Tag Archives: copper

Stantec helps Generation PGM achieve Ontario regulatory milestone at Marathon

Stantec, a global leader in sustainable design and engineering and one of the largest environmental services firms in Canada, says it has assisted Generation PGM Inc and its Marathon palladium-copper project in becoming the first mine in Ontario’s history to obtain environmental approval following a Joint Review Panel.

The project, a platinum group metals (PGM) and copper mine development and milling operation near the Town of Marathon in north-western Ontario, recently received approval from the federal and provincial governments’ coordinated Environmental Approval (EA) process under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act. The project is the first mining project in Ontario to be assessed through a Joint Review Panel pursuant to the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Environmental Assessment Cooperation (2004).

Generation PGM is a wholly owned subsidiary of Generation Mining.

Stantec led and coordinated preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Addendum and various technical reports as part of a collaboration with Generation PGM and other consultants. The firm’s experts completed technical assessments for the EIS Addendum, responded to information requests from the panel and shared expertise at the public hearing held by the Joint Review Panel.

Stantec’s discipline leads presented their conclusions and recommendations regarding the project as expert witnesses at the hearing in the areas of hydrology, hydrogeology, air quality, greenhouse gases, acoustics and socio-economics. The firm also coordinated preparation of the EIS Addendum based on updates to existing baseline conditions, changes to regulatory standards and refinements to the project relative to the original EIS – which was submitted in 2012 and supported by True Grit Engineering Ltd (acquired by Stantec in 2018). Generation PGM also retained Stantec to support consultation with agencies and Indigenous communities, consider comments and traditional knowledge, and scope follow-up programs and environmental management plans.

Stantec’s Chris Powell, Senior Environmental Planner, said: “This is a big win for the Marathon project, and Stantec is thrilled to have been a part of this process to leverage our expertise in mining and environmental assessment for Generation PGM in their efforts to proceed to the next phase of the project. This critical minerals project will provide a lot of opportunity for the region and benefits to the local Indigenous community, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg. I’m proud of our team for the hard work and dedication to deliver on such an important project.”

The Joint Review Panel’s public review process included 10 months of written filings and a public hearing consisting of 19 oral hearing days. The panel received input from more than 50 individuals, including representatives from Indigenous groups, government agencies and interest groups. This Joint Review Panel process was among the largest regulatory hearings of 2022. To secure the panel’s approval, Generation PGM and Stantec collaborated with experts from Ecometrix, Knight-Piésold, Northern Bioscience and WSP, with legal support from Cassels.

Drew Anwyll, Chief Operating Officer of Generation Mining, said: “We greatly appreciate the work of the Stantec team, who significantly contributed through the EIS Addendum and the Joint Review Panel hearings. Stantec worked side-by-side with the Generation team and other consultants and advisors with a ‘one-team approach’. Stantec stewarded us through this and made this less of a process. We are extremely proud to be the first mine in Ontario to be approved through the Joint Review Panel.”

Stantec says it continues to highlight its strong environmental assessment expertise and presence in north-western Ontario, following the success of the Greenstone Gold Mine’s Hardrock Project Federal EIS Approval in 2018 and Provincial EA Approval in 2019. For the Marathon project, Stantec continues to assist Generation PGM with components of its ongoing baseline monitoring and regulatory permitting work, led from Stantec’s Thunder Bay office.

Generation PGM will now proceed to obtain the necessary permits for construction and operation of the mine. The Marathon property covers a land package of approximately 220 sq.km. The processing plant will operate at approximately 9.2 Mt/y of ore, produce approximately 87,000 t/y of copper concentrate, and employ up to 1,000 workers during construction and 375 workers during operation.

Draslovka to bring glycine leaching expertise to OZ Minerals TAD incubator

Draslovka Holding a.s., a Czech family-owned global leader in cyanide-based specialty chemicals, says its glycine leaching technology has been selected to be part of the OZ Minerals’ Think & Act Differently (TAD) incubator and Waste-to-Value Challenge.

