Tag Archives: Iron ore

Alliance Aviation wins two-year contract extension from BHP

Alliance Aviation Services has announced an extension of the air charter services agreement with BHP’s Western Australia Iron Ore division for a further two years.

This extension, Alliance says, is further evidence of Alliance’s reputation of outstanding customer retention with the extension solidifying the relationship that started with the first flight for BHP’s Western Australia Iron Ore division in 2009.

BHP WAIO is an integrated system of four processing hubs and five mines connected by more than 1,000 km of rail infrastructure and port facilities in the Pilbara region of northern Western Australia.

Lee Schofield, Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Alliance is delighted to be continuing the provision of these charter services into the Pilbara. Our commitment to safety and providing our clients with industry leading on time performance has played a significant role in being awarded this extension. We look forward to continuing our exceptional safety and operational record for BHP.”

Metso Outotec to deliver India’s first large scale Grate-Kiln iron ore pellet plant

Metso Outotec has signed a contract with an Indian customer for the supply of a large capacity Grate-Kiln pellet plant in the State of Odisha, India.

The contract is booked in the Metals business line March quarter orders received. Typically, the value for this type of an order is in the range of €30-40 million ($35.6-47.5 million), depending on the scope of delivery.

Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery includes basic engineering and process technology for the Grate-Kiln pellet plant, including the core proprietary equipment consisting of traveling grate, kiln and cooler, as well as supervisory services for commissioning, and spare parts.

“The energy-efficient Metso Outotec Grate-Kiln process produces pellets of uniform quality with low emissions, high availability, and it has low investment and operating costs,” Jari Ålgars, President, Metals business area at Metso Outotec, said. “With its annual pellet production capacity of 6 Mt, the new plant will be the first large scale Grate-Kiln pellet plant in the country.”

CSI to carry out load and haul, drill and blast work at Rio’s Brockman 2 iron ore mine

Mineral Resources Ltd’s CSI Mining Services has been awarded a mining contract by Rio Tinto to carry out work at the Brockman 2 iron ore mine in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The scope of the contract will see CSI conduct load and haul, drill and blast, and short-term mine planning activities for Rio, the company said.

This will involve scheduling, drilling and blasting and then excavating 27 Mt of waste rock and iron ore over an approximate nine-month period, with a fleet of large-scale mining equipment, developing the Lens A/B pit for Rio.

This contract builds on a 16-year relationship with Rio, dating back to when CSI first commenced crushing services at the Nammuldi mine site. It also follows the completion of a 30 Mt load and haul contract at Rio’s Tom Price mine. CSI remains engaged at another Rio Tinto operation, Paraburdoo, where its team is carrying out 13 Mt of load and haul operations.

The Brockman 2 contract will generate around 150 jobs for CSI’s highly skilled workforce, the company said.

Mineral Resources’ Chief Executive Mining Services, Mike Grey, said: “We are delighted to have been invited by Rio Tinto to assist at another of its world-class iron ore mines. Our relationship with Rio Tinto dates back 16 years. Since then, we have been able to establish a track record of consistent project delivery for Rio Tinto, which we are very proud of.

“CSI is the world’s largest crushing contractor, so it is immensely satisfying that this latest Rio Tinto contract includes other mining activities, such as load and haul and drill and blast, to demonstrate CSI’s diverse skills set. We are confident this Brockman 2 scope of work will become the latest chapter of our ongoing association with Rio Tinto.”

Brockman 2 is one of the 16 mines that make up Rio’s world-class Pilbara iron ore operations.

The CSI team has begun mobilising to site, including delivering a new fleet of Komatsu 830E electric-drive dump trucks and a new Komatsu PC4000-11 excavator.

Ukraine iron ore miner cuts electricity consumption, process water use with DELKOR thickeners

As part of its modernisation drive, a mining and processing plant recently installed 3 x 62 m diameter DELKOR high-rate thickeners with a view to reducing electricity consumption by one and a half times for the pumping of tails, as well as rationalising the use of process water.

The project concerns the design, engineering and supply of three DELKOR 62 m high-rate thickeners for the dewatering of iron ore tailings as part of the processing plant’s modernised slurry thickening complex.

This modern complex, of which construction was completed in 2020, has now done away with outdated slurry pump stations, adopting, instead, the efficient process of thickening, hydraulic transport and storage of slurries.

