Tag Archives: BHP

BHP looks to halve WA Iron Ore port facility emissions with Alinta Energy pact

BHP says it expects to halve emissions from the generation of electricity used to power its WA Iron Ore port facilities in Port Hedland by the end of 2024, following the signing of a large-scale renewable Power Purchase Agreement with Alinta Energy.

The halving of reported emissions, based on current forecast demand and compared with financial year 2020 (FY2020) reported emissions, will contribute to BHP’s medium-term target to reduce operational emissions by at least 30% from FY2020 levels by 2030 and the company’s long-term goal of achieving net zero operational emissions by 2050.

This agreement between BHP and Alinta will see the construction and connection of a 45 MW solar farm and 35 MW battery energy storage system into Alinta Energy’s existing Port Hedland power station, approximately 14 km from BHP’s port facilities, BHP says.

The construction of the solar farm, subject to final regulatory approvals, is expected to begin in December 2022 and create 200 jobs.

Once completed, it is expected that 100% of the forecasted average daytime energy requirements for BHP’s port facilities will be powered by solar generation, with the remaining power requirements to be met through the integrated battery energy storage system and market access to Alinta Energy’s existing gas fuelled power station facilities.

BHP is the foundation customer of Alinta’s solar battery hybrid project, which is expected to be the first large-scale renewable facility at Port Hedland and will support the expansion of the renewable energy industry in Western Australia.

In addition, BHP and Alinta Energy have entered into a memorandum of understanding in relation to the development of the Shay Gap Wind Farm. The Shay Gap Wind Farm is currently planned to be 45 MW, with a potential first-generation date of 2027.

The PPA is the latest milestone in BHP progressing its plan to reduce operational emissions in line with BHP’s climate targets and goals.

In recent years, it has signed power purchase agreements to provide renewable energy to BHP’s Nickel West operations in Western Australia, Olympic Dam operations in South Australia, BMA operations in Queensland and the Escondida copper mine in Chile.

BHP’s WA Iron Ore Asset President, Brandon Craig, said: “The world needs WA’s high quality iron ore to support economic development and decarbonisation, and we are committed to supplying iron ore more sustainably while investing in WA and creating local jobs. We are delighted to expand our partnership with Alinta Energy as we seek to lower emissions from our WA iron ore business.”

Alinta Energy MD and CEO, Jeff Dimery, said that BHP was once again demonstrating strong leadership in the transition to net zero.

“This is exactly the kind of leadership, progress and smart use of renewables and storage that we need from companies like BHP to show the way forward for Australia,” he said. “We’re excited to get the project underway and thank BHP for their partnership and vision.”

Stantec to deliver $16 million feasibility study on Resolution Copper Mine

Stantec says it has been selected by Resolution Copper Mining LLC to deliver a $16 million feasibility study providing engineering and technical services for the Resolution Copper mine in Superior, Arizona.

The proposed underground mine, a joint venture between Rio Tinto (55%) and BHP (45%), has the potential to be one of the largest producers of copper in North America – supplying up to 25% of US copper demand each year.

Stantec has been a lead underground mining and infrastructure consultant on the Resolution project since early 2019. It will assist the company by providing engineering and execution planning services for the mine.

Mario Finis, Executive Vice President for Stantec’s Energy & Resources business, said: “Resolution Copper is mining a critical resource needed for the energy transition. We are proud to support our client in this important endeavour with a strong commitment to sustainable mining throughout the entire life cycle of the project.”

Stantec’s engineering services on this project include power distribution, material handling, shafts and hoisting systems, dewatering/pumping, communications and more. Additionally, Stantec is evaluating the use of battery-electric vehicles to help the mine meet its goal of zero carbon emissions.

To date, more than $2 billion has been spent to develop and permit the project, including reclamation of the historic Magma Copper Mine site, sinking a second shaft to mining depth, rehabilitating an existing shaft and deepening to mining depth, extensive drilling and orebody testing, and the federal approval and public engagement process.

Stantec says its Mining, Minerals, and Metals team is helping clients achieve net zero mining – through its holistic service offering, Sustainable Mining by Design™, which aids companies to meet their environmental, social and governance obligations by finding ways to reduce energy demand and use clean sources of energy.

