All posts by Daniel Gleeson

Monarch Gold ties up ore transport options with Ontario Northland Railway pact

Monarch Gold has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ontario Northland Railway for the transportation of ore from its Wasamac gold project to the Kidd concentrator in Timmins, Ontario, pursuant to a separate MoU with Glencore Canada.

The first phase of the agreement consists of an economic study on the infrastructure for the transportation of ore by train from Wasamac to Kidd, to be completed no later than December 31, 2020, Monarch said.

“This is another important step in the development of our Wasamac gold project with respect to the custom milling option, the objective of which will be to negotiate a favourable rate for the transportation of Wasamac ore to the Kidd concentrator,” Jean-Marc Lacoste, President and Chief Executive Officer of Monarch, said. “Ontario Northland has the necessary capacity, a solid reputation and has been providing this transportation service to mining companies for more than a century.

“It is important to remember that if we choose the custom milling option, we will be able to significantly reduce the construction costs of the Wasamac mine compared to the initial option of building the mill and tailings facility directly on site, in addition to reducing the impact on the environment and neighbouring communities. The other important aspect will be to ensure that our operating costs are as low as possible, including transportation costs, which will allow us to increase the profitability of the project.”

Last month, Monarch said it had retained Ausenco Engineering Canada to conduct an upgrading study on the Glencore-owned Kidd concentrator in connection with its potential use to treat ore mined from its Wasamac gold project. The study constitutes “Phase 1” of the MoU recently signed with Glencore Canada, Monarch said.

Located in Timmins, Ontario, the Kidd concentrator was built in 1966 with numerous upgrades over the years. It currently processes metal ore to produce copper and zinc concentrates, with the facility having a design rated capacity of 12,500 t/d. The site has incoming and outgoing rail service via Ontario Northland.

In addition to northern Ontario, Ontario Northland serves northern Quebec to Rouyn-Noranda, where the railway connects and interchanges traffic with CN, which then serves other major Abitibi region mills, including Canadian Malartic (Yamana Gold/Agnico Eagle), Westwood (IAMGold) and Lamaque (Eldorado Gold), as well as Monarch’s Camflo and Beacon mills.

The December 2018 feasibility study on Wasamac forecast average annual production of 142,000 oz of gold for 11 years at a cash cost of $550/oz.

FROSKR to help miners find the right profit and social responsibility balance

BESTECH Engineering has spun off another one of its divisions, with FROSKR, focused on helping companies understand and mitigate environmental impacts before they occur, the latest name to join the Canada-based mining equipment technology and services space.

FROSKR, an INOVINTA Company, comes from the ancient Norse word for frog. The company explains: “FROSKR is a new take on what it means to be confident and compliant when dealing with complex environmental issues. A sensitive indicator species, frogs breathe partially, and drink fully, through their skin. When the environment suffers, so do frogs. A healthy frog population means sustained environmental health and stability. A project with FROSKR means just the same.”

Kati McCartney, President of FROSKR, says the company’s innovative technology and consulting services help clients cut through the complexity of compliance, protect employees and the environment, build confidence in communities, and optimise productivity and profit.

“That means you don’t have to choose between productivity, profit or social responsibility,” she said. “You just have to choose FROSKR.”

The company comes out of BESTECH, which has been providing real-time data with its AQM™ technology since 2003. AQM is an ambient air monitoring system that offers a variety of options for acquiring and distributing data to various environmental and operational stakeholders. The system delivers data rapidly from various field locations providing instant feedback to current and ongoing production systems required to control emissions stemming from operations, according to the company.

In addition to having the support of BESTECH, another INOVINTA Company, the company can also leverage research and development from SHYFTinc, an automation and software-focused entity, and FORTAI, focused on inventory management.

Sandvik buys up remaining stake in Allied Construction Products

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has signed an agreement to acquire Allied Construction Products, a US distributor of hydraulic hammers to the construction and mining industries and manufacturer of compactor plates and mounting brackets.

Sandvik, which already owned 21% of the company, has had a strategic partnership in place with Allied since 2003 whereby Allied distributed Rammer products to the US market. According to Sandvik, its products generate about 80% of Allied’s revenues.

The acquisition of Allied establishes an enhanced sales, service and support platform for the growing North American customer base, Sandvik said.

“It also enables Sandvik to expand the existing dealer network into new regions and to penetrate new customer segments with a broader product offering,” the company added. “Allied will obtain additional strength and access to cutting-edge technology.”

