Tag Archives: Brazil

Horizonte enlists Copa Construção SA for Araguaia ferronickel project earthworks

Horizonte Minerals, a nickel development company focused in Brazil, has awarded the earthworks contract for the construction of its 100%-owned Araguaia ferronickel project to Copa Construção SA.

Copa is a leading Brazilian company with extensive experience in mining projects and civil infrastructure, ranging from roads, viaducts, hydroelectric power plants, ports, airports and transmission lines, Horizonte explained. Copa has a portfolio of more than 2,500 cu.m of concrete installed throughout the country and has a quality management certification.

Awarding the earthworks contract is an important step in the construction of Araguaia. The scope of the contract incorporates the process plant and supporting infrastructure components of the bulk earthworks for the ferronickel plant. The contract scope is designed to ensure the site is ready for the civil construction works on completion, and will see Copa levelling the main plant area, creating a series of stepped plateaus that will support the key process equipment packages and buildings, installing initial drainage facilities, as well as the main ramp and crusher platform.

CEO of Horizonte, Jeremy Martin, said: “We are delighted to welcome Copa as a key partner for the construction of our Araguaia Project. With Copa’s strong track record of successfully delivering infrastructure projects across the country, signing this contract enables us to commence construction at the beginning of the dry season this quarter as planned.

“This is another important milestone in our 24-month project construction timeline, with next steps being the award of the civil works, 230 kV powerline and electromechanical construction contracts. We look forward to keeping the market updated on developments at site.”

The Araguaia project comprises an open-pit nickel laterite mining operation that delivers ore from a number of pits to a central rotary kiln electric furnace (RKEF) metallurgical processing facility. The metallurgical process comprises a single line RKEF to extract FeNi from the ore. After an initial ramp-up period, the plant will reach a full capacity of approximately 900,000 t/y of dry ore feed to produce 52,000 t of ferronickel, in turn containing 14,500 t/y of nickel. The FeNi product will be transported by road to the port of Vila do Conde in the north of the State for sale to overseas customers.

Repair, Reuse, Recycle: ERG’s critical minerals reprocessing journey

The Musonoi River Valley in the Katanga region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has, for some decades, been the site of land degradation resulting from inadequate and ineffective tailings and other waste management systems.

The local water system and surrounding land has been subjected to pollution from more than 83.2 Mt of legacy tailings spread over an area 11-km long and up to 2.5-km wide. Additionally, 41.1 Mt of tailings have accumulated at the Kingamyambo Tailings Dam.

Remediating and mitigating this damage is now a primary goal of Eurasian Resources Group’s Metalkol Roan Tailings Reclamation (RTR), a reprocessing facility dedicated to cleaning up the historic tailings left by previous mining operators in the Kolwezi area of the DRC. By reclaiming and reprocessing copper and cobalt tailings in the region, the company says its approach goes beyond ‘do no harm’, actively addressing a history of environmental degradation and pollution.

The legacy tailings are extracted through hydraulic mining and dredging, reprocessed and then re-deposited into a modern, closely managed and centralised tailings storage facility. This is subject to regular inspection, monitoring and reporting, supported by a dedicated Engineer of Record and an independent laboratory. Currently Metalkol RTR can produce 21,000 t/y of cobalt, which is says is sufficient for three million electric vehicle batteries, alongside around 100,000 t/y of copper, the company says.

ERG also has reprocessing operations outside of Africa, including at Kazchrome in Kazakhstan, which, it says, is the world’s largest high-carbon ferrochrome producer by chrome content.

Established in 2019, ERG Recycling – ERG’s specialised company aiming to become the largest entity to reprocess industrial waste into commercial products in Kazakhstan – has already implemented many projects including the commissioning of a new workshop that reprocesses slag, dust and other fine waste into high-quality briquettes. This program to reprocess Kazchrome’s 14.7 Mt of slag stockpiles has been expanded, now processing over 100,000 t/y of slag.

These operations have been enhanced by the development of new technology. Having completed the first trial in 2020, the Slimes 2 Tailings Reprocessing project at Donskoy GOK has the potential to enhance Kazchrome’s output of chrome concentrate by recovering 55% of the chromium oxide in chrome-oxide bearing tailings using innovative flotation technology, the company says.

