Tag Archives: Indonesia

Eramet re-energises Argentina lithium development with help of Tsingshan

Eramet plans to restart construction of its lithium production plant in Argentina after signing an agreement with Tsingshan that will see the China-based steel group finance the build in exchange for a 49.9% interest in the project.

The construction of the 24,000 t/y lithium carbonate equivalent plant will start during the March quarter of 2022, with commissioning scheduled for early 2024.

Eramet and Tsingshan have an existing relationship with the two companies jointly owning the Weda Bay nickel operations in Indonesia.

“With this project, Eramet will become the first European company to develop sustainable and large-scale lithium production, supported by a performing process developed in-house by its R&D centre,” Eramet said.

This is a two-step process that, firstly, uses an active solid to extract and concentrate the lithium. Developed by Eramet in liaison with IFPEN (the French Institute of Petroleum and New Energies) and Seprosys, this works like a sponge, capturing the lithium contained in the brine. Fresh water is then used to release the stored lithium. To further concentrate the extracted metal, two successive processes are then conducted: nanofiltration and reverse osmosis.

The lithium is then purified, after which a reaction occurs with sodium carbonate to convert it to lithium carbonate. Once filtered again and washed, it achieves the chemical quality of the finished product, Eramet said.

The lithium project was mothballed in April 2020 during COVID-19, as the conditions were not met to launch construction.

“Based on the partnership signed with Tsingshan and factoring in solid fundamentals as well as excellent outlook for the lithium market, the group’s Board of Directors has considered that the conditions are now met to launch the plant construction,” Eramet said.

Eramet will control the project, with a 50.1% interest. For its part, Tsingshan will contribute up to $375 million to the project through the financing of the plant’s construction, leading to it earning a 49.9% stake in the project.

Eramet owns perpetual mining rights over a major lithium concession, in the form of brine, located on the Andean highlands in Salta Province. The project plans to extract brine from the salar and process it into lithium carbonate. The 24,000 t/y LCE project is expected to have cash costs of around $3,500/t LCE ex-works, with large-scale drainable resources.

A pilot plant installed on the site since 2020 has demonstrated, in real conditions, the lithium carbonate production, which brought very high direct extraction yields of around 90%, according to the company.

“The project has strong ESG performance, notably as demonstrated by the quality of the relationships tied with local communities during the preparatory phase of the project,” the company said. “Eramet’s process also presents an advantage in terms of hydric resources use compared with projects supported by a conventional extraction process. All Eramet’s CSR standards will be applied on the activity.”

Christel Bories, Eramet Group Chair and CEO, said: “Our decision to carry out our lithium project in Argentina is in line with the dynamic of strong market growth. It is a key milestone in the deployment of our strategic roadmap, which aims at positioning Eramet as a reference player in metals for the energy transition.”

Thiess to continue mining at PT Wahana Baratama Mining coal mine in Indonesia

Thiess says it has secured a three-year A$220 million ($164 million) contract renewal to continue providing mining services at PT Wahana Baratama Mining’s coal mine in South Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Having operated at the project since 2007, Thiess will provide full mining services for Wahana, which is owned by Bayan Resources, including mine planning, environmental and water management, drill and blast, and mining and pit hauling services, it said. The contract renewal commences from November 2021.

Thiess CEO and Executive Chairman, Michael Wright, said: “This extension builds on our long-term partnership with Wahana and recognises Thiess’ ability to deliver sustainable and competitive mining solutions tailored to their operational needs.”

Thiess Executive General Manager Asia, Cluny Randell, said: “We’re proud to continue delivering value at Wahana, a unique operation where Thiess has mined two adjoining mines for two different clients. Our team is focused on continuing to optimise resource recovery and extending the mine’s reserves to deliver long-term value for Wahana.

“Alongside this, we’re looking forward to building on our COVID-19 vaccination efforts, extending our employee and family vaccination program into the community next month.”

Bayan Resources says the Wahana Baratama mine currently produces around 1-2 Mt/y of high calorific value bituminous quality coal.

