Tag Archives: Carajás

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.

Vale and Vivo sign 4G/LTE deal to bolster mine site automation

Vale says it has signed an agreement with Vivo (Telefônica Brasil) to implement a private 4G/LTE network at its operations in Brazil.

The network will help the miner optimise its use of autonomous equipment, which requires a wide coverage area and high traffic capacity for a significant amount of data. Almost R$21 million ($5 million) will be invested in this project, Vale said.

This will make Vale and Vivo the first companies to deploy a private LTE network with these characteristics in the country, according to Vale.

From the first half of 2020, the network will be available at Carajás (Pará) mine, where three autonomous drills are already operating and autonomous trucks will be adopted soon. Then, this innovation will be applied at Brucutu mine (pictured), in São Gonçalo do Rio Abaixo (Minas Gerais), where 13 autonomous trucks operate. This network also has the potential to be used to connect dam monitoring instruments, the company said.

Vale said of the network: “It will boost Vale’s autonomous vehicles program, which aims to increase safety by removing employees from the risk area. Autonomous equipment also generates operational efficiency and sustainability gains increasing equipment useful life by almost 15% and reducing fuel consumption and maintenance costs by almost 10%.”

Vivo’s solution was chosen due to its reliability and experience in private LTE networks, Vale said. Safety and the possibility of converging different types of traffic on the same network – such as data, voice, and video – were also considered. At Brucutu mine, for example, the autonomous trucks currently operating on a WiMax network, which will be migrated to the new network in the future.

Gustavo Vieira, Vale’s IT director, said: “In addition to the benefits regarding data volume and coverage, the use of LTE is also an important investment due to it is scalability; all mobile phone technology development must comply with this standard from now on. Fourth generation is already being used; thus, technology upgrades will cost less than those for technologies that are not commonly used.”

Alex Salgado, Vivo B2B vice president, said a private LTE solution meets specific needs of businesses while meeting the requirements of mission-critical applications that demand “high safety, mobility in production lines, free-interference spectrum, and traffic prioritisation, as well as connecting a high volume of IoT devices in an open and widely available ecosystem”.

The partnership will enable Vale to use Vivo’s services in these regions. Vivo will also provide 4G coverage, which will help communication among employees of the mine operations.

In Latin America, this partnership model is only currently available in Chile, which is being tested. Vale also uses private 4G/LTE networks in its operations in Canada and Malaysia, it said.

Komatsu becomes automation FrontRunner at Vale’s Carajas iron ore mine

Komatsu says it has won a contract that could see it deploy up to 37 930E ultra-class electrical dump trucks as part of an Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) at Vale’s Carajás iron mine, in Pará, Brazil.

The mining OEM says the deployment will help support Vale in its drive to leverage technology to reduce the impact on the environment and enhance health, safety and operational efficiency.

The news follows Vale, last month, announcing it would start trialling autonomous haulage at Carajás, following a successful deployment at its Brucutu iron ore mine in Minas Gerais. This would see the company run both autonomous and manned trucks at the operation, the world’s largest open-pit iron ore mine, the miner said.

Powered by Komatsu’s AHS FrontRunner technology, the initial deployment is expected to start this month, according to Komatsu, with the goal of operating 37 trucks autonomously by 2024.

To support the company’s transition to autonomy, Komatsu opened an AHS training centre (pictured) near the mine in August, which “provides operations and maintenance training to upskill local people on the new technologies being introduced at the mine, in support of human resource development”, Komatsu said.

Masayuki Moriyama, President of Komatsu’s Mining Business Division, said: “We are honoured to be part of the ongoing wave of technological innovation at Carajás, supporting Vale’s commitment to sustainability and helping make the mine a reference in environmental terms. We look forward to our continued work together to support the skill growth of local workers and ensure a successful deployment that is designed to increase the safety and productivity of this operation.”

With this latest deployment, Komatsu continues to expand its AHS business in South America. Komatsu says its customers, globally, are now leveraging AHS at 10 mine sites in four countries.

Autonomous haul trucks coming to Vale’s Carajás iron ore mine

Vale says it is to start trialling autonomous haulage at its Carajás mine in Pará, Brazil, following a successful deployment at its Brucutu iron ore mine in Minas Gerais.

The company plans to run both autonomous and manned trucks at the operation, the world’s largest open-pit iron ore mine, it said.

Completion of the autonomous testing phase is planned to June 2020, when the autonomous vehicles begin to operate. The number of autonomous vehicles will increase year by year and, depending on the test results, may reach 37 in 2024.

This year, the company’s Brucutu iron ore mine began operating exclusively with autonomous haul trucks. Thirteen Caterpillar 240 ton (218 t) 793F CMD fully autonomous trucks, managed using the Cat autonomous haulage system, Command for hauling, part of its MineStar™ suite of technology products, are now running, after the company equipped seven trucks with this technology in 2018.

Combined with a staff development and training plan at Carajás, the autonomous innovation aims to increase the safety of operations, in addition to generating environmental benefits and a competitive edge, Vale said.

Two autonomous trucks are expected to start the testing phase in an isolated area of Carajás mine by the end of November, but training of the operators began in October. In addition to autonomous haulage, three autonomous drills started operating in the mine last year, Vale said.

Vale explained: “In an autonomous operation, trucks are controlled by computer systems, GPS, radar, and artificial intelligence, and monitored by operators in control rooms located miles away from the operations, providing more safety for the activity. When risks are detected, the equipment shuts down until the path is cleared. Sensors of the safety system can detect larger objects, such as large rocks and other trucks, as well as people near the roads.”

Compared with conventional transport, productivity of the autonomous operation system is higher, according to Vale. “Based on the technology market data, Vale expects to increase the useful life of equipment by 15%. Fuel consumption and maintenance costs are also estimated to be reduced by 10%, and the average speed for trucks will increase,” it said.

Autonomous operation also brings important environmental benefits. The reduced consumption of fuel by the machines results in a lower volume of CO2 and particulate matter emissions and less waste, such as parts, tyres and lubricants.

According to Antonio Padovezi, North Corridor Director for Vale, in addition to the safety factor, the use of autonomous equipment in Carajás will ensure greater sustainability for Brazilian mining. “It is another breakthrough with great economic, environmental, and social gains. It reduces employees’ exposure to risks, increases competitiveness, reduces emission of polluting gases and promotes professional training and development, following a natural trend experienced today in the market worldwide,” Padovezi said.

Implementation of the autonomous operation is combined with a staff development plan, which includes creation of a training centre in the city of Parauapebas by the supplying company. The plan is along the lines of Brucutu, where all conventional truck operators will be reassigned to other activities. At Brucutu, part of the team is managing and controlling the autonomous equipment while another part is taking on new “automation-related tasks”. Some employees have been reallocated to other areas.

Vale is deploying a digital transformation program as part of its Industry 4.0 developments.

This has allowed the company to increase productivity, operational efficiency, and safety, in addition to improving its financial performance and driving innovation, the company said.

Technological innovations developed by the company include the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, mobile applications, robotisation, and autonomous equipment (such as trucks and drills).

The program will also support the strategic pillars presented by Vale this year – improve the company’s operational approach to safety and operational excellence as well as bring a positive impact to society, becoming a development facilitator for the areas in which it operates while promoting a safer and more sustainable industry, Vale said.