In Brazil, at ERG’s integrated project, BAMIN, which produces a premium 67% Fe grade iron ore and is ramping up to become one of the country’s largest standalone iron ore exporters, the company’s transition from an upstream to a downstream tailings model ensured continued compliance with both local regulations and international standards, it said. The group continues to study additional technological enhancements to ensure the construction and operation of a world-class facility.

The environmental benefits of reprocessing projects like these are very significant for the business and critical to local communities, according to the company.

“As more attention rightly turns towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, it is crucial that tailings are dealt with and stored properly,” ERG said. “Aside from preventing significant issues, such as dam collapses, by reprocessing and responsibly storing these tailings, we are reducing local pollution risks more generally, increasing air quality and decreasing the likelihood of leaching toxic substances into surrounding habitats and water systems.”

Given the legacy of environmental degradation and serious consequences it poses, it is also necessary for mining companies to explore novel ways of rehabilitating the environment.

For example, ERG has been working with a team of agronomists from the University of Lubumbashi in the DRC to look into the experimental planting of trees and their growing potential at the Kingamyambo tailings dam.

Looking forward, these operations will support the sustainable development of affordable batteries and other clean energy technologies.

By producing critical raw materials, such as cobalt, without the risk and cost of needing to develop new mining projects, ERG says it can help make electric vehicles and other renewable technologies more accessible, helping facilitating the net-zero transition.

Pictured above is Metalkol RTR, ERG’s reprocessing facility in the DRC: the world’s second largest standalone cobalt producer

Yamana ups its climate action ante, considers further use of BEVs, automation

Yamana Gold Inc has announced the outcome of its foundational work on its Climate Action Strategy, raising its climate action ambition by adopting a 1.5ºC target compared to pre-industrial levels and laying the groundwork for the incorporation of more renewable energy sources and battery-electric vehicles at its mines.

The foundational work began in early 2021 and Yamana previously indicated it would complete its work and establish science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement targets by the end of the year. This has seen the company determine base year emissions, emissions forecasts, GHG abatement pathways for Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and physical and transition risks aligned with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

After conducting top-down and bottom-up GHG reduction opportunity assessments at each operation, Yamana has raised its ambition from a 2ºC-aligned target in early 2021 to a 1.5ºC target.

Work has been performed in conformance with evolving international best practice, including the GHG Protocol, Science-based Targets Initiative (SBTi) guidelines, and the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining Climate Change Protocol.

Based on the company’s analysis of a 1.5ºC temperature scenario, an annual emissions reduction of approximately 4.2% will be required until 2030. Yamana has concluded it will be able to meet these reduction targets by its 2030 target through a focus on efficient, high-grade underground mines and operating in jurisdictions that have a large proportion of available renewable, green electricity.

A newly signed power purchase agreement at its Minera Florida operation (Chile), scheduled to become effective in 2022, will provide 100% renewable electricity over the next five years. When coupled with similar agreements at Jacobina (Brazil, pictured) and El Peñon (Chile), approximately 85% of the company’s gold-equivalent ounces will be produced with renewable energy by the end of next year.

As part of its previously announced growth plans at Wasamac (Canada), Odyssey (Canada) and Jacobina (Brazil), Yamana is evaluating opportunities to further reduce its GHG emissions by investing in battery-electric vehicles, automation and other emerging technologies. Meanwhile, the company’s near-term growth in both Quebec and Brazil will leverage electrical grids that have a high proportion of green, renewable energy. Hydroelectric and other forms of non-fossil fuel energy constituted more than 99.9% of the Quebec grid energy in 2020, it said.

In 2022, the company will continue to refine its analysis and transition to a more operations-focused approach as it continues work to identify and assess additional opportunities to reduce GHG emissions. The company will also begin to define its Scope 3 GHG emissions, including those from its 50% owned Canadian Malartic Mine.

Haver & Boecker Niagara tackles high moisture levels with new elliptical screen

Haver & Boecker Niagara has engineered a new, elliptical motion Niagara XL-Class vibrating screen for a Brazilian iron ore producer that, it says, is ideal for applications challenged with high moisture content.

The new technology can handle capacities up to 3,500 t/h while minimising water usage, with the XL-Class running in an elliptical motion of up to 6 g in this high moisture iron ore screening application to ensure stratification in all phases of screening. The new vibrating screen also features an elliptical exciter drive that offers a bearing life up to 75,000 hours.

