Tag Archives: flotation

Polymetal pushes forward with Veduga gold project development

The Board of Polymetal has approved a $447 million investment in the Veduga gold project in the Krasnoyarsk Region of Russia based on the results of a recent prefeasibility study (PFS).

Veduga was discovered in 1977 and extensively explored between 1988 and 1996. Polymetal has been a partial owner of the property since 2006 with the original 50% stake acquired through the joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti. In this time, the mining of oxide ore has started, an initial NI-compliant reserve and resources estimate was prepared and open-pit mining of sulphide ore kicked off.

The latest investment will see Polymetal target 10 years of conventional open-pit mining of five open pits until 2031 (including pre-production stripping in 2022-2024), and 12 years of underground mining using a skip shaft for hauling from 2030 to 2041. First production is expected in the June quarter of 2025. This is based off a 4 Moz reserve base grading 3.9 g/t Au.

The prefeasibility study was based on a 2 Mt/y flotation concentrator with dry stacking of tailings. This would see flotation concentrate processed at the future POX-2, while volumes in excess of the facility’s capacity will be sold to third parties.

Veduga could also potentially become a source of feed for the future Pacific POX project, Polymetal said, adding that flowsheet development has been supported by extensive external and in-house metallurgical testing.

Average life of mine annual production is estimated at 200,000 oz of gold at all-in sustaining costs of $800-850/oz.

The project is expected to materially contribute to Polymetal’s carbon emission reduction targets, relying on hydro power to ensure relatively low emission intensity level of 405 kg CO2e/oz gold equivalent in 2025-2030 on average. This is well below the group’s target of 560 kg CO2e/oz of gold equivalent by 2030, it said.

Of the $447 million capital expenditure (inclusive of capitalised pre-stripping costs), $77 million is dedicated to a “post-launch” skip shaft and underground infrastructure construction in 2027-2029. Polymetal said further studies will be undertaken to evaluate alternative ore transportation options that could reduce the capital spending. It also said it plans to use exclusively battery-electric vehicles throughout the underground mine.

The extended open pit allows to shift underground development capital costs beyond the start-up capital expenditure, Polymetal added.

Polymetal currently owns a 59.4% stake in Veduga and holds a call option to increase its stake to 100% at a pre-determined price giving VTB Bank a fixed rate of return on initial investment. Following the final statutory clearance – expected in the June quarter of 2022 – Polymetal plans to fully consolidate the asset.

Metso Outotec’s Concorde Cell flotation tech to recover fine and ultra-fine particles

Metso Outotec says it is launching its groundbreaking Concorde Cell™ flotation technology to provide efficient fine and ultra-fine particle recovery.

This Planet Positive technology sets a new benchmark in high-intensity pneumatic flotation, reducing plant operation costs and contributing to sustainability of operations through minimised energy and water consumption per tonnes of metal produced, the OEM said.

Back in August, Metso Outotec said it would supply Concorde Cell technology to a “major nickel producer” in Western Australia as part of its concentrator modernisation. It later turned out that this was for BHP Nickel West at the Mount Keith operation where the concentrator capacity is being increased from 10.5 Mt/y to 12 Mt/y, and ultimately 15 Mt/y.

The patented Metso Outotec Concorde Cell technology is the first fine and ultra-fine flotation solution for more finely disseminated and complex orebodies that have previously been inaccessible, according to the company.

Antti Rinne, Vice President, Flotation at Metso Outotec, said: “The need to process more finely disseminated and complex ore grades, as well as the declining ore grades and the demand for improved flotation selectivity, all bring new challenges to minerals processing flowsheets. The new Concorde Cell technology helps flotation circuits overcome these challenges and recover the previously unachievable ore value.”

The Concorde Cell forced-air Blast Tubes treat 100% of fresh feed combined with tailings recycling for improved performance, allowing, Metso Outotec, says finer grinding to get extra liberation without the risk of valuable particles lost into tailings. It also provides a very high shear environment with increased bubble surface area flux for faster flotation kinetics, plus optimised froth recovery and improved selectivity, the company said.

“Combining the well-proven TankCell® technology with Concorde Cells is a low-risk and high-benefit approach for minerals processing flowsheets,” Rinne said. “The cell produces very high shear and extremely fine bubbles, which increases recovery in particles under 20 microns.”

