Tag Archives: Fosterville

LDO Group’s Rokion battery-electric light vehicle refocus starts to pay off

LDO Group is making serious headway in deploying Rokion’s ground-up-design electric light vehicles across Australia, with the New South Wales-based distributor hoping to have three machine trials in place before the end of the year.

LDO is focused on the underground mining and tunnelling industries, specialising in systems, processes, mine planning and training. It has been the exclusive distributor of Canada-made Rokion battery-powered vehicles in Australasia since 2018, having deployed vehicles across the soft- and hard-rock space.

The latest Rokion deployment LDO Group is celebrating is at Agnico Eagle Mines’ Fosterville gold operation in Victoria where a Rokion R400 was recently shown off alongside a Sandvik LH518B at a launch ceremony at the gold operation.

Alan Ross, General Manager of LDO Group, said the R400 vehicle – a platform able to accommodate three passengers in a utility vehicle setup or up to 12 in a passenger crew variant – has been deployed as part of a six-month trial at the operation.

“They (the Fosterville team) plan to use this in a people carrier configuration,” Ross told IM. “It will transport people to and from the operation.”

Considering the ramp-supported Fosterville operation goes below 800-m depth, this will present a good test for the R400’s re-generation capacity and uphill performance.

Rokion says the vehicle, which has 100 kWh of battery capacity, was engineered for the demands of underground mining and is its most adaptive platform design, capable of transporting a large crew in mine applications. Like all Rokion vehicles, it incorporates lithium iron phosphate battery chemistry, which, the company says, is the safest battery chemistry currently available.

The vehicle heading underground at Fosterville was previously deployed at a coal mining operation in Queensland, yet Ross says LDO Group is now re-focusing its efforts on the hard-rock mining space.

This has already seen the company partner with Newmont on an R400 deployment at its Tanami underground operation in the Northern Territory of Australia where it was initially used to transport team members up and down the mine.

Newmont said last year that early indicators had shown the vehicle had the capability to complete several trips to and from the bottom of the Tanami mine without requiring recharging.

Ross agreed with the Newmont assessment, explaining that the company was expected to re-deploy the same unit to the Tanami operation with an additional battery cooling module later this year.

“The ambient temperatures can reach 50°C in the Tanami desert, so we have equipped the vehicle with this new module to cope with such extremes,” he explained.

The company also has two R200 units – which include a four-passenger crew truck and a two-passenger utility truck – in Australia awaiting redeployment. One of these vehicles recently completed a successful stint at a tunnelling operation in the country.

LDO is also engaged with another mining company with an operation in New South Wales seeking to trial Rokion’s smallest battery-electric platform, the R100.

The R100 series includes a four-passenger crew truck and a two-passenger utility truck, with both models built on the same frame dimensions and available in ramp-ready configurations.

“We’re currently focused on these three key customers and supporting them in terms of the deployments and on-going operations,” Ross said.

In addition to regular site visits from LDO personnel to support maintenance and operations staff at the underground mines, LDO staff are able to remotely download data logs for these machines on a daily basis, assessing if there is potential for optimising the operation or if maintenance work may need to be conducted.

With many companies in the battery-electric light vehicle conversion space in Australia struggling to get hold of donor diesel vehicles, Ross says mining companies are increasingly appreciating Rokion’s ground-up approach.

“We have a fantastic OEM partner to rely on for these vehicles and we at LDO are able to support them in the best possible way,” he said. “We don’t have to rely on a different vendor to obtain the base machine; the design, engineering, manufacturing and testing are all performed under the Rokion roof, ensuring quality from concept to delivery.”

Ross said Rokion is continually working on design improvements and new machines based on industry feedback, with a newly-designed R200 vehicle set to bridge the gap between the existing R200 and the larger R400.

The latest in Rokion’s R200 Series is an 11-passenger crew truck built on a heavier frame and suspension construction than previous models, Kipp Sakundiak says

Kipp Sakundiak, CEO of Rokion, was happy to provide more details of this to IM: “The latest in our R200 Series is an 11-passenger crew truck built on a heavier frame and suspension construction than our previous models, all the while maintaining the simplicity and performance of dual drive motors.”