BME continues to make blasting strides in Indonesia

Having pursued a global expansion in recent decades, South Africa-based blasting leader BME says it is making good on an exciting new phase for its Indonesia operations.

With mainly a trading presence in Indonesia for 10 years already, the Omnia Group company has been active in full-service contracting for the past two – and is already receiving high-level recognition, it says. In September 2021, BME Indonesia was honoured with a good mining practice award in the blasting services category by the Indonesian Government.

According to Brad Bulow, General Manager of BME Australia Asia, this bodes particularly well for the company in a country with such a bright future in mineral production.

“Indonesia’s mining sector is well positioned for growth, and coal is the fastest growing source of energy production there,” Bulow said. “Coal is mainly used in Indonesia’s power generation, and the country’s supply is dominated by coal-fired power plants at this stage.”

Forecasts indicate that coal will remain a dominant energy source in Indonesia and the South East Asian region until about 2050, supporting power generation and other industry sectors, according to BME.

“Nickel is also an exciting commodity for Indonesia, which is estimated to have the largest reserves of nickel in the world – more even than Australia,” said Bulow. “As an indispensable raw material for producing electric car batteries, nickel is one of the country’s fastest growing mineral commodities.”

Investors are looking at building smelters in-country to process nickel into raw material for batteries, while nickel ore itself has been banned for export by the government since January 2020.

Commenting on the recent good practice award, BME’s Business Manager Indonesia, Agusman, noted that such recognition meant a great deal – and would help cement BME’s reputation as an innovator with world-class standards of operation. BME Indonesia has been supplying explosive products and accessories into Indonesia for over a decade. Holding company BME is a leading player in blasting services and products in Africa, with a global presence including Australia, Canada and the US.

The company has also developed specific products for the region, including a single-salt emulsion. Widely known for its superior dual-salt emulsion technology, BME was able to respond to customer requests in 2019 for a single-salt option. This was put into use in early 2020 and has since been producing excellent blasting results, according to the company. The product has even been trialled with used oil as the fuel agent, which has become an environmentally friendly and sustainable hallmark of BME’s emulsion products.

While BME Indonesia supplied mainly ammonium nitrate, packaged explosives, boosters, and electric and non-electric detonators before 2019, its large blasting services contract in south Kalimantan has opened the door for significant expansion.

“In this project, BME Indonesia has put to work four Mobile Manufacturing Units (MMUs) – our bulk explosives delivery trucks – and an on-site emulsion manufacturing plant,” Bulow said. “In addition to emulsion and down-the-hole services, we are also supplying our AXXIS™ electronic detonators to help customers achieve timing accuracy and control their blasting vibration.”

Another important aspect of BME’s technological contribution is the move by customers toward big data analytics, according to Bulow.

“Big data allows larger mines and their contractors to generate meaningful insights into their operations – paving the way to greater efficiency,” he said. “BME Indonesia is introducing our BLAST ALLIANCE™ portfolio of digital innovations, which includes our BLASTMAP™ planning software, BME Blasting guide app and XPLOLOG™ cloud data platform. Solutions such as AXXIS integration, custom development and training also fall under this brand.”

In the medium term, Bulow said the company looks forward to winning more projects and penetrating further into surface metals and underground mining – and the funding, innovation and advanced technology is in place to achieve this goal.

“Looking further ahead, BME Indonesia expects to continue growing its contribution to Indonesia in general – and local communities in particular,” he said. “This includes our transfer of knowledge and technology, the utilisation of local resources and ongoing community development.”

Volvo ADTs, excavators hit the ground running at Weda Bay nickel project

At the Weda Bay nickel project in Central Halmahera, Indonesia, a fleet of Volvo articulated haulers and excavators are, the mining OEM says, offering excellent stability on soft ground for safety-conscious mining service contractor Samudera Mulia Abadi, while also delivering high uptime, productivity and fuel efficiency.

Samudera Mulia Abadi, headquartered in Manado, North Sulawesi, is one of Indonesia’s leading service contractors for the mining of gold and other minerals. The privately-owned company specialises in mine preparation – including infrastructure and site establishment, earthwork and land clearing, and project management – as well as excavation, loading and hauling in open-pit mines, and on- and off-road haulage.