The offering also includes Blast Tube retrofit kits for upgrading the metallurgical performance of self-aspirated pneumatic flotation cells to the Concorde Cell technology. In addition, Metso Outotec says it can provide a complete slurry handling package for the Concorde Cell, including pumps, spare parts, as well as optimisation and maintenance services.

Nalco Water leverages technology, service and digital tools to introduce Flotation 360

Nalco Water, an Ecolab company, has announced the launch of Flotation 360, a holistic approach to flotation in mineral processing.

The solution combines Nalco Water’s advanced frother and collector chemistries with a worldwide technical service team and digital diagnostic tools that monitor the chemical, operational and mechanical levers influencing performance, Nalco Water says.

The company explained: “Mineral processing plants face the dual pressures of responding to growing demand while also adapting to increased variability. Variability can come from many outside influences, including changes in the orebody itself, shifting customer demand or quality requirements, natural resource constraints and more. To manage increased demand and minimise the impacts of variability, mining companies must be more agile than ever, continuing to evolve their production strategies.”

The Flotation 360 solution combines existing chemistry programs, new digital diagnostic tools and a cross-functional service team in a comprehensive package that includes:

  • A variety of advanced frothers and collectors;
  • Digital diagnostic tools that tap into existing IoT at customer sites and use algorithms to give both real-time diagnostics and predictive analytics on several flotation factors, which enables Nalco Water to offer actionable insights on performance;
  • A service team with a global network of service engineers, consultants and lab personnel that measure and monitor a variety of performance indicators, then recommend and implement changes to customer systems.

When combined, these three elements enable Nalco Water to give customers end-to-end support for their flotation circuits – customers have a partner to supply the chemistry and then monitor its efficacy, as well as overall system performance, the company says.

Arjan Boogaards, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Mining, Ecolab Industrial, says: “Flotation 360 is a game-changing innovation. The solution is unique in its combination of advanced chemistry, technical expertise, digital innovation and predictive, actionable insights to achieve the highest level of flotation optimisation. This ultimately translates to a positive impact on product recovery and grade.”

In addition to the improvements for overall recovery and grade, the increased visibility offered by Flotation 360’s real time and predictive analytics can help a customer achieve multiple benefits, such as reduced float cell valve failures, reduced troubleshooting time, optimal chemical reagent dosage and fewer product quality violations or smelter penalties, according to the company.

“At Ecolab, we are always striving to deliver new solutions that combine chemical and technical expertise with the knowledge that only experience can bring,” Boogaards said. “By combining our existing chemical solutions with new digital tools and teams with cross-functional expertise, we are creating a comprehensive, end-to-end flotation solution that is unique in the mining market.”

Bardoc and GR Engineering get to work on optimising gold processing plant plan

Bardoc Gold has signed a letter of intent (LoI) with GR Engineering Services that confirms its status as preferred tenderer for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the processing facility and associated infrastructure at the Bardoc gold project near Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

The appointment of GRES as preferred tenderer represents another significant step for Bardoc as work continues to accelerate on key project optimisation strategies aimed at streamlining the mining and production schedule, growing the production rate and improving project economics and returns, Bardoc said.

It follows Bardoc recently initiating a Cash-flow Optimisation Study, which is aimed at increasing the forecast production rate, margins and cashflow of the project. The definitive feasibility study, published earlier in the year, outlined a 2.1 Mt/y project with average annual gold sales of 135,760 oz over 8.2 years of mill production.

The LoI contemplates Bardoc working closely with GRES to complete the optimisation work currently underway as the company moves towards project financing and a Final Investment Decision before the end of the year.

Further updates on the optimisation work will be provided in the coming weeks, with results expected to be provided to the market by the end of August, Bardoc said.

GR Engineering has recently completed the construction of several comparable processing plants in Western Australia, according to Bardoc.

Progressing from the current LoI to a formal EPC contract will be subject to various conditions, including board approvals, project financing, statutory approvals and final contractual pricing and terms.

Bardoc Gold CEO, Robert Ryan, said: “Bardoc is moving rapidly towards the development of a new high-quality, high-margin gold project near Kalgoorlie. The competitive EPC tender process has drawn a number of quality submissions, reflecting the rapid progression of the Bardoc Gold Project and the high-quality work completed as part of the definitive feasibility study.

“The appointment of GR Engineering marks another key step in the development of the project and establishes an important relationship with a leading design and construction group. We look forward to working with the GRES team over the coming weeks and months.”

