Tag Archives: Anglo American

Kumba plans Sishen UHDMS iron ore project kick off

Kumba Iron Ore, energised by a record annual EBITDA of R45.8 billion ($3.12 billion) for its 2020 financial year, has made plans to extend the life of its Sishen iron ore mine in South Africa out to 2039.

The R3.6 billion ultra-high dense media separation (UHDMS) project was approved by the Kumba board late last week. It is expected to enhance the operation’s product quality and extend the life-of-mine by four years to 2039.

Kumba’s total iron ore production for 2020 came in at 37 Mt, down from 42.4 Mt in 2019 as both COVID-19-related events and weather-related headwinds impacted output. The company said reduced equipment reliability and availability also played a part to a lesser extent.

In line with this, total tonnes mined decreased by 14% to 256.3 Mt (2019: 297.9 Mt) and total waste stripping by 16% to 204.8 Mt (2019: 244.3 Mt) in 2020.

Owner fleet efficiency (OEE) reduced to 63% of benchmark for the year, compared with 68% for 2019.

“A number of interventions have been implemented to mitigate these impacts,” the company said. “We have enhanced our high rainfall readiness and associated recovery plans to manage through such weather impacts going forward.

“Our focus on improving equipment uptime through the implementation of defect elimination and work management programs, as well as artisan and supervisor skills development programs, is also delivering results and we are seeing improvements in equipment reliability across the fleet.”

The company is continuing to focus on improving operational efficiency through its P101 productivity improvements and various efficiency programs at both Sishen and Kolomela through the implementation of technology such as guided spotting, adaptive controls, truck speed digital twin and real-time condition-based monitoring.

Kumba’s total shovel fleet OEEs came in at 55% during 2020, but the company has a plan to hit the 80% mark in 2022. At Sishen, Kumba has six rope shovels consisting of Komatsu P&H 4100XPCs and Komatsu P&H 2800XPCs, while, at Kolomela, it has two Liebherr R996 hydraulic shovels.

Its total truck fleet OEEs came in at 82% in 2020, with a 100% target for 2022. At Sishen, Kumba has 100 Komatsu 860E and 960E trucks, while Kolomela has 36 Komatsu 730E trucks.

Meanwhile, at the UHDMS project, Kumba expects to break ground in the second half of 2021. This is ahead of commissioning in the second half of 2023.

Kumba, majority-owned by Anglo American, says the project will lower the strip ratio at the operation, extend the life-of-mine, as well as reduce its carbon footprint due to the reduction of waste material at the end of the operation’s life.

The total capital cost of the project of R3.6 billion is expected to be paid back with an after-tax internal rate of return of circa-30% and an EBITDA margin of around 40%.

Kumba already has a dense media separation plant that processes low-grade, non-DSO ore and separates it to higher grade iron ore at Kolomela (pictured).

CRC ORE simplifies complexity for value

“There are a lot more variables to bulk ore sorting than just the technology,” Jon Rutter says.

The Principal Geologist of the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE), Rutter knows his stuff. He has worked underground in both narrow-vein and mass-mining operations, as well as at large scale open-pit mines; in the base and precious metal arena.

During a presentation at International Mining Events’ IPCC Virtual event in early-February, he shared a slice of this knowledge while reviewing a recent installation project CRC ORE had been involved in at a platinum group element (PGE) operation.

“The intrinsic value of bulk ore sorting comes from the delivered heterogeneity,” Rutter said. “We have got to be able to sense and divert a higher-value pod of material versus an adjacent pod of lower-grade material on a conveyor.

“You essentially want to put more material into the mill that adds value – and not what destroys value.”

Looking at the wider bulk sorting opportunity in mining, Rutter explained the sensor diversion units (SDU) in bulk ore sorting were smaller than what the mine itself can typically offer in the form of a selective mining unit (SMU), which may be comprised of a dig block totalling around 15,000 t.

