Tag Archives: haul trucks

Hastings Deering, Cat and Rio Tinto carry out Australia’s first 777 D to E conversion

In what it says is a first for the Australia market, Hastings Deering has successfully completed the conversion of 777D haul trucks into 777E models for Rio Tinto’s Gove bauxite operations in the Northern Territory.

The 777D to E conversion process includes an engine upgrade from an older Cat 3508 to a C32 Tier 2 engine, a transmission upgrade to electronic clutch control, torque converter upgrade and an upgraded cab with the latest electronics and safety aspects.

Nearing the end of mine life, Gove was looking at innovative ways to reduce its environmental impact, extend fleet life and optimise return on investment, Hastings Deering said.

Brendan Coleing, Superintendent, Mining Maintenance, said that the Gove operation has focused heavily on building safe and reliable machinery to meet the targeted life of its assets and has been working to reduce environmental emissions.

“With a 24/7 operation, we need to plan and strategically think about our assets, their maintenance and lifecycle,” he said.

“All machines have availability targets. Ultimately, we want to keep them in the field as long as possible. The 777D to E Conversion project was a way we could continue the journey to do that, with the added benefit of providing improved technology to our operational teams.”

He concluded: “We’re excited that Gove operations was the first Australian mine to undertake this project, and only the second in the world. With a significant reduction in our carbon footprint, fuel consumption and maintenance costs, and an improved operator experience, really, we were challenged with: why wouldn’t we?”

With the first of the 777 trucks now back on site, the Rio Tinto team has seen a 5-6% fuel reduction, proving that effective planning for this fleet conversion has improved economy on site, Hastings Deering said.

With Cat equipment built to perform over multiple lifetimes, the Cat Certified Rebuild (CCR) was the most efficient way to help get the most economic value out of the asset investment, according to Hastings Deering.

A CCR is a full machine rebuild that provides a like-new machine, inclusive of all Cat updates, to help achieve a full machine life supported by the Caterpillar warranty.

In early 2020, the Hastings Deering team worked with Rio Tinto on an alternative solution for engine replacement in its D11R fleet that, it says, reduced costs, fuel use and emissions while extending lifespans. This incorporated replacing the 3508 engines with the newer C32 engines.

“Recent success with repowering our D11 fleet with C32 engines has helped our mining operations move more bauxite due to increased power in the machine,” Coleing said. “This, in turn, allowed us to plan for the 777D to E conversions to take place in the workshop to complete the CCRs.”

Chris Polkinghorne, Mining Support Rep at Hastings Deering, said that the 777D to E conversion was brought about through collaboration with Caterpillar, Rio Tinto Gove and Hastings Deering.

“As a team we worked through what the benefits of this conversion would be, what was required, the planning phase and then how to execute the project in as little time as possible,” he said. “The 777D to E conversion redefines performance adding all the advancements of the 777E truck model.

“For the operator, improved ergonomics provide enhanced comfort, safety, and visibility, to maximise productivity and reduce fatigue.”

Centamin working with VR Steel, Real Mining and Aresco on truck tray rollout at Sukari

Centamin’s Sukari gold mine in Egypt is in the process of upgrading its fleet of Caterpillar 785C haul trucks with “lightweight truck trays” designed by VR Steel and fabricated by Egypt-based Aresco.

In 2020, the miner trialled the use of these high production trays, which demonstrated a 10% gain in truck productivity through larger payload and faster cycle time. This led to a decision for a broader roll-out in 2021 across the haul fleet, Centamin said in its 2020 sustainability report.

The introduction of these trays, designed so the floor can be replaced for extended overall service life, are part of the company’s plans to improve cycle loading times and truck/loader matching at the gold operation. They also bring sustainability benefits to the operation given they reduce the truck body weight, increase the payload and improve fuel and tyre efficiency.

Centamin, in the 2020 sustainability report, confirmed it had placed an order for the local fabrication of 44 high production trays to fit the haul fleet in accordance with OEM specifications.

Thiess bolsters Chile mining fleet with five Liebherr T 264 haul trucks

Thiess is expanding its 240-t fleet in Chile with five new electric drive Liebherr T 264 mining trucks, cementing its commitment to growth in the region.

Thiess’ Executive General Manager Americas, Darrell White, said the fleet addition would further bolster Thiess’ capability and deliver productivity and efficiency gains for clients.

“South America is essential to Thiess’ long-term growth and building our diversification into commodities such as copper and gold,” White said. “The T 264s boost our fleet numbers and provide our clients with the opportunity to increase production capacity.

“This commitment to new fleet follows our recent investment in infrastructure, which includes a dedicated maintenance workshop, and building workforce capability through in-house and industry scholarship and pathway programs.”

