Tag Archives: BHP

Wet Earth, BHP and Rio Tinto improve Sime Washdown Skipper sprinkler system reliability

Wet Earth has collaborated with BHP and Rio Tinto’s Western Australia iron ore operations on an improvement program for its Sime Washdown Skipper sprinkler system.

The system was originally developed in 2008 to address safety and efficiency concerns around manually hosing underneath conveyors and other hard-to-reach areas. It is used at many major mine sites throughout Australia, according to Wet Earth.

Wet Earth’s recently collaboration with the major miners identified opportunities to improve the system’s overall performance and reliability, according to the company.

Wet Earth Managing Director, Nicholas Marks, explained: “One of the design improvements identified by BHP and Rio was due to the sprinkler sitting in an inverted position during normal operation. This meant that material and dust could easily penetrate the base of the sprinkler, which reduced its reliability. As these sprinklers are frequently deployed in hard-to-reach locations, reliability is critical.”

The new design incorporates a streamlined base to the sprinkler, which allows material and dust to sit on the base without any risk of it penetrating and impacting its internal operation, according to Wet Earth. Testing by both BHP and Rio Tinto found the reliability issues caused by the material penetrating the internals of the sprinkler were now eliminated.

The Washdown Skipper features, Wet Earth says, a solid brass dust proof base; stainless steel nozzle extension; Arc adjustment of 0-360°; nozzle sizes from 10-24 mm; flows from 2-15 l/s; pressure up to 10 bar; and and is easily automated, efficient and safe.

Civmec banks new work from BHP, Roy Hill and Rio Tinto

Civmec Ltd says it has received three notices of award from several repeat mining customers for maintenance and capital works projects collectively worth approximately A$130 million ($97 million).

These orders – from BHP, Roy Hill and Rio Tinto – bring its total order book to about A$1.05 billion as at September 30, 2021.

For BHP, Civmec is to carry out a civil and earthworks job as part of the miner’s Port De-bottlenecking Project Stage 1, which includes a new stockyard planned for the South Yard at Nelson Point, in Port Hedland, Western Australia.

The scope of work includes dewatering, piling, ground improvement, associated earthworks, concrete foundations, new roads, high voltage poles and underground power works.

Civmec says mobilisation will commence this quarter, with completion expected in the March quarter of 2022.

With Roy Hill, Civmec is due to carry out a greenfield construction package related to an extension of the existing Wet High Intensity Magnetic Separation (WHIMS) plant at Roy Hill’s mine site north of Newman, in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

The scope of work includes greenfield installation and pre-commissioning of pre-assembled modules, piping, electrical and tie-in works. Mobilisation will commence immediately and completion is scheduled for the March quarter of 2022.

At Rio Tinto’s Boyne Island Smelters operation, Civmec is to supply refractory trades and other associated disciplines for maintenance, rebuild and reduction cell reconstruction works on carbon bake furnaces. The contract term is for three years with two one-year extension options.

Civmec’s Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Tallon, said: “We are delighted to secure these project wins with three of our long-term Tier 1 customers. The projects combine multi-year maintenance works along with two projects within our newly formed Maintenance and Capital Works – Resources and Energy area. With the BHP PDP1 project located in the Port Hedland region, it provides an ideal opportunity for Civmec’s newly opened regional branch to support the project, validating Civmec’s recently announced plans to invest in a purpose-built facility in Port Hedland.”

BHP and POSCO to collaborate on low-carbon steelmaking technologies

BHP and South Korea’s POSCO have announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly explore greenhouse gas emissions reduction technologies in integrated steelmaking.

As part of the MoU, the parties intend to undertake pilot and plant trials to lower carbon in the steelmaking process, including optimising coke quality and assessing carbon capture storage and utilisation (CCUS) options to lower carbon intensity in the blast furnace.

POSCO and BHP also intend to share research on hydrogen-based direct reduction technology, the use of biomass in steelmaking, as well as the potential to leverage BHP’s carbon offsetting capabilities in the development of carbon neutral steel products.

BHP intends to invest up to $10 million over the next five years under the MoU, with the opportunity to increase investment in technologies under the trial. BHP’s investment will be drawn from its $400 million Climate Investment Program, announced in 2019 to support projects, partnerships, research and development to help reduce Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

BHP and POSCO also intend to collaborate on the reporting of carbon emissions through the steel value chain to further progress consistent, transparent and robust global standards.

