Tag Archives: Gabon

TORSUS reinforces off-road bus offering for mining companies

Armed with a remit of building vehicles for the world’s toughest jobs, TORSUS is looking to bridge the gap between off-highway personnel carriers and on-highway buses in the mining industry.

Having only entered this territory in 2017 with the launch of its first-generation PRAETORIAN off-road bus for a maximum of 35 people (including the driver), TORSUS is a relative newcomer, but it is adapting quickly to the whims of modern-day mining companies.

TORSUS leverages off its parent company, Pulsar Expo s.r.o, a Czech Republic-based entity with production facilities in Slovakia, while having partnerships in place with MAN and Volkswagen on key chassis and powertrain technology.

Vakhtang Dzhukashvili, CEO of TORSUS, explains how this combination results in a unique offering.

“We have come up with a product to meet the needs of the market by offering a standard all-terrain MAN chassis on our vehicles and robust Volkswagen powertrains with all the customisation options you need to make it robust, as well as comfortable for transporting personnel,” he said.

In terms of suspension, the PRAETORIAN, which was updated in 2021, benefits from leaf-spring with differential lock suspension on the front axle and air suspended suspension on the rear axle. It also has Michelin XZL 365/80 R20 tyres, two “comfort options” for seats, ground clearance of up to 400 mm and military-grade elastomeric panels. These are accompanied by a drivetrain warranty of up to six years, or 900,000 km, and a whole vehicle warranty of two years without mile limitation.

The PRAETORIAN off-road bus can transport a maximum of 35 people (including the driver)

These 2.54-m-wide by 8.7-m-long vehicles have been proven in tourism transport applications taking people up Mount Etna in Italy – aided by a MAN six-cylinder diesel engine with 286 hp (213 kW) of power and 1,150 Nm of torque, as well as a heavy-duty 4×4 off-road transmission. This specification, in fact, means it can go up inclines as high as 65%.

Mining, defence and tourism are TORSUS’ major markets, each holding around 33% market share, according to Dzhukashvili.

“In mining, the PRAETORIAN presents a new option for companies looking to transport personnel on scale to site,” he says. “Instead of using multiple off-road personnel carriers to transport people to and from the off-grid mine site or – the other option – developing paved roads earlier in the development process, we can offer something to bridge the gap.”

One can imagine multi-mine operators in West Africa, for example, making the most of this by leveraging vehicles to transport personnel to site depending on the stage of development. The vehicle – which can also drive on-road – could then move to another site after paved roads are established.

Companies looking to transport fewer people to off-road operations may be interested in the TORSUS TERRASTORM. This vehicle has the same robust ideologies of the PRAETORIAN, but is equipped to transport up to 17 people (including the driver).

Both these vehicles have won admirers in the mining sector, with units already stationed at operations in Chile, Gabon, Ghana, Mali and Papua New Guinea.

Dzhukashvili expects more mining deployments in the future, as the wider industry acknowledges the niche the company is serving.

“With the backing of MAN and VW, and the ability to deliver customised options in-house, we have all the components needed to make these off-road buses robust, comfortable and long lasting,” he said. “Add to that worldwide support from the MAN and VW network, plus our own dealership base, and we’re convinced no-one can offer what we offer the mining business.”

Capital to carry out earthmoving and crushing services for FMG-tied Ivindo Iron in Gabon

Capital has announced the award of a new mining services contract with Ivindo Iron SA, majority-owned by Fortescue, at its namesake project in Gabon.

The earthmoving and crushing services contract has been announced at the same time as the company has extended its revolving credit facility.

Ivindo is in the northeast of Gabon and is one of the world’s largest undeveloped, high-grade haematite iron ore deposits with the potential to become a globally significant iron ore mine, according to Ivindo Iron, which is the operating entity for the Belinga project and a company that Fortescue has a 72% indirect interest in.

Earlier this year, Fortescue, through Ivindo Iron SA, signed the Mining Convention for the Belinga iron ore project in Gabon with the Gabonese Republic, paving the way for first mining to begin in the second half of 2023. Belinga is part of the wider Ivindo project.

The Capital contract has a term of up to five years and will generate approximately $30 million of revenue per year once fully operational, the London-listed company says. It involves both earthmoving and crushing services. Capital says it will use existing equipment and is in the process of purchasing circa-$15 million of additional equipment to service the contract.

Capital has already begun mobilising equipment to the site. This mining and crushing services contract is in addition to the three-year reverse circulation and diamond drilling services contract with Ivindo, announced earlier this year, where drilling recently commenced.

