Tag Archives: Glencore

ABT to develop ‘failsafe brake’ for Glencore Australia’s Volvo FMX haul trucks

Advanced Braking Technology says it has entered into an agreement with Glencore Australia to develop a heavy vehicle Sealed Integrated Braking System (SIBS) for the Volvo FMX haul truck.

The design solution will include intellectual property developed by ABT and related to the proven and trusted “failsafe brake” for light commercial vehicles, which has been used extensively within both the Australian and international mining sectors over many years, ABT says.

ABT has agreed to undertake product development works exclusively with Glencore to adapt the SIBS for use on the Volvo FMX mining specification haul truck by developing, manufacturing, producing and installing prototype units for validation and testing in Glencore mining operations.

At the completion of the development, validation and testing, and, subject to mutually agreeable commercial terms, it is intended to progress to low-rate production stage for use in Glencore mining operations.

As Glencore is contributing to the development of the product, it is granted an exclusivity period and certain rights to priority of supply, with the intention of progressing to a commercial roll out phase, which, in turn, has the capacity to generate meaningful revenue for ABT.

Further, ABT may commence negotiations with other customers for supply of the product following the end of the exclusivity period with Glencore.

ABT CEO, Andrew Booth, said: “The signing of this agreement achieves a strategic objective of diversifying our SIBS vehicle type applications in which we provide innovative braking solutions to Glencore and other international heavy vehicle fleet operators.”

The potential value for the development stage of the ABT Glencore joint product development contract is up to A$2.8 million ($1.9 million) over a term of 12 months and contingent upon the successful completion by ABT of project and development milestones, the company said.

Booth added: “We are very proud at ABT to be working with Glencore to deliver a world-class heavy vehicle brake solution designed for heavy ruggedised industrial applications. The signing of this contract marks a key milestone in the company’s development and future strategy.”

Wallis Drilling wins three-year contract extension at Glencore’s Murrin Murrin op

Glencore has signed a three-year contract extension with Wallis Drilling to retain the drilling company’s services at Murrin Murrin in Western Australia’s Goldfields region, which will extend Wallis’ long-standing relationship at the Glencore-owned operation to over a quarter of a century, the service provider says.

Wallis Drilling is a local Western Australian business, founded in 1965 by Marty and Jamie Wallis, which has grown to over 300 employees, but remains a family run business today.

Wallis has provided services to Glencore’s Murrin Murrin operation for 24 years and the contract extension, running through to September 2025, will see Wallis Drilling continue to provide RC grade control and blasthole drilling at Murrin Murrin.

Murrin Murrin is a nickel-cobalt mining and processing operation between Leonora and Laverton in the north-eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia and currently provides work for over 1,000 employees and contractors.

Wallis Drilling Manager, Wayne Waters, oversees the Murrin Murrin contract, with his role previously being occupied by Grant Wallis who is now the Chief Operating Officer of the business.

Waters said: “Murrin Murrin, like Wallis, understands the importance of establishing and nurturing long-term relationships to create stability, which has been exemplified by the latest contract extension.

“This business certainty is beneficial to Wallis, but it also gives us the capacity to plan for the long-term on site at Murrin Murrin and deliver the best operational outcomes.”

Grant Wallis said: “Our work at Murrin Murrin has helped us grow from a small family business to one of Australia’s largest privately-owned minerals drilling companies, while still remaining true to our local WA roots.”

Nic Fenner, Head of Mining Technical Services at Murrin Murrin, said: “We are very proud to help grow local Western Australia businesses, like Wallis Drilling, and help be a part in their success stories.

“The strong relationship between Murrin Murrin Operations and Wallis has been underpinned by our shared values and culture. Murrin Murrin and Wallis both have many long serving employees with some even being the second generation in their family to work at Murrin Murrin.”

BluVein’s underground dynamic charging developments accelerating

BluVein, after officially receiving agreement and project approval from all project partners, has initiated the third phase of technology development and testing of its underground mine electrification solution, BluVein1, it says.

BluVein is a joint venture between Australia-based mining innovator Olitek and Sweden-based electric highways developer Evias. The company has devised a patented slotted (electric) rail system, which uses an enclosed electrified e-rail system mounted above or beside the mining vehicle together with the BluVein hammer that connects the electric vehicle to the rail.

The system, which is OEM agnostic, provides power for driving the vehicle, typically a mine truck, and charging the truck’s batteries while the truck is hauling load up the ramp and out of an underground mine.

