Tag Archives: Germany

Metso Outotec to develop hydrogen-based DRI pilot plant in Germany

Metso Outotec says it will convert its existing 700 mm circulating fluidised bed (CFB) pilot plant in Frankfurt, Germany, for hydrogen-based direct reduction of fine ore as it looks to further drive down carbon emissions associated with the iron-making part of steel production.

The company will apply its Planet Positive Circored™ technology as part of this process, with the pilot plant able able to be used for the reduction of high-grade iron fines concentrate and to confirm the design basis for an industrial-scale Circored plant.

Commissioning of the plant is expected to take place by December 2023.

Parizat Pandey, Director, Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) at Metso Outotec, said: “The investment enables us to pilot the reduction of low-grade iron concentrate fines in larger quantities than what we do today, and, subsequently, perform downstream fines DRI electric smelting tests for hot metal production.

“The Circored processing route used in the process offers the lowest possible carbon footprint in the iron-making segment of an integrated steel plant.”

Once operational, the 700 mm pilot plant will be able to continuously produce 150-200 kg/h of direct reduced iron, using 100% hydrogen as the sole reducing agent, Metso Outotec claims. The pilot plant will have an integrated pre-heating and reduction section, followed by a gas cleaning and recirculation facility.

The investment includes installation of electric heaters in the process, making it an almost zero-carbon-emission plant, according to the company. Further, the data obtained from the use of electric heaters will be used to scale up the design of industrial heaters capable to running on renewable energy.

The Circored process is based on the fluidised bed knowledge and experience developed and applied by Metso Outotec over decades in hundreds of plants for different applications. The process applies a two-stage reactor configuration with a CFB followed by a bubbling fluidised bed downstream. The typical plant capacity is 1.25 Mt/y per line. Two or more lines can be combined using joint facilities and utility areas. In standalone plants, the produced DRI is briquetted to hot briquetted iron to enable further handling and safe transport.

If a Circored plant is integrated into an existing steelmaking facility, energy efficiency can be further increased by direct hot feeding of the DRI to an electric arc furnace, according to Metso Outotec.

Herrenknecht making headway on hard-rock mechanised shaft sinking operations

Herrenknecht used the Bauma 2022 stage last month to reveal details about its latest mechanised shaft sinking solution for mining, the Shaft Boring Cutterhead (SBC).

The company, which has successfully delivered its Shaft Boring Roadheader (SBR) to soft-to-medium rock sinking applications in mining, has equipped its latest concept for hard rock up to 250 MPa uniaxial compressive strength (UCS), with the machine able to carry out cutting, lining and mucking operations concurrently.

The SBC’s specification is based on the experiences from six past mechanised shaft sinking projects and was developed in tandem with a global shaft sinking company Redpath Deilmann.

Two of the projects that influenced the design used the SBR – the blind sinks at BHP’s Jansen mine in Canada and Slavkaliy’s Nezhinsky mine in Belarus. The company has also supplied two SBRs to Anglo American’s Woodsmith mine, with one already carrying out sinking operations.

Redpath Deilmann operates SBR shaft sinking operations at Woodsmith, with DMC Mining previously in charge of sinking operations at the Jansen project.

“This new generation of blind shaft machinery aims to update and adapt existing technology to current conditions and requirements,” Martin-Devid Herrenknecht, Member of the Board of Management, says.

Speaking in Munich in a presentation titled ‘Mechanised sinking of deep shafts in hard rock’, Patrick Rennkamp, Product Manager Mining, Herrenknecht, said the SBC had been designed for shaft diameters up to 9 m and shaft depths of circa-1,500 m. The machine weight starts from 450 t and it is 45 m in length.

One of the unique elements Rennkamp highlighted was the pneumatic mucking system on board the SBC.

Building on a similar system used for the SBR, the mucking process on the SBC is tied to the circular motion of the cutter discs situated on the full-face cutterhead. The movement of the discs and suction, combined, ensures the machine only cuts the material once, Rennkamp explained to IM on the side lines of the event, reducing wear on the cutters and keeping the machine cutting for longer.

