’t sterilise the land,” Billing tells Australian Mining. “It is a very elegant solution to dissolve the copper but leave the surface effectively untouched, provided you have the sorts of ground conditions that allow you to do it. “Within a couple of years or less of completing extraction of copper, the farmer can continue to farm that land as if the miners have never been there. “It’s an environmentally sensitive and extraordinarily cheap way of mining.” Dissolving the minerals means that mining operations move far less dirt and do not need advanced drilling, blasting and crushing equipment, significantly cutting the costs of establishing a mining operation. In-situ recovery is a rarer method than regular copper mining, as the minerals must be in soluble form and located below the water table, while the ground must be permeable to allow fluid to pass through to dissolve the metal from the rocks before extraction. While South Australia’s largest copper mine, Olympic Dam, may not be appropriate for this method, Thor Mining’s Kapunda and Alford projects look promising for in-situ recovery. “On Yorke Peninsula, we believe in-situ recovery is going to work, based on the test work we have done,” Billing says. “The water table over there is quite saline, it is of no use to the farming community because it’s too salty, which means we must ensure it doesn’t splash across to the nearby farmland. “We have established the proof of concept at our Kapunda site. We know we can dissolve the copper in the ground by putting fluid into one bore hole and pumping out fluid for another.” Pitching this method of mining to the Kapunda and Alford communities, Thor Mining has been able to demonstrate its commitment to operating alongside the local communities and their other key industries. “Our team, particularly at Kapunda has been engaging with the local community for the last couple of years,” Billing says.

ENVIROCOPPER IS ALLOWING FOR LESS DISTURBING AND CHEAPER COPPER MINING WITH IN-SITU RECOVERY METHODS.

THIS MEANS RATHER THAN HAVING TO CHANGE THE GROUNDWATER SOLUTIONS WE CAN SIMPLY CHOOSE THE LIXIVIANT TO SUIT THEM, SO WE ARE WORKING WITH THE ENVIRONMENT, NOT AGAINST IT.” “In general, the community are supportive of the in-situ recovery process and what is being planned. Kapunda has a mining history and heritage it is quite proud of and if it can continue to have a life of producing valuable copper without negatively impacting the town, the community will be very supportive.” Thor has a 25 per cent equity interest in EnviroCopper, which prides itself on creating “the invisible mine” through its team of geologists exploring the potential of in-situ recovery. EnviroCopper has been working side by side with the South Australian Government’s Department for Energy and Mines to not only research the in-situ mining method, but to also establish a regulatory framework around it and use it to mine in historic towns like Kapunda and Alford. Company managing director and AUSTRALIANMINING

senior geologist Leon Faulkner has previously explored this method in the uranium field at the Honeymoon mine in South Australia. With EnviroCopper, Faulkner has also worked alongside the University of Adelaide on several research projects about which lixiviants liquid metals are the most appropriate for dissolving the copper without interrupting the natural groundwater. “The key findings are that there are a whole range of lixiviant chemicals that can dissolve the metals in a range of PH solutions,” Faulkner explains. “The traditional approach in uranium would be to go for a PH of roughly neutral (seven), put the acid in there then drop the PH to two or three to dissolve and process the uranium, while leaving the groundwater natural. “For copper, we have found that the lixiviant systems of two to three range up to the neutral range of seven to eight works in an alkaline PH range. “This means rather than having to change the groundwater solutions we can simply choose the lixiviant to suit them, so we are working with the environment, not against it.” EnviroCopper is also using in-situ recovery for resource estimation, giving an accurate estimate of the copper to be recovered and measured in real-time, narrowing down resource estimation to create more definitive feasibility studies. With this game-changing method allowing for less impactful methods

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of mining a crucial resource for future industries, both Thor and EnviroCopper are ramping up their in-situ projects in 2021 and beyond. “If we can use in-situ recovery to show local communities how the environmental parameters compare to how we said they were going to go, it should go a long way in developing an in-situ recovery operation in South Australia,” Faulkner concludes. AM

THOR MINING’S KAPUNDA COPPER PROJECT IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA.


MINING INFRASTRUCTURE

MOVING WATER ACROSS GREAT AUSTRALIAN DISTANCES MOVING A SCARCE RESOURCE LIKE WATER TO ITS INTENDED, REMOTE DESTINATION IS NO EASY FEAT IN AUSTRALIA. STEEL MAINS DISCUSSES WHAT IT TAKES TO GET THIS JOB DONE RIGHT THE FIRST TIME.

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ater scarcity affects every continent globally, with consumption of the resources having risen more than twice the rate of population growth over the past century. Faced not only with its scarcity, mining companies must also contend with the challenges of overcoming the distance between mine sites and water sources. This underlines how critical water pipelines are as a means of water conveyance. “Water pipelines are costly to build. It takes a long time to have major projects approved and funded by project owners. And it is hugely expensive if water pipelines break down and cause unintended shutdowns,” Steel Mains business development manager – mining, Amir Vahdani tells Australian Mining. “This is why Steel Mains provides substantial value in our customdesigned pipeline solutions, offering companies the longest service life, as well as maintenance-free features.” Steel Mains focusses on the notion of total cost of ownership (TOC) in assessing the long-term value of a purchase as opposed to looking simply at the material supply price. In two different corners of Australia, Steel Mains has recently supplied almost 70 kilometres in pipelines to two global mining companies to meet their project-specific requirements. They include very aggressive water (low pH) and corrosive soils (acidic), extremely high service temperature (over 60 degrees Celsius) at the highest pressure rating that pipelines are commonly designed for (PN35), while supplying all the relevant fittings, including bends, reducers, air valves, scour valves tees and flanges. Notwithstanding such extensive requirements, Steel Mains’ high pressure steel pipeline system provides

the mining industry with the optimum solution in conjunction with the lowest carbon footprint. “Ninety-nine per cent of the product is Australian made, employing Australian labour, with steel that is produced from Australian iron ore,” Vahdani says. “Our pipeline system’s corrosion protection coating and linings are also sourced locally from Australian manufacturers and local quarries. “Once the product comes to the end of its useful lifespan, most of the components are recyclable to provide optimum sustainability benefits to the environment.” Both of these Australian projects were uniquely challenging, from the design phase, through to their production requirements, logistics and final delivery. But Steel Mains managed to deliver the agreed scope of supply for both projects ahead of schedule by engaging both its manufacturing plants in Western Australia and Victoria. “It’s a great performance to be able to complete such sizeable and critical projects with zero lost time injuries (LTI),” Vahdani says. “We used more than 600 truckloads to deliver the pipes and fittings to the project sites safely and effectively. “All trucks were equipped with custom-designed bolsters to protect Steel Mains’ unique pipe corrosion protection coating, lining and jointing technologies from any potential damage.