Sakundiak said the new model was robust and powerful, at the same time offering a comfortable ride for all crew members.

He added: “There is a lot of adaptability built into the new platform, including configurations for soft- and hard-rock applications. It’s one of our most versatile designs.”

Sandvik LH518B set for H2 trials at Agnico Eagle’s Fosterville gold mine

Agnico Eagle is to explore the benefits of battery-electric underground technology after receiving a Sandvik LH518B underground loader at its Fosterville gold mine, in Victoria, Australia, to be tested in the second half of 2022.

The Fosterville operation, 20 km from Bendigo, will become the first mine on Australia’s East Coast and only the second in the country to take delivery of the new Sandvik loader (the first being Gold Fields’ St Ives operation in Western Australia). Featuring advanced lithium-iron phosphate-based battery technology, the LH518B produces zero underground exhaust emissions and emits significantly less heat than its diesel counterparts.

Rob McLean, who was Fosterville’s Chief Mining Engineer at the time, announced plans for the operation to trial the Sandvik LH518B at the IMARC Online event in November 2020. He said the trial – originally slated for 2021 – was part of the company’s vision to “have a fully electric mine”, with the immediate goals being to remove diesel emissions and reduce heat at the operation.

After the new machine arrived on site, Fosterville Gold Mine’s General Manager, Lance Faulkner, said: “As a company, we’re committed to exploring new technologies to further enhance our extensive health and safety programs and to fully integrate sustainability into everything we do. And so, we’re delighted to be putting the LH518B into service at Fosterville. We’re interested to see just what kind of difference it can make in terms of efficiency and the underground working environment, and we look forward to working closely with Sandvik.”

Featuring a 600 kW drivetrain, the Sandvik LH518B allows for higher acceleration than conventional loaders as well as fast ramp speeds, resulting in short cycle times, Sandvik says. Courtesy of its space-efficient battery system and driveline, it is the most compact 18-t loader on the market, capable of fitting in a 4.5 x 4.5 m tunnel, the company claims.

Andrew Dawson, Sandvik Business Line Manager for Load & Haul, says that with the advantages Sandvik battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) bring in terms of safety, efficiency and sustainability, it’s no surprise they are gaining popularity among underground operators.

“By trialling the Sandvik LH518B, Agnico Eagle is putting itself at the forefront of this emerging technology and showing its environmental credentials,” he says. “Not only does the loader produce no underground emissions and significantly reduced heat, but it also delivers new levels of productivity. It all makes for a safer, more comfortable, more controlled underground environment.

Fosterville’s Faulkner says another attractive feature of the Sandvik LH518B is the ability to quickly and simply swap out the battery cage. Sandvik’s AutoSwap technology allows for a depleted battery to be offloaded and a fully charged one loaded in as little as six minutes, with no need for lifting infrastructure.

“It’s crucial that new technologies are sustainable and safe, but also that they contribute to the efficiency and smooth running of our mining operation,” he said. “From what we have heard about the new Sandvik loader, it will deliver on all three fronts.”

Kate Bills, Sandvik Australia General Manager – Sustainability, says the LH518B is a reflection of Sandvik’s determination to lead the market for safe, productive and climate-efficient mining equipment.

“Sandvik is putting its money where its mouth is by investing in battery electric vehicles and other technologies that are helping customers achieve their sustainability goals,” she says. “Customers both globally and in Australia are increasingly looking for these kinds of solutions and we are proud to be providing them.”

Ventilation on demand solutions continue to find favour, Howden says

Ventilation solutions provider, Howden, says it is continuing to register strong demand for ventilation on demand (VoD) solutions from the mining sector, on continual cost control measures, improved safety requirements and the evolving need to chart emissions underground.

The company recently added Cooling on Demand (CoD) functionality to its Ventsim CONTROL software, which reflects this market demand.

Ventsim CONTROL uses intelligent software connected to Howden or third-party hardware devices to remotely monitor, control and automate airflow heating and cooling to deliver safer, more productive, and lower cost ventilation for mines, the company says. The Ventsim CONTROL solution also offers a 3D modelling capability within the software, which helps users to better predict and control air flows based on what is evidenced in the simulation.

