Tag Archives: Amrun

Rio’s productivity and innovation capabilities on show at Amrun bauxite mine

Rio Tinto says it has completed commissioning of the $1.9 billion Amrun bauxite mine on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia.

This follows the company completing the first shipment of bauxite back in December, six weeks ahead of schedule.

The mine and associated processing and port facilities will replace production from Rio Tinto’s depleting East Weipa mine, also in Queensland, and increase annual bauxite export capacity by around 10 Mt, the company said. This move comes at a time when higher-grade bauxite is becoming scarcer globally, Rio added.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive, J-S Jacques, said: “Amrun was completed early and under budget, demonstrating Rio Tinto’s productivity and innovation capabilities. By applying fresh thinking we also delivered safety, environmental, cost and timing benefits.”

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured right), said: “Weipa’s bauxite will be used to make aluminium for mobile phones, aeroplanes, vehicles and many other applications around the world. The Amrun project is one of the sector’s proudest achievements and I am delighted to be visiting this amazing mine and its workers once again.”

In an industry first, according to Rio, Amrun’s 1 km-long export facility was built in modules off-site and then brought to Amrun and connected. “This reduced over-water construction and painting in the culturally significant and environmentally sensitive region and reduced construction time by a year,” Rio said. It also increased safety by removing the need for 300,000 work hours that would have been spent at height and over water.

Rio Tinto Growth & Innovation group executive, Steve McIntosh, said: “Game-changing innovations and collaborations such as these are vital for advancing the future of the mining and metals industry globally in a safe, cost-effective and replicable manner.”

Amrun is about 40 km south of Rio’s existing East Weipa and Andoom mines. The mine, plant and export facility were approved in 2015, with a targeted start date of 2019.

At full production, Amrun will have capacity of 22.8 Mt/y, with options to expand.

De.mem buoyed by water management contract at Rio Tinto’s Amrun bauxite mine

Water and wastewater treatment company De.mem says it has secured a 12-month A$780,000 ($564,868) operations and maintenance contract to manage potable water and sewage treatment plants at Rio Tinto’s Amrun bauxite mine in Queensland, Australia.

De.mem has operated the water treatment plant at Rio’s $1.9 billion operation since 2016 on a revolving monthly basis, with this contract, which began in January, providing it with business for at least a year.

De.mem CEO, Andreas Kroell, said: “This new purchase order is another great success for De.mem as it underlines our well established customer base in the mining and resources sector and our strong, recurring operations and maintenance business.”

In December, De.mem unveiled A$350,000 in new orders from municipal and resource sector customers, including one from South32’s Cannington silver-lead operation in Queensland.

Rio’s investment in Amrun is aimed at replacing production from the depleting East Weipa mine and increasing annual bauxite exports by around 10 Mt. Amrun, which shipped its first bauxite late last year, is expected to reach a full production rate of 22.8 Mt/y during 2019.

Rio Tinto’s debut Amrun bauxite shipment sets sail

Rio Tinto has completed the first shipment of bauxite from its Amrun mine in Queensland, Australia, six weeks ahead of schedule.

At a ceremony on the Western Cape York Peninsula in the far north of Queensland, more than 80,000 t of bauxite was loaded on to the RTM Weipa bound for Rio’s Yarwun alumina refinery in Gladstone.

The US$1.9 billion (A$2.6 billion) investment in Amrun is aimed at replacing production from the depleting East Weipa mine and increasing annual bauxite exports by around 10 Mt. Amrun is expected to reach a full production rate of 22.8 Mt/y during 2019.

Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive Alf Barrios said: “Bringing Amrun online further strengthens our position as a leading supplier in the seaborne market. We have the largest bauxite resources in the industry and are geographically well positioned to supply China’s significant future import needs, as well as supporting our refinery and smelting operations in Australia and New Zealand.”

The mining major was able to bring Amrun in ahead of schedule thanks, in part, to an innovation in design and fabrication of key infrastructure purpose-built for construction at Amrun’s remote location, according to Rio Tinto Growth & Innovation Group Executive Stephen McIntosh.