“We engaged highly experienced and well-trained drivers, who made use of the assistance of GPS technology to deliver the pipes to remote locations, and received commendations from the project owners for our incident-free performance.” Steel Mains and its transport service providers used the most stringent transport management systems, involving the end users through journey management, loading/ unloading plans and site inductions in order to provide the safest practices for pipe delivery. Under a tight delivery timeline, Steel Mains delivered over 5500 pipe lengths to the remote areas, which are located outside of phone reception. “Our transport service providers needed to take an innovative approach to maintaining communication with the site supervisors to stick with the daily delivery plan that was agreed between Steel Mains and the end users,” Vahdani says. “That included a maximum use of modern communication technologies, including satellite phones, but it takes more than just technology to deliver the project. “We have a quality team of people with a can-do attitude and a safetyoriented mindset to ensure project success.” To provide further support to the project team, Steel Mains’ nominated transport service providers strung the pipe along the trench so it was ready for final inspection and laying. “Mining companies can consult

HYDRO TESTING IN STEEL MAINS’ FACTORY IS DONE IN ACCORDANCE WITH AS1579. AUSTRALIANMINING

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with Steel Mains’ installation experts to implement the safest and most cost- and time-effective installation and handling methodologies to ensure all project requirements are satisfied in order for the pipeline to last for its intended lifespan,” Vahdani says. “This is particularly relevant for large projects where our customers have testified to the great value of the expert advice.” Both Steel Mains’ welded and nonwelded pipe jointing technologies already provide contractors and asset owners with the optimum system to ensure the highest construction productivity and lowest risk, thereby shortening the laying period and saving project installation costs directly and indirectly. Steel Mains also undertakes hydro testing in the factory in accordance with Australian Standard AS1579 for every single length of pipe that leaves its factories. In addition, Steel Mains applies a holiday test to each pipe’s corrosion protection coating to ensure its suitability before being loaded onto the trucks for delivery. The same procedure is then repeated on site following unloading, and once more before pipe laying commences to ensure that the coating has remained intact after its longdistance journey. Both asset owners and pipe laying contractors can benefit from training workshops delivered by Steel Mains to ensure they obtain the best value from their pipes. AM


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CRUSHING & SCREENING

A STEADY SUPPLY CHAIN FOR HARD ROCK PROCESSING MCLANAHAN REVEALS HOW ITS NEW DIRECT DRIVE CRUSHING MINERAL SIZER WILL HELP MINERS ACHIEVE HIGHER THROUGHPUT OF MINERALS WITH LESS IMPACTS, FINES AND ABRASION WEAR.

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cLanahan has traditionally manufactured a particular direct drive sizer crusher for softer minerals like coal, spodumene and limestone. The company’s new direct drive crushing mineral sizer is, however, its first venture into creating a sizer specifically targeted for hard rock applications, such as copper, gold and iron ore, keeping up with trending demands in Australian mining. McLanahan director of sales and marketing for the mineral systems division, Chris Knowles, says an increase in demand for more maintenance-friendly compression crushers led the company to review its historical designs and establish a mineral sizer for primary crushing in hard rock applications. “The mineral sizer is quite a diverse machine, we have used it in softer ores like spodumene, antimony and rare earths,” Knowles tells Australian Mining. “The new mineral sizer we have designed is primarily focussed on high volume hard rock applications, which are custom designed for each customer and application. “This brings significant long-term value, having something ideally suited for their application.” As Australia strives to remain globally competitive in hard rock minerals processing, mining companies

MCLANAHAN MECHANICAL ENGINEER CHRIS RAINES SHOWS OFF THE CAPABILITIES OF THE DIRECT DRIVE CRUSHING MINERAL SIZER.

are looking for new methods to boost efficiency. Mineral sizers are allowing mining operations to replace large equipment traditionally used in primary compression crushing with a solution that provides lower capital costs, a smaller footprint and less demand for infrastructure. “Australian miners look at direct drive mineral sizers as a way to reduce the size of the run of mine wall or support structure under the primary crusher,” Knowles explains. “Some mining operations over time have been confronted with orebodies that might not be as productive; these ore bodies have clay lenses or be alluvial deposits.

MCLANAHAN’S DIRECT DRIVE CRUSHING MINERAL SIZER HELPS PICK UP EQUIPMENT WEAR TO LENGTHEN LIFE.

AUSTRALIANMINING

“Sizers are ideally suited to manage these orebodies and the clay deposits within them.” The mineral sizer provides a suitable alternative to using a compression crusher, which is not ideal for orebodies with large quantities of clay, as they can be compressed and build up within the crusher. Knowles says this is an issue the industry will face in future, as mining operations are forced to dig deeper for deposits and mine lower-grade orebodies. McLanahan has designed its newest mineral sizer to manage more difficult materials. “It has taken us four years to get the mineral sizer the way we wanted, but this has been an informative process,” Knowles says. “The critical differentiators with this design incorporate those aspects around operability and maintenance that our customers have shared with us. This type of collaborative approach adheres to one of the basic principles of industrial design, which is form follows function. “We’re not manufacturing for ourselves; we are manufacturing for our customers so they can be globally competitive.” Knowles says being an Australian manufacturer means McLanahan’s manufacturing processes must be leaner to be competitive globally. “Because we are high-cost country for manufacturing, Australia needs

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to commit to a culture of continuous improvement to be at the premium end of the value chain,” he says. “The benefit McLanahan has is that we are situated close to our customer base and have a well-connected service team across mining regions, which gives us access to operators and maintenance managers. “They provide the engagement we need to make informed decisions around the features and function of our designs.” McLanahan’s feedback from industry allows it to manufacture equipment with features that are longer-wearing, more maintenance friendly and easier to access parts. In turn, this approach enables the maintenance team to increase time between maintenance windows and to replace parts quicker, with minimal manpower. “Our challenge was to design and build a machine that requires the absolute minimal human interaction, which is an important aspect of Australian mining, as Australian mining operations typically have one fifth of the manpower you might see on another mine in say Africa or Indonesia,” Knowles explains. “What we have built is a connected crusher, a machine that can fit into a connected mine. “That connected mine has to fit into the end user’s connected supply chain and Australian manufacturers need to be aware of that to make sure we are part of that smart manufacturing and design.” As Industry 4.0 transforms mining, Knowles says it is up to manufacturers like McLanahan to provide equipment that delivers confidence to essential industries and that the minerals they extract will be done so in the most efficient and sustainable manner possible. “Australia is still the most reliable supplier of minerals on earth and I’m happy that as an Australian manufacturer, we are a low-risk supply chain for Australian miners. We’re here, we’re local and still able to maintain a secure supply chain despite the challenges of 2020 and that provides our customers with confidence,” Knowles concludes. AM



CRUSHING & SCREENING

TECHNOFAST HYDRAULICS DELIVER FAST CRUSHER MAINTENANCE TECHNOFAST INDUSTRIES HAS BEEN PROVIDING MINING AND INDUSTRIAL CUSTOMERS WITH UNIQUE MECHANICAL TENSIONING SOLUTIONS FOR OVER 30 YEARS. HARD ROCK MINING APPLICATIONS CAN BE ESPECIALLY HARSH ON CRUSHING MACHINERY, MEANING EQUIPMENT FREQUENTLY REQUIRES MAINTENANCE. TECHNOFAST EXPLAINS HOW ITS EZITITE HYDRAULIC HEAD NUT MAKES THE MAINTENANCE PROCESS QUICKER AND SAFER.