The design ensures that the cut material filters into the centre of the machine where the suction element is most effective. The cuttings then go up the suction pipe into a suction box before being filtered into coarse and fine material and blown further upwards where they can be transported to another overhead station for removal – via buckets – to surface.

Like the SBR, the machine has a gripper system to keep it in place within the shaft. There is also a lining area directly above the grippers and further work decks for concurrent work.

The company is targeting sinking rates of 6-8 m/d with the new SBC. While this is short of the progress traditional TBMs make in horizontal developments, it is quicker than traditional drill and blast methods used for blind sinking.

Herrenknecht had a team of some 40 working on the development of the SBC at its Schwanau facility in Germany. This is complemented by a team at Redpath Deilmann’s facilities in Germany, who are also providing input to the project.

To this point, the company has carried out 600 tests with different sizes of material, completing some 9 m of shaft sinking in 30-40 MPa UCS concrete with a demonstration rig that is 1:3 the size of the full-size machine.

The next steps are to invite potential customers to supply their own material for testing on the rig and validate the hard-rock cutting potential.

GHH happy to leverage a key mining market niche

GHH is not in the business of forcing its customers to move in one direction or another; it is focused on delivering solutions that work for operators and mine sites today while offering options for what may come tomorrow.

The Schmidt Kranz Group-owned company has made a habit of supplying market niches across the globe, creating machines for the low-profile mines of southern Africa or narrow-vein operations in Latin America.

It has done this while retaining a key focus on the soft-rock sector in its German homeland – one dominated by a major salt and potash player.

Now, having assembled an impressive line-up of new machines over the last three-or-so-years and re-birthing a 10-t loader that the company expects to garner appeal across some major mining markets, GHH is out to claim more significant hard-rock mining share than it has in the past.

“Solid as a rock” is not just a catchy tagline the company attaches to its logo; it is also representative of the GHH machine point of difference.

“Robust, durable and reliable” are the three standout qualities the company highlighted at its most recent product launch in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. One can add to these traits an in-cab operator focus that isn’t always top priority for its fellow OEMs.

The latter element is reflective of the types of customers GHH has traditionally served in the mining space, as well as the need to treat operators with the respect they deserve – especially when there is less of them available to service mining operations in line with the global skills shortage.

The robustness and durability are easy elements to unpick given the company’s standard operating procedure for underground loaders is to allow them to run for 20,000 hours, carry out a machine re-build and let them work for another 15,000 hours thereafter, Ingo Rath, Product Manager for Loaders at GHH, explained.

“In fact, we sometimes have machines that are re-built a third or a fourth time and continue to operate in the field,” he told IM, emphasising this durability.

The reliability benefit is tied to the company’s careful engineering and design, aiming to remove unnecessary electronics that can lead to machine downtime and focusing on hydraulics wherever possible.

Some of the only electronics on-board your average GHH machine are specifically designed to improve uptime.

Take GHH inSiTE, for instance, a condition monitoring solution operating around the globe. This platform – in simplified terms – highlights potential issues that could lead to time in the workshop, while also reporting on individual machine performance.

On top of this, the company can provide real-time brake wear via sensor-based solutions. This is a critical element for both safety and maintenance.

It is not only the sparing use of electronics that bolsters GHH machine uptime.

Take the company’s tethered loaders as an example. Here, the company has designed the cable reel to be carefully distributed and retracted via a vertical coiling mechanism, as opposed to the horizontal equivalent some other manufacturers have elected to use.

This allows the company to offer cables up to 250-300 m in length that have drastically improved cable life, according to Jan Petzold, CEO of GHH Group.

“We’ve analysed the two options – vertical and horizontal reel configurations – and see that we can improve the lifetime of the cable more than twice with the vertical reel due to the reduced tension from controlled spooling,” he told IM.

Design for an outcome

The clever design goes beyond the robust, durable and reliable pillars GHH has built its reputation on.

The introduction of z-link kinematics on the body frame of the new LF10-NEO – as well as relocating the steering cylinders – has allowed the company to boast a 10-t-payload loader with the highest tipping height in its class. It is also a full 0.5 m above the tipping height offered by its predecessor, the LF10.

