Tag Archives: Granny Smith

Gold Fields keeps modernising Granny Smith with Mobilaris solutions

Gold Fields has implemented both Mobilaris Onboard and Mobilaris Situational Awareness at its Granny Smith underground mine in Western Australia as part of an ongoing modernisation program.

In 2018, Gold Fields launched a five-year modernisation program for the site. The first phase’s ambition is to ensure cost efficiency, productivity and a safe work environment by integrating data-driven solutions into the mine.

Michael Place, Mine Manager at Granny Smith, said Gold Field has three dedicated full-time personnel to work on the modernisation program. It has also employed external consultants and contractors to assist with the integration.

“Together, we integrate an underground LTE system to have full connectivity in the mine,” he said.

Gold Fields’ investment will also have environmental effects over time as its digitalisation allows the company to work more sustainably.

“Moving into a more digital world is going to make sure that we are sustainable long-term,” Place said. “For instance, we can maintain our cost profile during expansion and follow up on our environmental footprint.”

Historically, underground blasting has been one of the biggest time thieves in the Granny Smith Mine, with the operation currently losing four hours of production in a 24-hour period due to the firing. With the ongoing modernisation program, Place looks for the mine to become more efficient than before.

“Integrating technology into the mine allows us to look at options to reduce the inactive time,” he said. “We can increase efficiency through autonomous equipment, remote operations, and digital solutions. The expected outcome is a 5-15% increase in productivity.”

The Granny Smith Mine has close to 4,000 different locations, with over 100 employees underground at the same time. It already runs 1.2 km deep and, like many mines, is under constant development.

Michael Place, Mine Manager at Granny Smith

In 2019, a group from Gold Fields Granny Smith, including General Manager, Andrew Bywater, visited Boliden in Sweden to study the use of the Mobilaris product suite, with focus on Mobilaris Onboard and Mobilaris Situational Awareness in the Kristineberg mine.

Mobilaris Onboard, working as a machine navigator underground, creates traffic awareness and a safe and effective traffic flow, according to the company. Based on real-time data, Mobilaris Situational Awareness enables transparency and awareness. The information makes it possible to control the operations and resources, and people can quickly act upon what is happening and make smart decisions faster, Mobilaris says.

Because Mobilaris data and positions were shared in real time, the operation had seen an increase in safety and efficiency, according to Mobilaris.

This visit has since led to Gold Fields implementing both Mobilaris Onboard and Mobilaris Situational Awareness at its underground operations at Granny Smith.

Place said: “Mobilaris Onboard allows us to navigate to all locations underground quickly and efficiently. It will improve our productivity and decrease inactive time by reducing traffic congestion and finding equipment and machines faster.

“We are a haulage-constrained mine and, by reducing the cycle time of our haulage fleet, we can raise our productivity. It is a significant benefit.”

Strong customer relations allows Mobilaris to develop and test all products in real environments, as well as the possibility to bring companies to customer’s sites to experience the products in use, Mobilaris said.

“Our close relationship with the customer is a crucial success factor for Mobilaris,” Pascal Hansson, Sales Director, Mobilaris Mining & Civil Engineering, said. “All our solutions are tested in Boliden’s and other companies’ underground mines. This gives us the confidence to deliver what we promise to our customers.”

Gold Fields has plans to use Mobilaris Situational Awareness as its number one source of information and integrate it with fleet management, inventory systems, and the daily shift scheduler, according to Mobilaris. The mine’s digital investment is expected to pay off within a year, it added.

Place explained: “The location data will synchronise with daily schedules to ensure real-time data is captured from the time jobs are planned and executed. We are looking at efficiency improvements, but we are currently introducing this technology to maintain our production profile with the increasing depth and costs.”

The Gold Fields modernisation program has full support from top to bottom and is expected to be finished over the next two years, Mobilaris said.

During the research process, Gold Fields discovered that Mobilaris Onboard addresses specific safety issues. By sharing positional data and navigation in 3D, drivers can avoid traffic congestion and find shelter during emergencies.

Place said: “We have installed tablets in all our heavy vehicles. With Onboard’s traffic awareness feature, we can minimise the vehicle-vehicle interaction and the vehicle-personnel interaction. The application also tells us where to find the three nearest refuge chambers to our location. So, if there is an emergency, we can get the quickest path to safety.”

