Tag Archives: Jon Stanton

Weir-backed report highlights decarbonisation opportunities in mineral processing

An independent report, commissioned by the Weir Group, has highlighted the global mining industry’s energy usage, illuminating where energy is consumed and linking it with opportunities and pathways for sector-wide decarbonisation.

The report analyses mine energy use from over 40 published studies, centred on five commodities – copper, gold, iron ore, nickel and lithium. For these five metals, it finds comminution – the crushing and grinding of rocks – alone accounts for 25% of final energy consumption at an ‘average’ mine site. Extended across all hard-rock mining, this is equivalent to up to 1% of total final energy consumption globally.

The report reconfirms comminution as a key target for energy and emissions reduction efforts.

These findings align with the mission of the Coalition for Energy Efficient Comminution (CEEC), a global initiative to accelerate eco-efficient minerals, with a focus on energy-efficient comminution. It also extends on previous CEEC messaging, indicating up to 3% of global electrical energy is used in comminution when considering all mined commodities, quarrying and cement production.

In addition to optimising comminution, the report also highlights other energy and emissions reduction opportunities such as the redesign of grinding circuits at greenfield sites, improved drill and blast approaches, pre-concentration, and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve decision making.

The report emphasises the mining industry’s crucial role in supporting the transition to net zero emissions, needed to limit global temperatures in line with the Paris Agreement, CEEC says. This includes more efficient and sustainable technologies if the industry is to meet the challenge of decarbonisation.

“Despite the scale of the challenge, the report underlines that small improvements in existing mines can lead to large savings in both energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” CEEC said.

Report author, Marc Allen, states a 5% incremental improvement in energy efficiency across comminution could result in greenhouse gas emission reductions of more than 30 Mt of CO2e.

Allen said: “A relatively modest 5% improvement in comminution across the industry may result in emissions reductions close to the total emissions for New Zealand (35 Mt CO2e).

“A more robust energy audit process and implementation of low-cost opportunities across a mine and process plant may result in total energy savings of up to 10-15% and overall emissions reductions of over 200 Mt of CO2e per annum, depending on the source of electricity.

“Large-scale introduction of renewable energy provides the potential to reduce emissions significantly in the industry – hundreds of millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas savings when there is widespread adoption of renewable energy and energy storage.”

CEEC CEO, Alison Keogh, commended Weir for commissioning this timely work, and all industry leaders taking proactive steps to reduce mining’s footprint. She said outstanding CEEC Medal winning work and 700 published advances have already shared good options for miners to consider, thanks to CEEC sponsors, volunteers and authors.

She urged industry to collaborate to accelerate decarbonisation steps.

“More open knowledge sharing helps speed installations of renewables and energy-efficient approaches across all of industry,” Keogh said. “Benefits also include increased productivity, shareholder value, and financing as companies demonstrate performance towards net zero emissions sooner.”

She cited three key collaboration actions vital to success: (1) sharing best practices, to ensure existing mines and processing plants are better informed and take actions earlier to become more energy and water efficient; (2) sharing new technologies, designs and innovations; and (3) supporting test work and pilots of novel technology on sites and at increasing scales.

Keogh called for greater industry dialogue, noting: “This report highlights both a challenge and an opportunity to revitalise cross-industry discussion and actions on decarbonisation and ESG solutions. Weir is one of many visionary CEEC sponsors supporting public good initiatives like CEEC; we invite industry leaders to actively contribute and collaborate through mining-vendor-research partnerships and share knowledge, site case studies and net zero plans via independent organisations such as CEEC.

“Together, we can accelerate improved energy, emissions and water footprint across industry faster.”

Weir Group Chief Executive, Jon Stanton, commented: “Mining needs to become more sustainable and efficient if it is to provide essential resources the world needs for decarbonisation while reducing its own environmental impact. This report is an important contribution to that debate which we hope will spark thoughtful conversations around the world on the way forward.”

Weir to sell Oil & Gas division to Caterpillar

The Weir Group says it has entered into an agreement for the all-cash sale of its entire Oil & Gas division to Caterpillar Inc for an enterprise value of $405 million, subject to customary working capital and debt-like adjustments at closing.

This follows the announcement in February 2020 that Weir would seek to maximise value from its Oil & Gas division as it continued its strategic transformation into a premium mining technology pure play.

The agreement will see Weir generate net proceeds to reduce the group’s leverage, while the transaction facilitates a $70 million US cash tax benefit for Weir to be realised over the medium term, it said.

While the transaction is subject to Weir shareholder approval, the company is hoping for it be completed by the end of 2020, assuming normal regulatory clearances.

Selling the division to Cat will help Weir transition into a premium mining technology pure play “focused on attractive markets underpinned by global demographic trends, the transition to a low carbon society and adoption of new technologies in the mining industry”, it said.

It will also provide a “differentiated aftermarket, service and technology offering with proven earnings stability and strong cash generation through the cycle”.

The company’s strategic intent will now be to build on leading mission-critical positions in the mining supply chain from extraction to concentration and tailings management. It will be aided by a strengthened balance sheet to provide enhanced flexibility to invest in future growth opportunities, it said.

Jon Stanton, Weir Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are pleased to have reached this agreement that delivers a great home for the Oil & Gas division and maximises value for our stakeholders. Alongside the previous sale of the Flow Control division and the acquisition of ESCO, it is a major milestone in transforming the group into a focused, premium mining technology business.

“It means Weir is ideally positioned to benefit from long-term structural demographic trends and climate change actions, which will increase demand for essential metals that must also be produced more sustainably and efficiently. This will require the innovative engineering and close customer partnerships that define Weir, and it is why we are so excited about the future.”

