Tag Archives: Jansen

BHP greenlights Jansen Stage 1 potash project

BHP has approved $5.7 billion in capital expenditure for the Jansen Stage 1 (Jansen S1) potash project in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Jansen S1 is expected to produce approximately 4.35 Mt/y of potash, and has a basin position with the potential for further expansions (subject to studies and approvals), according to BHP. First ore is targeted in 2027, with construction expected to take approximately six years, followed by a ramp-up period of two years.

Jansen S1 includes the design, engineering and construction of an underground potash mine and surface infrastructure including a processing facility, a product storage building and a continuous automated rail loading system. Jansen S1 product will be shipped to export markets through Westshore, in Delta, British Columbia, and the project includes funding for the required port infrastructure. This infrastructure will be constructed by Westshore Terminals Investment Corporation as part of an agreement with BHP.

BHP Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry, said Jansen is aligned with BHP’s strategy of growing the company’s exposure to future-facing commodities in world-class assets, which are large, low cost and expandable.

“This is an important milestone for BHP and an investment in a new commodity that we believe will create value for shareholders for generations,” Henry said.

“In addition to its merits as a stand-alone project, Jansen also brings with it a series of high returning growth options in an attractive investment jurisdiction. In developing the Jansen project, BHP has had ongoing positive engagement and collaboration with First Nations and local communities, and with the provincial and federal governments. Jansen is designed with a focus on sustainability, including being designed for low greenhouse gas emissions and low water consumption.

“We anticipate that demand growth will progressively absorb the excess capacity currently present in the industry, with opportunity for new supply expected by the late 2020s or early 2030s. That is broadly aligned with the expected timing of first production from Jansen.”

BHP said: “Beyond the 2020s, the industry’s long run trend prices are expected to be determined by Canadian greenfield solution mines. In addition to consuming more energy and water than conventional mines like Jansen, solution mines tend to have higher operating costs and higher sustaining capital requirements.”

At consensus prices, the go-forward investment on Jansen is expected to generate an internal rate of return of 12-14%, an expected payback period of seven years from first production and an underlying EBITDA margin of around 70% given its expected first quartile cost position, according to BHP.

BHP says the $4.5 billion (pre-tax) of capital invested to date has resulted in a significant initial outlay. The investment to date includes construction of the shafts and associated infrastructure ($2.97 billion scope of work), as well as engineering and procurement activities and preparation works related to Jansen S1 underground infrastructure. Approximately $220 million of the $2.97 billion approved for the current scope of work, expected to be completed in 2022, is not yet spent.

The construction of two shafts and associated infrastructure at the site is 93% complete and expected to be completed in 2022, with Cementation Canada set to carry out the post liner excavation, steel and equipping of the shafts.

The sinking of the shafts was carried out by DMC Mining Services using Herrenknecht’s Shaft Boring Roadheader.

To date about 50% of all engineering required for Jansen S1 has been completed, significantly de-risking the project, BHP says.

Murray & Roberts’ Cementation Americas business wins Rio and BHP contracts

Murray & Roberts’ Cementation Americas business has confirmed two new mining contracts with Rio Tinto and BHP.

Cementation USA secured the Underground Characterisation Development and Infrastructure project in Utah for Rio Tinto’s Kennecott copper operations (open pit, pictured). The value of this agreement is circa-$70 million, with the initial scope including lateral development and associated infrastructure works.

Rio, only last month, approved a $108 million investment in underground development to enable early orebody access and undertake orebody characterisation studies for underground mining at the Kennecott copper operations.

The contract award positions Cementation USA well for the potential significant scope growth on this project, Murray & Roberts said.

Cementation Canada Inc has secured the completion of Phase 1 of the Jansen potash project in the province of Saskatchewan for BHP. This scope includes the post liner excavation, steel and equipping of the shaft.

The value of the complete project award, subject to a sanction decision for the project, is around $170 million. Cementation Canada has, in the interim, received a works order to proceed with the first work package to the value of $12 million.

BHP said last month that it expected to make a decision on whether to move forward with Jansen, which is expected to produce 4.4 Mt/y of potash in its first phase, in the next two months.

Cementation Canada will apply to also deliver the following phases of the Jansen project, Murray & Roberts noted.

Murray & Roberts said: “During the past year, mining companies in the Americas have experienced prolonged COVID-19 impact, creating short-term order book pressure for engineering and contracting companies. These awards are evidence of new mining investments returning to the region.

“The forecast improvement in capital investment in the mining industry is encouraging and, considering the platform’s leading global position and growing near term project pipeline, there is good potential for accelerated growth for the group’s mining platform.”

Former BHP data strategist to lead open-pit mining equipment data specialist MaxMine

Former BHP Global Data Strategy Lead, Coert Du Plessis, has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of mining technology business MaxMine.

Du Plessis commenced in the role of Chief Operating Officer of MaxMine on May 1, 2020, working with MaxMine’s management team behind the scenes over the past 12 months to successfully configure and guide MaxMine through its significant Series A funding round announced last month, the company said.

