Tag Archives: Agnico Eagle

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.

Robit diamond button bits to go stronger for longer in top hammer drilling

Robit is launching diamond button bits for top hammer drilling applications as it looks to increase the life and reduce the maintenance associated with these consumables.

The company plans to commence mass production and deliveries by the end of the year, but it has already signed up its first mining customer.

Traditionally, drill bits for top hammer drilling have been made of hard metal, but, while they may often prove effective when it comes to penetration in the initial stages, these bits can be worn down easily depending on the application.

The Robit Diamond Button Series bits have an industrial diamond coating that lasts many times longer than a regular bit and does not need to be sharpened, according to Robit’s R&D Engineer and Materials Specialist, Niko Ojala.

The diamond coating is applied to the buttons in much the same way as diamonds are created; namely by subjecting it to high pressure and heat, which makes it even more durable than natural diamonds.

Ojala said: “The coating has several layers, which ensures adherence and enables the diamond bit to withstand the shocks and heat fluctuations of top hammer drilling. Robit Group has previously used the diamond coating with success in oil and gas operations in softer substrates. Now the durability of diamond is offered for the first time for shock drilling in hard rock.”

Robit has been developing these buttons for five years, and field tests have been conducted extensively “with ever-improving results and great success”, Robit Sales Manager, Kimmo Kangas, said.

“Mass production and deliveries will begin during the latter part of the year; initially 89 mm and 102 mm diamond bits will be offered,” Kangas said, adding that Agnico Eagle’s Kittilä gold mine, in Finland, is to start using the Robit Diamond Button series later this year.

Agnico Eagle Kittilä Production Manager, Jari Kolehmainen and General Supervisor, Janne Saukko, remarked: “Test cooperation with Robit in these new innovative products has been productive. The goal is to use diamond bits to make remote drilling more efficient in terms of use of resources and productivity than drilling using regular bits.”

In test cases, the new diamond bits have yielded outstanding results, according to Ojala: “When drilling hard granite you may have to sharpen – ie change – a traditional hard metal button bit, for example, after 80 m, while with the diamond button bit you can drill nearly one kilometre.

“And, as the diamond buttons do not, in practice, wear out, then their penetrating ability does not deteriorate like regular hard metal buttons. Drilling speed, therefore, remains the same throughout the bit’s time of use. Similarly, the diameter of the borehole does not decrease as the bit ages, resulting in a more consistent and predictable end result in production drilling.”

He concluded: “The many times longer change interval of the bit saves time and is particularly important for remote-controlled drill rigs in fully automated mining environments where people are not present during the process.”

Epiroc books battery-electric orders from mines in Finland, Australia and Canada

Epiroc says it has recently secured orders for its second generation battery-electric machines from miners in Finland, Australia and Canada.

The orders come less than a year since the mining original equipment manufacturer launched the new range at an event in Örebro, Sweden.

In Finland in the September quarter, Agnico Eagle Mines ordered the Boltec E Battery rig for use at its Kittilä mine, Europe’s biggest gold operation.

The company, as part of the EU-led Sustainable Intelligent Mining Systems (SIMS) project where Epiroc is serving as a coordinator, has also been testing Epiroc battery-electric equipment. A Boomer E2 Battery has been operating for some months at the mine and, in August, a Minetruck MT42 Battery (42 t truck) and a Scooptram ST14 Battery (14 t LHD) arrived as part of the project.

Jari Kolehmainen, Production Manager at Agnico Eagle Mines, said the Boomer E2 Battery had been performing well and a diesel engine had not “been missed”.

He continued: “Operator feedback has been positive and we are looking forward to expanding our fleet with more electrical powered equipment in the near future. Therefore we are also very excited to be testing the battery-powered mine truck and loader. These tests are giving us the confidence to be a successful early adopter of this new and exciting technology.”

In addition to the orders and testing at Kittilä, several orders from other companies have been booked in previous quarters for battery-electric versions of the Boltec rock bolting rig, Boomer face drilling rig, Scooptram loader and Minetruck hauler, the company said.

Epiroc, upon launching its second generation machines in November 2018, said it had clocked up more than 60,000 hours of operating time with these electric machines. It is being helped along the way by battery maker Northvolt and ABB. Epiroc has committed to its Batteries-as-a-service offering that sees the mining OEM provide a warranty for the battery and provide both software and hardware updates on an annual basis.

The company launched its first battery-electric machines in 2016, adding, in November 2018, 14 t and 18 t LHDs, a 42 t truck and a mid-sized drilling family including face drilling, production drilling and rock reinforcement rigs. Epiroc aims to be able to offer its complete fleet of underground mining equipment as battery-electric versions by 2025.

