Tag Archives: Barminco

Electric Mine Consortium partners with AWS on world-first mine decarbonisation platform

Australia’s Electric Mine Consortium (EMC), made up of some of the world’s leading mining and service companies, has announced it is working with Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company, to accelerate the electrification of mine sites globally.

Announced at AWS Summit 2022, EMC is using AWS’s depth and breadth of services, including machine learning, business intelligence and storage, to build the world’s first mining data platform, to capture real-time information on mine decarbonisation from sites globally.

To drive decarbonisation, mining companies can use the platform to measure energy storage levels and electrical infrastructure use from global mine sites to accelerate the creation of a cleaner, more electrified future in mining, EMC said.

Co-founder of the EMC, Graeme Stanway, says the platform can help enable EMC members to share sustainability insights and analyse the outcomes of adopting electrified mining infrastructure and sustainable operations.

“The way we generate, store and harness energy around the globe is changing drastically,” Stanway said. “EMC’s collaboration with AWS will help see us at the forefront of this change, driving the mining industry’s electrification at scale.”

Stanway said the industry is crying out for tools to decarbonise due to tightening government emission reduction targets, increasing environmental, social and governance pressure, and the industry being responsible for 7% of the greenhouse gas emissions globally.

“Like the electric vehicle industry, electric mines are the future” Stanway said. “Not only can they be safer through the eradication of diesel particulates, pollution, noise and vibrations, they can also be more targeted, precise and effective when it comes to mining, and yield stronger results than traditional mines with minimal ground disturbance.”

As part of the initiative, EMC created a “data lake” using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), a cloud object storage service, that can securely store thousands of datasets from the consortium’s mines, including data on energy consumption and renewable energy infrastructure output.

EMC can then clean the data and run data pipelines using AWS Step Functions, a low-code, visual workflow service; AWS Glue, a serverless data integration service; and AWS Lambda, a serverless, event-driven compute service. AWS Glue can provide EMC with data catalogue functionality, and AWS Lake Formation, a service that makes it easy to set up a secure data lake in days, can deliver security and access control.

Amazon QuickSight, a business intelligence service (screenshot pictured), can allow everyone in the consortium to explore and understand mining data through user-friendly interactive dashboards that identify efficiency practices that may reduce emissions, according to EMC.

Also, using Amazon SageMaker, a fully managed service to build, train, and deploy machine learning models, EMC can train machine-learning models to predict energy usage spikes at mines and track the carbon efficiency of deploying sustainable energy infrastructure.

Sarah Bassett, Head of Mining and Energy, Australia at AWS, said: “Data capture and analysis is essential to mining operations, and AWS is helping consortium members to share their critical datasets and collective insights to drive the digitisation and evolution of the industry. I am excited to be collaborating with the EMC and its consortium members to improve the design of mines globally and accelerate the industry’s journey to decarbonisation on the global scale.”

The EMC is a growing group of over 20 mining and service companies. These companies are driven by the imperative to produce zero-emission products for their customers and meet mounting investor expectations. Thus, the objective of the EMC is to accelerate progress toward the zero-carbon and zero-particulate mine through:

  • Resolving key technology choices;
  • Shaping the supplier ecosystem;
  • Influencing policy; and
  • Communicating the business case

The EMC is emerging as a key vehicle for the decarbonisation of the mining industry, particularly for underground operations, and will remain responsive to the rapidly changing external environment.

Members include OZ Minerals, Newcrest Mining, Gold Fields, IGO, South32, Blackstone Minerals, Evolution Mining, Barminco and Iluka Resources.

Polymathian, SimGenics, Simulation Engineering Technologies, MathWorks, First Mode to tackle electric mine simulation tasks

Five teams have been selected to join the Think & Act Differently (TAD) ideas incubator, powered by OZ Minerals and Unearthed, tasked with developing and testing an open architecture simulation platform to develop electric mine designs, with the goal to achieve zero scope one emissions.

Last September, the Electric Mine Consortium launched the Electric Mine Simulation crowd challenge in partnership with the (TAD) ideas incubator, noting that electrification of mine sites remained a critical step change needed for the mining industry to achieve a zero-carbon future.

