Tag Archives: Anglo American

GroundProbe reflects on geohazard monitoring developments on 20th anniversary

GroundProbe says it is immensely proud to be celebrating 20 years of operation and 20 years of keeping people and communities safe.

Over the last two decades, the company has expanded from a home-grown start-up to become a global innovation powerhouse and the trusted partner of companies around the world, it said.

GroundProbe calls itself a global leader in real-time geohazard monitoring technologies that help manage risk, ensure safety and increase productivity across mining and civil projects. Evolving from a PhD project at the University of Queensland, Australia, in 1993, by 2001, GroundProbe’s founders commercialised the world’s first patented Slope Stability Radar (SSR), which is now widely used to monitor mine walls and warn before collapses occur.

GroundProbe CEO and founder, David Noon, said that the success of GroundProbe’s business and its continual year-on-year growth is built on a culture of innovation and customer intimacy that permeates through every level of the company.

“GroundProbe has now deployed more than 700 systems and support services to customers in more than 35 countries,” he said. “To get to that level, we have proudly built long-term, trusted relationships with the top 20 mining and resources companies, globally.

“Across all of those deployed radars and customers, and in our entire 20-year history, I am most proud to say that we have fulfilled our ultimate goal by making mining safer. Our technology has never failed to detect a collapse, ultimately saving numerous lives.”

Anglo American’s Head of Geotechnical – T&S Group Mining, Lesley Munsamy, recently stated that the company is honoured to have played a part in GroundProbe’s history. The miner celebrated a number of “firsts” with GroundProbe, with the capturing of the first ever slope deformation data, the detection of the first ever slope failure and the first international radar deployment at Anglo American mine sites, GroundProbe said.

“Our mutually-beneficial partnership is based on GroundProbe’s impeccable safety track record and continuous innovation of its hardware and software tools,” Munsamy said. “The precise and valuable data that GroundProbe provides our sites has had an impact on our safety and productivity by enhancing our risk-management practices.

“GroundProbe redefined the slope risk management practices across the world. The availability of reliable real-time monitoring has had a significant impact on safety, a contribution that cannot be underestimated.”

South Africa’s hydrogen potential validated in Anglo American-led feasibility study

Anglo American, in collaboration with South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), the South African National Development Institute (SANEDI), Engie and Bambili Energy, has announced the results of a feasibility study to explore the potential for a hydrogen valley anchored in the Bushveld complex of South Africa, along the industrial and commercial corridor to Johannesburg and to the south coast at Durban.

The feasibility study, which was launched in March of this year, identifies three hubs – Johannesburg, extending to Rustenburg and Pretoria; Durban, encompassing the city itself and Richards Bay; and Limpopo province centred around Anglo American’s Mogalakwena platinum group metals (PGMs) mine (pictured) – with a fundamental role to play in integrating hydrogen into South Africa’s economy, and in establishing South Africa and its renewable energy resources as a strategically important centre for green hydrogen production, Anglo says.

Nine key pilot projects have also been identified across these hubs and are recommended to be prioritised by developers. They span the transport, industrial and construction sectors.

Following the publication of the feasibility study results, Anglo says it will work with South Africa’s DSI and the other partners on the implementation of relevant projects, as well as continue to progress its own company-led initiatives towards development of the hydrogen economy.

Anglo is already investing in renewable hydrogen production technology at its Mogalakwena PGMs mine and in the development of hydrogen-powered fuel cell mine haul trucks (FCEVs) – the world’s largest to run on hydrogen.

Natascha Viljoen, CEO of Anglo American’s PGMs business, said: “The opportunity to create new engines of economic activity through hydrogen has been validated through this feasibility study with our partners. As a leading producer of PGMs, we have for some years been working towards establishing the right ecosystem to successfully develop, scale-up and deploy hydrogen-fuelled solutions. These include investing in innovative ventures and enabling technologies, as well as forging wide-ranging collaborations across industry, to fully harness the transformative potential of green hydrogen for our economy in South Africa.”

Maptek helps Anglo American with continuous drill and blast process improvements

Maptek’s BlastLogic drill and blast software is helping Anglo American’s mines significantly improve its processes, the Australia-based company said in its latest Forge Newsletter.

The miner commenced implementation of Maptek BlastLogic in 2017 to deliver the digitisation of critical drill and blast information. The goal was to transform inconsistent practices into an integrated function underpinning safety and value protection.

In a Technical and Innovation update from May 2021, Anglo American reported a 50% improvement in drill and blast execution versus plan, which, it said, was enabled via real-time, in-field digital platforms.

Dr Alan Tordoir, Lead Drill & Blast Group Mining Technical & Sustainability for Anglo American, oversees drill and blast for 20 surface and 12 underground operations. He benchmarked the original rollout of BlastLogic at six open-pit sites, which has enabled streamlined uptake at a total of 15 global locations so far, according to Maptek.

