Tag Archives: BHP

Murray & Roberts’ Cementation Americas business wins Rio and BHP contracts

Murray & Roberts’ Cementation Americas business has confirmed two new mining contracts with Rio Tinto and BHP.

Cementation USA secured the Underground Characterisation Development and Infrastructure project in Utah for Rio Tinto’s Kennecott copper operations (open pit, pictured). The value of this agreement is circa-$70 million, with the initial scope including lateral development and associated infrastructure works.

Rio, only last month, approved a $108 million investment in underground development to enable early orebody access and undertake orebody characterisation studies for underground mining at the Kennecott copper operations.

The contract award positions Cementation USA well for the potential significant scope growth on this project, Murray & Roberts said.

Cementation Canada Inc has secured the completion of Phase 1 of the Jansen potash project in the province of Saskatchewan for BHP. This scope includes the post liner excavation, steel and equipping of the shaft.

The value of the complete project award, subject to a sanction decision for the project, is around $170 million. Cementation Canada has, in the interim, received a works order to proceed with the first work package to the value of $12 million.

BHP said last month that it expected to make a decision on whether to move forward with Jansen, which is expected to produce 4.4 Mt/y of potash in its first phase, in the next two months.

Cementation Canada will apply to also deliver the following phases of the Jansen project, Murray & Roberts noted.

Murray & Roberts said: “During the past year, mining companies in the Americas have experienced prolonged COVID-19 impact, creating short-term order book pressure for engineering and contracting companies. These awards are evidence of new mining investments returning to the region.

“The forecast improvement in capital investment in the mining industry is encouraging and, considering the platform’s leading global position and growing near term project pipeline, there is good potential for accelerated growth for the group’s mining platform.”

Komatsu teams with Rio, BHP, Codelco and Boliden on zero-emission mining solutions

Working together to rapidly innovate in support of carbon reduction targets, Komatsu has teamed up with several of its customers to form the Komatsu Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Alliance.

The founding members of the alliance are Rio Tinto, BHP, Codelco and Boliden.

Through the alliance framework, Komatsu’s GHG partners will work directly with Komatsu to actively collaborate on product planning, development, testing and deployment of the next generation of zero-emission mining equipment and infrastructure, the OEM said. The alliance’s initial target is advancing Komatsu’s power-agnostic truck concept for a haulage vehicle that can run on a variety of power sources including diesel-electric, electric, trolley (wired), battery power and even hydrogen fuel cells.

“We are honoured that our customers, several of the largest mining companies in the world, have agreed to participate in the Komatsu GHG Alliance and work in partnership with us to develop sustainable solutions for mining,” Masayuki Moriyama, President of Komatsu’s Mining Business Division, said. “We look forward to close collaboration with these industry leaders to accelerate development and deployment of the next level of equipment designed to reduce greenhouse gases from mining operations and ultimately achieve the goal of zero-emission mining.”

The formation of the alliance brings together mining leaders willing to share time, resources and information to deliver zero-emissions equipment solutions, Komatsu said. The company intends to expand the alliance to additional mining companies to enhance industry-wide collaboration on solutions to decarbonisation.

In a separate release, Rio Tinto said it will conduct a pre-production trial of the new equipment at a site and has the option to purchase some of the first trucks from Komatsu once they are commercially viable.

Alf Barrios, Rio Tinto’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Rio Tinto and Komatsu have a shared history of partnership on innovation going back to when we built the world’s largest Komatsu autonomous haulage fleet in 2008.

“Our support of a trial, and the option to buy some of the first trucks from Komatsu, underscores our shared commitment to actively collaborate on product planning, development, testing and deployment of the next generation of zero-emission mining equipment and infrastructure as we look to decarbonise our business.”

As a company, Komatsu, meanwhile, says it is committed to minimising environmental impact through its business, targeting a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions from use of its products and production of its equipment by 2030 (compared with 2010 levels) and a challenge target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Komatsu has worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for customers through product development for decades in many areas including electric diesel dump trucks, electric power shovels, regenerative energy storage capabilities and fuel saver programs, it said.

The company’s initial concept for a haulage vehicle that can run on a variety of power sources, part of the power-agnostic development, is set to make its official debut at MINExpo 2021 on September 13-15 in Las Vegas, USA.

BHP and TransAlta agree on solar, battery power system for Mt Keith and Leinster

BHP and its power partner in the Goldfields of Western Australia, TransAlta, are to build two solar farms and a battery storage system to help power the Mt Keith and Leinster nickel operations.

This will help BHP reduce emissions from electricity use at Mt Keith and Leinster by 12%, based on financial year 2020 levels.