“Switching to electrified solutions and renewable energy represents a transformational shift that will change the way mines are designed,” OZ Minerals said. “This challenge is about using simulation to understand the impacts of electrification on mine design, infrastructure and energy management.”

The crowd challenge closed in November last year and attracted 179 participants from 36 countries, resulting in 23 submissions. Five teams have now been selected to join the TAD incubator where they will be supported to develop and test their simulations.

Finalist teams include:

  • Polymathian – Colin Eustace, Michael Dallimore, Steven Donaldson and Mitchel Grice are experts in solving complex planning and scheduling problems for the industry, OZ Minerals said. Their solution is to provide a widely used scalable simulation model platform to model large and complex operations, from mining and processing to full supply chain operations;
  • SimGenics – Abrie Venter and Kobus Viljoen are using a software platform that can integrate continuous and discrete-event simulation tools from multiple vendors into one solution;
  • Simulation Engineering Technologies – Jaco Botha, Henk Jenkinson, Fredrik Sundqvist and Marco Agas are the team behind a mine simulator (SimMine®) that allows for the construction of a complete mine simulation, including development, production and ore handling systems;
  • MathWorks – Wilco Volwerk, Peter Brady, Ruth-Anne Marchant and Sam Oliver are using a mathematical computing software that can be used to model dynamic, discrete and continuous processes with multiple time scales to create a mine simulation framework; and
  • First Mode – Aidan Morgan, Jan Haak and Clara Sekowski represent a creative engineering company, using modelling and simulation to inform design decisions and optimise the use of technology.

The teams will work together to explore and develop concepts for the development of an open architecture simulation platform to develop electric mine designs, with the goal to achieve zero scope one emissions. A use case for testing the value of simulation will be provided by OZ Minerals’ copper-gold mine, Prominent Hill, with further use cases developed in collaboration with the Electric Mine Consortium member companies.

The TAD Incubator program is a supportive environment that includes funding, technical mentoring, opportunities for collaboration, capability uplift and access to mining data and mining operations, OZ Minerals said. The teams will be supported by mining business improvement specialists from Imvelo, Sharna Glover and Alan Bye and Simulation SME Luigi Barone, an internationally recognised expert in artificial intelligence.

Brett Triffett, OZ Minerals’ Transformation Technologist, said: “This challenge will help us learn about the power of simulation together with some really talented and collaborative people, as we accelerate progress towards a fully electrified zero carbon zero particulate mine. The benefit of crowdsourcing, particularly in an area where ideas may come from outside our traditional mining networks, is that we can scour the globe to find start-ups, academics and individuals that we would not have otherwise had encountered.”

Multiple mining companies from the EMC will be able to collaborate on the outcomes of this experiment and we’re excited to see what we can learn about the process as well as the technology. The teams will work together over a three-month period to develop simulation concepts.

OZ Minerals, IGO South 32, Blackstone Minerals, Evolution Mining, Barminco and Gold Fields have committed to significantly reducing their carbon footprint. These seven mining companies, along with a number of partner companies, have come together to form the Electric Mine Consortium, a collaborative group seeking to accelerate progress towards a fully electrified zero carbon and zero particulate mine.

The TAD incubator is powered by OZ Minerals and is focused on themes that prioritise social and environmental responsibility for the future of mining.

Hindustan Zinc accelerates growth plans as it partners with industry leaders

Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL), a Vedanta Group Company and the world’s second largest integrated producer of zinc and lead, is in acceleration mode, embarking on aggressive expansion and collaboration plans with technology and innovation partners from across the globe.

One of the first mining companies to commit to going “Net Zero” by 2050, it has a strong focus on ESG reinforced by plans to deploy battery-electric vehicles, tap into more solar and wind power potential and recycle waste heat from its captive power plants. Such ambitions are being delivered with up to $1 billion of finance in the next five years to “go green” and, by 2025, achieve focused sustainability goals.

At the same time as it is looking to become an ESG leader, it is boosting its mine and metal production by leveraging “smart mining” and an extensive resource and reserve base.

IM put some questions to Arun Misra, Hindustan Zinc CEO, to find out how the company intends to deliver on its lofty ambitions.

