Tag Archives: Anglo American

Anglo American kicks off commercial ops at Quellaveco copper mine

Anglo American has announced the start of commercial copper operations at its Quellaveco project in Peru, following the successful testing of operations and final regulatory clearance.

Quellaveco is expected to produce 300,000 t/y of copper-equivalent volume on average over its first ten years.

The milestone follows unloading of first ore to the primary crusher in June and the production of first copper in July.

Duncan Wanblad, Chief Executive of Anglo American, said: “Our delivery of Quellaveco, a major new world-class copper mine, is testament to the incredible efforts of our workforce and our commitment to our stakeholders in Peru over many years. Quellaveco, alone, is expected to lift our total global output by 10% in copper-equivalent terms and take our total copper production close to 1 Mt/y. At a highly competitive operating cost, Quellaveco exemplifies the asset and return profile that is central to our portfolio quality and our ability to provide customers with a reliable and sustainable supply of future-enabling metals.”

Ruben Fernandes, CEO of Anglo American’s Base Metals business, added: “We designed Quellaveco as one of Anglo American’s and South America’s most technologically advanced mines, incorporating autonomous drilling and haulage fleets – a first in Peru – a remote operations centre, as well as a number of Anglo American’s digital and advanced processing technologies. Drawing its electricity supply entirely from renewables, Quellaveco is setting an example of a low emission mine producing a critical metal for decarbonising the global economy – copper. In Quellaveco, we can see FutureSmart Mining™ in action.”

Anglo American expects that Quellaveco will ramp up fully over the next 9-12 months. Following a thorough commissioning and testing period, and receipt of final regulatory clearance, production guidance for Quellaveco in 2022 is revised to 80,000-100,000 t of copper (previously 100,000-150,000 t) at a C1 unit cost of $1.50/lb, previously $1.35/Ib. Production guidance for Quellaveco in 2023 and 2024 is unchanged at 320,000-370,000 t of copper.

Sandvik and FLANDERS to develop ARDVARC-iSeries drill rig digital interface

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions and FLANDERS have agreed to develop a Digital Interface between FLANDERS’ ARDVARC® Autonomous Drill System (ADS) and Sandvik iSeries rotary blasthole drills.

The development of this digital interface is a direct response to growing customer demand for agnostic automation systems in surface mining, the pair say.

The digital interface will enable the operation of Sandvik rotary drills via the ARDVARC ADS system with no modification to the drill rig, effectively a plug-and-play solution that allows for easy deployment of Sandvik drills to mine sites, FLANDERS explained. This open-architecture approach simplifies the installation and commissioning process while ensuring the customer retains OEM warranty and aftermarket support.

This agnostic approach to delivering digital solutions allows customers to select the value-added solutions that best meet their needs, whether that be the drill or the operating system powering the drill, FLANDERS added.

ARDVARC improves drill productivity by up to 30% and provides a significantly safer working environment for workers operating in complex or hazardous conditions, according to FLANDERS.

With its autonomous operating technology, FLANDERS helps its customers pro-actively optimise drilling and increase plant availability. The introduction of autonomous technology at the mine adds significant environmental gains for diesel machines, reducing fuel consumption and CO2 by up to 7.3% compared with a manned operation.

With its autonomous operating technology, FLANDERS helps its customers proactively optimise drilling, improve fragmentation, improve loading and hauling productivity and increase plant throughput.

The first deployment of the FLANDERS/Sandvik Digital Interface is scheduled for the December quarter of 2022 with further deployments being scheduled soon after that.

Sandvik in its statement says it “will continue to develop and support AutoMine® Surface Drilling solutions for remote and autonomous operation of the full range of Sandvik iSeries drills”.

FLANDERS added that it has signed a deal with Anglo American to incorporate ARDVARC on all new and existing drills at Anglo’s Mogalakwena mine in South Africa, including the recently purchased Sandvik DR410i blasthole drills.

The third (of four) brand new Sandvik 410i drill is currently being converted to an ARDVARC Autonomous system at the state-of-the-art facility in Middelburg, South Africa.