A truck offers a 100-300 t opportunity, while a shovel typically comes with a 50-100 t opportunity.

Even with a modest conveyor running at a 2,000 t/h rate, an on-board sensor (eg PGNAA or PFTNA) running at a 30 second integration time (the time to analyse one grade) would provide an SDU of 16.7 t. A sensor with lower integration time (eg XRF at 10 seconds) comes in at 5.6 t.

The ability to provide analysis down to this level has enticed several major companies into testing bulk ore sorting solutions.

Anglo American has trialled bulk ore sorting solutions at copper and platinum group metal mines, while BHP recently engaged CRC ORE to examine deployment of cutting-edge preconcentration techniques under its Grade Engineering® platform at the Olympic Dam mine, in South Australia.

The SDU with bulk sorting may be that much smaller than the SMU of a typical mine plan, but lab-level precision is not required for these solutions to work, according to Rutter.

“What I need is the ability to measure the metal content adequately,” he said. “When I say adequate, this incorporates the entire error bar of the system. That system includes the inherent geology, the mineralisation style and heterogeneity. We also need to consider the precision, accuracy and integration time – which is the technology constraint; but we also need to include the weightometers, the flop gates, the diversion gates, as well as that entire mining and materials handling process right from the start – from blasting, loading, hauling and dumping to the plant.

“But for bulk ore sorting what I end up requiring from this combined data is usually a binary decision: am I above or below a certain threshold?”

He expands on the bulk ore sorting (BOS) assessment process: “The other way of looking at this is simply considering it as planned ore loss and dilution. If we go back into that dig block, in that 15,000 t of material, I’ve already incorporated planned ore loss and dilution decisions or parameters into that SMU decision. So, if we look at bulk ore sorting, I am just talking about those different attributes – the error bars of a BOS system – as the inputs or parameters for BOS planned ore loss and dilution – it’s now just at a smaller and more precise opportunity.”

The company took a two-phase approach to the BOS opportunity at the PGE operation in question.

The first phase involved carrying out heterogeneity analysis of the orebody; correlation analysis of PGEs to base metals; selection of sensor technologies (XRF and PGNAA were selected in this case), design, layout and equipment selection for the bulk ore sorting plant; natural deportment analysis of the orebody; development of a preliminary business case; the ore type selection and sampling strategy; and project planning and management.

CRC ORE and the company in question settled on a solution where a Caterpillar 992 wheel loader dropped material off to a system using a combination of grizzly, feeder, sizer, conveyors, diverter, stackers and associated equipment from MMD, used in conjunction with an ore sensing system equipped with both PGNAA and XRF sensors to continuously measure the elemental composition. The PGNAA sensor provided a “penetrative” analysis calculation whereas XRF provided a “surface” sensing calculation, Rutter explained.

An incline conveyor ahead of the diverter gate and the accept/reject stream provided the 30 second integration time the PGNAA analyser required.

Phase two of the project involved online and offline (pre-install) work; sensor calibration; proving the technology; and proving the technology can drive physical separation.

Rutter said the completion of static calibration of the sensors saw the PGNAA sensor 20-30% calibrated, and the XRF sensor 70-80% calibrated.

This outcome harked back to Rutter’s assertion that “bulk ore sorting implementation is not a plug and play opportunity”.

A dynamic calibration in online mode completed under normal conditions was required to get the PGNAA sensor up to speed. This process, meanwhile, solidified the operation of the XRF sensor.

While the two sensors were calibrated in different ways, Rutter showed data that confirmed both were in unison when it came to reading the ore/waste that came through the conveyor (see right-hand graph below).

“The two sensors are independent of each other and fundamentally very different, but they can work well together, or separately,” he said.

CRC ORE was able to prove the technology by running the same sample through the circuit a number of times, as Rutter explained: “We fed 15-20 t of run of mine material into the hopper and repeated the process 15 times, putting the same 15-20 t sample through the system. We could then start to determine the precision and accuracy of the sensors and the system.”

