Tag Archives: gold

First Quantum board signs off development of Kansanshi S3 Expansion, Enterprise nickel project

The First Quantum Minerals Ltd Board of Directors has signed off on the S3 Expansion at the Kansanshi mine and the Enterprise nickel project, both in Zambia.

The approval will lead to work on both projects starting immediately, with the company re-commencing detailed engineering works for the S3 Expansion to determine purchase orders for key long-lead items, including the SAG mill, ball mill and in-pit crushing station; and a mining contractor being mobilised for the Enterprise nickel project in order to commence pre-stripping of the pit in June 2022.

This could see Kansanshi’s life pushed out to 2044 with the introduction of new electrical loading and drilling equipment along with the extension of the current electric trolley assist infrastructure, with Enterprise contributing some 30,000 t/y of nickel concentrate in upcoming years.

“First Quantum has been working constructively with the Government of Zambia’s New Dawn administration as part of their efforts to reform the mining sector, attract investment and increase Zambia’s copper production,” Tristan Pascall, Chief Executive Officer, said. “The approval of the projects reflects First Quantum’s increased confidence in the investment climate in Zambia.”

The S3 Expansion and the Enterprise nickel project are a key part of the company’s brownfield growth strategy, according to Pascall.

“The Kansanshi mine has been a cornerstone asset for First Quantum for 15 years and the S3 Expansion will expand production and extend the mine life for another two decades,” he said. “The low-cost, high-grade Enterprise nickel project is well placed to supply the rapidly growing electric vehicle battery sector.

“The approval of these two projects is an important milestone for the company’s path towards responsible production growth of the metals needed for the global green energy transition.”

The approval of the projects follows the efforts of the New Dawn administration to enhance both the investment climate for mining and to seek commitments from the mining sector to contribute to the national economy and to corporate social responsibility, First Quantum says. These initiatives will help establish a platform for more stable, durable and responsible mining in Zambia.

The Government of Zambia’s commitments address the ease of doing business in Zambia, covering areas such as expediting immigration procedures in exchange for commitments for local employment levels, competitive pricing of power transmission and power procurement from independent sources which in turn will support renewable energy projects, and measures to ensure the ease of importing and exporting goods.

The approvals follow the re-introduction of the deductibility of mineral royalties for corporate income tax assessment purposes that became effective in January. This measure realigned Zambia with international best practice, according to First Quantum. The government’s commitment to improve the predictability of the mining fiscal regime also provides the certainty needed to support large capital investments in Zambia.

“Furthermore, First Quantum and the government have successfully resolved all points of contention that have been stumbling blocks to progress on the S3 Expansion and Enterprise nickel project,” it said. “This includes reaching agreement in respect to the outstanding value-added tax receivable sum and an approach for repayment based on offsets against future mining taxes and royalties.”

The S3 Expansion is expected to transition the current selective high-grade, medium-scale operation to a medium-grade, larger-scale mining operation that will be more appropriate for the higher proportion of primary, lower-grade sulphide ores at depth, First Quantum said. As outlined in the NI 43-101 Technical Report filed in September 2020, the S3 Expansion, when completed, will comprise of a standalone 25 Mt/y processing plant with a new larger mining fleet that will increase Kansanshi’s total annual throughput to 53 Mt/y.

Once the expansion is completed, copper production from Kansanshi is expected to average approximately 250,000 t/y for the remaining life of mine to 2044.

A significant portion of the initial construction works for the S3 Expansion have been previously undertaken with much of the civil and structural work on-site completed, First Quantum said. The remaining work includes completion of the remaining engineering design works, procurement and installation of equipment, electrics, controls and infrastructure. The S3 processing train will comprise of a 28 MW SAG mill and a 22 MW ball mill. The open-pit mine will be expanded to increase the supply of sulphide ore from the Main Pit and extend into the South East Dome deposit. The expanded mining fleet will use similar ultra-class equipment as First Quantum’s other key mines and will benefit from new electrical loading and drilling equipment along with the extension of the current electric trolley assist infrastructure, First Quantum said.

In parallel with the expansion of the mine and processing facilities, the company plans to increase the throughput capacity of the Kansanshi smelter from 1.38 Mt/y to 1.65 Mt/y of concentrate. This will enable the smelter to produce over 400,000 t/y of copper anode.

