Tag Archives: FLSmidth

FLSmidth to supply gearless overland conveyor technology to Southeast Asia mine

FLSmidth says it has been chosen to supply an overland conveyor (OLC) for a large, established copper-gold mine in Southeast Asia, which follows a large equipment order from the same customer and site earlier in 2022.

The pit-to-plant conveying system, which is over 5 km in length, has gearless drive technology. The order, including design and supply, was booked in the September quarter of 2022 and is valued at approximately DKK330 million ($44 million).

The conveyor order follows the March quarter 2022 announcement that FLSmidth had been chosen to supply two gearless SAG mills, two gearless ball mills and thickener technology to the same site. This new FLSmidth overland conveyor will deliver the ore from the pit to the new FLSmidth SAG and ball mills at the process plant.

The conveying system, part of the newly acquired tk Mining portfolio, is expected to deliver a significant reduction of operating expenditure due to its gearless drive technology, which uses less energy and results in less maintenance and higher availability during operations.

Mikko Keto, Group CEO at FLSmidth, said: “This overland conveyor system order not only continues our robust relationship with this customer, but it also demonstrates the strength of our portfolio following the acquisition of the tk Mining business. This is evidence that FLSmidth is a global leader in overland conveyors and gearless drive technology. The customer will benefit from our full flowsheet coverage, and we are proud to have provided the majority of the equipment to this mine site expansion.”

The order supports FLSmidth’s MissionZero ambition to enable customers to mine in a more sustainable manner, it said. Overland conveyors significantly reduce the need for diesel-powered truck fleets on mine site and makes material transportation more cost-effective and resource efficient.

FLSmidth to highlight full flowsheet expertise with ShalkiyaZinc project delivery

FLSmidth has signed a contract, valued at around DKK950 million ($130 million), to supply a range of mineral processing equipment to ShalkiyaZinc, the operator of a zinc-lead mine in the Kyzylorda Region of Kazakhstan.

The equipment will transform the plant into a world-class facility that efficiently separates minerals with a minimised environmental impact, the OEM says.

Under the agreement, FLSmidth will supply two underground crushing stations with a materials handling system to the process plant; a full package of comminution and separation equipment, including SAG and ball mills, mill circuit pumps and cyclones; the zinc-lead concentrate flotation and regrinding circuit, including nextSTEP, VXP vertical mills, concentrate thickeners and Pneumapress filters; and reagents preparation and dosing area. Full plant automation is also included, as well as installation and commissioning supervision services.

The new concentrator will be supported from FLSmidth’s new in-country service Supercentre in Karaganda, Kazakhstan.

The equipment delivery is to be completed during 2024, with commissioning to start before the end of that year.

Mikko Keto, Group CEO at FLSmidth, said: “We are excited to receive this first order from ShalkiyaZinc, which highlights our full flowsheet expertise. The wide range of equipment included in the order will help ShalkiyaZinc save on both capital expenditure and operating expenditure; our new nextSTEP flotation technology will improve the quality of the concentrates, the SAG mill will provide more flexibility, while the automation and digital solutions will further enable water and energy savings alongside safer operations.

“We look forward to making this a success on so many levels.”

Assel Rakhimova, Chief Project Director of Tau-Ken Samruk, which owns ShalkiyaZinc, said: “After testing and basic design work executed by FLSmidth, we are pleased to enter this new phase of collaboration with the procurement of critical technologies to improve the productivity and sustainability of our plant. We believe in successful execution and look forward to receiving the ordered equipment according to the schedule for installation and to continue working with FLSmidth on commissioning services and spare parts.”

FLSmidth, Metso Outotec, UHT and Inteco awarded Horizonte Araguaia nickel work

Horizonte Minerals says it has awarded all major and long-lead-time process plant equipment contracts for its flagship Araguaia nickel project in Brazil, with FLSmidth, Metso Outotec, Uvån Hagfors Teknologi AB (UHT) and Inteco Melting and Casting Technologies GMBH named as recipients.

Following completion of the competitive tender processes and detailed negotiations, the company has now secured equipment supply and technical support services for the balance of the Araguaia process flowsheet from these leading suppliers, it said. This is in line with the strategy employed for the award of the furnace contract to Hatch Ltd earlier this year.

