Tag Archives: Barminco

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.”

Barminco to debut Epiroc Diamec Smart 6M in the Goldfields of Western Australia

Barminco says it has become the first company in the world to debut the new generation of Epiroc’s Mobile Carrier Rig (MCR) – the GEN 2 Epiroc Diamec Smart 6M.

This second-generation underground mobile core drill rig uses the drilling capacity of the Diamec Smart 6 automated operating system, and the mobility and sturdiness of the S2 Boomer carrier with the addition of Epiroc’s automated rod handler, the contractor said.

Epiroc says the the Diamec Smart 6M combines the best of two worlds – the high productivity and accuracy of a Diamec core drilling rig, with the mobility of a robust carrier designed for underground use.

The Rod Handling System, coupled with the Smart 6 Rig Control System, allows for full automation, increasing operator safety and productivity, according to Barminco.

The company said: “Combining Epiroc’s cutting-edge technology of their drilling and rod handling operating systems brings the underground drilling industry a step closer to having ‘no hands on steel’ and taking a giant step forward towards a safer environment for the operators.”

The contractor is due to commission the rig next month at a client site in the Goldfields of Western Australia.

Barminco added: “The addition of the Epiroc GEN 2 MCR to our state-of-the-art fleet supports our Diamond Drill team to Enable Tomorrow, work Smarter Together and take No Shortcuts. Following these Barminco Principles will help create a safer environment for our people and will assist our client in consistently achieving production targets.”

Mine electrification shift could create new business opportunities, report says

Heightened social pressure and a need for economically efficient mining practices will see Australia’s mining industry shift towards a future of automation, electrification and the ultimate goal of zero emissions on site, according to the State of Play: Electrification report.

The report states the majority (89%) of the globe’s leading mining executives expect mine sites across the world to electrify within the next 20 years.

Electrification is a game changer for the mining industry as it allows the complete removal of diesel from mines and, when combined with renewable energy, results in a decarbonised mine site.

Australia’s leading mining companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP, South 32 and OZ Minerals – along with Tesla – provided input into the report, which uncovered that the need to shift to low footprint, electric mines is being driven by economic, environmental and health related opportunities.

More specifically, nearly 79% of mining executives believe there will be a health-related industry class action in the next 15 years and 91% expect the shift to electrics will create new business opportunities.

It’s these perceived health risks – if nothing changes – and economic benefits that State of Play Co-Founder and Chairman, Graeme Stanway, says is driving the industry to take a close look at current practices and think: how can we do this better?

“Electric equipment will allow for a shift from the typical underground mine sites we see today in Australia with many pieces of heavy equipment, powered by diesel, operating underground in confined spaces alongside teams of people, towards a clean future of mining, not seen before,” he said.

“A future where machinery is safe, automated and battery powered; this would effectively cut out two of the biggest issues in mining: carbon impact and particulate exposure and result in zero carbon emission mines.”

While the industry as a whole understands these benefits, when it comes to individually implementing them as an organisation, cost becomes a key hurdle, according to Stanway.

“Our data shows renewables, all electric systems and batteries will help fuel the change towards a healthier, economically viable future of mining, but uncertainty remains when it comes to to which area to invest in first, and how,” Stanway says.

He says the industry should focus on collaborating to overcome cost barriers and uncertainty in technology choices that may be beyond the capacity of individual companies. And, while the mass adoption of electrification technology has so far been low, key players such as Independence Group, Gold Fields, South32, OZ Minerals and Barminco are joining forces to accelerate achieving the goal of zero emissions mines.

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, is part of this collaboration and says Australian mining companies have a huge advantage compared with their global counterparts when it comes to alternative energy sources.

“Here, in Australia, we have an abundance of renewables that the industry is tapping into, particularly in our most remote operations,” he said. “Local mine sites have the opportunity to install solar and wind, and battery energy storage systems to power their operations at a much cheaper cost than many global players.”