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hanging the liner from the outer shell of a crusher is a tedious but unavoidable task for miners, particularly in hard rock mining, as abrasive ore materials quickly wear the liner out. To change the liner, employees must first remove the head nut holding the liner in place, which is traditionally done using an oxy torch or sledgehammer to cut or knock the nut out. If this is unsuccessful, workers then use a jackhammer to drive the head nut off. This process can take anywhere up to eight hours or sometimes more for large machines, depending on the size and condition of the equipment, taking up valuable time which could be spent crushing ore. Technofast offers solutions for applications in metalliferous and non-metalliferous mines requiring equipment such as rock crushers, coal breakers, pulverisers and other ore preparation equipment, as well as extractive machinery like draglines, haulers and power shovels. One of Technofast’s customers, a Western Australian gold miner based in Kalgoorlie, must complete this process every 10 days. Technofast’s long history of solving mechanical tensioning problems and application of specalised knowledge has resulted in the unique solution of the Technofast EziTite Hydraulic Head Nut for this application. This product evolved from

CONVENTIONALLY, REMOVAL OF HEAD NUTS TAKES UP TO SIX HOURS.

Technofast’s original gyratory crusher head nut designs, with the company’s team continuously working to improve their performance. The first prototypes are still in use almost 10 years after their first fitting. Technofast chief executive officer John Bucknell says the conventional method of removing head nuts not only takes time, but also puts workers in potentially hazardous situations. “The head nut sits inside a big, concave shell of the gyratory crusher’s frame so working inside to remove it, employees are working in very cramped and closed conditions which make it difficult to use tools” John Bucknell tells Australian Mining. “Often, during removal, an oxy torch is required to remove the burn ring underneath the head nut, which

SOME MINING OPERATIONS REQUIRE MAINTENANCE TO THEIR CRUSHING EQUIPMENT ON A WEEKLY OR FORTNIGHTLY BASIS.

AUSTRALIANMINING

results in toxic fumes as the epoxy heats and melts. “Using the Technofast EziTite Head Nut removes the requirement of a burn ring and eliminates the need for an oxy tornch. “Problems that can arise when removing the head nut include the metal of the mantel stretching and tightening against the base, making it almost impossible to release.” With these common industry challenges in mind, Technofast created a solution where the head nut is loaded and removed hydraulically, rather than manually. Technofast general manager Rob Bucknell says the EziTite Hydraulic Head Nut also prevents the risk of strike injuries from hammers used to beat the old style head nut off. “If you are removing a head nut by cutting, that generally requires getting someone with a hot work ticket out to site. EziTite removes the need for any cutting and therefore the risk of burning epoxy,” Rob Bucknell says. “Using sledgehammers to remove the head nut not only puts workers at risk of strike injuries, it’s also time consuming; I’ve seen maintenance crews work at a nut for many hours to get it off. Our EziTite Hydraulic Head Nut takes that out of the equation with the hydraulic pressure simply unlocking the head nut so it can be wound off.” One of Technofast’s gold mining customers initially ordered six EziTite Hydraulic Head Nuts, but quickly saw the positive difference it was making and ordered more to fit to its entire fleet. With the operation’s crushers producing approximately 10,000 tonnes of product per hour each, every minute spent on maintenance means less gold bearing ore being processed. “Our Kalgoorlie customer has definitely seen the benefit of not having to hit, weld and burn the head nut away,” Technofast technical services representative Matt Blundell explains. “When you are pulling your crusher apart every 10 days, you really see the benefit of cutting that

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process down from what can be a full day’s work to just one to two hours with our EziTite product. “The EziTite also requires less personnel. Their labour intensity has dropped down; it’s sped the process up and of course there is the safety factor as well.” Typically, Technofast develops its products in alliance with its customers, allowing the company to create optimised custom solutions applicable to their applications. Blundell says this gives Technofast valuable industry knowledge to provide customers with the equipment they need to reduce maintenance times. “For example, knowing what our customers are crushing, how hard the material is means that we can design efficient solutions and offer ongoing technical support,” Blundell explains. “This allows Technofast to train the team the right way, manufacturing the right equipment for the right application.” When introducing products to customers, Technofast attends the site for the initial fit-out and demonstrates the first removal of the EziTite head nut, ensuring the client is trained to use it safely. “It is a very important part of our service to teach them how to use it correctly for the safest possible outcome, to better help them to achieve their goals” Blundell says. “Using the range of Techofast products such as EziTite Hydraulic Nuts, shell splitters and custom tooling allows mine and quarry operators to achieve greater productivity and safety goals than before.” With successful use in Australia, Technofast is also introducing the EziTite Hydraulic Head and its complementary hydraulic products used in mining applications into the United States market. “We have had an enthusiastic response in the United States, and we look forward to continuing to supply this product to mining and other industries after a successful three decades of providing equipment for crushers in Australia,” John Bucknell concludes. AM



CRUSHING & SCREENING

KUBRIA CRUSHER PUTS SIMPLE OPERATIONS WITHIN GRASP THE STRENGTH OF THYSSENKRUPP’S KUBRIA CONE CRUSHER LIES IN ITS KUBRIAMATIC CONTROL SYSTEM. AUSTRALIAN MINING LOOKS AT THIS ALL-IN-ONE ROBUST MACHINE AND WHAT IT CAN DO TO CATER TO THE INDIVIDUAL REQUIREMENTS OF MINING COMPANIES.

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ining operators can now gain better control of their crushing and screening operation by simply pressing a few buttons. German conglomerate thyssenkrupp, an international group of companies comprising largely independent industrial and technology businesses, has been operating in the space of crushing and screening for nearly two centuries through its Mining Technologies business unit. thyssenkrupp has created a crusher that allows operators to adjust the size of their end products by using autonomous technology instead of a manual process. The crusher, known as the Kubria Cone Crusher, doesn’t stand alone during crushing and screening of aggregates and ores. Behind the strengths of the Kubria Cone Crusher is the Kubriamatic control system. It adjusts the crushing size by simply changing the position of the cone as the machine continues to operate. This does not cause any interruption to crushing activities that would otherwise cost mining companies a considerable amount of money while they source another crusher. In this way, the Kubria Cone Crusher can take a dual role in a company’s crushing and screening activities. “In hard rock mining, cone crushers

THE KUBRIA CONE CRUSHER CAN AUTOMATICALLY ADJUST THE SIZE OF END PRODUCTS.

can be used as a secondary, tertiary or quaternary crushing solution, depending on the size of the operation and how much operators are aiming to push out,” thyssenkrupp regional sales manager east Scott Clenaghan tells Australian Mining. “Our Kubria Cone Crusher can be used to crush aggregates such as granite or basalt, or in the case of hard rock mining, copper and gold. It’s an effective crushing solution across all precious metals and aggregates as it handles extremely hard materials very well.” Clenaghan says the Kubriamatic control system has been specifically designed for the Kubria cone crushers instead of being used as a standard system for other larger cone crushers. Left to its own devices, the Kubriamatic control system can continuously monitor crushing and screening activities. “It is specifically programmed for automation rather than having the need for employees to continue monitoring the cone crusher regularly,” Clenaghan explains. By pressing a few buttons, it emulates an autonomous cone crusher that can even unclog a jam by itself. “Normally the cone needs to be stopped so you can manually release the cone and fix the jam – a process that can take many hours on site,” Clenaghan says. “But through the automation process via our Kubriamatic control system, the machine fixes the problem itself AUSTRALIANMINING

