Tag Archives: Iron ore

CSI NextGen II modular crushing plant starts up at BHP Mt Whaleback

Mineral Resources Ltd’s CSI Mining Services team has reached a major milestone with the NextGen II modular crushing plant having now crushed its first ore at the BHP-owned Mt Whaleback iron ore mine in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The relocatable plant, developed by CSI and Metso Outotec, has been painted in Lifeline WA’s trademark blue and displays the 13 11 14 crisis support number.

The crusher has been on a monumental journey to get to its final home in the Pilbara, transported by a sea vessel from its manufacturing site in Turkey to CSI’s Kwinana workshop.

“The CSI team at Kwinana worked around the clock to assemble the revolutionary relocatable modular design last year, which allows for sustained reliable performance over time with the flexibility required to meet our clients’ changing and challenging production demands,” the company said.

CSI was awarded the contract to design, construct and operate the 12 Mt/y crushing plant back in June. It was due to replace the existing CSI crushing plant at the iron ore operation.

The crushing and screening plant is expected to come with low capital and operating costs, in addition to significant flexibility with its portability. It is assembled in modules and, compared with fixed crushing plants, provides for sustained reliable performance over time with the flexibility required to meet clients’ changing and challenging production demands, according to CSI.

LKAB welcomes more autonomous LHDs at Kiruna ahead of electric machine arrivals

LKAB says it is now running six autonomous LHDs at its Kiruna iron ore mine, in northern Sweden, with battery-powered and cable-electric machines set to arrive at the operation later in the year.

The company has been stepping up its automation efforts at the underground mine, going from three autonomous loaders in November to five in December and, now, six as of this month.

These loaders have come from both Sandvik and Epiroc, with at least three of these being 21 t Sandvik LH621i LHDs and two being 18 t Epiroc Scooptram ST18 LHDs.

“For the time being, the loaders are diesel-powered, but battery-powered Epiroc machines and Sandvik’s larger electric loaders will be delivered this year,” the company said. “Safety and loading capacity will be tested and assessed, so that the vision of a carbon-dioxide-free LKAB can be realised.”

Magnus Lindgren, Production Manager for the remote-control centre at level 1365 in the Kiruna mine, said: “Our operators work in close collaboration with both Sandvik and Epiroc and, thereby, take part in these suppliers’ development. We test the systems and provide feedback, so we can eventually take delivery of a better product.”

LKAB conducts blasting at the mine each night. When the blasting gases have been evacuated and rock stresses have decreased, personnel can access the production area. With remote-control machines, LKAB can load, haul and dump crude ore without having to worry as much about these considerations.

Roger Lärkmo, Engineering Developer at LKAB, added: “Autonomous loading at night is optimal in terms of both safety and work environment, and from a productivity perspective. That doesn’t mean manually-operated machines are a thing of the past; it just means that we have more tools in the toolbox. Many parameters have to be taken into the equation for our loading operations to deliver an even flow of ore to the processing plants.”

This summer, the Konsuln mine will take delivery of its first battery-powered loader, the 14 t ST14 from Epiroc. Epiroc said last month it will also deliver a Minetruck MT42 Battery for use at the main Kiruna iron ore mine for production, and in the Konsuln test mine.

Preparations are now under way for the ST14 Battery’s arrival at Konsuln, from planning of the drifts where batteries will be exchanged, to risk analyses and simulations, LKAB said.

During 2021, three of Sandvik’s larger 625IE electric loaders, which have a 25-t payload capacity, will also be delivered to LKAB in Kiruna. The company took delivery of a “renewed” Sandvik LH625iE electric loader for field testing in 2020.

Lindgren said: “LKAB has been running loaders with electric power cables for more than 20 years, both manually operated and with remote control. Now we are going to test the new generation of electric loaders. These tests will begin in the autumn.”

Anita Oraha Wardi, Project Manager for autonomous, smart and carbon-dioxide-free machines at LKAB, said the company was participating in development work early on, so it can understand and influence performance, loading capacity and, not least, the safety aspects.

“We are going to test to see how battery-driven and electric loaders compare with diesel-powered machines, and how remote-control machines function in comparison with manually-operated loaders,” she said.