For further verification, the sample was crushed, sub sampled and assayed.

“We wanted a binary response to ore and waste to build confidence,” Rutter added.

Phase three involved the ramp up to production scale, going from, say, 500 t/h to 1,000 t/h; carrying out validation by campaign; and finally integrating with the operation.

There were several lessons all mining companies – and bulk sorting vendors – should keep in mind from such a project, Rutter said.

Operations need to assess the impact of mixing across the entire materials and mining handling process as soon as possible, for one.

“The earlier we can put this data into the system, the better,” Rutter said. “Without a heterogeneity signature, we cannot implement bulk ore sorting.”

He also stressed the importance of timely feedback. Sensor calibration, a secondary crushing/sampling plant and assaying were all required to build confidence in the solution.

Rutter added: “The proper calibration of sensors does require a considerable and ongoing effort…but that is no different from any other process plant or equipment.”

Operators also need to be wary of where they set these solutions up in mines, recognising this heterogeneity dynamic.

“Bulk ore sorting is quite unlikely to be universally suited to the entire deposit,” Rutter said. “The analogue for this is a flotation plant; there are ore types in the mine where you achieve better performance in the flotation plant and others where you get worse performance.”

Water treatment plant starts up at Anglo American’s Aquila met coal project

Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business says it is now operating the first of two state-of-the art reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment plants at its Aquila project in the Bowen Basin, Queensland.

The aim of the RO plants is to reduce the use of fresh water in its mining operations.

Chief Executive Officer of Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business, Tyler Mitchelson, said the A$5 million ($3.9 million) water treatment system was currently treating two megalitres of mine affected water (MAW) a day and supporting construction of the Aquila Mine, near Middlemount in central Queensland.

“A key target in Anglo American’s global Sustainable Mining Plan is to reduce our reliance on fresh water by 50% by 2030 across our mine sites, and I’m pleased to say Aquila is currently sourcing recycled water during construction of the mine,” Mitchelson said.

“A planned second RO plant will to be used to recycle a further 2.4 megalitres of MAW – once Aquila becomes operational in early 2022, more than doubling capacity and helping to reduce the reliance on water from local sources during times of drought.

“Aquila will be one of the world’s most technologically advanced underground mines and will showcase our innovation-led approach to sustainable mining. The project is currently supporting 500 jobs.”

Aquila, owned 70% by Anglo and 30% by Mitsui & Co Ltd, will extend the life of Anglo’s existing Capcoal underground operations by six years and continue to use the associated infrastructure at the Capcoal complex as its nearby Grasstree Mine approaches end of life, Anglo says. The mine will also continue to adopt Anglo American’s FutureSmart Mining™ program, which applies innovative thinking and technological advances to address mining’s major operational and sustainability challenges, the company said. One of the initiatives the company is working on as part of this is remote operation of the longwall; a process the company has trialled at some of its other Bowen Basin coal mines.

Aquila’s Project Director, Tony Willmott, said the A$240 million Aquila Mine was committed to awarding contracts locally.

“Our Aquila project is progressing well, with support from its Queensland-based workforce and contracting partners. More than 90% of our Aquila contracts have been awarded to Queensland-based suppliers,” Willmott said. “Aquila’s integrated network of pipes and pumps is securing the distribution of high-quality water which is necessary in metallurgical coal mining for equipment cooling and coal cutting operations.”

Kumba’s Kolomela, Sishen iron ore mines to deploy Rosond nex-gen exploration drill rigs

Rosond of Midrand, South Africa, is combining automation, software, data analytics and machine learning to create a next-generation drill rig that will help transition the company from contractor to technology provider.

The company dispatched the final batch of 28 state-of-the-art drill rigs to Anglo American’s majority owned Kumba Iron Ore operations in the Northern Cape in December, to be rolled out at Kumba’s Kolomela and Sishen iron ore mines. This forms part of a R2 billion ($134 million), five-year tender clinched by Rosond to supply Anglo American with the latest drilling technology as it modernises its geoscience operations.

