Tag Archives: Fluor

Fluor helping ioneer realise Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron potential

Fluor says its leadership and robust experience in mineral production is exemplified by its work to develop the most advanced and significant lithium operation in the United States at Rhyolite Ridge’s lithium-boron project in central Nevada, USA.

Fluor says its capabilities and experience in developing large-scale materials production facilities allow the company to address the most important projects with a depth of talent across all disciplines that enables these vital projects to be properly designed, constructed and commissioned on time and within budget. Its global locations, with a focus and expertise on mining and metals, have engineered and constructed multiple successful, sustainable projects in different geographies and taken them from concept development to successful production, according to the company.

“Fluor is united with ioneer in delivering a world-class project that will quadruple American lithium battery material production by 2023,” Tony Morgan, President of Fluor’s mining and metals business, said. “This project fully supports our two companies’ mutual corporate goals of promoting a sustainable future.

“Fluor’s wide range of capabilities position us to support clients across the battery value chain and help lead the way in the ongoing energy transition and build up sustainable domestic supply to combat climate change.”

Fluor says it is partnering with ioneer for the development of Rhyolite Ridge, which, when complete, will produce more than 20,000 t/y of lithium battery materials, enough to support the production of over 400,000 electric cars per year.

This lithium project is leading the way in US lithium-ion battery supply chain development, according to the engineering group. Fluor, working with the ioneer team and subcontractors, will demonstrate the capability of US engineering to deliver such an important project on schedule and budget, it said.

“The Rhyolite Ridge project is being developed with a rigorous attention to details,” Fluor said. “Fluor, working with ioneer and leading metallurgical laboratory, Kemetco Research, have undertaken a standard setting, lock cycle, full simulation pilot plant over the past two years of development. Using extensive data collection and analysis, this robust test facility has allowed Fluor engineers and subcontractors to fully understand the design parameters and performance expectations that allow this unique mineralogical project to not only succeed, but to produce at the very bottom of the global lithium cost curve.”

A multi-disciplinary Fluor team has, to date, spent more than 300,000 man hours on Rhyolite Ridge and the project is rapidly progressing toward shovel-ready status. Assuming permitting and final project funding occur in a timely manner, Rhyolite Ridge is expected to be ready to start construction in mid-2021, Fluor said.

BHP’s South Flank on course for 2021 first iron ore deadline

Fluor says BHP’s $3.6 billion South Flank iron ore project, in the Pilbara of Western Australia, is on track for first ore in 2021, with the engineering firm having erected the first 1,500 t of modules in the ore handling plant.

This construction milestone is in the critical sequence to first ore and comes after achieving 50% project completion, announced by BHP in October 2019, Fluor said.

Fluor is providing engineering, procurement and construction management services on South Flank.

In December, Mammoet said it had started transporting the first heavy components for the under-construction mine, with around 1,900 items including prefabricated and modular mine processing plant units of various sizes set to be moved from Port Hedland to the new mine site.

When operational, South Flank will be one of the largest iron ore processing hubs in the world. The project will include an 80 Mt/y crushing and screening plant, an overland conveyor system and rail-loading facilities. The mine will replace production from BHP’s Yandi mine, which is nearing the end of its life.

South Flank engineering and procurement work is being performed from BHP’s office in Perth, with Fluor working together with BHP as an integrated project team, it said.

Tony Morgan, President of Fluor’s Mining and Metals business, said: “We are extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish with BHP on this project including our commitment to achieve diversity through the hiring of indigenous and local team members.

“The pioneering integrated team approach on this project is truly a collaborative effort. We look forward to continuing our long and successful relationship with BHP on this project and beyond.”

Richard Gerspacher, Project Director, said: “Based on the project routines and culture we’ve created, I am confident that the project will continue to proceed in a positive manner as we work towards first ore.”