“We are dedicated to using innovative technological solutions to enhance our customers’ daily processes,” Denilson Moreno, Haver & Boecker Niagara Sales Manager, said. “Our new XL-Class design is a prime example of that. The vibrating screen’s unique elliptical movement maintains unrivalled screening performance when processing high moisture materials.”

Iron ore, for example, can contain up to 15% moisture, and often behaves like a pasty, clay-like material, prone to blinding on a screen deck. The elliptical movement motion and increased acceleration of the XL-Class ensures the material is stratifying without blinding or contamination, according to Haver & Boecker.

The elliptical motion XL-Class vibrating screen is available in a wide-range of sizes, in either a single module or tandem design.

Haver & Boecker Niagara manufacturers its own brand of Niagara Exciter technology, which functions as the drive system for all elliptical XL-Class vibrating screens. The bridge-mounted exciters are available in five different sizes and offer the largest static moment range on the market, according to the company.

Each elliptical XL-Class machine is custom designed to the operation’s specific application using Finite Element Analysis (FEA), which measures high stress areas and natural frequencies of a vibrating screen. The analysis helps engineers optimise machine performance by giving them the information they need to determine where to reinforce critical areas and reduce the weight of any oversized components, the company explained.

“With more than 15 years of FEA and experimental measurement experience – and nearly 400 high-capacity vibrating screens supplied to the global market – Haver & Boecker Niagara is able to engineer state-of-the-art high-capacity vibrating screens that offer easy operation, low maintenance and unmatched reliability,” it said.

Operations can pair the elliptical XL-Class with the with the company’s signature Ty-Deck Ultra modular screen media to maximise the screening efficiency of high moisture material and address its challenges, according to the company. Ty-Deck Ultra’s accelerated screening action cleans material without the use of water, therefore reducing the need for tailing dams.

With a 50% longer wear life than the original Ty-Deck, the screen media panels are an ideal choice for screening high moisture materials, such as iron ore, Haver & Boecker said.

TAKRAF’s first Dry Stack Tailings system commissioned in Brazil

The first DELKOR Dry Stack Tailings (DST) system to be supplied by TAKRAF Group in Brazil is being commissioned for one of the largest steel producers in the Americas, the company says.

The order for the key equipment for the DST system was awarded in January 2019 and was followed shortly by an order being placed for the supply of a TAKRAF stacker.

The project comprises the following equipment to process iron ore tailings:

  • Flocculant plant;
  • Coagulant plant;
  • 35 m diameter DELKOR high rate thickener;
  • 300 sq.m slurry tank with agitator;
  • Four double-stage centrifugal slurry pumps;
  • Four DELKOR overhead beam filter presses (FP OH): 2 m x 2 m plates;
  • Four compressors with tanks (process and instrument air); and
  • Four TAKRAF belt feeders.

As part of the client’s initiative to improve the sustainability of its operations, the DST system is being built to enable the filtering and stacking of tailings as the deposit area of the existing tailings dam reaches full capacity by year-end.

In addition, by removing most of the water present in the tailing slurry, enabling the material to be safely stacked, the client can benefit from a secure and environmentally friendly approach to tailings disposal.

“Not only does it obviate the risk of catastrophic tailings dam failures, but also maximises the water recovered for return to and re-use by the beneficiation plant,” the company said.

DST will be applied following beneficiation to treat the tailings generated during the iron ore concentration process by flotation. The raw tailings slurry will be first fed to the thickener where part of the water is already recovered. In the next process step, more water is recovered by the filter press to achieve a moisture level of about 14% (dry basis), thus creating a dry filter cake ready to be deposited.

DELKOR’s equipment is built to withstand harsh mining environmental conditions, with the filter presses designed as an overhead beam type suitable for the prevailing operational conditions, it said. These require, among other features, large volumes of material to be processed and easy access to the filter plates and filter cloths for maintenance.

In line with DELKOR’s holistic solutions approach, the DST system was designed as a fully-integrated dewatering process through sedimentation and filtration, with the material being tested in the lab prior to sizing the equipment.

Tiago Carvalho, TAKRAF Brazil Managing Director, said: “TAKRAF and DELKOR’s world-leading technology and expertise to offer a complete DST solution, together with our outstanding technical proposal, based on comprehensive DELKOR testing during the bid stage and collaboration with specialised partners, were undoubtedly convincing factors in the project award.

“All colleagues involved in this project should be commended for successfully bringing this important DST reference to commissioning. This project serves to reinforce TAKRAF Group as a leading global solutions provider and we look forward to successfully delivering future DST projects.”

