Tag Archives: AngloGold Ashanti

BluVein XL open-pit mining dynamic charging solution gains momentum

Much of the buzz around BluVein to this point has focused on its dynamic charging infrastructure for underground mining and quarries, but the company has also been gaining momentum around a surface mining project – as the most recent Charge On™ Innovation Challenge announcement indicates.

The company and its BluVein XL solution were today named among eight winning ideas selected to progress to the next stage of the competition, which is seeking to solve one of the biggest challenges in decarbonising mining operations: the electrification of haul trucks.

Within this context, BluVeinXL, the company’s new product line, will be capable of dynamically feeding power to heavy-duty mining fleets with up to 250-t payloads.

The technology leverages much of what was developed for BluVein1: a patented slotted (electric) rail system using an enclosed electrified e-rail system mounted above or beside the mining vehicle together with the BluVein hammer that connects the electric vehicle to the rail. This system provides power for driving the vehicle, typically a mine truck, and charging the truck’s batteries while the truck is hauling load up the ramp and out of an underground mine.

To this point, funding support for the BluVein1 project – being developed for vehicles up to 60-t payload and powered by Rethink Mining (Powered by CMIC) – is being provided by Vale, Glencore, Oz Minerals, Northern Star, South32, BHP, Agnico Eagle, AngloGold Ashanti and Newcrest Mining.

BluVeinXL, meanwhile, has seen the company engage with more than 10 “global mining company leaders” in progressing to a pilot demonstration of the technology. While the company plans to announce the names of these supporting mining companies shortly, it says they all see the need for an industry-standardised, OEM-agnostic, safe dynamic power feed infrastructure to suit mixed OEM open-pit fleets.

The key benefits of the dynamic power feeding solution BluVein is pushing are smaller on-board battery packs, faster vehicle haulage speeds up ramp, grid load balancing and maximum fleet availability.

“Our mining company supporters have provided feedback to us on the benefits they see with BluVeinXL over traditional overhead exposed wire catenary systems offered by other OEMs,” the company said. These are:

  • Near to the ground installation enabled by our patented Ingress Protected safe slotted rail technology;
  • Safer and faster installation;
  • Easy relocation as required to suit open-pit ramp movements over time;
  • Requires no heavy civil foundation requirements;
  • Alleviates the requirements on haul road conditions;
  • Offers purchasing flexibility on electric vehicles through the adoption of an industry-standard dynamic power feed infrastructure; and
  • Safer mine sites with no high voltage exposed overhead wires.

The company concluded: “Together with our mining company supporters, BluVein looks forward to working with all OEMs as we progress towards our planned pilot demonstration at a yet to be announced location.”

ICMM members commit to new stakeholder social and economic indicator framework

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) has published a new Social and Economic Reporting Framework which, it says, commits members to report against a set of social and economic indicators, empowering stakeholders such as communities, governments and investors to assess the contribution of mining to social and economic development more easily.

ICMM members, representing around a third of the industry, have committed to report on eight key indicators which includes country-by-country tax reporting on revenues, payment and tax, workforce composition, pay equality, wage level, training provided, local procurement, education and skills programs, and capacity building.

This disclosure will also help companies to better assess and strengthen the delivery of their social and economic contribution programs and provide a clearer overview of the contribution mining is making to economic growth, employment, skills, health, education and a range of other development opportunities in the regions close to their operations, the ICMM said.

Rohitesh Dhawan, CEO of ICMM, said: “Mining plays a significant role in driving social and economic development in the regions where it takes place. What has been missing until now is a consistent set of indicators that measure these contributions, like for like. ICMM’s Social and Economic Reporting Framework raises the bar in several areas including the disaggregation of data by gender and ethnicity, and reporting of employee wages compared to the local living wage. This commitment represents a major step forward, and I encourage all mining companies to adopt the framework to provide a more complete picture of the industry’s social and economic contribution and collectively identify areas for improvement.