In the case of CoD, this means users can monitor temperatures at deeper levels and push back cooled air more efficiently.

Upon release of the solution last year, Howden said the CoD update aligned with trends it was seeing in the industry towards deeper mines requiring cooled air to achieve higher standards of health and safety for workers.

“Currently, many mines put a cooling plant at surface level and cool air regardless of its destination or where it’s needed as there aren’t intelligent controls to pinpoint the localised need, which is often at deeper levels,” Howden said. “These new controls ensure the cool air goes where it is required, saving operating and energy costs.”

The company is currently in the process of lining up a trial of this new functionality with an existing Ventsim CONTROL customer.

Howden has also won several Ventsim CONTROL contracts across the globe, including in South America, Asia Pacific and Europe, of late.

Jose Pinedo, Ventsim Sales Manager, said most of these contracts reflected the mining sector’s ongoing focus on cost control, as well as those ‘net-zero’ commitments.

“All the different sites had a payback target in mind, but some of the sites also wanted to know what the implementation of the system would do for their CO2 emissions,” he told IM.

Within Ventsim CONTROL, there is an in-built energy reporting tool to show clients their ongoing energy consumption. Following customer requests and in-house development work, Howden has been able to adapt this to generate a rolling CO2 emission indicator that clients can monitor.

“The reduction in energy correlates directly to a reduction in tonnes of CO2 emissions,” Pinedo said of the reporting tool. “This means, in addition to what the system will provide in operational terms and operating costs, it can also outline to clients how it will assist them in meeting environmental goals.”

Leo Botha, Ventsim General Manager, said the ability for Ventsim CONTROL to reduce the energy consumption associated with ventilation and the direct correlation between these savings and CO2 emission reductions is allowing Howden to assist miners in hitting their environmental goals.

“Up front, when you are having the discussion and talking to mines about energy savings, you are also directly talking about CO2 emission reductions and how this can be used in ESG reporting,” he said.

This increased carbon emission visibility, plus expectations of stricter regulations in key mining jurisdictions, is likely to lead more clients towards the use of VoD solutions, according to Pinedo.

“For instance, with Australia adopting stricter diesel particulate emissions, the industry is facing two options in terms of keeping up with legislation: either you retrofit your fleet so you’re running more efficient and ‘cleaner’ diesel engines (US Tier 4 F/EU Stage V) or electric equipment, or you increase your ventilation flow to meet the new emission requirements,” he said.

Even if a mine chose Option A – retrofitting their fleet – the ventilation flow requirements may still need to increase, Pinedo explained.

“Without a VoD system, you must have a ventilation system set up based on the required air for x number of vehicles and personnel, regardless of if they are operating at all times,” he said.

A VoD system, however, allows mines to push air only to where it is needed based on the vehicles, personnel and infrastructure in place and operating at that given time.

With more mixed fleets of mobile mining equipment expected in the future made up of battery-electric, hybrids and diesel-powered equipment, the benefits of a VoD system able to tap into existing infrastructure for telematics and positioning will be highlighted further, enabling mines to ventilate based on the type of engine/battery the machine is powered by and if there is an operator in the cab.

“What we’re offering through Ventsim CONTROL is to use all these existing tools and optimise everything to comply with where legislation is heading and the evolution of ‘net zero’ mining,” Pinedo said.

Agnico Eagle’s Fosterville mine is looking to do exactly this in what Howden says is an Australian mining first.

The operation, having already installed Ventsim CONTROL Level 3 (scheduling and flow control), is progressing to an installation that will see the mine’s tracking system integrated to Ventsim CONTROL Level 4. This will provide real-time feedback on the vehicle locations in Ventsim CONTROL to adjust the ventilation automatically based on demand.

Ventsim CONTROL software also continues to gain appreciation from customers for its safety capabilities.

“One of the features we have in Ventsim CONTROL is related to fire simulation,” Pinedo said. “We also have this in our Ventsim DESIGN software with scenario-based simulations, but the facility on Ventsim CONTROL connects to all your communication infrastructure underground to take an instant snapshot of the status as a fire is happening.