FLANDERS has already deployed ARDVARC Autonomous drills to Mogalakwena, converting Epiroc Pit Viper 271 XC drills.

Anglo American’s longwall automation milestone recognised in awards ceremony

Anglo American’s innovation-led approach to sustainable mining, FutureSmart Mining™, and a willingness to collaborate with industry parties, has enabled it to achieve a major milestone in longwall operation: 100% machine automation.

This work was recently recognised at the Queensland Mining Awards where team members received the METS Ignited Collaboration Award.

Billed as delivering a significant step change in the safety and efficiency of underground mining, the ability to remove people from hazardous situations at the face and, instead, relocate them to a purpose-built Remote Operations Centre (ROC), has enabled the company to deliver a breakthrough in performance being recognised across the underground coal mining industry.

Anglo American says the development of industry-first systems and technology for this project were completed through working collaboratively with partners including Restech, Aurecon, Komatsu, Eickhoff, Marco and GTick systems.

The miner achieved its first longwall shear fully controlled from surface in late 2018 at its Grosvenor mine in Queensland, Australia, with this milestone achieved on its Komatsu Mining longwall equipment.

Yet, it was the Moranbah North mine that became the first of the company’s three operating longwalls to achieve the 100% automation mark (pictured above).

This mine uses SL 900 shearers from Eickhoff, with a team of operational and engineering experts monitoring the longwall mining process from start to finish. These operators, located in the ROC above-ground, are able to analyse the data and drive safer operations, better decisions and achieve mining excellence, the company says.

Head of Transformation for Anglo American’s Steelmaking Coal business in Australia, Dan Reynolds, said Moranbah North has now become Australia’s most capable remotely-operated underground steelmaking coal mine, with the company’s other mines – Grosvenor and the recently-commissioned Aquila – following close behind.

“All three underground mines are now fully remote-capable, allowing operators to work from state-of-the-art ROCs on the surface of the mine,” he said.

Aquila, Anglo American’s most recently commissioned mine, is also remote-capable, allowing workers to work from a Remote Operations Centre above ground

Step change

The key drivers behind automating longwall operations were to improve safety by reducing personnel exposure to underground hazards; reduce operational variability, to deliver more stable operations and improve efficiency; and improve sustainability of operations, through ensuring automation resilience in various operating conditions.

Much of the technology required to achieve these improvements did not yet exist when Anglo American was considering such a move, and previous industry attempts at achieving sustainable autonomous and remote operations had fallen down, Anglo American said, due to:

  • Enablers not being defined to the level required;
  • Key operational systems being unavailable;
  • OEM operating logic not providing the required operational solutions;
  • The technology enablers not being available; and/or
  • The workforce not being suitably prepared.

Anglo American saw collaboration as a key tool able to overcome these issues, recognising that significant leaps forward in technology were required, including the development of various automation-enabling applications.

“Working with operational teams, the Underground Technology and Automation team developed a leading practice target operating model for integrated remote operations and automation and technology enablers after extensive workforce collaboration,” Reynolds said.

Anglo American says its Steelmaking Coal business has delivered a breakthrough performance in the development and implementation of autonomous longwall technology and remote operations for the underground coal mining industry

“It was identified early in the project that a step change in the supply of systems and technology would be required to achieve project goals. This was reached through working with the OEM and third-party technology providers, which ensured the technology and the software systems provided the solutions that met our mining requirements.”

This work required the team to work collaboratively across its underground operations and corporate partners to develop a series of industry-first safety and production systems that were required to “unlock” autonomous longwall operations, the company said.

The list of innovative, industry-leading processes and systems that the partners have developed, include:

  • A longwall remote operations framework
  • Autonomous shearer:
    • Auto duck – system solution
    • Auto gate road entry – system solution
    • Anglo Seam Steering – system/technology solution
  • Integrated remote powered roof support (PRS) control:
    • Integrated face controller – system/technology solution
    • Remote strata control – system solution
    • Enhanced logic solutions – system solutions
  • A Remote Operating Centre longwall system manager:
    • Integrated central interface solution for longwall remote management comprising:
      • Auto gate road entry
      • Anglo Seam Steering
      • Auto alerts
      • ROC reporting
      • Auto blockage detection
      • Longwall positional control
      • Creep management.

