Tag Archives: Anglo American

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.

Anglo American kicks off commissioning at Quellaveco copper project

Anglo American has unloaded the first ore to the primary crusher at the Quellaveco copper project in Peru, marking a crucial milestone in commissioning tests prior to the start of operations.

Autonomous truck No. 19 – a Caterpillar 794 AC whose hopper sports the colours of diversity – was chosen to unload the ore at the $5.5 billion operation.

The ore entered Line 1 of the primary crusher where it was reduced to a size of 6.5 in (165.1 mm). Subsequently, it was taken from the mine area through a system of conveyor belts that extend more than 6 km to the coarse ore stockpile in the Papujune concentrator plant. Here, some 30,000 t of crushed ore was deposited. From there, it moved to the grinding area, where commissioning tests for the Line 1 SAG and ball mill began.

Tom McCulley, former CEO of Anglo American in Peru, was present at this important milestone for the upcoming start of operations. “Today, Quellaveco reached its most significant milestone with the shipment of the first ore to the processing plant. I want to thank all the 30,000 Peruvians who were with us during the construction stage.”

The commissioning tests are designed to ensure the optimal operation of the equipment and to verify the proper transfer of the ore from the time it is extracted in the pit to the processing plant, where the copper concentrate will soon be produced.

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.

FLANDERS autonomous drilling solutions start up at Anglo’s Mogalakwena mine

The first FLANDERS autonomous drills are now up and running at Anglo American Platinum’s Mogalakwena platinum group metals operation in South Africa, with a third set to start up later this year.

FLANDERS CEO, John Oliver, and VP of International Operations, Willie Van Ryneveld, recently visited the mine in Limpopo, South Africa, where the first ARDVARC autonomous drills are now in operation in fully-autonomous mode.

The first two ARDVARC Autonomous drills were delivered on time and within budget to Mogalakwena, and the third Epiroc Pit Viper 271 XC drill is due to arrive at the FLANDERS South Africa workshop for conversion in May, the company said. The company said the first PV 271 XC drill recently drilled its first hole in fully-autonomous mode.

FLANDERS’ flagship ARDVARC automated drill control systems has been used around the world for more than 15 years, with more than 30 mine site deployments in this time.

The product suite is designed to facilitate customers to scale up automation at their own pace and covers all aspects of drill automation, from semi- autonomous to tele-remote and autonomous operation of a single piece of equipment to multi-machine control and full-fleet automation using Command Centre control capabilities. ARDVARC Autonomous comprises a suite of tools for automating, analysing and optimising drilling production and processes, interconnecting with fleet management systems and other data acquisition technologies.

The company claims operations can achieve productivity gains of up to 30% when employing ARDVARC autonomous solutions by reducing downtime due to human factors such as shift changes and pauses of drilling during blasting operations.

Master Drilling posts record annual profit as non-explosive tech gains traction

Master Drilling Group Limited, a provider of drilling services to the mining, civil engineering and building construction sectors, has reported a strong set of annual results for the year to December 31, 2021, as well as making progress in several key technology areas.

In the period in question, the company made significant gains across key regions, including the award of its first project in Spain to shotcrete a 560 m ventilation shaft, boosting its joint venture work under the Master Drilling Besalco Consortium with Codelco in Chile and making plans to employ its North American entity on a project in Saudi Arabia.

On top of this, the company’s technology team made strides with its Mobile Tunnel Borer (MTB), confirming that a project to sink an exploration decline at Anglo American’s Mogalakwena PGM operation in South Africa was scheduled to move into the tunnelling phase this quarter. The company has previously said it would sink one of two exploration declines for Mogalakwena using the MTB, a modular horizontal cutting machine equipped with full-face cutter head with disc cutters adapted from traditional tunnel boring machines.

At the same time, in order to spread its risk and lighten funding requirements, the company says it has entered into a joint venture called Master Sinkers with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) with a view to pursuing promising business cases involving blind sinking shafts. The company has previously been working on a Shaft Boring System (SBS), designed to sink 4.5 m diameter shafts in hard rock down to 1,500 m depths, to carry out this process.

In the results, Master Drilling said Master Sinkers has now signed letter of intent with a client to blind bore a ventilation shaft, with investigative work on scoping and detailed design and procurement of resources for the shafts having commenced.

On this project specifically, the company said: “The project is progressing well and by the second half of 2022, we hope to commission the service and start executing on the project. We are positioning ourselves as a specialised mining contractor, as opposed to a mainstream one.”

The company added on these technology developments: “Non-explosives mining is still an uncharted area and we are looking to provide solutions for clients that are not bound by the requirement of explosives approvals, while at the same time shielding personnel against hazards by offering the flexibility to operate remotely. We have engaged with four different clients where we are able to develop these technologies and provide bespoke solutions that cater to their specific needs. By doing so, we hope to build relationships with these clients in a phased approach, thereby ensuring gradual progress and minimising large exposure or risk. All these projects are progressing well. These technologies all relate to providing a safer, higher productivity, cost-competitive and efficient solution.”

This technology progress was made against a backdrop of increased revenues and profitability, with revenue coming in at a record $178.1 million – up 40% from 2020 – and operating profit growing 126% to a record $27.8 million.