“From a planning point of view, this allows operations to have a much quicker response time based on an accurate, real-time picture of what is going on underground. This provides another tool to allow them to take the right decisions when and if needed.”

Howden, Agnico Eagle Fosterville to complete Oz mining first with Ventsim CONTROL VoD installation

Howden says it has secured a contract for the upgrade of an existent licence of its Ventsim™ CONTROL ventilation system at the Agnico Eagle-owned Fosterville Gold Mine in Victoria, Australia.

The initial installation of Ventsim CONTROL Level 3 (scheduling and flow control) has already greatly improved the operability and flexibility of the ventilation system, as well as providing efficiency to pay for itself in just six months, Howden claims. Now, in a first for the Australian mining sector, the mine tracking system will be integrated to Ventsim CONTROL Level 4. This will provide real-time feedback on the vehicle locations in Ventsim CONTROL to adjust the ventilation automatically based on demand.

Camille Levy, President of the Asia Pacific Region at Howden, said: “This next stage contract for Fosterville mine is significant for Australian mining and the Howden Ventsim team as it represents the first Ventsim CONTROL Level 4 system that has been commissioned remotely as well as a first in APAC. The success of the operation and the level of power it saves serve as a test case for further installations of Ventsim CONTROL globally. The fact that the system paid for itself within six months is impressive.

“As the system allows the mine to optimise its ventilation based on fully remote vehicle and personnel monitoring, it directly contributes to Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction targets – something of which the Howden team is very proud.”

Level 4 – Ventilation on Demand (VoD) is the process of adjusting mine air flow in real time based on vehicle and personnel position. Ventsim CONTROL provides an ‘on demand’ solution for mine ventilation. Software connected to hardware devices remotely monitors, controls and automates airflow. The technology provides safer ventilation that is more productive and cost effective, according to the company. The Ventsim CONTROL solution also offers a 3D modelling capability within the software, which helps users to better predict and control air flows based on what is evidenced in the simulation.

Howden recently announced its target to be carbon net zero by 2035 through the purchase of renewable energy and carbon-free energy; efficiency gains from energy conservation measures; and by renewable energy projects at its manufacturing facilities. The largest impact the business will have on global sustainability will be through its partnership with customers to supply equipment that will make a major impact on their carbon emissions and sustainability, it says.

In 2020, Fosterville produced a record 640,467 oz of gold at an average grade of 33.9 g/t Au and average recoveries of 98.9%.

Redpath to carry out raisebore, boxhole services at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville mine

Redpath Australia says it has commenced a new raisebore contract with Kirkland Lake Gold at the Fosterville gold mine in Bendigo, Victoria.

Under the new contract, Redpath will provide raisebore and boxhole services at the mine through to late 2023.

The contract extends Redpath’s continuous presence at Fosterville to over 10 years.

Fosterville is a high-grade, low-cost underground gold mine, which commenced operation in 2005 and, during its initial years, produced gold from near-surface, low-grade mineralisation. It is now an underground mine with decline access that, last year, produced 509,601 oz of gold.

Redpath’s raiseboring division also has a relationship with the Kirkland Lake team at Macassa. The team completed a 1,010-m-long hole at the mine in Ontario, Canada, in 2021, making it the longest raisebore hole ever accomplished in the Northern Hemisphere and all the Americas when it was carried out.

Chrysos Corp’s PhotonAssay tech hits major milestone

Chrysos Corp has announced that its ground-breaking PhotonAssay technology has now assayed over one million customer samples.

The milestone comes amid accelerating demand for the technology, which has seen the number of samples analysed more than triple in the last six months, the Australia-based company said.

Driven in part by increasing industry focus on safety, sustainability, and sample turnaround time, Chrysos PhotonAssay is competing with the centuries-old fire assay process in the gold assaying market. Chrysos says the technology, which originated out of a CSIRO project, is fast taking over fire assay to be the preferred technology of miners and laboratories seeking a solution to the supply chain and environmental challenges created by traditional gold assaying methods.