The company’s latest endeavour is a five-year contract on a $30 billion project to extract nickel ore and transport it to the smelter at the Weda Bay nickel project in Central Halmahera. The main challenge here is the soft terrain in the pit and on the hauling roads.

“We try to remain efficient in carrying out any work in order to achieve the best return and there is no compromise on safety,” Willson Sastroamijoyo, Commissioner PT Samudera Mulia Abadi, says. “Every line of work must prioritise safety. Given the pit and hauling conditions, Volvo articulated haulers are the perfect choice as our production unit. Volvo excavators are also suitable to handle ore material like this.”

When the project began in August 2020, Samudera Mulia Abadi commissioned a fleet of 17 Volvo articulated haulers (six A40G and 11 A60H models) and 12 Volvo crawler excavators (two EC200D, five EC210D, two EC300DL and three EC480DL models), which will remain on site for as long as possible.

On delivery, dealer Indotruck Utama provided training to Samudera Mulia Abadi’s staff to promote safe operation and help them get the most value out of the machines. Since then, the dealer has continued to carry out refresher training as operator behaviour and safety procedure on site play an important part in increasing safety in eastern Indonesia.

The A60H is the largest Volvo articulated hauler with a 33.6 cu.m body volume and 55,000 kg payload capacity, while the A40G is the third largest, offering a 24 cu.m body volume and 39,000 kg payload capacity. On both models, the matched drivetrain, automatic drive combinations including 100% differential locks, all-terrain bogie, hydro-mechanical steering and active suspension ensure excellent traction and operator comfort on the most difficult terrain.

They are also designed for extreme durability and high fuel efficiency so that operators can reliably move more tonnes per hour at a lower cost, according to Volvo. The Hill Assist, Dump Support System and Rear View Camera, meanwhile, help to minimise the safety risk on site.

The Volvo crawler excavators, ranging from 20 t to 50 t in capacity, likewise offer excellent stability, fast cycle times and low fuel consumption, promoting safe, productive and profitable operation, Volvo said

“Our operators are happy to work with Volvo machines because they are comfortable and user-friendly. The quality, durability and comfort of the products have benefited us in many ways,” Sastroamijoyo says.

Volvo CE says: “Samudera Mulia Abadi works the machines hard – typically up to 22 h/d across two shifts, seven days a week – so machine availability is closely linked with productivity and profitability. It is crucial that they are durable enough to withstand such high utilisation and have simple service and maintenance requirements fulfilled by a responsive and reliable dealer. By always being ready to work, the machines help Samudera Mulia Abadi achieve its tonnes per hour and cost per tonne production targets.”

Because of this, the company has also relied on machinery from Volvo Construction Equipment on several other of its contracts over the last five years, including the Gag Island nickel project in West Papua and the Toka Tindung gold mine project in North Sulawesi.

At these two sites, Samudera Mulia Abadi operates a total of 116 Volvo machines, including 50 A40Fs, 17 A40Gs, five A45Gs and three A60H articulated haulers; one EC200D, eight EC210Bs, five EC210Ds, 12 EC350DLs, six EC480DLs, six EC950ELs crawler excavators; and one SD110 compactor.

“The overall machine performance is good and physical availability is above the target,” Sastroamijoyo says. “Of course, we are aware that the machines experience some occasional downtime, even if they are the toughest. The important thing is our how the dealer responds when these unfortunate situations occur.

“We have a good working relationship with our dealer Indotruck Utama. Their skilled service team speeds up the servicing time, while the consigned parts on site ensure high parts availability. Overall, the performance of the machines and the quality of product support increase our profitability.”

Macmahon books A$600m of work with Newcrest, AngloGold and Vale

Macmahon Holdings has bolstered its order book with a number of contract extensions involving the Tropicana and Telfer gold operations, in Western Australia, and the Hu’u copper-gold project, in Indonesia.

At the Tropicana mine, a joint venture between AngloGold Ashanti Australia Ltd (70% and operator) and Regis Resources Ltd (30%), Macmahon has been providing mining services since open-pit mining started in July 2012 under a life of mine alliance contract.