The Northern Goldfields Solar Project will include a 27.4 MW solar farm at Mt Keith and a 10.7 MW solar farm and 10.1 MW battery at Leinster, and will displace power currently supplied by diesel and gas turbine generation, BHP said.

This will result in an estimated reduction of 540,000 t of CO2e over the first 10 years of operation. This is the equivalent of removing up to 23,000 combustion engine cars from the road every year, according to BHP.

BHP commissioned the solar farms and battery to be built, owned, and operated by TransAlta as part of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) extension signed in October 2020. Construction will commence in the December quarter, is expected to take 12-14 months and, at its peak, will employ over 100 people on site.

BHP Nickel West, Asset President, Eddy Haegel, said: “This is the first large-scale onsite solar farm and battery that BHP has commissioned at any of its global operations.

“The Northern Goldfields Solar Project will further improve our position as one of the lowest carbon nickel miners in the world. It will reduce emissions from electricity use at Mt Keith and Leinster by 12%, reduce fuel costs and improve the reliability of our electricity supply with the addition of the battery storage system.

“This announcement follows the nickel supply agreement we signed with Tesla last week. Sustainable low carbon nickel is essential for our battery and electric vehicle customers.”

TransAlta Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer, John Kousinioris, said: “We are proud to be supporting BHP’s emissions reduction targets and sustainability goals through the expansion of our renewable generation footprint into Australia.”

The partnership will contribute to BHP’s medium-term target to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions from our operated assets by at least 30% from financial year 2020 levels by its 2030 financial year.

The project is subject to final Western Australia state government approvals.

BHP and Tesla to collaborate on battery supply chain sustainability

BHP has agreed to supply Tesla Inc with nickel from its Western Australia operations, in addition to looking at how the two companies can collaborate on ways to make the battery supply chain more sustainable.

The supply agreement will see nickel from BHP’s Nickel West asset in Western Australia, one of the most sustainable and lowest carbon emission nickel producers in the world, BHP says, head to Tesla for use in its electric vehicles and battery storage systems.

BHP Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “Demand for nickel in batteries is estimated to grow by over 500% over the next decade, in large part to support the world’s rising demand for electric vehicles.

“We are delighted to sign this agreement with Tesla Inc and to collaborate with them on ways to make the battery supply chain more sustainable through our shared focus on technology and innovation.”

This latter collaboration will focus on end-to-end raw material traceability using blockchain; technical exchange for battery raw materials production; and promotion of the importance of sustainability in the resources sector, including identifying partners most aligned with BHP and Tesla Inc’s principles and battery value chains, BHP said.

BHP will also collaborate with Tesla Inc on energy storage solutions to identify opportunities to lower carbon emissions in their respective operations through increased use of renewable energy paired with battery storage, it added.

BHP Minerals Australia President, Edgar Basto, said: “BHP produces some of the lowest carbon intensity nickel in the world, and we are on the pathway to net zero at our operations. Sustainable, reliable production of quality nickel will be essential to meeting demand from sustainable energy producers like Tesla Inc.

“The investments we have made in our assets and our pursuit of commodities like nickel will help support global decarbonisation and position us to generate long-term value for our business.”

Former BHP data strategist to lead open-pit mining equipment data specialist MaxMine

Former BHP Global Data Strategy Lead, Coert Du Plessis, has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of mining technology business MaxMine.

Du Plessis commenced in the role of Chief Operating Officer of MaxMine on May 1, 2020, working with MaxMine’s management team behind the scenes over the past 12 months to successfully configure and guide MaxMine through its significant Series A funding round announced last month, the company said.

MaxMine is an automated, high-resolution data-based business reporting tool that combines advanced data acquisition technology with AI analysis to fully optimise mobile equipment and operator performance within mining and other mobile equipment-based operations, measuring performance differently and using gamification to change behaviours.

On July 1, 2021, Du Plessis was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the company.

Du Plessis commenced his professional career with global consulting firm, Deloitte, moving up the ranks to become senior partner before the age of 40. He then established and led the firm’s Western Australia data analytics practice. He then moved to BHP to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies and cultivate collaborative ways of working. His scope at BHP included the design and establishment of an Innovation Mine at BHP’s Eastern Ridge operations in Western Australia, developing the BHP Dahling Industrial IoT platform, embedding next generation digital technologies at existing operations and major new capital projects – such as Jansen – and steering the final technology investment review of the South Flank iron ore project.

Du Plessis said three things ultimately convinced him to move from BHP to take up the new roles at MaxMine:

  • “One, the calibre of the existing leadership team and their adaptive business mindset; demonstrated in successfully raising growth capital in a year disrupted by COVID;
  • “Two, generating industry leading data quality and confidence in their results, an order of magnitude better than incumbent fleet management system. It means MaxMine users transition from teams arguing about the validity of data to knowing what needs to be done next; and
  • “Three, the ability to over-come digital inertia and drive technology adoption with front line operators and operational leadership teams month in and month out.”