“We really believe that this is going to be a future game changer,” Ricardo Ribeiro, Managing Director of Rosond, said.

In the face of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, Rosond said it was able to compress a year’s work into six months. It collaborated with a leading Italian manufacturer to develop the advanced drill rigs, which will be deployed for core, percussion and reverse circulation drilling.

“I am happy to report that the last two drill rigs were dispatched in December 2020,” Ribeiro added. “We are excited to see the entire fleet operational early this year. These are some of the most highly-advanced exploration drill rigs in the world.”

The drill rigs feature increased safety with the automation of most of the arduous and dangerous manual labour involved, Rosond says, taking away the need to handle the drill rods, and load and unload heavy equipment from the drill rigs.

The rig operators are housed in a climate-controlled, air-conditioned control room for an improved work environment that, in turn, assists with fatigue management and also boosts productivity and accuracy, Rosond says.

The opportunity to build such rigs also arose with several women being deployed as part of a team at Kumba. Recruiting and training this team formed part of Rosond’s tender with Anglo American, Ribeiro explained.

Rosond took the strategic step in 2012 to begin developing new technology for the drilling and exploration sectors, with the drill rigs leveraging the latest developments in software, telemetry and automation.

“We brought in a lot of technology from the construction and oil and gas industries to develop specific functionalities such as dust suppression and automation, as well as software and telemetry systems,” Ribeiro said.

The 28-strong fleet at Kumba will be deployed in an 80 km radius to optimise exploration drilling by providing critical geological data about the sites under investigation, Rosond says.

Having successfully developed the hardware of the new drill rigs themselves, the future plan is to launch a software division to focus on the application of data analytics and artificial intelligence in optimising the drilling process, as well as promoting machine learning.

“We are optimistic that in the future our drill rigs will be able to identify all the necessary parameters in order to be able to guide the operators seamlessly,” Ribeiro said. “The end goal in our development process is to have a full autonomous drill rig.”

GFG Alliance, South32 and Anglo American complete TEMCO transaction

GFG Alliance says it has finalised the purchase of the hydro energy-powered Tasmanian Electro Metallurgical Company (TEMCO) smelter in Bell Bay in northern Tasmania, Australia.

After entering a binding sale and purchase agreement with South32 and Anglo American in August, today’s finalisation sees TEMCO join LIBERTY Steel Group as part of the GFG Alliance family, it said.

The smelter, in Tasmania, Australia, was run by the Samancor Manganese joint venture, owned 60% by South32 and 40% by Anglo American.

GFG Alliance Executive Chairman, Sanjeev Gupta, said the acquisition not only secured the jobs of the smelter’s 250 workers but would also play a key role in enhancing LIBERTY’s drive to be self-sufficient in the supply chain.

“When we entered into the agreement in August, I flagged that our investment in key inputs such as ferromanganese and silicomanganese would generate supply chain value to ensure a sustainable and globally competitive steel manufacturing sector,” Gupta said. “This acquisition is an upstream integration for Whyalla and all our steel plants globally.

“The Bell Bay precinct and nearby George Town is a long-standing industrial community with a proud heritage, and we are committed to seeing this facility continue to play an important role in the future of the Australian steel industry.”

The TEMCO facility, which is powered by Hydro Tasmania, has four submerged arc furnaces, including a sinter plant, and has the capacity to produce around 150,000 t/y of high carbon ferromanganese and 120,000 t/y of silicomanganese used in the production of steel, the company said.

“GFG Alliance already produces the lowest carbon aluminium in the world in both the UK and France and I’m proud to add one of the world’s greenest ferro alloy producers to our portfolio,” Gupta said. “Our goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030 and I am proud to invest in a state like Tasmania, which has a plentiful supply of renewable energy resources.”