The underground-focused development under BluVein is coined BluVein1, with the open-pit development looking to offer dynamic charging for ultra-class haul trucks called BluVein XL. This latter project was recently named among eight winning ideas selected to progress to the next stage of the Charge On Innovation Challenge.

The purpose of the third phase of the BluVein1 technology development is to:

  • Conduct a full-scale refined hammer (collector) and arm design and testing with a second prototype;
  • Execute early integration works with mining partners and OEMs;
  • Provide full-power dynamic energy transfer for a vehicle demonstration on a local test site; and
  • Confirm a local test site for development.

IM understands that the company is close to sealing an agreement for a local test site where it will carry out trials of the dynamic charging technology.

James Oliver, CEO, BluVein, said the third phase represents an essential final pre-pilot stage of BluVein1.

“It excites me that the BluVein solution is becoming an industry reality,” he said. “The faster BluVein1 is ready for deployment, the better for our partners and the mining industry globally.”

BluVein recently entered a Memorandum of Understanding with Epiroc, where the Sweden-based OEM will provide the first ever diesel-to-battery-converted Minetruck MT42 underground truck for pilot testing on the slotted electric rail system from BluVein.

“This MoU also ensures that we are designing and developing the system into a real-world BEV for full-scale live testing and demonstration on a pilot site in 2023,” BluVein says.

In addition to Epiroc, IM understands BluVein is working with Sandvik, MacLean, Volvo and Scania, among others, on preparing demonstration vehicles for the BluVein1 pilot site.

The BluVein1 consortium welcomed South32 into the project in May, joining Northern Star Resources, Newcrest Mining, Vale, Glencore, Agnico Eagle, AngloGold Ashanti and BHP, all of which have signed a consortium project agreement that aims to enable final system development and the construction of a technology demonstration pilot site in Australia.

The project is being conducted through the consortium model by Rethink Mining, powered by the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC), which CMIC says is a unique collaboration structure that fast-tracks mining innovation technologies such as BluVein and CAHM (Conjugate Anvil Hammer Mill).

Carl Weatherell, Executive Director and CEO, CMIC/President Rethink Mining Ventures, said: “With the urgent need to decarbonise, CMIC’s approach to co-develop and co-deploy new platform technologies is the way to accelerate to net zero greenhouse gases. The BluVein consortium is a perfect example of how to accelerate co-development of new technology platforms.”

Oliver concluded: “The BluVein1 consortium is a great reminder that many hands make light work, and through this open collaboration with OEMs and mining companies, we’re moving faster together towards a cleaner, greener future for mining.”

MacLean details battery-electric vehicle order for Glencore’s Onaping Depth

With the Onaping Depth Project in Ontario, Canada, advancing towards production, MacLean has announced that its battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) have been selected by Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations (Glencore Sudbury INO) as one of the mobile equipment suppliers for this deep mine under the existing Craig Mine in Onaping, a longtime base metals mining hub in the Greater Sudbury region.

These details follow on from an announcement from Peter Xavier, Vice PresidentGlencore, Sudbury Operations, announcing the fleet details at the ‘BEV In-Depth: Mines to Mobility’ conference in Sudbury, late last month.

The MacLean BEV fleet at Onaping will consist of support units across the mining vehicle categories of explosives charging, secondary reduction, shotcrete spraying, concrete transport and utility vehicles, MacLean said.

MacLean launched its EV SeriesTM product line in 2016 and, since that time, the company has gone on to design, manufacture and commission over 40 pieces of mobile mining equipment in five provinces across Canada, as well one state in the United States and one BEV unit recently shipped to South Africa for trialling in that country’s mining sector.

Collectively, the MacLean full-fleet electrification solution has amassed over 120,000 working hours underground. Connecting the mining cycle to the battery cycle with the right amount of best-in-class battery, on-board charging and vehicle telemetry technology has allowed the company to rapidly progress its product development and introduction of MacLean BEVs into the industry, for customers looking to maximise the operational benefits of a diesel-free mining.

“The 100-plus employees at the MacLean service and support branch in Sudbury, along with the underground Research & Training Facility just down the road in Lively, are an integral part of the economy in Sudbury and this local footprint will be a cornerstone for our project support to Glencore Sudbury INO across the life of this mine,” Stella Holloway, MacLean Vice President of Northern Ontario Operations, said. “Onaping Depth is an example to the mining world for how to successfully develop and operate a diesel-free, deep mine, so we are keenly aware of the high bar that has been set and are excited to step up and ensure the success of the MacLean EV Series fleet as it contributes to the wider success of the Glencore project as whole.”