“We recognise that there is still more to do to measure, prevent and manage the negative impacts mining activities can have on local communities. We will continue to work closely with stakeholders to assess the potential evolution of the framework so that we can build on the data already being provided to give a clear picture of our members’ performance.”

Chris Griffith, CEO Gold Fields, said: “Along with other ICMM members, Gold Fields was actively involved in the development of the framework as we believe the reporting of social and economic indicators is critical to help provide a clear picture of the contribution we make. This transparency is key to winning the trust of our stakeholders, particularly host communities and governments. We are already aligned with several of the indicators – as reported in our annual Report to Stakeholders – and are working towards disclosure against the full framework.”

The framework was developed through an assessment of existing reporting frameworks and company practices relating to social and economic contribution. It was informed by consultation with a range of external stakeholders including investors, civil society, customers, and international organisations and tested at sites by ICMM members. It builds on existing frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative, thereby ensuring a streamlined approach to reporting. Where indicators were not available in existing frameworks, new ones have been developed and included in the framework.

ICMM members have already started the work needed to incorporate these indicators into their reporting systems and are committed to disclose against the indicators by 2024, except for country-by-country tax, for which reporting is expected from 2025.

Dhawan will be moderating a panel at Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa, this week, where ICMM Council member Chris Griffith (Gold Fields CEO) and Anglo American South Africa Chair, Nolitha Fakude, will discuss mining’s overall contribution to society, the importance of consistent reporting on contribution, and how transparent reporting will help to build trust across the sector.

International Mining is a media sponsor of the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa

South32 becomes latest miner to join BluVein mine electrification project

BluVein has announced its ninth and newest funding partner to join the BluVein mine electrification project powered by Rethink Mining (Powered by CMIC), with South32 being the latest miner to join the cause.

BluVein is a joint venture between Australia-based mining innovator Olitek and Sweden-based electric highways developer Evias. The company has devised a patented slotted (electric) rail system, which uses an enclosed electrified e-rail system mounted above or beside the mining vehicle together with the BluVein hammer that connects the electric vehicle to the rail. The system provides power for driving the vehicle, typically a mine truck, and charging the truck’s batteries while the truck is hauling load up the ramp and out of an underground mine.

South32 joins Vale, Northern Star Resources Limited, Glencore, Newcrest Mining, AngloGold Ashanti, BHP, OZ Minerals and Agnico Eagle Mines Limited as BluVein funding partners.

Earlier this month, BluVein and Epiroc formed an MoU with BluVein aimed at fast-tracking development of the BluVein dynamic charging solution towards an industrialised and robust solution which is ready for deployment across the global mining industry. The MoU is focused on the BluVein Underground solution (BluVein1), but BluVein is also developing a solution for open-pit mining.

Sandvik outlines its emission-free mining journey at The Electric Mine 2022

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions President, Henrik Ager, got The Electric Mine 2022 Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, off to a bang earlier this month, with a major product reveal that will set a new benchmark in the battery-electric underground mining space.

After reflecting on a journey that saw him escape a broken lift on his way to the Radisson Waterfront that morning, Ager announced the company would soon release the largest-capacity battery-electric truck for underground mining to the market, the TH665B.

With a 65-t-payload capacity, this machine will be measured against the largest underground diesel-powered underground trucks for productivity, speed and cost. Interest is expected from major contractors and miners alike, with one of the bigger markets being the Australian underground hard-rock segment.

The prototype TH665B is currently completing factory testing, but it turned heads in Stockholm, with conference attendees witnessing a video of the machine in action on the company’s test track in California, USA.

Blending proven Sandvik design and advanced technology built around electric drivelines and battery systems, the TH665B will get its first mine site runout at AngloGold Ashanti’s Sunrise Dam gold mine in Western Australia. This trial is expected to prove its viability in a long ramp haulage application before commercial truck production commences in late 2023.

The Sandvik TH665B comes with an electric drivetrain that delivers 640 kW of continuous power, which equates to 858 horsepower

While displaying said video, Ager said the vehicle could haul a 65-t load up a 14.3% grade at 11.5 km/h. This, he said, was 30% faster than Sandvik’s 63-t diesel truck, the Toro TH663i, with which the TH665B shares a state-of-the-art cabin. An electric drivetrain that delivers 640 kW of continuous power, which equates to 858 horsepower, and significant torque, is behind such numbers.

