Tag Archives: conveyor

Yamana Gold retains electrification path for Wasamac in new study

Yamana Gold has reiterated a plan to minimise the amount of carbon emissions generated with the development and operation of the Wasamac gold project in Quebec, Canada, in its first study since acquiring the asset from Monarch Gold.

Monarch, prior to being taken over by Yamana Gold, had laid out plans for an underground mine at Wasamac producing 6,000 t/d, on average, with an expected mine life of 11 years. It expected to use a Rail-Veyor® electrically powered, remote-controlled underground haulage system in addition to an almost entirely electric fleet of production and development equipment.

The December 2018 feasibility study by BBA indicated the Wasamac deposit hosted a measured and indicated mineral resource of 29.86 Mt at an average grade of 2.7 g/t Au, for a total of 2.6 Moz of gold, and proven and probable mineral reserves of 21.46 Mt at an average grade of 2.56 g/t Au, for a total of 1.8 Moz of gold. The study forecast average annual production of 142,000 oz of gold for 11 years at a cash cost of $550/oz.

With drilling, due diligence and further studies, Yamana Gold, in studies forming the new feasibility level studies, has come up with baseline technical and financial aspects of the Wasamac project that, it says, underpin the decision to advance the project to production.

This has resulted in a few changes to the Wasamac plan.

For starters, the company plans to use the extract the now 1.91 Moz of reserves quicker than Monarch’s strategy, with a rapid production ramp-up in the first year followed by sustained gold production of approximately 200,000 oz/y for at least the next four years.

Including the ramp-up phase, average annual production for the first five years of operation is expected to be 184,000 oz, the company said, with life of mine production of 169,000 oz/y. Mill throughput has been increased to 7,000 t/d, on average, but the plant and associated infrastructure were being sized for 7,500 t/d. Production could start up in the December quarter of 2026, the initial capital expense was expected to be $416 million and all-in sustaining costs over the life of mine had been calculated at $828/oz.

The use of a conveyor is still within this plan, but a company spokesperson told IM that Yamana was now considering a conventional belt conveyor rather than the Rail-Veyor system.

Yamana explained: “The optimised materials handling system uses ore passes and haul trucks to transport ore from the production levels to a central underground primary crusher. The haul trucks will be automated to allow haulage to continue between shifts. From the underground crusher, ore will be transported to the crushed-ore stockpile on the surface using a 3-km-long conventional conveyor system in two segments.”

Yamana added: “Using a conveyor rather than diesel trucks to transport ore to surface reduces CO2 emissions by 2,233 t/y, equivalent to taking 500 cars off the road. Over the life of mine, the company expects to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 20,000 t.”

The aim to use electric vehicles wherever possible remains in place.

“The Wasamac underground mine is designed to create a safe working environment and reduce consumption of non-renewable energy through the use of electric and high-efficiency equipment,” the company said. “Yamana has selected electric and battery-electric mobile equipment provided that the equipment is available at the required specifications.

“Battery-electric underground haul trucks are not yet available at the required capacity with autonomous operation, so diesel trucks have been selected in combination with the underground conveyor. However, Yamana continues to collaborate with equipment suppliers with the expectation that the desired battery-electric equipment will be available before Wasamac is in operation.”

In tandem with this, the company plans to use a ventilation on demand solution and high-efficiency fans to reduce its power requirements. This will likely rely on an underground LTE network.

“Heating of the underground mine and surface facilities is designed with the assumption of propane burners, but an opportunity exists to extend the natural gas line to the project site,” it added. “Yamana has initiated discussions with the natural gas supplier and will study this opportunity further as the project advances.”

The site for the processing plant and offices is confined to a small footprint strategically located in a naturally concealed area, and the processing plant has been designed with a low profile to minimise the visual impact as well as minimise noise and dust, according to Yamana.

The primary crusher, previously planned to be located on surface, has been moved underground, with the crushed material transported to surface from the underground mining area using conventional conveyors and stored on surface in a covered stockpile to control dust.