This is a significant point of difference in this popular class of underground loader and one that the company is confident will be appreciated in key markets like Latin America where the machine will be able to three-pass load not only the company’s MK-30 truck (to be launched next year), but also any other 30-t-payload underground truck on the market.

Modular design philosophy: the LF10-NEO has the same cab as the larger LF14, as well as left- and right-hand saddles bolted onto the back of the loader that can be removed and replaced if required for underground shaft transport

While the company has earned a reputation for delivering machines tailored to the application, it has also been attempting to incorporate more modular design into its newest models to improve maintenance times and reduce assembly durations.

The LF10-NEO, for instance, has the same cab as the larger LF14. It also has left- and right-hand saddles that are bolted onto the back of the loader and can be removed and replaced if required for underground shaft transport.

Within this modular blueprint, GHH is also able to offer a choice of engines on the same block from Volvo Penta or Mercedes for the LF10-NEO, ranging from EU Stage 3, to US Tier 4 Final and EU Stage 5.

This modularity is enabling the company to turn around machines quicker, which proves highly valuable when bidding on contracts from new hard-rock mining clients.

All the while, the company can design a tailored machine for a specific application should the right client come knocking. This was displayed when touring the factory in Gelsenkirchen, where a low-profile SLP-14E tethered electric machine was in the shop awaiting final build and factory acceptance testing.

This machine, like others in the company’s range, came about from collaboration with one of its key strategic customers in the underground mining space.

Pull, not push

GHH is focused on reducing engineering and maintenance complexity on its machines for its clients, but also wants to offer advanced options to those further down the road on their digitalisation and automation initiatives.

Thanks to the help of Schmidt Kranz Group company, Nerospec SK, the company provides an interface to be able to bolt on Level-9 compliant collision avoidance systems to any machine. This, according to Harald Bornebroek, Business Development Manager at Nerospec, represents the first level of automation, with the neroHUB on board these machines able to automatically take over the braking function should an impending accident arise.

The company is also able to offer OEM-agnostic teleremote applications where machines are operating in particularly dangerous areas of a mine – where high seismicity has been observed as an example – but it can also help fully automate loading or haulage operations.

Eric Pohlmann, CEO of Nerospec, highlighted two such applications in Germany – one at an underground salt mine in Germany where a GHH loader is dumping into a crusher and one at a quarry involving a fully-autonomous load and haul pairing from the Germany-based OEM.

And, on the topic of automation, GHH can also claim a world first, having, with the help of the University of Chile’s Advanced Mining Technology Center, run a loading operation at a room and pillar mine without any human interaction in the South American country.

The difference between GHH and most of the other OEMs it is competing with is that GHH is not actively ‘pushing’ these solutions on clients. It is reacting to their evolving needs.

Petzold brought up an excellent example of this when questioned about if the company will create a battery-electric loading and haulage line-up in the future.

To this point, the company only has one machine, the LF19-EB, that has a battery on-board. The battery, however, is used solely for relocating the machine between one loading area and another. Most tasks are carried out with the machine tethered to the existing mine power network via a cable.

The LF19-EB has a battery on-board used for relocating the machine between one loading area and another. Other tasks are carried out with the machine tethered to the existing mine power network via a cable

This machine has been performing well for one of GHH’s key soft-rock customers and, recently, has come to the attention of one of Europe’s biggest underground hard-rock mining companies – interest that could soon result in a machine order.y

For Petzold, this is a much more realistic way of introducing electrification to the underground sector, allowing mine operations to utilise existing power infrastructure as opposed to forcing them into a major redesign.

“While battery-electric loaders may have their application, the need to recharge a whole fleet of them and put extra pressure on the grid means most operations will not be able to support them with their existing power infrastructure,” he said. “With more flexible cable-electric solutions, like that offered with the LF19-EB, this is not an issue.”

Petzold added that higher diesel prices, on top of the need to decarbonise operations, will lead more mining companies to look at these ‘entry-level’ cable-electric solutions sooner rather than later.