The high levels of collaboration between internal teams and third-party providers enabled these systems to be developed, according to Anglo American.

“The outcomes of this work are significant,” Reynolds said. “It is delivering a significant step change in the safety, stability and sustainability of underground mining.”

The company shed a bit more light on these innovations – many of which have been spoken of by suppliers and mining companies as the missing pieces of the fully-autonomous longwall mining puzzle – in its Queensland Mining Awards application.

“Auto duck”, for instance, allows the shearer to automatically cut under roof supports in challenging strata conditions.

“Auto gate road entry” involves the longwall shearer becoming more “intelligent”, using existing data from scanned files, PRS height data or manual measurements to determine the next cut height for the gate road.

“Seam steering” identifies whether the longwall is in or out of the coal seam by automatically detecting the tonstein band position. This, Anglo American says, is a valuable stratigraphic measure.

“Blockage detection” is conducted using eight cameras across the longwall face, which automatically detect if a face blockage is seen, alerting a ROC operator as necessary.

Similarly, “longwall alerting” sees a ROC operator alerted of potential events or issues. “Tailgate lag control” automatically identifies if the tailgate drive is lagging the face line, while “strata management logic” enables automation of shields.

The company says its Steelmaking Coal business has delivered a breakthrough performance in the development and implementation of autonomous longwall technology and remote operations for the underground coal mining industry.

Mines and Money London looks at Resourcing Tomorrow

Beacon Events has rebranded the Mines and Money London event and come up with three comprehensive tracks that, it says, covers a spectrum of critical topics around the energy transition, ESG, sustainability, circular economy, technology, services and junior mining investment.

New for 2022, Resourcing Tomorrow, brought to you by Mines and Money, is a global forum for the coming together of decision makers, mining leaders, policymakers, investors, commodity buyers, technical experts, innovators and educators for three days of learning, deal-making and unparalleled networking, the event organisers say.

With an anticipated audience of 2,000 attendees, Resourcing Tomorrow runs from November 29 to December 1, 2022, at the Business Design Exhibition Centre in London.

The three tracks – Resourcing Tomorrow, Reimagining Mining and Mines and Money – will cover 120-plus talks, panel discussions and keynote presentations from 150-plus industry experts. This includes:

  • Jakob Stausholm, Chief Executive, Rio Tinto;
  • Mark Bristow, President & Chief Executive Officer, Barrick;
  • Roy Harvey, Chief Executive Officer, Alcoa;
  • Mikael Staffas, President & Chief Executive Officer, Boliden;
  • Stuart Tonkin, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Star Resources;
  • Rohitesh Dhawan, President and Chief Executive Officer, International Council of Mining and Minerals, ICMM
  • Katy Hebditch, Head of Engagement – Technical and Sustainability, Anglo American;
  • Ellen Lenny-Pessagno, Global Vice President for Government and Community Affairs, Albemarle; and
  • Elaine Dorward-King, Non-executive Director for Sibanye Stillwater, Kenmare Resources and NovaGold.

On the third day, the Mines and Money Outstanding Achievement Awards will take place at the Bloomsbury Big Top to celebrate the very best of the industry through awards from exploration to deal making, from innovation in technology to CEOs who have made a difference, these awards recognise and reward excellence.

International Mining is a media sponsor of the Resourcing Tomorrow event

Woodsmith Shaft Boring Roadheaders about to re-start cutting process

One of the most-watched shaft sinking projects in the sector right now is located in the UK, with the Woodsmith project in north Yorkshire having been on the radar for a number of reasons.

First off, it is a project that has changed hands recently.

Originally guided by Sirius Minerals, the 10 Mt/y project was acquired by Anglo American in 2020, a transaction that came with a fresh look at the whole project execution phase.

The change in ownership and re-assessment of plans drawn up by Sirius – a much smaller company guided by different investor pressures and operating procedures – led to Anglo American relieving DMC Mining, the lead shaft sinking contractor, of its duties.

Another reason for watching the project is the planned use of Shaft Boring Roadheader (SBR) technology from Herrenknecht.

