Tag Archives: Goldfields

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.

RCT goes to new heights for Western Australia underground mining clients

Autonomous solutions specialist RCT says it has fulfilled requests from mining clients and devised a unique warning system designed to prevent oversized equipment from getting stuck inside underground mining portals.

Staff from RCT’s branch in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, were separately approached by two major mining clients in the Goldfields region and asked to devise a solution to prevent portal blockages, which can severely disrupt regular mining operations.

Branch technicians subsequently produced the Over Height Portal Warning System, which consists of a laser mounted at a particular height connected to a unit placed at the portal entrance.

The unit, designed and built in RCT’s workshop in Kalgoorlie, will produce an audible alarm and flash the word ‘STOP’ to alert machine operators and nearby site personnel there is a potential over-height hazard.

Site personnel are able to determine the system’s field of view and isolate areas such as a corner or pole so that the system will only activate when it senses new objects, according to the company.

RCT Kalgoorlie Branch Manager, Rick Radcliffe, said: “Occasionally underground haul trucks try to re-enter the portal with their trays accidentally in a raised position and this causes the trucks to get wedged in the portal.

“The time needed to dislodge the haul truck from the portal is very costly to the mining operation. Therefore, the Over Height Portal Warning System is a cost effective and easy solution that will help keep mining operations running smoothly.”

Since its development, the Over Height Portal Warning System has been sold to 10 mine sites throughout the Goldfields region, RCT says.

Mine Tech DSPA fire protection system moves into WA’s Goldfields region

Mine Tech says it has completed a successful installation of its DSPA Standalone Fire Protection Aerosol system at one of its client’s sites in the Goldfields of Western Australia.

The DSPA aerosol generators 11-1, 11-2 and 11-3 can be used as a part of a highly effective fire extinguishing system, according to Mine Tech.

The generators are non-pressurised and installed inside a room or compartment that requires protection. After activation, an aerosol cloud is generated, which expands volumetrically, flooding the space and extinguishing the fire, according to the company. The DSPA generators, which offer a 15-year service life, are mainly designed for use in unoccupied and unoccupied areas and are effective on class A, B, C fires, Mine Tech says.

“The DSPA generators 11-1, 11-2, and 11-3 are recommended for the protection of narrow compartments or objects, such as suspended ceilings, raised floors, cable ducts, transport vehicles, switchgears, etc,” Mine Tech added.

RCT and Northern Star carry out ‘history-making’ trial in WA’s Goldfields region

RCT and Northern Star Resources have recently completed an autonomous technology trial in Western Australia’s Goldfields region that bodes well for the future of underground remote operations centres in the state.

In early October, RCT set up a ControlMaster® Automation Centre at the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) in Kalgoorlie with a network connection to an underground LHD equipped with ControlMaster Guidance Automation at the East Kunduna Joint Venture (EKJV) mine.

EKJV is a joint venture between Northern Star, Tribune Resources and Rand Mining, managed by Northern Star  and located around 40 km away from Kalgoorlie.

The mining method at the Kundana operations is from underground using up-hole longhole stoping with paste backfill.

The project to set up a Remote Operating Centre (ROC) was a combined effort by technical specialists from RCT and Northern Star Resources, RCT said.

Once operational, a Northern Star Resources equipment operator controlled the ControlMaster Guidance Loader from the WASM Kalgoorlie facility and resumed site required remote production rates.

Northern Star Resources currently uses ControlMaster Guidance Automation on its underground LHD fleet at the EKJV from an onsite Surface Control System.

RCT said: “The trial is a history-making event for the Goldfields region and represents an exciting opportunity for both Northern Star Resources and RCT and what can be achieved through the use of smart technology.”

RCT Kalgoorlie Branch Manager, Rick Radcliffe, said: “This trial has helped both businesses to understand what future opportunities there are in autonomous technology, which is not only exciting for both business but the local Goldfields community as well.

“To conduct the trial from the WA School of Mines is also a story worth sharing with the wider mining and METS (mining equipment technology and services) community, to showcase the great innovation coming from the Western Australian Goldfields region.”

ROCs represent great job opportunities for members of the labour force who traditionally would not be able to work on a mine site due to various lifestyle or personal factors, he added.

Chief Executive Officer of Northern Star Resources, Stuart Tonkin, said: “ROCs are proven for surface operations, but this advancement for an underground application is a significant development led by RCT in the Kalgoorlie Goldfields.”

He added: “Northern Star Resources encourages continual improvement and innovation, and we are very pleased with RCT’s commitment to developing practical mining solutions.”

Bis secures four-year contract extension at Glencore-owned Murrin Murrin mine

Bis says it has extended its haulage and site services contracts for Minara Resources at its Murrin Murrin nickel mine in Western Australia’s north-eastern Goldfields.

The multi-year extension will see Bis extend its longstanding partnership with Minara, wholly-owned by Glencore, where it has been delivering a range of services at Murrin Murrin since the operation began in 1998.

Bis’ services at Murrin Murrin include haulage and haul and road maintenance services, calcrete services, and bulk logistics services. The Murrin Murrin site also recently hosted Bis’ new innovative haul truck, Rexx, as part of its trials in working mines across Western Australia.

Bis Chief Operating Officer, Michael Porter, said: “We are proud to have been part of the Minara operations for over 20 years, working in collaboration with Minara to deliver safe and innovative solutions that add value to their operation. We look forward to continuing our successful relationship with our colleagues at Murrin Murrin.”

Commercial launch for CSIRO’s ‘Going for Gold’ process technology

On the back of successful industry trials and the first gold pour last year, Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, says it will transfer its ‘Going for Gold’ process technology to Australian company, Clean Mining Ltd.

The alternative gold recovery process technology, which dispenses with toxic cyanide and mercury currently used in most gold production processes worldwide, could open the door for Australian and international gold miners and end users to capitalise on demand for sustainable processes and products, according to CSIRO Research Program Leader, Dr Chris Vernon.

“Cyanide is used in about 75% of global gold production, and while the industry works to manage the associated risks, there have been recent toxic spills overseas that have caused great concern to communities,” Dr Vernon said.

“Developing an alternative process, which eliminates hazardous chemicals while maximising gold recovery, meets industry and consumer demands for more sustainably-produced gold.”

The CSIRO-developed ‘Going for Gold’ process replaces cyanide with a reagent, known as thiosulphate, creating a relatively cost-effective, non-toxic and safe alternative to conventional cyanide-based gold recovery process, according to CSIRO.

Clean Mining will deliver the new technology solution to a global market of gold producers, offering technology products and licences as well as turn-key processing plant options, plus equipment and product support throughout the mine life.

Clean Mining Managing Director, Jeff McCulloch, says the technology is suitable for new greenfield mines, locations where cyanide cannot be used or is banned, as well as in existing mines looking to upgrade and transition to the new technology.

“This technology provides gold miners with an opportunity to proactively evolve their environmental, social and governance standards,” McCullloch said.

“This new technology literally delivers a new gold standard for the global gold industry.

“The technology is scalable and cost effective, and the process has been tested and proven at an industrial-scale to deliver commercially viable results.”

Clean Mining is currently in negotiations with ICA Mining Services Pty Ltd in the Northern Territory of Australia to commission the first commercial plant to process gold using this technology, and with Nu-Fortune Gold to commission a plant in the Goldfields of Western Australia.