Liebherr Chile’s Mining Division Director, Dale Clayton, said the Liebherr partnership with Thiess spanned three decades and enabled new products to enter the market, including the recently upgraded T 264s to Chile.

“The T 264 truck has a 240-t nominal payload capacity and an impressive payload-to-empty-vehicle weight ratio, leading to faster acceleration speeds, better speed on grade and higher hauling capacity, resulting in shorter cycle times and a lower cost per tonne,” he said said. “The combination of a high-power Cummins QSK60 2,700 hp (2,013 kW) diesel engine with the extremely efficient Liebherr AC electric propulsion system allows for maximum productivity and reduced downtime.”

He added: “Our La Negra Facility and Reman Centre is well placed to provide spare parts and components as well as training and technical support, and our teams are experienced in servicing mining fleet in the unique conditions Chile offers.”

The T 264s will be manufactured at Liebherr Mining Equipment Newport News Co in Virginia, USA, and will then be shipped to Chile. Assembly of the trucks will take place at Liebherr’s La Negra Facility before being transported to site, ready for commissioning.

Mader Group hits another quarterly record as it keeps expanding

Mobile and fixed plant equipment maintenance provider Mader Group has declared a stellar set of quarterly financials that included a second consecutive quarterly revenue figure.

Revenue for the three months to the end of June came in at A$86.4 million ($63.5 million), up 24% on the prior corresponding period (PCP), and up 14% on the previous quarter.

Revenue generated in Australia increased to A$77 million, up 21% on the PCP, driven by high levels of customer demand, while, in North America, quarterly revenue increased to A$6.8 million, up 45% on the PCP excluding foreign exchange movements (30% on an A$ basis).

The company said its preparations for operational delivery into Canada were now complete with customer negotiations well advanced.

Reflecting on Mader Group’s quarterly performance, Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer, Justin Nuich, said: “On the back of two consecutive quarters of record revenue growth, we close our books for the financial year with A$304 million in revenue and with a strong earnings result to follow. This is very pleasing and reflects the strength of our labour-focused business model.

“Our operations are more flexible and adaptable than ever, housing a dynamic in-house workforce of more than 1,600 skilled tradespersons deployed across nearly 400 sites globally. In all locations, we have prioritised the needs of our customers and our people, safely delivering over 3.4 million hours of specialised equipment maintenance for financial year 2021.”

During the period, the company continued to develop its internal safety systems to ensure the health and wellbeing of a largely remote workforce. Mader prioritised the continued roll out of a bespoke in-vehicle monitoring system for its service fleet, seeing considerable improvement in driver behaviour over the quarter, it said.

Mader also commenced trialling its safety-focused mobile app to its North American workforce.

The platform, which is already widely accessible to Mader employees within Australia, is designed to connect Mader employees to its digitally integrated safety processes, resources and company alerts.

Within Mader’s Australian operations, the group’s infrastructure and ancillary maintenance service lines remained a key focus in the business’ growth strategy. Continued diversification saw the company expand its ancillary service offerings.

“Moving into climate control support for mobile equipment, Mader supported a renewable energy project in a bid to convert diesel-electric haul trucks, exploration drills and locomotives into zero emissions technology,” the company said.

“Mader also worked with a local OEM to conduct off-site rebuilds for plant conveyors and mills. Revenue generated from the business’s ancillary maintenance services increased 21% vs PCP and by 12% vs PCP for its infrastructure maintenance services.”

Mader said its core service areas also gained traction during the quarter leading to the expansion of its in-field maintenance operations for heavy mobile equipment, driven by high customer demand across Australia. In Western Australia, this included growth in its Rapid Response team and “specialised equipment maintenance offerings”.

The company added: “Our disruptive business model continues to roll out into a large addressable market that has an appetite for significant additional capacity. All of our core business divisions continue to grow and our strategy of building new divisions that address new geographic locations or that provide additional trades and services is driving further growth.

“We are seeing structural advances in the Australian market as large owner-miners continue to develop multibillion-dollar resource projects, ultimately increasing the size of the maintainable mining fleet.”

Fortescue fast-tracks carbon neutrality aim, sets plan to trial hydrogen-powered drills

Fortescue Metals Group is accelerating its carbon neutrality efforts, with the iron ore miner now expecting to achieve this ‘green’ milestone by 2030, 10 years earlier than its previous target.

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortescue, will be a key enabler of this target through the development of green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia projects in Australia, however, the company has also identified battery-electric technology as a potential diesel alternative game changer.

Dr Andrew Forrest, Chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, said: “We have joined the global battle to defeat climate change. We are trialling and demonstrating green hydrogen technologies in global-scale commercial environments, while also rapidly evolving into a green hydrogen and electricity producer of similar scale.”