He added: “It was inspirational to see the speed at which the MaxMine team could develop these incredible technologies and develop the unique delivery approaches whilst maintaining an incredible focus on customer value.

“MaxMine has gone further than any other technology product and service I have come across in solving the challenge of delivering consistent value for mine site operations. The quality of MaxMine’s data asset sets us apart in the industry, and we believe we can apply the same operational improvement approach that allows us to enable delivery of more tonnes of ore, to also significantly reduce CO2 tonnes expelled in mining operations. Moving beyond the growing list of CO2 reduction aspirations to reductions delivered is an outcome I deeply care about.”

MaxMine Director, Robin Schleich, who is also Dupont Sustainable Solutions’ global operations director, said: “Mining companies need, and want, to partner with true industry innovators such as MaxMine to help them navigate the ramp up in digital disruption in the industry and combat growing operational cost pressures.

“Based on the significant investment last month, it is clear MaxMine provides one of the strongest platforms to drive industry productivity and emissions transformation.”

MaxMine’s outgoing CEO, Tom Cawley, will transition to Executive Chair, focusing on adjacent business opportunities for the company and setting up the board to support the company’s growth.

Antofagasta becomes latest Charge on Innovation Challenge patron

Antofagasta, as part of its sustainability efforts, has joined the Charge On Innovation Challenge as a patron.

The initiative, which counts BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale as founding patrons, seeks to develop solutions to charge the batteries of electric mining trucks safely, quickly and sustainably. This is essential in order to replace the use of diesel in these trucks and the emissions it produces, the challenge organisers say.

The goal is to enable trucks of 220 t or more to stop using diesel and run on electric batteries, just like other electric vehicles. In order to achieve this, it is essential to develop a battery charging system that does not use polluting fuels and, at the same time, allows the extraction trucks to operate as they usually do.

Today there are already efforts underway to develop and use electric trucks, but those are for trucks of a smaller tonnage (100 t) which can regenerate their own energy, Charge on Innovation says. The collaborative work with the Charge On Innovation Challenge seeks to develop solutions for larger trucks.

Iván Arriagada, CEO of Antofagasta, said: “As a mining group focused on innovation, we are interested in collaborating and contributing to the development of the industry for the future. That is why we decided to participate in this challenge, which is key to being able to use electric trucks and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

As part of its Climate Change Strategy, from 2022, the electricity supplying Antofagasta companies will come from renewable sources. Antofagasta’s Zaldívar mine has been operating from clean energy sources since July 2020.

Thanks to these advances and other measures adopted by the company, Antofagasta was able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 580,000 t since 2018. Its new goal is to decrease those emissions by an additional 30% between now and 2025.

The Charge On Innovation Challenge was launched by BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto in partnership with Austmine. It has since added Roy Hill, Teck, Boliden and Thiess as additional patrons.

Anglo set to complete thermal coal exit with Glencore Cerrejón transaction

Anglo American looks set to complete its exit from thermal coal, having agreed to sell its 33.3% interest in the Cerrejón joint venture, in Colombia, to Glencore for around $294 million.

Glencore and BHP currently each also hold a 33.3% interest in Cerrejón, with Glencore intending to acquire both Anglo American’s and BHP’s interests for $588 million in total, thereby assuming full ownership of the asset upon completion.

Cerrejón is one of the largest surface mining operations in the world and mines high-quality thermal coal for the export market. It moves 550 Mt/y by 100% truck and shovel equipment, using more than 300 trucks.

Anglo, earlier in the year, agreed to demerge its thermal coal operations in South Africa to a new holding company called Thungela Resources Limited, with the latest agreement on Cerrejón marking the completion of its thermal coal exposure.

Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American, said: “Today’s agreement marks the last stage of our transition from thermal coal operations. During that transition, we have sought to balance the expectations of our wide range of different stakeholders as we have divested our portfolio of thermal coal operations, in each case choosing the exit option most appropriate for the asset and its distinct local and broader circumstances.”

Both transactions are subject to a number of competition authority and other regulatory approvals, with completing expected in the first half of 2022.

Glencore said on the transactions: “Based on our long-term relationship with Cerrejón and knowledge of the asset, we strongly believe that acquiring full ownership is the right decision and the progressive expiry of the current mining concessions by 2034 is in line with our commitment to a responsible managed decline of our coal portfolio. Production volumes are expected to decline materially from 2030.”

Monadelphous Group banks engineering work with BHP, Rio and Codelco

Monadelphous Group Ltd has secured several new construction and maintenance contracts in the resources sector totalling around A$215 million ($163 million).