“The successful completion of these contract awards is a significant de-risking event for the project,” it said. “Importantly it provides more certainty on costs for a material portion of the overall capital expenditure and builds confidence in the project schedule by gaining commitments for the delivery of key equipment on site in the timeframe required.”

To date, the company has awarded contracts totalling $293 million (including the $135 million of process equipment noted above) on budget and on time, according to CEO Jeremy Martin.

The rotary kiln, rotary dryer and associated dust handling equipment supply contract has been awarded to FLSmidth. FLSmidth, Horizonte says, is a market-leading supplier of engineering, equipment, and service solutions, particularly to the ferronickel industry, notably to Anglo American’s Barro Alto and Vale’s Onca Puma nickel operations in Brazil. FLSmidth has a strong track record of providing equipment and technical support services, with extensive experience in processing ore with characteristics similar to Araguaia, it said.

The ore preparation equipment contract involves the provision of primary, secondary and tertiary crushing, as well as the apron feeder that feeds the dryer. A primary dust control system for the reduction and refinery furnace, in addition to the secondary dust removal system, will also be supplied. This contract has been awarded to Metso Outotec, a leader in end-to-end solutions and services for the minerals processing and metals refining industries. Metso Outotec, Horizonte says, has extensive experience in providing equipment for the mining industry, including for operations worldwide with similar processing plants. It has a substantial presence in Brazil to provide ongoing technical support.

Horizonte has also awarded a contract for the supply of metal granulation equipment to UHT and a contract for the supply of the refinery equipment package to Inteco, which will transform the crude ferronickel produced by the electric arc furnace to high grade ferronickel for sale to customers.

The Araguaia project comprises an open-pit nickel laterite mining operation that delivers ore from a number of pits to a central rotary kiln electric furnace (RKEF) metallurgical processing facility. The metallurgical process comprises a single line RKEF to extract FeNi from the ore. After an initial ramp-up period, the plant will reach a full capacity of approximately 900,000 t/y of dry ore feed to produce 52,000 t of ferronickel, in turn containing 14,500 t/y of nickel. The FeNi product will be transported by road to the port of Vila do Conde in the north of the state for sale to overseas customers.

FLSmidth, Kwatani, Multotec and Zest WEG set for Electra Mining Africa

Major domestic and international mining equipment suppliers are gearing up for Electra Mining Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa, with FLSmidth, Kwatani, Multotec and Zest WEG just some of the names set to show off their offerings from September 5-9.

MissionZero on show

FLSmidth will be using this year’s exhibition to demonstrate the progress it is making in realising its MissionZero strategy, an ambitious program that aims at allowing mines and process plants to achieve zero emissions, zero water waste and zero energy waste by 2030, it says.

One of the innovative products to be featured on the stand includes its REFLUX® Flotation Cell (RFC). “This draws on FLSmidth’s established REFLUX technology, which has been in the industry for many years now and has proved outstandingly successful, particularly in the coal industry,” Alistair McKay, FLSmidth Vice President for Mining in Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia, said. “The RFC brings together the REFLUX concept with flotation technology and will allow process plant operators to start recovering the smaller fractions in their ore feeds, as well as introducing coarse flotation into existing systems.”

McKay adds that the RFC is now at an advanced stage of development and that FLSmidth is hoping to have a pilot plant operating in South Africa before Electra Mining Africa.

FLSmidth has many existing products and technologies that are already contributing strongly to MissionZero. Among them are its SmartCyclone™ solution, which automates the monitoring and control of cyclones; LoadIQ, a product that uses a system of smart sensors and artificial intelligence-based software to determine the optimal load in SAG mills; and its EcoTails™ system, developed in collaboration with Goldcorp (now part of Newmont), which blends filtered tailings with waste rock to create a geotechnically stable product called GeoWaste, which can be used to fill excavated areas.

While FLSmidth is a global group, much of the equipment that will be featured on its stand is produced in South Africa, either in whole or in part, at its Delmas Super Center, which manufactures vibrating screens; feeders, breakers and sizers; and polyurethane screening media and flotation parts.

Kwatani’s new age of efficiency

Kwatani plans to come to the Johannesburg Expo Centre ready to cast the spotlight on its modern multi-slope screen design and its strides in digital innovation.

While multi-slope screens – generally known as ‘banana’ screens – have been available since the 1980s and are, therefore, not necessarily new to the market, Kwatani has, in recent years, ushered in a whole new approach to the design of these screens, according to CEO Kim Schoepflin.

