Tag Archives: Agnico Eagle

MacLean ships 500th 900 Series scissor bolter to Agnico’s Goldex mine

The MacLean 900 Series scissor bolter design turned 30 years old in 2021 and the manufacturer has recently shipped out production unit #500 to a long-standing customer – Agnico Eagle’s Goldex mine in Val d’Or, Quebec.

The first commercialised 900 Series unit was introduced in the early 1990s in Ontario. Three decades later, the safety, versatility, productivity and quality of installation this mining vehicle provides has helped change the way ground support installation is conducted in hard-rock mines across Canada, MacLean says.

“This manufacturing milestone, representing the collective efforts of so many people at the company over the years, is something that I’m proud to celebrate and deeply grateful for,” MacLean President, Kevin MacLean, says. “It also underscores the importance of long-standing customer relationships, so it’s fitting that the 500th unit is going to Agnico Eagle in the Abitibi, where the MacLean mining story started and where the company’s future will be written in support of Agnico Eagle operations in Quebec, Nunavut and Mexico.”

Dominic Caron – Agnico Eagle’s Strategic Procurement Superintendent, added: “At Agnico Eagle, we are very pleased to be a part of Maclean’s success and celebrate with them this important milestone. We have had a long-lasting business relationship with Maclean and, throughout our operations, our people greatly appreciate the products and support they provide. We hope to continue building on this relationship in the future.”

While a ceremony will be held underground at the mine later this month, to mark the milestone, MacLean says it is also lining up releases about its next generation bolter, which will include leading-edge robotics and remote control.

Steve Denomme, Product Line Manager for Bolting, explained: “If you want to talk paradigm change, this is it. The next 30 years of influence could be even greater that than the first 30, so I’m honoured to be part of the MacLean team working in close engagement with our customer base to transform bolting ideas into working solutions for the mines of the 21st century. We’re using advanced vehicle technologies to their greatest benefit in the underground environment, always in the name of safety and productivity.”

VTT, Nokia, Sandvik on board with 5G-powered underground mining research project

VTT, Nokia and Sandvik, recognising the potential of faster network coverage for unlocking efficiencies in mining for improved productivity, safety, environmental sustainability and global competitiveness, are to collaborate in a 5G-powered research project on next generation underground mining technology.

These benefits will be realised through the introduction of next generation mining technology, including autonomous, connected machinery, digital automation and advanced analytics for real-time situational awareness and control, to enable safety, productivity and sustainability improvements in mining operations.

Next Generation Mining (NGMining ), is, the partners say, a new project, funded by Business Finland, bringing together industrial 5G private networks, edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technology-based solutions to enable digital transformation in mining.

The goal of the NGMining project is to build proof of concept experimental systems to evaluate integrated connectivity solutions to be tested in harsh underground mining environments. The objectives pertaining to the 5G network infrastructure cover spectrum usage in the underground mining environment, 5G modems integrated in relevant machinery and user equipment, and edge computing. Identified challenges include: understanding signal behaviour in underground environments, harsh environments for ­“HW”, and network design requirements to ensure underground connectivity with respect to bandwidth, frequency range, latency, reliability and scalability.

By engaging with key industry players in the mining segment, the intention is to drive joint experiments for mining digitalisation. The target is to develop a mine-compliant connectivity infrastructure, with integrated solutions that incorporate safety and tracking technologies and AI enablers, for safe and efficient operation of autonomous connected working machines in underground mines.

Project phases include use case definition for autonomous machinery in mining, solution evaluation via testing platforms with 4G/5G wireless capabilities, selection of most value-added results for development and commercialisation, and pilot implementations in operational customer mines.

Finland’s unique industry ecosystem enables creation and piloting of technologies, solutions and business models, and the partnership will continue to grow as it takes on new challenges and additional partners, both domestic and international, according to VTT.

VTT is coordinating the joint R&D project with Nokia and Sandvik as the leading industry experts.

Sauli Eloranta, Vice President, Safe and Connected Society, VTT, said that the organisation would support all project partners by coordinating the project.

In its research, VTT is applying and further strengthening the competences related to telecommunication technology, situational awareness, sensor technologies, edge computing and AI on new application areas in a mining context, Eloranta added.

Jarkko Pellikka, Director, Nokia Unlocking Industrial 5G program, said: “Collaboration across the ecosystem is essential for developing winning technology solutions that will meet productivity and sustainability targets and capture global market share in the growing mining business.”

Miika Kaski, Commercialisation and Networks Lead at Sandvik, said the OEM was conducting research on 5G connectivity use cases in the mining environment and the NGMining consortium would help facilitate this with its network partners.