For the time being, GHH Group is happy to stick with this philosophy knowing the niche it is mining in the sector continues to make it stand out for all the right reasons.

VDMA Mining notes German equipment turnover uptick in latest market outlook

The VDMA, which represents around 3,500 German and European mechanical and plant engineering companies, says Germany’s mining equipment sector continues to recover from the COVID-19-related downturn, with turnover for the first nine months of the year up by 18% to €3.75 billion ($3.9 billion).

“The mining industry is doing well at the moment, benefiting from a high order backlog,” the organisation said in its latest report. “In 2021, the manufacturers of technology for the extraction of raw materials achieved a total turnover of €3.18 billion in Germany as a production location.

“From January to September 2022, turnover of €3.75 billion increased by 18% compared to the same period last year. In the first three quarters, however, incoming orders declined by 26%.”

The industry hopes that the excellent mood and response at the bauma trade fair, in Munich, Germany, will be able to close the gap in incoming orders by spring and is counting on its technical expertise, especially in digitalisation, the VDMA noted.

Exports by mining equipment manufacturers in the period from January to August 2022 were 25% up on the previous year at just under €1.24 billion. VDMA Mining estimates that the industry will end the current year with a 15% increase in turnover.

The importance of modern mining technology for Germany as an industrial location has increased with the energy transition, according to the organisation.

Manufactburers are relying on digitalised and, where already possible, autonomous extraction and production processes – also in their own companies.

VDMA Mining added: “The bureaucratic obstacles, such as the German Supply Chain Act, which is ahead of the future EU law and can hardly be implemented, a shortage of skilled workers and the negative attitude towards mining are challenges that must be overcome in order for Germany to have a future as a high-tech location.”

Dr Michael Schulte Strathaus, Chairman of the VDMA Mining Executive Board, said at the Mining Industry Meeting in Essen, Germany, on November 17: “In addition to all the political and economic uncertainties we are currently facing, we must not lose sight of the fact that a sustainable industrial location in Germany is also a guarantor of social stability and our democratic system. Modern mining equipment secures our supply of raw materials and is, therefore, indispensable.”

Zinnwald Lithium and Epiroc to collaborate on low-emission mining operation

Zinnwald Lithium, the Germany-focused lithium development company, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Epiroc Rock Drills AB to, it says, collaborate in the development of a state-of-the-art mine at its 100%-owned Zinnwald lithium project.

Under the terms of the non-binding MoU, Zinnwald Lithium and Epiroc will develop plans to implement high-end technology and deliver a low-cost mining operation focused on minimising CO2 emissions, the London-listed company said.

With an approved mining licence, the project is designed to be a long-life underground lithium mine with associated processing facilities, enabling the company to become an important local supplier of battery-grade lithium hydroxide to the European battery sector, it added.

In an interview with IM in September, Zinnwald Lithium CEO, Anton du Plessis, mentioned that electric LHDs could be used to load and haul ore to an ore pass at the mining operation. He said the cost estimates to use such equipment – which are factored into the project’s $336.5 million initial construction capital expenditure bill – had come from Epiroc.

“The base case is battery-operated loaders,” he told IM at the time. “The final selection will be based on an optimisation study where, in particular, partly trolley-fed haulage systems will be investigated.”

du Plessis added in the latest press release on the MoU: “Our vision is to build a world-leading, highly economic mine that adheres to the highest environmental standards; attracting Epiroc as a partner, which shares this ethos and brings with it considerable experience and technology, is a further step towards achieving this goal. By optimising mine design and material flow for electrification and automation, our joint focus is on fossil-free exploration and mining, sustainability and circular economy, including the use of battery-operated underground mining equipment as well as loading and haulage machinery. We look forward to providing updates as our plans advance.”

The Zinnwald project includes an underground mine with a nominal output of approximately 880,000 t/y of ore at an estimated 3,004 ppm Li and 75,000 t/y of barren rock. Processing, including mechanical separation, lithium activation and lithium fabrication, will be carried out at an industrial facility near the village of Bärenstein, near the existing underground mine access and an existing site for tailings deposition with significant remaining capacity.

