Tag Archives: Boddington

Technofast adds new layer of security for bolting-on equipment

An evenly tensioned series of bolted joints is critical to the safe, low maintenance and cost-efficient assembly and disassembly of many types of equipment used throughout the mining industry, Technofast says.

Secure tensioning of a series of bolts on equipment such as comminution machinery, gearboxes, motors, vibrating screens and turbines is critical, because bolted joints are designed so the individual fasteners apply a collective compressive load greater than the working forces, which try to separate the components. Any under-tensioned bolt sheds excessive load onto nearby fasteners, which may be overstressed and fail, thereby causing loss of mechanical integrity and severe damage.

Second and conversely, if bolts are overtightened, then the elastic limit of their steel material may be exceeded and lead to premature failure. Additionally, the area under the bolt head or the nut could be crushed with resulting damage to the joint components.

The ideal means of tightening a bolted joint is to energise all the fasteners simultaneously using a bolt tensioner or hydraulic nut. As these can be connected in a ‘daisy chain’, force is applied evenly and equally to each via the increasing hydraulic pressure applied from a single point source.

“Whatever the reason for unevenly tensioned bolts, the outcome is never good. The fault ultimately affects machinery reliability, maintenance downtime – and potential risk to people working around them,” John Bucknell, CEO of Technofast precision engineered solutions, said.

Different versions of Technofast’s hydraulically-actuated EziTite® hydraulic nuts and CamNut® tensioning systems provide solutions to such issues where they are used to speedily apply and release bolted joints. Technofast’s bolting products are used to accelerate and make safer assembly and disassembly of machinery in applications in mining, particularly those production-critical applications under high pressure or heat, or those subject to intense vibration, Bucknell says.

Applications include machinery used globally across extractive industries including those for coal, copper, gold, iron ore, nickel, aluminium, bauxite, potash, silver, lead, uranium, ilmenite, zinc, zircon, lithium as well as quarries for sand, gravel, road base and construction materials.

“Rather than tightening the bolts by torque methods – that is rotation of the nut by hammering or use of torque wrenches, or alternatively, by using bolt heating methods – Technofast CamNut and EziTite HT hydraulic nuts use hydraulic force to stretch multiple bolts axially,” Buckell said. “They achieve exact tensions across a series of bolts by exerting the exact amount needed for the particular application on all of them simultaneously. They are then locked with their individual screwed Lock Rings to achieve reliable, even and precise tensioning the first time. Up to 100% of all the fasteners used in a particular daisy chain can be precisely fastened or released simultaneously.”

This type of speed and safety offered by standard and custom-made EziTite hydraulic nuts and CamNuts is valuable on mine sites, as shown by an application involving Newmont’s Boddington gold mine in Australia, which is one of the world’s largest gold mines.

Newmont’s particular high-stress application involved gearbox couplers on Polysius-Polycom PM8-24/17M high-pressure grinding roll machinery. Originally, installation was performed with two hydraulic bolt tensioners that required multiple passes of the bolts (40 in total).

Removal was then carried out with the use of a hydraulic torque wrench, which, in this application, was an extremely time-consuming process in a difficult and confined location.

“There was also the issue of inconsistent bolt loads in this application, plus the occupational health and safety issues with the use of hydraulic torque wrenches in this tough and time-consuming operation, which involved 10-12 hours and a team of six personnel,” Bucknell said.

The solution to the time, efficiency and safety issues involved a series of special M48 x 3.0 ultra-high tensile EziTite hydraulic nuts linked together over the 40 nuts involved.

Benefits borne out by this application included easy installation, as well as removal for maintenance (installation and removal are by the same method). In addition to fewer handling and fewer occupational health and safety issues, precise bolt loads were achieved across all the fasteners involved and installation and removal times improved dramatically, according to Technofast.

