Tag Archives: bauxite

SRG Global banks contract extensions with South32 at Worsley and BCI at Mardie

SRG Global Ltd says it has secured significant new contract awards with existing Tier 1 clients, including South32 and BCI Minerals, valued at circa-A$80 million ($55 million).

The South32 term contract is an extension to the existing contract and has a duration of two years for works at the Worsley Alumina bauxite and alumina refinery operations in Western Australia. The scope of works is to provide civil services for the continuous enhancement of BRDA embankments as well as other civil and road maintenance services. The contract will commence immediately and is expected to complete in 2024.

The BCI Minerals contract will see SRG Global continue to provide earthworks and civil services for the construction of evaporation pond embankment walls as well as other civil infrastructure for gas pipeline corridors and drainage at the Mardie salt and potash project in Western Australia. The contract extension applies to existing works that will start immediately and will be complete in 2022.

David Macgeorge, Managing Director, said: “The South32 contract builds on our six-year relationship at the Worsley Alumina site and is evidence of our ability to add value for key clients through our diverse capability.”

Back in October 2020, SRG Global secured a long-term circa-A$100 million contract with Worsley Alumina to provide specialist refractory services, including gunning and casting and installation of refractory products and anchors.

At Worsley Alumina, South32 mines bauxite (pictured) and transports it on an overland conveyor belt to a refinery where the bauxite is turned into white alumina powder. The alumina is then exported to smelters around the world.

He added: “The contract extension at the globally significant Mardie salt and potash project demonstrates our ability to provide value-engineered services to our clients from project inception, and the capability to deliver critical infrastructure for the burgeoning salt and potash sector.”

Bis to haul bauxite for Rio Tinto at Gove operations

Bis says it has signed a multi-year bauxite haulage contract with Rio Tinto for its Gove operations in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Bis will deploy an efficient, high payload haulage solution to Gove, enabling a day shift only approach, which will also provide a strong foundation for managing employee attraction, it said.

Bis Chief Executive Officer, Brad Rogers, said the new contract is testament to the company’s focus on innovation and safety.

“I’m very proud we are able to offer a tailored and efficient haulage solution to Rio Tinto in a way that is conducive to a compelling employee value proposition.

“Given the remoteness of the operation – Gove is 1,000 km from Darwin – the ability to meet Rio Tinto’s production requirements in a cost efficient manner, with day shift only operations, will help to deliver a safe and reliable operation. We are excited to commence at Gove and look forward to supporting Rio Tinto at this important operation.”

The haulage and road maintenance contract will see Bis provide off-road haulage of bauxite, road grading, dust suppression and associated support services.

Assets include 230 t haulage combinations, loaders, graders, a water cart and other support equipment. Mobilisation of the new Gove contract begins immediately.

Bis has a long history of providing haulage, material handling and site services in the Northern Territory across a variety of commodities including manganese, iron ore and bauxite, it said.

This latest contract award comes only weeks after the company announced it had also secured a project with new customer, Stanmore Resources, at its Bowen Basin operation in Queensland.

Hatch identifies opportunities to cut Australian tailings generation by as much as 30%

A new report from multi-disciplinary engineering, operational and development project, Hatch, estimates Australia’s mining waste can be reduced by 30% using already available technologies.

One of the biggest challenges currently facing the mining industry is managing the volume of tailings generated as minerals mining ramps up to meet the demands of the transition to renewable energy.

Undertaking an in-depth analysis to identify the technologies required to reduce or eliminate tailings of six key commodities (copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, coal and bauxite), Hatch investigated how tailings production would be impacted by applying the key technologies ‘themes’: advanced geometallurgy, ore sorting, advanced sensing and particle sorting, in-situ extraction, and preferential fracturing.

The company’s analysis revealed that technologies available today could reduce tailings by 20-30%, also identifying that, in the next 10-20 years, the integration of these technologies in future projects or expansions could provide an opportunity to reduce tailings by more than 50%.

Managing Director of Australia and Asia at Hatch, Jan Kwak (pictured), says the challenge of reducing tailings is a complex effort that is best solved utilising the innovative capacity of the entire mining supply chain.