MacKellar Group adds to Liebherr T 264 haul truck fleet at Anglo’s Dawson mine

MacKellar Mining has almost doubled the size of its Liebherr T 264 off-highway haul truck fleet at Anglo American’s majority-owned Dawson open-pit metallurgical coal mine in central Queensland, Australia.

The mining contractor has purchased another four Liebherr T 264 240 t trucks, adding to the fleet of five commissioned at Dawson in early 2020.

The four new T 264s, manufactured in Liebherr Newport News facility in Virginia, USA, will complete pre-assembly in Mackay before travelling inland to Dawson Mine for final commissioning, Liebherr said. The plan is for the trucks to join the working fleet in early 2021.

MacKellar Group said of the decision: “The T 264 provides efficient productivity for our clients by offering a true 240 metric tonne payload, and superior speed on grade. The many operator comforts also makes the trucks well accepted on site.”

The fleet of trucks at Dawson mine, owned 51% by Anglo American and 49% by Mitsui Holdings, are supported by Liebherr-Australia’s Mackay branch and on site Liebherr technicians, another area that assisted the purchase of the additional four units.

“Liebherr-Australia’s support has been excellent, starting from the beginning with the provision of professional operator training, through to support from their experienced technicians,” MacKellar Group concluded.

WEF’s MMBI makes progress on emissions traceability with blockchain proof of concept

The World Economic Forum’s Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative (MMBI) has released a proof of concept that uses distributed ledger technology to track embedded greenhouse gas emissions.

A collaboration between seven leading industry players and the World Economic Forum, the initiative has hit an important stage of development following its launch in October 2019, the WEF said.

The successful completion of the proof of concept, named the COT, which is a Carbon Tracing Platform, will be critical in helping to ensure traceability of emissions from mine to the final product. With a focus on end-to-end traceability, the COT platform uses distributed ledger technology to track CO2 emissions.

The founding members of the MMBI – Anglo American, Antofagasta Minerals, Eurasian Resources Group, Glencore, Klöckner & Co, Minsur, and Tata Steel – joined forces in October 2019 to design and explore blockchain solutions to accelerate responsible sourcing in the industry. By pooling resources and costs, the mining and metals companies aim to accelerate future adoption of a solution for supply chain visibility and environmental, social and governance requirements.

Developed in collaboration with industry experts, supported by the Dutch blockchain champion Kryha and Consortium Advisor Susan Joseph, it not only tests the technological feasibility of the solution, but also explores the complexities of the supply chain dynamics and sets requirements for future data use, the WEF said. In doing so, the proof of concept responds to demands from stakeholders to create ‘mine to market’ visibility and accountability.

Jörgen Sandström, Head of Mining and Metals Industry, World Economic Forum, said: “There is an increasing demand for metals and minerals, and an increasing demand for sustainable and responsible and traceable supply chains. There is a potential to create a full value chain view with downstream visibility, and, in partnering with regulators and aligning our work with robust ESG standards, sustainability certification schemes and assurance frameworks.”

This work lays the foundation for the next phase of the development and reinforces comprehensive feedback sessions with stakeholders. It also supports the MMBI vision to enable emissions traceability throughout complex supply chains and to create ‘mine to market’ visibility and accountability, it said.

Nadia Hewett, Blockchain Project Lead, World Economic Forum, added: “The distributed nature of blockchain technology enables cross-enterprise collaboration and makes it the ultimate networked technology. This opens exciting new possibilities that organisations otherwise would not have the capability to deliver on their own.”

Peter Whitcutt, Marketing CEO of Anglo American, said: “By leveraging cross-industry collaboration and the increasingly important role played by technology innovation, MMBI’s Proof of Concept can help to unlock the potential of blockchain to support a greater level of reporting transparency and drive responsible sourcing.”

Anglo American pledges further investment in Woodsmith polyhalite project

Anglo American is to invest more money in the construction of its Woodsmith polyhalite mine in Yorkshire, UK, in 2021, following sound progress on the development in 2020.