IM: HZL’s 2021 financial year to March 31, 2021, was characterised by record production volumes and profitability; how were you able to achieve such results given the COVID-19-affected constraints on your operations?

AM: The uncertainty has evolved continuously. If I give you an example, we started the year with the uncertainty of COVID only; that is people getting infected leading to absenteeism. It was so contagious, it spread so fast, half of our workforce were down. So, that struck us heavily, but, nevertheless, because we had experience of last year, and this time there was no lockdown of industry, we were able to figure out how to manage and we did manage well, compared to last year’s same quarter, which was also COVID-affected. We had introduced various measures to change the way of working to ensure a safer working environment for the employees. We also got our workforce vaccinated along with their families to further minimise the risks associated with the pandemic.

Hindustan Zinc CEO, Arun Misra, says Hindustan Zinc has been at the forefront of ensuring personal health, be it of its employees or local communities

Furthermore, the automation and digitalisation efforts at Hindustan Zinc are equipped to better withstand these testing times while ensuring quick revival to a normal level of operations.

IM: During the height of the pandemic, HZL – like other socially responsible mining companies – supported communities within or close by to its operations. Can you highlight some of the actions you took over this period and what impact they had?

AM: We at Hindustan Zinc have been at the forefront of ensuring personal health, be it of our employees or local communities. We have gone beyond and extended our support to the state of Rajasthan and the nation at large by contributing significantly to the PM Cares Fund and Rajasthan Chief Minister Relief Fund.

To meet the requirement of oxygen during the second wave of the pandemic, we had set up an oxygen bottling plant at our Dariba unit (Rajsamand district) in a record time of five days and had supplied over 14,000 cylinders of medical oxygen. We even arranged 500 oxygen concentrators to be imported and distributed for use across the state.

We had provided an insulated vaccine van to the Udaipur district medical health office to support a smooth vaccination drive and extended support to the local health administrations, by disinfecting villages by spraying and fumigating with sodium hypochlorite solution and providing medical gear like masks, sanitisers and PPE to local communities.

We even constructed an 8,000 sq.m air-conditioning dome hospital, based on German technology, which has a capacity of 100 beds – including 20 ICU beds – to accommodate patients and provide them with essential COVID treatment and medical facilities.

IM: ESG is obviously a major focus area for HZL, as these examples illustrate. Where specifically are you investing in your mining, power and smelting operations to make them more environmentally friendly?

AM: As a COP26 business leader, we have always been active in tackling the repercussions of climate change and have a strong focus on reducing carbon emissions. We are pioneers in India, declaring our ambition to convert all our mining equipment to battery-operated electric vehicles and will invest $1 billion over the next five years to make our mining operations environmentally friendly.

We are continuously expanding our renewable power of 274 MW of wind and 40 MW of solar under our greenhouse gas reduction goals by converting 50% of our total power to renewable forms in the next five years. We are among the only two metal and mining companies globally – and among four Indian companies – to be part of the coveted CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) ‘A List’ 2020.

Furthermore, we have even published our first Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) Report this year and have also joined the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) forum to understand nature-related risks and opportunities and accelerate the transition towards a nature-positive and carbon-neutral future.

We have set Sustainability Development Goals to 2025 for ourselves where we are aiming towards sustainable operations for a greener tomorrow.

Hindustan Zinc has embarked on a major growth push at its mining operations with six ongoing expansion projects that will see over 100 km of tunnels developed for underground infrastructure and ore access

IM: At the same time as this, HZL has embarked on a major growth push at your mining operations with six ongoing expansion projects that will see over 100 km of tunnels developed for underground infrastructure and ore access. How are you able to balance your sustainable expansion plans with pledges to reduce your overall footprint?

AM: We strive for operational excellence and cost efficiencies and continue to stay on the growth track while being equally cognisant of our environmental, social and governance commitments, as well as our sustainability goals. We are leveraging more digitalisation and automation than we ever have, as well as engaging with technology leaders to do ‘more with less’.

The SmartDrive equipment we plan to use enables higher productivity, lower operating costs and, most importantly, zero local emissions, featuring in-built energy recuperation technology to make the most of regenerative braking energy during downhill driving and deceleration.

Being a power-intensive business, our key focus is always on reducing dependence on non-renewable sources of energy and enhancing our renewable power base.