Bucknell said: “Compared with the 10 hours and six personnel involved previously, the new technology resulted in installations involving just three hours and three personnel. This radically improved time efficiency and costs, while substantially increasing safety, because the tensioning and release process was carried out remotely, simultaneously and immediately under precisely controlled conditions.

“The Technofast team working with the client in this application designed a special nut to achieve required size and particular strength requirements. Project management staff commented on the ease of fitting and the fact that the tensioning has reduced the overall time by two thirds and personnel from six to three. They said the implementation of the new setup allowed them to achieve the timelines required for shutdowns on these machines.

“These are typical benefits of Technofast hydraulic bolt tensioning over many installations and many countries, including those organised by our US office in conjunction with our global headquarters in Brisbane, from where we service Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe.”

Complementing Technofast’s EziTite hydraulic nuts, the CamNut system is designed for applications where longer bolts for standard bolt tensioners are not available or desirable, and for situations with elevated operational temperatures, such as pumps and steam valves.

Alltype Engineering gassed up in Western Australia

WestStar Industrial’s engineering construction contracting business, Alltype Engineering, has been awarded contracts to a total value of circa-A$8 million ($6 million) across multiple clients and projects, including A$5 million of contracts in gas transmission.

APA Group has contracted Alltype to deliver multiple gas offtake and metering facility projects throughout the Midwest region of Western Australia. These turnkey multidiscipline projects involve civil, structural, mechanical, piping, electrical and instrumentation scopes, both workshop and site, with remote area working conditions and logistics and eight off-workshop fabricated gas skids to be completed off site.

Included in the projects are a gas lateral offtake and metering station for the Beyondie sulphate of potash project (pictured), a gas lateral offtake and metering project for the Lakeway SO4 potash project, and gas lateral offtake and metering work for Capricorn Metals’ Karlawinda gold project.

WestStar is also scheduled to build a gas lateral metering station for Primero Group at the Kalium Lakes potash project.

WestStar said: “These newly awarded contracts for Alltype continue to demonstrate its strength and reliability in working successfully with APA and the Australian gas industry, including both upstream and downstream projects.

“Furthermore, having fabricated, assembled and FAT tested over 20 modularised gas skid process packages in the last two years, Alltype continue to leverage off this experience and knowhow to fast track aggressive timeline projects with full supply chain control.”

Alltype has commenced the works for APA Group, which are planned to be completed by the March quarter of 2021.

In addition to this work, Alltype says it was awarded its first contract from Newmont at the Boddington gold mine, also in Western Australia. This contract had an aggressive timeline for completion of urgent fabricated plate and piping componentry for a shutdown, which was achieved. The balance of works is in the process of being completed, it noted.

Still in Western Australia, Alltype says it continues to provide goods and services for the three major iron ore developments in the Pilbara, being BHP South Flank, Rio Tinto Gudai-Darri and FMG’s majority-owned Iron Bridge project.

Caterpillar to help Newmont’s Boddington gold mine go autonomous

Newmont’s Boddington operation, in Australia, is to become the world’s first open-pit gold mine with an autonomous haul truck fleet after the miner’s Board of Directors unanimously approved investment in an Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) from Caterpillar.

The move, which will enhance safety and productivity and is expected to be fully operational in 2021, will also see the Boddington mine life extended, according to Newmont.

Tom Palmer, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Not only does Boddington continue to deliver strong performance, our investment in autonomous haul trucks will generate an internal rate of return greater than 35% with a more controlled and efficient haulage operation.

“We are also uniquely positioned in the gold sector to support effective implementation and operation of the fleet thanks to the technical capabilities and previous experience of leaders in our business. Simply put, Boddington will be a safer, more productive world-class gold mine in a top-tier jurisdiction.”

Total net investment in Boddington’s AHS will be $150 million, with efficiencies expected to extend the mine’s life by at least two years, Newmont said. The project will involve adding some new AHS-enabled Caterpillar 793Fs to the haulage fleet and retrofitting some existing 793Fs with AHS capabilities, a Newmont spokesperson confirmed. The company said it also saw additional upside potential from the replication of the AHS at other Newmont operations.