In an investor presentation this week, Chief Executive, Mark Cutifani, announced the company will invest $500 million in Woodsmith next year, an increase on the $300 million it had previously committed to spending.

The improved funding commitment was, he said, a reflection of the good progress that was “ahead of expectations” and “to ensure that the critical path elements continue to proceed at the optimal pace and sequence”.

It was also revealed that the first drive of the 37 km tunnel from Wilton on Teesside was nearing the 12 km mark and that good progress was being made on preparing for further mineshaft sinking operations at the Woodsmith Mine site near Whitby, which are expected to begin in the new year.

Simon Carter, Chief Development Officer on the Woodsmith Project, said: “It’s been an incredibly challenging and busy time on the project recently, not least because of the adaptations and safety measures we’ve introduced to make sure that we can work safely during COVID-19. But, I am incredibly proud that the whole team has pulled together and enabled us to make such good progress. I’m delighted that we have been able to buck the trend of many businesses and expanded our workforce, providing important opportunities for people in the region in these difficult times.”

Anglo American has hired around 150 new people since it launched a recruitment drive in the autumn, with around 60 more expected to be hired in the coming weeks. Almost three quarters of these new workers have been hired from areas local to the project in North Yorkshire and Teesside.

The announcement of increased funding is expected to allow the project to recruit an additional 130 construction workers and dozens of additional management and administration roles next year, which will increase the size of the workforce to around 1,400.

The project involves the sinking of two mineshafts with Herrenknecht’s Shaft Boring Roadheader technology into the polyhalite ore over 1.6 km beneath the surface near Whitby, and the construction of a 37 km long tunnel to a new processing and shipping facility on Teesside.

When the mine is complete, extracted polyhalite ore will be hoisted up the mineshaft and transported underground on a conveyor belt, avoiding any impact on the countryside above, the company says. From there, it will be shipped around the world and sold to farmers as a natural low carbon fertiliser, certified for organic use.

More OEMs join the ICMM’s Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles initiative

The Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles (ICSV) initiative – a supply chain collaboration between the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) – has made significant progress towards understanding what is needed to transform today’s fleet of mining vehicles into tomorrow’s new generation of cleaner, safer vehicles, members of its CEO Advisory Group announced today at IMARC Online.

The ambitions of the ICSV initiative are to introduce greenhouse gas emission-free surface mining vehicles by 2040, minimise the operational impact of diesel exhaust by 2025 and make vehicle collision avoidance technology available to mining companies by 2025.

Two years on from announcing these ambitions, eight new OEMs have joined the initiative, taking the number of participating OEMs to 19, the ICMM said. This includes 3MTech, Behault, Future Digital communications, MTU, Miller Technologies, Miller Technologies, Nerospec, Newtrax and Torsa, the ICMM confirmed to IM.

ICMM members, representing around 30% of the global metals market with over 650 assets, have undertaken assessments to establish a clearer view of the progress made at site level towards each ICSV ambition. These assessments indicate ICMM members are generally at early stages of maturity in the journey, and show what progress will look like for each ambition, the ICMM said.

“This significant representation of industry can speak with an aligned voice, on aligned objectives with OEMs and third-party technology providers,” it added. “In its first two years, the ICSV initiative has achieved the critical step of sending strong signals to OEMs and third-party technology providers on their requirements, and on what is needed to accelerate development and adoption of technology across the industry.”

The initiative is led by a CEO Advisory Group comprising each leader of BHP, Anglo American, Gold Fields, Caterpillar, Komatsu and Sandvik, several members of which spoke today at IMARC Online about the collaborative model.

Nick Holland, Chief Executive, Gold Fields (and Chair of the CEO Advisory Group), said there was a critical need to advance work on cleaner, safer vehicles in mining, which will have important health and safety benefits and contribute towards the pressing need of decarbonising the mining industry.