The NGMining project is also collaborating with the Sustainable Industries X initiative, as the results on autonomous connected working machines can also be exploited in other industries.

The two- year NGMining project kicked off in May 2021, and also includes input from the University of Oulu as a research partner, as well as company partners Epec, SATEL, Huld, Terrasolid, Outsight, Etteplan, Noptel, Unikie, Iiwari, Millisecond and Wizense ja Indagon. The project advisory board includes representatives from Outokumpu and Agnico Eagle, Telia 5G Business, Kalmar and Ponsse.

Vale, Glencore, Newcrest and others join BluVein’s next gen trolley charging project

Seven major mining companies have financially backed BluVein and its “next generation trolley-charging technology” for heavy mining vehicles, with the industry collaboration project now moving forward with final system development and construction of a technology demonstration pilot site in Brisbane, Australia.

BluVein can now refer to Northern Star Resources, Newcrest Mining, Vale, Glencore, Agnico Eagle, AngloGold Ashanti and OZ Minerals as project partners.

Some additional mining companies still in the process of joining the BluVein project will be announced as they officially come on board, BluVein said, while four major mining vehicle manufacturers have signed agreements to support BluVein controls and hardware integration into their vehicles.

BluVein, a joint venture between EVIAS and Australia-based Olitek, is intent on laying the groundwork for multiple OEMs and mining companies to play in the mine electrification space without the need to employ battery swapping or acquire larger, heavier batteries customised to cope with the current requirements placed on the heaviest diesel-powered machinery operating in the mining sector.

It is doing this through adapting charging technology originally developed by Sweden-based EVIAS for electrified public highways. The application of this technology in mining could see operations employ smaller, lighter battery-electric vehicles that are connected to the mine site grid via its ingress protection-rated slotted Rail™ system. This system effectively eliminates all exposed high voltage conductors, providing significantly improved safety and ensures compliance with mine electrical regulations, according to BluVein. This is complemented with its Hammer™ technology and a sophisticated power distribution unit to effectively power electric motors and charge a vehicle’s on-board batteries.

BluVein has been specifically designed for harsh mining environments and is completely agnostic to vehicle manufacturer. This standardisation is crucial, BluVein says, as it allows a mixed fleet of mining vehicle to use the same rail infrastructure.

While underground mining looks like the most immediate application, BluVein says the technology also has applications in open-pit mining and quarrying.

It is this technology to be trialled in a demonstration pilot in a simulated underground environment. BluVein says it plans on starting the trial install early works towards the end of this year for a mid- to late-2022 trial period.

The BluVein project will be managed by the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC).

Agnico’s Kittilä clocks up full year of autonomous haulage with Sandvik

Agnico Eagle’s automation journey at the Kittilä gold mine in northern Finland has recently seen the operation run a full year of autonomous truck haulage using Sandvik’s AutoMine® system.

The operation has been using the AutoMine automation system for Sandvik loaders in production for several years, but the autonomous truck haulage fleet milestone is more recent.

Kittilä, the largest gold mine in Europe, uses AutoMine on its Toro™ TH663i truck to keep running as long as possible. It is loaded by an autonomous Toro LH621i up to surface dumping.

Jari Kolehmainen, Production Manager at Kittilä Mine, said: “Nowadays our miners can monitor the machines’ operation and autonomous production cycles from the comfort and safety of the control room. The mine’s productivity and safety have increased, and we are excited to see what the future will bring, as we know that there is even more potential to be gained with Sandvik’s cutting-edge technologies.”

Back in February, Agnico said production in the December quarter came in around 6,000 t above forecast thanks, in part, to improved fleet management and an increased usage of automation. It said the operation had been testing autonomous trucks and tele-remote equipment and was targeting to achieve 50% of production drilling and 15% of hauling remotely in 2021.

CMIC-backed novel comminution technology hits commissioning milestone

The Canada Mining Innovation Council’s (CMIC) Conjugate Anvil Hammer Mill (CAHM) and MonoRoll platform technology project has reached a new milestone with hot commissioning of the MonoRoll at COREM’s testing facility in Quebec, Canada.

CAHM is a platform technology advancing two technologies in parallel where both designs break particles in a highly efficient thin particle bed. CAHM, according to CMIC, provides a more efficient alternative to high pressure grinding rolls and SAG mills, while the MonoRoll variant is designed for finer grinds and to replace inefficient rod and ball mills.