Ausenco receives engineering gig with Bemisa Holding at Água Azul

Bemisa Holding SA has awarded Ausenco the Conceptual and Basic Engineering for the second phase of the Água Azul gold project in Pará, Brazil, the mine engineering and consultancy company says.

Applying its cost-effective design approach and extensive gold project experience in the country, Ausenco says it will design a 1.5 Mt/y gold processing facility.

Água Azul is in the southeast of Pará, close to the polymetallic district of Carajás, according to Bemisa, which said drilling surveys to define resources and reserves are in progress, together with bench tests and pilot scale tests.

Metso Outotec gears up for next generation of mining IPCC applications

A significant product launch in the in-pit crushing and conveying (IPCC) space was announced in parallel with the headline-grabbing co-operation agreement signed by Metso Outotec and FAM GmbH in June.

On the same day the two companies shook hands on a global non-exclusive pact to deliver integrated end-to-end solutions for IPCC and tailings management plants in mining, Metso Outotec, in a separate announcement, highlighted its Foresight™ semi-mobile primary gyratory (SMPG) station.

The SMPG station, which features the Superior™ MKIII primary gyratory crusher and patented SmartStation technology for “optimal processing”, is arguably the piece of the IPCC puzzle Metso Outotec has been missing.

Lokotrack® crushing plants have a solid reputation but only have capacities up to 3,000 t/h – one of the larger installations being a Lokotrack L200 at the Altay Polimetally copper operation in Kazakhstan. Such capacities work for most fully mobile IPCC installations, which tend to come with the highest complexity and are, therefore, a rare proposition, but semi-mobile hard-rock installations normally call for a much higher throughput.

This is where the SMPG station, with a maximum 15,000 t/h throughput capacity when equipped with the Superior MKIII PG 60110 primary gyratory crusher, fits the bill.

This station, when equipped with SmartStation technology, allows automated material size control and reduced wear, downtime and plant height, according to the company. It is also advertised as offering an up to 30% higher capacity on the same crusher size and 70% reduced downtime with the Superior MKIII primary gyratory technology, plus up to 30% power savings with patented Energy Saving Idlers. Maintainability is also boosted through improved crusher access and plant area isolation.

The station was included as part of an integrated IPCC solution launch from Metso Outotec that consists of crushing, conveying and stacking equipment, combined with IPCC planning and lifecycle services.

Leif Berndt, Director, IPCC at Metso Outotec, acknowledged that the SMPG is the core addition to this refreshed IPCC portfolio, but believes the company has already displayed its IPCC expertise in “a number” of large capacity (20,000 t/h) crushing and conveying system deployments in iron ore and copper applications in South America. It also recently sold a Foresight SMPG equipped with a MKIII 60110 primary gyratory to Codelco for its Radomiro Tomic operation, in Chile.

“In terms of crushing and conveying, we have carried out these building blocks to the same large capacities as others that call themselves the incumbents in this market,” he told IM. “With the new and experienced planning team we have in our Düsseldorf facility, we now have the in-pit development around those solutions to prove this.”

Metso Outotec recently sold a Foresight SMPG equipped with a MKIII 60110 primary gyratory to Codelco for its Radomiro Tomic operation, in Chile

He expanded on the topic when discussing the ability to address the higher capacity IPCC segment with the SMPG: “It is one thing to look at it from the instantaneous, hourly, or shift throughput perspective; it is another thing to look at it from the design of the whole system, the plant and the mine planning to come to the customer with a workable solution that will produce, over the year, the tonnes required.

“You then need to sustain those numbers by having the right planning, system and service to sustain the crusher’s performance.

“That is where the true success for the customer is.”

Berndt says the company has all this in its offering, asserting that Metso Outotec should be considered a leading market player in the IPCC sector.

“It is quite simple: we are the number one in large capacity primary gyratory crushers; we are also the number one in service,” he said. “That covers, with technology and services, two very important aspects for a successful IPCC operation.

“We now have a very experienced IPCC team in Düsseldorf, and we are leveraging the engineering and product development group in Sorocaba, Brazil, to be closer to the markets east of the Atlantic. With that, we have the right team for planning, engineering and project delivery, the right technologies and services driving availability and, hence, productivity.”