With a 7-km partly-existing network of underground drives and adits from the ‘Zinnerz Altenberg’ tin mine, which closed in 1991, already mapped out, the bulk of ore haulage is expected to be via either conveyor or rail.

The nominal output capacity of the project is targeted at circa-12,000 t/y LiOH with circa-56,900 t/y of SOP, 16,000 t/y of PCC, circa-75,000 t/y of granite and 100,000 t/y of sand as by-products.

Zinnwald striving for battery-electric circularity with lithium project development

The development of the integrated Zinnwald lithium project in Germany could see the incorporation of a battery-electric fleet of LHDs and the return of metal production to a region of saxony with mining history dating back to the Middle Ages.

The London-listed owner of the project, Zinnwald Lithium Plc, has just released a preliminary economic study on its namesake project focused on supplying battery-grade lithium hydroxide to the European battery sector.

As with any responsible battery metal project being developed today, the project’s ‘green credentials’ are being considered even at this early stage.

Zinnwald Lithium has been keen to flag these, mentioning the project is located close to the German chemical industry, a fact that should enable it to draw on a well trained and experienced workforce with well-developed infrastructure, plus reduce the ‘carbon footprint’ of the final end-use product.

This focus will see all aspects of the project – from mining through to production of the end product – located near to the deposit itself.

Zinnwald Lithium also said the project has the potential to be a low- or ‘zero-waste’ project, as the vast majority of both its mined product and co-products have their own large-scale end-markets.

This could see it produce not only battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate products, but sulphate of potash (SOP) for the fertiliser market and precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) – the latter being a key filling material in the paper manufacturing process.

The project now includes an underground mine with a nominal output of approximately 880,000 t/y of ore at an estimated 3,004 ppm Li and 75,000 t/y of barren rock. Processing, including mechanical separation, lithium activation and lithium fabrication, will be carried out at an industrial facility near the village of Bärenstein, near the existing underground mine access and an existing site for tailings deposition with significant remaining capacity.

With a 7-km partly-existing network of underground drives and adits from the ‘Zinnerz Altenberg’ tin mine, which closed in 1991, already mapped out, the bulk of ore haulage is expected to be via either conveyor or rail

The nominal output capacity of the project is targeted at circa-12,000 t/y LiOH with circa-56,900 t/y of SOP, 16,000 t/y of PCC, circa-75,000 t/y of granite and 100,000 t/y of sand as by-products.

The company is looking to complete the ‘circularity’ dynamic in its fleet and equipment selection, according to CEO, Anton Du Plessis, who mentioned that electric LHDs could be used to load and haul ore to an ore pass in the envisaged operation.

He said the cost estimates to use such equipment – which are factored into the project’s $336.5 million initial construction capital expenditure bill – have come from Epiroc, which has a variety of battery-operated mobile equipment.

“The base case is battery-operated loaders,” he told IM. “The final selection will be based on an optimisation study where, in particular, partly trolley-fed haulage systems will be investigated.”

Forms of automation are also being studied, Du Plessis said, with the caveat that “only select technologies we consider proven” will be evaluated.

Zinnwald Lithium is also looking at electric options for long-hole drilling underground, with both battery-based units and cabled versions under consideration and requiring firming up in the optimisation study.

With a 7-km partly-existing network of underground drives and adits from the ‘Zinnerz Altenberg’ tin mine, which closed in 1991, already mapped out, the bulk of ore haulage is expected to be via either conveyor or rail. The former, of course, will be powered by electricity, but the company is also considering potential battery-electric options for the latter, according to Du Plessis.

The company is blessed with existing infrastructure at the mine, which should help it in advancing the project at the pace its potential end-use manufacturing suppliers would like. It is already evaluating options for the construction stage – with an engineering, procurement and construction management contract the most likely option – and it has plans to conclude a feasibility study by the end of next year.

Du Plessis said while most of the fixed assets have been removed or were deemed outdated a long time ago from the former operating underground mine, other infrastructure was in good shape.