ABB tackles ‘open automation’ with UWA, ETP, AMIRA Global and Gold Fields

ABB says it has linked with the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) new Energy & Resources Digital Interoperability Industry 4.0 (ERDi i4.0) TestLab, run by Enterprise Transformation Partners (ETP), to advance Industry 4.0 open process automation standards.

This includes collaboration on AMIRA Global’s P1208 Interoperability Enablement for Natural Resources project, which is designed to realise the future digital mine. It aims to develop and implement interoperability standards for mine planning, mine scheduling and execution so equipment and applications for mine operations become ‘plug and play’. Building on the University of Western Australia I4.0 ERDi Test Lab (pictured), this initiative will enable an off-site test laboratory to evaluate efficacy of interoperability of technology without disrupting ongoing mining activities, according to ABB.

Separate to the AMIRA project, ABB is also working closely with ETP on an integrated systems project at Gold Fields’ Granny Smith mine, 740 km northeast of Perth, Western Australia, one of the largest and highest producing gold operations in the country.

The project will enhance ABB Ability™ Operations Management System (OMS) Platform – Fleet Management Software Module to support the latest in reliable messaging and Industry 4.0 interoperability standards; ISA-95 (IEC 62264) via B2MML V7.0, ABB said. This advancement will enable the mine to connect and coordinate mine operators, workforce, equipment and all mining activities in real-time, from face preparation to crusher, according to the company.

“In 2019, we launched the Integrated Systems project to increase production throughput of the Granny Smith gold mine,” Michael Place, Technical Service Manager, Gold Fields Australia, said. “To achieve the objective of a fully-connected mine, we are working with ABB and ETP to build an integrated business process and system architecture that will enable visibility of operational activities in near real-time via automated information exchange between various mining systems.

“The system architecture has been designed to allow deployment across various operations, both open pit and underground. This deployment will be the major phase of the technology strategy for the Granny Smith mine and will be a pilot for integrated platforms across Gold Fields Australia, which aims to create one of the most innovative, digitally connected mines in the world. This project and agreement will be key to achieving this.”

ETP Managing Director, John Kirkman, said: “ABB’s investment, both in financial terms as well as time, together with their expertise, is critical for this project to support the re-engineering of products that are often required to deliver a reliable, performant and standards compliant software package.

“The performance requirements of a software package that exchanges and processes granular events with rich information in real-time, when compared to a software package designed for periodical manual entry, are like comparing chalk and cheese, and that’s where ABB plays a big role.”

Stuart Cowie, Head of Industrial Automation Process Industries, ABB Australia, added: “Industry 4.0 and digital transformation are huge opportunities for the Australian mining industry with automation, analytics, and artificial intelligence generating insights and accelerating greater productivity and efficiency.

“This underlines ABB’s commitment to ensuring Industry 4.0 concepts influence its product roadmaps into the future, and demonstrates the significant value that can be delivered to customers through interoperability and automation across both processes and systems. It will give ABB valuable insights into digital transformation and Industry 4.0 concepts for mining. Through our work with the ERDi TestLab, the OMS platform has become an even more powerful tool with reliable real-time access to operational data through ISA95 standardised messages.”

As part of POC 1, ABB will showcase ABB Ability Operations Management System and Fleet Management System software to AMIRA P1208 project sponsors, automatically exchanging information with scheduling and materials tracking software packages via i4.0 standard interfaces.

Santos and Gold Fields agree on new gas deal to supply WA mines

Santos says it has entered into a new gas supply agreement with Gold Fields for its three gold mines in the state.

The company, Western Australia’s biggest domestic gas supplier, will supply nearly 5.5 PJ of natural gas from its Varanus Island gas plant (pictured) over three years, starting on July 1, 2020, as part of the agreement.

In Western Australia, Gold Fields owns and operates the St Ives open-pit/underground mine, the Agnew underground mine and the Granny Smith underground mine. These have throughput capacities of 4.7 Mt/y, 1.3 Mt/y and 3.5 Mt/y, respectively.

The 56 MW Agnew Hybrid Renewable project recently got up and running at Gold Fields’ Agnew mine. This includes five 110 m wind turbines, each with a rotor diameter of 140 m, delivering 18 MW; a 10,710-panel solar farm generating 4 MW; a 13 MW/4 MWh battery system; and an off-grid 21 MW gas/diesel engine power plant.

Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Gallagher, said: “We are delighted Gold Fields has come back to Santos after a short hiatus, reinforcing our position as Western Australia’s biggest supplier of gas to the local market.

