Tag Archives: James Agar

BHP to trial Epiroc Boomer M2 battery-electric jumbo at Olympic Dam mine

BHP has unveiled a battery-electric Epiroc Boomer M2 jumbo at its Olympic Dam mine in South Australia to help support the company’s target to reduce operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including by minimising reliance on diesel.

The 28.7-t, 14.5-m long battery-electric rig will be powered by a 150 kW traction motor and 150 kW battery system, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from diesel-powered tramming. It will be tested for efficiency, productivity and comfort over the 12-month trial period, BHP said.

Jumbos are used in underground mining development to drill holes, which are then loaded with explosives and open up new areas. Post-blasting, jumbos install large bolts to stabilise mine walls. BHP currently operates 16 Epiroc jumbos at Olympic Dam.

The fully-electric machine will also break new ground in its user experience by reducing noise and vibration, and eliminating heat and the emissions of diesel particulate matter, the miner said.

Andrew Harris, General Manager Olympic Dam Mine, said: “The world is going to need a lot more of South Australia’s high-quality copper, and the team at Olympic Dam is behind our push to produce that copper more sustainably.

“Collaboration with supply partners like Epiroc will be critical to developing the technology required to reduce emissions, while ensuring we continue to improve the safety and productivity of our operations. I can’t wait to see what this new fully-electric jumbo can do.”

BHP’s Group Procurement Officer, James Agar, said: “The fully-electric jumbo is yet another innovation that will support our progress towards achieving our medium-term target of reducing operational greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by financial year 2030.”

Alisa Bennett, Underground Business Manager for Epiroc Australia and Mongolia, said: “Epiroc are excited to partner with BHP in a new era of electrification in Australia. Epiroc’s ambitious sustainability targets like halved carbon emissions by 2030 matches BHP’s sustainability agenda well. The Boomer M2 Battery rig will facilitate a healthier and safer underground working environment for our customers without compromising on productivity.”

BHP has a medium-term target to reduce operational GHG gas emissions by at least 30% by the 2030 fincial year, from a financial year 2020 baseline. Approximately 40% of BHP’s operational emissions in its baseline year came from diesel-powered vehicles.

The trial of the jumbo also supports BHP’s efforts to minimise the operational impact of diesel particulate matter in underground mining operations by 2025, as part of BHP’s participation in the International Council on Mining and Metals’ Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles initiative.

The fully-electric jumbo trial builds on electric vehicle initiatives at Nickel West in Western Australia, Olympic Dam in South Australia and BMA’s Broadmeadow mine in Queensland. BHP is also collaborating with Caterpillar Inc and Komatsu to develop zero-emissions electrified haul trucks, and battery-electric locomotives with Wabtec Corporation and Progress Rail.

BHP has also signed Power Purchase Agreements to source renewable power for a number of its operations in Chile, Queensland, South Australia (with Iberdrola and Neoen) and Western Australia. BHP also has customer decarbonisation partnerships with steelmakers in China, Japan, Korea, India and Europe, which collectively represent around 17% of reported global steel production capacity.

BHP pursuing ‘radical transparency and systematic collaboration’ policy, Agar says

James Agar, BHP’s Group Procurement Officer, has called for systematic collaboration and radical transparency within the mining sector when he addressed the main session at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), in Australia, this morning.

Agar said the industry needs to reflect on the experience of COVID-19 and use it to strengthen the industry’s resilience from supply chain constraints.

“As a result of COVID, global demand vanished almost overnight,” he said. “What we learnt is that we can’t do it alone, we need to work collaborative and we need to be more transparent with our partners.”

Despite coming out the other side after the worst of COVID lockdowns, the global economic outlook has not improved, Agar mentioned.

“Labour markets are tight globally, with no sign of easing soon,” he said. “The energy crisis in Europe is profound and will continue to drive volatility in energy markets.”

As a result, BHP is pursuing a policy of “radical transparency and systematic collaboration” to ease pressures facing Australia’s largest miner.

Agar explained that this means building relationships with all stakeholders that support BHP’s operations, no matter the size of the partner.

“At BHP, we know we haven’t always been perfect in this regard,” he said.

International Mining is a media sponsor of IMARC, which runs from November 2-4 in Sydney, Australia

BHP to receive ‘world’s first carbon neutral conveyor belts’ from China’s Wuxi Boton

China’s Wuxi Boton has announced the world’s first carbon neutral conveyor belts for delivery to BHP’s Spence copper mine in Chile in August as part of an exclusive pilot project between the two companies.

The two companies jointly developed this pilot project, under which the conveyor belts were verified by SGS, a leading testing, inspection and certification company, as meeting the requirements of PAS 2060:2014 (specification for the demonstration of carbon neutrality).

