Tag Archives: Goldfields

Barminco to debut Epiroc Diamec Smart 6M in the Goldfields of Western Australia

Barminco says it has become the first company in the world to debut the new generation of Epiroc’s Mobile Carrier Rig (MCR) – the GEN 2 Epiroc Diamec Smart 6M.

This second-generation underground mobile core drill rig uses the drilling capacity of the Diamec Smart 6 automated operating system, and the mobility and sturdiness of the S2 Boomer carrier with the addition of Epiroc’s automated rod handler, the contractor said.

Epiroc says the the Diamec Smart 6M combines the best of two worlds – the high productivity and accuracy of a Diamec core drilling rig, with the mobility of a robust carrier designed for underground use.

The Rod Handling System, coupled with the Smart 6 Rig Control System, allows for full automation, increasing operator safety and productivity, according to Barminco.

The company said: “Combining Epiroc’s cutting-edge technology of their drilling and rod handling operating systems brings the underground drilling industry a step closer to having ‘no hands on steel’ and taking a giant step forward towards a safer environment for the operators.”

The contractor is due to commission the rig next month at a client site in the Goldfields of Western Australia.

Barminco added: “The addition of the Epiroc GEN 2 MCR to our state-of-the-art fleet supports our Diamond Drill team to Enable Tomorrow, work Smarter Together and take No Shortcuts. Following these Barminco Principles will help create a safer environment for our people and will assist our client in consistently achieving production targets.”

DOK-ING Extra Low Profile Dozer wins plaudits in Australia underground mine site trial

Mine Tech Australia says one of its clients in Western Australia’s Goldfields region is putting a DOK-ING XLPD Extra Low Profile Dozer through its paces.

Back in June, the company said it recently completed DOK-ING XLP system testing and operator awareness training in the lead up to mobilising the unit for this underground mine site trial. That trial is now underway.

“The client’s team on site have been putting the XLPD through its paces in real-life work environments and we have received overwhelming support for its effectiveness, versatility, and application in difficult underground mining applications working alongside their team of handheld mining specialists to improve their turnaround time for scraping-out slots and other development works,” the company reported.

The XLPD Compact Robotic Dozer presents a very low profile remote-controlled machine with the goal of increasing productivity and safety in material handling operations.

Being designed to withstand the most severe working conditions in the mining industry, the XLPD has proven to be a safe and effective asset, Mine Tech, one of DOK-ING’s regional dealers, said.

As part of the Extra Low Profile segment, the dozer is suitable for activities in construction works, cleaning of production panels, sweeping and vamping activities, cleaning under conveyor belts and other hazardous environment operations, it said. This is where numerous attachments such as bucket, ejector bucket, dozer blade, brush and gripper tools come in handy.

Minetek breathes new life into Saracen’s Thunderbox gold mine

Minetek has been chosen to install an interim primary ventilation solution at Saracen Mineral Holdings’ Thunderbox operations in the northern Goldfields region of Western Australia.

Saracen was looking for an innovative ventilation solution to replace the traditional axial fans that were not supplying the required ventilation to increase production at the site, Minetek said.

The METS company said it was able to cater to the client’s needs and offer a custom solution that was installed with minimal disruption.

“We were able to customise a solution that was the same size in diameter to their existing fans but delivered a substantial increase to performance at the same time,” Minetek General Manager for Ventilation, Jeremy Sutherland, said.

Minetek’s POD (Pressure On Demand) technology allows the client to incrementally increase ventilation levels underground when required and give the client control over their energy consumption, the company said.

Saracen Thunderbox Underground Manager, Des Koh, said Minetek fans were selected to upgrade the site’s primary ventilation network, in preparation for a production ramp up, due to their ability to produce almost double the ventilation flow of the previous setup while only taking up slightly more room.

“The relatively small fans allowed us to utilise our existing bulkhead, where we were severely limited by space, which allowed us to use our existing infrastructure and dramatically reduce downtime in the mine during the change out,” Koh said.

“The installation was completed safely by our own personnel with technical support from Minetek and allows us to scale our ventilation flow with their pressure on demand system to suit our production profile.”

BHP Nickel West to reduce emissions with Southern Cross Energy contract extension

BHP has executed a 15-year contract extension to its power purchase agreement (PPA) with energy provider Southern Cross Energy (SCE) for the supply of electricity to its Nickel West operations in the Goldfields of Western Australia.

The agreement extends the current arrangement to 2038, giving Nickel West access to all electricity produced by SCE.