“One of several objectives is that operators, regardless of the make or model of the vehicle, should be able to run remote-control vehicles via the same system and in the same production area. Then, we will be approaching a world standard.”

thyssenkrupp rail-mounted stacker handed over to BHP South Flank

thyssenkrupp says it has handed over the world’s largest rail-mounted stacker to its client BHP for the South Flank iron ore development in Western Australia,

The first stacker among a “trio of giants”, ST-04 took more than three years of research and design development in six countries, and two years of significant local fabrication, construction and commissioning processes, thyssenkrupp said.

Over the next few months, it will gradually ramp up its operating capacity of 20,000 t/h.

The engineering company was awarded this contract − one of its largest ever fabrication and construction projects in Western Australia − by BHP back in late 2018.

Under the €150 million ($181 million) contract, thyssenkrupp was to supply two stackers that deposit iron ore into stockyards for loading, and a reclaimer for loading the ore onto trains for transport to Port Hedland. The machines’ capacity of 20,000 t/h made them the largest rail-mounted stackers and reclaimers in the world, according to the company.

Primero has been helping thyssenkrupp in this pursuit, carrying out pre-assembly of the machines at its Australian Marine Complex, in Henderson, Western Australia.

In BHP’s half year results to December 31 released earlier this week, it said South Flank remained on budget and on track to deliver first production by mid-2021. The company expects the operation to ramp up to 80 Mt/y of output, helping replace production from the existing Yandi mine, which is reaching the end of its economic life.

Fortescue employs SRG Global for maintenance and shutdown services

SRG Global has been awarded a five-year term contract from Fortescue Metals Group to initially provide rope access and electrical maintenance requirements across the company’s mine, rail and port locations throughout Western Australia.

The A$150 million ($117 million) term contract, which has already commenced, is a Master Agreement for Maintenance and Shutdown Services, the company said.

Locations for SRG’s work include the Christmas Creek (pictured), Cloudbreak, Firetail, Kings Valley and Eliwana mine sites, along with its supporting rail and port infrastructure.

SRG Global Managing Director, David Macgeorge, said: “We are delighted to be selected as a key partner to FMG and to provide critical maintenance and shutdown services across their Pilbara operations for the next five years. This is another significant step forward in our strategy to build a portfolio of annuity earnings, with quality clients, to deliver long-term sustainable growth.”

Kobe Steel demonstrates new, cleaner steel production technology

Kobe Steel says it has successfully demonstrated technology that can significantly reduce CO2 emissions from blast furnace operations, combining the technologies of Midrex in the engineering business and the blast furnace operation technology in the iron and steel business.

This achievement is a result of the integrated efforts of the Kobe Steel Group (also known as the KOBELCO Group) leveraging its diverse businesses, it said. The demonstration test was conducted for a month at a large blast furnace (4,844 cu.m) of the Kakogawa Works in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, in October 2020.

The quantity of CO2 emissions from the blast furnace is determined by the reducing agent rate (RAR), or the quantity of carbon fuel used in blast furnace ironmaking. In the demonstration test, it was verified that RAR could be stably reduced from 518 kg per tonne of hot metal (thm) to 415 kg/thm by charging a large amount of hot briquetted iron produced by the MIDREX® Process. The results indicate that this technology can reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 20% compared with the conventional method, the company said.

In addition, the world’s lowest level of coke rate (239 kg/thm) has been achieved in the demonstration test of this technology, the company claimed.

Kobe Steel sees this as a promising solution that could become readily available soon at a lower additional cost compared with other CO2-reduction measures.

The MIDREX Process uses natural gas as the reductant and pellets made of iron ore as the source of iron to make direct reduced iron through the reduction process in the shaft furnace. In comparison with the blast furnace method, the MIDREX Process can reduce CO2 emissions by 20-40%.

The company said: “We will keep improving this CO2-reduction solution technology while further reducing CO2 emissions and achieving lower costs for CO2 reduction. Beyond our own efforts to reduce emissions from our facilities, we will strive to contribute to the acceleration of CO2 reduction through introducing this solution to blast furnaces around the world.

“In addition, we believe that the success of the demonstration test on an actual blast furnace has made a significant step forward in providing low CO2 steel products to customers. As moving forward with our environmental efforts on the scale of the whole supply chain, we will establish production and sales systems and define the terms and conditions for sales so that we can provide customers with low CO2 steel products that offer new added value.”