“Traditionally, multi-slope screens have always been renowned for their high velocity,” she says. “While the high velocity translates into high capacity, the downside is the resultant screening inefficiency and the high wear rate of the panels, which in turn translates into high maintenance costs.”

Kwatani can design its screens to perform efficiently at a lower building height and fit into existing screen infrastructure. The lower physical height of the screen also impacts the capital cost of complementary equipment such as pumps.

Apart from its leading-edge multi-slope screen design, Kwatani will also showcase its advances in the digital space. Digital technologies, says Schoepflin, have the potential to unlock new ways of managing variability and enhancing productivity. The miniature version of the Kwatani multi-slope screen to be displayed at Electra Mining Africa will, therefore, be digitally-enabled.

Kwatani COO, Kenny Mayhew-Ridgers, added: “We approach digitalisation in two ways. We believe that sensors are the starting point, as they are where data is created. Embedding sensors in plants, which in turn churn out large volumes of data for analysis, is increasingly attainable.”

Schoepflin continued: “The second scenario is the cloud environment, which is gaining strong momentum across the industry. As mining companies digitally transform, they simultaneously expect greater control over their data with all the benefits of a cloud experience. At Electra Mining Africa, we will, therefore, showcase these two scenarios – sensors with a PLC/SCADA and control room environment, as well as a cloud solution.”

The company also plans to highlight how the recent acquisition of Kwatani by Sandvik further advances its innovation drive, Schoepflin says.

“Leveraging Sandvik’s substantial experience in this field, Kwatani will further drive its digital offering, thus ushering in a new age of efficiency and winning the productivity and cost-control battle for our customers,” she concluded.

Multotec to showcase ESG-focused offering

Multotec has exhibited at every Electra Mining Africa exhibition since the show was launched in the 1970s. As usual, it will have a strong presence at this year’s event, with its in-house experts on hand to brief visitors to the stand on the company’s line-up of minerals processing equipment.

“Given that the Electra Mining 2020 was cancelled due to COVID, we see this year’s show as an excellent opportunity to reconnect with our customer base,” Rikus Immink, Multotec’s CEO – South African Operations, said. “The overall theme will be how our equipment and systems can assist customers in realising their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. We will also be emphasising our strong commitment to South Africa. We are a global group now, but we started in South Africa and the country still accounts for about half our revenues.”

Virtually all Multotec’s products can, to an extent, reduce consumption of resources such as water and energy and allow for more efficient operations, the company says. A prime example is provided by the pulping chute, a highly innovative concept in fines scrubbing first installed at Ekapa Minerals’ Combined Treatment Plant (CTP) in Kimberley in late 2019. More recently it has been successfully trialled at a diamond mine in Botswana. “We are very proud of this innovation and it will feature very strongly on our Electra Mining stand,” Immink says.

Other Multotec products to be highlighted at the show and which are able to contribute to energy and water saving include the company’s classification cyclones, which provide efficient solutions for desliming and dewatering; its ultra-fines spirals, which offer a non-chemical process for fines recovery and allow easy water recovery; its centrifuges and filter presses, which deliver effective solid liquid separation and dewatering solutions; and its screening media, whose many benefits include the recovery of non-chemical water.

Immink also notes that Mato belt cleaners, which will also feature on the Multotec stand, prevent spillage and reduce clean-up requirements. “This is not a product that gets much attention and yet it can play an absolutely crucial role in cutting wastage and in maintaining a clean environment,” he said.

The Multotec products that will be showcased at Electra Mining Africa 2022 are manufactured in South Africa, primarily at Multotec’s extensive facilities in Spartan, Johannesburg, with an accredited local content certificate from SABS.

Zest WEG focuses on efficiency, sustainability

After a decade-long expansion of its manufacturing capabilities in South Africa, Zest WEG, the South Africa-based subsidiary of Brazil’s WEG Group, says it is well placed to extend its already extensive footprint in the African market.

“We now have six manufacturing facilities in Gauteng and Cape Town, producing a wide range of equipment including gensets, transformers, electrical panels, E-Houses, MCCs and mini sub-stations,” Zest WEG’s outgoing CEO, Juliano Vargas, says. “This ability to manufacture locally gives us a huge advantage in the African market, as we can produce economically and deliver promptly to countries throughout the sub-Saharan region.”

Most of Zest WEG’s product offering will be on display at the Electra Mining Africa 2022 exhibition.