The latter challenge, announced back in December, sees Rio Tinto and Boliden working in collaboration with OZ Minerals to eliminate, minimise, reuse or find new value in mine tailings and ultimately reduce the global carbon footprint of the mining industry. Draslovka said: “The Waste-to-Value Challenge aims to unlock innovative technologies for managing tailings, helping the mining industry to reduce risk while extracting more of the materials the world needs from what was previously regarded as waste for the energy transition at large. Benefits that the initiative hopes to deliver include lower emissions and reduced waste.”

Draslovka offers a range of sustainable solutions to the global mining industry, and its glycine leaching technology (branded as its GlyLeach™ and GlyCat™ processes) represents the best environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional acid and cyanide leaching, according to the company. Due to its selectivity over gangue minerals and the recyclability of glycine, its use enables the recovery of both base and precious metals from lower-grade resources like tailings. This leads to a more sustainable production process and improved economics that are desperately needed to close the looming critical metal supply deficit.

Ivor Bryan, Draslovka’s Mining Innovation Director, said: “I am proud that Draslovka has been invited to participate in the Waste-to-Value Challenge with forward looking companies that understand the need to reimagine solutions for the mining industry. This aligns with our ambition to become the leading supplier for innovative and sustainable solutions for the wider mining industry.”

Speaking to IM on the sidelines of the recent Resourcing Tomorrow conference, in London, Bryan said the company was embarking on around 10 projects in the mining space, which will prove up the 3,500 hours of testing that has been conducted at MPS’ facilities in Perth, Western Australia.

BHP selects seven exploration companies for Xplor accelerator program

BHP Xplor, an accelerator program introduced by BHP in August 2022, has announced its first cohort of seven companies focused on discovering the copper, nickel and other critical minerals needed to support the energy transition.

These seven have been selected out of hundreds of applications received from all around the world, BHP said, adding that they will receive funding and support under the BHP Xplor accelerator program.

This program is designed to help provide participants with the opportunity to accelerate their growth and the potential to establish a long-term partnership with BHP and its global network of partners. The program will offer candidates funding, in-kind services, mentorship and coaching, and opportunities with BHP’s network of suppliers and service providers, according to BHP.

BHP Xplor Vice President, Sonia Scarselli, Vice President, said: “We are amazed by the diversity and quality of the submissions we reviewed and selected. We are confident that the BHP Xplor program will support the seven companies chosen to accelerate their concepts and ideas, to help take it to the next level.”

BHP Xplor will also provide BHP the opportunity to access some of the most exciting exploration prospects globally, including new geographies and geologic concepts beyond what is seen today, helping to drive its pipeline of new opportunities to shape its future asset portfolio, the company said.

BHP Chief Development Officer, Johan van Jaarsveld, said: “Through this program, we hope to create disruptive results in copper and nickel exploration by identifying new concepts, leveraging new data and testing opportunities at a much faster pace than discoveries to date.”

Each company will receive an up to $500,000 cash payment from BHP, together with access to a network of internal and external experts to help guide development across technical, business and operational aspects of the company.

The seven companies selected to join the BHP Xplor accelerator program are:

  • Tutume Metals – a private, junior exploration company with secured ground searching for critical minerals in Botswana;
  • Impact Minerals – a junior explorer listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) with a variety of battery metals projects across Australia;
  • Asian Battery Metals – a junior exploration company focused on finding economic deposits of critical minerals in the Asia Pacific region;
  • Red Ox Copper – a private minerals exploration group in Australia, specialising in generating grassroots, greenfield conceptual plays with potential for Tier 1 ore deposits;
  • Bronzite Exploration Corp – an early-stage exploration for copper in northern Canada, spearheaded by Professor James Mungall, an experienced field and economic geologist at Carleton University, Ottawa;
  • Nordic Nickel – a brand new nickel sulphide explorer, listed on the ASX and focused on two projects in northern Finland, in the Central Lapland Greenstone Belt; and
  • Kingsrose Mining – a junior exploration company listed on the ASX with regional projects in Norway and Finland targeting nickel, copper and platinum group elements.

