Tag Archives: FCEV

Anglo American Platinum’s modernisation drive to continue into 2021

Anglo American Platinum says it is looking to deliver the next phase of value to its stakeholders after reporting record EBITDA for 2020 in the face of COVID-19-related disruption.

The miner, majority-owned by Anglo American, saw production drop 14% year-on-year in 2020 to 3.8 Moz (on a 100% basis) due to COVID-related stoppages. Despite this, a higher basket price for its platinum group metals saw EBITDA jump 39% to R41.6 billion ($2.8 billion) for the year.

As all its mines are now back to their full operating rates, the company was confident enough to state PGM metal in concentrate production should rise to 4.2-4.6 Moz in 2021.

Part of its pledge to deliver more value to stakeholders was related to turning 100% of its operations into fully modernised and mechanised mines by 2030. At the end of 2020, the company said 88% of its mines could be classified as fully modernised and mechanised.

There were some operational bright spots during 2020 the company flagged.

At Mogalakwena – very much the company’s flagship operation – Anglo Platinum said the South Africa mine continued its journey to deliver best-in-class performance through its P101 program.

Rope-shovel performance improved to 26 Mt in 2020, from 15 Mt in 2019, while drill penetration rates for big rigs increased from 15 m/h, to 16.7 m/h. Alongside this, the company said its Komatsu 930E truck fleet performance improved to 298 t/load in 2020, from 292 t/load in 2019.

These were contributing factors to concentrator recoveries increasing by two percentage points in 2020 over 2019.

During the next few years, the company has big plans to further improve Mogalakwena’s performance.

In 2020, the mine invested R500 million in operating and capital expenditure, which included commissioning a full-scale bulk ore sorting plant, coarse particle rejection project and development of the hydrogen-powered fuel-cell mining haul-truck (otherwise referred to as the FCEV haul truck).

First motion of the 291 t FCEV haul truck is still on track for the second half of 2021, with the company planning to roll out circa-40 such trucks from 2024.

Anglo Platinum said the bulk sorting plant (which includes a Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation Analysis and XRF sensor-based setup, pictured) campaign at the Mogalakwena operation is due to end this quarter.

The company’s hydraulic dry stacking project is only just getting started.

This project, which involves coarse gangue rejection before primary flotation for safer tailings storage facilities, is expected to see a construction start in the June quarter, followed by a campaign commencement and conclusion in the September quarter and December quarters, respectively.

On another of Anglo Platinum’s big technology breakthrough projects – coarse particle rejection for post primary milling rejection of coarse gangue before primary flotation – the company plans to start a campaign in the December quarter of this year and conclude said campaign by the end of the March quarter of 2022.

The company also has eyes on making progress underground at Mogalakwena, with a hard-rock cutting project to “increase stoping productivity and safety” set for Phase A early access works this year. This project is set to involve swarm robotics for autonomous, 24/7 self-learning underground mining, the company said.

Lastly, the company’s said the digital operational planning part of its VOXEL digital platform had gone live at Mogalakwena. VOXEL is expected to eventually connect assets, processes, and people in a new digital thread across the value chain to create a family of digital twins of the entire mining environment, the company says. Development is currently ongoing.

Looking back to 2020 performance at the Unki mine, in Zimbabwe, Anglo reflected on some more technology initiatives related to R26 million of expenditure for a digitalisation program. This included installing underground Wi-Fi infrastructure, as well as a fleet data management system to track analytics on primary production equipment. The company says these digital developments will enhance real-time data analysis, improve short-interval control and overall equipment effectiveness.

To step up mechanisation of its PGM operations at Amandelbult, Anglo American Platinum is also investing in innovation.

This includes in-stope safety technologies such as split panel layouts to allow buffer times between cycles, creating safer continuous operation and reduced employee exposure; improved roof support technology and new drilling technologies; a shift to emulsion blasting from throw blasting; and safety enhancements through fall of ground indicators, 2 t safety nets, LED lights, and winch proximity detection.

Meanwhile, at the company’s Mototolo/Der Brochen operations, it is working on developing the first lined tailings storage facility at Mareesburg in South Africa to ensure zero contamination of ground water. The three-phase approach adopted for construction of this facility will be completed this year.

Komatsu to start hydrogen development program for mining haul trucks

Mining equipment major Komatsu has made plans to leverage hydrogen power across its fleet of haul trucks, according to a report from The Nikkei.

The financial newspaper reported that the company will start its hydrogen development program in 2021, with plans to have the trucks ready for practical use by 2030.

One of Komatsu’s 291-t payload 930E haul trucks is already being setup for hydrogen power use at Anglo American Platinum’s Mogalakwena PGM mine in South Africa.

This vehicle, which is a conversion to hydrogen fuel cell and lithium battery operation, is set for first motion in the second half of the year, the mining company reaffirmed in its 2020 financial results today.

Komatsu has set a target of halving CO2 emissions from its construction and mining equipment by its 2030 financial year, compared with its 2010 financial year levels.