In line with its 2030 aim, Fortescue, through FFI and its operations team, is undertaking to deliver several key projects by the stretch target of June 30, 2021. This, the company says, will underpin its pathway to decarbonisation.

These projects include:

  • Developing a ship design powered by green ammonia and trialling that design in new ammonia engine technology, at scale;
  • Testing large battery technology in its haul trucks – a project the company is pursuing with the help of Williams Advanced Engineering;
  • Trialling hydrogen fuel cell power for its drill rigs;
  • Trialling technology on its locomotives to run on green ammonia; and
  • Conducting trials to use renewable energy in the Pilbara of Western Australia to convert iron ore to “green iron” at low temperatures, without coal.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Each of these projects will contribute to the world’s inexorable march to carbon neutrality. Fortescue will establish that the major steel, truck, train, ship and mobile plant industries can be operated with renewable, environmentally friendly energy. This will be possible as a result of these ground-breaking Fortescue trials. Each will be tested by Fortescue using commercial-scale equipment to prove that the demand for direct green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia could one day be as large as the fossil fuel industry.”

She added: “These projects are in addition to Fortescue’s significant investment with our partners into energy infrastructure, including the Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project and Pilbara Energy Connect program.”

Forrest said the company’s commitment to demonstrate green hydrogen’s economic value in world-scale operations, and become a major energy exporter, means Fortescue will emerge as an “executor” of major green hydrogen projects.

He said the company’s green energy and industry initiatives may one day out-scale its iron ore business due to the global demand for renewable energy, but Fortescue’s commitment to iron ore and resources globally “remains indefeasible”.

Fortescue says it is seeking to move from being a major consumer of fossil fuel with a current trajectory of more than 1 billion litres a year of diesel being used across the operations if no remedial action is taken – to a major clean and renewable energy exporter.

FFI is advancing projects across Australia, including Tasmania, to build large-scale renewable energy and green hydrogen production capacity. This will expedite the substitution of green hydrogen and green ammonia for carbon-based fuels, it says. These projects will, with the support of Australia’s governments, contribute to a significant reduction in national carbon emissions.

B2Gold weighs use of dual fuel haul trucks at Kiaka project

B2Gold’s strong growth path in Africa looks like continuing into future years after the company laid out preliminary plans to develop a mine in Burkina Faso that could use on-site hybrid power in addition to dual fuel haul trucks burning a mix of diesel fuel and LNG.

The Vancouver-based miner reported record total production in 2020 of 1.04 Moz of gold, with its Fekola (Mali) and Ojikoto (Namibia) mines contributing some 790,559 oz. It is guiding for 970,000- 1.03 Moz of gold in 2021.

In announcing these results, the company also provided an update on its Kiaka gold project in Burkina Faso.

This project, which B2Gold owns 81% of, currently hosts 4.25 Moz of indicated resources on a 100% basis at an average grade of 0.95 g/t Au. It also comes with 900,000 oz of inferred resources at 0.99 g/t.

The company is currently updating the existing feasibility study for the Kiaka project, reflecting, it says, the potential for improved economics resulting from lower fuel prices, alternative power options and a higher gold price.

A mineral resource model using additional drill results and revised model interpretations was completed in December, with the study set to leverage the new resource and several new concepts to reduce costs. Included among these new concepts is a plan to use a liquid natural gas (LNG) hybrid power plant combined with solar power, and dual fuel haul trucks that burn a mix of diesel fuel and LNG.

A larger processing plant size of 12 Mt/y is also being considered for this updated feasibility study, it said.

B2Gold expects to have an internal decision document completed by the end of March, with an updated feasibility study completed by the end of June.

Komatsu to start hydrogen development program for mining haul trucks

Mining equipment major Komatsu has made plans to leverage hydrogen power across its fleet of haul trucks, according to a report from The Nikkei.

The financial newspaper reported that the company will start its hydrogen development program in 2021, with plans to have the trucks ready for practical use by 2030.

One of Komatsu’s 291-t payload 930E haul trucks is already being setup for hydrogen power use at Anglo American Platinum’s Mogalakwena PGM mine in South Africa.

This vehicle, which is a conversion to hydrogen fuel cell and lithium battery operation, is set for first motion in the second half of the year, the mining company reaffirmed in its 2020 financial results today.

Komatsu has set a target of halving CO2 emissions from its construction and mining equipment by its 2030 financial year, compared with its 2010 financial year levels.

Fortescue to test battery-electric, fuel cell tech in prototype 240 t haul truck

Fortescue Metals Group has confirmed it is in the process of developing an in-house, non-diesel 240 t haul truck prototype that will test both battery-electric and fuel-cell electric drivetrain technology in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

Speaking at its Investor and Media Day on Wednesday, Fortescue Chief Operating Officer, Greg Lilleyman, said the two-phase project would “offer a step-change opportunity to reduce our emissions”.