SENET wins EPCM gig at AMAK’s Moyeath copper-zinc project in Saudi Arabia

Al Masane Al Kobra Mining Co (AMAK) has awarded SENET, a wholly owned subsidiary of DRA Global, the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract for the design and execution of the Moyeath copper-zinc project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, SENET says.

AMAK has been producing copper, zinc in concentrate and gold and silver in doré from its operations in the country since 2012.

Moyeath is a third major orebody (together with Saadah and Al Houra) discovered in the immediate vicinity to the AMAK underground mines. The Moyeath orebody is a high-grade copper-zinc volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit, SENET says.

The planned 400,000 t/y run of mine flotation process plant will produce copper and zinc concentrates, while filtered tailings will be trucked to an existing dry stacking area operated by AMAK, which handles tailings from its Al Masane (pictured) and Guyan process plants.

Preliminary test works shows it is possible to produce saleable copper and zinc concentrates, with most of the gold and silver reporting to flotation concentrates, SENET noted. The mineralogy of the Moyeath orebody is complex and requires a similarly complex approach to produce copper and zinc concentrates at favourable recoveries and saleable concentrate grades.

FLSmidth to take on productivity improvement challenge at Middle East phosphate op

FLSmidth says it has been chosen as the technical partner and the supplier of key equipment for the productivity improvement project at a phosphate beneficiation plant in the Middle East.

The order, valued at approximately DKK200 million ($32 million), was booked in March. It will focus on improving the overall plant production through improved plant availability and throughput, according to the company. The operation will also achieve an associated reduction in water consumption resulting from a modified desliming circuit, FLSmidth added.

The agreement includes the engineering and procurement of all equipment associated with the productivity improvement projects, including crushing, material handling and desliming circuits.

Mikko Keto, Mining President at FLSmidth, said: “Boosting customer productivity is a key objective and this combination of equipment and know-how will enable us to deliver this to the customer. As the full technology and engineering partner, we will not only supply the complete range of process-critical equipment but we can also support its integration across the project, ensuring maximised productivity improvement.”

FLSmidth is to deliver engineering, procurement and technical support services and supply all tagged equipment associated with the remedial projects at the site. This encompasses additional capacity in the fine ore circuit; a new cone crushing station; a new desliming circuit; a new concentrate bypass circuit; and optimisation of the existing flotation circuit, including installation of nextSTEP™ flotation technology.

Euro Sun Mining plots Rovina Valley gold-copper production route in DFS

Euro Sun Mining’s definitive feasibility study (DFS) on the Rovina Valley gold and copper project in Romania has outlined the development of two open-pit mines for a 21,000 t/d operation producing 132,000 oz of gold-equivalent over a 16.8-year mine life.

The company plans to use a phased development approach at Rovina Valley, with the development of the two open pit gold-copper deposits, Colnic and Rovina, included in the DFS and the exploitation of the Ciresata underground deposit (not included in the study) phased in following completion of open-pit mining. Ciresata is envisioned as a bulk underground mining operation and will be evaluated for its economic potential in a later study, the company added.

Estimated initial capital expenditure came in at $399 million (including $12.7 million in pre-strip), with average all-in sustaining costs of $813/oz of gold-equivalent. Using $1,550/oz gold and $3.30/lb copper prices, the post-tax net present value (5% discount) came in at $359 million.

These results were broadly in line with a May 2020 target of outlining a DFS with an 18-year mine life, with initial capital expenditure in line with the preliminary economic assessment – which showed off a capital expenditure bill of $339.7 million.

The Rovina Valley project is planned to be mined with a standard open-pit mining method using articulated trucks and a hydraulic loader. The open-pit mining operation is anticipated to last around 16.5 years, during which the lower-grade material will be stockpiled on a pad close to the primary crusher location for treatment over another 18 months. The DFS incorporates simple flotation without the use of cyanide and dry-stack tailings, the company said.

On the latter, the company said: “KCB have designed a waste management facility within the project area for the co-deposition of waste rock and filtered rougher tailings. Process plant rougher tailings will be filtered in the plant where the resultant filter cake will be transported by conveyors and will be co-mingled with waste rock prior to deposition. The cleaner tails will be filtered separately from the rougher tailings and the resultant filter cake will be transported by conveyors and deposited separately within a lined zone contained within the boundary of the co-mingled facility and will be stored separately in a lined zone of the waste management facility.”

Euro Sun said the design had been engineered to reduce the risk of development of impacted seepage from potentially acid-generating waste rock and capture the impacted seepage from the cleaner tailings.