Several design improvements to the previous Wasamac plans have also been made to reduce consumption of fresh water to minimise the effect on watersheds, according to Yamana. Underground mine water will be used in the processing plant, minimising the draw of fresh water and reducing the required size of the mill basin pond.

The Wasamac tailings storage strategy is designed to minimise environmental footprint and mitigate risk, it added.

“Around 39% of tailings will be deposited underground as paste fill and 61% of tailings will be pumped as a slurry to the filter plant located approximately 6 km northwest of the processing plant and then hauled to the nearby dry-stack tailings storage facility,” Yamana said.

Strategic phasing of the tailings storage facility design allows for the same footprint as previously planned, even with the increase in mineral reserves, the company clarified. Also, the progressive reclamation plan for this facility minimises the possibility of dust generation and expedites the return of the landscape to its natural state.

Doppelmayr ropeway tackles mine backfill task at Buriticá gold operation

A Doppelmayr ropeway is now up and running at the Buriticá underground gold mine in northwest Colombia, navigating mountainous terrain to transport backfill material from the bottom of the valley to the mouth of the mine.

In October 2017, Austria-based Doppelmayr was awarded the contract to build a 1.4 km long ropeway with material buckets for a transport capacity of 175 t/h. The system was conceived as a continuous bi-cable ropeway, with a fixed tensioned track rope for the material buckets with their carriage to travel on. The buckets are driven by the continuously moving haul rope loop to which they are attached via detachable grips.

The area where the mine, owned by Zijin Mining, is located is mountainous and therefore logistically challenging. The reusable residues of the gold extraction process are used as underground backfill, which is why they must be taken from the bottom of the valley to the mouth of the mine at 1,700 m above sea level, thereby covering a difference in altitude of approximately 646 m. What would be an arduous and long journey for trucks, with plenty of exhaust emissions, becomes a swift and efficient job if a material ropeway is used, Doppelmayr says.

To allow for the haul rope to be run at a constant speed, the buckets are detached from the loop in the stations and slowed down before they are loaded via a chute. Once a bucket has been filled, it is accelerated to running speed again and re-attached to the haul rope before leaving the station.

In the unloading station, the bucket is once more taken off the haul rope. At the designated unloading point a special mechanism unlocks the latch on the bucket, the bucket is tipped, and the material is safely transferred onto another chute. The bucket then returns to its original position. It is locked again and re-attached to the haul rope before travelling back into the valley empty.

In the past, continuous bi-cable ropeways have often been used for material transport applications, the company explained.

“For the Buriticá project, Doppelmayr’s engineers have revised the design and mechanics of continuous bi-cable ropeways from scratch and optimised it for the transport of material in buckets,” it said. “The system complements Doppelmayr’s portfolio of material transport solutions.”

Put into service in February 2021, the solution has a transport capacity of 175 t/h of gold residues, a running speed of 6 m/s, and comes with 20 carriers and one tower.

Mechel’s Southern Kuzbass Coal Company launches new longwall

Mechel, one of Russia’s leading mining and steel companies, has launched a new longwall at the Southern Kuzbass Coal Company-owned V.I. Lenina underground mine in Russia.

Investment in the new longwall totalled around RUB470 million ($6.4 million), the company said.

The new longwall #0-16-10’s reserves are estimated at 435,000 t, with the average seam height coming in at 1.8 m. The longwall is nearly 200 m long with an extraction panel of 720 m.

The longwall is equipped with a 134-section powered support system, a cutter-loader, as well as a crusher, longwall conveyor and belt conveyor, Mechel said. All the longwall’s equipment is compliant with modern industrial and labour safety requirements, it added.

“V.I. Lenina Underground Mine’s reserves consist of coking coal with excellent quality characteristics, which is high in demand with coke producers,” Mechel Mining Management’s Chief Executive Officer, Igor Khafizov, said. “Southern Kuzbass Coal Company will be working this new longwall for eight months. The concentrate we will produce from its coal will be marketed both domestically and internationally.”