After debuting at the Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada, where it excavated two 8-11 m diameter blind shafts down to circa-1,000-m-depth with the help of DMC as the contractor, SBR 2.0 – the second generation of the technology – was put to the test in Belarus at the Slavkaliy-owned Nezhinsky potash project. It ended up breaking shaft sinking records under the guidance of contractor Redpath Deilmann on a project to sink two 8-m diameter shafts (one to 750-m depth and one to 697-m depth).

Herrenknecht, with its experience in mechanised tunnelling, developed the SBR for the mechanised sinking of blind shafts in soft-to-medium rock. Based on the proven technology of the Herrenknecht Vertical Shaft Sinking Machine, the SBR offers improved safety performance compared with conventional shaft sinking methods while also achieving higher advance rates, according to the company.

The SBR is a 60-m tall, suspended shaft sinking machine, with 12 work decks and two service platforms. A telescopic, boom-mounted cutting head is used to precisely excavate rock via a partial-face cutting method. The cutting head works in a cycle, starting each cut from shaft centre to shaft wall, repeating until a layer of material is removed. Excavation proceeds in 1-m increments, followed by SBR lowering sequences.

The SBR was chosen for Woodsmith by Sirius over the conventional drill and blasting method due to its advantages in improving safety and schedule. This methodology, Sirius said, would allow the company to satisfy several operational objectives, moving away from the use of explosives and providing a safer, more predictable work method. Instead of a linear process, the SBR allows work to be completed concurrently as the shaft is sunk, as well as minimising damage to exposed host rock, and further improving safety while minimising downtime. Work decks above the cutting head allow workers to install shaft lining and tubbing as excavation continues, while a pneumatic mucking system removes waste rock.

The third generation of technology – which builds on the first two deployments with, among other things, the addition of two retractable robotic probes to test and grout the ground ahead for safer excavation and an additional control cabin on surface for more remote operation – is due to sink production and service shafts with 6.75-m diameters to depths of 1,594 m and 1,565 m, respectively, at Woodsmith based on the Sirius plan.

These SBRs are being supported by four triple sheaved winches from SMS SIEMAG and conveyors from Herrenknecht-owned H + E Logistik GmbH, among other support equipment.

Work on the service shaft commenced in 2021 with former Anglo American Chief Executive, Mark Cutifani, confirming in July of that year that the “first cut” with the SBR had taken place in the service shaft.

This progress was made while the company was still completing a detailed technical review on Woodsmith to ensure the technical and commercial integrity of the full scope of its design. This review has a particular focus on the sinking of the two main shafts, the development of the underground mining area, and the changes required to accommodate both increased production capacity and the more efficient and scalable mining method of using only continuous miners, Anglo American said.

Since the first cut was made in July 2021, however, Anglo American and Redpath Deilmann – which is now leading the sinking project as shaft sinking contractor – have been reviewing the existing plans for sinking with the SBRs, carrying out minor hardware changes on the machines and ensuring all staff have the appropriate training to facilitate the completion of the shaft sinking process. The Redpath Group is also involved in the drill-and-blast-based sinking for the materials transport system (MTS) shaft.

Various shaft sinking rates have been mooted in the past at Woodsmith, and Anglo American is currently working to develop the optimal solution for the facility based on technical standards.

The sinking at Woodsmith represents a different challenge to the two previous SBR projects conducted to this point.

For starters, there is no ground freezing expected to take place at Woodsmith – unlike what happened in Canada and Belarus. This process, while time consuming and only used to freeze unstable water-bearing strata around the shaft, can create more rock uniformity to aide consistent cutting rates.

There is also the MTS level to consider at Woodsmith, with plans to carry out lateral development work around the 360-m-level to join up the production shaft with this level where polyhalite ore will be transported along a 37-km tunnel to Wilton near the port. This means vertical cutting and loading may be halted while the MTS level connection is established.

All these factors, along with the performance of previous SBR work, will be incorporated into the engineering work Anglo American is carrying out at Woodsmith, but, in terms of the SBR, signs are that work on the service shaft could recommence shortly, with plans to start sinking in the production shaft by the end of the year.