The additional work for Macmahon follows the completion of a detailed final cutback study of the Havana pit and subsequent confirmation of the optimal method to mine the deeper ore in the Havana ore body. Macmahon has now been provided with the scheduling detail for the cutback, which will add 155 Mt to the material to be mined from 2024.

The final cutback of Havana will extend the open-pit mine life by four years, from 2023 to 2027, and is expected to generate additional revenue of approximately A$470 million ($340 million), it said.

Macmahon has also extended its life of mine contract with Newcrest for the Telfer mine.

On August 12, Newcrest announced it will proceed with the West Dome Stage 5 cutback at Telfer. This new scope of work is expected to generate revenue of circa A$138 million and will extend Macmahon’s work on site to September 2024. This new work has been negotiated on updated rates, which are forecast to achieve the company’s internal financial hurdles, Macmahon explained.

In Indonesia, Macmahon has received a letter of award to construct an 11 km access road at the Hu’u copper gold exploration project on Sumbawa island. This work is valued at approximately A$18 million and is a further step in the company’s strategy to increase its revenue from mining support services.

Subject to finalisation of contract documentation, the project is forecast to commence in September 2021 and employ approximately 150 people. The Hu’u project is 80% controlled by Vale SA. Vale has previously said the project could produce more than 250,000 t of copper and more than 200,000 oz of gold.

Macmahon CEO and Managing Director, Michael Finnegan, said: “We are pleased to have secured this additional work which adds approximately A$600 million to our order book. A key highlight is the extension of our long-term alliance contract at Tropicana, which has been a cornerstone of our surface mining business in Western Australia for many years and has recently expanded into underground mining.”

Austin kicks off plan to automate engineering facilities in Perth and Batam

Austin Engineering Ltd says it has commenced a A$6.5 million ($4.7 million) capital investment to transform and automate its design and manufacturing facilities at its major Asia Pacific centres in Perth and Indonesia.

The capital expenditure program will involve a new manufacturing flow approach with increased automation, custom jigs, fixtures, workstations and a standardised manufacturing approach to building product. Austin will still be able to provide customised engineering solutions and products to its customers while leveraging the benefits of a production flow line, it says. In particular, Austin sees major benefits to its truck body product offering, which comprises circa-70% of Austin’s annual revenues.

Critical outcomes to the investment will be to reduce the time to deliver customised solutions to clients, while maintaining or enhancing quality outcomes. Further targets include waste reduction and decreasing the workshop capacity required, lowering the overall product cost base, Austin says.

The program of works was outlined in the second phase of Austin’s recently communicated global strategic review results, which identified opportunities for future growth and ways to optimise the company’s cost base.

The expected payback period is 12 months, post-implementation, with the majority of benefits to be realised in the company’s 2023 financial year, although incremental benefits will be achieved during the latter months of its 2022 financial year. Funding will be available through operating cash flows and surplus asset sales, according to Austin.

The approach is expected to be scalable and transferable to other Austin manufacturing operations in the medium term and will support Phase 3 of the strategic review, which focuses on further product and service improvements through technology and innovation, it says.

Austin CEO and Managing Director, David Singleton, said: “Improvements being made in Austin’s manufacturing facilities in Perth and Batam in Indonesia will elevate an already market-leading service offering. We will be able to deliver products more quickly, in larger quantities, with less waste, and with improved quality, while still offering tailored design and engineering solutions to our customers. What is exciting about our manufacturing improvement project is its scalability at a relatively modest incremental cost. This made the decision to adopt a fast follow from Perth to Batam easy. The investments made also support longer term strategies around product and service innovation as outlined in our strategic review.”

Metso Outotec to provide copper smelting engineering, tech to PT Freeport’s Manyar project

Metso Outotec has signed a major engineering and technology contract as well as licence agreements for the delivery of what it says is a landmark copper smelter complex to be built in Gresik, East Java, in Indonesia.

The project owner is PT Freeport Indonesia, with PT Chiyoda International Indonesia being the engineering, procurement and construction contractor. Four-fifths of the approximately €360 million ($424 million) contract has been booked in the company’s Metals’ September quarter order intake and the rest in Minerals’ September quarter order intake, it said.

Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery is based on the licensed Metso Outotec Flash Smelting, Flash Converting and Lurec® technology. It includes the design and supply of key process equipment and process control systems for the main areas of the smelter complex, the copper electrolytic refinery, the gas cleaning and sulphuric acid plant, the slag concentrator and the effluent treatment plant.

Metso Outotec has previously provided certain front-end engineering design and other advance engineering services for this 1.7 Mt/y copper concentrate smelter complex, which is expected to be commissioned in 2024. According to PT Freeport, the Manyar smelter will be the largest copper processing site in the world upon start up.

Pekka Vauramo, President & CEO, Metso Outotec, said: “Our joint efforts with Freeport Indonesia and Chiyoda will set a new standard for the copper smelter industry in fulfilling the strictest international environmental standards and efficiency requirements. We are very happy to work together to implement this game changing copper smelter.”

Jari Ålgars, President, Metals business area at Metso Outotec, added: “We have worked with Freeport Indonesia and Chiyoda for several years to ensure and select the best available process design and technologies for the Manyar project.”

Metso Outotec has delivered 51 Copper Flash Smelters around the world, with the company’s Copper Flash Smelting the most widely applied technology for copper smelting in the world, it said. The solution is also one of its Planet Positive solutions. Using this technology, Metso Outotec’s customers avoided more than 1.6 Mt of CO2 emissions in 2020, the company said.

Weir Minerals pairs Multiflo, Warman and ESCO technology in latest slurry pump

Weir Minerals has launched the new Multiflo® Mudflo™ hydraulic submersible slurry pump, engineering the pump to, it says, tackle abrasive applications and large particle handling.

The Multiflo Mudflo pump features a hydraulically driven wet-end specifically designed to efficiently and safely reprocess and relocate tailings ponds, maintain water retention dams and manage slimes and sludge ponds.

It combines the Warman® MGS pump-end, Multiflo CB32 hydraulic cutters and ESCO® excavation teeth to provide efficient pumping of highly charged and abrasive slurries, the company claims.

Weir Minerals’ Ultrachrome® A05 chrome alloy impeller ensures high wear resistance and the specially engineered suction strainer minimises the risk of clogging by preventing large solids and debris from entering the pump. Drawing on decades of Warman pump design experience, the Multiflo Mudflo pump is capable of pumping between 150 cu.m/h and 1,200 cu.m/h, up to 82 m head.

The Multiflo CB32 hydraulic cutters feature the ESCO Ultralok® tooth system to prevent premature breakage, avoid tooth loss and protect the integral locking system to ensure the continuous operation of the pump, it says.

Engineered by the Weir Minerals dewatering pump experts in Australia, it is available for global customers from July 2021.

Cameron Murphy, Director of Dewatering Weir Minerals APAC, said: “The Multiflo brand is synonymous with high quality and long-lasting equipment. In designing the Mudflo pump, our dewatering experts drew from the very best Multiflo, Warman and ESCO technology and used advanced hydraulics to create an innovative and cost-effective new solution for mine dredging applications.”

The product was developed following close customer collaboration and a mutual commitment to safety and technical excellence, Weir Minerals said.

Geoff Way, Weir Minerals Dewatering Specialist, said: “It is not uncommon for sites to use a combination of pumps, shovels, excavators and trucks for dredging applications. When one of our long-time partners in Indonesia contacted us about developing a custom solution for the slurry build-up in their sumps, we knew we could provide a better solution. We are problem solvers. We considered our customer’s pain points and engineered a new solution to efficiently and safely manage their site processes.”

The Multiflo Mudflo pump can also be retrofitted to competitor OEM equipment, Weir Minerals says, with the quick-hitch plate attachment ensuring convenient installation and removal from hydraulic excavators.

The Multiflo Mudflo pump can be assembled on land, eliminating the safety risks associated with assembling pumps over water. Furthermore, the new hydraulic hose management system reduces the risk of hose entanglement and trip hazards, all the while providing a reliable hose bend radius to ensure smooth oil flow.