Following the introduction of the Sandvik TH550B 50-tonne battery-electric vehicle at MINExpo INTERNATIONAL® 2021, last September, this latest vehicle launch shows, once again, how the company is betting big on its battery- and hybrid-electric loaders tackling the challenge of operating underground mines today and tomorrow.

Ager at the event outlined the three main drivers for the electrification move, namely: worker health, mine economics and sustainability. Sandvik’s battery-electric solutions, he said, hit all three criteria, providing safer, more productive and sustainable ways of moving the tonnes the industry needs to keep up with global commodity demand.

The primary driver for electrification came from ventilation and refrigeration constraints, followed closely by environmental, health and safety concerns over diesel exhaust emissions. At the same time, Ager said there was significant room for operating costs to fall with the adoption of battery-electric equipment given 40% of total mine operating costs were related to energy and ventilation, and electricity use was often cheaper than transporting and using diesel fuel underground.

Around the same time as MINExpo, Ager outlined that electric mining equipment could account for more than half of the company’s equipment sales in underground mining by 2030. In Stockholm, he added some colour to that statement.

The company’s generation three battery-electric vehicles have clocked up more than 500,000 operational hours with its Artisan™ battery packs and electric drivelines, with 22 active BEV units. This experience makes Sandvik an industry frontrunner, Ager said.

The machines out in the field include the 4-t-payload and 10-t-payload Artisan A4 and A10 LHDs, the Z40/Z50 (40 t/50 t payloads) haul trucks, the Toro™ LH514BE – an AutoMine®-compatible cable-electric loader, boosted with battery technology – plus the 18-t-payload battery-electric Sandvik LH518B LHD and 50-t-payload battery-electric TH550B truck.
This year will see the company officially release the LH514BE, which will be followed in 2023 by the TH665B and – judging from the preliminary nomenclature – a 15 t battery-electric and AutoMine-compatible LHD.

Three other battery-electric and AutoMine-compatible units are in the preliminary stages of development, scheduled for release in 2024-2025.

This comes on top of plans to electrify its full i-Series drilling line by 2030, drill rigs which tram on battery and plug into the grid while drilling/bolting.

Launches for the DD422iE-DC (development drill) and DS422iE (rock bolter) are expected in 2022, with the DL432iE (longhole drill) and the DT923iE (jumbo drill) coming to market between 2023 and 2026.

Since the rollout of the first battery-electric drill in 2016 – the DD422iE – 2.8 million metres had been drilled and 12,500 km had been trammed with these electric machines, Ager acknowledged.

It is not just product releases that are on the Sandvik roadmap, with Ager stating plans to develop different drivelines (battery-electric, hybrids, cable, battery-cable), quantify the value and beat the economics of conventional drivelines, expand into other applications such as narrow vein and narrow reef mines, and continue to develop 100% electrified, energy efficient mechanical cutting for soft- and hard-rock applications.

He also said the company would look to address the capital expenditure gap with diesel machines, aiming for cost parity from a total cost of operations perspective.

The company, at the same time, is planning to further its global capabilities to serve the electrified fleet throughout its entire life cycle, while building out battery optimisation expertise and developing global application knowledge to support customers in designing, planning and executing electric transition strategies.

Real equipment for the real world

This might look like a long ‘to-do’ list, but Ager’s colleague, Brian Huff, VP of Technology and Product Line for the BHEV business unit with Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, was able to outline several real-world wins from machine deployments later at the conference that showed how far the company has already come in addressing industry pain points.

Huff, a co-founder of Artisan Vehicle Systems, relayed some observations from field trials of the company’s LH518B and Z50 battery-electric vehicles, summing them up in series of snappy statements such as: “everything will be serviced, whether it was intended to be or not”; “battery cells are consumable, but the driveline is not”; “damage is expected, resilience and serviceability are required”; “isolation fault monitoring is more than shock hazard prevention”; “availability improves with each ‘opportunity’”; and – one of the more important ones – “operators prefer BEVs”.