The total capital expenditures associated with the S3 Expansion is expected to be $1.25 billion, which includes $900 million on the S3 plant and mine fleet and $350 million for pre-stripping of the South East Dome pit. Approximately $800 million of this spending is included in the company’s current three-year guidance released on January 17, 2022, with the balance falling beyond the guidance period. First production from the S3 Expansion is expected in 2025.

The Enterprise nickel sulphide deposit is located 12 km northwest of the Sentinel copper mine. As outlined in the NI 43-101 Technical Report, filed in March 2020, proven and probable reserves at Enterprise total 34.7 Mt of ore at 0.99% Ni.

The Enterprise nickel project will consist of a single, main open pit and one extension to the southwest. It will use the existing 4 Mt/y nickel circuit that was previously built as part of the original Sentinel processing complex. The main workstream to bring the project online will be the pre-strip of waste. The development timeline for Enterprise is expected to be approximately 12 months. At full production, Enterprise is expected to produce an average of 30,000 t/y of nickel in high-grade concentrate.

The total capital expenditures associated with the Enterprise nickel project is expected to be approximately $100 million. Pre-stripping of the Enterprise pit of $60 million is included in the three-year guidance provided earlier this year along with $40 million related to infrastructure and plant commissioning. Expected first nickel production of 5,000-10,000 t of nickel in 2023 is included in the company’s three-year guidance.

Artemis awards Blackwater gold EPC contract to Sedgman Canada

Artemis Gold Inc says it has made an award for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPC) scope of works for the processing plant and associated infrastructure at its Blackwater project in British Columbia, Canada, to Sedgman Canada Limited, a CIMIC Group company.

The award amount of approximately C$312 million ($243 million) is consistent with the prescribed budget for the process plant and selected infrastructure scope of works in the 2021 feasibility study.

Sedgman Canada Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary company of Sedgman Pty Limited, a CIMIC Group company. CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) is an engineering-led construction, mining, services and public private partnerships leader working across the lifecycle of assets, infrastructure and resources projects.

The EPC contract is expected to be executed by June 30, 2022, with the contract supported by performance security including bank letters of credit, which will underwrite the financial performance and obligations of the contractor under the contract.

While the parties finalise the definitive EPC contract, in order to maintain the project schedule, an interim services agreement has been agreed which could cover procurement and pricing of long lead equipment and optimisation through refined scope changes, among other aspects.

The project schedule supporting the award to Sedgman includes the following assumptions:

  • Construction mobilisation and major works preparations commence in Fall 2022 with process plant bulk earthworks scheduled to be completed prior to the start of major works;
  • Commissioning activities of the process facility to commence in Q1 (March quarter) 2024; and
  • First gold pour expected in the first half of 2024.

The final EPC contract terms will provide for potential cost adjustments of certain components of construction representing approximately less than 15% of the total contract amount, including the potential for cost adjustments from further quantity definition, Artemis said. Standard adjustments, including currency exchange rates for certain equipment purchases also apply, and further optimisation of the processing plant with final engineering will occur.

Artemis is also considering awarding additional construction packages under an EPC agreement type structure to further enhance the risk management of the total capital expenditure for Blackwater, it said.

When combined with the EPC for the Power Transmission Line announced on August 18, 2021, the percentage of the estimated total capital expenditure for Blackwater under EPC is on track to target circa-60% of the initial Stage 1 development capital of C$645 million in a lump sum EPC type arrangement by the September quarter of 2022.

Stage 1 development should lead to the building of a 6-9 Mt/y operation (6 Mt/y in years 1-4 and 9 Mt/y in year 5) able to produce around 312,000 oz/y of gold.

Steven Dean, Chairman and CEO, said: “The award of the EPC job for the process plant at Blackwater is another significant milestone for Artemis, reflecting a competitive process involving multiple bidders. We are very pleased to be working with a world-class engineering firm in Sedgman. In partnership, we will work to finalise the design and engineering of the Blackwater project in advance of a start of major development activities. Blackwater remains on track for a start of major construction activities following receipt of Mines Act and other permits in Fall 2022 with a first gold pour in H1 2024.”

