Tag Archives: BAMIN

SNC-Lavalin to help BAMIN join up mining and rail ops at Pedra de Ferro

SNC-Lavalin has been awarded a C$14.8 million ($11.4 million), two-year contract to provide design and engineering services for the Pedra de Ferro project in northeast Brazil for BAMIN, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ERG.

The Pedra de Ferro project involves an iron ore mining operation in the state of Bahia that extracts and processes two types of ore, hematite and itabirite, and transports it for commercialisation via rail and sea. To help increase capacity and expand production, the company will design and engineer an open-pit mine, a hematite processing plant, an itabirite processing plant, a product storage yard, a cargo loading station and a railway loop that will provide access to the West-East Integration Railroad (FIOL). In September 2021, BAMIN signed a concession agreement with the Brazilian Federal Government to complete and operate a section of the FIOL railway in the country. Once completed, FIOL will be able to carry 60 Mt/y of freight, with BAMIN’s products accounting for a third of this capacity.

“Our integrated pit-to-port approach is present at every level in the mining industry, including greenfield, brownfield, new investments, due diligence and assessment studies,” Cesar Inostroza, SNC-Lavalin Mining & Metallurgy CEO, said. “Whether it’s complementing existing operations or getting new ones up and running, we deliver safely on time and on budget.”

Maria de Lourdes Bahia, SNC-Lavalin Mining & Metallurgy Vice-president, Brazil, said: “This project is extremely important to the Brazilian economy, helping generate thousands of jobs and positioning Bahia to become the third largest iron ore producing state in Brazil. Our commitment to innovation, technology and sustainability enables us to deliver the best solutions with lasting benefits to our clients and the communities in which we work and live.”

ERG has previously flagged that Pedra de Ferro could produce up to 18 Mt/y of iron ore at full capacity.

Repair, Reuse, Recycle: ERG’s critical minerals reprocessing journey

The Musonoi River Valley in the Katanga region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has, for some decades, been the site of land degradation resulting from inadequate and ineffective tailings and other waste management systems.

The local water system and surrounding land has been subjected to pollution from more than 83.2 Mt of legacy tailings spread over an area 11-km long and up to 2.5-km wide. Additionally, 41.1 Mt of tailings have accumulated at the Kingamyambo Tailings Dam.

Remediating and mitigating this damage is now a primary goal of Eurasian Resources Group’s Metalkol Roan Tailings Reclamation (RTR), a reprocessing facility dedicated to cleaning up the historic tailings left by previous mining operators in the Kolwezi area of the DRC. By reclaiming and reprocessing copper and cobalt tailings in the region, the company says its approach goes beyond ‘do no harm’, actively addressing a history of environmental degradation and pollution.

The legacy tailings are extracted through hydraulic mining and dredging, reprocessed and then re-deposited into a modern, closely managed and centralised tailings storage facility. This is subject to regular inspection, monitoring and reporting, supported by a dedicated Engineer of Record and an independent laboratory. Currently Metalkol RTR can produce 21,000 t/y of cobalt, which is says is sufficient for three million electric vehicle batteries, alongside around 100,000 t/y of copper, the company says.

ERG also has reprocessing operations outside of Africa, including at Kazchrome in Kazakhstan, which, it says, is the world’s largest high-carbon ferrochrome producer by chrome content.

Established in 2019, ERG Recycling – ERG’s specialised company aiming to become the largest entity to reprocess industrial waste into commercial products in Kazakhstan – has already implemented many projects including the commissioning of a new workshop that reprocesses slag, dust and other fine waste into high-quality briquettes. This program to reprocess Kazchrome’s 14.7 Mt of slag stockpiles has been expanded, now processing over 100,000 t/y of slag.

These operations have been enhanced by the development of new technology. Having completed the first trial in 2020, the Slimes 2 Tailings Reprocessing project at Donskoy GOK has the potential to enhance Kazchrome’s output of chrome concentrate by recovering 55% of the chromium oxide in chrome-oxide bearing tailings using innovative flotation technology, the company says.

In Brazil, at ERG’s integrated project, BAMIN, which produces a premium 67% Fe grade iron ore and is ramping up to become one of the country’s largest standalone iron ore exporters, the company’s transition from an upstream to a downstream tailings model ensured continued compliance with both local regulations and international standards, it said. The group continues to study additional technological enhancements to ensure the construction and operation of a world-class facility.

The environmental benefits of reprocessing projects like these are very significant for the business and critical to local communities, according to the company.

“As more attention rightly turns towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, it is crucial that tailings are dealt with and stored properly,” ERG said. “Aside from preventing significant issues, such as dam collapses, by reprocessing and responsibly storing these tailings, we are reducing local pollution risks more generally, increasing air quality and decreasing the likelihood of leaching toxic substances into surrounding habitats and water systems.”

Given the legacy of environmental degradation and serious consequences it poses, it is also necessary for mining companies to explore novel ways of rehabilitating the environment.

For example, ERG has been working with a team of agronomists from the University of Lubumbashi in the DRC to look into the experimental planting of trees and their growing potential at the Kingamyambo tailings dam.