“They take a beating and keep on working and, despite what people may think, these batteries are not fragile,” Brian Huff told delegates at The Electric Mine 2022 Conference earlier this month

Delving into specifics, Huff said real-world trials had proven the opinion that electric drivelines came with dramatically longer life and less maintenance. He also acknowledged batteries had become the new ‘consumable’ in this equation.

“Maintenance requires parts, but comes with very low labour,” he said, explaining that battery modules can be replaced underground and then rebuilt at the factory with new cells, making rebuilds both quick and painless. At the same time, refreshing the battery brought opportunities to use improved cells as they are developed – a reflection on the accelerated winds of change in the battery market.

Battling early market perceptions, Huff said these machines were far from “experimental”, having been used and proven to work at many hard-rock mines. “They take a beating and keep on working and, despite what people may think, these batteries are not fragile,” he said.

One of the new solutions to have come out from these real-world trials is the introduction of a new battery cage design that aids serviceability, Huff said. Coming with removable side covers, an improved locking system and structural design, this battery cage incorporates the company’s AutoConnect function, which, when combined with AutoSwap, facilitates quick battery swapping without the operator having to leave the cabin. The new cage would be available on the TH665B as well as other models, Huff said.

He then put some names and numbers behind earlier statements, highlighting a trial of a Z50 truck at Pretivm’s Brucejack gold mine in British Columbia, Canada, that saw more than 90% machine availability, exhibited speeds of 9.5 km/h on a 15% grade with a 42-t load, and observed battery swap times of less than 10 minutes. This added up to a 42% increase in tonnes hauled compared with a diesel-equivalent machine and a 22% boost in speed.

The trial at New Gold’s New Afton gold mine, also in British Columbia, saw a 56% mucking cycle time beat over a diesel-powered-equivalent, a plus-70% ramp speed improvement (on a 17% ramp), and decreases of 80% and 90% in energy use and heat generated, respectively.

Referring to another LH518B trial where the machine only clocked in a 74.9% availability, Huff was quick to highlight that all the problems/failures that caused the reduction in availability were correctible.

And, channelling his engineering DNA and the leading role Sandvik is willing to take in the industry’s pursuit of the zero emission, electrified mine, he reflected on all these real-world trials with: “a failure isn’t a failure, it is an opportunity to improve.”

Sandvik introduces underground mining’s largest-capacity battery-electric truck

Sandvik is introducing what it says is the largest-capacity battery-electric truck for underground mining, with the release of the Sandvik TH665B. The unit was launched today, February 17, at The Electric Mine 2022 conference in Stockholm, Sweden by keynote speaker Henrik Ager, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.

With a 65-t-payload capacity, the Sandvik TH665B prototype is completing factory testing in California, USA. Finalisation of the trial agreement with Barminco and AngloGold Ashanti Australia will soon see the truck trialed at the Sunrise Dam gold mine in Western Australia to prove its viability in a long ramp haulage application before commercial production of the Sandvik TH665B is expected to commence in late 2023.

Following the introduction of the Sandvik TH550B 50-tonne battery-electric vehicle at MINExpo INTERNATIONAL® 2021, last September, Sandvik is continuing to execute on its BEV strategy by expanding its line of battery-electric trucks and loaders to include both larger and smaller size classes, it said. The Sandvik TH665B is engineered to improve productivity, sustainability and cost efficiency in bulk mining operations.

Henrik Ager states: “With more than 50 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of underground mining equipment, we’re proud to continue to lead the way in helping customers embrace more sustainable solutions. Our 65-t battery-electric truck is our latest development in helping mass hard-rock miners and contractors to make the shift towards more productive, emission-free mining.”

The Sandvik TH665B blends proven Sandvik design and advanced technology built around electric drivelines and battery systems. Due to an extremely efficient electric driveline, a fully loaded Sandvik TH665B is expected to be up to 30% faster on a 1:7 ramp than a comparable conventional diesel underground truck.