THE CRUSHER IS APPLICABLE FOR USE ACROSS AGGREGATES AND HARD ROCK MINING PRODUCTS.

by going into an anti-tramp function to release the product.” This releases pressure from the crusher’s hydraulic bearing, dropping the cone and releasing the clogged product before continuing on with its activity automatically. The concept behind the Kubriamatic control system borrows from readily available features of larger crushers. Larger crushers are normally fitted with a standardised control system, a feature that hasn’t extended to the majority of their lower cost and smaller counterparts (those with an opening ranging from 750–2100 millimetres). But thyssenkrupp has broken that trend while maintaining a high level of safety in crushing and screening. “It’s a good option for smaller, lower cost crushers,” Clenaghan says. “All our machines are of solid German design, with safety features embedded in them, keeping in mind the hazardous environment they’re operating in.” This includes the ability of the Kubriamatic control system to point out the type of maintenance or procedures required for the crusher.

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The low maintenance required also owes to the Kubriamatic control system’s ability to adjust the stroke of the cone, resulting in a lower level of wear, 50 per cent increase in service life and end products of a uniform size. Despite the Kubriamatic control system being indubitably user-friendly, thyssenkrupp will train mine operators on how to use the equipment postcommissioning. “We’ve got a very solid team made up of 19,000 employees in 60 locations globally,” Clenaghan says. “In Australia, our service capabilities are backed by our service centre in Brisbane and facilities in Henderson and Port Hedland, Western Australia, and in Mackay, Queensland. “Our Kubria spares are also available locally in Henderson and Brisbane so we can quickly respond to the urgent needs of mining companies.” With the crusher being able to be dispatched anywhere in Australia, mining operators can have the peace of mind knowing that they’ve got an expert of materials processing and handling on their side. AM


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CRUSHING & SCREENING

ROLLING THE COMPETITION WEIR MINERALS’ ENDURON HIGH PRESSURE GRINDING ROLLS CAN UNLOCK IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY AND EFFICIENCY GAINS THROUGH ITS TECHNICAL CAPABILITIES.

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here is a fine line between cost of ownership and productivity gains that must be considered when purchasing plant and equipment for minerals processing applications. High pressure grinding rolls (HPGRs) have become the machine of choice for many hard rock crushing and grinding operations. Due to the inter-particle compression mechanism, HPGRs offer a step up from conventional rod and ball mills when producing fine products. These traditional methods consume up to 40 per cent more energy than HPGRs as more power is required to break down coarser particles in the feed, which can drive up energy costs. The Enduron HPGR mechanism involves inter-particle grinding, achieved through the action of two counter rotating rolls that compress the feed bed, enabling particles to grind one another. The crushed particles also display significant levels of microcracking which has the benefit of improving downstream liberation, optimising the ore recovery process, increasing productivity and profits. Weir Minerals’ Enduron HPGR adopts a dynamic skewing technique to ensure consistent grinding pressure across the full width of the rolls. The company regards skewing as an essential feature of HPGRs, as poor uneven grinding and selective tyre wear are common issues faced without it.

A lack of skewing or the suppression of skewing can lead to reduced product quality, early machine failure, increased downtime and costs, as well as lower productivity. Many HPGRs offer some form of skewing suppression, however, these methods suffer from feed variance and segregation. Weir’s Enduron HPGR instead adopts dynamic skewing, which maintains optimal pressure for comminution. “The challenge for HPGR manufacturers is to design a machine that can handle the skewing in a good way,” Weir Minerals’ minerals process manager Peter Lempens tells Australian Mining. “Without a proper design in place, skewing can cause mechanical failures on the equipment such as its bearings.” According to Lempens, the Enduron HPGR uses a bearing design that can enable skewing. The bearing construction allows the machine to have stress-free skewing control. Many HPGR models use fixed positioned lateral walls, but Weir’s spring-loaded alternative gives a perfect seal and prevents materials from exiting the high-pressure area without being ground correctly – a common problem associated with traditional lateral walls. Lempens says the Enduron HPGR’s unique spring-loaded lateral wall is one of the many features that makes Weir’s

WEIR’S ENDURON HPGR USES DYNAMIC SKEWING TO INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY AND EFFICIENCY.

machine a superior option. “We have a special design that allows roller skewing, which also includes self-adjusting spring-loaded lateral walls,” he says. “At the moment when the roller is skewing, the lateral wall can follow the roller and that will give you a very good sealing at the edges of the tyre, which makes the process more efficient, optimising the recirculating load.” The Enduron HPGR also features a length over width (L/D) ratio of close to one. “That means the diameter is very similar to length of the tyre,” Lempens says. This further minimises a common HPGR-related issue known as the edge

THE WEIR ENDURON HPGR.

AUSTRALIANMINING

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effect, which occurs when ore bypasses both rolls and is not crushed. “Most of the designs of other manufacturers have a smaller L/D ratio, which results in more pronounced edge effect than (what) you see from our designs,” Lempens explains. “The lateral walls that follow the roller, combined with the L/D ratio make sure that the edge effect is almost not present, so it does not have a significant impact on the grind that the machines are giving.” Weir has incorporated a studlined roll surface to the Enduron HPGR’s tyre that increases the tyre’s overall lifetime. “The HPGR tyres are the most important wear part within the HPGR,” Lempens says. “Even for the most abrasive applications, we can provide customers a lifetime of at least one year, however, we also have applications with softer and finer ores where the lifetime goes up to three to five years.” Weir does extensive testing on the customer’s ore samples to validate equipment sizing recommendations. Lempens says the company conducts testing on ore for particular applications to give accurate determination of the tonnage that the Enduron HPGR can achieve. “Our scale-up from test to industrial scale has been validated for almost 25 years. Tonnage wise, our HPGR achieves what we calculate it will do,” Lempens says. “Product-wise, many of our customers give us the feedback that the quality of the product is even better than what they expected and further downstream benefits also exceed their expectations.” AM


CRUSHING & SCREENING

LIVING ON THE CUTTING EDGE

PLANT SIMULATION SOFTWARE HELPS OPERATIONS SPOT AND FIX BOTTLENECKS AND TAKES GUESSWORK OUT OF PLANT DESIGN.

MINING IS A DEEP-ROOTED BUSINESS, WITH THE OLDEST KNOWN MINE LOCATED IN SOUTHERN AFRICA HAVING BEEN ACTIVE DURING THE STONE AGE 43,000 YEARS AGO. HAVER & BOECKER NIAGARA FAST FORWARDS TO TODAY, TALKING ABOUT HOW EMBRACING DIAGNOSTICS TECHNOLOGY MAXIMISES PLANT PRODUCTIVITY.