Newmont overcomes COVID-19 challenges to complete Musselwhite gold mine work

Newmont says it has successful completed two key projects at its Musselwhite mine at Lake Opapimiskan, Ontario, Canada, with the full commissioning of the mine’s conveyor system and the material handling project.

Newmont’s President and CEO, Tom Palmer, said: “I am extremely proud of the work that has been completed by the team at Musselwhite to safely deliver these two critical projects, whilst managing through the unprecedented challenges caused by COVID-19. Musselwhite is an important part of our North America region, and with the commissioning of these two projects is positioned to contribute to Newmont’s portfolio for many years to come.”

The conveyor system and the material handling systems work in association to efficiently move material from deeper mine levels to the surface, according to Newmont. Haul distances are reduced as the ore crushed at depth will be hoisted from the underground crushers to the conveyor system and brought to the surface for processing.

Work on the $90 million materials handling project to improve the movement of ore to the mill started back in 2016.

E and I Zambia helps power up process plant for copper miner

Electrical control and instrumentation specialist, E and I Zambia, says it has successfully completed a large project on a new process plant for one of Zambia’s leading copper miners.

The contract included the installation of six electrical substations, 20 transformers, five 1,250 kVA diesel generators for back-up power and a 950 m overland conveyor. Almost 250 km of cable was pulled and nearly 15 km of cable racking was constructed, according to the company.

Also completed were six earth mat rings, 12 mast lights and a range of general plant earthing and lighting installations around the plant, as well as the fitting and termination of instruments. E and I Zambia conducted the work between January 2019 and April 2020, in close collaboration with both a leading design house and the end-client, the company said.

According to Projects Manager, Dave Opperman, the company has a sound track record in the country, having been active on the copperbelt and beyond since 2002.

“The experience of our team on site, the quality of our artisans and the training of workers ensured that the quality of this job was world class,” Opperman says. “While prioritising safety and quality, we were still able to adapt to the inevitable fine-tuning of project parameters and schedules, and to deliver on the client’s timelines.”

The safety standards were reflected in the achievement of 395 Lost-Time Injury Free days. This was achieved despite a busy site – peak manpower grew to over 270 employees and subcontractors – in a project that consumed almost 590,000 manhours. Almost all the staffing on the project was local, the company said.

“Being so well established in Zambia, we have a solid database of skilled artisans that we can draw upon for large projects like this one,” Opperman says. “The country has a good foundation of these trades, and we can select the most suitable profile of skills to match the project.”

He noted that the company is also able to optimise its local procurement through its network of reliable suppliers, while maintaining a strong cross-border supply chain for large and specialised equipment and components from South Africa.

In line with quality standards, each phase of the project involved the sign-off of both in-house and external quality control officers. This ensured all work was carried out in accordance with engineering designs and industry standard specifications before being certified ready for use.

E and I Zambia is also able to draw on the extensive technical capacity of South Africa-based EnI Electrical, an operating entity within Zest WEG.

Civmec to build and supply modules for BMA Hay Point shiploader, Iron Bridge project

Civmec says it has secured new contracts with a combined value of around A$175 million ($126 million) including new projects with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) and the Iron Bridge magnetite project.

BMA has engaged Civmec to fabricate, modularise and commission the 1,800 t SL2A ship loader using pre-contract capital ahead of a large infrastructure replacement project at Hay Point Coal Terminal (pictured, still subject to final board approval by BHP and Mitsubishi).

The contract awarded to Civmec includes the supply and assembly of the complete ship loader, up to the no-load commissioning stage. The large material handling equipment will be fabricated at the company’s Henderson manufacturing facility in Western Australia and will be assembled undercover in the company’s newly built assembly hall from where it will be delivered Free Along Side to the Australian Marine Complex Wharf for loading onto a heavy lift ship.

Work will commence immediately, with completion anticipated in the second half of 2022, Civmec says. The award of this scope of work will provide an estimated peak of 150 jobs in Perth.