Employing DELKOR’s latest generation feedwell design that comes with improved flocculation together with improved flocculant and slurry kinetics, these elevated thickeners boast large feedwells, which rank as some of the largest ever built, DELKOR says.

Ramesh Mahadevan, Regional Managing Director – DELKOR, had this to say upon successful commissioning of the thickeners: “This project is a very important reference for us in Ukraine. Given current global conditions, working with a new end user is a noteworthy achievement and one for which our entire DELKOR team must be commended.”

TAKRAF, the owner of DELKOR, meanwhile, says there has been strong demand for DELKOR technology in Latin America, noting a recent order for TAKRAF Peru for the supply of 2 x 38 m paste tailings thickeners with a capacity of 455-623 t/h.

The order, placed by a Peruvian entity processing tailings from a nearby iron ore mine, forms part of an expansion to develop a second plant. This will enable the entity to handle more tailings from the mine, according to TAKRAF.

Design requirements for the thickeners include accommodating the process demands for a paste application with a target of 65% +/- 3% solids content for the underflow. This required an equipment configuration that allowed it to operate under an expected yield stress of 200 Pa in the underflow material, the company noted.

MACA signs three-year extension with CITIC Pacific at Cape Preston

MACA Ltd says it has finalised the hire and maintenance contract for CITIC Pacific Mining Management at the Cape Preston Sino Iron magnetite project, 100 km southwest of Karratha in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The contract is expected to generate A$200 million ($152 million) in revenue for MACA over a 36-month term commencing in April. MACA’s work-in-hand position as of February 2021 is A$3.4 billion, the company said.

MACA CEO, Mike Sutton, said: “MACA is very pleased to continue working with CITIC Pacific Mining at the Sino Iron magnetite project, and we value the long-standing relationships we have with our clients at this pioneering mega project.

The current CPM contract was novated from Downer to MACA, following the acquisition of the Mining West business, and it’s pleasing to have now secured this three-year extension.”

In February, MACA completed the acquisition of Downer’s Mining West business, bringing with it four contracts at long-life mining assets in Western Australia, including the Cape Preston agreement.

John Holland on track at Fortescue’s Eliwana iron ore project

Infrastructure and rail company, John Holland, says it has achieved a major milestone at the Eliwana Mine and Rail project by successfully laying the final piece of 143 km of heavy haul rail track in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

The track works are part of a A$130 million ($90 million) contract with Fortescue Metals Group, which will also see an extension to the existing signalling and train control systems and a traffic capacity upgrade to communication infrastructure.

When completed, the greenfield project will connect the new Eliwana iron ore mine to the existing Fortescue Hammersley Line.

The John Holland team will now focus on final destressing works for 130 km of the track, siding extension works, final grinding and correction. Final ballasting and tamping work for about 60 km of the track is on schedule. All remaining track works are to be completed by June 2021, the company said. The signalling and communication works are well ahead of schedule to be delivered by the end of 2021, it added.

John Holland Rail Delivery Manager, John Ma, said the team had worked hard to ensure the project progressed despite weather and access challenges throughout the course of construction.

“The safe unloading of the last long weld rail off the final rail train on the Eliwana project was a significant moment for us,” he said. “It’s a huge undertaking – more than 240,000 sleepers were laid as well as 400,000 t of ballast dropped with more than 12,000 welds joining the tracks together.

“Working in a remote and often volatile environment has its challenges, but I am proud that the team were able to demonstrate our capability to manage complex logistics and high-production welding facilities while enabling efficient project delivery.”

Remaining track work is scheduled to be completed by late June, while signalling construction will be complete by the end of August. Testing and integration of the track will be finalised in December.

Around 90 km west of Tom Price, the Eliwana mine celebrated the production of its first ore in December 2020. At full capacity, the mine will produce 30 Mt/y.

HYBRIT partners choose Gällivare for fossil-free sponge iron demonstration plant

SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall say they are taking a new, decisive leap forward in their work on HYBRIT, with the trio selecting Gällivare, in northern Sweden, as the location of the first production plant for its fossil-free sponge iron exercise.

Industrialisation is intended to start with the first demonstration plant, which will be ready in 2026, for the production of 1.3 Mt of fossil-free sponge iron in Gällivare. The demonstration plant will be integrated with iron pellet making and is part of LKAB’s transition plan.