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oday, mining is characterised by advanced technology and innovative processes. Increasing infrastructure and construction needs have created a demand for constant innovation in how material is collected and processed. Haver & Boecker Niagara service manager Wilm Schulz shares his key tips for how mines and quarries can stay on the cutting edge to keep up and continue maximising productivity and profits in a rapidly changing industry.

Predict and optimise, digitally

Plant simulation software helps operations to spot and fix bottlenecks and take some of the guesswork out of plant design. This tool provides an overall view of the efficiency of the entire operation in order to optimise processes and look at opportunities for improvement, both in the case of existing sites and new mines or quarries for all mineral processing applications. Such programs analyse dozens of different process equipment pieces, from crushers and vibrating screens to material washers and conveyers. The systems also use scientificbased methods to monitor the operation’s input, output and waste piles. Plant simulation software is used by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to diagram plant flow when looking at machine placement. The software is also ideal for product precalculations when changing products or production rates. While several brands of plant simulation software exist, few are created by equipment OEMs. Software functionality is certainly a critical element, but perhaps more critical is a firm understanding of the equipment and process the software is designed to optimise. Choosing software programmed by

an OEM allows for the most accurate simulations and enhanced features based on real world application knowledge.

Listen to the heart of your operation

Another next-level diagnostics tool is vibration analysis technology for the heart of any processing operation: Vibrating screens. While the crushing equipment is often where the heavy investment lies, the screening equipment is where the money is made, so it is important to make sure the vibrating screens are running as efficiently as possible. Advanced vibration analysis systems allow the user to measure the health of a vibrating screen and spot irregularities invisible to the naked eye. This could be a hairline crack in a side plate or side plate twisting that could affect longevity. The ability to catch and address these issues early can mean significant savings in terms of downtime and repair costs as a result of preventing a chain reaction of damage caused by the initial issue. For example, a damaged spring

causing irregularities on a vibrating screen may not be immediately apparent during day-to-day operation, but could lead to high costs if not fixed. Vibration analysis also allows producers to fine-tune their equipment to maximise performance. Although the technology began with wired sensors, some of today’s versions include eight wireless tri-axial sensors that fasten to key areas of a vibrating screen. Measurements from these systems can include orbit, acceleration, deviations and other important data points that indicate the condition of the machine. The sensors transmit the collected information via Wi-Fi to a tablet, allowing the user to stand a safe distance away during the process. The data can also be sent to an online dashboard to be stored, allowing operations to view historical information and track machine performance. Some manufacturers offer to have their engineers review the data to provide technical insight and recommendations, all without needing to visit the site.

ADVANCED VIBRATION ANALYSIS SYSTEMS ALLOW THE USER TO MEASURE THE HEALTH OF A VIBRATING SCREEN.

On-site inspections can then be scheduled for further examination.

Hands-on approach

Plant simulation software and vibration analysis are ideal for setup, optimisation and problem-spotting, especially when combined with a hands-on approach. Partnering with an OEM for regular check-ups can ensure operations continue to run as efficiently as possible. Service programs that include thorough site visits by experienced OEM representatives are essential for choosing the best possible solutions for an operation. Some manufacturers offer comprehensive vibrating screen and screen media inspections followed by thorough reports to highlight areas for improved efficiency. These can be complemented by diagnostic services, such as vibration analysis or plant simulation. This type of program can extend service intervals, improve vibrating screen and periphery equipment performance and save operations money. Inspections can be conducted even while equipment is running so they do not interfere with the flow of the operation. Following all of this, the OEM can provide knowledge-backed recommendations. For example, production issues caused by blinding and pegging problems could be solved by changing to a different type of screen media or by blending media depending on its location on the deck.

Take advantage of new technology

Innovations such as simulation software and vibration analysis make it easy to gather the information needed to stay ahead. Coupled with evaluations and recommendations from an expert manufacturer, that means more uptime and improvements to the bottom line. AM AUSTRALIANMINING

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CRUSHING & SCREENING

GAINING HIGHER GRINDING EFFICIENCIES THROUGH RE-ENGINEERING CBC AUSTRALIA DISCUSSES HOW IT HAS HELPED A MAJOR GOLD PRODUCER IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE MAINTENANCE COSTS IN A MINERALS PROCESSING OPERATION.

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igh pressure grinding rolls, also known as roller crushers, are used across mineral processing plants for a variety of applications, from cement processing to diamond liberation and iron ore pellet feed preparation. Other minerals and ores such as gold, copper and nickel are also often put through roller crushers for size reduction in the communication process. With a design that centres around two large counter-rotating rolls, the efficient performance of roller crushers relies heavily on the performance of the spherical roller bearings that accommodate the radial and axial loads in the rollers. So, when site engineers at a major gold production facility in Western Australia approached their long-term industrial partner, CBC, to help them reduce maintenance costs for their roller crushers, the conversation eventually led to replacing the machine’s existing bearings with the high performance but cost-effective FAG double row spherical roller bearings from Schaeffler. Gary Payne, principal advisor at CBC, says the FAG bearings delivered equivalent performance and service life as the spherical roller bearings incorporated the original equipment design, but at lower upfront costs, resulting in significant savings for the mine. “CBC has been supporting the gold mine with product supply and technical support for a number of years. Building on the back of this positive relationship, we proposed stocking the large size FAG double row spherical roller bearings at our warehouse and free-issuing them to the original equipment manufacturer as part of the maintenance cycles,” he says. “Through this arrangement, our customer can save a substantial amount in each maintenance cycle.

THE FAG BEARINGS DELIVER EQUIVALENT PERFORMANCE TO COMPETITORS AT A LOWER COST.

This is in addition to the ease of supply and the product support that they receive from CBC.” Steve Riley, regional manager, Schaeffler Australia, explains why the FAG spherical roller bearings are more cost-effective than their counterparts. “The FAG double row spherical roller bearings contain improvements incorporated by Schaeffler both in the bearings’ design, as well as in their manufacturing process,” Riley says. “The FAG spherical roller bearings have improved kinematics and optimised surfaces, (and) are made from higher performance materials. All of these factors result in a bearing with higher load ratings so that under identical loading conditions, a smaller bearing arrangement can be designed to endure equivalent axial and radial forces.” Compensation for angular misalignments is another factor AUSTRALIANMINING

contributing to the reliability of the FAG bearings, Riley says. “The FAG spherical roller bearings are designed so that the symmetrical barrel rollers orient themselves freely on the concave outer ring raceway, as a result the shaft flexing and misalignment of the bearing seats are compensated,” he says. “Depending on the bearing series used and the nature of the rotation, these bearings can compensate angular misalignments of 1.5 to two degrees.” In addition to collaborating on the new bearing supply, Payne says the CBC technical team has also identified some issues related to water ingress into the bearings during the disassembly and reassembly process, which they are currently working with the mine to address. “The annual maintenance for roller crushers involves disassembling the equipment and shipping it to the

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manufacturer and then shipping it back to the site. This gives way to a higher risk of water ingress into the bearings, which we have identified to be the cause of some issues in the past,” Payne says. “Through a program of full engineering support, we are currently working with the site engineers and maintenance personnel to help improve the sealing design for the bearings. “Whereas the initial goal set out through our conversations with the customer was to achieve a service life of at least 12 months for the bearings, with the support from CBC’s engineering team to improve the sealing arrangement, we are now hoping we can extend the bearings’ service life to 15 months, which will align with the maintenance schedule for the rollers themselves. “This would mean even higher efficiencies and cost savings than anticipated in the beginning.” AM


THE FIRST PRIORITY FOR AUSTRALIA’S MINING INDUSTRY

ISSUE 8 - JULY-AUGUST 2020

Remote revolution

Safety from a distance

Technology

Dust suppression

Virtual reality

Respiratory protection

Throughout the cycles of the mining industry there is one constant for everyone involved in the industry – safety. A safe workplace is critical to the continued success of your business. Launched in 2018, Safe To Work provides a high-quality, multi-platform publication for the Australian mining sector, with safety as its key focus.