“A balanced spread of researchers, METS (mining equipment, technology and services) companies, and operators in the mining industry are actively commercialising technologies,” he said. “Half (50%) of stakeholders identified are METS companies, whose core business is the supply of equipment and services of these technologies, indicating commercialisation is underway. This group was also present across the technologies that our analysis has shown to have higher TRLs (Technology Readiness Levels).”

The TRL ranking system measures the maturity of technologies, whereby Hatch graded technologies from zero (idea stage) to nine (commercial application).

For in-situ mining and preferential fracturing technology themes, there is a larger representation of research organisations and partnerships. This suggests collaboration is required to advance technological development, according to Hatch.

“It is vital that these stakeholders are highly engaged in the tailings reduction challenge in order to achieve the greatest cut through and introduce real change and advancement in the reduction of tailings, which will be needed to support the increase in mining activity while meeting emissions reduction targets,” added Kwak.

Metso Outotec and CSIRO to cooperate on SwirlFlow agitation tech for bauxite, alumina sector

Metso Outotec and Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, have signed a global exclusive cooperation agreement on the delivery of SwirlFlow® agitation technology for the bauxite and alumina sector outside of China.

The combination of the companies’ leading expertise in their respective fields will allow the parties to create the strongest offering to the market for the use of SwirlFlow technology in the refinery precipitation tanks, Metso Outotec said.

“Sustainability is a top priority for Metso Outotec,” Dr Alessio Scarsella, Director of Light Metals at Metso Outotec, said. “In addition to our own investments to develop technology for sustainable alumina processing, we are pleased to be able to announce our cooperation with CSIRO. This will allow us to meet our customers’ growing demand such as lower capital installation, reduced spare parts costs and increase in precipitation tank availability.”

Andrew Jenkin, Research Program Director for Processing at CSIRO, added: “CSIRO’s leading technology in SwirlFlow agitation has been pioneered at a Tier One refinery precipitation tanks, leading to significantly reduced maintenance costs and improved operational time between descaling events.”

SwirlFlow, according to CSIRO, enhances the agitation process by mixing liquids and suspended solids to create a tornado-like vortex in a tank. The solution uses a motor, gearbox and a specially-designed radial impeller with a short shaft near the top of the tank. The system improves agitator reliability, resulting in reduced maintenance and shutdowns. And, due to higher and more uniform wall veolcities, the scale formation rate is also reduced.

Hastings Deering, Cat and Rio Tinto carry out Australia’s first 777 D to E conversion

In what it says is a first for the Australia market, Hastings Deering has successfully completed the conversion of 777D haul trucks into 777E models for Rio Tinto’s Gove bauxite operations in the Northern Territory.

The 777D to E conversion process includes an engine upgrade from an older Cat 3508 to a C32 Tier 2 engine, a transmission upgrade to electronic clutch control, torque converter upgrade and an upgraded cab with the latest electronics and safety aspects.

Nearing the end of mine life, Gove was looking at innovative ways to reduce its environmental impact, extend fleet life and optimise return on investment, Hastings Deering said.

Brendan Coleing, Superintendent, Mining Maintenance, said that the Gove operation has focused heavily on building safe and reliable machinery to meet the targeted life of its assets and has been working to reduce environmental emissions.

“With a 24/7 operation, we need to plan and strategically think about our assets, their maintenance and lifecycle,” he said.

“All machines have availability targets. Ultimately, we want to keep them in the field as long as possible. The 777D to E Conversion project was a way we could continue the journey to do that, with the added benefit of providing improved technology to our operational teams.”

He concluded: “We’re excited that Gove operations was the first Australian mine to undertake this project, and only the second in the world. With a significant reduction in our carbon footprint, fuel consumption and maintenance costs, and an improved operator experience, really, we were challenged with: why wouldn’t we?”

With the first of the 777 trucks now back on site, the Rio Tinto team has seen a 5-6% fuel reduction, proving that effective planning for this fleet conversion has improved economy on site, Hastings Deering said.

With Cat equipment built to perform over multiple lifetimes, the Cat Certified Rebuild (CCR) was the most efficient way to help get the most economic value out of the asset investment, according to Hastings Deering.

A CCR is a full machine rebuild that provides a like-new machine, inclusive of all Cat updates, to help achieve a full machine life supported by the Caterpillar warranty.