Vargas’s successor as CEO of Zest WEG, Eduardo Werninghaus, said: “Our theme, as always, will be how to change energy into solutions. There will, however, be a particular emphasis on efficiency and sustainability.

“One of the products that we’ll be highlighting is our range of WEG IE4-rated super-premium efficiency electric motors which were launched locally last year and which cost no more than their IE3 predecessors. These are the most energy efficient motors in the market and offer major operating cost advantages to users.”

Werninghaus says that the WEG IE4 motors have already received a warm reception from the mining industry, which is struggling with constantly rising electricity costs. “A medium-sized mine typically has between 2,000 and 3,000 electric motors on site – powering everything from fans and pumps to conveyor belts and screens – so the potential for very significant energy and cost savings is huge.”

Werninghaus adds that Zest WEG will also be showcasing many high-tech products and systems at the show. These include the already available WEG Motor Scan, which allows the continuous monitoring of electric motors and other rotating machines; and Pump Genius, a software package that enables a standard VSD to be dedicated to specific pumping systems with various motor and pump combinations, thereby providing improved control and monitoring capability.

Also on show will be WEG’s new Motion Fleet Management system, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to diagnose and monitor rotating equipment such as motors, VSDs, gearboxes and compressors. Based on cloud computing technology, the performance of assets can be monitored at any time from any part of the world. This approach reduces unplanned downtime and optimises repair actions.

“Keeping abreast of digital developments is a priority for us and Electra Mining Africa will give us an opportunity to show just how far we’ve come on our digital journey,” Werninghaus concludes.

Komatsu 830Es arrive at Capstone Copper’s Mantoverde Development Project

Capstone Copper’s Mantoverde copper operation in Chile received 13 Komatsu 830E haul trucks in the March quarter in a sign of construction progress on its Mantoverde Development Project (MVDP).

The company said the MVDP at the existing Mantoverde (oxide) operation in Chile continued to progress, having, as of April 30, 2022, achieved overall progress of 49% and construction progress of 14% with the schedule remaining intact and construction completion targeted for late 2023.

Komatsu’s latest 830E, the 830E-5, comes with a 230-t capacity and is powered by a Cummins QSK60 diesel engine rated at a standard 2,500 hp (gross).

A 2021 technical report on the MVDP said the haulage fleet would mainly consist of Komatsu 830E trucks and a fleet of Cat 785s to re-handle oxide material. It said the peak required trucks will be between 2026 and 2029 with a requirement of 50 units.

The MVDP is expected to enable the company to process 235 Mt of copper sulphide reserves over a 20-year expected mine life, in addition to the operation’s existing oxide reserves. It involves the addition of a sulphide concentrator (12.3 Mt/y) and tailings storage facility, and the expansion of the existing desalination plant. This is expected to see production at Mantoverde increase from around 49,000 t of copper (cathodes only) in 2021 to approximately 120,000 t of copper (copper concentrate and cathodes) post project completion in 2024. The mine will also benefit from the production of approximately 31,000 oz/y of gold.

Work completed in the March quarter included the bulk earthworks for the primary crusher and grinding area platforms; bypass water pipeline with the internal lining, trench excavation and pipeline installation in the trench; drilling for all pumping and monitoring wells at the tailings storage facility (TSF) allowing for the commencement of the major TSF construction activities; and and the construction camp.

The MVDP is being progressed under a lump-sum turn-key engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) arrangement with Ausenco. The execution plan includes a Capstone Copper owner’s team working with the contractors during the execution phase.

FLSmidth has been selected by Ausenco to supply most of the key mineral processing technologies for the MVDP. The range of equipment and technologies includes the primary gyratory crusher, SAG mill, ball mill, traditional flotation cells, column cells, thickeners, cyclones and pumps.

The total project capital budget is now estimated to be $825 million and spend to date totals $338 million. The EPC contract total budget is approximately $525 million of which $220 million has been spent to date. The total project costs have increased slightly from $787 million to $825 million due to diesel price impact on pre-stripping costs of $23 million plus additional contingency of $15 million. The majority of the capital costs are fixed due to the nature of the lump sum turn-key contract with Ausenco of $525 million, or 67% of the original capital. Major mining equipment was price fixed prior to the current inflationary environment for approximately $140 million or 18% of the total original capital.