“It is recognised that there are measures we can implement now, but other, more impactful, interventions are reliant on technology pathways that are still evolving,” he said. “This will undoubtedly take time, but the industry’s collaboration with OEMs, through the ICMM, is critical as we look for these long-term, sustainable and integrated solutions.”

Mike Henry, Chief Executive, BHP, added: “Safer, cleaner mining equipment is important for our people and the world. No one party can tackle this on their own though. The ICSV initiative brings together equipment manufacturers and ICMM members to accelerate the innovations required to improve equipment safety and reduce emissions. This is a great example of the collaborative industry-level effort that can help bring about the scale and pace of change that is needed.”

Denise Johnson, Group President, Caterpillar, said the OEM was committed to helping customers operate safely and sustainably, with the ICSV initiative helping it collaborate even more closely with the mining industry in these important areas.

“Its progress to date has helped to form a shared understanding of where the industry is on its journey and demonstrates that by working together we can more quickly accelerate the pace of change,” she said of the initiative.

Tom Butler, CEO, ICMM, added: “Partnership and collaboration fuels long-term sustainable development, and is crucial to addressing some of the mining industry’s biggest sustainability challenges. Progress made on the ICSV initiative has been building the widespread confidence needed to accelerate the level of innovation investment required to scale up commercial solutions. The initiative will benefit the entire industry and is open to all OEMs who would like to join.”

ICMM has developed tools to support the industry, OEMs and third-party technology providers to meet the initiative’s ambitions, it said. These tools include an ICSV Knowledge Hub that, the ICMM says, facilitates knowledge sharing of industry innovations, provides technical and practical resources including case studies, standards, regulations and a technology and solutions database.

Additionally, a set of “maturity frameworks” that help to “map, motivate and measure” progress against the ambitions have been published, with the intention to stimulate conversations within companies that drive thinking, decision making and action, it added.

In 2021, ICMM’s company members will focus on integrating the initiative’s goals into their corporate planning processes, allocating internal resources and effectively leveraging external resources such as synergies with other industry initiatives and collaboration between member companies, the ICMM said.

Anglo American commits to Aquila coal development with >A$240 million of contracts

Anglo American has invested more than A$240 million ($175 million) with suppliers for its 70%-owned Aquila metallurgical coal project in Central Queensland, Australia, which, the company says, will be one the world’s most technologically advanced underground mines.

Aquila will extend the life of Anglo American’s existing Capcoal underground operations near Middlemount by six years and continue to use the associated infrastructure at the Capcoal complex as its nearby Grasstree Mine approaches end of life, Anglo says.

Anglo American has awarded nearly A$200 million to six longwall equipment suppliers to deliver a “walk-on, walk-off system” using two complete longwalls, a A$20 million overland conveyor system and more than A$20 million in civil works, it said.

The project, which is scheduled for first longwall production of premium quality hard coking coal in early 2022, includes a A$5 million reverse osmosis water treatment system to increase the use of recycled water and reduce the reliance on fresh water at the mine – a key target in Anglo American’s Sustainable Mining Plan.

Chief Executive Officer of Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business, Tyler Mitchelson, said: “Our Aquila project is progressing well, with support from its Queensland-based workforce and contracting partners. More than 90% of our Aquila contracts have been awarded to Queensland-based suppliers, and we currently have around 500 people working on the project in engineering, surface construction and underground development.

“Aquila will be a breakthrough project, designed to set a new standard of safety and performance by leveraging technology and focusing on operational improvements. The mine will showcase our innovation-led approach to sustainable mining, with a remote operating centre on the surface of the mine, proximity detection systems underground to alert machine operators to pedestrians, and the continued digitisation of our operations, using new technologies such as our Australian-first intrinsically safe underground electronic tablets.”

In addition to the aforementioned construction contacts, Anglo American awarded a A$95 million mining development contract to Mackay-based mining company, Mastermyne in 2019.