Nickel West Asset President, Eduard Haegel, said the PPA also provided Nickel West with the additional ability to integrate renewable electricity generation, including solar and wind, with energy storage technologies to meet its emissions reduction targets and deliver lower carbon, sustainable nickel to its customers.

Study phases for renewable energy supply and carbon emissions reduction under the extended PPA are underway, including an 18.5 MW solar photovoltaic farm at Nickel West’s Leinster and Mount Keith operations, supported by a battery energy storage system. A 17 MW waste heat steam turbine system at the Kalgoorlie smelter is also being evaluated to provide low-emissions electricity from furnace heat recovery, BHP said.

The combined projects have the potential to reduce Nickel West’s Scope 2 electricity greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15% by 2023, based on 2020 levels.

“These projects contribute to the first phase of our emissions reduction strategy, as we continue to evaluate plans for additional renewable energy supply to decarbonise our nickel operations,” Haegel said.

“We are at the beginning of an energy revolution that will transform our world and materially increase demand for nickel. BHP Nickel West is well placed to provide our nickel units sustainably, and with one of the lowest carbon footprints.”

BHP has committed to a science-based target of a 30% reduction in carbon emissions from 2020 levels by 2030, with a long-term target of net zero operational emissions by 2050.

“Our integrated value chain and the sulphide nature of our nickel deposits makes Nickel West one of the lowest carbon emitters in the industry and gives BHP a global advantage in the sustainable production of nickel,” Haegel said.

Barminco, Ausdrill transport Rhino 100 raise borer to Regis’ Rosemont gold mine

Having become the first company globally to have taken delivery of a mobile raiseboring machine with uphole, downhole, and back reaming capability, Barminco is transporting a Rhino 100 Raise Borer to another client site in Australia.

With the help of its Perenti surface mining partner, Ausdrill, the newest addition was recently transported to Regis Resources’ Rosemont gold mine in Western Australia.

Just last year, Barminco sealed a three-year underground mining services contract with Regis at Rosemont, which has been transitioning from open-pit to underground mining at the operation.

Barminco said: “Through safe and rapid mobilisation, we are able to meet our clients’ needs and transport our equipment across multiple sites to complete a range of drilling campaigns.”

Since April 2019, Barminco’s first Rhino has travelled a combined 15,000 km between four client sites in the Goldfields of Western Australia, drilling a total of 3,843 m.

The Rhino is manufactured by TRB-Raise Borers in Finland but is equipped with Sandvik tools and is distributed by Sandvik. It is a fully mechanised and self-contained electro-hydraulic mobile raiseborer designed for slot raising in underground mining. The latest models also have an optional back reaming module.

In addition to helping transport Barminco’s latest Rhino to Regis’ site, Ausdrill has recently added a new Boart Longyear LF™160 drill rig and FREEDOM™ Loader combination to its diamond drilling fleet.

This rig reduces the crew’s “Hands On Steel” interaction, while improving overall safety standards, Ausdrill said.

When paired with the FL262 FREEDOM Loader, the LF160 combination is ideal for contractors who want to target sophisticated surface drilling exploration contracts that stipulate some of the highest safety standards, without compromising on productivity, Boart Longyear says.

Ora Banda’s Davyhurst gold mine restart to be powered by LNG

Ora Banda Mining and Wesfarmers’ liquified natural gas business, EVOL LNG, have signed a new long-term agreement to bring LNG to the Davyhurst gold mine in Western Australia’s Goldfields region.

The gold mine is aiming to restart production in January 2021 after being placed into care and maintenance in 2018.

Ora Banda’s definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the Davyhurst Restart project outlined a production target of 418,000 oz of gold over an initial five-year mine life based on an ore reserve of 460,000 oz (6.1 Mt at 2.4 g/t Au) from six deposits within 50 km of the existing 1.2 Mt/y plant. The plant is being refurbished by GR Engineering Services.

EVOL LNG’s Manager, Nick Rea, said the business had proven its winning LNG solution to the mining industry over the past 12 years with its customer base continuing to grow.

“We are excited to support the Davyhurst mine back into production,” he said. “Ora Banda is now our ninth mining customer and we are keen to provide them with the benefits and value that are afforded to EVOL LNG’s customers.”

EVOL LNG will build, own, operate and maintain the on-site LNG storage and vaporisation facility at the mine. The facility will use EVOL LNG’s modular design, which, the company says, allows for fast installation and expandability if the mine’s energy requirements increase in the future.

Ora Banda Mining’s Managing Director & CEO, David Quinlivan, said: “Ora Banda’s agreement with EVOL LNG has enabled the company to secure a stable long-term energy solution for Davyhurst on terms consistent with those outlined in the DFS. The use of LNG as the primary fuel source for the Davyhurst power station also provides significant
environmental benefits.