In early 2020, the Hastings Deering team worked with Rio Tinto on an alternative solution for engine replacement in its D11R fleet that, it says, reduced costs, fuel use and emissions while extending lifespans. This incorporated replacing the 3508 engines with the newer C32 engines.

“Recent success with repowering our D11 fleet with C32 engines has helped our mining operations move more bauxite due to increased power in the machine,” Coleing said. “This, in turn, allowed us to plan for the 777D to E conversions to take place in the workshop to complete the CCRs.”

Chris Polkinghorne, Mining Support Rep at Hastings Deering, said that the 777D to E conversion was brought about through collaboration with Caterpillar, Rio Tinto Gove and Hastings Deering.

“As a team we worked through what the benefits of this conversion would be, what was required, the planning phase and then how to execute the project in as little time as possible,” he said. “The 777D to E conversion redefines performance adding all the advancements of the 777E truck model.

“For the operator, improved ergonomics provide enhanced comfort, safety, and visibility, to maximise productivity and reduce fatigue.”

Surface-mining opportunities lie in market-related commodities

Johannesburg-based mining equipment distributor Vermeer Equipment Suppliers is starting to focus on certain market-related commodities and associated open-cast mines to market its surface excavation machines, says Mining and Pipeline Sales Segment Manager, Gareth Cramond.

The machines are being used in Africa at, among others, China Molybdenum’s Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt mine, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and exploration and mining services company Société Minière de Boké’s bauxite mines, in Guinea. In South Africa, the machines are being used at diversified miner Exxaro Resources’ Grootegeluk open-cast coal mine, in Limpopo.

Cramond says Vermeer wants to pursue other commodities that will be in demand within the next few years. He notes that the company is approaching mining companies that are mining certain market-related commodities.

The Vermeer surface excavation machine provides users with consistent material size, eliminating the need for primary crushers and increasing efficiencies of loaders and haul trucks. No permits for blasting are required either, the company says. This mining method also facilitates selective mining and selective loading, allowing for the ore to be more easily separated from waste.

Other advantages include access to areas of open-cast mines where drilling and blasting cannot be carried out because of physical or permit limitations, as well as a reduction in noise, dust and vibration, compared with drilling and blasting operations. The machine can mine at a maximum incline up to 30º.

Vermeer Equipment Suppliers MD, Frank Beerthuis, notes that this capability enables the machine to start mining directly after vegetation has been cleared, even on hills and slopes.

“Further, the equipment can remove overburden and, once the orebodies are exposed, mining can continue,” he says. “With drill and blast, a lot of mobilisation and demobilisation of equipment is needed to get to the orebody.”

Cramond argues that there are opportunities to use surface mining technology, such as Vermeer’s surface excavation machines, on existing mines that have “essentially mined themselves out” using traditional mining methods.

“If a mine has drilled and blasted to a certain depth and there is a certain span of their mine site for which they cannot use traditional methods, but there is enough of a commodity that makes it viable to further extend the life span of the mine, surface mining technology may be a unique consideration for them,” he explains.

Further, Vermeer has identified opportunities at greenfield mines in sub-Saharan Africa.

Cramond says that when a miner starts up a greenfield mine and can eliminate the primary crushing process to get the material into the market much quicker, surface mining becomes a viable option if it falls within the capability ranges of the surface mining technology that is going to be used.

Implementing surface excavation machines at greenfield mines can save time and may reduce the initial capital investment, as well as generate revenue much faster than traditional methods, he adds.

“The infrastructure is considerably less expensive to buy and is installed quicker than the construction of a large primary crushing plant, for example,” he says.

The quick start-up of the machines can enable existing mines to take advantage of spiking market prices, Cramond comments.

Implementing surface excavation machines at greenfield mines can save time and may reduce the initial capital investment, as well as generate revenue much faster than traditional methods, Gareth Cramond says

Tools and analysis

Vermeer says it has the tools and data to estimate how the surface excavation machines can perform at a mine. The estimation uses actual data from a mine operation to provide a more realistic estimate of how Vermeer’s technology may benefit a mine.

The company can carry out field testing using a point load tester to test material on site. If the material is within a range deemed acceptable, further testing will be required.

Moreover, Vermeer has its own dedicated rock laboratory in the US, to which interested mines’ rock samples are sent to determine production rates and cost of production of the company’s surface excavation machines in the client’s specific application. These samples are then subjected to various tests and the data is provided for the mine.

Cramond highlights that, even though there are numerous rock laboratories available, Vermeer orientates its rock-testing towards the capabilities of its machines, which enables the company to gain detailed information on the samples and the potential of job sites and compare these afterwards with real life production rates of the equipment. The company uses its in-house developed production calculator to formulate operational costs and production rates on a particular mine site.

If it has been determined that Vermeer’s surface excavation machines are suited to a mine’s operations, the client is given the option to either trial the equipment or visit a mine where the company’s equipment is being used in a similar application.

When trialing the equipment, Vermeer conducts a complete efficiency analysis of the mine and provides this data for the client. Trialing can take from two weeks to three months.

“The future of mining lies in using innovative techniques and three-dimensional digital technology-based methods,” Cramond concludes.

TAKRAF X-TREME sizers go the distance at Guinea bauxite mine

Three TAKRAF X-TREME class sizers supplied to a large bauxite mining operation in Guinea are, the OEM says, fully delivering on their promise of exceptional reliability and wear behaviour.

Commissioned in late 2018, the sizers had, as of the end of February 2021, crushed more than 27 Mt of bauxite ore and were still operating with their original set of wear parts.

The sizers were supplied as part of an important production expansion project at the mine. This project, awarded in late 2016 to TAKRAF as an EPC contract, encompassed a comprehensive wagon unloading, crushing and conveying system.

The TAKRAF sizers included within the overall system comprised one 3,600 t/h primary TCS-X 14.35 located in the pit beneath the wagon tippler; and two 1,800 t/h secondary TCS-X 08.30 located in the crushing building.

Both the primary and the secondary sizers are from TAKRAF’s X-TREME class sizer range. This range was developed to provide extended reliability and availability through a heavy-duty drivetrain, robust shaft and bearing assemblies, and the use of advanced wear resistant materials.

Ease of maintenance is another advantage of the TAKRAF sizer, with the primary sizer installed on site featuring a bolted tooth system to enable easy and quick replacement when sufficient wear has been experienced, the company says.

Conor Mitchell, TAKRAF Product Manager – Roll Crushers, said: “The combination of high reliability and long lifetime of wear parts means significantly higher machine uptime and that ends up translating into increased productivity for this bauxite operation. These performance levels reinforce that our X-TREME class sizer line provides maximum reliability and availability in difficult conditions, which is something the market has been calling for quite some time.”

Hastings Deering rebuild program pays off for Rio Tinto’s Gove operation

Hastings Deering has been sustain output at Rio Tinto’s Gove bauxite open-pit operation in the Northern Territory of Australia by boosting engine power during the rebuild of dozers.

The Cat D11T dozer is purpose built to move more material and ensure maximum availability through its planned life cycle, the Caterpillar dealer says. For Rio Tinto, Dozer 79, had built up over 37,000 hours ripping and pushing bauxite at its open-pit operation.

Rio Tinto knew it wanted to undergo a Cat Certified Rebuild for its dozer but had to come up with an innovate way to do this while minimising equipment down time, Hastings Deering said.

Brendan Coleing, Superintendent, Mining Maintenance, said the Gove operation has focused heavily on building safe and reliable machinery to meet the targeted life of its assets and maintenance schedules.

“With a 24/7 operation, we need to plan and strategically think about our assets, their maintenance and lifecycle,” he said. “By planning large maintenance projects in advance, at Rio Tinto, we’ve been able to compensate for machinery downtime and achieve some great energy efficiencies.”

One of the key projects that helped to allow for the nine-week Cat Certified Rebuild (CCR) was the D11R repower project.

In early 2020, the Hastings Deering team worked with Rio Tinto on an alternative solution for engine replacement in its D11R fleet that reduced costs, fuel use and emissions while extending lifespans. This incorporated replacing the 3508 engines the machines originally came with, with the newer C32 engines.

“Recent success with repowering our D11 fleet with C32 engines has helped our mining operations move more bauxite due to increased power in the machine,” Coleing states. “This in turn allowed us to remove Dozer 79 out of production, and into the workshop to complete a Cat Certified Rebuild.”

Alongside the increase in machine availability, this project presented a budgeted fuel burn reduction of up to 25%.