IM: How important has it been to partner with like-minded technology and solution providers to ensure you meet these ambitious goals? Can you provide some examples here?

AM: We always look for partners who align with our philosophy of running sustainable operations to achieve company goals. We don’t need one-off solutions from companies to meet our targets; we need companies that will engage throughout our medium- and long-term projects and provide an element of customisation that factors in the realities of operating in our underground mines. We look for global partners to work with us where we exchange ideas, insights and knowledge with them in our growth journey.

We believe in providing opportunities to our business partners to leverage collaboration on technology, innovation and digitalisation, for long-term value creation and mutual growth.

To support our expansion plan, it is crucial for Hindustan Zinc to collaborate with mine development and operation partners who share a similar vision to ours, which is to leverage cutting-edge technology to create a positive impact on the entire mining fraternity. We are currently working with companies like Sandvik, Epiroc, Normet, Barminco, RCT, Siemens, etc as our global partners. We have engaged with them to provide end-to-end solutions rather than sourcing a specific supply or service.

Hindustan Zinc has given an equal platform for women engineers in its mining operations, appointing India’s first female underground mine manager in 2021

IM: You have already stated a goal of 1.5 Mt/y of zinc production in the upcoming years and extending your lead as India’s largest integrated zinc-lead producer; what is your vision for the company to 2030 and beyond?

AM: We are excited about our next phase of expansion to take mining capacity from 1.2 Mt per annum to 1.35 Mt/a. We will surely cross 1 Mt and we should be above our guidance if we achieve the desired run rates in our third and fourth quarters.

While our growth plans are a key part of the company’s future, we are also focused on becoming the leading zinc-lead-silver producer from an environmental, social and governance point of view. Our DJSI Ranking of being among the Top 5 companies in the metal and mining sector is testament to this. We are already winning significant awards for our ESG and CSR efforts, and expect this recognition to continue and grow as we head towards mapping out our 2025 sustainability goals.

Also, the mining value chain is changing across the globe and more consumers are becoming aware of the origins of the products they buy and the emissions that come with their production.

To collaborate with Hindustan Zinc on its green growth mission, email [email protected]

Barminco, Newtrax, Sandvik team up to tackle pedestrian safety in underground mines

Perenti’s Barminco, Newtrax and Sandvik are partnering to develop what they say is a new technology-led solution that improves the safety of pedestrians working near heavy vehicles (HVs) underground.

Between 2008 and 2018, there were 12 fatalities involving HVs in the underground mining industry in Western Australia. Seven of those deaths were pedestrians.

“This statistic is a reminder that these mining machines – that weigh a minimum of 4.5 t and operate in areas of poor visibility – are a significant risk factor for people who work in close proximity to them in an underground environment,” the companies said.

A leading underground mining contractors, Barminco currently operates 25 projects in seven countries and employs more than 5,600 people. Almost all these employees will be exposed to a working HV during their career. In fact, every hour of every day of the year, there are approximately 2,000 Barminco employees working underground interacting with heavy vehicles.

Barminco’s scale and underground mining expertise, combined with Newtrax’s capability to develop collision avoidance systems and the high penetration of Sandvik HVs featuring advanced controls, means this partnership is uniquely positioned to understand how people and equipment interact in underground mines, they said.

Newtrax has developed a collision avoidance system that links “intelligent” cap lamps to the warning system inside the cab of an underground HV. The system provides the vehicle operator with virtual visibility of any pedestrians in the immediate area of their vehicle, along with an escalated warning system to both the pedestrian and operator as the distance between them reduces. This escalation transitions from warning to vehicle intervention, where the HV automatically reduces speed and comes to a controlled stop, when the system senses any pedestrian wearing an intelligent cap lamp in the high-risk zone.

Under the partnership, Newtrax will deploy its next-generation Level 9 Collision Avoidance System across Barminco’s Sandvik fleet, including the supply of intelligent cap lamps with advanced electronic safety features to Barminco’s underground mines. The technology is due to undergo initial testing at one of Barminco’s underground sites in January 2022.

Paul Muller, Perenti Chief Executive Officer, Mining, said the focus of the project was twofold – the safety of its people and the sustainable adoption of the technology industry-wide.