That is even before mentioning the tie-up with FAM, which will allow Metso Outotec to play a significant role in end-to-end solutions across the IPCC space thanks to the inclusion of FAM spreaders and crawler-mounted conveyor bridges for waste IPCC applications and dry stacking of tailings.

Such a collaboration shouldn’t surprise anyone in this space.

Metso Outotec has been open – and remains open – to partnering with other OEMs for IPCC systems, evidenced by an agreement with Komatsu that sees Komatsu sizers fitted on Lokotrack systems for soft-rock applications.

“Technologies that are delivering advancements in sustainability, productivity and maintainability that are complementary to our offering, which we don’t own ourselves, are always interesting to us,” Berndt said.

Ready at the right time

Metso Outotec appears to have got its ducks in a row at exactly the right time as, with a strong environmental tailwind behind it, the IPCC market is on the up.

The need to electrify operations and reduce reliance on fossil fuels in line with ambitious decarbonisation targets is leading more and more miners to considering an element of in-pit work at their operations.

Greenfield mines are working on tradeoffs in the study phase to pit conventional truck and shovel against the use of more conveyors and in-pit crushing equipment, while brownfield operations are getting the mine models out again to see if an element of the operation can be reconfigured to make the most of fixed, semi-mobile or fully-mobile IPCC systems.

Berndt said many clients decide to go for modularised, configurable and semi-mobile solutions for ease of construction and assembly away from the run-of-mine (ROM) pad to improve scheduling. Such a configuration could allow parallel development of, for instance, crusher pocket development and the ROM pad.

Also, when it comes to a greenfield project, the cost to “buy yourself the option of relocating the plant”, when compared with the capital associated with installing a stationary plant, is, on many occasions, “insignificant”, according to Berndt.

“As a result, customers decide to ‘buy’ that option and, when the pit develops in the future, relocate the plant,” he said. “That, in itself, is a strong driver in the IPCC market.”

The tie-up with FAM will allow Metso Outotec to play a significant role in end-to-end solutions across the IPCC space thanks to the inclusion of FAM spreaders and crawler-mounted conveyor bridges (pictured, courtesy of FAM) for waste IPCC applications and dry stacking of tailings

Adapting existing hard-rock operations designed for truck and shovel operations by incorporating large capacity semi-mobile IPCC systems with crushing plant locations inside the pit remains a complex task from a planning perspective, but Berndt has seen an increase in interest in this option too.

There are mine engineering professionals in the Metso Outotec Düsseldorf office that have specific experience of adapting operations for IPCC solutions, he said.

“However, that being said, we all know conveyors don’t have wheels, and the cost of deploying or redeploying these conveyors requires pit ramp developments or pit pushbacks earlier in the mine process and, hence, earlier cash-out on overburden compared to a truck shovel development.”

The economic tradeoff that has led to such developments is starting to change in favour of IPCC solutions.

“In the mine investment decision and methodology selection, the net present value impact of ‘early overburden’, or pulling forward the push-back phases in conical pits to advance ramps for conveyor access, was formerly only offset against the lower production cost, which drove the payback point to a 150-200 m vertical lift component level,” Berndt said. “Carbon credits for energy saved against early cash-out will shift this payback point upward, increasing demand for IPCC solutions.”

Which is why Metso Outotec’s reinvigorated IPCC pursuit is considered timely.

More and more mining companies are becoming comfortable with carbon accounting and factoring it into project studies – whether these studies are distributed internally or externally. They are cognisant of the fact it may be a voluntary addition in the Excel spreadsheet formula today, but, in the years ahead, it will become a requirement of doing business.

“Metso Outotec, for example, has sustainability targets included in its recent renewal of a financial instrument,” Berndt said. “Access to funding and the cost, thereof, will increasingly depend exactly on that.”

Yet, this doesn’t spell the end of truck and shovel in the IPCC mining operations Metso Outotec is likely to serve, according to Berndt.

He sees an electrified future where the two elements will play happily together in the pit.

“You need the flexibility of trucks, whether that be from a hydrogen-, battery- or trolley-powered source at some point in time, to allow for the required selectivity and blending in the pit,” he said. “Given that the deployment of conveyors is limited by very short phases and the space/geometry of a typical hard-rock mine, it is not simply a convey or truck situation; it is a matter of using truck and convey to find the best interface.

“Obviously, the more you can take out of the vertical lift component by conveyors, the better, but, in the context of a majority horizontal haul, trucks are likely to be a lot more efficient.