The goal is to expand sponge iron production to a full industrial scale of 2.7 Mt by 2030 to be able to supply SSAB, among others, with feedstock for fossil-free steel. The choice of Gällivare for the demo plant was based on a joint assessment of industrial synergies, where proximity to iron ore, logistics, an electricity supply and energy optimisation were important factors, the companies said.

There are many advantages to locating the new sponge iron plant in Gällivare, which is also near LKAB’s mining production and processing plants. Using iron ore pellets that are already warm in the process will save huge amounts of energy, according to the companies. On top of this, 30% of weight will be eliminated from transport since hydrogen gas will be used to remove the oxygen in the iron ore. Gällivare also offers good access to fossil-free electricity from Vattenfall.

Martin Lindqvist, President and CEO at SSAB (centre), said: “We are world leaders in the work to transform the steel industry and are now stepping up the pace. We are doing this for the climate, customers, competitiveness and for employment. That we are now raising ambitions for a completely fossil-free value chain is unique and a message of strength from SSAB and our HYBRIT partners. We are seeing a clear increase in demand for fossil-free steel and it is right to speed up our ground-breaking cooperation.”

Jan Moström, President and CEO at LKAB (left), said the companies are leading the transformation of the iron and steel industry.

“The whole process starts with top quality iron ore in the mine and our transition plan gives strong economies of scale that pave the way for the competitive production of fossil-free steel by our customers,” he said. “This is the greatest thing we can do together for the climate. Once we are ready, we will reduce the global emissions of our customers by 35 Mt a year, which is equivalent to triple the effect of parking all passenger cars in Sweden for good.”

At the same time as announcing the Gällivare demo plant, SSAB and LKAB have agreed to deepen their partnership to create the “most effective fossil-free steel value chain from mine to steel, to customer”, they said.

“We will support and enable each other’s transformation, with Vattenfall an enabler of the huge need for electricity and hydrogen gas,” they said. “On the back of an acceleration of HYBRIT, together with LKAB’s strategy and deeper partnership, SSAB will now explore the prerequisites to convert to fossil-free steel production in Luleå faster than planned.”

The plan to convert its Oxelösund steel works in 2025 remains unchanged, as does its goal to be the first to market, in 2026, with fossil-free steel, SSAB clarified.

Anna Borg (right), President and CEO at Vattenfall, added: “Sweden and HYBRIT have a world-leading position in making fossil-free iron- and steelmaking a reality and the initiative will now be further scaled up. That fossil-free electricity and ground-breaking processes will in principle help to eliminate climate-affecting emissions completely from iron- and steelmaking is a flagship example of Vattenfall’s strategy to enable a fossil-free life within a generation. It is now extra important that the permit processes can deliver at the same pace as fossil-free steelmaking.”

Hybrit Development AB, which is owned by SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall, is developing the technology to make steel using hydrogen gas instead of coal, which will minimise climate harmful carbon dioxide emissions from production. The HYBRIT pilot plant will be able to make fossil-free sponge iron to make fossil-free steel for prototypes to customers already in 2021.

The partners claim the initiative has the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10% in Sweden and 7% in Finland, as well as contribute to cutting steel industry emissions in Europe and globally.

MinRes delivers first ore at Wonmunna iron ore project

Less than five months after breaking ground at the Wonmunna iron ore project in Western Australia, Mineral Resources Ltd has delivered first ore.

The Wonmunna operation, 80 km northwest of Newman and 360 km south of Port Hedland, was purchased from the Australian Aboriginal Mining Corporation (AAMC) in September 2020. In line with the undisclosed terms of the transaction, AAMC shareholders will receive a royalty in respect of the first 40 Mt extracted and removed from the area.

The project is set to ramp-up to its nameplate capacity of 5 Mt/y in the June quarter of 2021, but MinRes says there is potential to expand Wonmunna’s output to the designed capacity of 10 Mt/y upon the successful grant of additional approvals, at little extra capital costs.

Ore from the project will be used to underpin MinRes’ Utah Point Hub iron ore blend, which includes tonnes from its Iron Valley site. The addition of Wonmunna will help boost output from the Utah point export facility towards 14 Mt/y by the end of the December 2021 quarter, it says.

“Wonmunna’s rapid and safe development is testimony to the MRL team’s ability to deliver what others thought impossible,” the company said. “This is a great outcome not just for MRL but also for AAMC’s shareholders, who will shortly receive their first royalty cheque from Wonmunna, and the people of Western Australia as the project has created 500 jobs across the mine site and transport network.”