Anglo says seven mines set for hydrogen mining truck fleets by 2030; rollout of 40 at Mogalakwena starts 2024

In its just released Sustainability Performance 2019 presentation, Anglo American had some interesting updates from Tony O’Neill, Technical Director, on how technology is enabling step change sustainability performance within the global mining group, centred on its FutureSmart Mining™ platform – “a catalyst for permanent positive change.”

These initiatives are integral to the company achieving its goal of reaching carbon neutrality across its operations by 2040.

First up on the 291 t FCEV haul truck, a conversion to hydrogen fuel cell and lithium battery operation of a Komatsu 930E, which will see first motion in H1 2021 at the Mogalakwena platinum mine in South Africa followed by intensive testing. For the first time, the company gave more detail on the expected upside and longer term plans. O’Neill said the total-cost-to-operate will be comparable to diesel today but would achieve direct parity by 2030. The FCEV trucks will allow for 50- 70% reduction in emissions (Scope 1 and 2 for open-pit mines) and Anglo says it has “seven sites in planning for rollout completion by 2030.” At Mogalakwena, a full 40 truck rollout is planned to start in 2024. The trucks themselves will utilise 4 oz of platinum in their fuel cells (each will use eight Ballard FCveloCity®-HD 100 kW modules).

The Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) high-power modular lithium-ion battery system for the truck was built in Grove, Oxfordshire, and shipped to First Mode in Seattle who are integrating it with Ballard Power Systems fuel cells before the completed power unit will be shipped to South Africa for integration into the truck. At the mine, a Nel 3.5 MW electrolyser plant is under construction & will be capable of producing up to 1,000 kg of hydrogen per day. Most of the electricity for the hydrogen production will come from a nearby 320 MW solar array. The electrolyser capacity surpasses the daily demand of the truck, enabling storage for fuelling during night time or moments when solar radiation is poor, maximising the renewable share of the hydrogen.

On this topic, Mark Cutifani, CEO of Anglo American, said the use of green hydrogen could displace 650,000 t of CO2 emissions each year, which was the equivalent of removing 150,000 cars from the road.

More detail was also given on the company’s bulk ore sorting technology and projects, the design of which is a combination of grizzly, feeder, sizer, conveyors, diverter, stackers & associated equipment from MMD, used in conjunction with an ore scanning system, such as the pictured GEOSCAN-M unit at Barro Alto from Scantech which is a high-performance elemental analyser utilising Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation Analysis (PGNAA) to measure the elemental composition continuously in real time.

Anglo says bulk ore sorting has achieved grade uplift of 7% up to 20% based on plants with a capital cost of $10 million to $70 million (volume dependent). It has completed 12 months of full scale testing at El Soldado copper mine in Chile, for a 9% average grade uplift. Looking at other sites, at Barro Alto nickel mine, initial installation took place in October 2019 with testing completed August 2020. This plant had a $40 million capital cost for 100% throughput with a phased upgrade through 2022. At Mogalakwena platinum mine, initial installation was in June 2019. Testing is in progress, for estimated completion in November 2020. This had a $30 million capital cost for up to 100% of throughput due by end-2021. Los Bronces copper mine in Chile will get an initial installation post crusher in Q4 2020 with a $10 million capital cost for up to ~60% of throughput. Phase 2 will cost $70 million for 100% of throughput by mid-2023.

Aside from the hydrogen trucks and bulk ore sorting, other projects were mentioned in passing. The company is looking at more used of hydraulic dry stack engineered tailings that dry out in weeks, are geotechnically stable and can be repurposed and terraformed with up to 85% water recovery. Dry stacking is being first used at El Soldado where a unit is under construction and set for completion in Q3 2021.

On this topic, O’Neill said: “We are evaluating engineering on a full scale and to demonstrate to regulators what we believe to be the future of the industry.”

On what Anglo calls Coarse Particle Recovery, another term for Coarse Particle Flotation, it says the throughput increase can be from 15% to 20% with a plant cost of $10 million to $50 million depending on scale, with 20% energy reduction and up to 85% water recovery with HDS. Anglo has opted to use Eriez HydroFloat™ technology for coarse particle recovery with plant startup at El Soldado set for Q1 2021 (80% of volume), Mogalakwena North in Q3 (100% of volume) and further rollouts planned for Los Bronces, Quellaveco (copper, Peru), Mogalakwena & Minas Rio (iron ore, Brazil).

O’Neill also mentioned a “deep energy sink” project the company had been exploring. This is a way of confronting the issues of solar power only being generated during the day, while making use of empty mine space, and has the potential to generate some 800 MW of energy for 18 hours a day.

On project construction, O’Neill also talked about the potential to apply all of the company’s learnings into process plant construction where new technology could be switched in and out as it becomes available. While no dates were given for deploying such an approach, he did mention the eventual expansion of Mogalakwena within this discussion.

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.