Fluor previously performed the feasibility study for the project before it was awarded the follow-on construction and project management scope. Over the life of the project, it is expected that more than 9,000 people will be engaged in the South Flank work force.

Construction began in July 2018 and first production of iron ore is anticipated in 2021.

Cupric Canyon rewards Fluor with Khoemacau copper-silver EPCM contract

Fluor says it has been awarded an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract by Cupric Canyon Capital for its Khoemacau copper and silver project in northwest Botswana.

The company booked the undisclosed contract value in the June quarter of 2019, it said.

This announcement follows hot on the heels of the groundbreaking ceremony (pictured) at Khoemacau and Barminco being awarded a five-year underground mining contract at the 3.6 Mt/y Zone 5 mine.

Tony Morgan, President of Fluor’s Mining & Metals business, said the two companies previously worked together on the project’s front-end engineering and design phase to establish a “capital-efficient design and execution plan” for the project. This saw Fluor involved in construction management of the early works for the camp upgrade, bush clearing, transport corridor and surface infrastructure terrace preparation, he added.

Fluor’s EPCM scope includes upgrading the existing copper concentrator plant and new mine surface infrastructure, with the project expected to produce 62,000 t/y of copper and 1.9 Moz of silver with a life of mine in excess of 20 years.

Morgan said: “We will leverage our local capabilities and extensive copper experience to execute the Khoemacau project with excellence – safely, on time, on budget and with quality.”

Fluor has worked in Botswana since the early 2000s and opened an office in Gaborone in 2015. From Gaborone, it delivers safety, cost-competitive innovations and execution excellence to clients, it said.

Fluor wins first lithium mine contract in Nevada

ioneer Ltd (formerly Global Geoscience Ltd) has selected Fluor to deliver the definitive feasibility study for its Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project outside of Tonopah, Nevada, in the US.

Fluor will initially provide the DFS and, as the project advances, engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services.

The appointment follows the completion last month of the Rhyolite Ridge prefeasibility study, which showed the mine could extract and process ore to produce 20,200 t/y of lithium carbonate and 173,000 t/y of boric acid.

Fluor said the full notice to proceed on the EPCM phase is expected in 2019 with first production expected in 2021. The company will book the feasibility study contract value in the December quarter of 2018 and expects to book the full EPCM contract value in 2019 dependent on a final investment decision.

Tony Morgan, President of Fluor’s Mining & Metals business, said: “With the growing demand for electric vehicles and energy storage, Fluor is excited to work with ioneer on our first lithium mine project in Nevada.

“Our team brings the right combination of technical and execution expertise. We will leverage our full suite of integrated solutions tools, including our Zero Base ExecutionSM process and fit-for-purpose modular design strategy, to develop an execution approach to deliver this project safely and with excellence.”

Bernard Rowe, Managing Director of ioneer, said Fluor was chosen because of its capabilities, integrity and proven track record of delivering value.

“A key aspect of Fluor’s selection was its strong and highly experienced technical team based in the US.”

Fluor helps CBG reach major milestone at Guinea bauxite expansion project

Fluor Corp reports Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinée (CBG) has achieved first ore at its Bauxite Production Expansion project in Kamsar, Guinea, safely, on budget and on schedule.

The project is expanding bauxite production at the mine from 13.5 to 18.5 Mt/y, with Fluor, as the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services contractor, responsible for the expansion of the mine infrastructure, rail system, port facility and processing plant infrastructure and utilities.

Tony Morgan, President of Fluor’s Mining & Metals business, said: “From developing the local craft workforce to strengthening the economy, this project will have a lasting positive impact on the Kamsar community. Achieving this milestone safely, on budget and on schedule is a testament to the dedication and perseverance of the joint CBG and Fluor team.”

There were more than 1,500 craft workers on site at peak construction. The project team focused on hiring a local workforce, which resulted in Guinean workers representing nearly 75% of the employees on site.

To align the workforce on safe work practices and create a safe work culture at the site, Fluor developed a specialised safety programme. This allowed more than 4 million hours of work to be completed without a lost-time incident.