Primero completes WHIMS project at Fortescue’s Christmas Creek iron ore op

Primero Group says it has completed the construction of a Wet High Intensity Magnetic Separation (WHIMS) processing plant at Fortescue Metals Group’s Christmas Creek iron ore mine in Western Australia.

The plant is expected to improve product grade and mass recovery from the desands unit at the Christmas Creek Ore Process Facility #2.

The flowsheet is based on a simple and robust configuration, where wet screen undersize at a nominal -1 mm is treated in open circuit through a low intensity magnetic stage, followed by a vertical WHIMS stage to produce a concentrate stream and a tailings stream, which can be integrated with the existing process and auxiliary equipment. The vertical WHIMS project entails the redirection of the wet screen undersize stream from the existing scrubbing circuit to feed the brownfield magnetic separation plant.

“We can proudly say that despite the impacts of COVID-19 and the fast-tracked nature of the project, the plant was successfully delivered and commissioned in less than 12 months – meeting all safety and project key performance indicators,” the company said.

Primero put the project’s success down partly to the “enhanced opportunity for collaboration early contractor involvement (ECI) provides”.

It added: “A flexible approach to project development that ensures the needs of all project stakeholders can be met prior to detailed design and implementation in a lump sum engineering procurement and construction (EPC) environment. This constructive, relationship-based contracting continued throughout construction, commissioning and now operation – demonstrating the power of the ECI contracting model when coupled with Primero’s unique, vertically integrated EPC capability.”

Sanjiv Ridge heads for full operations after Atlas Iron crushes first milestone

Atlas Iron has announced first ore has been crushed at its new mine, Sanjiv Ridge, in Western Australia, ahead of schedule.

Sanjiv Ridge is set to provide a significant boost to Atlas’s annual output, with an expected 4-5 Mt/y of lump and fines to be hauled by road to the Utah Point stockyard at Port Hedland. It is expected the mine will add 5-6 years to the Atlas value chain, with 64 Mt at 57.2% Fe of mineral resources and 29 Mt at 57% Fe reserves.

On the crushing milestone, Atlas Iron CEO, Sanjiv Manchanda, said: “Congratulations to all our team members, including both Atlas Iron staff and our valued contractors, for their hard work and dedication to hit this target ahead of schedule. Now, with first ore crushed, we are focusing on building the product stockpile and commencement of road haulage.”

Sanjiv Ridge was recently renamed from Corunna Downs after Atlas’ CEO in recognition of his long service across the Hancock Prospecting Group of companies.

The new mine site is due to be in full operation in the third quarter of Atlas’ 2021 financial year, and is situated northeast of Atlas Iron’s existing mining operation, Mount Webber.

Fortescue expands automation focus to light vehicles at Chichester Hub

Fortescue Metals Group says the future of mining mobility is being advanced at its mines, with the successful operational deployment of autonomous light vehicles (ALVs) at the company’s iron ore mining operations in the Chichester Hub of Western Australia.

Developed by Fortescue’s Technology and Autonomy team as a solution to improve the efficiency of the Christmas Creek mobile maintenance team, ALVs remove the need for fitters to make around 12,000 28-km round trips annually to collect equipment and parts, the company estimates.

With the assistance of Ford Australia, four Ford Rangers have been retrofitted with an on-board vehicle automation system to support the driverless equipment transfer service, which will improve efficiency and safety by enabling team members to spend more time on maintaining assets.

The system features an integrated LiDAR/Radar perception system that facilitates obstacle detection and dynamic obstacle avoidance, a comprehensive independent safety management, and fail safe braking system and extensive built-in system monitoring and fault response capability.

The successful deployment of ALVs at Christmas Creek will provide the opportunity to implement a similar system at other operational sites to improve safety, productivity and efficiency, Fortescue says.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Since the outset, Fortescue has been at the forefront of innovation in the mining industry, underpinned by our value of generating ideas. It is this focus on technology and innovation that has driven our industry-leading operational performance and cost position.

“The autonomous light vehicle project is a significant advancement of our in-house automation capability, building on our leading autonomous haulage system program which has already delivered significant productivity and efficiency improvements for the business.

“With the flexibility to introduce similar systems into other mobile assets, this project is fundamental to our future mobile equipment automation projects.”