Heritage Minerals smashes Dando Terrier percussive drilling depth record

The Heritage Minerals team, led by Drilling Manager, Shane Charlton, has been achieving depths of 46 m with high-quality 86 mm samples using Dando Drilling’s Terrier percussive drill rig, the drilling manufacturer says.

The depth is a record for the Terrier rig, according to Dando.

Heritage Minerals is currently working on the historied Mount Morgan mine in Queensland, Australia. One of Australia’s oldest mines, Mount Morgan was active from 1882 through to the 1980s. In the process, tens of millions of tonnes of tailings were generated.

Today, these tailings present both a problem and an opportunity; a problem because they were subject to old, polluting technologies for processing gold, but an opportunity because they still contain reserves of gold, copper and other minerals.

Heritage Minerals is employing innovative processing technologies such as ReCYN, developed by partner GreenGold Engineering, to clean pollutants from the tailings and returning them to safe land.

It was this technology and the tailings recovery aim IM recently focused on for an in-depth article on Mount Morgan.

Heritage chose a Dando Terrier rig to sample the tailings at Mount Morgan for several reasons, Dando said.

“Foremost, the unconsolidated geology of tailing fines is very hard to sample with conventional rotary equipment,” it said. “The Terrier’s Duplex Sampling System, which is driven into the ground by a 64 kg anvil and simultaneously cases-off and samples, provides excellent recovery in this type of unconsolidated geology for metallurgical and in-situ density measurements.”

Charlton proved and refined the drilling method he used in the mineral sands of Kalimantan, Indonesia, where he sampled alluvials to over 20 m for lab analysis, Dando says. This is an impressive feat for a rig that has a large user base for geotechnical sampling, standard penetration testing and dynamic probe testing, most often at depths of less than 15 m.

More than doubling this to 45 m was no easy task, Charlton explained: “At depth, it took almost 10 minutes to trip the drive rods and retrieve the sample, but the quality of the sample and the economies in terms of cost per metre offset the sometimes slow drilling.”

Heritage has recently purchased a second Terrier rig from a Dando customer in Australia and Charlton has made some modifications to the design to facilitate drilling beyond the original specifications of the rig.

“We’ve fitted a permanent casing extractor to help pull sample tubes and casing if they get stuck, as well as modifications to assist with tripping rods more quickly,” he said.

To achieve these depths, the team are using a reaming method whereby they sample using an 86 mm windowless sampler tube, and then ream out using a larger 116 mm tube before returning to the 86 mm sampler to continue. This reduces frictional forces along the side of the borehole and abrasive tailing materials, according to Dando.

The percussive hammer system allows sampling without flush, minimising the need for cumbersome mud tanks or air compressors while preventing contamination of the sample or the environment, it added.

Cokal secures HPU as contract miner for BBM coking coal project

Cokal has entered into a binding agreement with PT Harmoni Panca Utama (HPU) to provide contract mining services for development and mining of the Bumi Barito Mineral (BBM) coking coal project in Indonesia.

The ASX-listed company named HPU as the preferred tenderer to provide contract mining services for the project back in November.

The five-year agreement represents a significant milestone in Cokal’s strategy for the near-term development of BBM into an operating coal mine for minimal upfront capital costs, producing premium export quality coking and pulverised coal injection coal (PCI) products, the company said.

HPU will carry out contract mining of overburden and associated services, including project management, mine planning, surveying, supervision, site security, materials, equipment, equipment maintenance, labour, transportation, medical services, consumables and site infrastructure, Cokal said.

Use of contract mining provides significant strategic and financial advantages for Cokal, with the costs of these services linked to international coking coal prices, the company said. This is aimed at protecting Cokal’s operating margin through the cycle.

Cokal says it is now endeavouring to commence development of BBM in an expedited timeframe and is working with HPU on the necessary operational and logistical matters.

BBM is in the Central Province of Kalimantan and is Cokal’s most advanced project. It has a mining lease area of 14,980 ha and a remit to produce premium coking coal and PCI products for the nearby Asia steel markets.