MaxMine is an automated, high-resolution data-based business reporting tool that combines advanced data acquisition technology with AI analysis to fully optimise mobile equipment and operator performance within mining and other mobile equipment-based operations, measuring performance differently and using gamification to change behaviours.

On July 1, 2021, Du Plessis was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the company.

Du Plessis commenced his professional career with global consulting firm, Deloitte, moving up the ranks to become senior partner before the age of 40. He then established and led the firm’s Western Australia data analytics practice. He then moved to BHP to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies and cultivate collaborative ways of working. His scope at BHP included the design and establishment of an Innovation Mine at BHP’s Eastern Ridge operations in Western Australia, developing the BHP Dahling Industrial IoT platform, embedding next generation digital technologies at existing operations and major new capital projects – such as Jansen – and steering the final technology investment review of the South Flank iron ore project.

Du Plessis said three things ultimately convinced him to move from BHP to take up the new roles at MaxMine:

  • “One, the calibre of the existing leadership team and their adaptive business mindset; demonstrated in successfully raising growth capital in a year disrupted by COVID;
  • “Two, generating industry leading data quality and confidence in their results, an order of magnitude better than incumbent fleet management system. It means MaxMine users transition from teams arguing about the validity of data to knowing what needs to be done next; and
  • “Three, the ability to over-come digital inertia and drive technology adoption with front line operators and operational leadership teams month in and month out.”

He added: “It was inspirational to see the speed at which the MaxMine team could develop these incredible technologies and develop the unique delivery approaches whilst maintaining an incredible focus on customer value.

“MaxMine has gone further than any other technology product and service I have come across in solving the challenge of delivering consistent value for mine site operations. The quality of MaxMine’s data asset sets us apart in the industry, and we believe we can apply the same operational improvement approach that allows us to enable delivery of more tonnes of ore, to also significantly reduce CO2 tonnes expelled in mining operations. Moving beyond the growing list of CO2 reduction aspirations to reductions delivered is an outcome I deeply care about.”

MaxMine Director, Robin Schleich, who is also Dupont Sustainable Solutions’ global operations director, said: “Mining companies need, and want, to partner with true industry innovators such as MaxMine to help them navigate the ramp up in digital disruption in the industry and combat growing operational cost pressures.

“Based on the significant investment last month, it is clear MaxMine provides one of the strongest platforms to drive industry productivity and emissions transformation.”

MaxMine’s outgoing CEO, Tom Cawley, will transition to Executive Chair, focusing on adjacent business opportunities for the company and setting up the board to support the company’s growth.

BHP commits another $272 million for shaft lining at Jansen potash project

BHP has agreed to invest another $272 million in the Jansen Stage 1 potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada, following challenges encountered with placement of the shaft lining and more recent impacts from the company’s COVID-19 response plan.

Up until this point, BHP had committed to spending $2.7 billion on the project.

BHP said in its September quarter results: “As a consequence of the challenges encountered earlier with placement of the shaft lining and then the more recent impacts from our COVID-19 response plan, the board has approved additional funding of $272 million for the completion of the shafts, resulting in a total budget of $3.0 billion (previously $2.7 billion).”

This is expected to result in the excavation and lining of the 7.3 m diameter production (975 m deep) and service (1,005 m deep) shafts – sunk by DMC Mining using Herrenknecht’s Shaft Boring Roadheader – and the installation of essential surface infrastructure and utilities.

Back in August, the company said it would not decide on an investment in the full Stage 1 project until mid-2021, a delay on the February 2021 deadline it previously advised of. This was down to the shaft lining problem.

The current Stage 1 plan, which is 86% complete and has an expected capital outlay of $5.3-5.7 billion, involves building out initial capacity of 4.3-4.5 Mt/y of potash, with expansion optionality.

BHP added: “Jansen Stage 1 remains well positioned with attractive medium to longer-term commodity fundamentals, and is set to be a high-margin, low-cost, long-life asset, with multiple, basin-wide, expansion opportunities. As always, we will be disciplined about our entry into the market and it must pass our strict Capital Allocation Framework tests.”

Herrenknecht heralds ‘game changer for shaft sinking in soft and medium-hard rock’

Having successfully excavated two 8-11 m diameter blind shafts using Shaft Boring Roadheaders (SBRs) at the BHP-owned Jansen potash project, Herrenknecht is leveraging all the lessons it learnt in Saskatchewan, Canada, to ensure this technology proves to be a “game changer” for the sinking of shafts in soft and medium-hard rock.

Mining contractor DMC Mining Services used two SBRs to excavate the blind shafts at Jansen, with the successful project completion acting as proof of the feasibility and advantages of the Herrenknecht SBR concept for the mining industry, according to the Germany-based company.

In August 2018, the mining industry milestone was achieved with the successful completion of two blind shafts to depths of -975 and -1,005 m, respectively, at the Jansen potash project. For the first time, shafts in the mining business were sunk using only mechanical excavation for this reference project.

