Tag Archives: copper

Almalyk MMC

Metso and Almalyk MMC sign technology agreement for new copper smelter

Metso and JSC Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical company (Almalyk MMC) have signed a frame agreement on significant process technology deliveries for Almalyk MMC’s new copper smelter investment in Uzbekistan.

The companies have collaborated on the development of minerals processing and metallurgical operations since 2011, Metso says.

Equipment package contracts under the framework agreement will be booked once they have been signed and become effective. Metso says it estimates that the majority of those contracts will be signed this year. The frame agreement is a continuation of Metso’s and Almalyk MMC’s contract signed at the end of 2022 for the design and basic engineering work for the copper smelter.

The planned production capacity of the new copper smelter, which will be integrated with the company’s existing operations in Almalyk, is 300,000 t/y of copper cathodes and 1.8 Mt/y of sulphuric acid.

“We are very pleased to be selected as the strategic partner for Almalyk MMC’s smelter project,” Piia Karhu, President of Metso’s Metals business area, said. “Metso will provide Almalyk MMC with the most advanced sustainable Planet Positive technology for their copper refining processes.”

Almalyk MMC is the main copper producer in Uzbekistan. The company produces refined copper, gold, silver, zinc, molybdenum, lead concentrate and other products.

Lifezone Metals edges closer to base metal refinement plan at Kabanga nickel project

Lifezone Metals Limited says it has received a Multi-Metal Processing Facility Licence from the Government of Tanzania to refine nickel, copper and cobalt from its Kabanga nickel project at Kahama, located beside Barrick Gold’s former Buzwagi gold mine.

The Kabanga nickel project is in northwest Tanzania and is believed to be one of the world’s largest and highest-grade undeveloped nickel sulphide deposits, Lifezone says. The Kahama Multi-Metal Processing Facility site is around 340 km southwest of Kabanga. Lifezone’s subsidiary, Tembo Nickel Corporation Ltd is the operating entity for Kabanga and Kahama, and is 16% owned by the Government of Tanzania.

Notably, through the application of Lifezone’s Hydromet Technology, Kabanga and Kahama will be able to produce finished metals in-country, potentially reducing capital and operating costs, as well as reducing costs associated with transport of concentrate or other intermediate products. Full in-country beneficiation will contribute towards local content optimisation and eventually national development through the principle of equitable sharing of economic benefits, Lifezone says.

A definitive feasibility study for Kabanga remains on track for completion by the September quarter of 2024.

This licence news came alongside a separate announcement involving the signing of a binding subscription agreement for the issuance of $50 million of convertible debentures with a consortium of marquee mining investors. These are on top of BHP, Glencore and BlackRock as investors in the business. The proceeds are going towards development of Kabanga.

Lifezone Metals’ Hydromet Technology is a transformational method of metals recovery that has the potential to replace smelting for base and precious metals refining, according to the company. Pyrometallurgical smelting is one of the largest contributors to pollutive gas emissions, greenhouse gases and energy inefficiency in the production of metals products and the use of Hydromet Technology will help to unlock nickel, copper and cobalt from Kabanga, providing lower cost, lower emissions (relative to smelting) and traceable metals for electric vehicle batteries and to support the global energy transition, it says.

Chris Showalter, Lifezone CEO, said: “The ongoing level of commitment and support that we have received from the Government of Tanzania in the advancement of our Kabanga nickel project is exemplary. With the receipt of our Kabanga Special Mining Licence, and now the Kahama Refinery Licence, we have a clear path to delivering a direct-to-metal solution and enabling the production of nickel, copper and cobalt in Tanzania and by Tanzanians.”

The issuance of the Kahama Refinery License follows the formal gazettement of the Special Economic Zone (Declaration) Notice, 2024, which declared the Buzwagi Mining Area, within Kahama District in Shinyanga Region, a Special Economic Zone. The Kahama Refinery will be located within the Special Economic Zone, which will provide certain tax and other economic benefits for the project, according to Lifezone.

In addition, the Kahama Refinery stands to benefit from access to a highly trained workforce and legacy infrastructure from the Buzwagi gold mine, including existing camp and office buildings, regional power connections, airstrip, road connections and railway in near proximity, the company says.

This “plug-and-play” industrial hub brings significant project execution and capital cost benefits, as well as turning a past-producing mine liability into a long-term asset. Lifezone will not be taking on any legacy liabilities in relation to the closure of the Buzwagi gold mine, it added.

Rio Tinto backs BEV use at Kennecott Underground with growing Sandvik fleet

Rio Tinto is progressing its mobile equipment electrification move at the Kennecott underground operation near Salt Lake City, Utah, having transitioned from using Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions battery-electric loaders and trucks in a proof of concept to commercially deploying Sandvik battery-electric TH550B trucks and a Sandvik LH518iB loader.