“The developments now happening are the truck interfacing or delivering onto the conveyors in the pit and the ability to make that a more flexible process.”

Armed with Lokotrack solutions for a fully mobile IPCC solution, its family of FIT™ and Foresight™ modular crushing stations, the new SMPG, and a strong planning, engineering and service offering, Metso Outotec says it has all the necessary elements to deliver the mining sector’s next generation of IPCC systems.

Minery to use Minespider blockchain platform for commodity trading traceability

Minery, a Brazil-based mineral commodity trading marketplace, is adding digital traceability to its platform using Minespider’s blockchain platform.

The integration offers additional assurance about the provenance of the minerals for sale and the immutability of the data, as well as ensuring that trades are secure, Minespider says.

Minery’s goal is to overhaul an inefficient mineral trading system with a completely digital marketplace.

Minespider explained: “Due to the opaque nature of global supply chains, traders often buy and sell minerals at substantial premiums and negotiations can take up to six months. Minery’s platform has the potential to greatly reduce these fees and improve liquidity for mines, who can expect a more consistent cash flow.”

Minery’s Co-founder & CEO, Eduardo Gama, said: “We are very excited about Minery’s partnership with Minespider. We believe that traceability is part of the future we are building, adding value to miners who work sustainably, respecting the environment and the people involved. With Minespider’s blockchain technology and Minery’s certification process, everyone will be able to know where their everyday metals came from and under what conditions they were produced.”

Founded in Brazil, a country over 9,415 active mines, Minery aims to promote small and medium-sized mining companies by helping them to sell more effectively on the global market. It has developed Certimine, a certification that ensures all mines comply with international standards.

The use of protective equipment, lack of environmental contamination, machinery and permits are just a few of the factors that registered Minery technicians verify on-site as part of the certification process. In this way, every mineral producer featured on Minery will be certified and every buyer can track the origin of their minerals, and the conditions under which they were produced.

Minery has three mines currently certified and hopes to certify five more in the next two-to-three-months, a spokesperson told IM.

Minespider, meanwhile, has built a public, permissioned blockchain specially designed for raw material traceability. Its clients, including Minsur and LuNa Smelter, create blockchain-secured digital IDs called digital Product Passports to track their material shipments downstream. These passports contain information such as provenance data, due diligence documents and carbon emissions data.

Beyond this, companies can utilise Minespider’s API to build on top of the Minespider blockchain.

“This means marketplaces like Minery benefit from the security, immutability and transparency of a blockchain, without having to build their own or have any blockchain development knowledge,” Minespider said. “This enables companies to add blockchain records to existing software applications or business processes, and design completely new business models.”

Minespider Founder and CEO, Nathan Williams, said: “Marketplaces, traders and exchanges are realising their value to global supply chains is far greater than arbitrage. They play a pivotal role in handling, distribution, market making, and now traceability and responsible sourcing. We’re pleased to announce this integration with Minery as the start of a wave of blockchain traceability adoption by the mid-tier of the supply chain.”

ERG’s BAMIN signs pact with Brazil Government to complete and operate FIOL railway

Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) says its wholly-owned Brazilian subsidiary, BAMIN, has signed a concession agreement with the Brazilian Federal Government to complete and operate a section of the FIOL (East-West Integration) railway in the country.

BAMIN will advance the construction works, which until recently were carried out by the state-owned railway engineering and construction company Valec.

The sub-concession has been granted for a 35-year period, which includes an allowance of five years for the construction of the railway and 30 years for its operation. BAMIN’s investment into the railroad and the rolling stock will amount to around BRL3.3 billion ($683 million).

In April 2021, BAMIN won the auction on the B3 (São Paulo Stock Exchange) to complete and operate the first 537 km stretch of the FIOL. The concession agreement has now granted BAMIN 120 days to evaluate the progress of the construction and other related works. This preliminary phase precedes the preparation of a plan to resume the construction, which is scheduled for the second half of 2022.

Tarcio Gomes de Freitas, Minister of Infrastructure of Brazil, said: “The importance of this infrastructure project in the state of Bahia cannot be overstated. The project is very well structured and includes an iron ore plant, a railway and a seaport. The railway, which is undergoing construction, will serve the mining industry, as well as the agricultural sector, which is growing at an unprecedented pace, particularly in the west.”