BHP reduces vehicle ‘events’, hazards at Yandi iron ore mine with the help of MSD

A BHP-developed system is harnessing data from a range of existing safety systems to improve safety in light vehicles (LV) and surface mobile equipment (SME) at its Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) mine sites, the miner says.

The Magnet Safety Dashboard (MSD) uses existing operator and equipment monitoring systems to quickly identify potential behaviours or job factors that might increase the likelihood of safety events occurring (‘at risk’ scenarios).

BHP explains: “Operations have historically used different hardware and software systems in isolation. MSD was developed to address integration potential between existing systems providing population-sized data sets on driver/operator behaviour.”

Events and hazards associated with LVs and SME can occur frequently at BHP, so the ability to quickly understand and influence human and job factors, which could contribute to safe outcomes, supports leaders to manage risk more holistically.

MSD harnesses a range of data from collision avoidance, distraction and alertness monitoring and fleet management systems, including location, speed, acceleration, braking and cornering. All selected information is monitored and assessed from a central location, which allows immediate access for relevant employees and medium-to long-term trend analysis, the company claims.

Over 800,000 metrics from more than 20,000 devices, using 300 instances of 60-plus data points, are collected.

Leaders are alerted if hardware, software and network controls are not operating as expected, while team members are alerted if acute intervention is required (where it is possible to achieve).

The system has also created efficient ways to record and display recommended response actions where chronic patterns are present, according to the company.

This accurate and timely notification of driver behaviour events, trends and hot spots requiring improvement has increased awareness and, in the Yandi iron ore mine site, resulted in reductions to the frequency of fatigue, distraction, error and non-compliance events, BHP says.

The Magnet Safety Dashboard program at Yandi Mine Site’s has contributed to a 58% reduction in overall reported vehicle events (December 2020 to April 2021) and a 70% reduction in reported speeding events (October 2020 to April 2021).

Following the program’s positive results and learning at the Yandi mine site, an MSD pilot will be implemented across all WAIO mine sites, BHP says.

BHP signs up PMW Industries for crushing and screening plant gig at Mining Area C

BHP has celebrated what it says is an historic agreement with PMW Industries and its Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) team, which will see the 100%-owned-and-operated Banjima Pilbara Aboriginal Traditional Owner business maintain a semi-mobile crushing and screening plant at its Mining Area C operation, in the Pilbara, supported by new strategic partner and Mineral Resources Limited owned company, CSI Mining Services.

Led by Banjima business owner, Paula White (pictured on the right), PMW will operate on country at the iron ore operation as part of this large-scale, long-term scope of work. It is expected to create up to 30 new employment and training opportunities for Banjima and Indigenous people.

The agreement builds upon WAIO’s existing relationship with PMW, which started more than three years ago through its Local Buying Program.

WAIO Asset President, Brandon Craig (pictured on the left), said he was proud of the growing relationship between BHP and PMW Industries, saying the crushing contract award was one of the largest in WAIO’s history.

“Our Mining Area C iron ore operation is on Banjima country – in line with our commitment to become the partner of choice for Indigenous people, this partnership is founded on respect and mutual benefit,” he said. “We are working hard to create more opportunities for Indigenous businesses to support the growth of Indigenous enterprise, partnering for the future.”

White added: “PMW Industries is very proud to be partnering with BHP and CSI to enable more employment and economic empowerment for Traditional Owners and Indigenous people. As a Banjima woman and business owner, I’m also delighted to be creating opportunities for other Indigenous women and young girls to follow their dreams.”

This step forward builds upon BHP’s commitment to drive more sustainable, profitable and enduring partnerships with Indigenous businesses across its operations. In WAIO alone, by the 2024 financial year, BHP expects to double its current annual spend with Indigenous businesses to over A$300 million ($204 million).

“At the same time, we are actively improving our sourcing systems and procurement processes, in partnership with Traditional Owner and indigenous businesses,” BHP says. “This was demonstrated with the PMW agreement, which followed a competitive Banjima-only tender, structured specifically to enable Traditional Owner businesses to operate on country.”