“It’s a really exciting time to be in the industry, with a lot of new technologies and processes emerging,” Dr Tordoir says.

Traditional paper-based drill and blast processes are inefficient, complicated by multiple platforms contributing to design, hole placement and tie-up, according to Maptek. Data transfer between stages leads to further communication challenges between the field and office.

BlastLogic stores a single source of truth for all processes, Maptek says, with the outcome being a significant increase in downstream productivity and better management of explosive risks. It is an all-in-one solution adding value to open-pit operations through streamlined drill and blast design, tracking and analysis.

“It enables operations to make blast implementation decisions with reference to mine plans, geology and geotechnical data with instant data connection and visualisation in the field or office,” Maptek says.

Anglo American, Maptek says, has found that design and execution teams have been brought closer together by using BlastLogic, while providing the data in a timely manner allows every level of the organisation to make proactive decisions.

“However good a new system is, the changeover phase can be disruptive,” Maptek says. “Maptek supports customers through BlastLogic configuration, training and implementation, aiming for minimal disruption to the production environment.”

Dr Tordoir paid particular attention to proving the benefits during the Anglo American rollout, mapping out the process and troubleshooting at the original sites so that replication was straightforward for subsequent sites.

Benchmarked data was made universally available, so teams could track their adoption trajectory curve.

“When an operation can see how others have overcome initial problems, uptake is faster,” Maptek says.

Maptek has found that other customers have a similar change management experience.

“Recent graduates may be initially more comfortable with new systems, but longer-term players soon recognise the benefits of digital processes and quickly absorb them into a new integrated workflow,” it says.

Anglo American found continuous improvement is much easier when multiple sites are sharing the same system.

“Operations can learn from each other and can see what good practice looks like,” Maptek says. “The key performance indicator data showed how some sites were performing better than others.”

Having a unified platform for design work enables consistent training and upscaling. This ensures that engineers are performing at the required level to deliver fit for purpose designs that promote safe and efficient operations.

“Improvement is a never-ending journey,” Dr Tordoir concluded.

Upcoming releases of BlastLogic will introduce a drilling data entry on the blast loading tablets for sites with contractor drill rigs, so all the drilling and charging data is captured for analysis, Maptek says.

“Automation of the blast design process is an exciting innovation by Maptek to advance analysis of the interaction of different factors as part of blast design,” it said. “Engineers can then better understand how they can trade off objectives to determine the value that can be gained by small incremental design changes.”

The future will also bring blast design deeper into the upstream planning process and broader cross-operation scenario design, according to the company.

Plotlogic’s precision mining pursuit bolstered with new investor funds

Plotlogic’s mission to deliver precision mining across the world has been given a boost with A$7.5 million ($5.5 million) of funding from international investors.

Plotlogic’s primary focus is on providing accurate real-time orebody knowledge to enable greater operational efficiency and resource utilisation. Its OreSense® technology has demonstrated its ability to improve health and safety, enhance overall mining operations and deliver tangible productivity gains, according to the company.

Andrew Job, former mining manager and company Founder, recently completed his PhD in artificial intelligence-based sensing at University of Queensland, and has said “Plotlogic’s technology is an exciting development in resource knowledge and forms an important part of our growth as we digitally transform our mining businesses”.

Plotlogic’s most recent international deployment of its OreSense system was to an Anglo American project in South Africa. This comes on top of deployments at BHP and South32’s operations.

The company says it continues to increase its global footprint with imminent deployments to South America, North America, Asia and Russia.

Precision mining with the help of technologies like OreSense have the potential to increase worldwide industry value by $370 billion/y, according to Plotlogic, while reducing carbon emissions and improving the sustainability of mines over their life cycle.

To support commercial expansion, Plotlogic’s team has grown substantially, with the team currently sitting at 30 people, up from only six a year ago. It also has plans to double in size before the end of this year.

Anglo American and Salzgitter to explore iron ore’s role in low-carbon steelmaking

Anglo American has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Salzgitter Flachstahl to collaborate on the decarbonisation of the steelmaking industry by exploring ways to reduce carbon emissions.

Salzgitter Flachstahl manufactures a range of steel products optimised for their particular application and is the largest steel subsidiary in the Salzgitter Group, Anglo explained.

The two companies intend to conduct research into feed materials, including iron ore pellets and lump iron ores, suitable for use in direct reduction (DR) steelmaking based on natural gas and hydrogen, a significantly less carbon intensive production method than the conventionally used blast furnace process. The collaboration may also explore developing broader hydrogen technologies.

Peter Whitcutt, CEO of Anglo American’s Marketing business, said: “We have set ambitious targets to help address climate change by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, including achieving carbon neutrality across Anglo American’s operations by 2040.

