Tag Archives: bauxite

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.

Hindalco achieves aluminium industry first with red mud utilisation

Hindalco Industries has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UltraTech Cement, India’s largest manufacturer of cement and concrete, to deliver 1.2 Mt/y of red mud to UltraTech’s 14 plants located across seven states. This agreement will see Hindalco become the world’s first company to achieve 100% red mud utilisation across three of its refineries, it says.

Red mud generated in the alumina manufacturing process is rich in iron oxides, along with alumina, silica and alkali, with the cement industry, Hindalco says, having developed the capability to process red mud as a replacement for mined minerals such as laterite and lithomarge in its process.

Hindalco is supplying red mud to UltraTech Cement plants where it has proved to be an effective substitute for mined materials, successfully replacing up to 3% of clinker raw mix volume, according to the company.

“Use of red mud reduces the cement industry’s dependence on natural resources and promotes a circular economy,” Hindalco said.

Hindalco’s alumina refineries are currently supplying 250,000 t/mth of bauxite residue to cement companies, making Hindalco the world’s first company to have enabled such large scale commercial application of bauxite residue. In the current year, Hindalco aims to achieve 2.5 Mt of bauxite residue utilisation, which will be another global milestone, it says.

Satish Pai, Managing Director of Hindalco, said: “Hindalco has been working with cement companies to develop high-grade inputs for the construction industry. Hindalco has built a strong customer base and supplies red mud to over 40 cement plants every month. We have achieved 100% red mud utilisation at three of our refineries and our vision is to achieve zero-waste alumina production across our operations. Hindalco’s actions underscore our commitment to embracing solutions that have the potential to deliver long-term sustainability impact and transform the future.”

Globally, 160 Mt of red mud is produced annually and stored in large tracts of land which is a serious industry challenge, Hindalco says. To find a sustainable solution, Hindalco has invested in infrastructure and collaborated with cement companies, with UltraTech Cement being a key partner.

KC Jhanwar, Managing Director of UltraTech Cement, said: “UltraTech has been among the early adopters in India on the use of alternative raw materials and fuels in manufacturing and invested to build storage, handling and processing facilities. Use of waste like red mud as an alternative raw material for manufacturing cement requires infrastructure and process modification to ensure a win-win for both business and the environment.”

Last year, UltraTech consumed about 15.73 Mt of industrial waste as alternate raw material and about 300,000 t as alternative fuel in its kilns.

Jhanwar added: “With an annual supply of 1.2 Mt of red mud from Hindalco, we expect to conserve more than 1 Mt of mined natural resources like laterite in our manufacturing process. Enhancing our contribution to the circular economy by strategically increasing the use of waste as raw material and fuel in the cement manufacturing process is in line with our aim to achieve our long-term sustainability goals.”

MICROMINE’s Pitram solution takes control at Greece mine

MICROMINE says it is making a strong foray into Europe’s mining sector with its Pitram fleet management and mine control solution now operating in Greece.

Already used at more than 50 mining operations across six continents, the installation at the Greece mine is Pitram’s third deployment in the Aegean region, following installations at two production projects in Turkey.

“Greece has a wealth of mineral and ore deposits including gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper, nickel and bauxite – and a history of mining that dates back to ancient times,” Pitram Product Strategy Manager, Chris Higgins, said. “Turkey also has abundant source of industrial raw materials, rare earth minerals and precious metals including gold, copper, zinc, chrome, nickel, iron, lead, mercury, tin and magnesium.

“As a result, international operators and miners are developing projects across the Aegean and Pitram is providing the data insights needed to ensure the operations are well controlled.”

More than 10 mining operations in Europe are currently using Pitram to record, manage and process mine data in real time, according to the company. The scalable solution has now been deployed at the three underground gold, copper and zinc mines in Turkey and Greece.

The Greece project is well advanced with Pitram playing a crucial role in a major refurbishment and expansion of existing operations, the company says.

“Comprising 11 modules – including materials management, OLAP analysis, shift planner and fleet management – Pitram is a sophisticated mine control and management reporting application enabling the miners to capture data, make quicker, evidence-based decisions and allocate resources more effectively,” MICROMINE says.