Ford Australia President and Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Birkic, said: “We’re very proud that our award-winning Ford Rangers have been used as part of the Fortescue Metals Group autonomous light vehicle project.

“Ford, globally, is at the forefront of research into autonomous vehicles, and working with companies like Fortescue is critical to gaining an insight into specific user applications.”

BHP, JFE Steel to scrutinise Australian steel raw materials emissions in latest study

BHP has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with leading Japanese steel producer, JFE Steel, to jointly study technologies and pathways capable of making material reductions to greenhouse gas emissions from the integrated steelmaking process.

BHP is prepared to invest up to $15 million over the five-year partnership, which, it says, builds on the strong history of technical research and collaboration between the two companies.

The company’s investment will be funded under its $400 million Climate Investment Program, set up in 2019 to coordinate and prioritise projects, partnerships, R&D and venture investments to reduce Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, invest in offsets and support development of technologies with the highest potential to impact change.

The JFE-BHP partnership will focus on the role of Australian raw materials to help to increase efficiency and reduce emissions from the blast furnace and direct reduced iron (DRI) steelmaking routes, it said. The partnership intends to study the properties of raw materials, with focus on specific areas such as iron ore pre-treatment, use of enhanced iron ore lump, high quality coke and DRI, required to decrease iron and steelmaking emissions and support a transition to a low carbon future. Throughout the collaboration, the two companies will also share knowledge on reducing carbon emissions across the steel value chain.

This JFE-BHP partnership follows other BHP investments to support the reduction of value chain emissions, including up to $35 million for the collaboration with China’s largest steelmaker, China Baowu, and awarding BHP’s first LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carriers contract, with the aim to reduce CO2-e emissions by 30% per voyage.

BHP’s Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “This partnership with JFE demonstrates a joint commitment to make our activities more sustainable through collaboration and technological improvement. This work will support and help progress Japan’s carbon neutral ambitions by 2050.”

As outlined in BHP’s decarbonisation framework, the steel industry is expected to move through stages of optimisation and transition for the existing integrated steelmaking route before reaching an end state of low or no carbon intensity.

“Our investments are focused on actions that can create real change, and we continue to take positive steps on our climate agenda and in collaborating with others to help reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goals,” Pant said.

JFE’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Yoshihisa Kitano, said: “We understand that raw material processing technology is extremely important in the research and development towards carbon neutrality. We have a long history working closely together with BHP collaborating to study raw material utilisation technology and mine development. It is very significant for us to be able to work together with BHP towards reduction of CO2 emissions, which is an extremely important agenda for the steel making sector.”

Aqura Technologies to boost FMG’s network at Kangi accommodation camp

Veris Ltd’s wholly-owned subsidiary Aqura Technologies has been awarded A$1.1 million ($849,165) in works to undertake an upgrade of the in-situ accommodation network at Fortescue Metals Group’s Kangi 1,850 room village in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia.

The scope of the Kangi village engagement is to design and deliver physical upgrades to the GPON network to ensure a high level of reliability of services to village guests, it says.

The enhancement of the existing infrastructure using Aqura’s specialist technical expertise will establish an extremely robust platform for the delivery of entertainment services and wellbeing programs to the large workforce accommodated at the site, the company explained.

Aqura has commenced the design phase and will look to complete the scope of works by July.

“The new contract adds to Aqura’s strong track record in delivering high-performance Content Access Network (CAN) solutions for clients such as BHP, Newmont, OZ Minerals and Abra Mining,” Veris said. “Aqura’s expertise in the delivery of CAN solutions has delivered enhanced user experiences in over 16,000 accommodation rooms completed to date.”

The Kangi camp was constructed – and expanded – by Pindan (photo courtesy of Pindan) as part of FMG’s Solomon iron ore mine development.

Aqura Technologies CEO, Travis Young, said: “We’re pleased to kick off a new engagement with Fortescue who are looking to our in-house team to provide a high-quality foundation for their Kangi Village network.

“The contract award is testament to the strong quality and safety record of Aqura in the design and delivery of high-quality network infrastructure.

“We are very mindful of the benefits of this type of investment which fundamentally supports and enhances the positive wellbeing for fly-in fly-out staff who are away from home for extended periods and need reliable infrastructure to support connections to family and friends.”