Aeris, Rokion and LDO collaborate on battery-electric vehicle trial at Tritton

Rokion and its New South Wales-based distributor LDO Group have continued their battery-electric utility vehicle momentum in Australia, with another unit having gone underground at Aeris Resources’ Tritton operations in the state.

The electric light vehicle, an R100, has successfully completed its first trip underground after above-ground tests in 2022, the mining company said.

Rokion says the R100 series includes a four-passenger crew truck and a two-passenger utility truck, with both models built on the same frame dimensions and available in ramp-ready configurations.

Tritton General Manager, Scott Ramsay, said the copper operation is still in the trial stage of using the electric light vehicle underground but the first signs are positive.

“We are trying different power charge setups to respond to the specific needs for driving underground,” he said in a LinkedIn post. “But, overall, it has made a good impression and it is quite likely we will be seeing more vehicles like this in the future.”

Aeris and its Tritton operation have some recent history with battery-electric vehicles, having previously used the battery-electric retrofit ‘TRITEV’ 20 t underground Integrated Tool-Carrier/Loader. This followed a collaboration between 3ME and Aeris that started all the way back in 2017.

Rokion and LDO, meanwhile, have been working with Agnico Eagle Mines and Newmont on trials of its larger R400 vehicle – a platform able to accommodate three passengers in a utility vehicle setup or up to 12 in a passenger crew variant – at the Fosterville and Tanami mines, respectively.

OZ Minerals breaks through at Carrapateena sub-level cave

OZ Minerals has announced that the Carrapateena cave safely propagated to surface on December 29, 2022, marking the transition from development to production planning at the operation in South Australia.

OZ Minerals Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Cole, said: “The Carrapateena cave safely breaking through to surface marks a significant milestone for the mine and an important de-risking event for ongoing operations. With the cave now through to surface it enables mine planning to be optimised for production rather than prioritising the safe development of the cave, which has been the primary focus over the first two years of the mine’s life.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Carrapateena team for their dedication and focus to deliver a safe working environment and successfully managing the cave propagation to surface.”

Close to a year ago, the Crusher 2 level for the sub-level cave mine at Carrapateena was reached, enabling commencement of the Block Cave Expansion declines and an increase in sub-level cave production rates to from circa 4.7 to 5.0 Mt/y from 2023.

The expansion, which will involve converting the lower part of the current sub-level cave into a series of block caves, is expected to prolong operations at the copper-gold mine, while boosting production to 12 Mt/y. This will see average copper production come in at 110,000-120,000 t/y and gold output average 110,000-120,000 oz/y from 2026, compared with production of 55,262 t and 89,778 oz, respectively, in 2021.

Rio’s Nuton venture eyes up leaching opportunities at Regulus’ AntaKori project

Regulus Resources Inc has announced a $15 million non-brokered private placement by Nuton, which will see the Rio Tinto Venture take an approximate 16.5% interest in the company and jointly undertake copper sulphide leach testing using Nuton’s copper sulphide leach technologies with samples from the AntaKori project in Peru.

The Nuton™ technologies, Rio says, have the potential to process arsenic-bearing copper sulphides with less impact on the environment and water resources than traditional concentrator processing.

Regulus has granted exclusivity to Nuton in the area of novel, patented or trade secret leaching technologies, for a period of one year after the delivery of metallurgical samples from AntaKori to Nuton for testing.

Rio, through its Nuton venture, has tabled a solution to treat primary copper sulphides such as chalcopyrite. At its centre is a portfolio of proprietary copper leach related technologies and capability that, Nuton says, offer the potential to economically unlock known low-grade copper sulphide resources, copper bearing waste and tailings, and achieve higher copper recoveries on oxide and transitional material. This allows for a significantly increased copper production outcome, according to the company.

Regulus Resources has outlined a 250 Mt at 0.48% Cu, 0.29 g/t Au and 7.5 g/t Ag indicated resource at AntaKori, in addition to a 267 Mt at 0.41% Cu, 0.26 g/t Au and 7.8 g/t Ag inferred resource.