Fortescue rewards Monadelphous and Pentium Hydro with more Pilbara work

Fortescue Metals Group has handed out new work to Monadelphous Group and Pentium Hydro at its iron ore operations in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

Engineering company Monadelphous has secured a new five-year crane services contract, valued at around A$150 million ($117 million), with the miner.

The contract is for the provision of crane services supporting general repairs, maintenance and shutdown activities at Fortescue’s Solomon (pictured) and Eliwana operations.

Monadelphous has provided crane services to Fortescue’s Solomon operations since 2017 and, last year, expanded those services to Fortescue’s Eliwana operations.

Vysarn Ltd subsidiary Pentium Hydro, meanwhile, advises that it has amended, via a Deed of Amendment, the agreement for hydrogeological borefield drilling and construction services with Fortescue’s wholly owned Chichester Metals Pty Ltd and FMG Solomon Pty Ltd subsidiaries, previously announced in November 2019.

This amendment will see the term of its contract increased to 36 months, with the option of a two-year extension exercisable by Fortescue. The scope of work has also been amended to include the provision of dual tube flooded reverse drilling services, with an additional drill rig expected to be deployed by April.

At the same time, the companies have amended the revenue model for the contract.

Revenue from works in the original contract was based on key performance indicators for a number of production and monitoring bores and was subject to metres drilled and drill rates. Revenue from works will now be based on a combination of day rates and a schedule of hourly rates, Vysarn said.

Komatsu HD1500-8 haul trucks reach new heights for MinRes’ Iron Valley mine

Mineral Resources Limited (MRL) has looked to speed up the cycle time from the pit to the crusher at its Iron Valley mine site in the Pilbara of Western Australia by integrating a fleet of Komatsu HD1500-8 haul trucks into the iron ore operation.

The time taken to haul ore from the pit floor to MRL’s locally developed crusher has been found to make a significant difference in the efficiency of the mine’s operation, and in its environmental footprint.

MRL’s technological point of difference has helped solidify its position as a leading mining services company, with EBITDA from this business coming in at more than A$300 million ($235 million) in its 2020 financial year.

In addition to its mining services business, Mineral Resources has its own mining operations, providing a great research and development platform. At the Iron Valley mine site, the 1.6 km climb from the pit floor to the crushing facility and return was the test ground for this new Komatsu equipment.

According to MRL, the cycle time with existing dump trucks was 23.84 minutes, but a new faster machine could complete the journey in 21.63 minutes – a 9.2% improvement.

Significantly, the newly available vehicle also increased payload by 10 t (the trucks come with a rated payload of 142 t), enabling MRL to complete its entire process with the need for one less vehicle in its fleet.

“Following the success of the HD1500-8, MRL placed a milestone order for 10 of our machines,” Komatsu Sales Person, Jason Lambert, said.

The first of Komatsu’s HD1500s went into service with MRL towards the end of 2020, and the remaining nine are scheduled to be road freighted from Perth this quarter.

“From a miner’s perspective, cost is a major determinant – capital cost, life cycle cost and productivity,” Lambert said. “In this instance, there was a consistent theme of 10% improvement – in purchase cost, payload and operating efficiency – an additional 10 t, 10% faster and 10% cheaper.

“But increasingly, there’s also the consideration of health and safety.”

The Komatsu HD1500-8’s Collision Awareness System, incorporating eight on board radars and six cameras combined by one algorithm into a 360° overhead view of surrounding conditions, was a major boon to operators, according to Komatsu.

In-cabin ergonomics including specific cooling systems, low vibration operation and noise attenuation pegged at 72 db met contemporary operator expectations, too.

The operator also had the option of dialling down fuel use in a range from 90 litres per hour, to 80 l/h to achieve a full two shifts of operation between refuelling.

“The pit depth at Iron Valley is 160 m, and it’s a 10% gradient from the pit floor to the top of the pit with another 900 m from the top of the pit to the crusher,” Lambert said. “The HD1500-8 climbs at 13 km/h, achieves 60 km/h on the flat and descends at 22 km/h. The operator can alter the fuel use according to gradient and also the load for the return trip to the floor.

“It’s as if the HD1500-8 has been purpose built for the mine and, in many respects, that is the case.

“Increasingly we’re capable of working with each specific operator to fine tune our machine to their exact requirements.”