In a recent post, CMIC said hot commissioning of the MonoRoll at COREM’s testing facility, using some of the 300 t of ore contributed by Agnico Eagle Mines, was now complete. Although the MonoRoll is being tested using hard rock, there is also significant interest from the iron ore, cement and aggregate industries, CMIC says.

It added: “Fabrication of the CAHM machine is underway and if the optimised discrete element method modelling results hold, we are confident that the MonoRoll and the CAHM are on track to achieve the following significant benefits in ore grinding:

  • “Reduce energy consumption by an estimated 50% compared to best available technology;
  • “Eliminate grinding media;
  • “Increase ore feed reduction ratio; and
  • “Simplify the comminution circuits.”

CMIC is leading a consortium including experts in comminution, product development, engineering and testing as well as six major hard-rock mining companies guiding the effort and participating as potential first adopters. Included among the consortium is CTTI, Hatch, Glencore Canada – XPS (Expert Process Solutions), COREM, Teck, Agnico Eagle, Newmont and Kinross.

The MonoRoll technology is one of only six finalists in Impact Canada’s Crush It! Challenge. Launched in October 2018, Crush It! challenged Canadian innovators to deliver game-changing solutions for cleaner, more efficient rock processing.

CMIC said: “The MonoRoll project is the only finalist developing a novel grinding mill, and if the project wins the C$5 million ($3.9 million) Grand Prize, the funds would be used to engineer a large-scale machine to test in active mining operations.”

Robit to supply drilling consumables to Agnico Eagle’s Kittilä gold mine

Robit and Agnico Eagle have signed a long-term cooperation agreement for drilling consumables supply to the Kittilä gold mine, in Finland, with the deliveries to start on May 1, 2021.

The company previously supplied diamond button bits to Kittilä mine for production drilling, thus, the mine and conditions are familiar to Robit, it said.

Tommi Lehtonen, CEO of Robit Group, said: ”We are happy to start this cooperation, which is a result of a long-time work and is an important reference to the company. It is also an investment in the domestic market. We are excited of this collaboration, which, in addition to product supply, offers an opportunity to develop our products together with one of the leading mining companies.”

Jari Kolehmainen, Production Manager at Kittilä mine, Agnico Eagle Finland Oy, added: “We are delighted with this agreement and expect a long-term and close collaboration. Together we have an opportunity to develop drilling consumables, eg diamond button bits and Sense Systems products, to serve customer needs even better.”

Kittilä mine is the largest gold mine in Europe. It extracts annually about 1.6 Mt of ore, yielding about 7,000 kg of gold. At current production volumes, the mine’s known ore reserves are expected to produce gold until 2034.

Yamana Gold evaluates Jacobina backfill plant, underground mine at Canadian Malartic

Yamana Gold says it is evaluating the installation of a backfill plant at its Jacobina gold mine in Brazil (pictured) in a move that would reduce the asset’s environmental footprint, as well as extend the life of the operation’s existing tailings storage facility.

The backfill plant would allow up to 2,000 t/d of tailings to be deposited in underground voids, Yamana said in its 2021-2023 guidance and 10-year overview release.

The miner said the construction and operation of a backfill plant would also improve mining recoveries at the operation, resulting in increased conversion of mineral resources to mineral reserves.

Jacobina produced 44,165 oz of gold during the December quarter and an all-time high of 177,830 oz for 2020, the company reported in a separate release.

This was the seventh consecutive year of increasing production at the operation, a trend that is expected to continue in the coming years, Yamana said.

“Successful infill and exploration drilling in the Canavieiras and João Belo sectors during 2020 continues to generate significant growth potential,” the company added.

Production in 2021 is forecast to be in a similar range to the 177,830 oz recorded in 2020, Yamana said.

“The operation exceeded the targeted throughput rate of 6,500 t/d for the Phase 1 expansion, and it continues to identify and implement additional processing plant optimisations to further increase throughput, improve recoveries and reduce costs,” the company said. “Beyond further optimisations, the feasibility study for Jacobina’s Phase 2 expansion plans to increase throughput to 8,500 t/d and raise annual production to 230,000 oz remains on track for mid-2021.”

Yamana’s base case in its 10-year overview also included production from an underground mine at the Canadian Malartic operation in Quebec, Canada. This consists of the East Gouldie, Odyssey, and East Malartic zones, (collectively known as the Odyssey project).

Owned 50:50 by Yamana and Agnico Eagle, the Canadian Malartic open-pit mine exceeded its revised 2020 guidance, producing 568,000 oz of gold (on a 100% basis). Production last year was impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions on mining in Quebec and is forecast to increase in 2021 to 700,000 oz, with all-in sustaining costs projected to decline to $850-$885/oz, from $945/oz in 2020.

