Tag Archives: Copper Mountain Mine

SMS Equipment brings Komatsu PC8000-11 mining shovel to Hudbay Copper Mountain mine

A new Komatsu PC8000-11 surface mining excavator has arrived at Hudbay Minerals’ Copper Mountain mine in Princeton, British Columbia, Canada, as part of the company’s plans to reduce emissions and up productivity at the operation.

Officials from SMS Equipment, Komatsu Germany and Hudbay Minerals Inc gathered at the mine recently to celebrate the arrival of the machine, which, at 9.7-m tall, 10-m-wide and weighing nearly 800 t, is the largest surface mining excavator on the market, according to Komatsu. The PC8000-11 operates solely on electricity, contributing to the operation’s emissions-reduction strategy.

“Embracing a sustainable future through electrification is an important step in our collective journey to decarbonisation,” Dennis Chmielewski, Executive Vice President, Mining at SMS Equipment, says. “We are a proud equipment, service and technology solutions partner to Hudbay and a long-time supporter of the Copper Mountain mine trolley-assist project. The addition of a large-capacity excavator to the mine’s electric infrastructure marks exciting progress on its path to net-zero.”

The Copper Mountain mine is one of the only open-pit mines in North America to operate an electric trolley-assist haulage system. The 1-km haul ramp and seven pantograph-equipped electric haul trucks that comprise the project were commissioned in the spring of 2022, in partnership with SMS Equipment, Komatsu, ABB, Clean BC and B.C. Hydro. The latest PC8000 joins two other electric excavators operating at the site that complement the mine’s overall electric fleet.

Walt Halipchuk, Director of Sustainability and Assets, Hudbay, said: “Electric equipment and infrastructure significantly reduce our reliance on diesel, the largest source of GHG emissions at the mine. With the help of this technology, we are on track to reduce our emissions in 2024 by 6,000 t of CO2e.

“The journey to net-zero is not one we can navigate alone. With the help of value-added partners like SMS Equipment and Komatsu, we can explore our challenges and find sustainable solutions without sacrificing productivity, efficiency or profitability.”

The Komatsu shovel was made in Germany and assembled at Copper Mountain mine earlier this year. Komatsu officials, including the President and Managing Director of Komatsu Germany GmbH, were on-site for a handover ceremony and reception for Hudbay employees and SMS Equipment representatives.

MineSense Technologies launches data platform to aid mine-to-mill optimisation

MineSense Technologies Ltd has launched the MineSense Data Portal, a groundbreaking platform that, it says, leverages real-time data from ShovelSense® and BeltSense® to empower mining operators with data-driven insights for mine-to-mill optimisation.

The MineSense Data Portal is a powerful digital platform that enables access to real-time data generated by ShovelSense and BeltSense at critical points in the ore processing value chain. Along with interactive features for visualising and analysing data, the data portal provides actionable insights that mining personnel can use to optimise their entire operations – from extraction at the mine face to downstream processing in the flotation circuit.

Copper Mountain Mine, as an early adopter, had the opportunity to evaluate the MineSense Data Portal, benefitting from the combined power of ShovelSense and BeltSense systems. The mine, located in British Columbia, leverages both ShovelSense and BeltSense applications across the site.

Rudolph Botha, Senior Geologist at Copper Mountain, said: “MineSense is a leader in material tracking and live material analysis, from shovels to belts. I don’t believe there’s anything in the market that matches [the MineSense Data Portal’s] capabilities in terms of tracking grades and accurately monitoring material.”

Jeff More, President and CEO of MineSense, said: “The MineSense Data Portal empowers mining operations to maximise the value of real-time data generated by our ShovelSense and BeltSense technologies, offering the mine enhanced visibility to optimise end-to-end operational processes and unlock their full potential.”

Frank Hoogendoorn, Chief Data Officer at MineSense, added: “MineSense is committed to helping mines in their digital transformation journey by not only providing completely new datasets for process optimisation, but also in providing advanced tools to fully unlock the value of those datasets. We’re excited that the new data portal gives mine operators far greater visibility into their mill feed and is packed with features that help them make more informed decisions to improve both profitability and sustainability.”

Key features of the MineSense Data Portal highlighted by the company include:

  • Real-time tracking of grades from digger buckets, trucks and conveyor belts
  • Summary of trucks redirected by ShovelSense
  • System availability monitoring and spare parts inventory
  • Three dimensional visualisations of bucket and truck grades for mine planning insights
  • Ore tracking dashboard of ShovelSense and BeltSense grades and material types for mill process optimisation; and
  • Customised layout tailored to each unique mine.

Copper Mountain increases scope of trolley assist haulage project

Copper Mountain’s 2021 ESG Report has highlighted the progress the company has made on its “net-zero journey”, with its ongoing trolley assist project in British Columbia, Canada, one of the key drivers towards hitting its major 2035 goal.

The company operates its namesake mine in BC, which has recently increased throughput to 45,000 t/d as part of this net-zero journey.

Earlier this year, the company commissioned its trolley assist project with the help of Komatsu, SMS, ABB, BC Hydro and CleanBC. This project, the first of its kind in North America and a key plank of Copper Mountain’s goal of achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2035, was designed to support four full-sized, trolley-capable 830E-5 Komatsu trucks at a time with hauling ore up a 1-km section of ramp in the operation’s main pit to its primary crusher.

Since commissioning the project, the company has amended its plan to convert seven trucks to trolley assist operation, now saying a total of 11 trolley-capable Komatsu trucks will be available to use trolley assist in the pit.

Each truck is expected to reduce diesel use by approximately 400 litres per hour, the company says, which equates to approximately 1 t of CO2 emissions.

“The trolley assist system will reduce annual carbon emissions by 30% compared to 2019 levels,” Copper Mountain says. “This is based on calculated savings of 6,000 t CO2e/y for the initial seven trucks as calculated for the trial, which, when scaled to the full fleet of 28 trucks, would produce a savings of 24,000 t CO2e/y, or approximately 30% compared to 2019 levels.”

With additional trolley sections planned over the next five-to-seven years, Copper Mountain says it could see a reduction of carbon emissions of up to 50% compared with 2019 levels.

The fact the Copper Mountain Mine is connected to the BC electricity grid, which has one of the lowest carbon intensities in the world due to being powered by clean and reliable hydroelectric power, makes the trolley assist project even more ‘sustainable’.

The company says it has been working with BC Hydro to upgrade the power supply infrastructure to the Copper Mountain Mine to provide more power for trolley assist and future power demands as it decarbonises and explores additional ways to electrify its operation.

Alongside the trolley assist project, Copper Mountain says it is working with partners to reduce emissions from diesel-powered haul trucks.

In 2021, it established a partnership with Cummins, Komatsu and SMS to test the use of a renewable diesel in haul trucks, and it continues to advance other partnerships to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Outside of trucks, Copper Mountain said it has targets to electrify its shovels in 2023 and drills in 2024.

Also in 2021, Copper Mountain collaborated with the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation and IBM to build a digital carbon emissions certification system called Mines Digital Trust. Using blockchain technology to attach ESG disclosures to metal production, this program enabled transparency along the supply chain and allowed third parties to track responsible producers through the Open Climate Network, led by the OpenEarth Foundation and the UN Global Innovation, the company said.