“After completion of mining the Colnic pit, the waste rock and rougher tailings will be preferentially backfilled into the Colnic pit, while the cleaner tails will continue to report to the lined zone of the waste management facility,” it added.

The company said it is targeting first production from Rovina Valley in 2024.

Anglo’s Quellaveco to receive the coarse particle recovery treatment

Anglo American has approved the construction of a coarse particle recovery (CPR) plant at its in-development Quellaveco copper project in Peru.

The announcement came within the company’s 2020 financial results, which showed Anglo generated underlying EBITDA of $9.8 billion and a profit attributable to equity shareholders of $2.1 billion for the year.

CPR, Anglo says, is one of many significant breakthrough technology initiatives that has the potential to increase throughput and productivity, while simultaneously reducing environmental footprint, through rejection of coarse gangue (near-worthless waste material), dry stacking of sand waste, minimising the production of traditional tailings and reducing overall water consumption.

The CPR plant signoff at Quellaveco follows a full-scale demo plant installation at the company’s El Soldado mine in Chile – which is ramping up to full capacity by mid-2021 – and the decision to construct a full-scale system at the Mogalakwena North PGM concentrator in South Africa.

The El Soldado plant used the HydroFloat™ CPR technology from Eriez’s Flotation Division. Here, a single 5 m diameter HydroFloat cell, the largest in the world, treats 100% of mill throughput, with the objective of proving the waste rejection process at full scale.

Anglo said of the Quellaveco CPR plant: “This breakthrough technology will initially allow retreatment of coarse particles from flotation tailings to improve recoveries by circa-3% on average over the life of the mine. This investment will also enable future throughput expansion which will bring a reduction in energy and water consumption per unit of production.”

The capital expenditure of the CPR project is around $130 million, with commissioning of the new plant expected in 2022. DRA Global previously carried out a feasibility study for the CPR plant at Quellaveco.

In terms of Quellaveco project progress, Anglo said today that, despite the COVID-19-related slowdown, first production was still expected in 2022. This was, in part, due to the excellent progress achieved prior to the national lockdown, and based on optimised construction and commissioning plans, Anglo said.

Key activities in 2021 include the start of pre-stripping, which will see the first greenfield use of automated hauling technology in Peru; progressing construction of the primary crusher and ore transport conveyor tunnel to the plant; completion of the 95 km freshwater pipeline that will deliver water from the water source area to the Quellaveco site; completing installation of the shells and motors for both milling lines; and completion of the tailings starter dam.

The mine, owned 60% by Anglo and 40% by Mitsubishi Corp, comes with a production blueprint of 300,000 t/y over the first 10 years of the mine.

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.

VanGold adds El Cubo mine and mill to El Pinguico precious metals mix

VanGold Mining has signed a binding agreement with Endeavour Silver to acquire the El Cubo mine and mill complex in Mexico, accelerating the company’s transition from development to production at its nearby El Pinguico silver-gold project.

With a rated capacity of 1,500 t/d, the El Cubo complex is made up of two operating underground silver-gold mines and a flotation plant. It employed over 350 people and engaged over 200 contractors until Endeavour suspended operations at the end of November 2019.

For the year ended December 31, 2018, Endeavour produced a total of 4.58 Moz of silver-equivalent at the complex at an all-in sustaining cost of $8.86/oz.

Currently, the El Cubo mine, plant and tailings facilities are on short term care and maintenance. VanGold intends to re-start the mill at around 750 t/d using mineralised material from its surface and underground stockpiles at the El Pinguico project as a significant portion of its estimated throughput for the first 36 months of operation. Endeavour Silver states it has measured and indicated resources of 236,000 oz of silver equivalent at El Cubo.

VanGold Chairman and CEO, James Anderson, said: “After working well with the Endeavour team during our 1,000 t bulk sample in June 2020, it became clear that El Cubo would be the perfect production fit for VanGold.

“The availability of mineralised material from El Pinguico’s surface stockpile, El Pinguico’s underground stockpile, El Pinguico’s remaining high-grade historical stopes and pillars, as well as El Cubo’s historical resources, gives us great flexibility in deciding where to source material for the mill, and how to sequence that throughput.”

El Pinguico is a high-grade gold and silver deposit that was mined from the early 1890s until 1913. VanGold has recently gained access to some of the historical underground shafts and has drilling campaigns planned to explore these areas.