MacLean President, Kevin MacLean, said: “We are deeply honoured to be chosen by Glencore Sudbury INO as one of the mobile equipment suppliers for this keystone project, as they advance towards production. I spent my early years growing up in Levack, when my father was working underground as a Division Foreman at the former Levack Mine, so this BEV fleet sale to Onaping Depth has special meaning for me. MacLean is committed to doing its part to ensuring the success of this project, as the entire mining world looks on.”

Glencore’s Lomas Bayas mine to start automation journey with production drill rigs

Glencore’s Compañía Minera Lomas Bayas (CMLB) copper mine in northern Chile is looking to maintain its safety and sustainability standards, as well as increase its productivity and profitability, with a new project to automate two of its Caterpillar drill rigs using FLANDERS technology.

Glencore Lomas Bayas is a low-cost, open-pit copper mine in the Atacama Desert, 120 km northeast of the port of Antofagasta. The low-grade copper ore mined at this facility is processed by heap leaching and converted to copper cathode after processing through the SX-EW plant. The Lomas Bayas operation produces approximately 75,000 t/y of copper cathode.

The first phase in the Glencore digital mining journey at Lomas Bayas will be completed using FLANDERS’ ARDVARC technology and involves automating two Caterpillar drill rigs and providing a dedicated wireless network. The results obtained in the initial phase will provide essential information to continue the journey to full automation of mining equipment across the operation, Glencore and FLANDERS say.

The project is significant as Lomas Bayas will be the first operation to adopt intelligent drill technology globally in Glencore mining operations. Conversion of the Cat drills and wireless network installation is expected to be completed in June 2023.

The ARDVARC Autonomous system has been used for over 15 years, enables advanced functionality through interoperability with fleet management systems and other data acquisition platforms, and is agnostic to original equipment manufacturers, FLANDERS says.

Lomas Bayas’ General Manager, Pablo Carvallo, said: “Incorporating technology into equipment is our response to constant changes that mining operations face; as in the case of Lomas Bayas, where everyday challenges must be dealt with in an even safer and more productive way. We want digital mining efforts to expand over time and educate industry of our learnings and support technology development in our region.”

Lomas Bayas’ Mine Manager, Felipe Bunout, said: “This initiative is in line with our core objectives; to provide a safer environment for our workers and increase productivity in our processes. This technology will allow us to increase the equipment utilisation and the precision of the drilling pattern and improve the quality of the blasting process and the whole process downstream. This initial phase is the first step for Lomas Bayas into mine equipment automation, and we have high hopes that the results will enable us to continue walking down this path.”

This is the first of many Glencore Copper group technological initiatives seeking to modernise, transform and align the business to stakeholder’s requirements and priorities, according to Glencore’s Operational Excellence & Technology Global General Manager, Cristian Carrasco.

Glencore’s Technology Study Manager, Enrique Caballero, added: “We decided to commence the automation program at Lomas Bayas as the operation has shown high adaptability and organisational maturity. Their executive team has a well-built long-term view. The operation vision is strongly aligned with digital mines and technology as a path forward, in which safety, sustainability and their workforce life qualities are part of the pillars.”

FLANDERS Regional Director, Martin Schafer, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Glencore at its Lomas Bayas operation. Given its low grade, CMBL is a compelling business case. To the well-known value, FLANDERS’ ADS solution generates for a mining operation in general, and the drilling process, the relatively short overall implementation time adds a financial dimension that happened to be critical to obtaining the required return on investment. The technology also brings environmental gains.

“ARDVARC autonomous drills have shown a 7.3% reduction in fuel compared to manned drills, which is a reduction of about 1,200 litres of fuel per year, equivalent to 2,966 t less CO2 in the atmosphere.”

FLANDERS’ autonomous control system, ARDVARC, and Command Centre technology is industry-leading, helping mining companies improve drill performance and keep people safe, the company says.

Typically, the ARDVARC system produces increases in productivity by up to 30%, providing greater drill accuracy and the ability for one person to operate up to eight drills. Including technology in the ARDVARC Command Centre (ACC) builds on remote working capabilities to unlock additional value, such as enhancing decision making by integrating functions across the value chain.