John Black, Chief Executive Officer of Regulus, said: “The investment by Rio Tinto, one of the largest miners in the world, is another strong endorsement for the AntaKori project. Through Nuton, Rio Tinto has developed sulphide leach processing technologies that could allow for the processing of high arsenic ores without the need for additional on-site treatment or paying heavy penalties to a smelter. Utilising the Nuton sulphide leach technologies could truly be a gamechanger for the AntaKori deposit. The private placement will significantly bolster our financial position and enhance our ability to optimise the value of the existing resources in the project area.”

Rio Tinto’s Chief Executive, Copper, Bold Baatar, added: “This agreement will allow us to evaluate the potential to commercially deploy Rio Tinto’s innovative Nuton technologies for copper leaching at Regulus’ AntaKori project. Our Nuton technologies have the capacity to increase copper production for Rio Tinto and our partners, with a lower carbon footprint and leading environmental performance. Unlocking value from high-arsenic copper sulphides is a particularly exciting prospect for Nuton.”

Metso Outotec to deliver crushing, flotation and thickening tech to OZ Minerals West Musgrave

Metso Outotec says it has been awarded an order for the supply of key minerals processing technologies to OZ Minerals’ West Musgrave copper-nickel project in Western Australia.

The OEM’s scope of delivery includes an MP1250™ cone crusher, as well as Planet Positive classified flotation units and high-rate thickeners.

The TankCell® e630 flotation units (pictured) are the most proven large-scale cells in the 600 cu.m-plus category and come with the largest installed base of operating cells in the world, according to Metso Outotec.

Metso Outotec’s high-rate thickeners, meanwhile, were selected for their state-of-the-art technology and based on references from similar process plants, it said. Laboratory test work was conducted by Metso Outotec to aid thickener selection.

Kai Rönnberg, Vice President, Minerals Sales – Asia Pacific at Metso Outotec, said: “We are very excited to work on the West Musgrave project with OZ Minerals. We were able to align with the project’s key value drivers at an early stage and provide expert technical support.

“OZ Minerals has selected leading-class Planet Positive process equipment for their nickel and copper production process, and they will also be able to benefit from our extensive aftermarket capabilities and footprint in Western Australia.”

In September, the OZ Minerals Board greenlit the build of the West Musgrave copper-nickel project. The feasibility study the board signed off on detailed a 13.5 Mt/y operation with average production of circa-28,000 t/y of nickel and circa-35,000 t/y of copper over a 24-year operating life.

PYBAR extends stay at AIC Mines’ Eloise copper mine

PYBAR, part of Metarock Group Ltd, has been rewarded for its last two years of service at the Eloise copper mine in Queensland, Australia, having now been awarded a four-year services contract.

Since arriving on site in 2020, PYBAR says it has set the standard in safe and efficient delivery of underground mining services and will continue delivering as it embarks on a new four-year mining services contract.

Having safely completed nearly 6.5 km of development at the high-grade Eloise copper mine over the past two years, PYBAR was invited to participate in a competitive tender process for the new contract earlier this year and was awarded the mining services contract at Eloise by mine owner, AIC Mines Ltd, for a further four-year term.

The new contract, with the additional scope of shotcrete services, will see PYBAR on site at Eloise through to 2026, and includes the development of declines, level accesses, ore drives, stockpiles and infrastructure, providing all facilities, services, labour, supervision, administration, construction plant and materials.

Forming part of the PYBAR fleet of mining equipment on site is a new Elphinstone CT WR820 10 cu.m agitator (pictured below), as well as two twin boom jumbos, two LHDs, a charge rig and a shotcrete spray rig.

PYBAR’s CEO, James Glover, said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded the extension of the Eloise project which is a testament to the work that has been delivered on site to date by our team at Eloise. AIC is a growth focused resources company and it’s pleasing to be able to extend our term for another four years and be a part of that growth journey.”

The team of over 50 skilled PYBAR personnel on site has kicked off the new Eloise contract well, setting the standard for the remainder of the contract with a near-record month of 412 m of development achieved in July.