Each of the truck’s four wheels is equipped with independent drives, resulting in a simpler driveline, improved overall efficiency and maximum power output. The Sandvik TH665B electric drivetrain delivers 640 kW of continuous power, enabling high acceleration and fast ramp speeds, Sandvik said.

The truck is equipped with Sandvik’s patented self-swapping system, including the AutoSwap and AutoConnect functions, which enables battery swap in a matter of minutes, and without any major infrastructure like overhead cranes or other heavy-handling equipment. The Sandvik TH665B also features a new battery lifting system for improved reliability. Sandvik has redesigned the battery cage design to improve serviceability, enabling battery module changes without a need to remove the battery packs from the cage for service.

The new truck operator cabin uses the same design as the cabin of Sandvik’s Toro™ TH663i underground truck, with the cabin offering premium operator ergonomics with a significant number of adjustment possibilities to facilitate a comfortable operating environment, the company said. The central oscillation frame design results in stability, and front axle suspension, ensuring a smooth ride on rough roads. The cabin is equipped with joystick steering, large touchscreen colour display and the newest control system, providing easy access to equipment data.

Capital captures surface production drilling gig at AngloGold’s Geita

Capital’s Tanzania-based subsidiary, CMS (Tanzania) Limited, has been successfully awarded a surface production drilling contract with AngloGold Ashanti at the Geita gold mine in Tanzania.

The three-year contract will use five rigs from the mining service company’s existing fleet, together with the acquisition of one new rig during 2022, to continue provision of blasthole drilling services at the Geita mine, bringing the total number of rigs operating on site to 25.

CMS is an 80:20 joint venture between the mining services company and local company CK Washirika Limited. The joint venture, which is fully compliant with the local content law in Tanzania, demonstrates Capital’s commitment to building capabilities and supporting local communities, it said.

The new contract supplements the two existing three-year contracts, a surface drilling contract for exploration and grade control services and an underground contract for grade control and exploration drilling services, both of which were renewed in the first half of 2021 and are also fully compliant to local content laws in Tanzania.

This contract further cements Capital’s long-term relationship with AngloGold Ashanti, which started with the provision of grade control drilling services at the Geita site in 2006 and will now extend to 2025.

The production drilling contract started in December and is anticipated to generate revenues of $33 million over the contract term.

Jamie Boyton, Capital Executive Chairman, said: “The contract continues Capital’s delivery of production drilling to the site and reflects the team’s excellent operational and safety performance in providing drilling services to the Geita mine for more than 15 years. Importantly, the contract award also supports our strategy of building the sustainability of the business by maintaining the portfolio of long-term mine-site based clients.”

Polymetal pushes forward with Veduga gold project development

The Board of Polymetal has approved a $447 million investment in the Veduga gold project in the Krasnoyarsk Region of Russia based on the results of a recent prefeasibility study (PFS).

Veduga was discovered in 1977 and extensively explored between 1988 and 1996. Polymetal has been a partial owner of the property since 2006 with the original 50% stake acquired through the joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti. In this time, the mining of oxide ore has started, an initial NI-compliant reserve and resources estimate was prepared and open-pit mining of sulphide ore kicked off.

The latest investment will see Polymetal target 10 years of conventional open-pit mining of five open pits until 2031 (including pre-production stripping in 2022-2024), and 12 years of underground mining using a skip shaft for hauling from 2030 to 2041. First production is expected in the June quarter of 2025. This is based off a 4 Moz reserve base grading 3.9 g/t Au.

The prefeasibility study was based on a 2 Mt/y flotation concentrator with dry stacking of tailings. This would see flotation concentrate processed at the future POX-2, while volumes in excess of the facility’s capacity will be sold to third parties.

Veduga could also potentially become a source of feed for the future Pacific POX project, Polymetal said, adding that flowsheet development has been supported by extensive external and in-house metallurgical testing.

Average life of mine annual production is estimated at 200,000 oz of gold at all-in sustaining costs of $800-850/oz.