The Iron Bridge JV contract includes the supply of 4,700 t of conveyor, trusses and trestles for the Iron Bridge Magnetite project, a joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group subsidiary FMG Iron Bridge and Formosa Steel IB.

Work will commence this month, with most of this completed in Civmec’s 2021 financial year. The scope will be predominately delivered from the company’s Henderson facility.

Back in July, Civmec was awarded a standalone civil contract to build the structural concrete components for the dry plant at Iron Bridge.

In addition to the above contracts, Civmec has recently secured new and increased scope packages across its Minerals & Metal and Oil and Gas Sectors, including the replenishment of orders for the fabrication of tray bodies for dump trucks from the Newcastle manufacturing facility.

Civmec’s Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Tallon, said: “We are extremely pleased to be given this opportunity to further support BHP in the delivery of a ship loader. This contract follows on from other smart modules and machines delivered by Civmec for BHP projects as part of our partnership delivering high quality, complex machines.”

He added: “We are delighted to extend our relationship with Fortescue with further work awarded on the Iron Bridge project. Having recently commenced the on-site activities for the recently awarded civil concrete package for the same project and, as we draw closer to completion on the Eliwana project for Fortescue, it is pleasing to get the opportunity to further underpin the relationship.”

ABB, TAKRAF complete commissioning of Chuquicamata conveyor system

ABB, working with TAKRAF, has completed commissioning and testing of the world’s highest-powered gearless conveyor drive system at the Codelco-owned Chuquicamata copper mine in Chile.

ABB has provided engineering design, gearless conveyor drives (GCD), electrical equipment for power supply, energy distribution and automation of a new underground and overland conveyor system at one of the world’s largest copper mines.

Chuquicamata is currently transitioning from open-pit to underground mining, with the conveyor system, commissioned in just four months, part of a new underground project that is expected to extend operations for the next 40 years.

Project management and engineering for the full electrical, control and instrumentation scope was led by ABB in Germany, with long spells on site in northern Chile to work side-by-side with TAKRAF to equip the site’s new underground operation with a large conveying system that overcomes an altitude difference of 1,200 m and covers a distance of almost 13 km, ABB said.

The three principle 11,000 t/h conveyors feature GCDs equipped with large ABB AC synchronous motors with a rated power of 5 MW each, resulting in a motor shaft torque of about 900 kNm. With every line in constant use, high availability and low maintenance are essential. Designed with a minimum of transfer stations, just one was required underground, saving significant project cost, ABB said.

Based on continuous conveying technology, the infrastructure is completely truck-less, eliminating the need for 120 large haul trucks. This results in saving around 130 million litres/y of gasoline consumption, bringing the carbon emissions from 340,000 t/y down to 100,000 t/y. It is also the first transportation system in the world to employ premium steel cable belt technology, ST10000, for use on uphill tunnel conveyors, according to ABB.

ABB high power motors in position

“This mega project achieves a number of firsts, from the system’s installed drive power to the application of the ST10000 conveyor belt,” Marc Hollinger, TAKRAF Project Manager, said. “With this project, we firmly establish TAKRAF as one of the world’s only providers capable of delivering a mega project of this nature incorporating advanced technologies that push the boundaries of what has been done before. This is a complex project of the highest magnitude demanding global cooperation between internal and external parties.”

Ulf Richter, Global Product Manager for Belt Conveyor Systems at ABB, said: “This is a new milestone in underground applications for continuous mining. It is the highest drive power ever installed on a conveyor and uses a wide range of features for data acquisition, equipment assessment and process optimisation.

“In piloting this gearless drive application with TAKRAF, we have overcome tremendous technical and logistical challenges due to underground situations, elevation change and capacity requirements.”

ABB liquid-cooled MV voltage-source frequency converters, together with large synchronous motors, deliver a decrease in active and reactive power consumption at the operation. This is highly energy efficient, and without additional network filters, it says.