Chrysos CEO, Dirk Treasure, explained, “Demand for PhotonAssay has grown over the last year and further accelerated in the last six months as more miners and laboratories have reached the conclusion, through their own due diligence, that PhotonAssay not just meets and exceeds their accuracy and cost requirements, but also overcomes the speed, safety, and environmental challenges inherent in fire assay.”

Recently, Chrysos and Intertek declared a deal to install two PhotonAssay units at Intertek’s new Minerals Global Centre of Excellence in Perth, Western Australia. Chrysos also announced a partnership with MSALABS, a subsidiary of Capital Ltd, to deploy at least six PhotonAssay units across the globe over an 18-month period. Prior to that, the company signed a deal enabling Kirkland Lake Gold to use PhotonAssay for its Fosterville Mine in Bendigo, Victoria.

Hitting samples with high-energy X-rays, PhotonAssay causes excitation of atomic nuclei allowing enhanced analysis of gold, silver and complementary elements in as little as two minutes, Chrysos claims. Importantly, the non-destructive process allows large samples of up to 500 g to be measured and provides a “true” bulk reading independent of the chemical or physical form of the sample.

“The significance of the technology’s ability to analyse large sample sizes is underlined by Novo Resources’ recent announcement that it has signed a multi-year deal for priority access to the two new PhotonAssay units being installed at Intertek’s Centre of Excellence,” Chrysos said. “In finalising the agreement, Novo signalled its belief that PhotonAssay is the ideal technique for analysing the nuggety gold mineralisation at its Beatons Creek operation in Western Australia.”

Dr James Tickner, Chrysos Corp Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, agreed: “Accurate assaying for coarse gold has always been a challenge, and it’s on difficult deposits where the much larger sample mass of PhotonAssay really delivers. It’s great to see industry recognising this, with Novo Resources committing to run at least 20,000 samples per month through each unit at Intertek’s brand-new facility in Perth. The two PhotonAssay units we’ve just commissioned there will really help Intertek deliver faster, cleaner and more accurate results, not just for Novo, but its other customers as well.”

Another factor driving fast adoption of the technology is Chrysos’ commercial and operating model whereby the company leases, rather than sells, its PhotonAssay units to customers, the company says. This approach not only minimises expenditure by relieving the customer of capital expenditure charges and any service, delivery and maintenance fees, but also reduces ongoing staffing, training and related occupational health, safety and environmental costs.

In return, the leasing model facilitates a recurring revenue stream for Chrysos, which the company has used for research and development and the overall broadening of applicability and accessibility of PhotonAssay for wet samples and other metals such as silver and copper, it says.

Reviewing recent successes and foreshadowing upcoming events, Treasure summarised, “Even with more than A$80 million ($62 million) in contracted revenue and 14 PhotonAssay units either in-use or committed, we remain focused on executing our smart, sustainable growth plans. Market feedback indicates that our disruptive technology is helping customers achieve faster, safer and cleaner business outcomes ‒ and that is the type of value creation Chrysos finds compelling.

“Ultimately, we want our customers, shareholders and community stakeholders to feel as much pride using and engaging with PhotonAssay, as we do when we create and deliver it across the globe.”

Sandvik on the growth path with Artisan as mine electrification takes hold

Sandvik’s Artisan business unit is continuing to ride the battery-electric vehicle wave in mining, having just moved premises in California, USA, to expand its production and testing capabilities.

Based in Camarillo, Artisan has been on a steep growth trajectory since it was established just over a decade ago. Having initially manufactured machines for several OEMs in the mining sector, the company was acquired by Sandvik in 2019. It had revenues of $12.3 million and approximately 60 employees back in 2017.

Both of these numbers have accelerated in line with increased take-up – and an expansion – of its battery-electric solutions for mining since it became a business unit of Sandvik.

Artisan’s 4-t (A4) and 10-t (A10) battery-electric underground loaders have found their way into mines in Canada and the US, while its 50-t Z50 haul truck has found a home in mines in Canada, the US and Australia. One of the bigger deployments has been at the Barrick Gold majority-owned Turquoise Ridge underground mine in Nevada, USA.