“The company estimates its power generation greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by approximately 25,000 t during the initial five years of operation when compared to conventional diesel power generation.”

The mine will use EVOL LNG to fuel a 7.5 MW gas-fired power station, with supply planned to commence from December 2020.

The LNG will be supplied from EVOL LNG’s Kwinana production facility in Western Australia, which was expanded earlier this year. Planning is underway for the next expansion to meet the growing market demand.

CRC ORE’s Kal Hub integrated into Curtin University’s WA School of Mines

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub, an initiative of the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE), has, this week, transitioned to be part of Curtin University’s Western Australian School of Mines (WASM).

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub has been operating out of the Chamber of Mines and Energy (CME) office in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, since 2018. It was established in the renowned Goldfields mining community thanks to a partnership between CRC ORE, Curtin University, the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia, the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and CME.

CRC ORE Chief Operating Officer, Dr Luke Keeney, said he was pleased that the Kal Hub has become part of WASM and will continue this collaborative innovation.

“We are proud of what has been achieved through the Kal Hub since its inception and look forward to seeing great things under its new stewardship,” Dr Keeney said. “It is an optimal outcome that Curtin University, one of our valued Research Participants and key partner in the hub to date, is ensuring the future of the Kal Hub as a centre of mining innovation for Western Australia and beyond.”

Curtin University Kalgoorlie Campus Director, Sabina Shugg, said the Kal Hub is a welcome addition to the local campus.

“The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub is growing in stature and already has strong ties to the University, WASM and the local community,” Shugg said. “It is fitting that the Kal Hub is now operated locally to focus on innovations and solutions for the local mining industry.”

Reflecting on the hub and its achievements while operating as a node of CRC ORE, Dr Keeney said the flagship Integrated Screening and Particle Sorting project was a standout.

“This collaborative study with Australian mining companies BHP, Norton Gold Fields and Saracen on the integration of screening and particle sorting techniques is delivering benefits across the resources sector,” Dr Keeney said. “Run through the hub, this study developed a robust and scientifically rigorous framework for collecting, testing and reporting results for integrated screening and particle sorting techniques in a variety of ore domains.”

Dr Keeney said the hub creates opportunities for innovation, collaboration, employment and education.

“We’re particularly proud of being able to engage students – mining’s future brightest minds, with the hub through the vacation student program,” he said.

As part of the transition, Kal Hub Technical Adviser, Dr Laurence Dyer, now works full time for Curtin University. He divides his time between hub projects and his existing role as Curtin’s Discipline Lead for Metallurgical Engineering.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to support collaborative innovation throughout the Goldfields region and beyond,” Dr Dyer said.

Curtin University is planning several new initiatives for the Kal Hub including scaling up an existing major water management project and new partnerships with leading mining technology providers.

RCT helps Evolution Mining transition to fully-autonomous operations at Mungari

RCT says it has successfully commissioned Evolution Mining’s underground LHD fleet at the Mungari gold mine with RCT’s proprietary ControlMaster® automation technology.

The project has transformed Evolution Mining’s underground loader fleet away from its previous teleremote provider in favour of RCT’s fully-autonomous technology solution, RCT says.

RCT installed and commissioned its ControlMaster Guidance Automation solution onto one CAT R2900 underground loader and one CAT R1700 underground loader at the Mungari operation in Western Australia’s Goldfields.

RCT supplied two Automation Centres located at designated work zones within the mine fitted with G-Dash and provides the operators with real-time, graphical machine data.

The project also involved installing a communications network, critical spares parts and a specialised RCT parts cabinet, according to the company.

Ryan Noden, RCT Business Development Manager Mining, said he was pleased RCT had continued to build on its existing relationship with Evolution Mining.

“RCT’s automation solution was previously established at one of Evolution Mining’s other projects and is now helping the Mungari operation further optimise production capabilities,” Noden said.

“We have been working with Evolution Mining for the past few months planning the transition to RCT’s automation solution that will deliver strong productivity gains.

“Our ControlMaster Guidance Automation technology sets Evolution Mining onto a pathway to full mine digitisation with the ability to scale our technology as the mine develops and introduce the latest technology upgrades when required.

“Mungari will receive on-ground technical support through our branch in Kalgoorlie backed by a team of highly experienced automation specialists.”

A spokesperson for Evolution Mining said: “Evolution Mining has seen a dramatic reduction in remote-related machine damage and a huge improvement in operator comfort and workplace enjoyment. It’s wonderful to see Evolution Mining providing state-of-the-art facilities for its employees.”