Just last year, Rio Tinto approved $498 million of funding to deliver underground development and infrastructure for an area known as the North Rim Skarn (NRS). Production from the NRS is due to commence this year and is expected to ramp up over two years, to deliver around 70,000 tonnes of additional mined copper over the next 10 years alongside open-pit operations at Kennecott.

This followed a September 2022 announcement where Rio Tinto approved development capital totalling $55 million to start underground mining in an area known as the Lower Commercial Skarn (LCS) at Kennecott. Underground mining within LCS started in February 2023 and is expected to deliver a total of around 30,000 tonnes of additional mined copper through the period to 2028.

These two investments will support Kennecott in building a world-class underground mine which will leverage battery-electric vehicle (BEV) technology, following a trial with Sandvik equipment in 2022 involving an LH518B loader and Z50 truck.

The first LH518iB loader in North America has just been delivered to site, with the automation-capable vehicle equipped with Sandvik’s patented self-swapping battery system, including the AutoSwap and AutoConnect functions, to minimise infrastructure needs and enable the loader to return to operation significantly sooner than ‘fast-charge’ mining BEVs, Sandvik claims.

Since launching the vehicle in March 2023, Sandvik has confirmed orders or made deliveries of the LH518iB to operations owned by LKAB, Boliden,Torex Gold, Foran Mining, Rana Gruber and Byrnecut.

Rio Tinto will complement these machines with a fleet of Sandvik TH550Bs, some of which are already operating on site. This 50-t payload truck combine Sandvik’s 50 years of experience in developing loaders and trucks with Artisan™’s innovative electric drivelines and battery packs. The electric drivetrain delivers 560 kW of power and 6,000 Nm of total torque output, allowing for higher ramp speeds for shorter cycle times and an efficient ore moving process, according to the OEM. All of this comes with zero emissions.

They also come with AutoSwap and AutoConnect functions that Sandvik has refined for battery swap processes that take only a few minutes.

Rio Tinto has previously stated on battery-electric vehicle use: “BEVs create a safer and healthier workplace for employees underground, increase the productivity of the mine and reduce emissions from operations.”

DMC Mining to construct Clark exploration decline at South32 Hermosa

DMC Mining Services says it will construct the Clark exploration decline at the South32-owned Hermosa site in Arizona, USA, as part of a recent contract award.

In an announcement last month, South32 said the board had provided the final investment approval to develop the Taylor deposit, part of the wider Hermosa project, with funding of $2.16 billion. This followed the release of a feasibility study outlining a circa-4.3 Mt/y operation with average payable zinc-equivalent output of circa-253,000 t/y over a 28-year mine life.

Beyond Taylor, however, South32 has been working on its Clark development option, currently the only advanced project in the USA with a clear pathway to produce battery-grade manganese from locally sourced ore, according to the company.

In May 2023, South32 released the results of a selection phase pre-feasibility study (PFS-S) for the Clark deposit, which confirmed the potential for an underground mine integrated with Taylor, and a separate process plant, capable of supplying battery-grade manganese. Study work has progressed to a definition phase pre-feasibility study, with South32 confirming the commencement of construction of an exploration decline, due to be completed in late 2025, to enable access to ore for demonstration-scale production. This is where DMC Mining comes in.

In announcing this contract award, DMC Mining said: “Throughout the meticulous planning phase, South32 and DMC have been united by a shared vision and unwavering values, setting the stage for unparalleled success. Together, we’re not just setting the bar, we’re raising it, ready to redefine industry standards!

“This project not only underscores our commitment to delivering superior project solutions, but also signifies a significant stride in our dedication to serving our clients in the US market.”

Vale Base Metals targets pyrrhotite with latest recovery innovation challenge

Vale Base Metals has launched the Pyrrhotite Resource Recovery Innovation Challenge to, it says, facilitate and enhance recovery of valuable metals and minerals contained in pyrrhotite.

The challenge reflects a commitment to driving innovative environmental solutions with a goal to identify and accelerate development of novel approaches to process low-grade pyrrhotite tailings, the solid remnants resulting from the mineral processing of sulphide ore.

Adam McMillan, Director of Research and Innovation for Vale Base Metals, said: “We’re committed to safely delivering critical minerals essential for the world’s energy transition and continued sustainable economic development. Open innovation is a key enabler that allows us to rapidly identify and trial innovative solutions that can help us unlock value from waste and we look forward to reviewing the innovative solutions this challenge inspires.”

Through this challenge, Vale Base Metals says it is inviting researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs to propose innovative technological solutions that can help to unlock value through circular mining while ensuring environmental responsibility.

Proposals will be evaluated until August 2024, with innovation laureates announced in September. Selected solutions will be awarded a prize of C$25,000 ($18,420) from Vale Base Metals.

For more information about the challenge and how to participate, click here

Freeport-McMoRan Chino feels the ‘value add’ from MineSense ShovelSense installation

During a Technical Session at the SME MineXchange Conference and Expo, in Phoenix, Arizona, today, a speaker from Freeport-McMoRan highlighted the value case for using MineSense’s X-ray Fluorescence-based ShovelSense® system at its Chino copper mine in New Mexico, USA.

In a presentation titled, ‘ShovelSense Bulk Ore Sorting Use Cases and Value at Freeport-McMoRan Chino Mine, New Mexico, USA,’ Maurice Sunkpal, Senior Ore Control, Freeport-McMoRan, showcased how the company’s use of ShovelSense had resulted in multiple benefits.

The company has been employing ShovelSense alongside other solutions such as Orica’s OREPro™ 3D as part of a five-year, ore control focused strategy at Chino. Chino is a highly heterogeneous copper porphyry skarn deposit where ore control is especially challenging due to the natural variability of the deposit, sparse blasthole sampling and blast movement, causing inevitable ore loss and dilution.

Chino has retrofitted its main production Komatsu P&H4100 electric rope shovel with ShovelSense to predict grades at the mine face for the purpose of bulk ore sorting, diverting mis-classified trucks to their correct destination.

Sunkpal was able to showcase the difference in the waste and ore definitions from a standard block model and that of one based on XRF data from ShovelSense (see below). This data – and the resultant diversions – in the mining of high contrast ore-waste contacts resulted in more than 10% truck diversions, yielding significant economic benefits by reducing dilution and ore loss, he said.

Block model differences: the original on the left and the ShovelSense-aided block model on the right

He also said the integraion of ShovelSense was enhancing the self-audit capabilities of ore control tools at the mine via real-time tracking of the ore control process. He added that this process had identified opportunities for further process optimisation.

Further, Chino has seen a reduction in variance from mine to mill with ShovelSense, while allowing the company to carry out selective mining with increased accuracy and confidence.

Raglan Mine extends operations for another two decades with Anuri

Raglan Mine, part of Glencore, has officially inaugurated the Anuri Mine, from its Sivumut mining project, which has been under development for over 10 years.

This event marks an important milestone in the pursuit of its mining operations in Nunavik and highlights its ongoing commitment to the local communities that welcome its operations, it said.

Anuri is one of the largest mining investments in Quebec, Canada, in the last decade. It is anticipated that it will lengthen Raglan Mine’s life of operations for at least 20 years.

Pierre Barette, Vice President of Raglan Mine, said: “We expect that our mining activities, initially forecast to last 25 years, will be significantly extended thanks to the Anuri mine. This is a huge success for our 1,400 employees, our Inuit partners and our business partners.”

More than 60 Raglan Mine employees helped find a name for the new mine. The final choice, Anuri, was selected by the members of the Raglan Committee and means ‘wind’ in Inuktitut. It reflects the change, vigour and evolution that this new phase represents for Raglan Mine and its Inuit partners, Raglan said.

Jean-François Verret, Director – Projects, Geology and Exploration, noted: “This project was a challenge on every level, particularly given the pandemic, the Arctic climate and numerous logistical challenges. Nevertheless, we completed the Sivumut project ahead of schedule, under budget and with everyone’s safety at the heart of every step. We achieved this through outstanding collaboration within our team and with our partners.”

The Sivumut project is the outcome of a collaborative and continuous improvement approach, enriched by the participatory process undertaken with Inuit communities as part of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, in compliance with Quebec’s Environment Quality Act and Section 23 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

As a result of these consultations, the Raglan Agreement with the Inuit of Salluit, Kangiqsujuaq and all of Nunavik was improved, particularly regarding land use, employment, training and the participation of Inuit businesses.

Signed in 1995 and enhanced in 2017, the Raglan Agreement continues to guide the day-to-day operations, ensuring that commitments made to the Inuit communities of Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq, as well as to Makivvik Corporation, are respected.

Raglan Mine, involved in nickel mining since 1997, considers the Anuri mine a key step towards the pursuit of its activities in partnership with Inuit communities. Glencore thus continues its efforts to minimise its environmental footprint and maximize local benefits.

Raglan Mine is part of Glencore, one of the world’s largest diversified natural resource companies. It operates on the northern edge of Quebec, in Nunavik. Its property extends to almost 70 km from east to west, and consists of a series of high-grade deposits, mainly nickel and copper.

Enaex and NYK to explore low-carbon ammonia fuel options in copper concentrate shipping

Enaex says it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the international shipping group NYK Bulk & Projects Carriers Ltd (NBP), del Grupo NYK to assess the feasibility of providing low-carbon ammonia as a fuel for ships set to carry copper concentrate.