OZ Minerals turns down BHP’s A$25/share cash offer

OZ Minerals says it has rejected an unsolicited, conditional and non-binding indicative proposal from BHP to acquire all shares in the company for A$25/share ($17.3/share) in cash, valuing the company at an reported A$8.34 billion.

Having assessed this proposal, which represents a 13.1% premium to the volume weighted average price (VWAP) of OZ’s share price for the six months prior, the Board has unanimously determined that the offer significantly undervalues OZ Minerals and, as such, is not in the best interests of shareholders.

For its part, BHP points out in a separate press release that the consideration represents an “attractive premium” of 32.1% to OZ Minerals’ closing price of A$18.92/share on August 5 and 41.4% to OZ Minerals’ 30-day VWAP of A$17.67/share up to and including August 5.

OZ Minerals says the proposal is subject to a number of conditions including:

  • The completion of extensive financial, legal, technical and operational due diligence over a proposed six-week timeframe;
  • Various financial assumptions;
  • A unanimous recommendation of the OZ Minerals Board; and
  • Entry into a scheme implementation agreement subject to a range of conditions including no material adverse change, regulatory, shareholder and court approvals and conduct of business restrictions.

OZ Minerals says the Board has been advised by BHP that it has accumulated an interest in OZ Minerals shares via derivative instruments amounting to an interest of less than 5%.

OZ Minerals Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Cole, said: “We have a unique set of copper and nickel assets, all with strong long-term growth potential in quality locations. We are mining minerals that are in strong demand particularly for the global electrification and decarbonisation thematic and we have a long-life resource and reserve base. We do not consider the proposal from BHP sufficiently recognises these attributes.”

In coming to its decision, OZ Minerals says the Board considered that the proposal does not adequately compensate shareholders for:

  • The unique nature of OZ Minerals’ core business which represents a high-quality portfolio of copper and nickel assets, located in a Tier-1 mining jurisdiction with long mine lives, first quartile cost positioning and extensive strategic optionality;
  • The unique investment proposition which OZ Minerals provides as the only primary copper company in the ASX 100;
  • The low carbon intensity of OZ Minerals’ assets relative to its peers with a defined and market- leading plan for further decarbonisation to meet our target of net zero Scope 1 and 2 operational emissions by 2030;
  • The high-quality nature of OZ Minerals’ growth projects which include the West Musgrave project (final investment decision scheduled for H2 2022), the Carrapateena Block Cave and the Prominent Hill Extension which together are expected to generate significant production growth over the next five years;
  • The strong long-term outlook for both the copper and nickel markets underpinned by increasing geological scarcity, global electrification and accelerating decarbonisation, to which OZ Minerals is highly leveraged; and
  • The strong and consistent returns that the OZ Minerals management team has delivered with a total shareholder return of circa-145% over the past five years.

In addition to the above, OZ Minerals would deliver significant synergies and other benefits to BHP which the Board considers are not reflected in the value of BHP’s indicative proposal.

Among there are the operational synergies in both South Australia (between Olympic Dam, Carrapateena and Prominent Hill) and in Western Australia (between Nickel West and West Musgrave).

BHP says the cash offer it has made would deliver immediate value to OZ Minerals shareholders and de-risk any value which may (or may not) eventually be reflected in the company’s share price.

BHP CEO, Mike Henry, said: “Our proposal represents compelling value and certainty for OZ Minerals shareholders in the face of a deteriorating external environment and increased OZ Minerals operational- and growth-related funding challenges.

“We are disappointed that the Board of OZ Minerals has indicated that it is not willing to entertain our compelling offer or provide us with access to due diligence in relation to our proposal.”

BluVein’s underground dynamic charging developments accelerating

BluVein, after officially receiving agreement and project approval from all project partners, has initiated the third phase of technology development and testing of its underground mine electrification solution, BluVein1, it says.

BluVein is a joint venture between Australia-based mining innovator Olitek and Sweden-based electric highways developer Evias. The company has devised a patented slotted (electric) rail system, which uses an enclosed electrified e-rail system mounted above or beside the mining vehicle together with the BluVein hammer that connects the electric vehicle to the rail.