“These represent record results, achieved despite difficult global market and operating conditions,” the company said. “Cost savings initiatives implemented to limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic assisted in this.”

Anglo American leveraging NatureMetrics ‘eDNA’ solution to improve biodiversity knowledge at Woodsmith

Cutting-edge biotechnology, implemented by Anglo American to radically change the way biodiversity risks are evaluated and monitored at operations, has delivered the “best invertebrate data produced to date, using eDNA”, says Dr Vere Ross-Gillespie, Head of Extractives at NatureMetrics.

NatureMetrics’ environmental DNA (eDNA) tools were first piloted by Anglo American in South Africa, with, NatureMetrics says, impressive early results.

And now more recent research at the Woodsmith polyhalite project in the UK has produced one of the “most comprehensive invertebrate datasets to date”, Vere says.

Warwick Mostert, Principal Biodiversity at Anglo American, added: “We knew that eDNA can deliver big data and this just goes to show what can be done with such a quick, safe and simple sampling approach. We can’t wait to see the results from other sites.”

The eDNA technology works by identifying genetic material – a fingerprint specific to each species – left behind by animals and organisms as they interact with their environment. Samples taken from water, sediment or soil are sequenced and compared with reference libraries, through a process called metabarcoding, identifying which species they come from.

Unlike conventional methods of surveying biodiversity on a site, eDNA can identify hundreds of species from different taxonomic groups from a single sample, while being quicker and safer to undertake in the field, the company claims.

The technology is already helping Anglo American, across business units globally, to measure the journey to delivering positive biodiversity outcomes and achieve the target of net positive impact on diversity, as outlined in its Sustainable Mining Plan, according to NatureMetrics.

In partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature and NatureMetrics, the data collected from Woodsmith and other selected sites will be fed into the eBioAtlas program, creating a global database to support conservation efforts and inform international biodiversity policy.

Katie Critchlow, NatureMetrics CEO, said: “Anglo American is one of the first of our clients to roll out our DNA-based biodiversity monitoring solutions across multiple global operations. We are delighted to be working with a company that has made a public commitment to having a net positive impact on biodiversity and to be working with them to back that up with a meaningful measurement program.

“Our cutting-edge environmental DNA technology will provide the comprehensive biodiversity data that will help Anglo American on their journey to improving, measuring and reporting their nature impacts.”

NatureMetrics says the samples from Woodsmith – including those first taken by Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive, and Siobhan Grafton, Group Head of Sustainable Development – identified a staggering 522 distinct taxa representing 100 families of invertebrates. Of these close to 58% were identified to species level.

The vertebrate data set is also impressive, with more than 67 taxa detected of which approximately 62% were identified to species level, NatureMetrics said.

More than 500 aquatic insect species were mapped, giving an important and sensitive baseline measure of biodiversity and ecosystem condition, from which change can be monitored in future years.

Vere says the baseline “will help to inform Anglo American’s water quality and biodiversity monitoring at the site, while also contributing to efforts to achieve overall net positive impact moving forward”.

Sampling at the pilot sites will continue into 2022 and results will help paint a more comprehensive picture to drive Anglo American’s biodiversity decision making, according to NatureMetrics.

Cutifani said: “This is wonderful news; the sheer breadth of data which has been provided by these few samples we took at Woodsmith are precisely why we take our responsibility to the environment and biodiversity very seriously. Only by understanding the wildlife which thrives around our operations can we ensure that not only do we minimise impact on existing areas of biodiversity, but that we nurture and attract new species to make a positive contribution to the planet.”

Anglo American restarts longwall mining operations at Grosvenor

Anglo American plc has announced the safe restart of its Grosvenor metallurgical coal mining operation in Queensland, Australia, more than 20 months after a methane explosion that injured personnel led to longwall activities being suspended.

Anglo American received confirmation from the regulator, Resources Safety and Health Queensland, on February 16, 2022 that longwall mining operations could now recommence following the gas incident in May 2020.

Tyler Mitchelson, CEO of Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business, said: “We have been working towards a safe restart at Grosvenor for several months and today we are up and running having received our regulator’s approval last week. Over the past 18 months, we have worked with leading industry experts and invested significantly in automation technology, remote operations, gas management and data analytics, introducing a number of advancements in the
way underground coal mines can operate.

“Nothing comes before safety and I thank our workforce, our local stakeholders and our customers for their patience and support as we bring Grosvenor back into production.”

Last year, Anglo American Australia committed another A$5 million ($3.8 million) towards improving safety at its underground coal mines in the country following the release of recommendations from the Board of Inquiry’s report into the Grosvenor gas incident.

Following confirmation of the restart at Grosvenor, while export metallurgical coal production guidance for 2022 is unchanged at 20-22 Mt, due to the impact of COVID-19 in early 2022 and a later than expected restart of operations at Grosvenor, production is expected to be towards the lower end of the guidance range. As a result, unit cost guidance for 2022 is revised to around $85/t (previously circa-$80/t and compared to 2021 unit costs of circa-$105/t). These
figures are subject to the extent of any further COVID-19 related disruptions.