“While steel is a critical building block of our modern lives, and itself a critically needed material for the energy transition, the steel industry is a significant producer of carbon dioxide. That’s why we are committed to collaborating with industry-leading players like Salzgitter Flachstahl to develop strategies that capitalise on the premium quality properties of our products to help drive emissions reduction across the entire steelmaking sector.”

The MoU reinforces Anglo American’s existing commitments to the steelmaking industry, ensuring it continues to provide high-quality iron ore products that help drive efficiency and minimise emissions while new technologies are developed to achieve lower carbon steelmaking, the company said.

It also builds on the long-standing relationship between the two companies and provides a platform to explore opportunities for emissions abatement in the context of the sustainable energy transition.

Salzgitter, as part of the European steel industry, has been developing new steelmaking technologies to reduce its carbon footprint under its SALCOS® (Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking) project. The project is targeting a switch from the use of blast furnace production based on coal to wholly DR steelmaking.

Ulrich Grethe, Chairman of the Management Board of Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH and member of the Group Management Board of Salzgitter AG, said: “With this project we continue to progress important milestones on the way to low CO2 steel production. In driving our SALCOS technology concept forward, we aim to decarbonise steel production as efficiently and quickly as possible. We are delighted to be partnering with Anglo American, our long-standing major supplier of high-grade ores, for joint reflection and potential projects.”

DR steelmaking depends on high-quality iron ore feedstock, or further beneficiated feedstock from the same locations.

Anglo moves Los Bronces Pit Viper drilling operations to remote operations centre

Anglo American has launched the first Epiroc Pit Vipers operating at its Los Bronces copper mine in Chile to be remotely controlled from its Integrated Remote Operation Center (IROC) in Santiago.

These five drills are the first in Chile and Latin America to be operated from outside the designated mine site, with the company planning to have all five blasthole drills running by fully-autonomous means by 2022, Anglo American Chile said.

All five drills have automatic drilling systems, such as AutoDrill and self-levelling. These features allow the controller to set the target depth of a hole, with the machine automatically drilling, while the self-levelling function results in the machine automatically altering the hydraulics to level the equipment. The rigs are also fitted with a high-precision GPS system with automatic navigation system, which enables the drilling sequences to be carried out after the controller issues the relevant instructions.

The sensors and advanced control systems of this equipment allows the continuation of work routines with minimal human intervention, translating into increasingly safer operations, Anglo American Chile said.

These five rigs in question were previously operated from the Operational Management Room in the Los Bronces mine offices.

The automation initiative is part of a plan for the development and implementation of new technologies for mining at the Anglo American group level, all guided by the overarching FutureSmart Mining™ approach.

“With these innovations, the operation will become autonomous in its drilling cycles, without the intervention of an operator, manually or remotely, turning the operator into a system controller, and making this task much more efficient,” the company said (translated from Spanish).

Anglo has a 50.1% interest in the Los Bronces mine, which it manages and operates.

Delta Drone to run UAV surveying, mapping at Anglo’s Mogalakwena

Australia-based drones-as-a-service provider, Delta Drone International Ltd, is expanding its enterprise mining operations after being appointed by Rustenberg Platinum Mines Limited, a subsidiary of Anglo American Platinum, to provide surveying and mapping services at the Mogalakwena PGM mine in South Africa’s Bushveld Complex.

The contract, secured via Delta Drone’s Rocketmine brand, will see it manage end-to-end mine surveying and mapping services at the mine, including blast monitoring and inspection services. The 2021 contract is expected to generate some A$120,000 ($87,919) in revenue.

Mogalakwena’s PGM production increased by 11% year-on-year to 308,400 oz in the June quarter, owing to higher concentrator throughput, and no COVID-19 impact on production, Anglo American Platinum reported today.

Bis to provide tailored equipment solution for Anglo American Capcoal contract

Australia-based Bis has secured a new multi-year contract for Anglo American’s Capcoal operations near Middlemount, in the Bowen Basin of Queensland.

The off-road haulage, materials handling and site services contract is the latest in an ongoing relationship between Anglo and Bis that spans more than 20 years.

The contract will see Bis supply a tailored high payload equipment solution for the operation’s rejects haulage. Additionally, the company will deliver site services including road maintenance, dust mitigation and run of mine equipment feed, as well as haulage of topsoil, rock and run of mine coal as required.

Bis Chief Executive Officer, Brad Rogers, said the company’s ability to provide a tailored haulage and logistics solution, specific to this operation, was a key factor in securing the new contract.

“We have a long history of integrating customisable OEM innovations and existing solutions to deliver against specific customer objectives. This competency continues to drive operational efficiencies and reduce costs for our customers. It’s a formula that works.