BHP Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “The pathway to net zero for steelmaking is not yet clear but we believe that, by working with industry leaders like POSCO, together we will find solutions more quickly to help reduce carbon emissions in steelmaking and along the value chain. BHP recently announced a goal to pursue net zero Scope 3 emissions by 2050 and we are committed to working with industry leaders in steelmaking to address this hard-to-abate sector.

“Steel is a critical product for the world to grow and decarbonise, and we must work hard together to enable greener steel, reducing carbon intensity in the blast furnace and testing new technologies for steel production.”

POSCO’s Head of Steel Business Unit, Hag-Dong Kim, said: “Though achieving carbon neutrality is a difficult path ahead, with POSCO working together with BHP’s outstanding mining expertise and the will to achieve a low-carbon future, I have every reason to believe that we can create a significant turning point in carbon emission reduction across our value chain.”

The MoU with POSCO follows BHP’s earlier partnerships established with major steelmakers China Baowu, JFE Steel and HBIS Group to explore emissions reduction from steelmaking. The combined output of the four steel companies equates to around 12% of reported global steel production.

BHP closes in on renewable energy supply for Olympic Dam mine

BHP says it expects to shortly enter into renewable energy supply arrangements to enable the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia to reduce its emission position to zero for 50% of its electricity consumption by 2025, based on current forecast demand.

The arrangements will be supplied by Iberdrola, including from the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park in South Australia, which is expected to be Australia’s largest solar-wind hybrid plant once in operation in July 2022.

BHP is to become the primary customer of this new renewable facility, with the renewable energy supply arrangements referred to including a retail agreement with Origin Energy, who will facilitate the arrangements.

This announcement follows BHP’s entry into renewable energy agreements for BHP’s operations in Western Australia in 2021, Queensland in 2020 and in Chile in 2019.

BHP Olympic Dam Asset President, Jennifer Purdie, said: “These arrangements will support an exciting new renewable energy project which will contribute to South Australia’s renewable energy ambitions.

“Olympic Dam’s copper has an important role to play to support global decarbonisation and the energy transition as an essential product in electric vehicles and renewable infrastructure. Reducing emissions from our operations will further enhance our position as a sustainable copper producer.”

Iberdrola Australia Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Ross Rolfe, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with BHP, helping them meet their decarbonisation and sustainability objectives. We worked very closely with BHP to design these bespoke renewable energy supply arrangements. Olympic Dam is to be the primary customer for the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park, a demonstration of their commitment to local procurement and sustainable economic development.”

The arrangements, intended to commence on July 1, 2022, are one of the actions BHP is taking to contribute to its medium-term target to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 and 2) from its operated assets by at least 30% from financial year 2020 levels by financial year 2030.

BHP Ventures backs BluVein’s next gen trolley-charging project

BHP has become the latest company to back BluVein’s “next generation trolley-charging technology” project, with its Ventures arm joining Northern Star Resources, Newcrest Mining, Vale, Glencore, Agnico Eagle, AngloGold Ashanti and OZ Minerals as project partners.

A BHP spokesperson said the collaboration was “part of our multi-faceted approach to reducing vehicle emissions at our operations”.

It is one of several decarbonisation collaborations BHP Ventures is involved with in pursuit of BHP’s decarbonisation goals. Others include partnering on supply chain traceability through Circulor and low emissions steelmaking through Boston Metals.

Back in August, BluVein announced that seven major mining companies had financially backed BluVein, with the industry collaboration project now moving forward with final system development and construction of a technology demonstration pilot site in Brisbane, Australia. This came on top of agreements with four major mining vehicle manufacturers to support BluVein controls and hardware integration into their vehicles.

BluVein, a joint venture between EVIAS and Australia-based Olitek, is developing technology that removes the need to employ battery swapping or acquire larger, heavier batteries customised to cope with the current requirements placed on the heaviest diesel-powered machinery operating in the mining sector.

It is doing this through adapting charging technology originally developed by Sweden-based EVIAS for electrified public highways. The application of this technology in mining could see operations employ smaller, lighter battery-electric vehicles that are connected to the mine site grid via its ingress protection-rated slotted Rail™ system. This system effectively eliminates all exposed high voltage conductors, providing significantly improved safety and ensures compliance with mine electrical regulations, according to BluVein. This is complemented with its Hammer™ technology and a sophisticated power distribution unit to effectively power electric motors and charge a vehicle’s on-board batteries.