He explained: “With around a quarter of Fortescue’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions attributable to our mobile haul fleet, this is a significant opportunity to drive our pathway to net-zero operational emissions.”

The drivetrain of the 240 t prototype truck will be powered by the company’s integrated renewable energy network, he added.

Phase one of the project will see a battery-electric powertrain on-board the prototype truck tested and trialled, from an operational perspective, in the Pilbara. Phase two of the project will consider hydrogen fuel cell powertrains, Lilleyman added. The drivetrains will have the capacity to regenerate power on downhill haulage.

While no specific timeline was provided for the project, the company did say the program schedule was targeted to align with the replacement cycle of the company’s existing haul trucks.

ATC turns the table on mine site productivity

The Australian Turntable Company (ATC) is increasing the safety and productivity associated with loading and unloading haul trucks at mines thanks to an innovative product developed and produced in Victoria, Australia.

ATC has developed a relocatable truck turntable that can be used below or above ground, eliminating the need to reverse vehicles in confined spaces, it says.

According to ATC Executive and Founder, Paul Chapman, the truck turntable reduces the path travelled when hauling materials and makes unloading vehicles about 30% faster, increasing efficiency.

“In some instances, the equivalent production can be achieved by a smaller fleet,” he said.

By using a turntable, the reversing procedure is eliminated, resulting in improved driver vision with no blind spots. Chapman says driver fatigue is also reduced, increasing safety for miners.

“We came up with idea during a trip to Chile where we saw the bottleneck created as big trucks queued to unload,” he explained.

Two turntables are operating at Western Australia maintenance facilities and one 20 m diameter truck turntable has been installed at a Colombia cement quarry, the company said.

“Testimonials from Colombia indicate that large truck movements on-site have increased by 300%,” Chapman said.

Sites with space constraints, like many mines in South America and India, stand to benefit most from the truck turntable, according to Chapman.

“We hope to install the turntable at mines across the globe in the next few years and we’ll be focusing on markets in India, Chile, Colombia and the US at IMARC,” he said.

ATC is presenting the relocatable truck turntable on the Victorian Government’s virtual booth at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) Online this week.

Finning flags Cat truck fleet renewal, rebuild and autonomy potential in Western Canada

Finning is sensing the potential for future fleet renewals, rebuilds and autonomy conversions from its Caterpillar off-highway truck customers in Western Canada as the average age of its Cat truck population in this region increases.

Commenting on this during its September quarter results – which saw revenue and gross profit drop 21% and 15%, respectively – the company was able to provide some positive forecasts for its business in Canada and Chile.

Finning said it was gearing up for higher production out of Canada’s oil sands sector in 2021, explaining output had recovered from the lows seen during the onset of COVID-19 and the company was expecting an increase next year.

“Oil sands producers’ truck fleet utilisation returned to pre-COVID-19 levels at the end of September, and contractor fleets have begun to increase utilisation and should ramp up further in Q4 (December quarter) 2020 and into 2021,” the company said. “We expect product support activity in the oil sands to improve in Q4 2020 and into 2021, driven by catch up on major rebuild and maintenance work and an increase in oil production and non-production mining activities.”

Finning said while restricted capital spending and ongoing cost containment were impacting demand for new mining equipment, the company expected mining product support activity to improve as customers increase production output and resume full-scope maintenance activities.

Finning’s mining customers in Western Canada operate around 620 large and ultra-class Caterpillar off-highway trucks, of which 6% are autonomous (mostly in the oil sands). The average age of this Caterpillar truck population in Western Canada is about 11 years.

As mentioned, this large and ageing fleet is expected to drive opportunities for future fleet renewals, rebuilds and autonomy conversions, as well as continued demand for product support, the company said.

It added: “We are also seeing a notable resumption in request for proposal activity from Canadian mining customers.”

In the Chile mining sector, meanwhile, Finning said COVID-19-related operating restrictions were easing, with customers beginning to catch up on component exchange and major maintenance work.

“We expect mining product support revenue to recover significantly as we exit 2020 and begin 2021,” it said.

Finning was optimistic about mining recovery in Chile in 2021, driven by a strengthened copper price and expected increase in copper production, it said.

Over 570 large and ultra-class Caterpillar off-highway trucks with an average age of 11 years are currently operating in Chile’s copper mines and will continue to drive demand for product support, it added.

“We are also encouraged by the resumption of Teck’s QB2 project – the first deployment of autonomous trucks in Chile – and have started to deliver equipment to QB2 in Q4 (December quarter) 2020,” Finning said.

Finning said it has also seen a notable increase in request for proposal activity from mining customers in Chile.