Peter Stokes, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded the mining and crushing services contract at Ivindo. This is our second significant mining services contract and continues our strategy to diversify our revenue stream through an expanded service offering. We look forward to working closely with Ivindo Iron to expand our relationship from drilling services to mining and crushing services and ensure a rapid ramp up on this world-class deposit.”

Fortescue signs Mining Convention for Belinga, paving way for first mining in H2 2023

Fortescue Metals Group, through its incorporated JV company Ivindo Iron SA, has signed the Mining Convention for the Belinga iron ore project in Gabon with the Gabonese Republic, paving the way for first mining to begin in the second half of 2023.

This will open growth opportunities for Fortescue Metals and Fortescue Future Industries throughout Africa, according to the ASX-listed company.

The Mining Convention governs all the legal, fiscal and regulatory regimes for the 4,500 sq.km, which comprises the Belinga project, including early development for production of up to 2 Mt/y, while studies advance potential designs of a large-scale development.

Fortescue Founder and Executive Chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest, said: “The Gabonese Republic chose Fortescue to develop Belinga not only due to our strong track record of delivering major projects, but due also to our company-wide commitment to use our major industrial scale and expertise to assist heavy industry combat climate change.

“Geological mapping and sampling programs have confirmed our initial thoughts that this new West African iron ore hub may well one day prove to be among the largest in the world. The key aspect of this particular geology is its potential to dovetail with Fortescue Pilbara ore
blends. In doing so it will preserve and enhance the iron ore industry of both Australia and Gabon.

“We have enjoyed strong support and positive feedback from local communities. We will continue to work together to maintain Fortescue’s highest standards of environmental and community consultation.”

The capital estimate for the early stage mining development is approximately $200 million (100% basis) with investment over 2023-24. The development involves conventional open-pit mining methods to produce the ore which will be trucked and railed over existing roads and rail infrastructure, and will be shipped from the Owendo Mineral Port, near Libreville.

Ivindo Iron is the operating entity for Belinga. It is held 90% by the Belinga JV company, established by Fortescue (80% interest) and its joint venture partner, the Africa Transformation and Industrialization Fund (20%). In accordance with the Gabon Mining Code, the Gabon Government will have a free carry interest of 10% in Ivindo Iron.

The Belinga deposit was initially discovered in 1955, and subsequent exploration in the 1970s identified high iron and low contaminant mineralisation. The deposit sits in Archean aged rocks of the Congo Craton. The lithology and structure are typical of other greenstone belts that commonly host banded iron formations and itabirites found in other parts of West Africa such as the Simandou project, Fortescue says. The Belinga geology and iron ore potential is similar in scale as Simandou in its early stages of exploration, with its multi-billion tonne potential and high grades, the company added.

Belinga has been progressively assessed by Fortescue since 2018.

Comilog enlists help of JRC, Geka Telecom for Moanda 4G/LTE infrastructure

Comilog, a leading manganese miner and part of Eramet Group, has decided to build a Private 4G/LTE network in Moanda, Gabon, as part of an effort to modernise the operation.

JRC (Japan Radio Co Ltd) and Geka Telecom were selected to provide a turnkey solution. JRC will provide the LTE infrastructure for hundreds of subscribers and 4 RF sites, while GEKA Telecom will provide the full services.

Comilog, as part of its modernisation efforts, is investing in a modern and secured LTE infrastructure. This will see field staff equipped with ruggedised tablets and smartphones, with a target to digitalise the various processes to increase efficiency and reduce its use of paper. This is part of an overall project called Comilog 2020 to increase the capacity of the mine and to enhance the operation’s local added value.

JRC LTE infrastructure was chosen for the quality of its offer, JRC said. The proposed LTE infrastructure is designed to meet mission critical environment and performance. GEKA Telecom will provide its expertise for the settings of the network and the installation.

“We are very proud to contribute to the Comilog 2020 project,” Sato Katsuhiko, General Manager of 5G Project at JRC, said. “We are a specialist of wireless communication for mission critical networks. Projects such as Comilog 2020 are crucial for us. We aim to grow our private LTE/5G business significantly in the EMEA region.”

The Moanda mine is currently undergoing an expansion that will see a new mine open up on the Okouma plateau, 13 km to the north of Moanda. This could lead to 7 Mt/y of products being available for sale in 2023, compared with just over 4 Mt/y currently.

JRC, or Japan Radio Co Ltd, is a specialist of wireless infrastructure founded in 1915. Based in Japan and with offices across the world, it has provided complete Private LTE/5G networks since 2015.

GEKA Telecom, founded in 1982, has specialised in telecommunication networks in Africa, the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe, to facilitate access to communication for all.