Miller sells first BEV converted light utility vehicle to Alamos’ Young-Davidson

Miller Technology has announced the first sale of its new battery-electric utility vehicle for mining to the Young-Davidson gold mine, in Ontario, Canada, owned by Alamos Gold Inc.

The sale, a battery-electric conversion of a diesel-powered light utility vehicle called the Miller BEV Land Cruiser, follows trials of a Miller Land Cruiser and Miller’s ground-up battery-electric vehicle − the Relay − at Young-Davidson.

“Miller Technology’s electric vehicle is a prime example of how Canada is leading the world in green technology, reducing operating costs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and most importantly improving employee health,” Anthony Rota, the Member of Parliament for Nipissing—Timiskaming, Ontario, said at a press conference to announce the sale. “We are proud to see them serve the world from North Bay in the riding of Nipissing-Timiskaming.”

Light utility vehicles are driven underground to safely move mining staff around the mine site. Historically, these utility vehicles have had diesel engines, which emit greenhouse gas emissions and impairs underground air quality. Miller has developed a conversion kit to exchange the diesel engine for an electric motor, in addition to a number of other mining-specific modifications to the vehicle. These vehicles are often run 24 hours a day, and Miller has patented certain aspects of its IONIC Drive system. Prior to releasing this BEV conversion, Miller had built the Relay platform.

Dan Bachand, the CEO of Miller, said: “With our original build Relay, BEV conversion kit and new projects such as an E-grader, the Ionic Drive System that Miller has developed has arrived at the top of the battery-electric heavy duty-cycle drive systems. I want to thank our team members for their hard work. All of our staff have helped get us to this point.”

He added: “I want to thank Alamos Gold for their courage and commitment to battery-electric vehicles and emissions reductions. This is a great step forward by Alamos Gold to reduce diesel fumes and emissions, helping with employee health, fossil fuel reductions and to slow global warming.”

Léon Grondin-Leblanc, General Manager, Young-Davidson, said: “The Young-Davidson mine’s emission intensity is less than half the industry underground mine average as a result of increased electrification and automation of our lower mine infrastructure, which we completed two years ago, and today’s announcement is yet another step forward.”

FLSmidth to supply Sabina Gold & Silver with full flowsheet offering at Goose gold mine

FLSmidth says it has been chosen to supply the full equipment and processing flowsheet, including ore leaching, for Sabina Gold & Silver Corp’s Goose gold mine in the West Kitikmeot region of Nunavut, Canada.

The order is valued at approximately DKK270 million ($38.1 million) and was booked in the June quarter of 2022. The equipment is due to be delivered in the middle of 2023, ahead of the mine start-up date in the March quarter of 2025.

FLSmidth will supply the jaw crusher, Raptor® Cone Crushers, ball mill, VXP-Stirred Mill (secondary grinding) and KREBS® cyclones, pumps as well as screens, feeders and Knelson™ gravity concentrators. The order also includes equipment for pre-oxidation and leaching; carbon in pulp (CIP) extraction; absorption, desorption and refining (ADR); and detoxification.

In addition, Sabina is progressing contract negotiations with FLSmidth for commissioning support, operational readiness, site training, an optimised spare management strategy, as well as a performance guarantee for the process equipment.

“We are very happy to receive this complete flowsheet order from Sabina’s Goose Mine, the first mine on the Back River Gold District,” Mikko Keto, Group CEO and Mining President at FLSmidth, said. “Our proven ability in providing an industry-leading and productivity maximising gold flowsheet, combined with our capability to supply services and parts to this remote region throughout the lifecycle of the project were key factors in Sabina’s decision. This is also one of many recent orders we have received to supply the key equipment, technologies and services for gold processing plants, showing the recognition among miners of our leading position in this arena.”

Bruce McLeod, President and CEO of Sabina, said: “We are pleased to have these critical technologies procured with a vendor that has a proven track record for providing equipment and support to remote projects around the world. We look forward to receiving this equipment for installation over the next two years and to working with FLSmidth as we advance to become a mid-tier gold producer.”

Metso Outotec secures major mineral processing order from South-East Asia copper-gold mine

Metso Outotec says it has been awarded a major order for the supply of key minerals processing technologies to a copper and gold mine project in South-East Asia.