The system, which is OEM agnostic, provides power for driving the vehicle, typically a mine truck, and charging the truck’s batteries while the truck is hauling load up the ramp and out of an underground mine.

The underground-focused development under BluVein is coined BluVein1, with the open-pit development looking to offer dynamic charging for ultra-class haul trucks called BluVein XL. This latter project was recently named among eight winning ideas selected to progress to the next stage of the Charge On Innovation Challenge.

The purpose of the third phase of the BluVein1 technology development is to:

  • Conduct a full-scale refined hammer (collector) and arm design and testing with a second prototype;
  • Execute early integration works with mining partners and OEMs;
  • Provide full-power dynamic energy transfer for a vehicle demonstration on a local test site; and
  • Confirm a local test site for development.

IM understands that the company is close to sealing an agreement for a local test site where it will carry out trials of the dynamic charging technology.

James Oliver, CEO, BluVein, said the third phase represents an essential final pre-pilot stage of BluVein1.

“It excites me that the BluVein solution is becoming an industry reality,” he said. “The faster BluVein1 is ready for deployment, the better for our partners and the mining industry globally.”

BluVein recently entered a Memorandum of Understanding with Epiroc, where the Sweden-based OEM will provide the first ever diesel-to-battery-converted Minetruck MT42 underground truck for pilot testing on the slotted electric rail system from BluVein.

“This MoU also ensures that we are designing and developing the system into a real-world BEV for full-scale live testing and demonstration on a pilot site in 2023,” BluVein says.

In addition to Epiroc, IM understands BluVein is working with Sandvik, MacLean, Volvo and Scania, among others, on preparing demonstration vehicles for the BluVein1 pilot site.

The BluVein1 consortium welcomed South32 into the project in May, joining Northern Star Resources, Newcrest Mining, Vale, Glencore, Agnico Eagle, AngloGold Ashanti and BHP, all of which have signed a consortium project agreement that aims to enable final system development and the construction of a technology demonstration pilot site in Australia.

The project is being conducted through the consortium model by Rethink Mining, powered by the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC), which CMIC says is a unique collaboration structure that fast-tracks mining innovation technologies such as BluVein and CAHM (Conjugate Anvil Hammer Mill).

Carl Weatherell, Executive Director and CEO, CMIC/President Rethink Mining Ventures, said: “With the urgent need to decarbonise, CMIC’s approach to co-develop and co-deploy new platform technologies is the way to accelerate to net zero greenhouse gases. The BluVein consortium is a perfect example of how to accelerate co-development of new technology platforms.”

Oliver concluded: “The BluVein1 consortium is a great reminder that many hands make light work, and through this open collaboration with OEMs and mining companies, we’re moving faster together towards a cleaner, greener future for mining.”

Thiess targets WA hard-rock mining sector expansion with MACA offer

Thiess looks like gaining further market share in the key hard-rock mining market of Western Australia after having a bid accepted for fellow mining contractor MACA.

The all-cash offer to acquire 100% of the shares of the company at A$1.0251/share represents a 42.2% premium to the MACA one month volume weighted average price as of July 25, 2022.

MACA’s Board has unanimously recommended that its shareholders accept the offer in the absence of a superior proposal and subject to an independent expert concluding, and continuing to conclude, that the offer is favourable to MACA shareholders.

Thiess says it intends to operate MACA in materially the same manner supported by MACA’s workforce, brand and assets, and to continue its highly regarded community partnerships.

The proposed acquisition of MACA by the Thiess is consistent with its diversification strategy, with a particular emphasis on increasing its presence within metals and minerals hard-rock mining operations in Western Australia, it says.

To this point, the company’s Western Australian hard-rock mining exposure has consisted mostly of work with BHP’s Western Australian nickel assets, in addition to a recent contract award at the Covalent Lithium Joint Venture project.

MACA has exposure to the state’s iron ore sector thanks to contracts with Fortescue and BHP; the burgeoning gold segment through contracts with Regis Resources, Ramelius Resources, Capricorn Metals and Red 5; and nickel and lithium exposure from the Ravensthorpe mine and Pilgangoora project, respectively.