Although not a new concept, products like the ACC present an opportunity for Glencore’s Lomas Bayas mine to re-imagine and reform the mine operations, as remote working becomes imperative to ensuring value and sustainability.

Schafer added: “When fully automated, the drills that we will be converting in Chile will also be safer for workers, who will operate the drills well away from the drill and blast areas. The mission-critical dedicated network and the 24/7 support provided in the scope round-up an extremely reliable solution.”

Lomas Bayas, last year, announced it would become the first user in Chile of Komatsu’s 930E-5 304 t class haul trucks, matching with its existing Komatsu P&H 4100XPC shovels.

BluVein XL open-pit mining dynamic charging solution gains momentum

Much of the buzz around BluVein to this point has focused on its dynamic charging infrastructure for underground mining and quarries, but the company has also been gaining momentum around a surface mining project – as the most recent Charge On™ Innovation Challenge announcement indicates.

The company and its BluVein XL solution were today named among eight winning ideas selected to progress to the next stage of the competition, which is seeking to solve one of the biggest challenges in decarbonising mining operations: the electrification of haul trucks.

Within this context, BluVeinXL, the company’s new product line, will be capable of dynamically feeding power to heavy-duty mining fleets with up to 250-t payloads.

The technology leverages much of what was developed for BluVein1: a patented slotted (electric) rail system using an enclosed electrified e-rail system mounted above or beside the mining vehicle together with the BluVein hammer that connects the electric vehicle to the rail. This system provides power for driving the vehicle, typically a mine truck, and charging the truck’s batteries while the truck is hauling load up the ramp and out of an underground mine.

To this point, funding support for the BluVein1 project – being developed for vehicles up to 60-t payload and powered by Rethink Mining (Powered by CMIC) – is being provided by Vale, Glencore, Oz Minerals, Northern Star, South32, BHP, Agnico Eagle, AngloGold Ashanti and Newcrest Mining.

BluVeinXL, meanwhile, has seen the company engage with more than 10 “global mining company leaders” in progressing to a pilot demonstration of the technology. While the company plans to announce the names of these supporting mining companies shortly, it says they all see the need for an industry-standardised, OEM-agnostic, safe dynamic power feed infrastructure to suit mixed OEM open-pit fleets.

The key benefits of the dynamic power feeding solution BluVein is pushing are smaller on-board battery packs, faster vehicle haulage speeds up ramp, grid load balancing and maximum fleet availability.

“Our mining company supporters have provided feedback to us on the benefits they see with BluVeinXL over traditional overhead exposed wire catenary systems offered by other OEMs,” the company said. These are:

  • Near to the ground installation enabled by our patented Ingress Protected safe slotted rail technology;
  • Safer and faster installation;
  • Easy relocation as required to suit open-pit ramp movements over time;
  • Requires no heavy civil foundation requirements;
  • Alleviates the requirements on haul road conditions;
  • Offers purchasing flexibility on electric vehicles through the adoption of an industry-standard dynamic power feed infrastructure; and
  • Safer mine sites with no high voltage exposed overhead wires.

The company concluded: “Together with our mining company supporters, BluVein looks forward to working with all OEMs as we progress towards our planned pilot demonstration at a yet to be announced location.”

Schlam delivers 1,500th Hercules dump body in Australia

Schlam has now reached the milestone of manufacturing its 1,500th Hercules dump body in Australia, with the dump body in question delivered to Glencore’s Mt Owen complex in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales.

Now in its 14th incarnation, the Schlam Hercules has become the dump body of choice for many of the most significant Tier 1 operators, OEM truck builders and mining contractors in Australia, Schlam says.

Schlam Chief Executive Officer, Matt Thomas, said it was a team effort to reach this milestone.

“Our manufacturing division – Schlam Payload Solutions – is filled with some of the most dedicated and hardworking individuals I’ve ever met. And, when they work together, anything is possible.

“The pandemic and supply chain concerns have pressured our team, however, they have managed these challenges superbly while maintaining our commitment to quality and customer service.”

The first Hercules was manufactured in Australia in 2003, and it took 17 years to reach the 1,000th milestone. It took the company just 22 months to then reach the 1,500th mark.

Thomas says that long-term national supply contracts with BHP, Fortescue, Glencore, Northern Star Resources, Newmont and other significant miners mean that the Hercules is set to continue along this upward growth path.

