Jord International has been tasked to develop a safer solution to filter press maintenance at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s Caval Ridge metallurgical coal mine, in Queensland, Australia, as part of BHP’s Supplier Innovation Program challenge, launched in partnership with Austmine in 2020.
The program follows a model that has operated successfully in BHP’s Minerals Americas business for the last decade, the miner says.
In January, Jord signed a Collaborative Agreement with BHP – the first under this new challenge – to design and construct the first prototype of this idea, working hand-in-hand with the maintenance team at BMA’s Caval Ridge metallurgical coal mine, near Moranbah.
Jord is proposing a safer way to perform maintenance on filter presses that removes moisture from coal rejects at the wash plant. It comprises a belt cartridge installer within a self-contained steel frame that holds a new belt and removes the old damaged belt.
The first belt installer is expected to be in use by July, according to BMA, with the pilot to run for six months. If successful, the new approach will be implemented permanently at Caval Ridge, and potentially at other BMA sites using filter presses to remove moisture from coal rejects, BMA added.
Jord’s Mechanical Engineer for Aftermarket and Reliability, Craig Samuel, developed the concept and says it eliminates the need for operators to be in physical contact with the filter press.
“Creating a safer environment is the pinnacle of an engineer’s ethos and it’s incorporated in everything we design,” Samuel said. “We know from experience that efficiency and reliability are critical to mining operations, so I’m proud that this idea will make a traditionally time-consuming task much faster and I’m looking forward to working closely with the Caval Ridge team.”
When developing the award submission, Samuel consulted with Jord’s field service team to ensure the concept was practical and rigorous enough to meet the demanding operating conditions.
Jord’s General Manager of Resources, Kevin Barber, said he is proud of his team for having the drive and innovative thinking required to solve this long-standing industry challenge.
“We would like to thank BHP for their recognition and for the opportunity to participate in genuinely collaborative discussions about real challenges faced in the industry,” he said. “At Jord, we live by the motto ‘ideas engineered’, which means we encourage our people to share new ideas. We often invest in research and development initiatives with a goal to commercialising new products.
“We look to add value in all our projects, whether it’s increasing safety, reducing risk, producing a higher-grade product, increasing plant capacity, minimising environmental impacts, or conclusively proving new industrial processes.”
BHP says its Procurement Innovation & Community team is currently developing another six Supply Innovation Program challenges across Minerals Australia, with the goal of announcing more pilot contracts in coming months.