Safe To Work’s promotional features deliver a forum for organisations to showcase the role each aspect of safety plays in helping the industry achieve the industry’s No. 1 priority.

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT HYDRAULIC HOSE THE HOSE IS A CRUCIAL COMPONENT IN ANY HYDRAULIC SYSTEM. WHETHER SETTING UP A NEW HYDRAULIC SYSTEM OR UPDATING AN EXISTING ONE, SELECTING THE RIGHT HOSE FOR THE APPLICATION IS KEY TO ITS PERFORMANCE.

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ost mining equipment requires the use of hydraulic hoses. From scrapers, dozers and drill rigs in surface mining to continuous miners and longwall systems in underground mining, hoses ensure hydraulic fluid is distributed through the machinery. With over 36 years of experience as a technical support expert on hydraulic hoses and fittings, Brian Hope, hydraulic product manager at Hardy Spicer, recommends following the industry standard process referred to as STAMPED when it comes to selecting the right hydraulic hose for a mining application. “The STAMPED acronym is an industry-wide standard that should begin every conversation when replacing an existing hose or selecting a hose for a new application. The easy to remember acronym stands for size, temperature, application, material/ media, pressure, ends and delivery,” Hope says. “Because there are so many different types of hydraulic hoses on the market and such varied applications for them, asking the right questions helps our experts

understand the environment where the hose will fit, the working pressure, the temperature and type of material running through it. Based on this data and the decades of experience within our team, we can then recommend the right hose.” Another reason why Hope says data collection steps are important is to prevent failures in the hose assembly. “If a hose or a fitting fails prematurely, you should always try to identify the cause before replacing the component like-for-like. You might find that you need a hose designed for higher fluid pressures or perhaps you need to change the hose length or the direction that you route it to avoid the same problem from happening again.” As a leading Australian aftermarket supplier of hydraulic and industrial hoses and fittings, Hardy Spicer serves as Australia’s only national distributor of the Gates Connected range of integrated hydraulic hose and fittings products. Hardy Spicer’s specialists also offer a full range of on-site and workshopbased services for hydraulic hose assemblies and repairs across a national network of 14 workshops and branches in Australia, 80 licensed business operators (LBOs), and a national network of service trucks in all major

industry centres. More recently, Hardy Spicer introduced the Gates MegaSys MXG 4K series of hydraulic hoses in the Australian market, which, according to Hope, represent the next generation of premium hydraulic hoses from Gates. Of all the features and benefits that the latest Gates hoses offer, Hope says the lighter weight, the improved flexibility and the tough cover of the hoses offer maximum benefits for maintenance and repair operations in mining. “The Gates MXG 4K series can handle up to 4000 psi of fluid pressure, while being lighter and more flexible than the conventional hoses on the market. Add to this, the XtraTuff Plus abrasion resistant cover, which improves the durability of the hose in the harshest environments,” he says. “When you are dealing with breakdowns on a mine site, the quicker you can replace a hydraulic hose, the faster you can put the equipment back into operation. A lightweight and flexible hose such as the Gates MXG 4K series allows the maintenance people to do their job quickly, posing less risk to the personnel.” More importantly, Hope says the Gates MXG 4K hydraulic hoses

THE GATES MXG 4K SERIES CAN HANDLE UP TO 4000 PSI OF FLUID PRESSURE.

tick all the boxes from a safety perspective. “The Gates MXG 4K hydraulic hoses are tested for a million impulse cycles, which is above the industry standard of 600,000 cycles for spiral hoses. They also come with fire resistant anti-static (FRAS) covers and are tested to meet the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) requirements for fire resistance and the MDG 41 standard for fluid system safety – a key requirement for the safety of fluid power systems in Australia.” Hope says customers can rely on full support from the Hardy Spicer team when they purchase Gates hoses and fittings. “All Hardy Spicer service centres and workshops have the capabilities and trained staff to provide hydraulic hose assemblies, as well as to offer on-site crimping solutions and vendor managed inventory support to meet the individual needs of each of our customers,” he says. “The expertise within the Hardy Spicer team, combined with our access to world-leading products such as the Gates MXG 4G hydraulic hose, means the perfect end solution for our customers, saving them both time and money.” AM

THE GATES MXG 4K SERIES ALLOWS FOR QUICKER MAINTENANCE OF MINING TRUCKS. AUSTRALIANMINING

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THE MINING INDUSTRY HAS MOVED TO A NEW PHASE FOLLOWING THE MINING BOOM, ONE WHERE PRODUCTIVITY, INNOVATION AND SAFETY HAVE EMERGED AS ITS KEY PRIORITIES FUTURE OF MINING MATERIALS HANDLING VOLUME 113/01 | FEBRUARY 2021

MINING SERVICES

DRIVING PERFORMANCE CRUSHING AND SCREENING’S EVOLUTION

Established in 1908, Australian Mining continues to lead and inform the Australian mining industry of the latest innovations in mining technology and equipment.

Australian Mining’s special features provide organisations with a forum to showcase the role each mining sector plays in helping the industry achieve its modern-day targets.

OFFICIAL MEDIA PARTNERS

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TO BOOK IN AUSTRALIAN MINING CONTACT JONATHAN DUCKETT NOW JONATHAN.DUCKETT@PRIMECREATIVE.COM.AU | 0498 091 027


EVENTS SPOTLIGHT

AUSIMM LAUNCHES BIGGEST OFFERING YET IN 2021 AUSIMM WILL HAVE A COMBINATION OF IN-PERSON AND REMOTE EVENTS IN A NEW HYBRID FORMAT.

THE AUSTRALASIAN INSTITUTE OF MINING AND METALLURGY (AUSIMM) HAD A MASSIVE YEAR IN 2020, LAUNCHING ITS FIRST EVER SERIES OF DIGITAL CONFERENCES. AUSTRALIAN MINING SPEAKS WITH AUSIMM ABOUT HOW 2021 WILL BE EVEN BIGGER, AS THE ORGANISATION SHOWCASES ITS LARGEST EVER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.