The company said: “Boddington’s autonomous Caterpillar haul trucks will feature rigorous safety controls that reduce employee exposure to potential vehicle interactions. No injuries have been recorded from AHS operations since their introduction into the mining industry.”

Newmont said it is also executing a “robust people strategy” at Boddington, providing opportunities for reskilling and redeployment of haul truck drivers to other roles supporting the AHS.

Boddington is Western Australia’s largest gold producer, delivering 709,000 oz of gold and 77 MIb (34,927 t) of copper in 2018. The mine directly employs around 2,000 people and is located 135 km southeast of Perth in Western Australia.

Jim Cooper to optimise Newmont’s Peñasquito gold mine

Newmont has decided to transfer Jim Cooper, General Manager of the Boddington mine in Australia, to lead the Peñasquito mine, in Mexico, in order to optimise the asset.

Cooper will assume leadership of Peñasquito in the March quarter and report to Dan Janney, Newmont’s Regional Senior Vice President for North America.

Peñasquito is one of several assets where the company intends to deliver cost and productivity improvements over the next few years, with Newmont seeing potential for debottlenecking the mill feed and lowering mining costs.

Tom Palmer, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Under Jim’s leadership, Boddington has delivered step-change improvements in safety, mill throughput and recovery, mine plan sequencing and execution.

“Boddington’s scale and processing characteristics are similar to Peñasquito’s, making Jim uniquely qualified to replicate Boddington’s consistently strong performance at Peñasquito in Mexico.”

Jen Bennett, currently serving as Vice President of Operations for Newmont’s South America region, will succeed Jim to lead Boddington and build on the operation’s success through a continued focus on safe, efficient production, and project delivery, the company said.

Peñasquito’s current General Manager, Brian Berney, will focus on government and community engagement in Mexico while supporting an effective transition with Cooper.

In October, Peñasquito’s production was halted for close to two weeks following an illegal blockade. This followed another illegal blockade, earlier that year, involving trucking contractors.

The mine produced 272,000 oz of gold in 2018.

AusGroup subsidiary to work on Newmont Goldcorp’s Boddington gold mine

AusGroup’s MAS Australasia subsidiary has been awarded a five year contract to carry out maintenance at Newmont Goldcorp’s Boddington gold mine in Western Australia.

MAS will use the existing local presence and infrastructure it has in the southwest Of Western Australia and provide specialist mechanical, scaffolding and rope access maintenance services to the mine, AusGroup said.

Additionally, the scope requires MAS to provide a range of trade-qualified technicians to support Newmont Goldcorp’s mechanical maintenance and general shutdown services over the contract term.

Shane Kimpton, CEO and Managing Director, said: “This contract cements MAS’ reputation as a bespoke maintenance services provider to a diverse portfolio of customers.

“Our value proposition and service offering extends beyond LNG and construction projects and this is an excellent example of where MAS can bring innovation and significant value.”

Boddington produced 709,000 oz of gold for Newmont Goldcorp last year and is currently undergoing a stripping campaign in the South Pit in order to reach higher-grade ore.

Newmont Goldcorp weighing haul truck automation at Boddington

Newmont Goldcorp President – and soon to be CEO – Tom Palmer, told investors on a conference call this week that the miner was looking into the feasibility of implementing autonomous haulage at the Boddington gold-copper mine, in Western Australia.

The mine produced 709,000 oz of gold for Newmont Goldcorp last year and is currently undergoing a stripping campaign in the South Pit in order to reach higher-grade ore.

Palmer said the company recently advanced its “autonomous haulage study” at the mine and there could be a funding decision made on this project before the end of 2019.

“If approved, the project is expected to improve cost and mining productivity, by converting the fleet of 39 haul trucks to autonomous operation, using the Cat command system,” Palmer said.