BAMIN has already hired professionals in the rail industry to oversee the management of the FIOL railway. BAMIN will also leverage ERG’s international expertise as the largest transport operator in Central Asia with extensive experience in rail transportation, ERG says. Each year, ERG transports over 50 Mt of freight using 10,000 vehicles, while also maintaining and repairing 2,500 wagons and over 1,000 locomotives.

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, said: “All across the globe, railways play a crucial role in urban development, enabling people to gain access to new opportunities. In Brazil, we are confident that FIOL will act as an important connecting point between regions, cities and people, contributing to economic growth, and creating a strong link between the west and the east of the country. The logistics and exportation corridor that BAMIN will create will transport millions of tonnes of iron ore, agricultural products, as well as other goods.”

With the resumption of construction, the project is expected to boost the country’s economic growth at both the federal and the local level: FIOL will strengthen the rail network across 20 municipalities in Brazil, while also boosting foreign trade, ERG says.

BAMIN plans to install over 30 loading stations along the route, creating opportunities for regional producers, enhancing production chains, and helping establish new businesses.

Once completed, FIOL will be able to carry 60 Mt/y of freight, with BAMIN’s products accounting for a third of this capacity. More than 40 Mt of cargo will be made available for other businesses in both the mining and agricultural sector, as well as other industries in the Bahia region.

ERG said: “The importance of the FIOL railway cannot be overstated, as the railway will be part of an integrated logistics project that will connect the Pedra de Ferro mine in Caetité with the Porto Sul, currently under construction in Ilhéus, Bahia. Following the commencement of commercial operations in January 2021, the Pedra de Ferro Mine is expected to produce 1 Mt by the end of this year. Once the South Port and FIOL are completed (expected in 2026), the mine should produce 18 Mt of iron ore per year.”

Eduardo Ledsham, CEO of BAMIN, said: “The Pedra de Ferro mine, Porto Sul, and FIOL projects are an important milestone for the country’s economic development, and a source of pride for the Bahia State and all Brazilians. We are creating a new logistics corridor to integrate the west with the east of Brazil, creating a new, important exportation pathway.

“The state of Bahia will occupy a new and important place in the national economy, becoming the third largest iron ore producer in the country, generating wealth and prosperity, while also increasing the population’s income and improving the quality of life.”

GroundProbe offers Brazilian customers dedicated geotechnical monitoring option

GroundProbe has opened a dedicated Geotechnical Support Service (GSS) monitoring centre in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to, it says, better serve its growing customer base in the country.

The centre will provide 24/7 real-time remote radar and laser monitoring services for mine slopes and tailings dams.

The centre joins GroundProbe’s two existing high-tech monitoring centres in Santiago, Chile, and Balikpapan, Indonesia, to provide support in four languages – Portuguese, Spanish, English and Bahasa.

Monitoring live stability data and reacting to alarms to ensure the maximum safety of people and communities, the centre connects remote sites with geotechnical industry experts in real time, GroundProbe says. The centres are crewed by more than 100 highly experienced engineers and radar operators with extensive radar knowledge and experience.

GroundProbe, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orica, is widely accepted as a global leader in real-time technologies used to detect instabilities and predict when mine and dam collapses will occur.

GroundProbe CEO, David Noon, said that the company had witnessed a huge increase in demand for remote geotechnical expertise in Brazil.

“We saw it as an absolute necessity to bolster our offering and extend our support services to the region,” he said.

“The state-of-the-art centre provides the most technologically advanced solution for remote monitoring in the region and shows our level of commitment to our customers there.

“It leans on our five-and-a-half years of remote monitoring experience, our recognised systems and processes and our established resourcing model, all of which ensures the highest level of data integrity and service availability.”

GroundProbe Head of Geotechnical, Peter Saunders, explained how the service’s positive results and statistics speak for themselves.

“Together, our GSS team have detected and provided early notification to site of 1,440 slope failures, validated 3,615 alarms and managed 44,608 unwanted alarms,” Saunders said.

“GroundProbe also has the world’s largest library of wall folders. Our experts have unprecedented access to this data, gaining a unique perspective on geotechnical monitoring borne from analysing thousands of slope failures and assisting with numerous incident investigations.”

This newest monitoring centre in Belo Horizonte will provide the same services to customers, including: GSS-Remote, GroundProbe’s 24-hour remote monitoring solution; GSS-Training, its specialised SSR and laser training service; and GSS-Reporting, the company’s customised analysis and reporting service.