SGS awarded the world’s first certificate of “Achievement of Carbon Neutrality for Steel Cord Rubber Conveyor Belt” to a batch of belts produced by Boton for BHP. The conveyor belts will be shipped to BHP’s Spence copper mine, where they will be used in the production and transportation of Spence mining products to customers around the world, including China.

The scope of the pilot project was for Wuxi Boton, as the incumbent contractor for BHP’s operations at both Minerals Australia and Minerals America, to select the conveyor belts to be ordered by BHP and identify how to offset the estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the production of those conveyor belts using high-quality carbon offsets prior to delivery.

BHP’s Group Procurement Officer, James Agar, said: “Wuxi Boton have been a reliable partner to BHP for over eight years, supplying high-quality conveyor belts to our assets in Australia and Chile. Both companies are committed to mitigating climate change in accordance with their respective climate targets and goals. This shared vision of a better world led Wuxi Boton, in December 2021, to extend the offer of an exclusive pilot to deliver a carbon neutral conveyor belt to BHP.

“The partnership with Wuxi Boton has been invaluable in helping BHP verify the feasibility of using high-quality carbon offsets to GHG emissions in our supply chain (Scope 3) and grow the potential demand for supplying ‘traced’, ‘low carbon’, or ‘carbon neutral’ products amongst our suppliers.”

Wuxi Boton’s Chairman, Zhifang Bao, said: “It is difficult for any enterprise to achieve low-carbon transformation on its own. Only by building a global platform, co-operating with the whole industry chain, and jointly exploring low-carbon technologies and road maps can we reach the other shore.

“Therefore, joint innovation is an inevitable choice. Instead of passively accepting, it is better to take the initiative to lead, which is a very important choice faced by enterprises all over the world. We are pleased to see that the partnership between BHP and Boton has expanded from a single business level to a strategic synergy level. In the journey of global energy transition, leading companies, including Boton and BHP, are jointly working towards building a more sustainable future.”

Laser Technologies cleaning solution rises to the top in BHP Supplier Innovation Program

BHP, working through its Supplier Innovation Program, is to start trialling a new laser cleaner to remove surface corrosion and prepare metal surfaces for repainting to ensure protection from the elements at its jointly owned Hay Point Coal Terminal operations in Queensland, Australia.

Traditionally pressurised blasting using water or sand has been used for this process.

As part of BHP’s Supplier Innovation Program, a challenge was launched with businesses in the Australian Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector to propose alternatives to pressure blasting that would achieve the same results, but reduce risk to personnel from exposure to high pressure and noise, and minimise waste, which currently requires careful management.

Perth, Western Australia-based joint venture Laser Technologies was selected following a competitive proposal and evaluation process to trial a hand-held 1 kW fibre laser, capable of removing old paint and surface corrosion from metal surfaces to a depth of 6 mm, and burning the waste product into harmless vapour.

The Supplier Innovation Program was launched in Australia in 2020 as part of a A$450 million ($330 million) commitment made by BHP to increase support and engagement with METS sector businesses.

The program models a similar initiative that has been running with for the past decade to address business challenges at BHP’s Escondida operations in Chile.

Under the terms of the program, participating businesses are permitted to retain the intellectual property for their designs, enabling them to further commercialise their new products following successful pilot trials with BHP.

In its 2021 financial year, BHP launched eight challenges across its Minerals Australia operations, and plans to establish another 20 challenges this financial year.

Bevan Gostelow, Maintenance Manager at Hay Point for BHP Mitsubishi Alliance, said the Laser Technologies laser cleaner had the potential to be “a real game changer” for industry because of the reduction of risks to personnel and reduced environmental impact.

“High-pressure blasting has been effective in asset integrity maintenance for many years, but the process requires a lot of controls to ensure the safety of our people doing the work, and to prevent the spread of the waste product to protect our environment,’’ Gostelow said.

“The laser cleaner is safe, quiet and easy to use and will not require all of the scaffolding and shrouding to catch waste product, because it is all burned off at the laser head.”

Brendan Tritton, one of two Directors at Laser Technologies, said having the opportunity to present their product to BHP through the Supplier Innovation Program was a “foot in the door that was worth its weight in gold”.

“We have participated in a few innovation programs in the past, but the BHP program has been by far the most effective,” Tritton said. “The team at BHP were really clear about their objectives for this challenge from the start, and that made it easier for us to develop a suitable proposal.

“I think it’s brave of BHP to be running a program that invests in METS businesses because there is the element of risk and reward when you trial new products and technologies.”

James Agar, BHP Group Procurement Officer, said the identification of Laser Technologies for this challenge was the perfect example of what the Supplier Innovation Program was designed to achieve.

“The Suppler Innovation Program was designed to provide Australian METS businesses with opportunities to showcase the new ideas and technologies they are developing, while helping BHP challenge what is possible to improve safety and performance at our operations,’’ he said.