The project is expected to materially contribute to Polymetal’s carbon emission reduction targets, relying on hydro power to ensure relatively low emission intensity level of 405 kg CO2e/oz gold equivalent in 2025-2030 on average. This is well below the group’s target of 560 kg CO2e/oz of gold equivalent by 2030, it said.

Of the $447 million capital expenditure (inclusive of capitalised pre-stripping costs), $77 million is dedicated to a “post-launch” skip shaft and underground infrastructure construction in 2027-2029. Polymetal said further studies will be undertaken to evaluate alternative ore transportation options that could reduce the capital spending. It also said it plans to use exclusively battery-electric vehicles throughout the underground mine.

The extended open pit allows to shift underground development capital costs beyond the start-up capital expenditure, Polymetal added.

Polymetal currently owns a 59.4% stake in Veduga and holds a call option to increase its stake to 100% at a pre-determined price giving VTB Bank a fixed rate of return on initial investment. Following the final statutory clearance – expected in the June quarter of 2022 – Polymetal plans to fully consolidate the asset.

Master Drilling’s Mobile Tunnel Borer heads to Anglo’s Mogalakwena mine

Master Drilling is readying its Mobile Tunnel Borer (MTB) technology for a contract at Anglo American Platinum’s Mogalakwena mine in South Africa.

The company, which revealed the news during its interim results presentation, said on-boarding for this project deployment was underway, with the start of “decline excavation” due by the end of the year.

Anglo American Platinum said in its own interim results recently that it was working on feasibility studies on the future of Mogalakwena, with completion of these studies expected at the end of 2021. Decisions on the pathway forward are expected shortly after this, however, one of the current key milestones at the asset includes progressing an underground exploration decline.

Master Drilling Executive Director, Koos Jordaan, said during the presentation that the contract with Anglo American Platinum is for a “turnkey operation” with Master Drilling providing capabilities in terms of construction, logistics and project management, in addition to its normal excavation services.

The MTB is a modular horizontal cutting machine equipped with full-face cutter head with disc cutters adapted from traditional tunnel boring machines. Unlike these traditional machines, it is designed to work both on inclines and declines, with the ability to navigate around corners and construct 5.5 m diameter decline access tunnels.

One MTB unit was previously scheduled to carry out a 1.4 km project at Northam Platinum’s Eland platinum group metals operation in South Africa, however this was cancelled in March 2020 due to the pandemic. This deployment followed testing of an MTB unit in soft rock at a quarry just outside of Rome, Italy, in 2018.

Alongside news of this latest MTB deployment, Master Drilling said in its results that it was studying the potential to deploy two of these MTB units in tandem for twin-decline access as part of the technology’s second-generation developments.

“We can already see the benefit of utilising two of these machines to do a twin-decline access to an orebody,” Jordaan said.

Looking to vertical developments, Master Drilling reported that it had received shareholder funding approval from the Industrial Development Corporation for the latest work on its Shaft Boring System (SBS), designed to sink 4.5 m diameter shafts in hard rock down to 1,500 m depths.

IM witnessed the main cutting mechanism of what was previously billed as being a 45-m long, 450-t machine at the back end of 2019.

The company has since said it will introduce a “smaller scope system” as part of its introduction to the industry.

While busy on the latest slimmed down design of the SBS, Master Drilling has signed a letter of intent with a prospective South Africa project that could see a machine start sinking activities in the first half of 2022, Jordaan said.

Outside of these developments, Master Drilling reported on several contract awards across the globe, including a three-year raiseboring extension with AngloGold Ashanti in Brazil, a joint venture agreement with Besalco Construction to work on Codelco’s Chuquicamata copper mine, an executed contract with Glencore’s Raglan mine in Canada, an agreement with Zimplats in Zimbabwe and a “long-term contract” on the Khoemacau copper-silver project in Botswana.

Macmahon books A$600m of work with Newcrest, AngloGold and Vale

Macmahon Holdings has bolstered its order book with a number of contract extensions involving the Tropicana and Telfer gold operations, in Western Australia, and the Hu’u copper-gold project, in Indonesia.