“Santos supplies around 40% of the state’s total domestic demand, and we are committed to ongoing investment in developing new gas supplies in Western Australia.

“In these challenging economic times, we are focused on ensuring local gas prices remain competitive for Western Australian businesses over the long term.”

Perenti’s surface division awarded with A$155.5 million of new contracts

Perenti reports its Surface Mining Industry Sector Group (ISG) has been awarded A$155.5 million ($103 million) in new and extended contracts.

The new work, extensions, and expansion of scope is across 10 projects, with highlights including:

  • A three-year contract (with options to extend) for production drilling services with Boggabri Coal Operations (a part of Idemitsu Australia Resources Group) at its Boggabri coal mine in New South Wales, Australia;
  • A three-year contract extension with a major iron ore producer for reverse circulation (RC) and grade control drilling at its Western Australian operations;
  • A 12-month contract extension with Consolidated Minerals to support current mining operations and regional expansion projects (which has mining operations in Australia and Ghana);
  • Expansion of services for a major mining contractor in Queensland, which will double the contract value across the current three-year contract duration;
  • A 12-month extension to existing works at Gold Fields’ St Ives and Granny Smith gold projects, in Western Australia, which involves land and lake rigs for air core, RC and diamond drilling; and
  • An equipment hire agreement with E&P at Gold Fields’ Damang gold mine in Ghana.

Perenti Group Managing Director, Mark Norwell, said: “We have been targeting a strong pipeline of surface and underground work and I am pleased we continue to convert these opportunities into secured contracts across a range of different projects in both Australia and Africa.

“These latest awards add to $165 million in surface work we announced in December 2019 and the A$200 million contract we recently announced for our Underground ISG.”

Gold Fields goes for low-carbon energy solution at Agnew gold mine in Australia

Gold Fields says its Agnew gold mine, in Western Australia, will become one of Australia’s first mining operations to be predominantly powered by renewable and low-carbon energy following a deal with global energy group EDL.

Gold Fields and EDL have agreed on a A$112 million ($78 million) investment in what the gold miner says is a “world-leading energy microgrid combining wind, solar, gas and battery storage”.

The Agnew mine consists of two underground complexes and one processing plant, with a capacity of 1.3 Mt/y consisting of a three-stage crushing circuit, two-stage milling circuit, gravity circuit and carbon-in-pulp circuit.

The microgrid will be owned and operated by EDL, which will recoup its investment via a 10-year electricity supply agreement with Agnew.

The project, which is already under construction, has the backing of the Australian Government with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) contributing a recoupable A$13.5 million to its construction, according to Gold Fields.

The Agnew microgrid is initially forecast to provide 55-60% of the mine’s energy needs, with potential to meet almost all energy requirements at certain times, Gold Fields said. The Agnew microgrid will consist of five wind turbines delivering 18 MW of power, a 10,000-panel solar farm contributing 4 MW, a 13 MW/4 MWh battery energy storage system, and a 16 MW gas engine power station to underpin supply when required.

EDL said stage one consists of a new off-grid 23 MW power station incorporating 16 MW gas and 3 MW diesel generation and 4 MW photovoltaic solar, which is on track for completion in mid-2019. Stage two includes 18 MW wind generation, a 13 MW battery and an advanced micro-grid control system, with construction recently started and due for completion in 2020.

The hybrid microgrid at Agnew follows the announcement of a microgrid at Gold Fields’ Granny Smith mine, featuring 20,000 solar panels and a 2 MW/1 MWh battery system planned for completion in the December quarter.

Gold Fields Australia Executive Vice President, Stuart Mathews, said the Agnew hybrid microgrid project reflects the company’s strategic objective to strengthen energy security, optimise energy costs and reduce its carbon footprint through innovation and the adoption of new technologies.

“The ARENA contribution supports and encourages our efforts. We are making staged investments across our mines in Western Australia to significantly ramp up the innovative use of renewables to meet our dynamic and growing load requirements,” Mathews said.

The funding is part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Programme. ARENA CEO, Darren Miller, said the project marks a growing shift in the mining sector’s thinking around powering mine sites.

“The project Gold Fields is undertaking will provide a blueprint for other companies to deploy similar off-grid energy solutions and demonstrate a pathway for commercialisation, helping to decarbonise the mining and resources sector,” Miller said.