“We are creating efficiencies in our manufacturing processes through robotics, automation and ‘LEAN thinking’ to support this growth while maintaining quality,” he said.

“We’re also growing our sales and aftersales teams, ensuring that customer service is exceptional at every step of their experience with Schlam. We pride ourselves on following our products into the field and believe this has been a critical element in our growth.

“I thank the whole team – no matter where they work in the company – for helping us reach this milestone, and I look forward to many more to come.”

South32 becomes latest miner to join BluVein mine electrification project

BluVein has announced its ninth and newest funding partner to join the BluVein mine electrification project powered by Rethink Mining (Powered by CMIC), with South32 being the latest miner to join the cause.

BluVein is a joint venture between Australia-based mining innovator Olitek and Sweden-based electric highways developer Evias. The company has devised a patented slotted (electric) rail system, which uses an enclosed electrified e-rail system mounted above or beside the mining vehicle together with the BluVein hammer that connects the electric vehicle to the rail. The system provides power for driving the vehicle, typically a mine truck, and charging the truck’s batteries while the truck is hauling load up the ramp and out of an underground mine.

South32 joins Vale, Northern Star Resources Limited, Glencore, Newcrest Mining, AngloGold Ashanti, BHP, OZ Minerals and Agnico Eagle Mines Limited as BluVein funding partners.

Earlier this month, BluVein and Epiroc formed an MoU with BluVein aimed at fast-tracking development of the BluVein dynamic charging solution towards an industrialised and robust solution which is ready for deployment across the global mining industry. The MoU is focused on the BluVein Underground solution (BluVein1), but BluVein is also developing a solution for open-pit mining.

Cobham confirms seven-year FIFO extension for Murrin Murrin mine site

Cobham Regional Services has been awarded a new seven-year contract with Minara Resources (wholly owned by Glencore), to provide fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) services to its Murrin Murrin site in the eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia.

Minara Resources is Australia’s largest cobalt producer and a major producer of nickel, and a foundation FIFO client of Cobham.

Cobham Regional Services Managing Director, Claude Alviani, said that Cobham had been providing FIFO services to Murrin Murrin since the mine commenced operations in 1996.

“We are absolutely delighted to continue the relationship we have with Minara as their aviation partner of choice,” Alviani said. “The operators of Murrin Murrin were pioneers of FIFO in Western Australia, using an airbridge to connect workers to site well before it became common practice.

“Over the past six months, Minara has transitioned to our modern, lower carbon emission aircraft with the E190 and Q400 now servicing the site.”

Brett Fowler, General Manager, Minara Resources, said: “We are pleased to continue our relationship with Cobham, a long-term partner of the Murrin Murrin operations. We welcome the addition of the lower carbon emission aircraft to Murrin Murrin as we continue to produce the nickel and cobalt that are critical commodities for the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

The new contract comes at a pivotal time for the industry in Western Australia as the State prepares to open its borders.

Cobham’s Business Development Director, Tim Pirga, said that Cobham was well positioned for transitioning to the next phase of living with COVID.

“We have a private terminal which allows us to offer bespoke solutions for COVID screening, health checks and passenger separation,” he said. “Minara will take advantage of our facility and of our experiences operating in other states where borders have been open for some time.”

Bis devises bespoke on-road haulage solution for Hunter Valley Operations

Bis says it has signed a multi-year on-road haulage contract with Hunter Valley Operations (HVO) at its New South Wales-based processing facility.

The load and haul solution features a bespoke high payload on-road haulage rig ideally suited for the Glencore- and Yancoal-owned joint venture, which is located 115 km northwest of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.

Comprising A-Double and B-Double trailer configurations, loading and road maintenance equipment, the dedicated fleet will transport material from HVO’s preparation plant to its Newdell train load out facility, Bis said.

Bis Chief Executive Officer, Brad Rogers, said: “Building on our existing long-term relationship with Glencore, we are delighted to continue our support to the HVO joint venture operation for Yancoal and Glencore. The NHVR-approved Bis haulage solution adopted at HVO was specifically designed by our in-house team to cater for a greater payload capacity thereby reducing the number of overall truck movements, operational health and safety risks and fuel consumption.”

The contract comes only months after Bis secured another new multi-year haulage contract on the eastern seaboard for Anglo American’s Capcoal operations near Middlemount, in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.