At the Tropicana mine, a joint venture between AngloGold Ashanti Australia Ltd (70% and operator) and Regis Resources Ltd (30%), Macmahon has been providing mining services since open-pit mining started in July 2012 under a life of mine alliance contract.

The additional work for Macmahon follows the completion of a detailed final cutback study of the Havana pit and subsequent confirmation of the optimal method to mine the deeper ore in the Havana ore body. Macmahon has now been provided with the scheduling detail for the cutback, which will add 155 Mt to the material to be mined from 2024.

The final cutback of Havana will extend the open-pit mine life by four years, from 2023 to 2027, and is expected to generate additional revenue of approximately A$470 million ($340 million), it said.

Macmahon has also extended its life of mine contract with Newcrest for the Telfer mine.

On August 12, Newcrest announced it will proceed with the West Dome Stage 5 cutback at Telfer. This new scope of work is expected to generate revenue of circa A$138 million and will extend Macmahon’s work on site to September 2024. This new work has been negotiated on updated rates, which are forecast to achieve the company’s internal financial hurdles, Macmahon explained.

In Indonesia, Macmahon has received a letter of award to construct an 11 km access road at the Hu’u copper gold exploration project on Sumbawa island. This work is valued at approximately A$18 million and is a further step in the company’s strategy to increase its revenue from mining support services.

Subject to finalisation of contract documentation, the project is forecast to commence in September 2021 and employ approximately 150 people. The Hu’u project is 80% controlled by Vale SA. Vale has previously said the project could produce more than 250,000 t of copper and more than 200,000 oz of gold.

Macmahon CEO and Managing Director, Michael Finnegan, said: “We are pleased to have secured this additional work which adds approximately A$600 million to our order book. A key highlight is the extension of our long-term alliance contract at Tropicana, which has been a cornerstone of our surface mining business in Western Australia for many years and has recently expanded into underground mining.”

Vale, Glencore, Newcrest and others join BluVein’s next gen trolley charging project

Seven major mining companies have financially backed BluVein and its “next generation trolley-charging technology” for heavy mining vehicles, with the industry collaboration project now moving forward with final system development and construction of a technology demonstration pilot site in Brisbane, Australia.

BluVein can now refer to Northern Star Resources, Newcrest Mining, Vale, Glencore, Agnico Eagle, AngloGold Ashanti and OZ Minerals as project partners.

Some additional mining companies still in the process of joining the BluVein project will be announced as they officially come on board, BluVein said, while four major mining vehicle manufacturers have signed agreements to support BluVein controls and hardware integration into their vehicles.

BluVein, a joint venture between EVIAS and Australia-based Olitek, is intent on laying the groundwork for multiple OEMs and mining companies to play in the mine electrification space without the need to employ battery swapping or acquire larger, heavier batteries customised to cope with the current requirements placed on the heaviest diesel-powered machinery operating in the mining sector.

It is doing this through adapting charging technology originally developed by Sweden-based EVIAS for electrified public highways. The application of this technology in mining could see operations employ smaller, lighter battery-electric vehicles that are connected to the mine site grid via its ingress protection-rated slotted Rail™ system. This system effectively eliminates all exposed high voltage conductors, providing significantly improved safety and ensures compliance with mine electrical regulations, according to BluVein. This is complemented with its Hammer™ technology and a sophisticated power distribution unit to effectively power electric motors and charge a vehicle’s on-board batteries.

BluVein has been specifically designed for harsh mining environments and is completely agnostic to vehicle manufacturer. This standardisation is crucial, BluVein says, as it allows a mixed fleet of mining vehicle to use the same rail infrastructure.

While underground mining looks like the most immediate application, BluVein says the technology also has applications in open-pit mining and quarrying.

It is this technology to be trialled in a demonstration pilot in a simulated underground environment. BluVein says it plans on starting the trial install early works towards the end of this year for a mid- to late-2022 trial period.

The BluVein project will be managed by the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC).