Tag Archives: Dawson

Macmahon to start mining Anglo’s Dawson South met coal mine

Macmahon Holdings says it has been selected to provide surface mining services at Anglo American’s majority-owned Dawson metallurgical coal mine in Queensland, Australia, starting from July.

The work at the Dawson South operations, which forms part of the Dawson Mine, an open-pit met coal mine owned in a joint venture between Anglo American and Japan’s Mitsui Group, will generate around A$200 million ($153 million) in revenue over the three-year term, Macmahon said.

Signing of the mining services agreement is expected to occur in the near future, the company added.

Macmahon’s CEO and Managing Director, Michael Finnegan, said: “We are very pleased to be selected for the Dawson South operation by Anglo American, a leading global mining company. We look forward to working very closely with our new client to ensure a smooth transition period and continuity of safe operations. This new project further strengthens our growing east coast presence.”

MacKellar Group adds to Liebherr T 264 haul truck fleet at Anglo’s Dawson mine

MacKellar Mining has almost doubled the size of its Liebherr T 264 off-highway haul truck fleet at Anglo American’s majority-owned Dawson open-pit metallurgical coal mine in central Queensland, Australia.

The mining contractor has purchased another four Liebherr T 264 240 t trucks, adding to the fleet of five commissioned at Dawson in early 2020.

The four new T 264s, manufactured in Liebherr Newport News facility in Virginia, USA, will complete pre-assembly in Mackay before travelling inland to Dawson Mine for final commissioning, Liebherr said. The plan is for the trucks to join the working fleet in early 2021.

MacKellar Group said of the decision: “The T 264 provides efficient productivity for our clients by offering a true 240 metric tonne payload, and superior speed on grade. The many operator comforts also makes the trucks well accepted on site.”

The fleet of trucks at Dawson mine, owned 51% by Anglo American and 49% by Mitsui Holdings, are supported by Liebherr-Australia’s Mackay branch and on site Liebherr technicians, another area that assisted the purchase of the additional four units.

“Liebherr-Australia’s support has been excellent, starting from the beginning with the provision of professional operator training, through to support from their experienced technicians,” MacKellar Group concluded.

Anglo’s remote multi-pass drill wins plaudits for work at Dawson coal mine

Anglo American has been recognised for the development and testing of a world-first remotely operated multi-pass drill at its Dawson coal mine, with the company recently taking out the JCB CEA Innovation (Miner) Award at the 2020 Queensland Mining Awards in Mackay.

Driven by a commitment to make its open-pit operations safer by removing operators from the field, the team at Dawson produced the first known rotary blasthole drill rig to be able to complete multi-pass operations remotely.

General Manger of Anglo American’s Dawson Mine, Clarence Robertson, said the team had worked tirelessly over around 18 months to deliver the project.

“Our project team did an incredible job upgrading the (Sandvik) D90K drill rig by giving it a new control system and mechanical modifications,” he said. “This allows the drill rig to continually add and remove multiple drill rods during the drilling process without operator intervention, making it more efficient and consistent.”

He explained: “The drill can reach depths up to six times deeper than a standard single-rod drill, including angled and vertical holes, to reach the coal seams more easily.

“Most importantly, the innovation is improving safety by removing our people from an operational area where they could be exposed to noise, dust, vibrations and vehicle movements. They now work from a site office environment, where a remote operations centre has been setup for them to use new one-touch drilling technology.”

Robertson said the drill rig is now delivering beyond benchmark performance, and the operation is in the process of automating two more drill rigs in the next six months.

Tyler Mitchelson, CEO of Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business, said the project was a great example of the positive impacts innovation and technology can have on daily operations.

“The remote multi-pass drill is a strong demonstration of how technology, digitisation and remote operation can come together to make our operations safer, more sustainable and more productive.

“Congratulations to our team from Dawson Mine on their achievement, which has made a significant impact on the way we operate.”

Presented by the Bowen Basin Mining Club, in partnership with the Queensland Resources Council, the bi-annual Queensland Mining Awards recognise industry excellence across the categories of productivity, safety, innovation, environment, collaboration, product launch, community, staff engagement and equal opportunity initiatives.

Anglo American was also recognised as finalists the following Queensland Mining Awards categories:

  • Innovation Award (Miner):
    • Dawson Mine’s world-first remote multi-pass drill; and
    • Development of first electronic tablet device certified for use in underground coal mining.
  • Community/Staff Engagement Award:
    • Anglo American LIVE online concert series.
  • Equal Opportunity Award:
    • Moranbah North Mine’s Balancing the Team female trainee program.
  • Collaboration Award:
    • Mitchell Services/Anglo American for innovation in underground coal gas drainage UIS drill rig.

IMDEX, UFR win plaudits for Blast DOG deployment at Anglo’s Dawson mine

IMDEX’s Blast DOG™ technology is gaining recognition, with the drill and blast innovation winning a Queensland mining award last week.

IMDEX Blast DOG, being developed in collaboration with Universal Field Robots (UFR) and tested at Anglo American’s Dawson coal mine in Queensland, won the Greyhound Innovation (METS) Award at the 2020 Queensland Mining Awards.

A semi-autonomously deployed system for logging material properties and blast hole characteristics at high spatial density across the bench and mine, IMDEX Blast DOG™ is commodity agnostic. It is a semi-autonomous system that helps optimise blasting based on high-resolution three-dimensional material models built from sensor data. It is aimed at helping miners get predictable fragmentation and determine ore and waste boundaries, and control vibration, dust, fumes and heave, the company says.

“No other technology has the capacity to produce the same data and provide as large an impact on downstream processes including enhancing productivity,” IMDEX said.

The judges said UFR and IMDEX conquered the challenge of logging blast holes, while removing operators from harm’s way.

IMDEX Chief Executive Officer, Paul House, said: “To be the winner among such esteemed competition is a testament to the team and our collaboration partners, Universal Field Robots, Anglo American, Teck Resources Ltd and Orica, supported by METS Ignited.

“IMDEX has a passion to provide the mining industry with purpose-built solutions. IMDEX Blast DOG is no exception and we are investing heavily in solutions that provide significant benefit to our customers.”

The IMDEX Blast DOG solution moved from concept to prototype in just four months which provided the platform and justification to develop a commercial version, IMDEX says.

The innovation category was hotly debated, with judges looking at all five finalists as addressing the industry’s big issues. This included Emesent’s Hovermap drone payload for “mapping the inaccessible”, Polymathian – “Transforming Mining Value Chains with Industrial Mathematics”, Redeye Apps – “Optimising O&M Inspections – The Redeye Digital Twin” and Sedgman – “SMART Condition Monitoring”.

Anglo American could use ‘green’ hydrogen power at Queensland open-pit coal mines

Anglo American has eyes on producing ‘green’ hydrogen to power the haul fleet at not only its Mogalakwena platinum group metals mine, in South Africa, but also at least one of its open-pit coal mines in Queensland, Australia, IM has learned.

The miner is part of the Macquarie Corporate Holdings Pty Limited shortlisted application for the next stage of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) A$70 million ($49 million) hydrogen funding round, a spokesperson confirmed.

BHP is also on this short list, all of which have been invited to submit a full application for ARENA’s funding for renewable hydrogen development projects in Australia.

While it is early days for the Anglo and Macquarie decarbonisation project, the spokesperson said the company’s approach in Queensland could be like the one the miner and ENGIE are developing at Mogalakwena.

The project in South Africa involves the delivery of a new Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), set to be the world’s largest hydrogen powered mine truck, and the ‘green’ hydrogen generation solutions to power it.

The 300 t payload FCEV haul truck will be powered by a hydrogen Fuel Cell Module paired with a Williams Advanced Engineering scalable high-power modular lithium-ion battery system. This arrangement, which replaces the existing vehicle’s diesel engine, is controlled by a high voltage power distribution unit delivering more than 1,000 kWh of energy storage.

Nel Hydrogen Electrolyser AS, a subsidiary of Nel ASA, is to deliver a 3.5 MW electrolyser to ENGIE as part of the project, while Plug Power Inc is to build a first-of-its-kind full compression, storage, and dispensing system to service the new hydrogen-powered vehicle.

In Queensland, where there is no shortage of solar power to provide this ‘green’ hydrogen, Anglo has two open-pit coal mines – Dawson (pictured) and Capcoal – that could potentially benefit from this solution.

In response to the ARENA shortlisting announcement, Anglo American said: “Anglo American has pioneered the development of hydrogen power solutions for mining operations and we are working on a number of hydrogen projects around the world as part of our pathway to carbon-neutral operations by 2040.

“We welcome ARENA’s potential support and will continue to work on this particular project’s feasibility over the coming months.”

Applicants invited to the full application stage by ARENA will have until January 2021 to prepare their application, with the agency expecting to select the preferred projects by mid-2021. Successful projects are expected to reach financial close by late 2021 and commence construction in 2022.

All applicants may also be considered for financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corp (CEFC) under the CEFC’s A$300 million Advancing Hydrogen Fund.

Anglo American goes for truck overhaul ahead of automation at Dawson coal mine

Anglo American has taken the decision to overhaul the existing truck fleet at its Dawson open-pit coal mine in Queensland, Australia, following the completion of a study weighing the introduction of autonomous haulage systems (AHS) for a portion of the fleet.

The AHS study was timed to align with a key decision on whether to undertake major overhauls on the Cat 797 fleet (23 trucks), or replace them, a spokesperson for Anglo American said. The company announced the study back in June.

The spokesperson added: “Following the completion of the study, the decision has been taken to overhaul the existing fleet, rather than purchase new trucks and implement AHS at Dawson mine at this time.

“In the future, this decision will be revisited as we look to replace the fleet in a few years.”

While the study found that AHS do present opportunities to improve truck fleet performance, Anglo will be prioritising other measures to achieve safer and more productive operations at Dawson, in line with its productivity program and FutureSmart Mining™ approach, which applies innovative thinking and technological advances to address mining’s major challenges, the spokesperson explained.

“The accelerating pace of technological innovation, particularly in the areas of digitalisation, automation and artificial intelligence, is opening up opportunities for the mining sector to be safer, more productive and sustainable,” the person said.

“In addition to our open-cut technology program, our scale as the largest underground coal miner in Australia provides us with the opportunity to leverage the development of technology in our operations, through initiatives including remote longwall operation from mine surface, and the development of our Australian-first electronic tablet device certified for use in underground coal mines, which was launched at our Moranbah North mine earlier this year.”

While Anglo has decided not to proceed with AHS at Dawson, Whitehaven Coal is currently in the process of trialling AHS with partner Hitachi at its Maules Creek operation in northwest New South Wales, Australia.

 

Anglo American’s FutureSmart Mining on its way to tangible technology results

“It’s clear that the pressures on us are unsustainable, whether it is around our carbon footprint, water footprint, or physical footprint, and we are always looking for different ways to push us in this future direction where our footprint will be very different.”

Tony O’Neill, Anglo American Technical Director, knows the company he works for is up against it when it comes to retaining its reputation as one of the world’s leading sustainable mining companies.

It’s clear from the company’s 2018 sustainability report – which saw it achieve a best-ever performance in terms of injuries, a cut in energy use and an increase in greenhouse gas emission savings – that Anglo is going down multiple paths to reach its goals. O’Neill, who joined the company almost six years ago, believes Anglo’s FutureSmart Mining™ programme will play a major role in confronting and overcoming many of the issues it (and the industry) is facing.

“If you look at FutureSmart Mining, at its absolute essence, it is about footprint; how do you change the footprint of mining? How do you have a mine that draws no fresh water? Mines without tailings dams? Mines that look very different?” he told IM.

“It’s getting people to believe there is a different way for mining in an industry that has, to this point, been quite traditional. It is not going to happen overnight, but I think we have a genuine vision that is, in my view, quite feasible.”

IM spoke with O’Neill and Donovan Waller, Group Head of Technology Development, this week to get to the bottom of how technology is making Anglo ever more sustainable.

IM: Could you explain how the Anglo operating model facilitates and fosters innovation within the context of FutureSmart Mining?

TO: The Anglo American operating model is the chassis that underpins everything, giving us certainty in the delivery of our work. When you have got that stability – and the lack of variability – in your business outputs, it is much easier to overlay new technologies and processes. When you then see a difference in operating or financial results, you can confirm it is down to what you have implemented, rather than the underlying processes.

I look at it a little bit like a three-legged stool: you have the operating model on one leg, the P101 benchmark-setting on another, and technology and data analytics on the third leg. They all co-exist in this system and work off each other. Without one, the stool falls over.

The operating model has given us a drumbeat of delivery, and we get the licence to innovate because of this drumbeat.

IM: Do you think FutureSmart Mining is starting to be understood and valued by investors?

TO: They’re awake to it now. I think it is still in the early stages of the story, but they can see what we are doing and the ambition behind it. Ultimately, it will result in a different investment profile, or more investors because of it, but I am not sure that it’s translated in full up to now. The recognition has been more around the general results of the company.

With all these technologies coming through – much of them driven by higher levels of data and the ability to interrogate that data – the vision we imagined way out into the future, I think, is a lot more tangible than when we started out four years ago.

IM: Out of all the tailings dam elimination work you are carrying out (around passive resistivity, fibre-optics, micro-seismic monitoring, coarse particle recovery, polymers, and dry stacking), which innovation will have an impact on Anglo’s operations in the next three-to-five years?

TO: All of them. We started out with our tailings programme in 2013; in fact, our group technical standards were re-issued at the beginning of 2014 and they are now one of the main guidelines the ICMM (International Council on Mining and Metals) uses.

Tailings dams have always been at the back end of the mining process and, in a way, the science behind them has never been part of the mainstream operation. Our view, internally for many years, is tailings dams are one of the industry’s greatest risks.

“Our view, internally for many years, is tailings dams are one of the industry’s greatest risks,” Tony O’Neill says

Ultimately our aim is to eliminate tailings dams. Period. Coarse particle flotation – getting that coarser particle size that drains much more freely – is core to that and you can see a development pathway there. For example, with some of these new flotation techniques, we now only need 1% exposure of the mineral for it to be effective. In the past, it was much higher.

When we upgraded the capability of our tailings organisation, it became clear we needed to get a lot more data off these tailings dams. About three years ago, we started putting fibre-optic sensors into the dams. We have since developed, through our exploration arm, passive resistivity seismic monitoring, which basically tells you where your water sits in the dams. And, we’re putting into Quellaveco micro-seismic measuring techniques, which will be more granular again. You can see the day coming really quickly where tailings dams are a real-time data source for mining companies.

We’re also, with our joint venture partner Debswana, building the first polymer plant in Botswana, which could have an impact on dry tailing disposal.

The thing we need to crack – both ourselves and the industry – is how to dry stack at scale. At the moment, that is still a work-in-progress, but it is doable in the long term.

IM: How is the bulk sorter you have operating at El Soldado, which is equipped with a neutron sensor, working? How has it made a difference to recoveries and grades at the operation?

TO: With the bulk sorter, we’re taking packages of tonnes rather than individual rocks to enable us to get both speed and volume. At El Soldado, we are sorting in four tonne packages. You can adapt the sorting profile by the characteristics of the orebody. We’re generally looking to sort tonnages that are less than you would put in a haul truck body or bucket.

If you step right back, in the past, most processing plants wanted to blend to get an average feed. We are going the other way. We want to use the heterogeneity of the orebody to its advantage; the less mixing we can get ahead of these sorting processes, the better it is for recoveries.

Being able to remove an orebody above the cut-off grade alongside waste tonnages and upgrade the latter has led to an effective lift in head grade. It has been enabled by new sensing technology with a particular type of neutron sensor.

What we have seen in early results has surprised us on the upside. We thought we would see a 5% uplift in head grade, but in fact we have seen about 20% – to qualify that, it’s in its early stages.

O’Neill says the bulk sorting trial at El Soldado has seen about a 20% uplift in head grade in its early stages

If you take this to its logical conclusion, you can see the day coming where you would cut the rock – no drilling and blasting – immediately sort the rock behind the machine cutting it and distribute said rock efficiently into its value in use; you don’t have stockpiles, you have plants sensing the material right through and adapting in real time to the change in mineralogy. I think there is another 3-4% increase in recovery in that whole process when we get it right.

Our sweet spot when we created FutureSmart Mining was always the orebody and processing plants, more so than automation (although that is part of the potential mix). That was different to a lot of the other players in the industry. This focus could lead to the development of different types of plants; ones that are flexible, more modular and you can plug and play.

IM: Do you see these type of neutron sensors being applied elsewhere across a mine site?

TO: Yes, through processing plants and conveyors. In fact, we’re preparing for this on conveyors right now.

What we have found with all this new technology is that, when we implement it, quite often another opportunity arrives. They end up playing off each other, and that is the context for the bulk sorting and coarse particle flotation.

IM: How have Anglo’s Open Forums played into these developments?

TO: We have held eight Open Forums on sustainability, processing, mining, exploration (two), future of work, energy and maintenance.

Out of those eight, I think we have got around 10,000 ideas from them. These forums have been specifically designed where only about a third of participants are from the mining industry, with the other two thirds coming from the best and brightest analogous industries we can tap into – automobile, oil & gas, food, construction, even Formula 1 racing and NASA.

The reality is that out of those 10,000 ideas, the success rate is about 1:1,000, but the one that makes it is quite often a game changer.

IM: Going back to the bulk sorters, am I right in thinking you plan to put these into Mogalakwena and Barro Alto too?

TO: The aim is to have them across our business. At El Soldado, the copper angle is very important. The technology – the sensing and using the data – is probably a touch more advanced in copper, but we are building one currently in our PGMs business at Mogalakwena and a bit behind that, but ready to be built, is one in nickel, yes.

In terms of our programme, you will see them spread across our business in the next, hopefully, 18 months.

IM: Where does your approach to advanced process control (APC) fit into the FutureSmart Mining platform?

TO: We want to have APC in some form across all our business by the end of this year. We have probably come from a little behind some of the other players in the industry, but we’re pushing it quite aggressively to give us the platform for data analytics. The upside we have seen just by putting the process control in so far has surprised me a bit – in a good way; power reductions, throughput, having this different level of control. All of it has been pleasing.

We spent about 12 months looking at the whole data analytics space to see how we were going to implement our solution. If you look around at the sector, everyone wants to be involved and profit share. If you add it all up, you could end up with not a lot of profitable pieces at the end. We have strategically chosen the pieces we think are important to us and our profit pool and have been happy to be a little looser on some of the non-core areas.

The other key plank to the APC is that we own the data. The reality is, in the new world, data is like a new orebody and we’re not willing to let go of that.

IM: Your Smart Energy project involving a haul truck powered on hydrogen has certainly caught the attention of the market: how did you come up with this innovation?

TO: Initially, we couldn’t make renewables work from an investment criteria perspective – it was always close, but never quite there. Donovan’s team then took an approach where they said, ‘forget the normal investment criteria. All we want to do is, make the business case wash its face.’ In doing so, it enabled them to oversize a renewable or photovoltaic energy source – the power plant – using that extra power to produce hydrogen and putting that hydrogen to use in the haulage fleet. Re-engineering the haulage fleet gave us the business outcomes we were looking for.

DW: These business cases bring you to temporary barriers. When you hit that temporary barrier, people normally stop, but what we said was, ‘OK, just assume it is not there and go forward.’ That brought the whole business case back again by looking at it differently again.

Anglo’s Smart Energy project is aiming to power a 300-t class truck with hydrogen fuel

IM: Where is this project likely to be situated within the group?

TO: We’re still not 100% fixed as the initial work will be done here (the UK). You are talking about quite specialist skills working with hydrogen.

When the system has gone past its initial testing, it will go to a site, probably in South Africa, but we are not 100% locked into that at this point.

IM: On the 12-month timeline you have given, when would you have to be on site?

TO: The infrastructure will be pre-built here in the UK. We’re effectively testing it here. In a way, the physical truck is the easy bit.

It’s going to be using a 300-t class truck. The guys have already done quite a bit of the detailed measuring and the design elements are well under way.

We’ve also taken the approach to use pre-approved technology, which Donovan can talk about.

DW: This minimises the risk on the first go and allows us to, later, tailor it. For example, if you don’t have a right sized fuel cell currently available off-the-shelf, you just use multiple standard-size fuel cells for now. Then, when you get into the final version you could tailor them into something more specific.

IM: On mechanised cutting, you recently mentioned the building of a “production-sized machine” for at least one of your mines in South Africa. Is this a variant of the Epiroc machine – the Rapid Mine Development System – you have been using at Twickenham?

TO: It’s the next generation of machines. It’s fair to say that, in the last 12 months, the technology has come to the point where we are confident it is viable.

What we’re looking for is a fundamental breakthrough where, for example, we can take the development rates up three or four times from what you would usually expect. That is what we’re chasing. It would involve some sort of pre-conditioning of the rock ahead of the cutting, but the cutting, itself, works.

For us, mechanised cutting is a real solution to some of the safety issues we have had on our plate. Regardless of whether it goes into South Africa or another underground mine, we see it as a key part of our future underground design and operation.

IM: What type of rock pre-conditioning is this likely to be?

TO: I think around the world, people are looking at electricity, microwave, laser, a whole suite of things. None of them have yet quite landed, but they all have potential.

IM: Where does haul truck automation fit into the pipeline for Anglo American?

TO: All the equipment we buy, going forward, will be autonomous-capable, which means we can run it in either format (manned or unmanned). You are then left with a number of decisions – have you got the design to retrofit automation? Is there a safety issue to be considered? Is there a weather issue to contend with? There are a whole series of gates that we’ll take it (automation projects) through.

It’s good to go back to P101 here. Where P100 is getting all of our key processes to world-class benchmarks, P101 is about establishing a new benchmark. By definition, if you get your operations to that point, the gap between that manned performance and autonomous performance is not that great.

Autonomy is part of our future armoury, but when and where and how, we’ll have to wait and see. For example, we are currently looking at the option of autonomous haulage trucks at one of our open-cut mines in Queensland.

When you look at our portfolio of operations, it’s often a more complex environment than when you are just working in the wide open Pilbara.

Anglo weighs up use of autonomous haul trucks at Dawson coal mine

Anglo American says it has commenced a study to determine the feasibility of an Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) for a portion of its truck fleet at its open-pit Dawson coal mine, in central Queensland, Australia.

The detailed study to replace 23 trucks with an AHS at Dawson will be finalised towards the end of this year, at which point a decision will be made about whether to proceed, Anglo said.

The timing of the Dawson study is aligned to a key decision on whether to undertake major overhauls on the ageing Cat 797 fleet or replace them, according to Anglo.

Operations at Dawson are made up of three operating pits; North, Central and South. First mined in 1961 for export coal to Japan, it was the first mine to introduce draglines into its operation in 1963, according to Anglo.

Each year, Dawson produces coking, soft coking and thermal coal, using open pit and highwall mining methods. Coal is railed to Gladstone for export to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and India.

Chief Executive Officer of Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business, Tyler Mitchelson, said while no decisions had been made regarding the feasibility of the project, Anglo was conscious of the need to minimise the impact on its workforce.

“We’ve informed our workforce that, if the project proceeds, we would work through redeployment options for impacted employees and there would also be new roles created, leading to training opportunities,” Mitchelson said.

“We also understand the importance of locally-based employment to our communities, and we have reinforced to our community stakeholders that if the project proceeds, our intent is to protect local jobs and continue to undertake measures to encourage people to live locally.”

While AHS has been in use at other mining operations for many years, the technology has now progressed to the stage where Anglo American is assessing the “feasibility of operationalising it in open-pit coal mining”, the company said.

In addition to Anglo, Whitehaven Coal is trialling AHS with partner Hitachi at its Maules Creek operation in northwest New South Wales, Australia.

Anglo’s Mitchelson said the study was part of Anglo American’s FutureSmart Mining™ approach, which applies innovative thinking and technological advances to address mining’s major challenges.

“Anglo American has been at the forefront of embracing innovation to drive the next level of mine performance. This study will focus on whether an AHS has economic and practical application for our Dawson mine, in support of its journey to become a safer and more sustainable mine.”

Mitchelson explained that the company’s study is being run in parallel with a process to assess potential AHS providers.

“The accelerating pace of technological innovation, particularly in the digitalisation, automation and artificial intelligence areas, are opening up opportunities for the mining sector to be safer, more productive and sustainable,” he said.