“Our like-for-like material movements are now done with significantly less fuel which is a great environmental outcome,” Coleing said. “They’re also quieter, making them a little more comfortable for the operator.”

With Cat equipment built to perform over multiple lifetimes, the CCR was the most efficient way to help get the most economic value out of the original asset investment.

A CCR is a full machine rebuild that provides a like-new machine, inclusive of all Cat updates, to help achieve a full machine life supported by the Caterpillar warranty, Hastings Deering says.

Brad Read, Service Manager at Hastings Deering, said the CCR program is an efficient way for customers to improve the planned lifecycle of their machines.

“Given Dozer 79’s upcoming power train, hydraulic and major component change outs, a CCR was a cost-effective way for us to maintain the asset through to the end of its target life,” he said. “Customers opt for a CCR as it provides the ability to rebuild their machine, including all technological advancements, over purchasing a new machine. This helps to reduce capital expenditure.”

Read said that the CCR offered an extended scope or work over a standard rebuild and took careful planning between the Rio Tinto and Hastings Deering teams.

“The CCR takes up to nine weeks to complete and covers an extended scope of work including power train replacement, hydraulics and electrical components, cab overhaul, work implement overhaul and ET testing and painting,” he said.

“Effective planning is critical to the success of a large-scale project like a CCR. The team needs to ensure all stages of the rebuild have been planned, scheduled and are on time to guarantee machine delivery back to the customer.”

“It is essential to support our customers in their operation.”

By successfully planning the CCR after the success of the C32 repower project, Rio Tinto and Hastings Deering were able to improve the performance of its equipment and compensate for the removal of Dozer 79, Hastings Deering said.

Coleing said: “By undertaking work in this manner, we’ve removed a massive amount of forward log of work that not only gave us immediate availability but provided us with an improved asset through to the end of the machine life.”

JSW, BBURG HD2500RC drill rig impresses at Fortescue’s Solomon iron ore mine

JSW Australia’s ambition to leverage the latest drilling and automation technology is coming to fruition with the deployment of a new high powered, small footprint drill rig to Fortescue Metals Group’s Solomon iron ore mine in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The planned arrival of the HD2500RC was announced around a year ago.

Leveraging IDAT (Intelligent Drilling Applications & Technology) technology, developed by German manufacturer BBURG and customised in conjunction with IDAT, the rig underwent site commissioning in July and its initial production performance to date has been impressive, according to JSW.

The HD2500RC was designed especially for the challenging terrain at Solomon where the preparation of drill pads is difficult and expensive, the company says.

“With JSW’s years of experience on-site and first-hand knowledge of the challenges, along with IDAT’s technology expertise and BBURG’s engineering capability, we had a powerful collaboration for the development of the new rig,” JSW CEO, Warren Fair, says.

He said overall the rig was proving to be more productive, safer and quieter than the existing technology on site.

The HD2500RC joins other new technologies in JSW’s fleet including the Equus green drills developed specifically for bauxite mines and new drilling technology for magnetite mines being developed by IDAT in partnership with German manufacturer Bauer.

Fair concluded: “IDAT brings the technology, JSW brings the operational know-how. So far, it’s proving to be a winning formula.”

SRG Global bolsters South32 relationship with more Worsley Alumina work

SRG Global says it has secured a long-term circa-A$100 million ($72 million) contract with South32’s Worsley Alumina operations to provide specialist refractory services, including gunning and casting and installation of refractory products and anchors.

Works under the contract will commence in October 2020 with a duration of eight years.

South32 has also extended SRG Global’s existing engineered access services contract for a further two years, pocketing the ASX-listed engineering firm another circa-A$25 million. This will see SRG Global continue to provide access services at South32’s Worsley Alumina operations until mid-2027, it said.

David Macgeorge, Managing Director of SRG Global, said: “These contracts are a terrific achievement for SRG Global and we are excited to be expanding our partnership with South32 to continue to deliver long-term value for their Worsley operations.”

As part of the Worsley Alumina operations, bauxite is mined near the town of Boddington, 130 km southeast of Perth, Western Australia. It is then transported on the largest overland conveyor belt in the southern hemisphere, for more than 50 km, to a refinery near the town of Collie, where bauxite is turned into alumina.