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n 2021, AusIMM will host 22 globally recognised courses, 10 hybrid technical conferences and various leadership events and webinars, covering a wide range of mining commodities and topics. The organisation has developed an extensive professional development program to support and advance the careers of people working in resources, offering an opportunity to enhance their capabilities, knowledge, skills and qualifications in 2021 and beyond. Following the successful launch of AusIMM’s digital conferences in 2020, as an appropriate safety measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AusIMM will continue to offer online professional development and networking in a new and innovative hybrid format. The new approach combines an inperson conference experience with a virtual component, allowing delegates to access the conference, presentations and networking experiences from their own homes or offices. AusIMM chief executive officer Stephen Durkin says this will allow for a truly global audience and experience for the organisation’s 2021 professional development opportunities. “We are looking forward to helping our members and industry professionals shape their mining careers in 2021, through our biggest ever professional development calendar,” Durkin tells Australian Mining. “The new hybrid conference format is expected to reach more international delegates and regional Australians than ever before, ensuring that AusIMM

content, conferences and professional development are accessible to diverse audiences in the sector.” As well as the updated format, AusIMM has an exciting new focus for its 2021 online courses, building on momentum from previous successes. AusIMM has worked to develop its flagship Professional Certificate in JORC Code Reporting since 2018 and following a successful inaugural course, looks forward to offering an extensive suite of courses just two years later in 2021. “We have built on this momentum and are thrilled to offer 22 courses in 2021,” Durkin says. “Our intuitive and flexible online platform allows participants to learn from anywhere in the world, in order to balance work, study and life commitments. “Course participants will develop advanced skills validated by industry that can be immediately applied to mining roles.” With a focus on investing in tomorrow’s mining industry leaders, AusIMM will launch its Thought Leadership series in August followed by the New Leaders hybrid conference in September. AusIMM aims to focus on increasing community awareness about the important role mining plays in society, provide future-focussed development pathways and opportunities and collaborate with the government and education sectors to secure a sustainable talent pipeline for the industry. AusIMM’s Thought Leadership series and New Leaders hybrid conference will focus not only on AUSTRALIANMINING

traditional mining disciplines, but the emerging skills and capabilities that will be required in the industry in the future. “Investing in tomorrow’s leaders is critical for the future of the mining sector and the continuing contributions we make to our community,” Durkin says. “There is clear recognition across industry, universities and all levels of government that our future leaders pipeline really is a priority for the sector. We have witnessed increased pressure on higher education providers and increased demand for new skills across the global economy. “Key technical disciplines will continue to play a fundamental role in the future of the mining industry. Our future leaders must be agile, adaptable and innovative, they must be able to look beyond technical, industrial and professional boundaries.” In line with themes about future opportunities and challenges, AusIMM’s 2021 program will also focus on data, cyber security and new

technologies. Durkin says with its talented and diverse range of members, AusIMM aims to stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving industry, offering key knowledge on the technology of the future. “Our members are the professionals who are leading the way in the industry and have their finger on the pulse regarding new trends, risks and opportunities in the sector,” he says. “Our content is peer reviewed by our members and the feedback process is an opportunity for us to ensure we are addressing the major and most relevant themes in mining.” With a packed 2021 schedule and a global platform for sharing knowledge, AusIMM is ready to take on its biggest year yet alongside mining professionals. “As the peak body for all people working in resources, we will continue to support mining professionals to shape their careers, develop leaders and uphold industry standards,” Durkin concludes. AM

AUSIMM IS FOCUSSING ON PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN ITS 2021 SERIES OF CONFERENCES.

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PRODUCTS

MINESPEC TURNS SURPLUS TO PURPOSE

TRUFLO PUMPING SYSTEMS’ EXPLOSION PROOF SUBMERSIBLE PUMPS

Queensland-owned and based equipment provider Minespec Parts’ motto is simple: Turn your surplus to purpose. Minespec’s core business is the dismantle of heavy mining equipment for open cut applications, including a range of 80- to 800-tonne Caterpillar, Komatsu, Hitachi, Liebherr and O&K heavy mining vehicles. The company dismantles these vehicles into separate parts and components, taking into account maintenance management solutions. Minespec Parts also supplies a large range of new and aftermarket components to reduce maintenance and operating costs, offering costeffective solutions based on critical data supplied by its operational and maintenance management teams. Be it an overburden or a blue chip commodity, Minespec Parts can help mining operations to lower their costs per tonne moved.

• minespecparts.com.au

Forged from the elements themselves, Truflo Pumping Systems’ explosion proof submersible pumps boast superior design, advanced engineering and precision manufacturing to provide new levels of dewater performance. Available in six configurations, the Truflo Pumps explosion proof submersible pump series produces solutions to a wide range of dewatering needs from general transfer applications to critical high flow high head challenges. These features include an IECEx Certificate of Conformity for explosive atmospheres for flameproof levels, robust long-lasting build components, double upper and lower mechanical seals in oil lubricated reservoirs, superior wear resistance and longevity and an integrated cooling system. Truflo’s explosive proof submersible pump units provide a capable, highly trusted solution to underground coal mining challenges.

• truflopumps.com.au

CATERPILLAR ROLLS OUT 657 WTS

LASETVM SYSTEMS FOR BULK MATERIAL MEASUREMENT

Caterpillar is helping miners to achieve lower-cost earthmoving with the release of its new 657 wheel tractor scraper (WTS). The 657 WTS boasts increased fuel efficiency of 7 per cent compared to its predecessor, the 657G WTS. It has a rated load limit of 46.4 tonnes, making the 657 WTS Caterpillar’s largest open bowl scraper in its fleet. The machine isn’t the only thing that is larger, with a 21 per cent more spacious cab for improved operator comfort and productivity. Operators can be confident that their loads are accurate and meeting target load goals, with the 657 WTS featuring a payload estimator, which achieves 95 per cent accuracy.

Lase’s TVM line’s LaseTVM-S (static) and LaseTVC-M (motion) products give miners the flexibility of scanning and measuring volume loads while mine trucks are at a standstill or while moving respectively. With LaseTVM-M, a truck simply needs to drive through the measuring system and the measurement is taken in transit, while LaseTVM-S requires the truck bed to be placed centrally underneath the sensor. With this choice of measuring options, measurements are taken by 2D (LaseTVM-M) and 3D (LaseTVM-S) scanners, which combine the sensor data to create a 3D profile of the loading area. This measures the position of the truck and its load to accurately calculate the volume of the load.

• caterpillar.com

• lase-solutions.com

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PRODUCTS

SANDVIK UPGRADES OPTIMINE PLATFORM

METSO OUTOTEC OVERLAND CONVEYORS

Sandvik has furthered the capabilities of its OptiMine platform, launching new functionalities, including smart scheduling, evacuation assistance and a playback feature. OptiMine Evacuation Assistant shows the nearest safe places underground and provides visibility for personnel during an emergency evacuation, guiding workers to the nearest rescue chamber. This is complemented by OptiMine Smart Scheduling, which allows automatic adjustment of production plans based on shift completion results, streamlining the process for efficient execution of the mine’s production plan. The data gathered by OptiMine can now be viewed in Playback, built into the 3D mine visualiser and allows employees to view historically recorded data of the locations and statuses of all assets and people.