Over the next decade, NBP plans to build between 10 and 15 Handymax bulk carriers, which will use low-carbon ammonia as their main fuel. The first of these ships is expected to arrive in Chile in 2027, to be used to transport copper concentrate produced by Codelco from Mejillones, in the Antofagasta Region, to countries in the Asian market.

Juan Andrés Errázuriz, CEO of Enaex, said: “Our company’s first value is to care for life and, as part of that commitment, we are concerned about mitigating the impacts on climate change. Therefore, we are constantly working to reduce CO2 emissions and, to date, we have reduced more than 90% of emissions in our production process. Going further along this path, we are now focused on collaborating in the reduction of emissions in the transportation of raw materials.”

According to the MoU, Enaex will have to provide the low carbon ammonia for these vessels, as well as make available for loading the facilities of its terminal in Mejillones, which until now are only used for unloading ammonia.

Errázuriz said: “Our company already has experience in the transport and production of low-carbon ammonia. At our Cachimayo plant in Peru, we are producing green ammonia and we have also imported blue ammonia from the United States.”

According to the new carbon neutrality goals established by the International Maritime Organization, the shipping industry is projected to be one of the largest consumers of low-carbon ammonia in the future.

The understanding agreement was signed Errázuriz, Hitoshi Nagasawa, President of NYK, and Masashi Suda, President of NBP, at Enaex’s offices in Santiago.

Metso reflects on ‘benchmark’ contract win in Chile copper space

Metso has been awarded a major order worth some €55 million ($59 million) to deliver key concentrator equipment for a copper mining project in Chile.

The Metso delivery scope consists of high-capacity Nordberg® MP1250 secondary cone crushers, MF Series™ vibrating screens and energy-efficient Vertimill® VTM1500 regrinding mills.

For the flotation and separation circuit, Metso will supply multiple TankCell® and ColumnCell™ flotation cells featuring several of the largest available 630 cu.m TankCell units, as well as HCT™ High Compression tailing thickeners. In addition, Metso’s scope includes four MHC hydrocyclone clusters, of which two will be among the largest in the world.

Most of the products in the delivery scope are part of Metso’s Planet Positive offering.

Fernando Samanez, Vice President, Minerals Sales for South America at Metso, said: “Working together with the customer and the engineering company on an open collaborative model has been an extraordinary experience. The model enhanced the efficiency of the engineering process and contributed to the alignment of all parties on the targets set by the end customer. This will be a benchmark to be followed in similar projects all over the world.”

Anglo American and Finnish Minerals Group look to progress Finland’s battery strategy

Anglo American and Finnish Minerals Group have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work together to explore opportunities to, they say, further support Finland’s battery strategy.

Finnish Minerals Group is a holding and development company that manages the Finnish Government’s mining industry shareholdings and supports the development of the Finnish battery value chain. Among other assets, it holds the Terrafame nickel heap leach mine.

Alison Atkinson, Projects & Development Director at Anglo American, said: “Finland is a highly attractive investment destination and has a strong heritage in both mining and innovation. We look forward to working with Finnish Minerals Group, whose mission is to responsibly maximise the value of Finnish minerals, to explore the wealth of opportunities that our agreement could offer.

“This agreement further strengthens our commitment to Finland as well as to our Sakatti project, a true polymetallic orebody very much aligned to Finland’s and the EU’s critical minerals priorities. Sakatti is designed as the next generation of FutureSmart Mining™, building on what we have learned in terms of minimal surface footprint and using technology and innovation to deliver ever better environmental and social outcomes, whilst producing essential raw materials needed to transition to a greener, low carbon energy future.”

Atkinson said last year during a sustainability performance update that Sakatti was set to be “a remotely operated, low carbon-underground mine with an electric mining fleet using technology and mining methods that will create zero waste and enable high degrees of water recycling, contributing to a sustainable supply of critical minerals”. The company also sees the potential to use sorting technologies for coarse particle rejection and material recovery opportunities at the project.

Jani Kiuru, Senior Vice President, Raw Materials at Finnish Minerals Group, said: “Exploring joint opportunities with Anglo American is a natural choice for us as they already know the Finnish operational environment. In addition, the company has a long history in mining and is a forerunner in sustainability. We believe this collaboration reinforces both parties by combining local and global knowhow in sustainability and technological development, thus maximising the value of Finnish minerals responsibly. We see there is a mutual understanding on the vast possibilities and importance of Finnish minerals for the green transition.”

As a Finnish state-owned company with a mandate to foster the Finnish mining and battery industry, Finnish Minerals Group is a natural potential partner for Anglo American in Finland, Anglo American says. The company’s main assets are: Terrafame, a subsidiary that produces nickel and cobalt sulphates; project Sokli, a phosphate and rare earths deposit; and a 20% interest in Keliber, a battery-grade lithium project aiming to start production in 2025. Additionally, Finnish Minerals Group is advancing several greenfield investments further downstream in the battery value chain.