More recently, the portfolio was broadened with an 18 t LHD called the LH518B. This machine is the first true collaborative design effort between Sandvik and Artisan, marrying Sandvik’s underground mining engineering expertise with the Artisan™ battery system and electric driveline to “best leverage the possibilities that the battery technology brings”, the companies say.

This machine’s first deployment will be at a gold mine in British Columbia, Canada, but Artisan has also booked several orders for it in Australia, one of these being for Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville gold mine, in Victoria.

With a range of new battery-powered equipment in the pipeline, Artisan has moved into a larger facility in California that will help it build these new vehicles from the ground up.

“We’re definitely growing in Camarillo,” Artisan’s Vice President of Technology, Brian Huff, told IM recently. “The move to a larger facility comes at the same time we are ramping up a lot of hiring in terms of engineering and manufacturing personnel.”

Artisan’s new facility comes with a test ramp with a 20% grade and a whole area for mucking on the property (pictured above).

“This will allow us to do a lot more development testing in a short period of time, giving us an advantage in terms of validation testing and trials of new designs and tools,” Huff said.

The potential for speeding up Artisan’s time to market will be increasingly important as more mines replenish fleets with battery-electric equipment.

As COVID-19-related restrictions ease, expect the new testing facility – and the manufacturing plant – to be regularly frequented by mining companies eyeing these new solutions.

Maptek scanners, software boosts efficiency and safety at Kirkland Lake’s Fosterville mine

Maptek’s underground laser scanners and software have been helping geology and geotechnical engineering teams save time and monitor safety at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville mine in Victoria, Australia.

At the underground mine, the geology team use two SR3 laser scanners and the PointStudio software for structural mapping and identifying structures.

“They primarily focus on scanning the ore drive development headings and then analyse the data and do the mapping in PointStudio,” Fosterville Project Rock Mechanics Engineer, Corey McKenzie, says.

The Maptek SR3 is a dedicated underground laser scanner, with a scan window of 130° vertically and 360° horizontally for capturing roofs and walls in tunnels and underground drives.

With fast accurate sensing and tailored mount accessories, the SR3 can be operated remotely from any web-enabled device and combines well with modelling software PointStudio for improving overall productivity and safety underground, Maptek says.

“PointStudio has a lot of neat tools,” McKenzie says. “Smart Query is useful for extracting joint set data, and the Distance for Objects feature can be used for fibrecrete thickness analysis.”

The geotechnical team uses ZEB scanners for convergence checks and it is, Maptek says, excited about the potential of Maptek workflows to streamline and save time in convergence monitoring.

The Workflow Editor incorporates software menu items, command line executables and scripting capabilities with Maptek Workbench tools and custom components to automate processes.

McKenzie says cloud-to-cloud comparison using laser scan data in PointStudio is all about safety.

“We want to know if the walls or backs are moving,” McKenzie said. “If we notice a spot that is starting to deform, we scan it more regularly so we’ve got that constant update of data and can track how it’s moving and the rate of deformation. We can then make decisions about rehabilitation. And we also need to know when our ground support capacity is going to be consumed.”

When PointStudio was introduced at the site this year, McKenzie found it relatively easy to learn, appreciating the visual layout of the options along the top ribbon, Maptek said.

The Fosterville geotechnical team is looking to expand its usage of PointStudio and expects the new scanline mapping tool in the latest version to help rockmass classification, according to the company.

“We’re just starting to explore the geotech/rock mechanics aspects,” McKenzie said. “Maptek is always willing to answer questions.”

The site also recently completed a trial of Maptek monitoring solution, Sentry.

“Now that we’ve tested Sentry and know its capabilities, we’ll be confident down the track if there’s an area that we want to monitor more closely,” McKenzie concluded.

Kirkland Lake Gold to trial battery-powered Sandvik LH518B at Fosterville

Kirkland Lake Gold, one of the leaders in battery-electric vehicle adoption in mining, is to trial a Sandvik LH518B LHD next year at its Fosterville underground mine, in Victoria, Australia, Rob McLean, the operation’s Chief Mining Engineer, has confirmed.

Speaking during a session titled: ‘What are Fosterville’s Current and Future Technology and Innovation Requirements, and Why?’ at the IMARC Online event, McLean said the trial is part of the company’s vision to “have a fully electric mine”, with the immediate goals being to remove diesel emissions and reduce heat at the operation.