ABB’s Mining Conveyor Control Program ensures smooth belt operation and safe synchronisation between high power motors and high power hydraulic brakes, necessary for secure operation of steep uphill conveyors. The drive systems also work without mechanic backstops, ABB said.

A novel embedding concept, developed jointly by TAKRAF and ABB, enables straightforward installation and alignment of the GCD motors, saving installation time and longer deployment of maintenance teams. This was considered a major benefit compared with existing GCDs in cantilevered construction, ABB said. The concept also meant motors were 100% factory assembled and tested. They can also be mechanically disconnected from the drive pulley quickly so operations can continue if drive failure occurs. The total installed drive power for the entire system, including multiple feeder conveyors, totals 58 MW, of which there are 11 x 5 MW gearless synchronous motors.

ABB has also installed ABB Ability™ Ventilation Optimizer at Chuquicamata reducing carbon emissions and providing clean air to workers in line with the strict health, safety and environment requirements.

Vale looks for increased operational flexibility with S11D iron ore expansion plan

Vale is to increase the capacity of its S11D iron ore operation, in Canaã dos Carajás, Brazil, after its Board of Directors approved the implementation of the Serra Sul 120 project.

The $1.5 billion Serra Sul 120 project will see the S11D mine-plant capacity increase by 20 Mt/y to 120 Mt/y. Start-up is expected in the first half of 2024, Vale says.

The project includes the opening of new mining areas, the duplication of the long-distance conveyor, the implementation of new processing lines at the plant and the expansion of storage areas, among other measures.

“The Serra Sul 120 project will create an important buffer of productive capacity, ensuring greater operational flexibility to face eventual production or licensing restrictions in the Northern System,” Vale said.

The $385 million investment to duplicate the existing long-distance conveyor, in addition to providing flexibility, also aggregates important elements for the reduction of operational risks, adding reliability to the system, according to the company. The existing long distance conveyor is part of a major in-pit crushing and conveying system at the mine. It could see Vale’s Northern System capacity rise by 20 Mt/y to 260 Mt/y.

“The expansion of the mine-plant capacity and the development of additional logistics capacity are important steps for the iron ore volume growth, the maximisation of margin and the flight-to-quality optimisation,” the company said.

With the anticipated investment for Serra Sul 120 and the delay in the execution of projects in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vale says it will, in due course, revise and update its investment guidance for 2021, currently at $5 billion, and in the period between 2022-2024, with an average of $4.5 billion.

Bunting ups the Electro Overband Magnet stakes for Agnico’s Kittilä gold mine

The largest Electro Overband Magnet ever built at the Bunting manufacturing plant in Redditch, England, is destined for installation at the Agnico Eagle-owned Kittilä gold mine, in northern Finland.

Over a 12-month operating period, the Overband Magnet will lift and separate damaging tramp metal from around 2.7 Mt of conveyed ore, protecting crushers, screens and other up-stream process plant, according to Bunting.

One of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of magnetic separators for the recycling and waste industries, Bunting has European manufacturing facilities in Redditch, just outside Birmingham, and Berkhamsted, both in the UK.

The Electro Overband Magnet uses high-strength magnetic forces to lift and then automatically discard tramp ferrous metal present in conveyed ore, Bunting says.

“In operation, the large Electro Overband Magnet is suspended in a crossbelt orientation across the non-magnetic head pulley of a conveyor transporting mined ore,” the company explains. “Any tramp ferrous metal entering the deep and strong magnetic field is attracted to the face of the electromagnet and lifted up and onto the surface of a continuously-moving self-cleaning rubber belt.

“Reinforced and heavy-duty rubber wipers on the belt catch the captured metal, transferring it to the side and away from the conveyed ore. As the wipers move the ferrous metal out of the Overband Magnet’s magnetic field, it drops under gravity into a collection area.”

This latest Electro Overband Magnet is part of a major plant expansion and upgrade at Kittilä, Bunting said. This will see ore production go from 1.6 Mt/y to 2 Mt/y, with gold output expected to rise by 50,000 oz/y to 70,000 oz/y when completed.