“For instance, the specific higher payload capacity solution put forward for this project delivers significant advantages for Anglo American. It means a reduction in the total equipment required, vehicle movements and fuel consumption; all three of which directly contribute towards improved safety, sustainability and productivity outcomes for the customer.”

The range of tailored equipment incorporated to deliver the project includes double trailer configuration haulers, wheel loaders, graders, water trucks and a compaction roller.

The fleet is fitted with the latest Bis safety and productivity management systems, including Trifecta, which is a new in-cabin artificial intelligence driver and vehicle monitoring software developed with EDGE3 Technologies. The system collects and analyses data in real time to improve both safety and productivity. The system collects, analyses and reports driver behaviours such as drowsiness, mobile phone use, smartwatch use, smoking, seatbelt and other violations. Trifecta then ‘learns’ over time to pre-empt high risk incidents in real-time through alerts to drivers and supervisors. Bis says it has exclusive rights to use and sell the system across a range of markets.

On site mobilisation for this new contract is expected to commence from August.

Anglo American tests out sustainable biofuel in shipping operations

Anglo American says it has successfully trialled the use of sustainable biofuel to power a chartered capesize ship during a voyage from Singapore to South Africa.

The biodiesel blend, produced by converting waste cooking oil from Singapore’s food and beverage industry, reduces carbon dioxide emissions compared with using 100% conventional marine fuel.

Peter Whitcutt, CEO of Anglo American’s Marketing business, said: “Low emission ocean freight is crucial in driving the long-term sustainability of the maritime industry. Shaping an effective transition requires a comprehensive framework of complementary solutions, in which alternative marine fuels have an important role to play.

“We are partnering with like-minded industry players to improve our understanding of factors likely to impact the future scalability of this solution. The success of this trial marks an important step forward in establishing biofuel as a viable option, aligned with circular economic principles. These efforts also reinforce our commitment as an organisation to reduce emissions across the entire value chain, as we work towards carbon neutrality across our operations by 2040.”

The trial conducted onboard the ‘Frontier Jacaranda’, a capesize bulk carrier owned by Japanese shipping company NYK Line, was instrumental in verifying the stability of the biofuel in storage and its performance as a fuel, Anglo said.

Data gathered is providing new insights into wider efforts to introduce biofuel to the maritime sector, paving the way to improving its cost-effectiveness and using higher percentage blends in future trials, the company added. The conversion of waste cooking oil into fuel for transportation aligns with the principles of the circular economy, by providing a fresh and environmentally beneficial use for what would otherwise be disposed of.

Toyota Tsusho Petroleum supplied the biodiesel blend, consisting of 7% biofuel and 93% regular fuel. This combination reduces carbon dioxide emissions by around 5%, is compliant with the International Standard Organisation’s requirement for marine fuels and requires no substantial engine modifications, according to the company.

Anglo American partnered with Singapore firm Alpha Biofuels, which converts waste cooking oil into biofuel, to blend this sustainable biodiesel via shore tanks in Singapore.

Anglo is investigating several ways through which to reduce carbon intensity in its ocean freight operations, including the use of ammonia as an alternative marine fuel, as well as adding capesize+ vessels into its chartered fleet fuelled by LNG which reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 35%.

Anglo set to complete thermal coal exit with Glencore Cerrejón transaction

Anglo American looks set to complete its exit from thermal coal, having agreed to sell its 33.3% interest in the Cerrejón joint venture, in Colombia, to Glencore for around $294 million.

Glencore and BHP currently each also hold a 33.3% interest in Cerrejón, with Glencore intending to acquire both Anglo American’s and BHP’s interests for $588 million in total, thereby assuming full ownership of the asset upon completion.

Cerrejón is one of the largest surface mining operations in the world and mines high-quality thermal coal for the export market. It moves 550 Mt/y by 100% truck and shovel equipment, using more than 300 trucks.

Anglo, earlier in the year, agreed to demerge its thermal coal operations in South Africa to a new holding company called Thungela Resources Limited, with the latest agreement on Cerrejón marking the completion of its thermal coal exposure.

Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American, said: “Today’s agreement marks the last stage of our transition from thermal coal operations. During that transition, we have sought to balance the expectations of our wide range of different stakeholders as we have divested our portfolio of thermal coal operations, in each case choosing the exit option most appropriate for the asset and its distinct local and broader circumstances.”

Both transactions are subject to a number of competition authority and other regulatory approvals, with completing expected in the first half of 2022.

Glencore said on the transactions: “Based on our long-term relationship with Cerrejón and knowledge of the asset, we strongly believe that acquiring full ownership is the right decision and the progressive expiry of the current mining concessions by 2034 is in line with our commitment to a responsible managed decline of our coal portfolio. Production volumes are expected to decline materially from 2030.”