Rajant’s BreadCrumb Peregrine unlocks tech deployment possibilities for Anglo American in South Africa

Rajant Corporation, the pioneer of Kinetic Mesh® wireless networks, says it has successfully deployed its fourth-generation BreadCrumb® Peregrine node at an Anglo American operation in South Africa.

Peregrine, which supports a maximum combined data rate of 2.3 Gb/s and up to six times enhanced throughput performance over existing Rajant BreadCrumbs, is being used at the operation to support applications for mine production systems, including proximity detection, fatigue management and teleremote drilling.

It is the first deployment in South Africa with Anglo American.

“Rajant has always been the leader in industrial wireless mesh networking,” Reyno Eksteen, BU Head, Scan RF Projects, a Rajant Kinetic Mesh distributor, says. “With the substantial increase in performance of the new generation Peregrine BreadCrumbs, our customers now can support applications that require more bandwidth. Because all Rajant BreadCrumb models are fully backward compatible, it makes migrating to the latest higher-capacity radio nodes much easier while still redeploying the existing BreadCrumbs to other parts of the network to get the most out of the customer’s investment.”

After successful implementation, Anglo American confirmed a considerable increase in capacity of the Rajant Peregrine within its pit network, enabling the company to become more innovative by introducing technologies in areas of its operation where it was previously impossible, Rajant says. This allows the mine to scale the overall network with the operation’s demands quickly, bringing much higher bandwidth closer within areas of its pit production environment.

The new Peregrine BreadCrumb provides impressive performance with the same robust hardware, which can withstand the harsh conditions of an open-pit mine, Rajant added.

The Peregrine offers multiple MIMO radio interfaces, high throughput and enhanced security performance with up to 256-QAM and 80 MHz channels. It is part of Rajant’s initiative to develop deeply integrated solutions that securely combine data from connected people, vehicles, machines and sensors, with machine learning.

“This data combination unlocks the benefits of process optimisation, digital twins, predictive analytics, condition-based maintenance, augmented reality and virtual reality while improving worker safety,” Rajant says.

The Peregrine is interoperable with all BreadCrumb radio nodes to expand market capabilities for industries like mining, rail, shipping ports, public safety, agriculture and heavy construction. It is fortified with rugged, environmentally-sealed enclosures and supports several robust cryptographic options for data and MAC-address encryption and per-hop, per-packet authentication.

Scalable to hundreds of mobile, high-bandwidth nodes, the Peregrine enables data, voice, and video applications.

(photo credit: Anglo American)

Anglo American, QMRS commission industry-first Shaft Rescue System at Aquila

Queensland Mines Rescue Service (QMRS), in partnership with Anglo American, has commissioned a critical new piece of mine rescue equipment for use across underground mines in the Queensland mining industry.

A funding commitment, in excess of A$2.3 million ($1.6 million) from Anglo American, enabled QMRS to purchase the Queensland mining industry-first Shaft Rescue System (SRS), a mobile truck-mounted emergency system to assist in underground rescues.

The commissioning at the Aquila mine followed a 2019 commitment from Anglo American Australia then-CEO, Tyler Mitchelson, to wholly fund the equipment for the QMRS.

Chief Executive Officer of QMRS, David Carey, acknowledged Anglo American for funding the equipment and supporting QMRS in its design and engineering.

“While we hope we never need to use it, the SRS will form part of the emergency response plan for every underground mine site in Queensland and we’re grateful for Anglo American’s support in delivering it,” Carey said. “The SRS lowers interchangeable cages into mine shafts to rescue trapped miners and is equipped with a world-first intrinsically safe directional Wi-Fi communications system that can be used safely underground.”

The Wi-Fi enables radio communications from the rescue cage to the surface, captures and shares real-time video and sends data from a gas monitoring system, according to Carey.

QMRS says the SRS has interchangeable cage options and over 1,200 m of rope on the drum for use in deep shafts. It is engineered with multiple fail-safe braking systems, hydraulically powered from the Volvo FMX 10*4 truck engine, which also has a back-up power system.