The Canadian Malartic open pit will be depleted in the first half of 2023, and waste rock and tailings will be deposited into the pit beginning in 2023, Yamana says.

This coincides with planned first production from the Odyssey South zone at the underground project, with the Upper East Gouldie zone expected to come online in 2027.

The most recent underground mineral resource for the project, which was published in February 2020, showed more than 10 Moz of gold (100% basis), including 9.6 Moz ounces of inferred mineral resources (100% basis) and 830,000 oz of indicated mineral resources (100% basis).

“In the interim, exploration results have been exceptional, improving economics and increasing confidence that the underground project will be a multi-hundred-thousand-ounce annual producer for decades,” Yamana said.

Key development milestones for the underground project over the next three years include the development of a ramp into the Odyssey, East Malartic, and East Gouldie zones, which will allow for tighter definition drilling to further expand the mineral resource base, along with headframe construction and shaft sinking, Yamana said.

A preliminary economic assessment for the project is expected to be completed in February.

New Metso Outotec Courier on-stream analyser could reduce gold losses

Metso Outotec is launching its next-generation Courier® 6G SL on-stream analyser for direct measurement of gold, platinum and other valuable metal concentrations from ore feed, concentrate, and tailings streams.

The new analyser enables accurate real-time elemental analysis measurement critical for establishing efficient process control to improve process stability and maximise recovery, it says.

It builds on the Outotec Courier 6X SL analyser with a more powerful X-ray tube and measurement channels optimised for direct on-line measurement of gold and other elements from calcium to uranium, the company says. This makes it particularly suitable for applications where gold is recovered with other metals such as silver or copper.

The system can measure up to 24 individual process streams – each with an individually adjustable measurement time – to ensure optimal measurement accuracy and sampling frequency in even the most complex polymetallic flotation circuits. It can also provide direct measurement of gold concentrations down to 0.2 g/t

The new next-generation on-stream analyser combines Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence and Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence technologies with a high-power X-ray tube for unparalleled measurement performance, Metso Outotec claims. It also features an automatic internal reference measurement for guaranteed stability under changing environmental conditions.

Lauri Veki, Metallurgist at Agnico Eagle’s Kittilä operation in Finland, said: “Agnico Eagle Kittilä has used the new on-stream analyser for flotation control and optimisation since October 2019. Measurement information provided by the Courier 6G SL has enabled more efficient control of the pre-flotation circuit and helped to reduce gold losses.”

Bunting ups the Electro Overband Magnet stakes for Agnico’s Kittilä gold mine

The largest Electro Overband Magnet ever built at the Bunting manufacturing plant in Redditch, England, is destined for installation at the Agnico Eagle-owned Kittilä gold mine, in northern Finland.

Over a 12-month operating period, the Overband Magnet will lift and separate damaging tramp metal from around 2.7 Mt of conveyed ore, protecting crushers, screens and other up-stream process plant, according to Bunting.

One of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of magnetic separators for the recycling and waste industries, Bunting has European manufacturing facilities in Redditch, just outside Birmingham, and Berkhamsted, both in the UK.

The Electro Overband Magnet uses high-strength magnetic forces to lift and then automatically discard tramp ferrous metal present in conveyed ore, Bunting says.

“In operation, the large Electro Overband Magnet is suspended in a crossbelt orientation across the non-magnetic head pulley of a conveyor transporting mined ore,” the company explains. “Any tramp ferrous metal entering the deep and strong magnetic field is attracted to the face of the electromagnet and lifted up and onto the surface of a continuously-moving self-cleaning rubber belt.

“Reinforced and heavy-duty rubber wipers on the belt catch the captured metal, transferring it to the side and away from the conveyed ore. As the wipers move the ferrous metal out of the Overband Magnet’s magnetic field, it drops under gravity into a collection area.”

This latest Electro Overband Magnet is part of a major plant expansion and upgrade at Kittilä, Bunting said. This will see ore production go from 1.6 Mt/y to 2 Mt/y, with gold output expected to rise by 50,000 oz/y to 70,000 oz/y when completed.

When initially contacted, Bunting engineers worked closely with the mine operator to design a bespoke Overband Magnet for the difficult application, it said. Design considerations included the width of the conveyor, the volume of conveyed ore, and the size and shape of the tramp ferrous metal. With these details, the Bunting design team calculated the minimum magnetic field and force density for optimum separation using an in-house developed Electro Overband Magnet Selection program.