He added: “For the country to fully realise the opportunity of zero emissions mines, we also need to be able to effectively implement these technologies. We need to modernise our regulatory framework, and consider what skills our sector will need, across the entire range of the workforce, from trades and technicians, university graduates, through to our scientists and PhDs.”

RUC Mining, Barminco keep Panoramic’s Savannah nickel restart plan on track

Panoramic Resources says underground development at the Savannah nickel project in Western Australia is moving ahead as planned, with both its raisebore contractor and contract miner striving towards the ASX-listed company’s first half 2021 restart goal.

In a progress update, the company said mining contractor, Barminco, had completed the 468 m horizontal underground development drive, connecting with the vertical ventilation shaft to complete Fresh Air Raise (FAR #3) development at Savannah North, in late September.

Since then, specialist raiseboring contractor, RUC Mining, has been setting up the raisebore rig on the surface and installing the reamer head at the 1675 RL, which was developed to intersect into the existing FAR #3 raise.

“This complicated and critical task was completed safely and efficiently as planned,” Panoramic said on October 19. “RUC is tasked with the FAR #3 back-reaming, which commenced over the weekend and expected to be completed in the March 2021 quarter.”

A total of 354 m will be back reamed at a diameter of 3.85 m, according to the company. This is planned to provide sufficient ventilation to support future full-scale mining operations from Savannah North in line with the Mine Plan released in late July.

Managing Director and CEO, Victor Rajasooriar, said: “We now have a firm foundation to recommence underground pre-production development next month, to complete ventilation works for Savannah North and complete areas of capital development to lay further groundwork for a potential restart of operations. This work will be concluded towards the end of the March quarter 2021 and we expect to be in a position where the project is capable of being restarted in the first half of 2021.”

The Savannah Mine Plan outlined a mine life of around 13 years, with the majority of ore sourced from the Savannah North orebody. Average annual production for years 1-12 would be 8,810 t of nickel, 4, 579 t of copper and 659 t of cobalt in concentrate, with all-in costs for these years of $5.27/lb of payable nickel, net of copper and cobalt by-product credits.

Barrick to bid goodbye to Hemlo open pit as Barminco ramps up UG activities

Barrick Gold says plans to extend the life of the Hemlo gold mine, in Ontario, Canada, by transitioning it to a modernised Tier Two asset with a purely underground operation are well underway as open-pit mining at the mine starts winding down.

The Hemlo open pit has been mined since 1989 and has produced over 2.8 Moz of gold in the process. It was originally used to produce blasted rock for the backfilling of the mine’s underground stopes but, in 2002, a Cat 777 truck fleet and key personnel were seconded from Barrick’s Nevada mines to establish the pit as a separate division.

In 2013, the David Bell mine closed, leaving the open pit and the Williams underground mine as the chief sources of ore for the mill feed. Over the next six years, the open pit ramped up and became the primary source of ore for Hemlo.

With mining at the open pit scheduled to wind down at the end of this month with less than 200,000 t of ore remaining, a transition plan has been put in place to transfer most of the 70 plus open-pit employees to the current underground contractor, Barminco. The open-pit crew has already worked with the contractor in digging a new portal from within the open pit that will open up new mining fronts in the underground mine, creating more flexibility and allowing the underground to ramp up throughput.

Catherine Raw, Chief Operating Officer for North America, said that by repositioning and expanding Hemlo as an underground operation, it would continue delivering benefits to the community, employees and other stakeholders for years to come.

Barrick Hemlo’s General Manager, Adam Foulstone, thanked the open-pit employees for their years of dedication and hard work.

“It’s been a great run and I am honoured to have worked with such a great team,” he said. “The last years of the mine were very challenging but we completed the work with zero lost time injuries, a testament to the commitment and professionalism of our people.”

The mine held a dedication ceremony on October 5 to unveil the new portal sign honouring long-serving employee, Jim Harasym. Harasym is the Open Pit Manager at the Hemlo mine and was instrumental in the success of the project.