Longer-term, electrifying the company’s fleet could result in the need for less ventilation, lower power costs and the elimination of infrastructure upgrades at the high-grade gold operation, he said.

Sandvik launched the 18 t battery-electric LH518B during its Innovation in Mining event in late September.

The loader, a Sandvik and Artisan Vehicle Systems joint development effort, has been designed from the ground up, entirely around the loader’s Artisan™ battery system and electric driveline to best leverage the possibilities the battery technology brings, Sandvik says. It can fit in a 4.5 x 4.5 m tunnel and is equipped with three 2,000 Nm permanent magnet motors and 450 kN of tractive effort. It can operate at speeds of up to 30 km/h and has 560 kW of continuous power output (peak power output of 660 kW).

McLean said the trial of the LH518B would inform the mine’s future electrification direction, but he said the company was also considering the use of battery-electric or trolley assist trucks at the operation, in addition to battery-electric charging/spraying rigs.

Kirkland Lake says its Macassa mine, in Ontario, Canada, is a “world leader in the use of battery-powered equipment” with more than 80% of its fleet made up of battery-powered vehicles from the likes of Artisan, Epiroc and RDH Scharf.

Clean TeQ DESALX plant up and running at Kirkland Lake’s Fosterville gold mine

Clean TeQ Holdings Limited has formally handed over a Continuous Ion Exchange Desalination (DESALX®) plant to Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville gold mine in Victoria, Australia.

Clean TeQ says it was engaged to design, supply and commission a two million litre-per-day Clean TeQ DESALX mine water treatment plant, with the plant designed to deliver a sustainable water management solution by treating mine process water.

The plant construction was completed in late 2019, with commissioning and operations commencing in early 2020. Now, Clean TeQ has confirmed the plant has passed the performance tests specified in the engineering, procurement and construction contract and the customer has issued a formal notice of acceptance and completion, it said.

Sam Riggall, Clean TeQ CEO, said: “After successfully demonstrating the world’s first ever commercial scale CIF plant in Oman late last year, this is yet another moment of great significance for Clean TeQ.

“Confirmation of the successful deployment of our innovative DESALX solution for this application, designed and delivered by Clean TeQ, is strong validation of our proprietary continuous ion exchange technology, and provides us with a firm foothold in the mining waste water treatment market from which we can continue to grow the business.”

The DESALX technology consists of two continuous ionic filtration (CIF®) modules in series removing divalent cations and anions present in the water through complementary processes. The modules contain ion exchange resins that are cycled between columns using air lifts, allowing for continuous operation and regeneration of the system. This system increases impurity removal efficiency, reduces chemical use, and provides protection against fouling, according to Clean TeQ.

The DESALX solution is well suited to purification of difficult to treat waste waters with high hardness, sulphate, and heavy metals as well as suspended solids which can foul reverse osmosis membranes. These types of waste waters are common in the mining industry, including acid mine drainage water, the company explained.

At Fosterville, the equipment provided by Clean TeQ includes a precipitation package to remove antimony and arsenic. The effluent from the clarifiers is treated by the DESALX plant to remove sulphate, calcium and magnesium with gypsum as the only by-product. The DESALX effluent is then further treated by reverse osmosis to produce water for re-use.

“The Clean TeQ system is a key enabling component of the customer’s overall water management strategy which includes a medium-term target of creating a true ‘zero liquid discharge’ solution that does not produce any saline brine and includes aquifer reinjection,” Clean TeQ said.

Clean TeQ Water is now focused on completing one additional key project at a copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and a number of pilot programs in China.

“This Clean TeQ system, as well as the plants recently completed in Oman and Australia, are the first of their type anywhere in the world and have been deployed as part of three different technical solutions,” the company said. “The successful delivery and commissioning of these plants provides strong demonstration of the efficacy of Clean TeQ’s suite of proprietary ion exchange technologies and their versatility for metal extraction and wastewater treatment. As commercial scale plants, the facilities provide a valuable platform from which to now rapidly grow Clean TeQ Water.”