In 2019, Allied generated revenues of around $29 million with 38 employees, Sandvik said.

The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price and the transaction is expected to close during the September quarter.

McConnell Dowell to tackle waste line at Queensland Alumina refinery

McConnell Dowell says it has signed a design and construct contract with Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL), a Rio Tinto majority-owned subsidiary, for the delivery of a waste line replacement at the Parsons Point alumina refinery in Gladstone, Queensland.

“This marks the start of what is hoped to be a longstanding partnership with QAL and continues our successful relationship with major shareholder Rio Tinto,” the company said.

The waste line replacement project encompasses the scope of designing the new waste line and the augmentation design of the support structure; removing the existing pipeline; augmenting the support structures, including around 1,400 piles within tidal and marine zones; and installing the new waste line – 8.8 km of DN 350 SCH 60 above-ground steel pipeline.

Works have commenced on the project and will be delivered through 2020 and 2021, according to McConnell Dowell.

“McConnell Dowell’s market leading pipeline construction capability, our expertise in working in marine environments, and our commitment to maximising local participation, provides a strong foundation for project success,” the company said.

QAL is an independently managed joint venture owned by Rio Tinto (80%) and Rusal (20%). The refinery produces around 3.7 Mt/y of smelter-grade alumina, according to Rio.

Thiess to bring autonomous drilling to Lake Vermont coal mine

Thiess has been awarded a contract extension by Jellinbah Group to continue to provide mining services at its Lake Vermont coal mine in Queensland, Australia.

The five-year extension will generate revenue of A$2.5 billion ($1.7 billion) for Thiess, CIMIC Group’s global mining services provider. It will also see the company provide a range of autonomous services at the mine, including the implementation of autonomous drilling and semi-autonomous dozer push, it said.

When it comes to autonomous drilling, Thiess will most likely leverage the learnings from a phased 12-month autonomous drilling pilot project it carried out at MACH Energy’s majority-owned Mount Pleasant coal operation in the Hunter Valley of Australia, in collaboration with Caterpillar and WesTrac.

Thiess said the contract continues its full-service mining operations at Lake Vermont, including mine planning, coal mining, topsoil and overburden removal, drill and blast, water management and rehabilitation of final landforms. This includes providing all mobile plant and equipment, being statutory operator for the project, and operating and maintaining the client’s coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP).

CIMIC Group Chief Executive Officer, Juan Santamaria, said: “For more than 13 years, Thiess has worked alongside Jellinbah Group to safely position the mine’s operations for optimal efficiency, productivity and cost performance. This contract demonstrates Thiess’ ability to turn insight and optimisation into greater certainty for its clients.”

CIMIC Group Executive Mining and Mineral Processing and Thiess Managing Director, Douglas Thompson, said: “We’ve developed a strong working relationship with Jellinbah Group since commencing work at Lake Vermont in 2007. We’re excited to bring fresh thinking and new solutions to support the mine’s continued, sustainable evolution over the next five years.”

The contract extension will commence from January 1, 2022.

CIMIC Group’s mineral processing company, Sedgman also provides CHPP operations support at the Lake Vermont mine, which, in 2012, went through an expansion to more than double production from 4.6 Mt/y to 10.7 Mt/y of coal.

Lake Vermont is held by the participants of the Lake Vermont Joint Venture (Jellinbah Group 70%, Marubeni Coal 10%, Sojitz Coal 10% and AMCI 10%).

Schlam Engineering, DT HiLoad and The Pilbara Clean Machines unite

The Schlam Group – Schlam Engineering, DT HiLoad and The Pilbara Clean Machines (TPCM) – has been amalgamated under one name, Schlam.

The move, which will unify the three companies under the one banner, purpose and set of principles, the company says, was initiated to better to reflect Schlam’s status as a “globally relevant company wholly focused on making mining equipment more productive”, it said.

Schlam Chief Executive Officer, Ryan Schlam, said the move would provide a stable platform for future growth.

“Bringing the group together under the one name will better position us to achieve our purpose of ensuring that the customer experience is exceptional,” he said.

“How we will do this is by solving the whole of equipment maintenance and payload challenges that keep our customer’s mines from being better tomorrow than they were today.”

The new brand has been partitioned into three distinct but related divisions covering Payload Solutions, People Solutions and Engineering Solutions.