Thiess also said in its Bidder Statement that it sees “a significant opportunity to combine the operational capability of both companies to continue enhancing service quality, particularly in relation to technical solutions such as deploying autonomous machinery or reducing the carbon emissions of mining services on project sites”.

Back in March, MACA announced a partnership with SafeAI to form an MoU to retrofit a mixed fleet of 100 mining trucks across multiple locations with autonomous mining technologies.

Michael Wright, Executive Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Thiess, said: “We believe our offer is an attractive opportunity for MACA shareholders as it provides certainty of cash, a strong premium and an ability to achieve liquidity for their entire MACA shareholding. We are pleased to have the support of the MACA Board for our Offer.

“The proposed acquisition of MACA is an important part of Thiess’ strategy to diversify its operations across commodities, services and geographies. Thiess has a high regard for MACA’s service quality, and we believe our industry experience positions us well to enhance MACA’s value proposition to clients and employees. We recognise and intend to maintain and grow MACA’s strong brand and presence in the Western Australian market. Thiess also looks forward to supporting MACA to meet the evolving needs of its client base through promoting further investment in low emission and technology-led solutions.”

BHP and Tata Steel to partner on low carbon iron and steelmaking tech

BHP has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India’s Tata Steel, one of the world’s largest steelmakers, with the intention to jointly study and explore low carbon iron and steelmaking technology.

Under the partnership, BHP and Tata Steel intend to collaborate on ways to reduce the emission intensity of the blast furnace steel route, via two priority areas – the use of biomass as a source of energy, and the application of carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) in steel production. The partnership aims to help both companies progress toward their respective climate change goals, and support India’s ambitions to be carbon neutral, BHP said.

The technologies explored in this partnership can potentially reduce emission intensity of integrated steel mills by up to 30%. Importantly these projects demonstrate how abatements applied to the blast furnace iron-making process, which contributes to more than 60% of India’s steel production, can materially reduce the carbon intensity of existing capacity.

Beyond these projects, BHP and Tata Steel have committed to a robust ongoing knowledge exchange that will see both parties explore further collaborations, ecosystems and business opportunities in the steel value chain, and the research and innovation sectors in both India and Australia.

BHP’s Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “The partnership with Tata Steel highlights the importance of collaborations in being able to successfully identify and implement emission reduction technologies in steelmaking, including by developing abatements that can apply to the existing blast furnace process to incrementally reduce its carbon emissions intensity.”

She also highlighted how BHP can contribute to Tata Steel’s, and the broader steel industry’s role in helping to achieve India’s ambitions to be carbon neutral, particularly as India is expected to see robust steel demand growth over the next three decades, underpinned by a growing population and rising urbanisation.

“India has invested heavily in the blast furnace route for steel production, and crude steel output was 118 Mt last year,” she said. “It is, therefore, critical to innovate and demonstrate pathways to reduce emissions from the blast furnace, while alternative steel pathways emerge and low carbon energy systems scale-up.

“A greener steel industry will be integral for India’s growth and decarbonisation journey, and we intend to work hard with Tata Steel to enable this development and hopefully set a benchmark for others in the industry to emulate and learn from. Finding pathways to net zero for steelmaking is challenging and complex but we believe that by working with industry leaders like Tata Steel, together, we will find solutions more quickly to help reduce carbon emissions in steel production.”

Speaking on the partnership, Tata Steel’s Vice President, Group Strategic Procurement, Rajiv Mukerji, said: “The steel sector will play a critical role in achieving India’s net-zero commitment. Tata Steel is already working on several pilot projects focussed on the development of deep decarbonisation technologies such as CCU, hydrogen-based steelmaking, use of biomass and other alternate ironmaking routes. We believe strategic collaborations are vital in paving the way for innovations to accelerate the deployment of breakthrough technologies at scale and therefore this partnership with BHP is an important step for us.”

Tata Steel and BHP have been heavily involved in establishing partnerships with like-minded industry leaders in reducing emissions in steelmaking. BHP has, in recent years, partnered with global majors POSCO, China Baowu, JFE Steel and HBIS Group to explore greenhouse gas emissions reduction from steelmaking. The combined output of the five steel companies across Asia – in China, India, Japan and South Korea – equates to around 13% of reported global steel production, BHP says.