The contract value of €40 million ($43 million) has been booked to the company’s Minerals Q1 (March quarter) 2022 orders received.

Metso Outotec says it has a strong presence in South-East Asia including a Service Center, which is able to support local mining customers.

Develop wins major WA gold mining contract from Bellevue Gold

Contract mining newbie Develop has been awarded work valued at around A$400 million ($298 million) at Bellevue Gold’s Bellevue Gold Mine in Western Australia.

The contract, which covers a period of almost four years, provides for Develop’s Underground Services division to undertake construction, development and production activities at the underground mine. The commencement date for the contract is in the June quarter.

Develop says it has established a highly experienced team of underground mining specialists led by Managing Director Bill Beament. Beament is the former Executive Chair of Northern Star Resources and was previously General Manager of Operations at major underground mining contractor Barminco.

The Develop Underground Services team also includes Norther Star alumni Paul Nilsson (Develop’s Manager Mining Underground) and Aaron Armstrong (Develop’s Maintenance Manager Underground).

DEVELOP, formerly Venturex Resources, only established the company’s Underground Services division in November. In addition to catering to its own requirements at the Sulphur Springs copper-zinc-silver project in Western Australia, it has also been working on exploration and development activities at its Woodlawn zinc-copper project in New South Wales, which it acquired earlier this year.

Develop has appointed Jordan Hall as Project Manager for the Bellevue contract. Hall spent 19 years working for Byrnecut, during which time he was employed predominantly in senior management roles at major Western Australia projects such as the Jundee gold mine and Golden Grove base metals project.

In addition, Develop has recently recruited a significant number of underground personnel and secured key equipment. This capability ensures Develop has ready-access to a deep pool of underground mining specialists and the latest machinery for use at Bellevue, it said.

Beament said Develop had established an exceptional team of highly experienced underground mining specialists.

“Our team is perfectly suited to the Bellevue project, with decades of underground development and production experience, particularly in Western Australian gold projects,” he said.

“We have access to an extensive pool of specialists across the required disciplines, many of whom are unquestionably world-class, and we are well-advanced in securing the latest equipment.

“Our business model has attracted extensive interest from industry people, we have strong track records of operational excellence on all levels and we are ready to deploy our skills and expertise.”
Beament said Bellevue’s strong commitments to ESG targets were aligned with Develop’s own core beliefs.

“This is an enormous opportunity for both companies,” he said. “Bellevue is an exceptional gold asset with a great production outlook and low all-in sustaining costs in the heart of Western Australia.

“It is one of the largest contracts in the Western Australian gold mining industry. It is also one of the most environmentally-ambitious projects, with the aim of producing Australia’s first carbon-neutral gold.

“I have no doubt that applying the combined skills and experience of the Bellevue and Develop teams to this exceptional asset will ensure strong returns for all stakeholders.”

Bellevue is forecasting production of 200,000 oz/y during years one to five at an all-in sustaining cost of A$922/oz at its operation. Its most recent feasibility study also outlined a 1 Mt/y asset with forecasted greenhouse gas intensity of 0.202 t CO2e/oz, with planned integration of renewable energy.

The Bellevue contract will be executed by Develop’s Underground Services division and conducted in parallel with Develop’s work at Woodlawn and Sulphur Springs.

Epiroc captures battery-electric, automation order from Odyssey Mine owners

Epiroc has won a major battery-electric and autonomous fleet order from the owners of the Odyssey Mine in Malartic, Québec, Canada.

The order, from the Canadian Malartic Partnership, will be used in the new underground gold mine.

The Canadian Malartic Partnership, a 50:50 JV between Yamana Gold Inc and Agnico Eagle Ltd, is constructing the Odyssey Mine, which will become one of Canada’s largest gold mines when it is fully ramped up later this decade.