This included design and fabrication of the wharf on the Western Cape York Peninsula, which was constructed over water in essentially 13 pieces.

During construction, the Amrun development set a benchmark in supporting local and regional suppliers with US$1.6 billion invested with Australian companies, including $181 million with local Cape York companies, Rio said.

Rio updates on Koodaideri, AutoHaul, Amrun and OT underground in H1 results

Rio Tinto has released its financial results for the first half of the year and the company looks to be balancing profitability, growth investment and shareholder returns.

With EBITDA of $9.2 billion, up 2% year-on-year, operating cash flow of $5.2 billion and the same amount of net debt, the company has flexibility when it comes to where to put its money.

A number of sizeable divestments completed in the first half of the year – tied to coal and aluminium – have allowed the company to pay a $7.2 billion record interim dividend, but it has also greenlit $1.4 billion for what it calls “high-return growth” projects.

Projects under this banner include the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold underground development in Mongolia, the Amrun bauxite project in Queensland and AutoHaul™, the company’s automated train haulage system in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

In addition to this, the company has agreed to provide $146 million to undertake initial work at its Koodaideri iron ore project in Western Australia, ahead of a final investment decision by the end of the year.

These funds will go towards detailed engineering work on key elements of Koodaideri, development of a rail construction camp and the first stage of an accommodation camp. Rio calls Koodaideri its first “intelligent mine” which, should it receive board and government approvals, will incorporate the “latest in high-tech advances in the industry” using increased levels of automation and robotics.

The prefeasibility study on Koodaideri included a 40 million tonne per year capacity dry crushing and screening plant, non-process infrastructure, product stockyards, rail loop and load-out and a 170 km AutoHaul rail link to the main line. This came with a capital cost of some $2.2 billion and potential for construction to commence in 2019, followed by first production in 2021. Phase two of Koodaideri could potentially take the operation to beyond 70 Mt/y.

In an update in June, the company said the Koodaideri feasibility study would use “data centric and advanced digital engineering to produce a digital twin of the asset”, while there was over 100 “innovation opportunities” within the FS.

The project is expected to deliver replacement tonnes to the company’s Pilbara operations as other mines come to an end of their lives.

In terms of AutoHaul, which the company has approved $940 million of spend on, Rio said around 65% of trains at the end of the June quarter had run in either driver attended or autonomous mode and more than 3.3 million kilometres had now been completed in this mode of operation.

The system, focused on automating trains transporting iron ore to Rio’s port facilities, received accreditation to run trains in autonomous mode from the National Rail Safety Regulator on May 18 and the first loaded autonomous journey took place on July 10. Full implementation of the autonomous programme is expected by the end of 2018.

At the $1.9 billion Amrun bauxite expansion project on the Cape York Peninsula, in north Queensland, development is advancing to plan with first shipment expected in the first half of next year. The stacker and reclaimer have been transported to site following completion of fabrication, while shiploader assembly is also nearing completion.

The Amrun expansion is expected to increase the company’s bauxite shipments by 10 Mt/y.

At the Oyu Tolgoi underground project, contractor numbers are approaching their peak, with a workforce of over 7,500 (89% Mongolian nationals) at the end of June.

Shaft two equipping and headframe fit-out as part of the $5.3 billion project is in progress, and the shaft five ventilation system has been fully commissioned and is now operational. Construction of the first drawbell at the block cave development is still expected in mid-2020.

When the underground is fully ramped up in 2027, Oyu Tolgoi is expected to produce more than 500,000 tonnes of copper a year.

Lastly, development of the A21 project at the Diavik diamond mine in Canada, which Rio owns 60% of, is ahead of schedule with first ore uncovered in March and the mine expected to be at full  capacity during the December quarter of 2018.

A21 is expected to sustain the mine’s production levels at 6-7 million carats and extend the life beyond 2023.