In the March quarter, Capstone Copper merged with Mantos Copper, a transaction that brought the MVDP into the Capstone asset base.

FLSmidth to supply Sabina Gold & Silver with full flowsheet offering at Goose gold mine

FLSmidth says it has been chosen to supply the full equipment and processing flowsheet, including ore leaching, for Sabina Gold & Silver Corp’s Goose gold mine in the West Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, Canada.

The order is valued at approximately DKK270 million ($38.1 million) and was booked in the June quarter of 2022. The equipment is due to be delivered in the middle of 2023, ahead of the mine start-up date in the March quarter of 2025.

FLSmidth will supply the jaw crusher, Raptor® Cone Crushers, ball mill, VXP-Stirred Mill (secondary grinding) and KREBS® cyclones, pumps as well as screens, feeders and Knelson™ gravity concentrators. The order also includes equipment for pre-oxidation and leaching; carbon in pulp (CIP) extraction; absorption, desorption and refining (ADR); and detoxification.

In addition, Sabina is progressing contract negotiations with FLSmidth for commissioning support, operational readiness, site training, an optimised spare management strategy, as well as a performance guarantee for the process equipment.

“We are very happy to receive this complete flowsheet order from Sabina’s Goose Mine, the first mine on the Back River Gold District,” Mikko Keto, Group CEO and Mining President at FLSmidth, said. “Our proven ability in providing an industry-leading and productivity maximising gold flowsheet, combined with our capability to supply services and parts to this remote region throughout the lifecycle of the project were key factors in Sabina’s decision. This is also one of many recent orders we have received to supply the key equipment, technologies and services for gold processing plants, showing the recognition among miners of our leading position in this arena.”

Bruce McLeod, President and CEO of Sabina, said: “We are pleased to have these critical technologies procured with a vendor that has a proven track record for providing equipment and support to remote projects around the world. We look forward to receiving this equipment for installation over the next two years and to working with FLSmidth as we advance to become a mid-tier gold producer.”

FLSmidth to accelerate MissionZero ambition with AVEVA partnership

FLSmidth and AVEVA, a global leader in industrial software driving digital transformation and sustainability, have signed a global partnership to deliver, the OEM says, cutting-edge digitally enabled solutions and services to the mining industry.

The agreement will accelerate the digitalisation of mining operations and allow miners to benefit from improved performance and productivity globally, according to FLSmidth.

With the new partnership, FLSmidth will work with AVEVA, using its technology to securely integrate and provide various digitally enabled services to customers. The AVEVA PI System will serve as the central digital platform across FLSmidth’s operations. The vast majority of large mining companies around the world use the PI System to support data-driven decisions today and can now leverage their existing investments to gain new advanced insights from FLSmidth, the company added.

The partnership will accelerate FLSmidth’s delivery of its MissionZero ambition of sustainable productivity through connected digital services by leveraging AVEVA industry software and large customer install base.

AVEVA PI System’s robust data infrastructure collects, enhances and shares information about operational processes across equipment and operating systems in real time, from edge to cloud, FLSmidth explained. With its smart product portfolio and process and service knowledge, FLSmidth can bring new insights to the data to allow mine operators to optimise key areas across the flowsheet, for example, in predictive maintenance, process optimisation, improved recovery and resource efficiency, it added.

Mikko Tepponen, Chief Digital Officer at FLSmidth, said: “The partnership means AVEVA and FLSmidth can accelerate the customer’s digital journey with a more secure, standardised and connected mine. It is a significant step that enables miners to move from the optimisation of individual pieces of equipment to full flowsheet efficiency: this is where the major benefits of digital solutions lie.

“We are extremely excited about what we will soon offer customers in terms of improve uptime, operational efficiency, productivity and, of course, sustainability.”

Peter Herweck, CEO of AVEVA, said: “AVEVA and our strategic partner Schneider Electric have deep experience in developing data-driven innovation to enable safety, sustainability and profitability across the global mining industry. Our new partnership with FLSmidth will accelerate the transition to more sustainable mining operations by integrating world-leading processes and energy technologies for enhanced asset performance at every level.”

FLSmidth and AVEVA will immediately begin to integrate various AVEVA technologies and solutions with the FLSmidth IoT platform and smart product portfolio. A select number of customers have already agreed to form part of a pilot project around equipment availability and optimisation, with customer value expected to be proven in a short timeframe, it said.