As production ramped up at the Greece underground mine, the operators chose Pitram, according to MICROMINE, because they needed a solution that would enable them to:

  • Improve development and production mining cycles;
  • Accurately track materials from source to processing;
  • Provide OLAP reporting and analysis;
  • Enhance reactions to, and minimise the impact of, unplanned events; and
  • Increase equipment availability and utilisation.

The implementation of Pitram voice and materials management modules ensured these objectives were met by adapting the solution to meet the specific needs of the site, the company said.

Higgins added: “At MICROMINE we committed to working with our mining clients to deliver the tailored software solutions they need to meet local requirements.

“This includes providing our solutions in the languages needed – that’s why Pitram has been translated into Turkish and Greek. So, with the functionality to switch between English and the local language, all staff on-site can use the application.”

Multotec provides Guinea bauxite verification with sampling equipment

Multotec Process Equipment’s high-precision sampling equipment has found a home in Guinea, with bauxite producers in the West African country using the South Africa-based company’s tools to verify the quality of mined material before it is shipped overseas.

The company has recently provided two tariff sampling plants to a major bauxite producer in the country, including what is possibly one of the largest hammer samplers in the world, it said.

One of the plants is located at the bauxite mining operation itself, while the other is at the export facility where the high-grade bauxite is loaded onto ships.

According to Willem Slabbert, Sampling and Magnetics Specialist at Multotec Process Equipment, the samplers serve a vital role in representatively measuring the quality of the material mined and then exported, as well as its physical characteristics.

“At the mine, the sampling plant gives the mining company and their third-party mining contractor a scientific basis on which to check compliance with their contractual requirements,” Slabbert says.

“Similarly, the plant at the export facility assures the end customer of the quality of bauxite they are purchasing.”

The solution designed for this specific application includes hammer samplers, double-roll crushers, rotating plate dividers, feeder conveyors and barcoded carousels to link the sampling plant’s hourly performance to the indexed samples produced, Multotec explained. There is also protection equipment – a moisture analyser, overbelt magnet and metal detector – and inter-sampling plant conveyors.

“The plants were designed as a holistic solution, to deliver measurements in line with the international standard ISO8685 – ensuring that both sides of a contractual agreement can feel confident in the results,” Slabbert says. “They are also fully automatic and PLC-controlled for maximum efficiency.”

He highlighted that the sampling and materials handling solution was based on extensive test work carried out at Multotec’s facilities in Spartan, near Johannesburg. Crusher tests were also conducted on the specific bauxite, which comprised a substrate material with very hard embedded nodules.

“We identified custom-designed, heavy-duty, double-roll crushers as the optimal solution to deal with the extreme hardness of the nodules in the material,” Slabbert says. “The abrasiveness and stickiness of the Guinean bauxite also required low-friction liners to be designed into each plant.”

Multotec also has a West Africa branch in Ghana to supporting its installations. This branch also sources local components for customers.

Multotec Process Equipment has experience in sampling bauxite in Guinea, says Slabbert, with a sampling plant installed two decades ago for another bauxite producer.

Worley to help sustain Alcoa of Australia’s mines, refineries and smelter

Worley says it has been awarded a three‐year services contract with Alcoa of Australia for the company’s integrated mining, refining and smelting operations.

Under the contract, Worley will provide engineering and project delivery services for Alcoa’s site‐based sustaining capital program of works.

The contract continues the existing relationship between Alcoa and Worley, and establishes Worley as the preferred engineering services provider for baseload works across the Wagerup, Pinjarra and Kwinana alumina refineries, Bunbury port terminal and the Willowdale and Huntly (pictured) bauxite mining operations in Western Australia, it said. Worley will also support Alcoa’s Portland aluminium smelter in Victoria, Australia.

The services will be executed by Worley’s Australian teams in Perth and Geelong and supported by its global integrated delivery team, the company added.

Chris Ashton, Chief Executive Officer of Worley, said: “As Australia’s leading energy services company, we are pleased to continue supporting Alcoa’s Australian operations. This portfolio is one of the largest in our mining, minerals and metals business and includes our specialist alumina, bauxite and aluminium teams.”