Included within this slate of new work is a contract for smelter campaign maintenance works at the BHP owned Olympic Dam copper mine in South Australia. Monadelphous said work will commence immediately and is expected to be completed in December 2021.

Monadelphous has also been awarded a two-year extension to its existing maintenance services contract at Olympic Dam. The contract scope includes civil, structural, mechanical, building maintenance and electrical services, as well as the addition of underground rail maintenance services.

In the iron ore sector in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, Monadelphous has been awarded several contracts, including several sustaining capital contracts under its panel agreements with BHP and Rio Tinto; and a contract with Rio for the provision of construction and support services associated with the Gudai-Darri iron ore project, with work expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

In Chile, the company’s maintenance and construction services business, Buildtek, has secured a number of new contracts, including a three-year contract with Codelco for the operations and maintenance of water infrastructure at the Chuquicamata underground mine in Calama. Buildtek has been providing these services on this site since 2018.

In addition, the engineering company has secured two new contracts with Codelco for maintenance activities associated with the concentrator plant at El Teniente mine in Rancagua; and a contract with BHP Minera Escondida for the construction of modularised pump stations and associated infrastructure of the Escondida copper mine in Coloso.

Finally, Monadelphous, in collaboration with global heavy lifting services company Fagioli, has secured a contract with NMT International (Australia) to deliver specialist heavy lifting and haulage services at the Iron Bridge magnetite project, a joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group subsidiary FMG Magnetite Pty Ltd and Formosa Steel IB. The strategic collaboration with Fagioli enables Monadelphous’ specialist Heavy Lift business to increase capacity and broaden capability for the Australian resources and energy markets, it said.

BHP signs cloud technology pacts with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft

BHP has selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft as long-term cloud providers to help improve safety, productivity, and reliability across its globally-operated assets.

The collaborations with AWS and Microsoft will support two distinct parts of BHP’s operations, it said.

AWS will power BHP’s digital transformation by providing capabilities in data analytics and machine learning to rapidly deploy digital solutions globally to improve operational performance.

Microsoft, through its Azure platform, will host BHP’s global applications portfolio. This will enable BHP to leverage its existing Microsoft licences and SAP applications portfolio and help to reduce its reliance on regional data centres, it said.

Microsoft says its multi-year strategic partnership with BHP will build on its existing Microsoft Cloud foundations with Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Azure, and will enable BHP to improve safety, productivity and sustainably at its frontline operations across Australia, the Americas and globally.

It added: “Microsoft will help deliver strong digital capability, data support and security, which will help BHP accelerate its journey to cloud, transitioning its global applications including SAP, in a portfolio move to Azure. This represents the transition of up to 17,500 TB of data to Azure.”

BHP Chief Technical Officer, Laura Tyler, said collaborating with two world-leading cloud providers highlighted the importance of cloud to support BHP’s digital transformation.

“Digital technology is in everything we do at BHP, from how we connect to our customers and partners every day to how we extract and find resources more safely and sustainably,” she said.

“We are leveraging next-generation technologies like cloud, machine learning, and data analytics to solve complex business problems and unlock value even faster.

“Cloud is the foundation to our plans, and it will enable us to deploy digital solutions to the frontline quickly and at scale. Cloud will dramatically reduce the amount of hardware on sites and reduce costs.

“We are thrilled to have AWS and Microsoft on board to ensure we have a strong foundation to accelerate our digital transformation plans and lift capability across the business.”

Fluor celebrates BHP South Flank iron ore achievements

Days after BHP achieved “first ore” at its South Flank iron ore development in Western Australia, Fluor’s Mining & Metals business has announced its construction delivery scope has been achieved on budget and on schedule at the $3.6 billion operation.

The project is the largest iron ore processing facility ever built in Western Australia, according to Fluor.

Together with the existing Mining Area C, it will form the largest operating iron ore hub in the world – producing 145 Mt/y of iron ore, according to BHP.

The engineering firm provided engineering, procurement and construction management support on the project, which includes an 80 Mt/y crushing and screening plant, state-of-the-art overland conveyor systems and rail-loading facilities. Construction began in July 2018.

Tony Morgan, President of Fluor’s Mining and Metals business, said: “It is always very gratifying and rewarding to see a project of this magnitude completed on time and on budget.

“We are proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish with BHP from the pre-construction feasibility study to improving the project’s capital efficiency, optimising costs and schedules, and hiring indigenous and local team members. All of this was accomplished while navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Quinton Brand, BHP’s Head of Western Australia Major Projects, said: “We would like to thank the entire Fluor team from the design engineers to the fabrication and construction teams. Fluor made an important contribution to the delivery of South Flank’s first ore.”