BHP to receive ‘world’s first carbon neutral conveyor belts’ from China’s Wuxi Boton

China’s Wuxi Boton has announced the world’s first carbon neutral conveyor belts for delivery to BHP’s Spence copper mine in Chile in August as part of an exclusive pilot project between the two companies.

The two companies jointly developed this pilot project, under which the conveyor belts were verified by SGS, a leading testing, inspection and certification company, as meeting the requirements of PAS 2060:2014 (specification for the demonstration of carbon neutrality).

SGS awarded the world’s first certificate of “Achievement of Carbon Neutrality for Steel Cord Rubber Conveyor Belt” to a batch of belts produced by Boton for BHP. The conveyor belts will be shipped to BHP’s Spence copper mine, where they will be used in the production and transportation of Spence mining products to customers around the world, including China.

The scope of the pilot project was for Wuxi Boton, as the incumbent contractor for BHP’s operations at both Minerals Australia and Minerals America, to select the conveyor belts to be ordered by BHP and identify how to offset the estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the production of those conveyor belts using high-quality carbon offsets prior to delivery.

BHP’s Group Procurement Officer, James Agar, said: “Wuxi Boton have been a reliable partner to BHP for over eight years, supplying high-quality conveyor belts to our assets in Australia and Chile. Both companies are committed to mitigating climate change in accordance with their respective climate targets and goals. This shared vision of a better world led Wuxi Boton, in December 2021, to extend the offer of an exclusive pilot to deliver a carbon neutral conveyor belt to BHP.

“The partnership with Wuxi Boton has been invaluable in helping BHP verify the feasibility of using high-quality carbon offsets to GHG emissions in our supply chain (Scope 3) and grow the potential demand for supplying ‘traced’, ‘low carbon’, or ‘carbon neutral’ products amongst our suppliers.”

Wuxi Boton’s Chairman, Zhifang Bao, said: “It is difficult for any enterprise to achieve low-carbon transformation on its own. Only by building a global platform, co-operating with the whole industry chain, and jointly exploring low-carbon technologies and road maps can we reach the other shore.

“Therefore, joint innovation is an inevitable choice. Instead of passively accepting, it is better to take the initiative to lead, which is a very important choice faced by enterprises all over the world. We are pleased to see that the partnership between BHP and Boton has expanded from a single business level to a strategic synergy level. In the journey of global energy transition, leading companies, including Boton and BHP, are jointly working towards building a more sustainable future.”

ATG and Metso Outotec’s tailings-to-fertiliser tech progresses in BHP Tailings Challenge

Auxilium Technology Group (ATG), a start-up connected to the University of Arizona, in collaboration with Metso Outotec, has been announced as one of two finalists in the BHP Tailings Challenge, an international competition to promote the development of new technologies to reuse mine tailings.

Last year, ATG was one of 10 companies and academic research groups chosen to move on to the laboratory stage of the BHP Tailings Challenge, from an initial field of 154 applicants from 19 countries. Metso Outotec and ATG signed an agreement to collaborate on this initiative and, in April 2022, BHP chose two finalists, ATG and Americas Tailings Inc, a company that has developed a process to turn mine tailings into fertiliser products.

For the next phase, ATG plans to build a pilot tailings processing plant at the San Xavier Underground Mining Laboratory, owned by University of Arizona. Metso Outotec will contribute with advice on engineering and scale up using Metso Outotec products.

Metso Outotec supported the ATG process design concept by estimating engineering costs and providing Metso Outotec Plant Solutions technology competence. The concept considers pre-designed plant units known as “Process Islands” for almost all the process areas of the future plant, the company said.

Metso Outotec’s approach supported the project from optimal equipment sizing to optimising engineering costs and modularising the plant to meet future capacity requirements.

Mining companies like BHP are eager to find alternatives for the use of tailings, which are costly to store and regulated under environmental laws because they contain pollutants.

After initial cleaning of the tailings, the proposed process includes use of the material as construction aggregate or an insulating “geofoam” that can be sprayed or 3D printed to produce insulating blocks.