Carey added: “This equipment will make a meaningful difference to our emergency response capabilities in Queensland and will be housed at our Dysart headquarters in the heart of the Bowen Basin, so it’s close by if ever required.”

Head of Safety and Health at Anglo American’s Steelmaking Coal Business, Marc Kirsten, said the company was pleased to support QMRS in delivering the SRS for all those who work underground in the mining industry in Queensland.

“QMRS supports our industry with leading edge emergency response capability and support, and we are pleased to have been able to support them in turn, by providing this vital and potentially life-saving equipment,” Kirsten said.

“The SRS will improve emergency response capabilities across all underground mines in the Queensland mining industry, and it was important to us to make this investment in industry safety.”

Anglo American operates five steelmaking coal mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, three of which are underground.

Anglo American produces first copper concentrate from Quellaveco

Anglo American plc has announced first production of copper concentrate from its Quellaveco project in Peru – a major milestone as Quellaveco nears completion ahead of receiving final regulatory clearance for commercial operations to begin.

Tom McCulley, who has led Anglo American’s development of Quellaveco, said: “First copper production at Quellaveco is a key milestone in our delivery of this world-class asset, on time and on budget. The fact that we are today producing copper less than four years after project approval, including through two years of considerable pandemic-related disruption, is testament to the strength of our commitment to our workforce, local communities, the Moquegua region and government stakeholders in Peru. This first production of copper concentrate marks the beginning of the normal period of testing the processing plant with ore and the ramping up of mining activities to demonstrate readiness for operations.”

Adolfo Heeren, CEO of Anglo American in Peru, added: “Quellaveco is a project for all of Peru and especially for the Moquegua region. Once in full operation, Quellaveco alone will increase Peru’s copper production by around 10%, and deliver sustainable benefits for decades to come, including 2,500 direct jobs, the incorporation of local suppliers into our supply chain, the increase of water sources for human consumption and irrigation, digital connectivity, the expansion of agricultural areas and tax revenues. By working together in partnership, we will deliver enduring positive outcomes for all our stakeholders.”

Quellaveco is an open-pit copper mine located in the Moquegua region in the south of Peru. Construction started in 2018, with estimated total capex of $5.5 billion, which includes the $600 million additional cost of managing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020. In 2021, Anglo American also approved the construction of a Coarse Particle Recovery plant to allow retreatment of coarse particles from flotation tailings to further enhance copper recovery rates. Other technology innovations include the use of autonomous haulage operations – with a fleet of Caterpillar 794 ACs – and autonomous drilling operations – with Epiroc Pit Viper 351s. These are being overseen by an Integrated Operations Centre which recently started up.

Quellaveco is expected to produce 300,000 t/y of copper-equivalent on average over the first 10 years of operation, at a highly competitive C1 unit cost of circa $0.95/lb over the first five years once the operation reaches full production capacity.

Quellaveco has an estimated 1,700 Mt of reserves, 8.9 Mt of contained copper at 0.53% TCu, and a 36-year reserve life, with potential for further expansion given its estimated additional resources at 1,600 Mt, containing 6.1 Mt copper (at 0.38% TCu).

Anglo American expects that Quellaveco will reach design production capacity in 12 months. Production guidance for 2022 is 100,000–150,000 t of copper at a C1 unit cost of circa $1.35/lb. Production guidance for 2023 and 2024 is 320,000–370,000 t.

Quellaveco is owned 60:40 between Anglo American and Mitsubishi Corporation.

Anglo American to formalise First Mode partnership as part of zero emissions haul truck deployment plans

Anglo American says it is in exclusive negotiations with First Mode Holding Inc, and has agreed non-binding terms, to combine Anglo American’s nuGen™ Zero Emissions Haulage Solution (ZEHS) with First Mode, the specialist engineering technology company that partnered with Anglo American to develop the nuGen ZEHS.

The transaction would include a capital investment by Anglo American in the combined business and is intended to accelerate the development and commercialisation of Anglo American’s nuGen ZEHS, Anglo says. The new combined business would retain the First Mode name as an independent business and prioritise developing nuGen ZEHS, building on three years of extensive development by Anglo American and First Mode.