These criteria provided the basis for the design of the electromagnetic coil by the Bunting-Redditch engineering team.

The final design is a model 205 OCW50 Crossbelt Electro Overband Magnet, with the 17 kW electromagnetic coil, generating the strong magnetic field, cooled using recirculated oil. Efficient cooling of the electromagnet is critical as the magnetic force decreases proportionally to the rising temperature of the coil, Bunting said.

The Overband Magnet is 4.2 m long, 3 m wide and 2.2 m high, and weighs just over 13 t.

The Electro Overband Magnet is designed for positioning in a crossbelt orientation over the non-magnetic head pulley of a 1,600 mm wide conveyor, inclined at 12° and travelling at 0.75 m/s. The conveyed ore has a particle size range of between 70-400 mm, Bunting said, varying in conveyed capacity between 450-765 t/h (equating to 2.7 Mt/y).

“The tramp iron ranges widely in size and nature and includes steel rebar (2,400 x 20 mm diameter), cable bolts (600 x 15 mm diameter), steel mesh, and broken drill bits,” Bunting said. “With a maximum working gap of 600 mm (distance between the magnet face and the bottom of the ore conveyor), the Electro Overband Magnet is designed to lift and separate the tramp metal through a splayed burden of up to 500 mm. This requires a substantially deep and strong magnetic field and related force density.”

Adrian Coleman, General Manager of Bunting’s Redditch facility, said large mining projects, such as this, often require bespoke solutions.

“Over 40 years, we have gained considerable experience in designing and building large Electro Overband Magnets,” he said.

“However, this was the largest we have ever manufactured at Redditch, presenting many challenges, which were overcome. And the design and manufacturing process all took place during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Agnico overcomes adverse weather to reach Amaruq gold deposit milestone

Agnico Eagle Mines says it has achieved commercial production at its Amaruq satellite deposit at the Meadowbank Complex, in Nunavut, Canada.

The achievement was completed on September 30, despite dewatering problems and adverse weather conditions in the June and September quarters, the company said.

Amaruq is around 50 km northwest of the Meadowbank mine, which in turn is located some 110 km by road north of Baker Lake in the Kivalliq District of Nunavut, Canada. Development of Amaruq was approved in February 2017 as a satellite deposit to supply ore to the existing Meadowbank mill.

Sean Boyd, Agnico Eagle’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Congratulations to all of our employees at Amaruq for achieving commercial production in line with the original schedule despite ongoing challenges related to dewatering and adverse weather conditions in the second (June) and third (September) quarters of 2019. We would also like to thank the various government agencies and the local communities for their continued support in Nunavut.”

With the start of production at both Amaruq and Meliadine in 2019, the company is well positioned to deliver on its goal of generating net free cash flow in the second half of this year, Boyd said. “This is expected to allow us to reduce net debt and potentially increase the dividend while continuing to steadily grow our business,” he added.

The Amaruq mining operation uses the existing infrastructure at the Meadowbank mine (mining equipment, mill, tailings, camp and airstrip), but additional infrastructure has been built at the Amaruq site (truck shop/warehouse, fuel storage and an additional camp facility). Amaruq ore is transported using long haul off-road type trucks to the mill at the Meadowbank site for processing.

Amaruq ore processing commenced in August 2019 using low-grade stockpiles. In the September quarter of 2019, production at the Meadowbank Complex totalled 48,869 oz of gold, which included 13,588 oz from Meadowbank and pre-commercial payable gold production at Amaruq of 35,281 oz, compared with pre-commercial production guidance of 40,000 oz of gold. Pre-commercial production gold sales totalled 32,042 oz.

An update on total project capital costs will be provided with the company’s 2019 September quarter results scheduled for release on October 23.

The company noted: “During the third (September) quarter of 2019, mining activities at Amaruq continued to be affected by slower than expected dewatering activities (largely related to heavier than expected rainfall). Dewatering is now substantially complete (approximately one month later than previously expected).

“Given the slower than expected ramp up of mining activities, the company took the opportunity to accelerate planned maintenance to the milling and crushing circuits, which was originally scheduled for 2020. As a result, the mill was temporarily shut down in mid-September and is expected to restart on or about October 14, 2019. During the shutdown ore continues to be mined and trucked to the Meadowbank mill, where it is being stockpiled for future processing.”

As a result, production guidance at the Meadowbank Complex for 2019 is now anticipated to be 200,000 oz of gold (previous forecast of 230,000 oz). Despite the lower forecast for the Meadowbank Complex, the company’s full year 2019 production guidance of 1.75 Moz of gold remains unchanged.