“The excavations, main level, underground workshop, ventilation shafts and, particularly, 2020 refurbished access tunnel provide a very good starting point for our project,” he said. “The access tunnel was originally constructed for dewatering the old mine and, therefore, the mine and the tunnel have been maintained very well.”

The company is now shifting to the bankable feasibility study and currently selecting partners for the project.

With what it calls a “simple, five-stage processing” route confirmed by test work for the extracted material at Zinnwald, the company is looking to select OEMs with the optimal concept for the project, Du Plessis said.

“In the PEA, mineral processing equipment cost is based on Metso Outotec estimates, pyrometallurgy is based on Cemtec technology, and hydrometallurgy is based on various providers’ technology,” he clarified.

TOMRA XRT ore sorters providing Mt Carbine with tungsten upgrade, circular economy advantages

TOMRA X-Ray Transmission (XRT) sorters are providing a game-changing solution for the EQ Resources-owned Mt Carbine mine in Queensland, Australia, reducing costs and achieving high-purity tungsten ore for follow-on processing while contributing to a circular economy by producing green aggregates for sale, the ore sorting company says.

The Mt Carbine mine, northwest of Cairns, Queensland, was acquired by EQ Resources in 2019. The company entered a joint venture with Cronimet Group to set up tungsten extraction from the mine’s large waste dump and tailings. It is also planning to operate the open pit and underground mine, of which it has full ownership.

EQ Resources management has a long-standing relationship with TOMRA, having used its sorters with success on a variety of projects since 2011, TOMRA says. Based on this experience, the company turned to TOMRA once again for the Mt Carbine mine, with test work conducted at TOMRA’s Test Center in Wedel, Germany, confirming its XRT technology would provide the solution for the project.

“We were confident it would work, but we sent a small sample for testing to make sure,” Kevin MacNeill, CEO of Mt Carbine mine, EQ Resources, said. “The advantage of TOMRA’s sorters compared to others is in the image resolution: it is able to resolve the finer inclusions in the tungsten. This high resolution gives us better recovery and more control over the sorting process.”

Mt Carbine is currently mining the 12 Mt of low-grade historical stockpiles. The ore is crushed and screened at 6 mm and 40 mm. Two TOMRA XRT sorters are used to pre-concentrate the feed in the 6-40-mm-size range before processing in the wet plant. Approximately 10% of the sorters’ feed mass is ejected as product with a recovery of tungsten of well over 90%. This means only 10% of the mass is processed in the wet plant, dramatically cutting running costs, reducing the required size of the wet plant, as well as saving water and energy, TOMRA says.

“We let the technology do the work for us and take out all the rubbish and we’re left with just the pure tungsten to send to the processing plant – and we do that very cheaply using the sorters,” MacNeill says. “One of the best things about the TOMRA XRT is the cost savings to the operation. It costs approximately A$1.5/t ($1.02/t) to sort and then it costs A$14/t for wet processing: as we take out 90% of the sortable fraction mass, we only have to process 10% of the higher grade concentrate and natural -6 mm material while maintaining recovery, so our cost benefit is obvious.

“We couldn’t afford to run this waste dump if we had to crush everything to 6mm and process it through the wet plant, it would be too low grade and costly.”

EQ Resources is also taking advantage of the TOMRA XRT sorters to create an additional revenue stream from the waste material.

MacNeil explained: “Normally you would grind the waste down to 6 mm and put it through the jigs, but, by putting it through the TOMRA sorters, we are able to keep a whole range of aggregates on the coarser size fractions. The sorters remove any material containing acid-forming sulphides and the waste rock that comes out is incredibly clean. We are, therefore, able to use it in making all kinds of different quarry products – from road bases to concrete aggregates. It’s a perfect example of a circular economy.”

“Selling these green aggregates adds a significant portion to our business – about A$5 million a year – and that’s all because of the TOMRA sorters. In fact, we’ve probably paid for each machine from this revenue five times over.”

The TOMRA XRT sorters are delivering both environmental and business benefits to the Mt Carbine operation, to the satisfaction of MacNeill: “They’re dry, they create no water usage, they require very little power compared to what we use in the processing plant, so it’s a real advantage to us to have these, and we’re looking at purchasing a third one in the near future.