BluVein has been specifically designed for harsh mining environments and is completely agnostic to vehicle manufacturer, according to the company. This standardisation is crucial, BluVein says, as it allows a mixed fleet of mining vehicles to use the same rail infrastructure.

BluVein says it plans on starting the trial install early works towards the end of this year for a mid- to late-2022 trial period in a simulated underground environment.

The BluVein project is being managed by the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC).

Mammoet delivers the goods at BHP’s South Flank iron ore mine

Mammoet has helped BHP deliver on its goals for the South Flank iron ore project in the Pilbara of Western Australia, using its expertise to transport over 1,000 oversized items to site safely and on time.

These components needed to be transported to site safely, on schedule and in the right sequence. With a cumulative weight in excess of 29,500 t, they needed to be transported 340 km across the state’s barren interior. This had to be done within a demanding timeframe to keep the construction schedule on track, according to Mammoet, a feat achieved and confirmed with the first ore milestone at South Flank in May of this year.

The cargo would be taken from the ship’s hook at Port Hedland and across a route largely consisting of public highways. Transporting these modules in the largest possible pieces would reduce the time spent integrating them on site – but the maximum transport size is always limited by the width and condition of the route, Mammoet says.

The possibilities for what could be transported on this stretch of tarmac were pushed to new limits as Mammoet delivered a 349 t module comprising the train load out bin gate and HPU module. This was the heaviest load ever carried along this stretch of Western Australia’s Great Northern Highway.

Restrictions were also placed on when modules could be transported, which varied depending on their size: those wider than 8.5 m needed to travel at night, so that the transport had the lowest economic impact on the surrounding community and public road users. A rolling roadblock was set up to shut down the highway in sections, minimising the transport’s impact further still.

To achieve this required logistics planning and early engagement with the project’s construction contractors to identify precisely what could be transported and how.

Pete O’Connell, Senior Project Manager at Mammoet, explains: “Engagement at the planning stage with engineering, procurement and construction contractors can help to optimise how our package of work integrates with other workflows. It was particularly critical in this case – given the size and volume of components that needed to be on site in a specific order and timeframe for construction to proceed smoothly.

“We were able to advise the modularisation engineers on how to get maximum benefit from the load sizes possible on the route, in terms of their overall dimensions and the maximum weights to cross structures such as bridges. We were then able to plan from the very start the equipment and expertise we would need to best carry out the work.”

Mammoet used a specially-built trailer type to minimise the weight of the transport equipment itself and, therefore, increase the size of module that could be carried. Overall weight limitations on Australian highways meant a lighter alternative to the traditionally used four-file platform trailer was needed to avoid reducing the size of the modules themselves.

Smaller module sizes, of course, mean more transportation – and, in turn, additional transport and integration costs. Mammoet’s equipment inventory was put to good use in devising a three-file trailer solution. This allowed the desired size of module to be transported within local regulations.

Delivery of such a large scale of transport work was already a significant challenge within the planned 15-month timescale, but, due to delays earlier in the project schedule, this cargo needed to be transported in a shorter timeframe, according to Mammoet.

Despite ongoing travel restrictions due to COVID-19, Mammoet was able to mobilise a team of over 90 people – half of whom came from outside the state or abroad. Before long, crews were working across day and night shifts at Port Hedland, keeping things on schedule.

Another important part of this solution was to increase the number of trailers being used, avoiding the need for them to be reconfigured between journeys, hence achieving a faster turnaround. With the industry’s biggest equipment fleet, Mammoet says it was able to redeploy trailers from across Australia and the wider region.

O’Connell continues: “Flexibility is always key in large projects such as this, as changes in project schedules are to be expected. As the largest supplier in our industry, the talent pool, training capabilities and equipment inventory that we have access to prove invaluable in making sure we can react quickly and adapt to client requirements – avoiding delays even if there is a change to the plan.”

A key development in driving economic growth for the Pilbara region and the State of Western Australia, BHP’s $3.6 billion South Flank mine has created more than 2,500 construction jobs and 600 ongoing operational roles. It is set to provide a profitable asset for BHP and secure employment for the Pilbara population for decades to come, Mammoet says.

Wouter Mink, Managing Director of Mammoet Australia, says: “We are delighted that South Flank delivered first ore during May 2021. This project helps to continue our commitment to the Pilbara region. The transport package was always going to play a key role in achieving this, and we were extremely pleased to have delivered this successfully despite the challenges we faced – including a global pandemic impacting on how, when and where we could source our team.”