CBG is jointly owned by the Government of Guinea and the Halco Mining consortium, which includes Alcoa, Rio Tinto and Dadco Investments.

Fluor’s Tony Morgan recently spoke to IM for its annual December issue focus on EPC and EPCM contractors. You can read part of the Q&A here.

Innovation and integration unlocking doors for Fluor’s mining and metals business

With mining companies looking to replenish spent resources in many commodities, EPC and EPCM contractors’ pipelines are starting to fill up.

IM Editor Dan Gleeson spoke with Tony Morgan, President, Mining and Metals, Fluor, to find out how the contractor is continuing to win business and differentiate its offering from the rest of its peers.

International Mining: How important is securing early-stage involvement in mining projects in terms of eventually winning the major EPC/EPCM contract?

Tony Morgan: It is very important and there are some good reasons for that. If you get a contractor that is used to building significant projects and can apply the right tools in the earlier phase of the project, you will receive an aligned project in terms of the technology used, execution strategy and the techniques, such as modularisation. All of these plans will be built in at the front-end of the project and, when you go into the execution phase, the personnel executing the project will be well-versed in the strategy.

Quellaveco in Peru (pictured), South Flank in Australia, a bauxite mine in Guinea and Peñasquito in Mexico are good examples of projects where we were engaged in the early stages and helped set the projects up for success.

This isn’t to say that if one contractor starts a project, another contractor cannot come in. We have taken over and succeeded in the execution of several projects in this way. This typically occurs when the client deems that the previous contractor will be unable to perform the project’s execution phase because of the project’s size or the contractor has failed to perform in the current phase.

IM: Has the talk from mining companies of more EPC/EPCM contracts being offered with incentives/penalties that effectively share execution risk become a major trend in the industry?

TM: There’s always been a desire to include penalties and incentives in contracts. The extent to which these can be evenly applied really depends on the market, whether contractors are willing to take them on and then the client’s desire to have control over the project.

The best way to execute a project is to allocate the risk to the party that can best control the risk. If you step away from that principle, it can create inequalities in the contract.

Fluor is willing to take incentives and penalties where we have full control of the project, i.e., where we have been engaged from the start, we understand the project and have control over the execution phases. In a lot of our projects, we do that, especially using our engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction model.

In projects where we don’t have full control, there are other contractor arrangements that can be used successfully. For example, we are carrying out a project at the moment where we have an integrated project management team that combines the best personnel from both our client’s team and our team. On this project, there are significant performance incentives at the end of the project.

IM: How has the proliferation of automation, electrification and digitalisation impacted your work as an EPC/EPCM provider?

TM: It’s fair to say nobody – our clients especially – want mines coming into service in the 2020s and beyond that use the technology of 10 to 15 years ago. Automation, electrification and digitalisation are all critical to the success of these future projects.

At Fluor, we are investing a great deal in developing our automation and digitalisation expertise. We are working with IBM on several efforts around predictive analytics. We also have a section of the company focused purely on innovation. We are bringing innovative and automated solutions to projects, including some active and passive sensing technologies used to help safeguard personnel in the field and track equipment and materials.

One of the solutions we have developed is Safety Pin, which allows us to know where every worker is and to notify workers of areas that are not safe to enter.

Innovation is a differentiator for us as we have been adopting various innovations on a number of projects. We know what works and what doesn’t. Others talk about innovation without having applied innovations to large-scale projects.

IM: Where is Fluor seeing most demand for its services on a regional and commodity basis?

TM: We have projects globally, including bauxite and diamond projects in Africa, iron ore projects in Australia and gold projects in Mexico. Copper projects in South America are extremely active right now. We are executing a number of projects in South America – Quellaveco and Spence being two of the largest – and are also engaged on a number of other ones.

This article is part of a larger Q&A to be featured in the December print issue of International Mining