AIC Mines said in November that it was targeting production of approximately 12,500 t of copper and 6,000 oz of gold in concentrate in its 2023 financial year to June 30, 2023.

ABB, Boliden target low carbon footprint copper for EMS equipment, electric motors

ABB says it is working with Boliden to build a strategic co-operation to use low carbon footprint copper in its electromagnetic stirring (EMS) equipment and high-efficiency electric motors.

The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while driving the transition to a more circular economy, ABB says.

The partnership with Boliden forms a part of ABB’s strategic ambition to reduce the environmental impact of raw materials used in its products by replacing them with lower carbon alternatives, it says. Apart from using recycled copper, ABB has committed to increase the use of recycled electric steel (e-steel) and recycled aluminum.

The move is also an important step in closing the circularity loop that has already seen ABB designing its motors to be up to 98% recyclable, with the remaining 2% of materials available to be incinerated for heat recovery. Recycling copper, aluminum and steel offers energy savings of between 75-95% compared with virgin production, according to the company.

Ola Norén, Head of Metallurgy Products, Process Industries, ABB, said: “As a part of ABB’s 2030 sustainability strategy, our target is for 80% of our products and solutions to be covered by a circularity approach. The work with Boliden is an important step towards this goal. By taking stock of the delivery by the end of this year we’ll ensure that all our metallurgy products use recycled hollow copper conductors from 2023.”

Ulf Hellstrom, Managing Director at ABB Motion, Sweden, added: “We want to enable a more sustainable and resource-efficient future, and with this collaboration our customers can not only decarbonise by upgrading to energy-efficient motors but will also be able to install ABB technology that has an improved environmental footprint thanks to Boliden’s copper. This is an excellent example of the circular economy in practice.”

The co-operation includes ABB placing the first order for Boliden’s certified recycled copper through Finnish metals manufacturing specialist Luvata. Hollow conductor wire made from the material will be used in ABB’s EMS products for both steel and aluminum manufacturing.

Furthermore, as of 2023, ABB will purchase Boliden’s low-carbon and recycled copper to cover the demand for its IE5 Ultra-Premium Efficiency SynRM and e-mobility motors produced in Europe, it says. The two companies have also signed a memorandum of understanding that will see ABB supporting Boliden in identifying inefficient low-voltage motors across its operating units. These motors can then be replaced with high-efficiency motors within ABB’s take back upcycling framework, with the old motors recycled to provide raw material for Boliden’s recycled copper.

Boliden has developed low-carbon copper that is mined using fossil-free energy and also produces copper using secondary raw material from recycled products. The carbon footprint of these products is 65% lower than the industry average, according to the miner.

A typical 75 kW motor weighing 650 kg might include 80 kg of copper. Using Boliden’s copper saves approximately 200 kg of CO₂ emissions for every one of these motors manufactured, ABB says. Each stirrer has up to 2,700 kg of copper, saving up to 6,700 kg of CO2 per stirrer.

Metso Outotec to deliver anode casting shops to major copper producers

Metso Outotec says it has received orders for four anode casting shops from major copper producers in the USA, China and Africa that come with a total value of around €18 million ($19.2 million).

In each of the projects, Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery includes anode casting shops with engineering and state-of-the-art technology.

Harri Talvensaari, Senior Sales Manager, Smelting at Metso Outotec, said: “Today, most of the world’s copper anodes are produced with Metso Outotec’s proprietary anode casting technology. We have delivered over 100 anode casting shops around the world, and our frontrunning technology is used globally by the leading copper producers. Our anode casting shops are compatible with different types of smelting technologies, enabling reliable operation and consistent throughput.”

Metso Outotec’s fully electric anode casting shops feature a high level of automation, which ensures premium anode quality with excellent weight accuracy and a low reject rate combined with high capacity and availability, the company says. Metso Outotec also offers a variety of modular upgrades for existing installations, including equipment, automation, services and digital tools, like the on-line MouldSense™ system.