Metso Outotec is creating an efficient means to transport material efficiently across long distance mining applications with its range of overland conveyors. The conveyors are an economic and reliable solution to transport minerals from both open pit and underground mines, at a full capacity of 18,000 tonnes per hour. This is achieved while saving up to 30 per cent power with Metso’s Energy Saving Idlers and is flexible enough to handle both vertical and horizontal curves on site. Metso Outotec’s conveyors are quick to install and are built for ease of maintenance, keeping material moving for longer and requiring minimal maintenance downtime.

• rocktechnology.sandvik/en/

ATLAS COPCO BREATHES LIFE INTO AIR COMPRESSION SOLUTIONS

• metso.com

SCHENCK PROCESS’ CONIQ CONTROL UNIT The CONiQ Control system by Schenck Process gives miners a flexible solution for industrial measurement and weighing using automated technology. Schenck Process has standardised the use of a common controller platform for a wide variety of processes, with the hardware and software components optimised with Internet of Things connectivity, configurability and calibration capabilities. It can be used in a wide range of applications from measurement to logistical automation support, as well as continuous processes in bulk materials handling. The main advance of the CONiQ Control system is the user-guiding, web-based interface, which gives operators an intuitive and userfriendly means of control.

Atlas Copco is a pioneer of air-cooled variable speed drive (VSD) air compressors, providing mines with a reliable source of compressed air 24/7. Air-cooled compressors mean that miners use less water to cool their compressors, which lowers both water usage footprint and costs. Requiring no external cooling circuit, mining operations do not need to build extra infrastructure such as cooling towers and units, slashing the investment required when installing a source of air. Additionally, Atlas Copco’s air-cooled VSD compressors have reduced pressure losses compared with other models, as they have less piping in the air network, providing further savings in time and dollars.

• atlascopco.com

• schenckprocess.com

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EVENTS

CONFERENCES, SEMINARS & WORKSHOPS EVENT SUBMISSIONS CAN BE EMAILED TO EDITOR@AUSTRALIANMINING.COM.AU RIU Explorers Conference | Fremantle | February 16-18 The three-day RIU Explorers Conference is a major forum for junior resources companies to communicate their latest exploration and production successes and updates on their technical and corporate performances. RIU Explorers Conference 2021 will celebrate its 20th anniversary, which will include a special, jam-packed program of keynote speakers, exhibitors and networking events. The conference attracts explorers, emerging new miners, brokers, fund managers and investors to tune into speeches presented by speakers from a range of junior mining companies, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), midmarket chief executive officers and other industry experts. RIU Explorers Conference will be held at the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle, by Rydges in February and welcome presentations from companies including De Grey Mining, Chalice Mining, Bellevue Gold, Legend Mining, IGO, OZ Minerals, Mincor Resources, Western Areas, Calidus Resources, Kalamazoo Resources and many more. • riuexplorersconference.com.au Minexchange 2021 SME Annual Conference & Expo | Online | March 1-5 The SME annual conference and expo is moving to a virtual format in 2021, while remaining dedicated to all disciplines of mining engineering. It features a wide variety of technical sessions and speakers and an expansive virtual expo floor, where delegates can get a first-hand look at new products,

services and integrated solutions offered by exhibitors. The virtual show floor also provides delegates with the opportunity to connect with vendors. Along with the expo is a conference program that will feature live and ondemand presentations and poster sessions, addressing critical subject matters from around the globe and mining industry. They include mining and exploration, tailings, minerals processing, health and safety as well as the environment. • smeannualconference.com Underground Operators Conference 2021 | Perth and online | March 15-17 The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) Underground Operators Conference 2021 will bring together mining engineers, operators, technical service managers and consultants to share their underground operational experience and practices. Underground Operators 2021 will feature internationally recognised keynote speakers, including CommChain executive chairman Gary Zamel, Rock Engineering consultant, Sweden, Knut Garshol and Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy & Petroleum president Roy Slack. The program will cover key discussion topics on process transformation, innovative mining methods, health and safety, revolutionising the traditional mine and more. Underground Operators 2021 will be held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre on March 15-17 2021. • undergroundoperators.ausimm.com

AUSTRALIANMINING

2nd Digital Mines 2021 | Online | April 20-22 The 2nd Digital Mines 2021: Building Fully Autonomous Mines from Pit to Port recognises the force of digitalisation in changing the nature of companies and their interaction with employees, communities, government and the environment at every step of their value chain. This year’s conference will deep-dive into the latest advances on intelligent mining and how world-leading mining companies are implementing theirs. They include Resolute Mining’s Syama gold mine in Mali, Boliden’s fully autonomous underground mine and Vale and BHP’s next-generation autonomous mining. The conference will also feature speakers from BHP, Roy Hill, Fortescue Metals Group, Rio Tinto, Alcoa, Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia, ABB Australia and Codelco. Delegates will also catch an exciting glimpse of the new frontier of mining in space. • claridenglobal.com Life of Mine Conference | Brisbane and online | April 28-30 AusIMM and the University of Queensland will join forces to host the fifth Life of Mine Conference in 2021 following four years of successful events. Being held in Brisbane and online, this hybrid event will allow delegates to safely attend the event in-person or online should travel restrictions still be in place. The Life of Mine Conference will explore the full life-cycle of a mine from the exploration to rehabilitation phase, as well as address current and future challenges impacting the mining value chain. A key aim of the conference is to promote

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leading examples of applying approaches that enhance outcomes, increase efficiencies and improve effectiveness in addressing challenges in the present and years to come, including cost and production pressures, technical factors and societal and community expectations. Conference themes include integrated mine planning; sustainability outcomes; incorporating societal and community dimensions into design, operation and rehabilitation; strategies for improving closure outcomes; influence of global trends on the future of the industry; approaches to produce viable post-mining economies and more. • lifeofmine.ausimm.com Austmine 2021: Harnessing Intelligence | Perth | May 25-27 Austmine’s world-renowned mining innovation conference will return in 2021, creating a key gathering point for industry leaders, change-makers and innovative thinkers. The 2021 theme of harnessing intelligence will provide the opportunity to reflect, discuss and consider the future of the mining industry following a period of significant disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Austmine 2021 will explore the importance of the interaction between people, processes and technology over three days of keynote speeches, interactive sessions and panel discussions. The event has also welcomed BHP onboard as its principal sponsor for 2021, highlighting BHP’s continued commitment to technological excellence in the Australian mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector. • austmineconference.com.au



Choose the most reliable and safe option to dewater your mine. The compact high-performance Godwin NC80 rig pump. The Godwin NC80 rig pump from Xylem, is an exceptionally powerful yet small-sized package – and fitted with Dri-Prime automatic selfpriming technology, it’s ideal for underground mining. The offering includes proven N-Pump technology, for the highest total efficiency and reduced unplanned maintenance, and a continuously-operated Venturi air-ejector priming device that is set-and-forget. The NC80 rig pump has flow capacity to 38 L/S, discharge heads to 64 metres, and fully-automatic priming from dry to 8.5 metres suction lift. It’s highly effective for all underground dirty mine water applications and delivers superior performance with shotcrete fibre.

Get the NC80 Rig Pump working for you.

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