Anglo American launched the prototype of its nuGen ZEHS hydrogen-powered mine haul truck at its Mogalakwena PGMs mine in South Africa on May 6, 2022 – the world’s largest designed to operate in everyday mining conditions. It was run with 150 t of payload for the launch, only due to there not being a matching shovel in the trial area, but Anglo said that the prototype is already fully capable of its full 290 t payload. The launch saw it drive up a 7% slope – representative of typical mine haul road grade at Mogalakwena – and then dump the 150 t load, with a main driver and co-driver on board the truck.

The agreement envisages that Anglo American will enter into an agreement with First Mode to decarbonise its global fleet of ultra-class mine haul trucks, of which approximately 400 are currently in operation, as well as provide critical supporting infrastructure such as refuelling, recharging and facilitation of hydrogen production.

Anglo American also recognises its role in supporting broader decarbonisation objectives outside its own business. The technologies and capabilities that it has been developing as part of the nuGen project with First Mode present opportunities beyond Anglo American’s haul truck fleet, including across other industries that rely on heavy-duty forms of transport, such as rail.

Anglo American acquired a 10% strategic equity interest in First Mode in 2021.

The latest transaction would include Anglo American making an additional capital investment in the combined business which, upon completion, would result in a majority shareholding. The balance of the equity interest at that time would be held by a number of First Mode’s founders and employees.

In addition to accelerating the development and commercialisation of the ZEHS technology, the new combined business would allow strategic third parties to co-invest alongside Anglo American and First Mode, offering the opportunity to accelerate their own decarbonisation and participate in the potential offered by the clean ZEHS technology.

Integrated Operations Centre goes live at Anglo American’s Quellaveco copper mine

Anglo American has announced that the Integrated Operations Centre (CIO) at its in-development Quellaveco copper project in Peru is now ready to start operating the concentrator plant.

From there, all the processes of the mine will be controlled, with predictive intelligence applied to improve safety and productivity.

Earlier this month, Anglo American unloaded the first ore to the primary crusher at Quellaveco, marking a crucial milestone in commissioning tests prior to the start of operations.

Thanks to this milestone at the CIO and the successful introduced of first ore to the primary crusher, Quellaveco is now able to move onto the wet commissioning phase.

Cinthya Lozano Ganvine, CIO Superintendent, said: “To get here, we previously took the digital mine concept to an engineering design, and then we went on to planning and execution, with the support of experts. We have implemented platforms with virtual and physical servers, capable of processing and storing information for data science and advanced control, as well as a robust infrastructure for networks and high availability of the systems that control the processes in each part of the project.”

Just two weeks ago, the first truckload of ore was unloaded at the primary crusher. Once deemed successful, the testing then moved onto the conveyor belt and the ore stockpile and, a week later, commissioning tests of the SAG mills and ball mills began. All these processes are controlled from the CIO, activating, stabilising, or recalibrating the operation of the equipment, according to production objectives.

In addition, the huge amounts of data that will arrive from the sensors installed throughout the production chain will be processed at the CIO. With this data, predictive intelligence will be applied to anticipate any potentially problematic events. This technology allows operators to model likely scenarios and make adjustments to improve mine safety and productivity.

Quellaveco smart sensors can record data according to the needs of each area, according to Anglo. There are sensors for temperature, vibration, flow, humidity, pressure and oil quality. There are even sensors that measure earthquakes, among other events. With the data they generate, decision making is improved.

“But in addition to cutting-edge technology, the human component is crucial at Quellaveco,” the company said.

At the CIO, approximately 80 people will be controlling and monitoring the entire production chain 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These professionals receive constant training on data analysis to gain in-depth knowledge of the systems of each of the processes.

Close to 30% of the CIO team is made up of women, a figure that is well above the national average for female participation in the mining sector, Anglo says.

Quellaveco is in the Moquegua region and, at full capacity, will process 127,500 t/d of material. It will, Anglo American says, be the first 100% digital mine in the country, introducing new technology and processes to the national mining industry, such as autonomous mine haulage, that will improve performance in safety, production and sustainability.