Gold Fields says it is embracing innovation and technology across all levels of its mining operations and Mathews said this also extended to its approach to power supply and demand management.

“At Agnew, we will be using instrumentation to detect approaching cloud cover for solar and, potentially in the future, detect changes in wind velocity. Based on this data, the gas power station will have forward-looking systems in place to schedule gas generators in response to forecast changes in the renewable energy supply,” he said.

EDL CEO, James Harman, said the company has seen increasing momentum towards hybrid energy solutions, particularly in remote, off-grid locations. “EDL is pleased to be an active contributor to Australia’s transition to sustainable energy,” Harman said. “Our knowledge and experience from our successful hybrid renewable projects will enable us to provide Agnew with greater than 50% renewable energy over the long term, without compromising power quality or reliability.”

Mathews said: “The configuration of Agnew’s hybrid solution is a first for Gold Fields and is an excellent example of using innovation and technology to improve efficiencies and lower costs. We are fast sharing lessons from this project with our other regions, as part of our global strategic initiatives to improve our security of supply and reduce carbon emissions.”

Gold Fields is the third largest gold producer in Australia. It currently owns and operates three mines in Western Australia and is completing the construction of a fourth, Gruyere, in joint venture with Gold Road Resources.

Bis’ 20-wheel Rexx haul truck up for the challenge at Gold Fields’ Granny Smith mine

Rexx, the 20-wheel mine haul truck designed and built by Bis, has been drafted in for a challenging assignment at the Granny Smith gold mine in Western Australia, Bis says.

The Gold Fields-owned mine, near Laverton, identified the dual powered 20-wheel dump truck as being suitable for the task of helping shift thousands of tonnes of waste material out of the Wallaby Pit to a stockpile 15 km away.

Bis CEO, Brad Rogers, said the campaign not only capitalised on Rexx’s strengths, including its versatility and range, but also provided a challenging environment to further test the truck in different conditions.

“Rexx is performing extremely well at the mine, proving its ability to come out of the Wallaby pit with a 160-t payload,” he said. “As part of the testing during the trial, Rexx has also completed numerous hill starts fully loaded, on the incline.”

Rogers said the work at Granny Smith provided a “perfect demonstration” of the range capability of the new truck, with Rexx required to complete round trips of 30 km from the pit to the stockpile location.

He added that Rexx has more than four times the distance capability of competing dump trucks and an on-demand power system that lowers fuel consumption. The vehicle also has the capacity to carry enough fuel for at least two 12 hour shifts, eliminating downtime needed for refuelling.

Granny Smith General Manager, Andrew Bywater, said: “We are embracing innovation and technology across our mining operations and this is a great example of how we can work with our business partners to create advances in the industry. We see this as a real opportunity to explore potential improvements in trucking efficiency, and are encouraged by what we have seen to date.”

The work at Granny Smith follows extensive testing at Glencore’s Murrin Murrin mine where Rexx proved its ability to deliver up to a 30% reduction in operating costs, compared with conventional dump trucks.

The truck has also operated fully loaded in pits below the water table and handled the sticky and boggy conditions with ease, Bis said.

Rogers said the versatility of Rexx, including interchangeable bins, had sparked interest not only in the resources industry – internationally and in Australia – but with potential customers across a range of sectors including construction and civil.

“Rexx is the latest example of how Bis finds the best and inventive ways to haul, transport, handle, process and deliver our customers’ critical commodities,” he said.

Bis has been shortlisted for the Australian Financial Review Most Innovative Company awards, which is set to be announced in August 2019.

Aggreko’s modular li-ion battery system off to Gold Fields’ Granny Smith mine

Aggreko is set to deploy a new mobile and modular energy storage system at Gold Fields’ Granny Smith gold mine, in Western Australia, as the temporary power, temperature control and energy services company looks to expand its 10 GW fleet of distributed energy assets.

The deployment of Y.Cube, a fully integrated, ready-to-install lithium-ion battery system built on the expertise of energy storage firm Younicos, which Aggreko acquired in 2017, is all part of Aggreko’s hybrid microgrid solution at Granny Smith, one of the world’s largest renewable energy microgrids powered by more than 20,000 solar panels and backed up by a 2 MW/1 MWh battery system.

In addition to the Granny Smith deployment, Aggreko said the Y.Cube would be used in several African mining projects.

Housed entirely within a standard 20-ft (6.1-m) container, the 1 MW units can be delivered and quickly deployed worldwide, according to Aggreko.