“The exposure of pedestrians to heavy vehicles underground is a significant risk not just for us, but for everyone involved in the underground mining industry,” Muller said. “The combination of Newtrax’s technology, our underground operating experience and Sandvik’s role in supplying heavy mining vehicles can put us in a position to offer the entire industry a smart solution to a complex problem.”

Simon Waghorn, Newtrax Regional Vice President – APAC, said the collaboration with Barminco would provide the partners with real-world experience that would help optimise the system as it develops.

“Although the Newtrax Collision Avoidance System is the best available system on the market, many more enhancements are required to accelerate adoption,” he said. “This partnership with Barminco, a world-class underground hard-rock mining contractor, will enable collaborative product development which will result in an even better product for the industry.”

Wayne Scrivens, Vice President – Sales Area APAC, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, added: “Barminco is a very important customer for Sandvik and we are pleased to take on the challenge to develop and deliver the industry-leading intervention controllers, to enable slow-to-stop control of the equipment in Barminco’s fleet.”

Perenti’s Barminco seals Savannah nickel project contract

Perenti Global’s hard-rock underground mining subsidiary, Barminco, has finalised a contract with Panoramic Resources for development and production works at the Savannah nickel project in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The finalised contract represents a value of around A$280 million ($208 million) over a four-year contract term, Perenti said.

Under the terms of the initial letter of intent, announced on the April 6, 2021, Barminco commenced mobilisation and early mining works ahead of the schedule. With finalisation of the contract, Barminco expects development and production works will ramp-up over the coming six months to achieve full run rate of revenue early in the March quarter of 2022.

The contract will be serviced by new underground mining equipment including the use of tele-remote mining equipment, expected to deliver both safety and productivity benefits, Panoramic said.

Ore processing at Savannah is scheduled to begin in November with first concentrate shipment from Savannah targeted for the following month, Panoramic said. The building of an ore stockpile on the surface has already commenced and the company plans for this to reach 100,000 t prior to turning on the processing plant.

Perenti’s Managing Director and CEO, Mark Norwell, said: “We look forward to working together with the team at Panoramic to develop what we all expect will be Australia’s next long-life nickel producing mine. Despite the challenging labour market conditions in Western Australia, we have been successful in mobilising a labour force of approximately 110 highly skilled underground employees. We expect this to increase to 170 as the project ramps up. Securing this labour force has enabled us to commence early works ahead of schedule.”

Savannah has outlined a 12-year mine life with an average annual production target of 9,072 t of nickel, 4,683 t of copper and 676 t cobalt in concentrate. The mine is set to operate at average site all-in costs of A$6.36/lb of payable nickel, net of copper and cobalt by-product credits and royalty payments. This equates to roughly $4.86/Ib or $10,714/t.

The operation, with more than A$100 million already invested, has been maintained since the suspension of operations in April 2020 with a view towards operational readiness and project optimisation. This includes the recent completion of the FAR#3 ventilation raise, underground capital development on four mining levels at Savannah North and ancillary capital works on surface and underground infrastructure, which are currently being completed, Panoramic says.

Sandvik delivers 100th automated loader in APAC region

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it has delivered its 100th loader connected to the AutoMine® platform in the Asia Pacific region.

A Sandvik LH621i loader was delivered to Byrnecut Australia in March, making it Sandvik’s 100th automated load and haul unit to be delivered in APAC.

Sandvik has 30 AutoMine systems installed across Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, with customers including Barminco, OceanaGold, Redpath, and Byrnecut, who now have 11 sites in Australia connected to AutoMine. The first AutoMine system in the region was delivered and commissioned in 2008 for Mount Isa Copper Operations, now owned by Glencore.

AutoMine is Sandvik’s automation system for autonomous and tele-remote operation for a wide range of Sandvik and non-Sandvik underground and surface equipment. It provides a safe and controlled process to increase mine productivity and profitability, as well as protect operators and other mine personnel in underground and surface operations.

AutoMine can be scaled from tele-remote or autonomous operation of a single machine to multi-machine control and full fleet automation with automatic mission and traffic control capability. Operators can simultaneously control or monitor multiple machines from the comfort and safety of a remote control room, Sandvik says.