Construction of this facility using modern modularised techniques was aided significantly by Mammoet’s expertise in getting over 1,000 oversized items to site safely and on time, and also by providing critical guidance to optimise the size of cargo and ensure the most efficient project.

Heath Tyler, BHP South Flank Area Project Manager, says: “The South Flank project represents a major investment by BHP and a key element in our strategy for the region. With the transport package playing such a critical part in achieving a successful build, we needed a partner that had the proven expertise, equipment and boots on the ground to deliver. Mammoet has proven a great fit for these criteria.”

GMG tackles mine automation safety in latest whitepaper

The Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG) has published the System Safety for Autonomous Mining white paper as it looks to provide a comprehensive view of the need for a “system safety approach” for mining companies deploying and using autonomous systems.

It also aims to increase awareness of the system safety and its benefits by providing education and context on safety management and the system safety lifecycle, the purpose and typical contents of a safety case, the significance of human-systems integration, and factors that influence software safety management, GMG says.

The white paper intends to addresses the use of autonomous systems within the mining industry, both surface and underground. It applies to all autonomous machines and to the integration of autonomous and semi-autonomous machines with manually-operated machines, as well as to complex integrated systems of systems across the mining industry. While it was developed with a focus on autonomous systems, most of the information is general and is also relevant to manual operations, GMG says.

Explaining the paper, GMG said: “System safety is a view of safety that extends beyond the machines to consider the complete system (ie machines, human factors, and environment, and the interfaces between these). The goal of system safety is to reduce risks associated with hazards to safety. It is a planned, disciplined and systematic approach to identifying, analysing, eliminating, and controlling hazards by analysis, design and management procedures throughout a system’s lifecycle. System safety activities start in the earliest concept development stages of a project and continue through design, development, testing, operational use and disposal.”

Chirag Sathe, Project Co-Leader and Principal Mining Systems at BHP, says: “With an ever-increasing use of technology in mining, particularly in surface mining equipment, it is important to understand the overall impact of systems implementation on safety. I hope the white paper helps to increase the awareness of this important emerging topic in mine safety, not only within mining companies but also for OEMs, technology developers and implementors.”

On the role of industry collaboration both in the development and intended use of this white paper, Project Co-Leader, Gareth Topham, says: “The white paper demonstrates that the mining community continues to see the benefit in collaborating to ensure the introduction and the ongoing operation of autonomous mobile equipment is done in a safe environment. It will enable discussions between all parties to pursue opportunities to improve the level of risk to safety by addressing the topics that are contained in the paper and improving on the communication that delivers a more holistic understanding of these systems. “

On the importance of this topic from an OEM perspective, Michael Lewis, Technical Director at Komatsu, says: “The adoption of autonomous systems in mining has been growing rapidly since the first Komatsu autonomous trucks entered into production in 2008 and it’s been exciting to support our customers as they expand use of autonomous systems. Safety has always been the top priority for our industry, and as the use of autonomy grows to cover more of the mining value chain it’s important that we look at the whole system it impacts.

“I applaud the truly collaborative work between mine operators, OEMs and other GMG members in the creation of this white paper,” Lewis adds.

As only an introduction to the topic, there will likely be future work to provide more complete guidance on applying system safety to autonomous systems in mining.

Andrew Scott, GMG Vice-Chair Working Groups and National Cluster Development Manager at METS Ignited, says: “GMG, as an industry-led organisation, is proud to have had the opportunity to facilitate this work with the global mining community. I look forward to the discussion this white paper will spark as well as further collaboration on the topic.

“I would like to thank all who provided their input and support.”

Plotlogic’s precision mining pursuit bolstered with new investor funds

Plotlogic’s mission to deliver precision mining across the world has been given a boost with A$7.5 million ($5.5 million) of funding from international investors.

Plotlogic’s primary focus is on providing accurate real-time orebody knowledge to enable greater operational efficiency and resource utilisation. Its OreSense® technology has demonstrated its ability to improve health and safety, enhance overall mining operations and deliver tangible productivity gains, according to the company.

Andrew Job, former mining manager and company Founder, recently completed his PhD in artificial intelligence-based sensing at University of Queensland, and has said “Plotlogic’s technology is an exciting development in resource knowledge and forms an important part of our growth as we digitally transform our mining businesses”.