The system can cover a variety of applications from 1 MW up to multi-MW power output and is available in two versions: a 30-minute ‘power’ unit and a 60-minute ‘energy’ unit, the company said.

“The 20-ft container houses batteries, inverters, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), fire protection and auxiliary components. These are tested and pre-assembled by Aggreko experts and controlled by intelligent software,” Aggreko said.

It is designed for a wide ambient temperature range from -20°C to +50°C to match the often-challenging requirements of remote customer sites, the company added.

Dan Ibbetson, Managing Director, Global Products and Technology at Aggreko, said renewable energy is increasingly affordable, but not yet as universally available as it should be. At the same time, energy demand is increasing.

“Battery storage systems offer the flexibility required for safe and stable use of wind and solar power and increase the efficiency of thermal units.”

He added: “In the Y.Cube, we have successfully combined proven battery expertise from Younicos with Aggreko’s containerisation experience. The Y.Cube enables us to provide cheaper, cleaner and smarter energy wherever it’s needed for our customers.

“It is designed to fit seamlessly within the Aggreko existing fleet and can be easily combined with solar and thermal products to provide our customers with the lowest cost of energy. We are now building a fleet of Y.Cubes, which will enable us to quickly deploy on short notice.”

The Y.Cube is available for short-term needs for as little as six months or for periods of years under Aggreko’s “Energy-Storage-as-a-Service” model, the company said. It can also be bundled with Aggreko’s other hardware systems as part of the company’s “Microgrids-as-a-Service” offer.

Karim Wazni, Managing Director, Aggreko Microgrid and Storage Solutions, said: “We’re already seeing considerable interest from a range of sectors and applications.

“One of the most economically attractive propositions is to combine the Y.Cube with natural gas and solar generation in off-grid applications. This could include remote mining sites, in weak grids like islands, or, with gas generators only to provide bridging power – for example in datacentres.”

Aggreko to deliver renewable power microgrid to Gold Fields’ Granny Smith mine

Gold Fields’ Granny Smith gold mine is set to install one of the world’s largest renewable energy microgrids powered by more than 20,000 solar panels and backed up by a 2 MW/1 MWh battery system, according to mobile and modular power company Aggreko.

The mining company has contracted the Scotland-based firm to design, build and operate the 8 MW solar power generation system along with the battery system at Granny Smith, which is located east of Laverton in Western Australia’s Goldfields region.

In June, said it was working with Gold Fields on plans to provide 7.3 MW of solar power generation, as well as a 2 MW/1 MWh battery system, to be integrated with the existing gas supply as a hybrid power station.

Gold Fields Executive Vice President Australasia, Stuart Mathews, said: “We are thrilled to reach an agreement with Aggreko for the design, installation and operation of this innovative source of renewable energy which will generate nearly enough power to run the mine’s processing operations.

“We expect the renewable power microgrid will be up and running at Granny Smith by Q4 (December quarter) 2019 and it will be a welcome addition to our suite of on-site energy solutions across other operations which will enable us to reduce our carbon footprint,” he said.

Construction of the renewable energy system is planned to commence in May and, when completed, will be one of the world’s largest hybrid off-grid microgrids, integrated with Aggreko’s existing 24.2 MW natural gas generation.

Aggreko AusPac Managing Director, George Whyte, said the solar, thermal and battery storage assets will be seamlessly integrated and managed by Aggreko’s control software platform – maintaining full system availability and optimising the lifetime of existing thermal assets.

Whyte said: “The solar-plus-battery system is projected to reduce fuel consumption by 10-13% – the equivalent of removing 2,000 cars from the road – and produce about 18 GWh of clean energy per year.

“Gold Fields understands the performance, cost and environmental advantages for their operation, as well as the need to integrate this resource into their system without compromising power supply reliability or mining productivity.”

While the solar photovoltaic (PV) will reduce the need to run thermal generators, the battery plant will provide essential services such as spinning reserve displacement, PV ramp rate control and transient voltage/frequency support.

The current Granny Smith power station was designed and installed by Aggreko in 2016 and the new hybrid power system, combined with a thermal station expansion, will meet the increased daily power needs of 24.2 MW, with 12.2 MW allocated to the Wallaby underground mine and the remaining 12 MW to the processing plant, associated facilities and mining camp, Aggreko said. Granny Smith produced 290,000 oz of gold in 2017.