According to Ryan Schlam, the roots of the company are secured deep within the People Solutions division.

“For almost 25 years we have been providing the industry with superstars in equipment maintenance, rebuilds and shutdowns,” he said.

“Be it mechanical, electrical or fabrication, our people are ready to join your team for as long as you need them, or to bring their expertise and field equipment to your site at a moment’s notice.”

Previously known by the name DT HiLoad, the Payload Solutions division will continue to manufacture and develop products such as the Hercules and Bullant trays, and Barracuda buckets for Tier 1 clients on six continents. Hercules truck trays are currently in place on the Cat 793s at BHP’s Eastern Ridge (Newman East) operation in the Pilbara. These trucks have just started to move to autonomous mode.

Ryan Schlam says the company’s growth was only possible due to its engineering mindset and holistic view of equipment productivity.

“Engineering is at the heart of everything that we do,” he said.

“Productivity problems don’t solve themselves and our Engineering Division will give customers access to people and technology that will enable them to help them rethink and reinvent how they’re currently doing things.”

The three divisions will be headquartered at the company’s offices in Forrestfield, Perth, in Western Australia.

Epiroc to supply Vale with BaaS agreement, battery-electric equipment

Epiroc says the world’s first Batteries as a Service (BaaS) agreement has been finalised in Canada, with Vale and the mining OEM partnering on this new approach for utilising battery technology in mining operations.

Along with the BaaS agreement, Epiroc will be providing Vale with 10 battery-electric vehicles for two Canadian mine sites. These machines will include four Scooptram ST14 loaders, two Boomer M2C drill rigs, two Boltec MC bolting rigs and two Minetruck MT42 trucks. The miner will also acquire three of Epiroc’s charging cabinets and seven charging posts for equipment support, the company said.

Vale has previously said it hopes to have upward of 20 battery-powered vehicles operating within its North Atlantic operations (Creighton, Coleman, Copper Cliff, Garson and Thompson mines) by the end of 2020.

As mining companies continue to strive for sustainable productivity and zero emissions, the fast evolution and development of different options within the field of battery technology can be extremely challenging, Epiroc says.

With BaaS, Epiroc works directly with the customer to define a battery plan that suits the needs of their operation. The lifespan is guaranteed and the battery status is carefully monitored to ensure predictive maintenance with reduced downtime, according to the company. If a customer wants to increase or decrease their capacity, they can adjust their plan and the service will be tailored to meet their requirements.

As part of an ongoing sustainability commitment, Epiroc will remove old batteries from site and replace them with new batteries. These older batteries are then used for secondary applications and will be recycled at the end of the process, the company says.

The delivery of the battery equipment to both sites will occur over the course of 2020 and into the March quarter of 2021, according to Epiroc.

“A key component to the success of this offering is the flexibility it allows our customers,” Shawn Samuels, Product Manager Rocvolt, Epiroc Canada, said. “We take ownership of the battery itself and automatically replace and update the units as needed, which means the mine site can breathe easier and continue to focus on heightened production.”

Jason Smith, General Manager Epiroc Canada, said: “We value and look forward to continuing our successful partnership with Vale as we move towards a zero emissions future in mining together. We both recognise the positive impact a successful battery service implementation can have on operations, so our mutual confidence in one another is well placed.”

Flowrox CF-V pumps to deliver reliable performance in sumps and pits

Flowrox has launched a CF-V centrifugal pump with a vertical cantilever design that, it says, is suitable for mining, minerals processing and other industrial operations.

The new heavy-duty CF-V centrifugal pump runs continuously in heavy-duty conditions, delivering reliable performance in sumps and pits, Flowrox says.

The pump’s wear-resistant components are fit for the most abrasive and corrosive slurries, and can handle flow rates through to 1,135 cu.m/h, according to the company.

A single Flowrox CF-V pump can reach heads up to 50 m and cantilevered depth to 3.6 m with suctions extension pipe, according to the company. Wet parts are either elastomer or hi-chrome and designed for ease of maintenance to minimise downtime.

The vertical CF-V pump is the second in a range of high-quality Flowrox centrifugal pumps, the company says, with the first in the range a heavy-duty CF-S horizontal centrifugal pump designed for continuous pumping of highly abrasive and dense slurries.

Flowrox says all of its products can be enhanced with “Smart” features, with Flowrox Digital Services able to increase any pump’s productivity through optimisation and online predictability.