FLSmidth to supply mineral processing equipment to Josemaria Resources’ copper-gold project

FLSmidth has been chosen to supply the SAG mills, ball mills and cyclones to Josemaria Resources’ 150,000 t/d copper-gold project in the San Juan Province of Argentina.

Approximately DKK110 million ($16.3 million) of the DKK600 million order was booked in the December quarter, with the remaining amount, around DKK490 million, booked in the March quarter of 2022.

FLSmidth will deliver the three gearless SAG mills, three gearless ball mills and cyclones to the site by late-2023. The OEM was chosen to deliver the equipment due to the high reliability and efficient performance of our SAG and ball mill technologies, it said.

The Josemaria open-pit mine is a high-grade copper-gold porphyry project. It is located in Argentina, some 450 km from San Juan, in an important and emerging copper mining district. It has an anticipated mine life of 19 years.

Lundin Mining is currently in the process of trying to acquire Josemaria Resources in a deal that came with an implied equity value of approximately $485 million.

Mikko Keto, Group CEO and Mining President at FLSmidth, said: “The order of SAG mills, ball mills and cyclones to the Josemaria Resources copper-gold project in Argentina is very positive news for FLSmidth. It illustrates great confidence in FLSmidth and emphasises the proven performance and productivity of our high-end solutions. The efficiency of the equipment will meet our customer promise to deliver sustainable productivity to the copper and gold mining industry.”

Knelson concentrator, Gekko ILR set to boost gravity gold recovery at Asante’s Bibiani

Asante Gold’s plan to bring the Bibiani mine in Ghana into production in the September quarter of 2022 remain on track after mobilising a contractor to refurbish the process plant and made plans to upgrade its gravity gold recovery equipment.

The company acquired the mine earlier this year from Resolute Mining, embarking on a journey to return the former operating mine to its past glories.

In a market update, Asante said all activities for the restart were on track.

“Asante is preparing a plan to deliver a mine that can produce approximately 190,000 oz of gold at Bibiani in its first 12 months of operation and circa 240,000 oz every year thereafter for a minimum of six years,” it said.

Tenders have been invited for the selection of a mining contractor, with mobilisation of said contractor expected to proceed in the March quarter of 2022.

At the same time, the process plant refurbishment is slightly ahead of schedule and on budget, the company said.

Harlequin International has been contracted to complete the refurbishment engineering procurement and construction management (EPCM) and has mobilised as scheduled. The full EPCM team, plus requisite complement of tradespeople, is on site to provide training, safety and project delivery systems and resources needed to ensure achievement of a safe and productive work environment, the company said.

Asante explained: “All work activities are proceeding as planned. Principal equipment motors and drives have been taken off site, to be serviced as needed. Electrical components, instrumentation and control systems have been tested and are being upgraded as needed to provide improved performance, above the original design.”

The company said gravity recovery equipment was being upgraded to “2020 level” of competence and automation. This includes the purchase of a new high efficiency “6G Knelson concentrator” (from FLSmidth) and Gekko ILR (InLine Leach Reactor).

Sub-contractors have been engaged to proceed with sand blasting, metal and pipework repair, painting, installation of liners and belts, and to ensure safe and efficient operation, Asante said.

“Equipment that is on site but that was not fully installed by the former owners is in the process of being made ready for operation,” the company added. “As of the last week of October, there are more than 200 workers on site. To date the project remains on budget.”

In July 2018, Resolute Mining, based on some 50,500 m of drilling, released an updated feasibility study for Bibiani reporting JORC compliant resources of 21.7 Mt at 3.6 g/t for 2.5 Moz of gold.

FLSmidth looks for sustainable gains with thyssenkrupp mining buy

The subtleties behind FLSmidth’s acquisition of thyssenkrupp’s mining business appear to have got lost within the financial community.

The company’s Denmark-listed shares, since announcing the transaction in late July, lost 16% of their value to August 20.

This downward move is hardly surprising when focusing on pure financials: FLSmidth is looking to acquire a company for an enterprise value of $325 million that is only expected to return to profitability two years after financial close.

Yet, this narrow train of thought discounts the well-timed strategy behind the move.

A combination of the two companies will undoubtedly create a leading global mining technology provider with operations from pit to plant. It will also see FLSmidth re-geared towards a mining sector on the up at a time when the cement business it serves is exhibiting flattish demand.