Sandvik recently demonstrated this capability with the successful trial remote operation of a LH621i loader at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine in South Australia. The LH621i was successfully operated from the Remote Operating Centre in OZ Mineral’s Adelaide office, taking OZ Minerals a step closer to realising its goal of remote operations from home.

“The digitalisation field has developed significantly over the years and we have adapted to meet the industry needs along the way,” Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions Technical Support Manager – Mine Automation, Ty Osborne, said.

“We have seen our customers change their mindset from ‘this technology is nice but won’t work in our mine’, to, ‘what do have to do to make this work in our mine?’. Our customers are now seeing the value of including digitalisation in their mine planning and recognise the tangible benefits an automated fleet can bring to their operation.”

Panoramic, Primero and Barminco get to work on restarting Savannah nickel operation

Panoramic Resources Ltd, after a 12-month review process, has approved the restart of the Savannah Nickel Operation, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The decision hinges on a 12-year mine life with an average annual production target of 9,072 t of nickel, 4,683 t of copper and 676 t cobalt in concentrate; as well as an offtake agreement with Trafigura that will also see the trading company provide a loan facility of up to A$45 million to cover the A$41 million of upfront capital cost required to restart the mine.

Savannah is set to operate at average site all-in costs of A$6.36/lb of payable nickel, net of copper and cobalt by-product credits and royalty payments. This equates to roughly $4.86/Ib or $10,714/t.

Savannah, with more than A$100 million already invested, has been maintained since the suspension of operations in April 2020 with a view towards operational readiness and project optimisation. This includes the recent completion of the FAR#3 ventilation raise, underground capital development on four mining levels at Savannah North and ancillary capital works on surface and underground infrastructure, which are currently being completed, Panoramic said.

The restart decision has led to divisions of Perenti and NRW Holdings being awarded significant contracts related to the resumption of mining activities.

Barminco, a subsidiary of the Perenti Group, has been awarded a four-year underground mining contract under a binding letter of intent and is scheduled to mobilise to site in July 2021. The contract will be serviced by new underground mining equipment including the use of tele-remote mining equipment, expected to deliver both safety and productivity benefits, Panoramic said.

The contractor was formally awarded the A$200 million contract back in February.

“Based on Barminco’s previous working knowledge at Savannah, opportunities to increase ore production and reduce dilution have also been identified,” the company added, explaining that underground mining is planned to commence in August, with ore to initially be sourced from both the Savannah and the Savannah North deposits.

Following an evaluation of an owner-operator model for the processing plant and a competitive contract tender process, Panoramic has also signed a non-binding letter of intent worth A$35 million with Primero (owned by NRW Holdings), which envisages a three-year agreement. The agreement relates to all processing and maintenance work at the Savannah processing plant, which has been maintained in “excellent condition” during the suspension, Panoramic said.

“A number of opportunities for improved recoveries through enhanced operating practices and minor capital projects have been identified,” the company added. As a result, the non-binding letter of intent with Primero has been structured to incentivise achieving higher than budget recoveries.

Panoramic is working with Primero to complete a binding contract in the coming months, but ore processing is set to restart in November 2021, allowing ore stockpiles to build for around three months (100,000 t) to de-risk ore supply issues.

The process plant at Savannah was commissioned in August 2004 and comprises a single stage crusher, SAG mill, flotation, thickening and filtering stages to produce a bulk nickel, copper, cobalt concentrate. Over the 2004 to 2016 initial operating period, metallurgical recoveries averaged 86-89% for nickel, 94-97% for copper and 89-92% for cobalt. The plant was originally designed for a throughput of 750,000 t/y, but consistently outperformed the design specifications with rates exceeding 1 Mt on an annualised basis, Panoramic said.

First concentrate shipment from the Wyndham Port is targeted for December 2021.

Barminco set for Normet battery-electric Charmec trial at IGO’s Nova operation

Normet’s Charmec MC 605 VE Smart Drive battery-powered emulsion charger is continuing its tour of Australia, with Barminco signing up to trial the machine for three months at the Independence Group-owned Nova nickel-copper-cobalt underground mine in Western Australia.