The benefits of this technology include improved health and safety, lower total cost of operation and higher productivity. The advantage is especially significant for deepening underground operations where mining companies traditionally must invest heavily in ventilation to air out the diesel fumes.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s Senior Executive Vice President Mining and Infrastructure, said: “We see very strong customer interest for our new battery-electric mining machines. The technology is now well established, and more and more mining companies are realising the significant benefits that come with using electric machines instead of diesel. We are proud to spearhead the mining industry’s drive toward a fossil-free future.”

ABB readies production and personnel hoists for Agnico Eagle’s Kittilä gold mine expansion

Agnico Eagle’s Kittilä gold mine in Finland is getting ready for a major underground expansion by investing more than $11 million into production and personnel hoists from ABB to support the operation of its new shaft.

ABB will deliver one friction type 2.5 MW production hoist as well as a 1.2 MW single drum personnel hoist to support operations at Europe’s biggest gold mine. The company will also provide online remote support services for real-time hoist condition monitoring via its ABB Ability™ platform.

The mine already uses a variety of ABB technology, including motors, an automation system, frequency converters and instruments, but accesses the underground orebody via decline.

The €160 million ($186 million) expansion at Kittilä will see a shaft over 1 km deep built at the mine, from which ore will be lifted with ABB’s hoisting equipment. This will make it possible to use the deeper parts of the gold deposit in an economically viable way, while improving energy efficiency and cutting fossil fuel use as the shaft replaces the truck and off-road vehicle transport of ore and personnel, ABB said.

The processing capacity of the mine’s concentrating plant will increase from the current 1.6 Mt/y to 2.0 Mt/y, with gold production expected to expand by 50,000-70,000 oz/y to 250,000-260,000 oz/y, starting in 2021.

ABB, which has delivered over 700 mine hoisting systems over the world, said the Kittilä personnel and production hoists will be installed and introduced during 2020–2021.

Agnico Eagle Mines looks to roll out innovation across its operations

Automation, ore sorting, continuous mining and renewable energy solutions are all being examined by Agnico Eagle Mines as the company looks to the future of its gold operations in Canada, Finland and Mexico.

The company is already in the process of installing a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network at its La Ronde Zone 5 (LZ5) project in northwestern Quebec, Canada, which will be rolled out with an autonomous loading and hauling pilot later this. This will make LaRonde the first operation to use Sandvik’s AutoMine® system with an LTE communication network underground on a production scale.

In a company update this week, Agnico Eagle said two production trucks, one scooptram and the required material for automated mining at LZ5 were expected to be on site this quarter and testing was expected to take place in the December quarter. Sandvik originally said it would provide one LH517 17 t LHD and one TH551i 51 t haul truck as part of the initial pilot.

Now, even before the pilot has started, Agnico has said it is examining the potential to use the same LTE infrastructure as part of an automated loading and hauling solution at its La Ronde Zone 3 (LZ3) project.

LZ3 is envisaged as a phased development that could extend mining at La Ronde from 3.1 km to 3.5 km below ground and provide two or three additional production levels through 2022.

At the same time as this, representatives from Agnico Eagle Finland said on a site visit to the Kittilä gold mine in the north of the country – organised as part of the Finland Mine Safari tour for analysts and investors – that the company was weighing up autonomous hauling and loading solutions as part of the €160 million ($185 million) expansion to increase production capacity at the mine to 2 Mt/y by 2021.

With Kittilä set to go down to around 1.15 km below ground and mining due to take place in four distinct zones as part of this expansion, an LTE network will most probably be required for effective use of this technology.

And, this is not all in terms of technology and innovation at Agnico Eagle.

In its latest corporate update, the company said it was evaluating the use of Rail-Veyor technology at its mines across the group. A 3 km underground Rail-Veyor system is already hauling tonnes at the Goldex operation in Quebec.

And, Agnico is preparing to implement a pilot plant for ore sorting technology to potentially boost low-grade ore, while it is closely following a technology pilot for mechanical cutting.

Lastly, the company said it is looking at renewable energy solutions for its operations in Mexico and Nunavut, Canada.

This is part of a global approach to reduce energy costs at select regions by up to 30% and lower greenhouse gas emission, Agnico said.

The areas of study in Nunavut, where the company is currently building out a major production hub, include wind and solar power, the use of LNG and potential hydro options. The power solutions are also likely to include some sort of battery storage.

In Mexico, meanwhile, where the company operates its Pinos Altos gold mine, it is looking to solar power as a way of cutting its greenhouse gas emissions.