“From an environmental point of view, I think the TOMRA sorters will play a huge role in the future because of their capability of removing sulphides. If you remove sulphide before stockpiling waste rock, you will have the benefit of no acid creation and drainage – and it would reduce your footprint in your closure plans.”

Liebherr to present new mid-size-class hydraulic mining excavator at Bauma

Among its booths at Bauma 2022, in Munich, Germany, from October 24-30, Liebherr is set to unveil a brand-new mid-size class hydraulic mining excavator.

This second Generation 8 machine will be joined by other mining products and solutions on the company’s stands at the world’s largest construction show.

A pre-series model of the new machine will be exhibited at the Liebherr booth. As the second machine within the Liebherr mining portfolio to receive the “Generation 8” label, after the R 9600 excavator, which was launched in 2021, this new model comes equipped with the latest Liebherr technology products, the company said.

The hydraulic excavator to be displayed at Bauma 2022 has already entered the testing phase, with the company planning the start of serial production in early 2024.

The T 274, a 305-t mining truck, will also be on display at the show, featuring what Liebherr says will be “an impressive demonstration of the Trolley Assist System”.

This new truck bridges the gap between the  T 284 (363 t) and the upgraded T 264 (240 t) and was launched last year with the Liebherr Trolley Assist System available as an option.

The Liebherr Trolley Assist System uses an overhead pantograph to connect the electric-drive system to a mine site’s electrical network, powered by the customer’s energy source of choice. The Trolley Assist System offers increased truck fleet productivity, and potential for reduction in fleet size while maintaining yearly production, when compared with standard trucks. The potential for significant reduction of diesel fuel consumption and carbon footprint by decreasing the truck fleet’s CO2 emissions, demonstrates the Trolley Assist System as an effective first step on the road to zero emission mine sites of the future, the company said.

Liebherr already delivers proven field experience with 56 Liebherr trucks fitted with the Trolley Assist System currently in operation across three mine sites, it said.

Liebherr Mining’s recently launched Technology Product portfolio will also be showcased at Bauma 2022.

Mining excavator technology products to be presented will include the Truck Loading Assistant, Performance Monitoring and Application Severity analytic products, Liebherr Power Efficiency, and the Bucket Filling Assistant, which offers the first step towards excavator automation.

Other innovations across the Liebherr Group set to be presented in Munich include Liebherr Components’ first hydrogen engine, the H964, with, the company says, high efficiency and very low NOx emissions with the same service life and maintenance intervals as diesel engines.

The various injection solutions for hydrogen for medium and heavy-duty engines, as well as large engines with 7-100 litre capacity, will also be presented.

Metso Outotec slurry pumps to treat tails at SevGOK iron ore project

Engineering Dobersek in Germany and Severniy Mining and Processing (SevGOK) in Ukraine have selected Metso Outotec’s mill discharge pumps for Severniy’s greenfield process waste thickening plant, the OEM says.

Metso Outotec’s pumps will be used to pump the iron ore concentrate plant’s waste sludge into the settling ponds from the thickeners. The 22 pumps to be delivered by Metso Outotec include 10 large high-capacity MDM700 pumps. Together, the pumps are capable of handling a total volume of 117,500 cu.m/h of waste sludge.

“SevGOK’s complex is the second of its kind in Ukraine, and Engineering Dobersek in Germany has designed it,” Axel Stappen, Managing Director, Engineering Dobersek GmbH, says. “With this investment, SevGOK aims to decrease environmental impacts and costs by lowering energy consumption and water usage. They chose Metso Outotec pumps because of their reliability and efficiency, and the good support Metso Outotec has provided in their previous projects.”

Michael Nienhaus, Head of Sales, Slurry Pumps, Germany, Metso Outotec, says: “We are delighted to have been selected to supply our MD series pumps to SevGOK’s project. To give an idea of the size of an MDM700 pump, it can weigh as much as 31 t and be 2.8 m in diameter, and have an impressive pumping volume of up to 9,650 cu.m/h. The MDM pumps operate in very demanding conditions, and we’ve designed them to operate reliably and to withstand exceptional wear.”