Two Herrenknecht SBRs excavated the ground by a partial-face cutting method, using a cutting drum mounted on a telescopic boom. The excavated rock was then conveyed from the bench by an innovative pneumatic mucking system (PNM) and transferred into muck buckets to be hoisted to surface, the company said.

An innovative laser navigation system designed by the Herrenknecht subsidiary, VMT Group, using target units mounted on the SBR and lasers connected to the shaft wall, was used to keep the machines on track.

Herrenknecht, with its experience as a technology leader in mechanised tunnelling, developed the SBR for the mechanised sinking of blind shafts in soft to medium-hard rock. Based on the proven technology of the Herrenknecht Vertical Shaft Sinking Machine (VSM), the SBR offers improved safety performance compared with conventional shaft sinking methods while also achieving higher advance rates, according to the company.

The geological conditions at Jansen, however, were anything but easy. At a depth of around 450 m, the SBR encountered a layer of extremely hard competent rock causing excessive pick wear and low rates of advance. To overcome this and some further hardness challenges, the cutting drum was upgraded to a hard-rock cutting drum and torque output was doubled.

Because an existing high-pressure underground waterway, known as the Blairmore aquifer, posed a risk for water ingress into the shaft, ground freezing was executed temporarily in 2011 by BHP to a depth of approximately 650 m.

A major success in this difficult geology was the use of a mechanical ring erector, which allowed the installation of steel tubbing segments with minimal risk to personnel and a high degree of accuracy, according to Herrenknecht. The steel liner rings were installed through the Blairmore aquifer to assist in the development of a composite steel and concrete watertight liner in both shafts.

Since the project-specific design changes at Jansen required modifications to the SBRs, Herrenknecht, together with contractor DMC Mining Services, refined the SBR technology over the long term. The result is the second generation of Herrenknecht SBR technology.

As an example, the second generation SBR is equipped with an additional stabilisation level that allows the fixation of the SBR centre pipe on both ends. This ensures a stable transfer of the reaction forces from the cutting process to the shaft wall without movement of the machine – even with fluctuating excavation diameter of 8-11 m, as encountered at the Jansen potash project.

In addition to an improved filter system, a new design of the PNM system was installed in the second-generation machine, which results in a higher degree of separation in the suction tank itself, allowing wet material and even water to be handled.

Martin-Devid Herrenknecht, General Manager Mining at Herrenknecht, said: “The technical development of the second SBR generation is based on the lessons learnt from the Jansen project.” Two SBRs of this generation are currently in operation in Belarus and achieving good performance as a result of the improvements made, Herrenknecht said. “This pioneering approach is certainly a game changer for shaft sinking in soft and medium-hard rock, impacting the whole mining industry,” he said.

After the successful excavation at Jansen, another task was to be managed: the disassembly of the huge machines in the deep shafts. To remove the SBR from the shaft bottom, it was necessary to reduce the weight of the machine from 390 t to 340 t. This was achieved by stripping all components off the SBR that were in the excavation chamber. Both SBRs were safely extracted from the two shafts at the Jansen potash project in May 2019.

The Jansen potash project, located approximately 140 km east of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is a BHP-owned future potential potash mine with an expected initial mining output of around 3-4.5 Mt/y with valuable expansion options.

BHP’s Jansen potash project set for early-2021 investment decision

While uncertainty remains around the construction of BHP’s Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada, the company, in its September quarter results, confirmed it is still spending money on the asset prior to making a development decision.

BHP said the Jansen Stage 1 potash project will be presented to the board for a final investment decision by February 2021. The currently Stage 1 plan, which is in the feasibility study stage, involves building out initial capacity of 4.3-4.5 Mt/y of potash, with expansion optionality.

The miner has, so far, committed to spending $2.7 billion on the project. This is expected to result in the excavation and lining of the 7.3 m diameter production (975 m deep) and service (1,005 m deep, pictured) shafts – sunk by DMC Mining using Herrenknecht’s Shaft Boring Roadheader – and the installation of essential surface infrastructure and utilities. The overall Stage 1 project is expected to have a capital outlay of $5.3-5.7 billion.

In the September quarter results, BHP said in order to make a final investment decision, work on engineering to support project planning and on finalising the port solution is required. The BHP Board has, as a result, approved $144 million of spending for these activities, with an additional $201 million in funding set aside to further de-risk the project. The latter is focused on the mine’s scope of work, advancing other engineering and procurement activities, and preparation works for underground infrastructure, it said.

“This will enable an efficient transition of the project team between the study and execution phase, should the project be approved,” BHP said, adding that the release of funding to the project will be staged over this period.

The company, meanwhile, gave an update on its South Flank iron ore development, in the Pilbara of Western Australia, with CEO Andrew Mackenzie saying the project was 50% complete, with all major items on schedule and budget.

South Flank, which is expected to cost $4.6 billion to build, is set to replace production from the existing Yandi mine, which is reaching the end of its economic life. BHP is targeting first ore extraction at the operation in 2021 and expects to ramp up to 80 Mt/y of output.