While this won’t be lost on analysts, most of them will only be able to factor in short-term profitability projections into their financial models, meaning, as far as they’re concerned, FLSmidth will be weighed down by the transaction until 2024.

Yet, for FLSmidth and mining, 2024 is practically ‘just around the corner’.

In FLSmidth’s recently released June quarter results it registered an order backlog of DKK16.7 billion ($2.6 billion), the majority of which was associated with mining orders. Of the backlog amount attributable to the mining sector, 16% would not be realised until 2023 and beyond.

This could mean many of the orders FLSmidth registered in the most recent June quarter will only be realised (read: delivered) in 2024, the year thyssenkrupp’s mining business is expected to be back in the black.

This is just one of the subtleties that may have got lost by shareholders fixated on the short term.

The second is how the transaction sets the company up as a mining sustainability leader at a time when the industry is calling out for one.

At the top end of the mining industry, the ability to decarbonise operations is becoming as – if not more – important as returning cash to shareholders. Every tonne of copper extracted and processed, and every ounce of gold mined and refined is likely to come with an associated carbon content/price in future years. The battery materials supply chain tied to the likes of lithium, cobalt and nickel will come under even more scrutiny.

Blockchain-type traceability platforms will mean investors and any interested party can interrogate where the raw materials came from and how they were produced.

These same miners will also be judged on how they use water, with freshwater use being rationalised in many regions where such resources are scarce.

FLSmidth, should the acquisition complete next year, is arming itself to compete in this brave new sustainable world.

The company started this journey all the way back in November 2019 when it announced its MissionZero program at its Capital Markets Day in Copenhagen.

Central to MissionZero is FLSmidth’s focus on enabling its customers in cement and mining to move towards zero emissions operations in 2030.

The OEM planned to do this by leveraging the development of digital and innovative solutions tied to sustainable productivity, offering its customers in the mining sector the technological solutions to manage zero emissions mining processes by 2030 – with a specific focus on water management.

For the latter, dry-stack tailings was the order of the day, with FLSmidth’s EcoTails® solution expected to reduce water costs, tailings dam risks and minimise environmental footprint. The development of the largest filter press plate ever built, the 5 m x 3 m AFP, was a signal of just how confident FLSmidth was on this emerging market trend becoming fully embedded across the globe.

Digital products such as SAGwise™, SmartCyclone™, BulkExpert™ and Advanced Process Control would, in the meantime, allow miners to become that more efficient with every resource (water, energy, etc) they used, again, improving their sustainability credentials.

Close to two years after making the MissionZero declaration, Thomas Schulz, CEO of FLSmidth, says the company has been seeing the program’s effects come through in its order book.

“Actually, this has been translated in orders for a few years already,” he told IM.

“When we look into sustainability, we define it as making productivity improvements. If you don’t adopt these sustainability solutions, you effectively have to pay more to keep operating at the same levels, or you have to stop operating – there is a productivity element to it, and quite a big one.

“For us, as a lifecycle provider, it is important that we offer to our customers at any point in time and any point of our offering, the right solution to make more money. That can be with dry-stacked tailings, tailings management, IPCC (in-pit crushing and conveying) systems, electrification of the pit, reducing emissions or dust, etc.”

Many of these solutions will enable companies to produce the same amount of product, or more, with the same input costs and energy draw, according to Schulz.

Coping with further restrictions on the industry’s access to freshwater will require more than step-change initiatives, and that is why the company is working on how its equipment can use “different types of water” and technologies that use less freshwater to ensure operations can abide by incoming legislation.

The company has been working on providing these zero-emission and resource-efficient solutions since 2019 to enable its customers to become sustainable operators by 2030.

“For many people, that sounds very long,” Schulz said. “In the mining industry, it’s not.”

Factor in the two-to-three years to build a pilot plant to prove such technology, two-to-three years to get a full-scale plant approved and the associated construction time, and a decade has passed.
Sustainability represents the ‘long game’ for mining OEMs, and technology is the key to achieving that sustainability, Schulz said.

Which brings us back to the thyssenkrupp mining business acquisition.

One of the big pillars

FLSmidth, in adding thyssenkrupp mining to its portfolio, is providing a whole host of decarbonised options for its mining customers to consider in their own sustainability drive.