RCT will also empower site personnel with comprehensive on-site training packages for machine operators and maintenance personnel, it said.

Macmahon and Redsands looking at rehab, contract mining opportunities in WA

Macmahon has signed an agreement with Redsands Rehabilitation to jointly pursue rehabilitation and contract mining opportunities in the northern Goldfields region of Western Australia.

Redsands is an Indigenous-owned business focused on the rehabilitation and revegetation of land disturbed by mining. The company was founded by Dennis Sceghi, who has worked in the mining industry as an equipment operator and contractor for over 30 years and is also an elder of the Kultju native title group.

Macmahon CEO and Managing Director, Michael Finnegan, noted that by working together, Macmahon and Red Sands will have an enhanced ability to identify work, offer economic opportunities to Indigenous people and improve the sustainability of the mining industry.

“Redsands is a regional business with very specialised environmental expertise, drawing on the skills of traditional owners,” he said. “With this agreement we will be able to target new opportunities which may not have been available to us individually. We also hope to be able to create additional Indigenous employment and expand our rehabilitation services in Western Australia.”

Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub uncovers a fraction of processing value

Extensive testing conducted by a Kalgoorlie, Western Australia-based research hub has found Western Australian Goldfields mine sites can add value to their operations by focusing on small size fractions.

In recent decades, the primary driver to maximise profitability of mining operations has been to mine and process as much material as possible to exploit economies of scale. This has led to bigger equipment, higher throughput and greater production, but not necessarily efficient use of resources.

With the concerns of declining grades, more complex orebodies, greater haulage distances, higher energy costs and water usage, any approach that can alleviate the impact of these issues is highly desirable.

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub recently explored use of a pre-concentration technique known as “Grade by Size Deportment”.

“This technique exploits the propensity for some ores to exhibit preferential breakage leading to concentration of minerals in specific size fractions,” it explained.

Several sites within the Goldfields region of WA showed significant potential for separation by size to provide value to their operations, according to the hub. This is particularly the case where either marginal grades are present or growing distances from face to surface, or, from mine to mill, are subject to increasing transport costs, it said.

Research and test work by the hub show that natural grade by size deportment during coarse rock breakage and screening is a key lever for generating high-value coarse separation, it said. This, in turn, can drive better productivity and returns for mine operators.

The Kal Hub, established in 2018 by the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE), enables focused collaboration between researchers; mining equipment, technology and services suppliers; and mining companies to unlock value for Australian mining through technology development.

CRC ORE Chief Operating Officer, Dr Luke Keeney, said: “In a short amount of time, the hub has been able to bring together some of the most innovative people in industry and research, enabling collaborative innovation to occur.

“This collaboration is good for the Goldfields, and for the wider mining industry, as it demonstrates the benefits mine sites can experience by deploying various aspects of Grade Engineering®, including grade-by-size deportment.”

Grade Engineering is a system-based methodology developed by CRC ORE designed to reject low value material early in the extraction value chain and pre-concentrate processing plant feed. A key lever for successful Grade Engineering is grade-by-size deportment, the hub said.

The Kal Hub Technical Advisor, Dr Laurence Dyer, said the objective of the Grade-by-Size Deportment project was to undertake initial representative sample testing to determine natural deportment Response Rankings at a range of deposits in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region.

“This project provided an introduction for industry participants to Grade Engineering and an indication of potential opportunities that grade-by-size deportment may present,” Dr Dyer said.

“A number of companies came on board and we were able to obtain diamond drill core and reverse circulation (RC) drilling samples from a variety of sites in the Goldfields to crush, screen and assay to develop a snapshot of responses to this approach.”

Samples were crushed where necessary and screened into up to six size fractions, with a finer set of screens used for the RC samples to accommodate the difference in particle size distribution.

As expected, gold sites displayed significant variation in response, while all nickel sites tested showed significant upgrade in the finer fractions of both nickel and cobalt, the hub said.

“RC samples were a compelling sample option due to their prevalence and self-preparation for screening, however there remains a question as to the legitimacy of the results they generate,” it added.

Dr Dyer said: “Gold samples produced varied data with the majority of sites producing low to moderate upgrades on average.

“The RC samples generated greater variation and often decreased in grade at the finest size fractions, likely due to particles being below liberation size, creating issues with the response ranking fit.”

The Kal Hub research also showed nickel produced far more consistent behaviour with all sites producing moderate to high responses for both nickel and cobalt. While for some samples the nickel and cobalt response rankings matched well, in others, the nickel upgraded significantly better, it said.