Anglo and emapper to rehabilitate Dawson open-pit coal mine

Anglo American says its Australian operations will invest more than A$162 million ($116 million) in mine rehabilitation projects over the next five years.

Chief Executive Officer of Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business, Tyler Mitchelson, said the company was committed to the highest standards of environmental performance.

“Over the next five years (2019 – 2023), we’re investing more than A$162 million on industry-leading rehabilitation activities across our five mine sites,” he said.

Anglo American’s Australian operations include five metallurgical coal mines in central Queensland; two open pit and three underground. Around A$83 million will be spent on rehabilitation at the open-pit Dawson mine, near Moura, and almost A$40 million at Capcoal open-pit mine, near Middlemount, over five years.

“We continue to innovate and pursue best practice mine rehabilitation across our business, and this approach is already delivering outstanding results,” Mitchelson said.

“Anglo American’s Dawson mine has been leading the way in innovative rehabilitation approaches, including the successful rehabilitation of an area previously containing void highwall, and use of rehabilitated land for cattle grazing.

“In partnership with emapper, other miners and industry suppliers, our Dawson mine has also been part of an innovative METS Ignited (the Federal Government Growth Centre for Mining Equipment, Technology and Services) project using drone technology to aerially map rehabilitation areas.

“Rehabilitated areas at our Dawson mine cover more than 1,800 ha so this project is a significant step forward in improving the safety, efficiency and accuracy of our mine rehabilitation monitoring programmes,” he said.

The project, delivered through environmental monitoring web-mapping platform, emapper, has used drone technology to collect environmental monitoring data including landform geometry, erosion and vegetation. All data is processed in the emapper platform against pre-determined rehabilitation performance standards, according to Anglo American Australia. All metrics are uploaded to the secure emapper platform allowing on-demand access to data visualisation, reporting and data collaboration and sharing, it said.

“A key part of Anglo American’s global Sustainable Mining Plan is to maintain a healthy environment – particularly in the local areas around our operations,” Mitchelson said.

“We’re committed to innovative and sustainable environmental practices, including rehabilitation, and our work in this area is a clear demonstration of this.”

The Emapper project, METS Ignited said, aims to develop a multi-scale and multi-source environmental data platform to monitor, manage and reduce mining’s footprint with application and transferability within the global mining industry.

The key focus of the solution is deriving maximum benefit from digital sensing technology, including integrated analysis of the data and functionality to enable technical and non-technical staff to use the platform for reporting and management decisions. In this way, the platform will accelerate the wider adoption of sensors and data analytics in the industry, METS Ignited said.

The project will result in cost reduction for environmental management and compliance for mining operations.

Anglo’s Dawson coal mine shifting to semi-autonomous mode with help of FLANDERS

After months of preparation, Anglo American’s metallurgical coal business in Australia has drilled a hole at its Dawson mine using a machine remotely operated by a controller some 4 km away.

The overburden (OD14) semi-autonomous drill is the first in the business’ fleet to be fitted with this capability, Anglo said.

“This is a significant step towards Future Smart Mining™ at Metallurgical Coal,” Matt Graham, Anglo American’s Principal, Open Cut Technology and Automation, said.

The introduction of the semi-autonomous drill brings a number of benefits, including safety improvements, increased productivity, and a reduction in shift change times, according to Anglo. This is especially relevant somewhere like Dawson where the operation spreads across 50 km.

The project team received guidance from colleagues in other parts of Anglo including its copper business in Chile and Kumba Iron Ore in South Africa. There are 12 drills currently in use across the group, Anglo said.

“They worked with electrical control system supplier, FLANDERS, and Dawson’s maintenance and engineering team to upgrade the drill system’s on-board computer, sensors, and new safety devices,” Anglo said, adding the information management team also upgraded the mine’s Wi-Fi network to ensure connectivity.

Dieter Haage, Head of Mine Modernisation on Anglo’s technical and sustainability team, said applying technology in this way is “how we modernise our approach, and the Dawson mine has taken an important first step on this journey”.

Work will continue on the OD14 while the team focuses on automating the drill rod changing process, Anglo said. Once this is complete, the team will explore opportunities to upgrade other drills in the metallurgical coal fleet.