When initially contacted, Bunting engineers worked closely with the mine operator to design a bespoke Overband Magnet for the difficult application, it said. Design considerations included the width of the conveyor, the volume of conveyed ore, and the size and shape of the tramp ferrous metal. With these details, the Bunting design team calculated the minimum magnetic field and force density for optimum separation using an in-house developed Electro Overband Magnet Selection program.

These criteria provided the basis for the design of the electromagnetic coil by the Bunting-Redditch engineering team.

The final design is a model 205 OCW50 Crossbelt Electro Overband Magnet, with the 17 kW electromagnetic coil, generating the strong magnetic field, cooled using recirculated oil. Efficient cooling of the electromagnet is critical as the magnetic force decreases proportionally to the rising temperature of the coil, Bunting said.

The Overband Magnet is 4.2 m long, 3 m wide and 2.2 m high, and weighs just over 13 t.

The Electro Overband Magnet is designed for positioning in a crossbelt orientation over the non-magnetic head pulley of a 1,600 mm wide conveyor, inclined at 12° and travelling at 0.75 m/s. The conveyed ore has a particle size range of between 70-400 mm, Bunting said, varying in conveyed capacity between 450-765 t/h (equating to 2.7 Mt/y).

“The tramp iron ranges widely in size and nature and includes steel rebar (2,400 x 20 mm diameter), cable bolts (600 x 15 mm diameter), steel mesh, and broken drill bits,” Bunting said. “With a maximum working gap of 600 mm (distance between the magnet face and the bottom of the ore conveyor), the Electro Overband Magnet is designed to lift and separate the tramp metal through a splayed burden of up to 500 mm. This requires a substantially deep and strong magnetic field and related force density.”

Adrian Coleman, General Manager of Bunting’s Redditch facility, said large mining projects, such as this, often require bespoke solutions.

“Over 40 years, we have gained considerable experience in designing and building large Electro Overband Magnets,” he said.

“However, this was the largest we have ever manufactured at Redditch, presenting many challenges, which were overcome. And the design and manufacturing process all took place during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Rio invests in new crusher, conveyor and autonomous trucks at WTS2 iron ore mine

Rio Tinto says it will invest $749 million in the Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 (WTS2) mine at its Greater Tom Price operations, in the Pilbara of Western Australia, facilitating mining of existing and new deposits and including construction of a new crusher as well as a 13 km conveyor.

In addition to this, the haul truck fleet at the mine will be fitted with Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) technology.

This investment will help sustain the production capacity of its world-class iron ore business, it said.

The new conveyor system at WTS2 will help lower greenhouse gas emissions from the mine by 3.5% compared with road haulage and the business is continuing to assess additional options to reduce emissions, including renewable energy solutions, it said.

Pending final government approvals, construction will start in the March quarter of 2020 with first ore from the crusher expected in 2021. Production of high-quality Brockman ore will support the company’s flagship Pilbara Blend, which continues to be the preferred base load product for China’s steel mills, Rio said.

The project is expected to deliver an attractive internal rate of return with a capital intensity of about $25/t of production capacity.

As part of the investment, the haul truck fleet at the mine will be fitted with Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) technology to enable autonomous haulage at WTS2 from 2021.

Rio said: “The ongoing deployment of autonomous haulage at the company’s Pilbara operations is delivering significant safety benefits as well as enhancing productivity and reducing costs.”

Approximately 50% of the company’s haul truck fleet will be capable of operating autonomously by the end of the year with plans being assessed to expand this in the years ahead.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Chris Salisbury, said: “Our iron ore business continues to deliver industry-leading margins as we drive performance from our mines. This significant investment in the Greater Tom Price hub is one of a pipeline of high-quality, low-cost options that will underpin production of our flagship Pilbara Blend product well into the future.”

The investment in the WTS2 mine will help sustain the current workforce at Rio Tinto’s Greater Tom Price production hub. Additionally, at its peak, the construction workforce is expected to number more than 1,000 people.