Barminco, a Perenti company, says the trial is part of its commitment to improving performance and driving sustainability initiatives across its business. It represents the contractor’s first heavy-duty battery electric vehicle (BEV) trial, coming on top of the short trial it conducted with Safescape’s Bortana light electric vehicle, also at Nova.

The MC605 VE Smart Drive will be a direct replacement for the diesel-powered MC605 D Barminco uses at its underground client sites, with the battery-electric trial likely involving a mix of production and development operations.

“Along with the maintenance and cost benefits of using battery-electric equipment underground, it will also provide an improved work environment for our people,” Barminco said.

OZ Minerals, in October, became the first miner in Australia to take delivery of a battery-powered Normet Charmec MC 605 VE SD. The charging unit, which arrived at the Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia, was also put through a three-month trial.

The work at Carrapateena involved the charging of 30 faces – all of which were charged without any major problems – with tramming times of 5-15 minutes and tramming distances of 1-3.5 km from the explosives warehouse to the face and back, according to Normet. The process saw 4.5 m long cuts and an average of 65 holes, with 300-400 kg of emulsion loaded per cut.

The trial involved the use of an on-board 1.5 t Emulsion Charging Module system provided by Normet and the application of Downer Blasting Services’ HEAT® 9000 ammonium nitrate emulsion.

The unit carried out charging with and without a trailing cable plugged into the mine site’s electricity infrastructure and a SmartDrive CT40 DC-charging trolley was also employed.

Reflecting on the Carrapateena trial, Normet said: “SmartDrive battery-electric vehicle architecture proved its ability for emulsion charging as this process is extremely energy efficient and enables independent operations even without a trailing cable plugged in.

“Silent slope performance as well as exhaust-, heat- and noise-free charging operations made a real impression on all users of the SD Charmec.”

Back in 2019, Normet made history with the MC 605 VE Smart Drive by demonstrating battery-electric emulsion charging in an underground production environment for the first time in Europe at the Pyhäsalmi mine, in Finland.

Perenti plants roots in USA on North America contract mining potential

Perenti Group has targeted the North America market for further contract mining growth, establishing a US office in the first half of its 2021 financial year.

The office, thought to be in Denver, Colorado, will help the company make the most of the substantial pipeline it has identified in North America.

The news came during the company’s first half results to the end of December 2020, which showed off revenue of A$1.01 billion ($799 million) and EBITDA of A$201 million.

Noting strong growth in its underground business and a contraction in its Africa surface business (most of which is tied to its AMS subsidiary), the company said it had won A$1.1 billion of new work and extensions since July 1, 2020, while its orderbook was around A$5.5 billion and its pipeline was circa-A$9.2 billion.

Within this global pipeline, A$2.1 billion was in the North America region, Perenti said. This was made up of 14 projects, three of which were at the tendering stage. Overall, 14% of the pipeline was from the US and 9% was in Canada.

The company, through its Barminco subsidiary, won its first “significant” North America contract last year when it signed on to an underground contract mining agreement at Barrick Gold’s Hemlo mine in Ontario, Canada (pictured).

In other news, the company said increased demand for its MinAnalytical mineral sample processing had been registered in the six months to the end of December, with record PhotonAssay processing recorded in December 2020.

The company also said it was “progressing alternative service offerings” during 2021.

Barminco bags A$200 million contract extension at Gold Fields’ Agnew mine

Perenti’s hard-rock underground miner Barminco says it has been awarded a A$200 million ($153 million) contract extension at Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine in Leinster, Western Australia.

The extension is for full underground mining services, driven by an increase in development and production “physicals” at the mine, Perenti said, adding that Barminco has been operating at Agnew since 2010.

Perenti Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Norwell, said: “We are delighted to be extending our relationship with our long-standing client, Gold Fields.

“Part of our 2025 group strategy is to organically grow this part of our business. The recent achievements of Barminco in this regard are a result of the strong relationships we share with our clients and the value we create for them through our world-class underground mining capabilities.”

Perenti Mining Chief Executive Officer, Paul Muller, said: “We have been providing safe and efficient underground mining services at Agnew for more than 10 years and we are very pleased to be supporting Gold Fields with their increased development and production requirements. This extension will take our current term out to December 2023.”