Looking forward, these operations will support the sustainable development of affordable batteries and other clean energy technologies.

By producing critical raw materials, such as cobalt, without the risk and cost of needing to develop new mining projects, ERG says it can help make electric vehicles and other renewable technologies more accessible, helping facilitating the net-zero transition.

Pictured above is Metalkol RTR, ERG’s reprocessing facility in the DRC: the world’s second largest standalone cobalt producer

ERG’s BAMIN signs pact with Brazil Government to complete and operate FIOL railway

Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) says its wholly-owned Brazilian subsidiary, BAMIN, has signed a concession agreement with the Brazilian Federal Government to complete and operate a section of the FIOL (East-West Integration) railway in the country.

BAMIN will advance the construction works, which until recently were carried out by the state-owned railway engineering and construction company Valec.

The sub-concession has been granted for a 35-year period, which includes an allowance of five years for the construction of the railway and 30 years for its operation. BAMIN’s investment into the railroad and the rolling stock will amount to around BRL3.3 billion ($683 million).

In April 2021, BAMIN won the auction on the B3 (São Paulo Stock Exchange) to complete and operate the first 537 km stretch of the FIOL. The concession agreement has now granted BAMIN 120 days to evaluate the progress of the construction and other related works. This preliminary phase precedes the preparation of a plan to resume the construction, which is scheduled for the second half of 2022.

Tarcio Gomes de Freitas, Minister of Infrastructure of Brazil, said: “The importance of this infrastructure project in the state of Bahia cannot be overstated. The project is very well structured and includes an iron ore plant, a railway and a seaport. The railway, which is undergoing construction, will serve the mining industry, as well as the agricultural sector, which is growing at an unprecedented pace, particularly in the west.”

BAMIN has already hired professionals in the rail industry to oversee the management of the FIOL railway. BAMIN will also leverage ERG’s international expertise as the largest transport operator in Central Asia with extensive experience in rail transportation, ERG says. Each year, ERG transports over 50 Mt of freight using 10,000 vehicles, while also maintaining and repairing 2,500 wagons and over 1,000 locomotives.

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, said: “All across the globe, railways play a crucial role in urban development, enabling people to gain access to new opportunities. In Brazil, we are confident that FIOL will act as an important connecting point between regions, cities and people, contributing to economic growth, and creating a strong link between the west and the east of the country. The logistics and exportation corridor that BAMIN will create will transport millions of tonnes of iron ore, agricultural products, as well as other goods.”

With the resumption of construction, the project is expected to boost the country’s economic growth at both the federal and the local level: FIOL will strengthen the rail network across 20 municipalities in Brazil, while also boosting foreign trade, ERG says.

BAMIN plans to install over 30 loading stations along the route, creating opportunities for regional producers, enhancing production chains, and helping establish new businesses.

Once completed, FIOL will be able to carry 60 Mt/y of freight, with BAMIN’s products accounting for a third of this capacity. More than 40 Mt of cargo will be made available for other businesses in both the mining and agricultural sector, as well as other industries in the Bahia region.

ERG said: “The importance of the FIOL railway cannot be overstated, as the railway will be part of an integrated logistics project that will connect the Pedra de Ferro mine in Caetité with the Porto Sul, currently under construction in Ilhéus, Bahia. Following the commencement of commercial operations in January 2021, the Pedra de Ferro Mine is expected to produce 1 Mt by the end of this year. Once the South Port and FIOL are completed (expected in 2026), the mine should produce 18 Mt of iron ore per year.”

Eduardo Ledsham, CEO of BAMIN, said: “The Pedra de Ferro mine, Porto Sul, and FIOL projects are an important milestone for the country’s economic development, and a source of pride for the Bahia State and all Brazilians. We are creating a new logistics corridor to integrate the west with the east of Brazil, creating a new, important exportation pathway.

“The state of Bahia will occupy a new and important place in the national economy, becoming the third largest iron ore producer in the country, generating wealth and prosperity, while also increasing the population’s income and improving the quality of life.”

ERG’s BAMIN iron ore project kicks into gear

Eurasian Resources Group says it is continuing to advance its BAMIN integrated iron ore mining and logistics project in Brazil with the planned commercial start-up this month of its Pedra de Ferro mine in Bahia.

Pedra de Ferro has an initial capacity of 2 Mt/y of high-grade iron ore with 65% Fe content, but, in full production, will be able to produce 18 Mt/y of ore.

At the same time as this, plans for the implementation of Porto Sul, a deep-water port complex that is part of BAMIN, also continue to advance.

Carried out by the State of Bahia and BAMIN, the initial works at the port (pictured) focus on the construction of the requisite infrastructure and access to the site. This phase of the work will generate 400 direct jobs and another 1,200 indirect jobs, according to ERG.

Overall, the BAMIN project is expected to see Bahia become the country’s third largest iron ore producer.

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of ERG, said: “The start of operations at Pedra de Ferro is a fundamental step towards the full implementation of the project. Porto Sul, in addition to its strategic importance, will strengthen the local economy and support the growth of other sectors. While implementing the BAMIN project, we also aim to positively contribute to the economic and social recovery and help mitigate the long-term impact of the pandemic.”