The ordered equipment includes a variety of drill rigs, loaders and mine trucks, with some of the machines will be battery powered. Automation features include Minetruck Automation and Scooptram Automation, which are part of Epiroc’s 6th Sense portfolio of digital solutions. By combining these solutions with Epiroc’s Traffic Management System, material handling is optimised within the mine, bringing benefits such as virtually eliminating the risk of collisions, Epiroc said.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “The Canadian Malartic Partnership is taking a massive next step with the new underground mine where our battery-electric and other advanced machines with state-of-the-art automation and traffic management solutions will help optimise safety and productivity. Epiroc and the Canadian Malartic Partnership have a history of successful cooperation, and we look forward to continue contributing to their success.”

The equipment order also includes education and training using sophisticated simulators, which was flagged by IM earlier this year.

This is the second equipment order from the Canadian Malartic Partnership. Epiroc also won a large order for drill rigs, loaders, and mine trucks in the September quarter of 2021.

The Odyssey Mine is located just west of the Canadian Malartic Partnership’s open-pit gold mine, which is still in operation, and to which Epiroc in previous years has provided Pit Viper surface drill rigs.

Odyssey is expected to feature an LTE mobile communication network, an automated fleet of 60 t trucks operated from the surface and on-demand ventilation, the Canadian Malartic Partnership has previously stated. All all of the major production fleet, including trucks, drills and LHDs, are also expected to be battery electric.

The Odyssey Mine will be accessed by a ramp and a shaft estimated to be 1,800 m deep. Plans are to extract 19,000 t of ore at an estimated grade of about 2.75 g/t gold and roughly 5,000 t/d of waste rock during peak operations.

Patrick Mercier, General Manager of the Odyssey Mine, said: “Over the years, Epiroc has clearly demonstrated its willingness to be a leader in the technical evolution of mining equipment, whether in electrification or automation. Obviously, this transition will not happen by itself. We are privileged that Epiroc has proposed us a collaborative approach in order to effectively integrate their equipment into the Odyssey Mine and actively participate in this evolution. The benefits from this collaboration will contribute to making mines even safer and jobs more accessible in the field.”

The equipment ordered during the March quarter includes battery-electric versions of the Boltec (an M10 Boltec, pictured) rock reinforcement drill rig, Simba production drill rig and Boomer face drilling rig (jumbo). It also includes an Easer raise boring rig, Scooptram loaders, and Minetruck haulers. The machines will be equipped with Epiroc’s telematics system Certiq, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real time. Epiroc will also provide service and spare parts, as well as expertise on electrification solutions.

GeoMoby geolocation technology receives plaudits at Karora’s Beta Hunt mine

Having developed what it says is world-first geolocation technology for mining that could improve safety underground and potentially save companies millions of dollars each year, GeoMoby has now tested out its solution in an underground section of Karora Resources’ Beta Hunt gold and nickel mine, in Western Australia.

GeoMoby – the name of the company and product – uses wireless, cable-free and reusable beacons to geofence sites, track assets and check on workforces, providing a layer of safety and efficiency never seen before, the company says.

It recently tested the location and communication network at Beta Hunt, with results gathered from the project confirming the possibility of live audio and video streams in real time, using Bluetooth Low Energy, GeoMoby said.

Before now, audio and video communication from underground to the surface has only been possible with Wi-Fi or LTE powered wireless networks.

Bluetooth capabilities enable mining companies to reach optimal connectivity without having to stop operations – at a large cost to the business – to lay cables and wires throughout the site, the company said. The technology allows the transfer of live audio and video streams to the surface in real time, in addition to existing real-time location, messaging and photo transfer capabilities, ensuring surface teams can have eyes and ears underground.

GeoMoby CEO, Chris Baudia, said the high-speed wireless network powered by Bluetooth Low Energy was able to transfer a range of important operations information from down the hole to the surface.

“Using our point-to-point network of nodes and technology platform, we have been able to stream audio and video in high quality and real time to the surface, allowing those above ground to hear and see what’s going on beneath them,” he said.

He said the simple, cable free, low disruption deployment method was a game changer for miners looking to improve their communication with minimal interference to operations.

“Key data transferred from underground to surface includes speed calculation alerts for vehicles and machinery, proximity awareness and real time proximity detection alerts,” he explained. “These features, along with file transfer and geofencing technology, are being delivered through our updated Underground Zero Harm application, giving miners the advantage of a one stop technology shop for monitoring people and assets.”