Metso Outotec mill discharge pumps have been designed for mill circuit applications, such as SAG/ball mill discharge pumps and hydrocyclone feed. Special emphasis has been placed on components that have to withstand exceptional wear from coarse heavy solids and flow turbulence, the company says.

German mining OEMs to benefit from climate, digitisation focus, Schulte Strathaus says

Those involved in the mining equipment industry in Germany are optimistic about future demand for their products, with only state-of-the-art technology able to provide the raw materials needed for climate protection and digitisation, the VDMA Mining Association reports.

This is despite expectations of a decline in sales of for 2020, the association said.

This industry importance was also emphasised by the Chairman of the VDMA Mining Association, Dr Michael Schulte Strathaus, during the association’s annual press conference at the Zeche Zollverein in Essen, Germany, earlier this month.

Due to the pandemic, predictions for 2021 are hard to make, but Schulte Strathaus said he was sure incoming orders and sales will develop positively in the future.

“We ensure that raw materials can be mined and processed,” he said of the equipment makers within the association. “Mining equipment is becoming increasingly environmentally friendly and is making its contribution to climate targets, for example through alternative drives and lower energy consumption in mines.”

Production and sales developed well in 2018 and 2019 for the mining companies from Germany, the VDMA said. Yet, contrary to expectations, new business and incoming orders fell sharply at the end of 2019.

While the industry was still expecting a subdued development with stagnating sales at best, COVID-19 put additional pressure on these companies.

Over 2020, companies managed to close the interrupted supply chains again and to organise COVID-19-compliant production. They largely switched communication with overseas customers to web-based procedures. By the end of the summer, the industry was sending out very different signals: from virtually unchanged sales plans and expectations, to a drop in sales of 30% or more. Overall, the industry expects a decline in sales of 10-15% in 2020 to €4-4.5 billion ($4.8-5.4 billion).

The EU countries, the US, Russia, and China remain among the largest export markets for German mining manufacturers. Australia demand surprised this year, reaching second place among the individual markets, ahead of China and Russia. With an export share of 96%, manufacturers in Germany are dependent on foreign business.

In the EU, mining production has remained stable over the last 20 years. In the summer, the EU Commission announced it wanted to secure Europe’s supply of critical raw materials. To this end, the procurement of raw materials in the EU is to be strengthened, the VDMA said.

In the US, Schulte Strathaus believes the mining industry is on the brink of upheaval.

“With Joe Biden, the country will commit itself to climate neutrality, and large parts of the announced funds of around $2,000 billion will be channelled into the development of clean energy technologies,” he said. “This creates opportunities for our mining equipment manufacturers in Germany. However, they must make more effort to open up new sales areas or expand existing ones.”

Following a very successful 2019 with exports of around €97 million, deliveries to Australia fell to €68.8 million in the first eight months of 2020. Schulte Strathaus was confident Australia customers would again be more interested in mining technology from Germany from 2021 onwards, as the reluctance to establish new supplier relationships due to the pandemic eases.

Russia is currently a very difficult market due to sanctions, political disagreements, and the weak Rouble, the VDMA said. Travel restrictions and the uncertainty that deliveries from Germany could be stopped at any time make business relations risky for companies in Russia, it added.

In China, coal mining was way ahead of the wider Chinese mining industry. While the country is recovering from COVID-19, the mining sector generated sales of around €309 billion and a profit of around €30 billion in the first eight months of the current year. Manufacturers from Germany were unable to benefit from this, the VDMA said. By August, exports had only reached €67.7 million, a drop of 45%. Schulte Strathaus, nevertheless, sees good chances for positive German equipment sales development, with China banking on digitisation and unmanned operation of mines.

In addition to all the positives that come with adopting new technology, social benefits are increasingly becoming the focus for manufacturers of mining machinery, according to the VDMA.

“With our machines, we guarantee a climate friendly and secure supply of high-tech raw materials because, without them, there can be no energy transition,” Schulte Strathaus said.