Brigade Electronics looks to equip miners with collision avoidance tech

With new regulations around collision avoidance technology set to enter regional markets in the next decade, Brigade Electronics is optimistic about the future for its safety solutions.

The use of vehicle safety systems has proved to be extremely effective in reducing accidents and preventing fatalities, according to the company.

Emily Hardy, a Vehicle Safety Expert at Brigade, said: “Our safety solutions mean that worker safety can be improved with simple additions to vehicles. From camera monitor systems and warning alarms, to blind spot technology, collisions could be vastly reduced if drivers are equipped proficiently.”

Blind spots are one of the main causes of collisions involving deaths and injuries. Driver visibility, particularly on large machinery, can be limited due to various factors. These include lack of direct vision through front and side windows, lack of rear vision, operator position, bulkheads and vehicle size and type.

Alongside this, ear defenders, which reduce site workers’ ability to clearly hear approaching vehicles, and poor visibility due to adverse weather and dusty worksites, increase the potential for accidents.

Depending on the vehicle type and use, there are multiple technology solutions that can be fitted to enhance safety, according to Brigade.

“For example, vehicle-mounted 360° cameras, such as Brigade’s award-winning Backeye360®, provide operators with a birds-eye view around their vehicle at all times, which they can monitor via an in-cab display,” the company said.

“Wide-angle lenses on the systems’ cameras provide a comprehensive view of the area surrounding the vehicle that even large mirrors cannot match, completely eliminating blind spots.”

Meanwhile, radar obstacle detection, which uses continuous-wave radar technology, can detect moving or stationary objects around the vehicle delivering an audible and visible alert to vehicle operators, allowing them to act accordingly.

Heavy duty and able to operate even in high or low temperatures, radar obstacle detection is also waterproof and smoke resistant, and can be easily heard in noisy environments making it ideal for mining and quarrying, Brigade said.

Reversing and warning alarms are also vital devices to warn workers that a vehicle is manoeuvring. Multi-frequency smart alarms, using white sound technology, are highly directional. This means, in adverse conditions, for example if rain is pounding down, the warning decibel level will be increased.

Davesmen, a company which supports mines throughout India, has been supplying and fitting Brigade’s range of vehicle safety solutions to heavy earth moving machines.

In 2017, there were more than 1,000 recorded fatalities at Indian coal operations alone, according to Brigade. The extreme number of accidents in India led to an introduction of tighter laws and, in July 2019, the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill was passed.

Shamit Dave, Managing Director of Davesmen, said: “Brigade’s products have been received well by the mining market. We have had excellent feedback on the Backeye360 system, especially when it’s coupled with Backsense® radars.

“Drivers like that they can see the blind spots surrounding the entire vehicle, which reduces the stress of driving in the mines as well as helping to prevent vehicle damage and repairs.”

As awareness grows for these safety solutions, it is hoped that this will provide a major boost for the growth of the industry.

Shamit added: “The future is filled with optimism. Vehicle safety has become a major part of this sector.”

RCT to provide online training for ControlMaster, SmarTrack solutions

RCT, like many other METS companies seeking to connect with miners despite COVID-19 travel restrictions, is bringing its training online.

Its Product Skills training can now be delivered anywhere, anytime thanks to the launch of its online training this week, RCT said.

RCT decided to make the numerous courses available online to upskill workers based in remote mine sites around the world, it said.

“This was deemed even more important due to the current global situation with the COVID-19 pandemic,” RCT’s Product Training Co-ordinator, Sunil Kumar, said.

“We live in a world where everyone wants easy, quick and convenient access to services and the technology is so readily accessible via hand held devices and laptops,” he said.

RCT’s training has expanded to encompass webinar and online training, in addition to the face-to-face training the company has always delivered at various RCT branches around the world or on site.

Participants can now choose to partake in webinar training, where they access the training via their computer and complete it in a virtual classroom. This option allows people to communicate directly with the trainer, ask questions, and interact where needed for the duration of the course.

In addition to webinar-based training, RCT also offers a self-learning option, which offers flexible learning. The courses can be completed anytime, anywhere, as it is all fully online via RCT’s online training portal.

There are numerous courses available ranging from operator and maintenance training for those using RCT’s ControlMaster® automation solutions and industrial Fleet Management solution, SmarTrack® Global.