It is adding mine planning expertise to its portfolio, ensuring that the IPCC and continuous surface mining technologies it puts forward are optimised for the operation at hand. These technologies are further complemented by semi-continuous and mobile crushing options from thyssenkrupp mining, adapted to the pit profile at hand.

Heavy-duty overland conveyors from thyssenkrupp mining complement other bulk handling solutions FLSmidth might be providing at stockyards or ports to reduce truck haulage and shift the transport dynamic to ‘green’ grid power.

“The culture in project service companies is you are the hero if you come to the table with the next big project,” Thomas Schulz says. “In product service companies, you are the hero if you come with the next big profit”

Then, when it comes to comminution, a crushing (including primary jaw crushers) and screening portfolio, plus smaller milling options and expertise in high pressure grinding rolls (HPGRs) through the globally renowned Polysius business, is bolted onto FLSmidth’s own crushing and grinding (including vertical roll milling technology) portfolio. This puts the combined offering up there with any global OEM around, while also providing the potential ‘dry grinding’ technologies the industry has been on the lookout for.

All these solutions come with sustainability benefits that can be felt throughout the mining value chain.

They also provide options and flexibility to an industry that cannot just suddenly retire a fleet of ultra-class haul trucks at a deep open-pit operation in favour of a fixed IPCC solution, or build a new process plant fitted with HPGRs to replace a typical SAG and ball mill grinding circuit.

Schulz said as much to IM.

“One of the big pillars of the whole acquisition lies in sustainability,” he said. “Normally, the process plants where we play big are all electrified, so if the energy resource coming into these plants is a green one, the process is already sustainable.

“When we look into the pit, in-pit crushing and transporting of material is where we can focus a lot.

“I’m not saying you can replace every truck, but some of the surface mines and the ones underground can be made significantly more continuous and sustainable from a transport perspective.

“thyssenkrupp is leading in that. They are quite big in the pit; we are quite big in the processing plant. Both, together, are complementary.

“If we can integrate the offering – and we will do – and make it more sustainable, that is a big step towards the 2030 MissionZero target.”

This increased spread of solutions will also provide FLSmidth with more opportunities to refine the entire flowsheet, providing further sustainability benefits to its customers.

“When we design solutions, or offer replacement equipment or a new process, we can now rely on expanded competences to look at what the best overall system for the entire flowsheet is,” Schulz said. “For instance, if we change the gyratory on a mine site and then look into the pit, we know how to size the equipment in the pit and the concentrator upstream.”

This increasing flowsheet focus must be complemented by an aftermarket approach that ensures the process remains efficient and sustainable throughout a product’s, solution’s or mine’s lifetime.

This was one of the obvious disparities between the two companies when the announcement was made in late July. It is also one of the biggest opportunities that comes with the planned transaction, according to FLSmidth.

Whereas capital business represented 37% of mining revenue in 2020 for FLSmidth, it was 66% of revenue for thyssenkrupp’s mining business. Services represented 63% and 34% of the two businesses’ 2020 revenue total, respectively.

Schulz has seen such a contrast – and opportunity – before, referencing his arrival at FLSmidth in 2013.

“When I came here to FLSmidth, it was actually quite similar,” he said. “I was at Sandvik for 16 years where the aftermarket was actually seen as the most important. They realised the importance of the customer relationship: the capital equipment sales team may meet the customer for a few hours per year, but the service technician has that interaction over weeks and months in terms of aftermarket.”

He also recognises the cultural shift needed to capture many of the profitable aftermarket dollars that the company is forecasting with the planned acquisition.

“The culture in project service companies is you are the hero if you come to the table with the next big project,” he said. “In product service companies, you are the hero if you come with the next big profit.

“You need both – we need profit, and our customers need profit to invest, while you need the projects to spur these aftermarket opportunities.

“We calculated what the aftermarket potential of the thyssenkrupp mining business is and understood it was not covered as they were all looking for the next big project, which we understand.

“But this is not what we will accept in the future. We have to have a strong aftermarket and strong customer link.”

Which all comes back to MissionZero.

“If you focus on MissionZero, then you invest there where you can impact MissionZero. Wherever you have aftermarket, you impact MissionZero. Where you don’t have aftermarket, you don’t impact MissionZero.”

At the same time, Schulz is not losing sight of the company’s end goal with all the business it coordinates in the mining sector.

“Whatever we do with the customer, they have to be more efficient, more productive and make more money.”

It just so happens that in doing this, the mining sector will become that much more sustainable.