Newmont Goldcorp sees value in expanding process control support hub

Newmont Goldcorp says it plans on expanding its Process Control Operations Support Hub globally following a successful pilot project launched in Australia, in 2018.

The company will start the expansion in Ghana, where its Ahafo, Akyem and Subika mines reside, but expects full implementation in 2020, it said.

The Process Control Operations Support Hub pilot project was launched in 2018 with a mandate to streamline process control systems, procedures and monitoring tools, the company said.

“Thanks to the teamwork and collaboration of our Boddington team, the pilot project was a great success, demonstrating the need for process control support and the value of the project’s innovations,” the company explained. “We learned that the operational support hub model accelerates the advanced process control value at our sites and allows for knowledge and expertise to be targeted in a cost-efficient way.”

The company also found that the demand for operations support hubs was higher than expected, and that introducing this support model would help drive improvement at its sites.

In line with the company’s Full Potential program’s mandate to identify opportunities for efficiency and innovation across our business, the support hub has added $2.8 million in what the company calls “Full Potential value” to date, Newmont Goldcorp said.

SRG Global wins service contract at South32’s Worsley alumina operation

Construction, maintenance and mining service group, SRG Global says it has secured a long-term contract with South32’s Worsley Alumina subsidiary in Australia.

The ASX-listed service provider will deliver a “complete suite” of engineered access solutions for the Worsley alumina operation, including scaffold services and highly skilled rope access technicians, it said.

The contract is for an initial three-year term with extension options for a further three years, SRG said, explaining that, if Worsley Alumina exercises the extension options, the total contract duration will be six years.

Works under this contract commence in June and are expected to generate revenues of circa-A$60 million ($41 million) over the six-year term or around $32 million over the initial three-year term, according to SRG.

“The contract requires minimal capital outlay and will increase SRG Global’s workforce by circa-100 full-time positions,” SRG said.

SRG Global Managing Director, David Macgeorge, said, “The opportunity to work with a world-renowned mining company like South32 at its long-established Worsley Alumina project in South West WA is a great achievement for SRG Global. The effort our team put in during the competitive tendering process is admirable and I commend them on a fantastic result.

“This contract also represents a significant advancement in the group’s long-term strategy to deliver recurring term revenue within the asset services sector.”

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.

Newmont Australia progresses with Maptek Vulcan and Cat MineStar/Minetec work

Newmont’s Boddington and Tanami gold mines, in Australia, are piloting and deploying technological innovations as they look to optimise resource value and deliver improved operational performance, the company says.

To do this, the company is using regional technology teams that, according to Newmont’s Vice President of Operational Technology and Innovation, Mike Wundenberg, are “instrumental to digital transformation at Newmont”.

The team of technicians and engineers in Australia are, among other initiatives, working on a full rollout at Boddington, one of Australia’s largest gold mines, of the first commercial application of Maptek’s Vulcan optimiser, which Newmont referred to as “an automated, revenue-based ore control software that reduces variability while optimising ore recovery and cutting down on waste”.

The IT team at Boddington provided new infrastructure and support needed to deploy the technology, Newmont said. They also worked to replace Boddington’s old Wi-Fi system in the last two years – a move that now allows for seamless, continuous interoperability and will support the execution of numerous digital initiatives going forward.

Meanwhile, at the Tanami underground gold mine, which produced 500,000 oz of gold last year, a pilot study of the Caterpillar MineStar suite of technologies for underground is underway at Tanami. “This exciting pilot of the latest Caterpillar and Minetec technologies will lay the foundation for a range of Newmont’s safety, productivity and cost initiatives,” Newmont said.

Last year, Caterpillar and Minetec announced this trial at Tanami, saying Newmont would provide operational input from its underground hard-rock mining operations.

Grant Cunningham, Regional IT Operational Engagement Architect, is the primary liaison between the vendors and Newmont site teams. He explained that an important aspect of the pilot is “getting a broad cross-section of personnel exposed to the technologies so they can gain working knowledge of its benefits and contribute to the final assessment”.