Plotlogic’s most recent international deployment of its OreSense system was to an Anglo American project in South Africa. This comes on top of deployments at BHP and South32’s operations.

The company says it continues to increase its global footprint with imminent deployments to South America, North America, Asia and Russia.

Precision mining with the help of technologies like OreSense have the potential to increase worldwide industry value by $370 billion/y, according to Plotlogic, while reducing carbon emissions and improving the sustainability of mines over their life cycle.

To support commercial expansion, Plotlogic’s team has grown substantially, with the team currently sitting at 30 people, up from only six a year ago. It also has plans to double in size before the end of this year.

BHP contracts indigenous-owned Zancott Knight for Olympic Dam refuelling services

In the lead-up to the 20-year rebuild of the flash furnace at BHP’s Olympic Dam mine in South Australia, the miner has awarded a A$1.8 million ($1.3 million) contract for refuelling services to local, indigenous-owned company Zancott Knight.

The flash furnace rebuild is part of the current smelter maintenance campaign, SCM21, at Olympic Dam, with BHP actively seeking out opportunities for local, small and indigenous businesses to be part of the action, Jenny Purdie, Asset President Olympic Dam, told attendees at the Copper to the World Conference in Adelaide, yesterday.

Purdie said Zancott Knight is a local, indigenous-owned company closely connected to the Arabana community. She added that Zancott Knight has brought in a sub-contracting partner, WB Enterprises, who are closely connected to the Kokatha community, to carry out the refuelling services contract.

Both these groups make up two of the Traditional Owner partners Olympic Dam engages with, she said.

BHP’s global operations spend approximately $2 billion with small, local and indigenous businesses each and every year, Purdie added.

Australia’s IMARC mining event rescheduled to January 2022

Due to ongoing travel and gathering restrictions, and the rise of COVID-19 infections around Australia, Beacon Events, the organisers of the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), has today announced its decision to reschedule the 2021 edition.

IMARC 2021 will move to the new dates of January 31-February 2, 2022, with the hybrid event taking place in-person at the Melbourne Showgrounds, and online for those that cannot attend in-person.

IMARC Managing Director, Anita Richards, said that while it is disappointing that the event has had to be postponed from 2021, it is the responsible action to take under the circumstances as the health and safety of IMARC’s participants is our number one priority.

“The rescheduling comes after much deliberation with our founding partners, and in consultation with our sponsors, exhibitors, supporters and various Victorian Government agencies who have been very supportive of the decision,” she said.

Victorian Government’s Head of Resources, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, John Krbaleski, added: “IMARC is a home-grown industry event that has become a major international resources conference. There is significant interest in IMARC and it’s clear that industry is keen to see it go ahead in January 2022.”

Austmine CEO, Christine Gibbs Stewart, said: “Considering the health and safety of our members, delegates, and staff members, we support postponing IMARC 2021 until January 2022. We know how important this event is to our members who are exhibiting and attending, as well as the METS sector overall, and we encourage everyone to consider this as an opportunity to refocus your efforts and support the event in 2022.”

AusIMM CEO, Stephen Durkin, added: “We’re looking forward to reconnecting with our mining community at IMARC in January 2022. The rescheduled event will provide an opportunity for delegates to network with leaders and experts from across the sector and take part in thought-provoking conversations about the future of our industry.”

BHP, MMG, Newcrest, Mitsui, OceanaGold and Kirkland Lake Gold have all confirmed their continued support for IMARC in January 2022, with their executive leadership teams confirmed to speak within the conference program, Beacon Events said.

In addition to the Federal Minister for Resources, the Hon Keith Pitt, and major sponsors METS Ignited, Caterpillar, ABB and World Gold Council who have also confirmed their support and participation.

IMARC 2021’s new dates are aligned with the expected easing of restrictions from all states across Australia, allowing for strong domestic representation, according to Beacon Events.

Richards said: “Holding IMARC at the start of 2022 helps create a unique opportunity for the industry to kick off the year with new conversations, develop existing relationships and create business opportunities for the coming year. With better weather comes opportunities for outdoor events and networking, alongside some major events at that time of year here in Melbourne.”

There is an expectation that when IMARC returns in 2022, from October 17-19, there will be greater international travel freedoms, allowing for the conference to attract a large domestic and international audience in-person once again, Beacon Events said.

International Mining is a media sponsor of IMARC