The roll out of a wireless point-to-point network at Beta Hunt involved the installation of 16 nodes across 2 km of underground mine tunnels and was completed in 2.5 hours, with no impact on the mine’s operations, according to GeoMoby. It connects a range of devices – both personal and company issue – directly to nodes, which combine to feed information in to the platform for users to see.

Baudia added: “Our benchmark is entry-level technicians correctly positioning or replacing nodes with no or minimal assistance from GeoMoby. Software diagnostic tools incorporated into the platform allow site personnel to detect any fault in the network and respond immediately, which is critical to ensuring communications remain intact at all times.”

Karora Senior OHS Adviser, Jody Herd, said there had been a steep change in operator behaviour since the GeoMoby technology was installed.

“We have 120 people on site at any given time,” he said. “Previously we tracked personnel and equipment underground the old school way with tag board systems, so we didn’t always know where everyone was at any given time without using a radio.

“We’ve already seen a change in operator behaviour due to workers understanding that machines are now monitored using the GeoMoby solution.”

Baudia said GeoMoby was working through added use cases of contact tracing capability in the instance of infectious disease entering sites, individual health monitoring and geofencing solutions that are currently only available with their on-surface solution.

Kinross makes permanent exit plans for Russian gold operations

Kinross Gold, after making plans to suspend its operations in Russia at the start of the month, is now in exclusive negotiations with a third-party mining company regarding a potential sale of 100% of its assets in the country.

On March 2, the company said it was making plans to suspend its Russian operations following Russia’s ongoing military offensive in Ukraine. Both its Udinsk development project and Kupol mine (pictured) were part of this plan, which, while considering suspension, would focus on the safety and well-being of its more than 2,000 employees in addition to its obligations to manage and mitigate the mine’s environmental impact on an ongoing basis, it said.

Subject to this disclosure, the company has been developing a transition plan to divest its Russian assets.

Kinross said on March 29 it had received a number of unsolicited proposals regarding its Russian business and was now in exclusive negotiations with a third-party mining company regarding a potential sale of 100% of its assets in the country. Any such divesture or change of control would be subject to Russian government approval, it noted.

As part of the exclusivity agreement and to properly maintain assets pending a change of control, the company’s Russian subsidiaries are continuing to operate during the transition period. Kinross will also continue to manage and mitigate the environmental impacts of its operations. This includes overseeing monitoring systems and transporting industrial materials to the Kupol mine that are not permitted to remain at the port to maintain safety and regulatory compliance.

“Kinross will continue to prioritise the well-being of its more than 2,000 employees in the country as it develops its transition plan,” it said.

The parent company will not benefit financially from the operations while the transition plan is finalised, Kinross clarified, with current activities funded through resources already in-country, with no additional investment required by the parent company.

Kinross expects to treat its Russian business as an asset held for sale from an accounting perspective until a change of control is completed.

FLSmidth to supply mineral processing equipment to Josemaria Resources’ copper-gold project

FLSmidth has been chosen to supply the SAG mills, ball mills and cyclones to Josemaria Resources’ 150,000 t/d copper-gold project in the San Juan Province of Argentina.

Approximately DKK110 million ($16.3 million) of the DKK600 million order was booked in the December quarter, with the remaining amount, around DKK490 million, booked in the March quarter of 2022.

FLSmidth will deliver the three gearless SAG mills, three gearless ball mills and cyclones to the site by late-2023. The OEM was chosen to deliver the equipment due to the high reliability and efficient performance of our SAG and ball mill technologies, it said.

The Josemaria open-pit mine is a high-grade copper-gold porphyry project. It is located in Argentina, some 450 km from San Juan, in an important and emerging copper mining district. It has an anticipated mine life of 19 years.

Lundin Mining is currently in the process of trying to acquire Josemaria Resources in a deal that came with an implied equity value of approximately $485 million.

Mikko Keto, Group CEO and Mining President at FLSmidth, said: “The order of SAG mills, ball mills and cyclones to the Josemaria Resources copper-gold project in Argentina is very positive news for FLSmidth. It illustrates great confidence in FLSmidth and emphasises the proven performance and productivity of our high-end solutions. The efficiency of the equipment will meet our customer promise to deliver sustainable productivity to the copper and gold mining industry.”