Joe Creed, Vice President of Caterpillar’s Oil & Gas and Marine division, said: “Combining Weir Oil & Gas’s established pressure pumping and pressure control portfolio with Cat’s engines and transmissions enables us to create additional value for customers. This acquisition will expand our offerings to one of the broadest product lines in the well service industry.”

Weir secures largest-ever individual mining order from Fortescue

The Weir Group says it has been awarded a £100 million ($123 million) order to provide industry-leading energy saving solutions to the Iron Bridge magnetite project, a joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group and Formosa Steel IB.

The order, which includes a range of Weir crushing and pump equipment including Enduron® high pressure grinding rolls (HPGRs) and GEHO® pumps, will reduce energy consumption and wet tailings waste by more than 30% compared with traditional mining technologies, according to the equipment manufacturer.

The Iron Bridge project, 145 km south of Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, is a $2.6 billion investment in premium magnetite iron ore reserves with annual production, when the mine is fully operational, of 22 Mt/y of 67% Fe concentrate. Delivery of the first ore is expected in 2022.

When the mine build was approved back in April, Fortescue CEO, Elizabeth Gaines, said the innovative design for the project, which included the use of a dry crushing and grinding circuit, “will deliver an industry-leading energy efficient operation with globally competitive capital intensity and operating costs”.

A pilot project to verify the Iron Bridge project design involved processing 1 Mt of ore through a full scale HPGR and air classifier, according to Fortescue.

Weir Group Chief Executive Officer, Jon Stanton, said: “We are delighted to have secured this landmark contract, which is Weir’s largest-ever individual mining order.

“Fortescue challenged us to help create one of the most energy and cost-efficient magnetite ore processing facilities in the world. Our engineers have worked relentlessly to design a solution that is truly innovative – delivering significant energy, water and cost savings. This is a great example of working in close partnership with an ambitious customer who shares our passion for using innovative engineering to make mining more productive and sustainable.”

Ricardo Garib, President of the Weir Minerals division, added: “Our team are really enjoying working with Fortescue. Our engineers relish a challenge and it has been great to work on a project that demonstrates the substantial cost and environmental savings that our range of solutions can offer.

“As more mines look to increase productivity, we look forward to even more opportunities to leverage our combination of passionate people, innovative solutions and comprehensive global service capability.”

Weir’s Enduron HPGRs are increasingly replacing conventional mills in comminution (crushing, screening and grinding) circuits because of their substantially lower energy consumption and potential for significant total cost of ownership reduction, Weir says.

“Not only do they require as much as 40% less energy than traditional alternatives, but their wearable components last much longer and the maintenance time required to replace worn out parts is significantly lower.”

The company outlined the reasons why companies are turning to Enduron HPGRs in a blog post earlier this week.

First Reserve becomes new owner of Weir’s Flow Control division

The Weir Group says it has completed the sale of its Flow Control division to First Reserve for an enterprise value of £275 million ($343 million).

The deal, which was first announced on February 25, completed on June 28, the company confirmed.

The Flow Control division primarily provides highly engineered pumps, valves and other solutions used in power, industrial and downstream oil and gas applications, according to Weir.

Back in February, the company said the sale would effectively strengthen its mining and oil & gas ties: “Once this transaction completes, on a pro forma basis, more than 80% of Weir’s revenues will be from attractive aftermarket-intensive mining and upstream oil and gas markets.”

Weir Group CEO, Jon Stanton, said: “The sale of the Flow Control division marks an important step in successfully delivering our strategy. It means Weir is now a more focused business with strong positions in premium upstream mining and oil and gas markets around the world.”

The £275 million enterprise value price is subject to customary working capital and debt-like adjustments, Weir clarified.

Demand for ground engaging tools leads Weir to invest in ESCO Newton plant

The Weir Group says it is investing an additional $15 million in its Newton manufacturing facility, in Mississippi, US, as part of a total $50-million plan to support an additional 150 jobs at the ESCO division plant.

When the investment programme is complete, employee numbers will be more than 400, a 60% increase from 2016, Weir Group said.

The Newton facility, one of Weir’s largest manufacturing operations, produces ground engaging tools for mining and infrastructure needs and was brought into the group with last year’s acquisition of ESCO. The expansion is slated to be complete by August 2019, Weir Group said.

Weir Group CEO, Jon Stanton, said: “The equipment we make in Mississippi is exported around the world and the increased demand from our mining and infrastructure customers gives us great confidence in the future.”

The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) is providing assistance for workforce training, as well as statutory tax exemptions, according to Weir.

MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough, Jr, said: “The Weir Group’s ESCO division with its talented employees show the world each day that global manufacturing leaders find the people and place needed for success in Mississippi. For nearly 50 years, ESCO’s workforce has enabled the company to achieve its goals by producing top-quality mining equipment used around the world, and this continued corporate investment demonstrates Weir’s commitment to doing business in our state.”

Approximately 80% of the products manufactured at the Newton facility are exported. This makes Weir’s ESCO division the world’s leading supplier of ground engaging tools for the mining industry, Weir said. The facility began operations in Newton in 1971.

Weir strengthens mining and oil & gas ties with Flow Control sale

The Weir Group has entered into an agreement to sell its Flow Control division to First Reserve, a global private equity investment firm focused exclusively on energy, for an enterprise value of £275 million ($360 million).

Weir, which will receive cash for the sales, said all the way back in April 2018 that it planned to sell the division. The admission came alongside the acquisition of ESCO. The transaction remains subject to certain regulatory and other approvals, with completion expected in the June quarter, the company said.

The Flow Control division primarily provides highly engineered pumps, valves and other solutions used in power, industrial and downstream oil and gas applications, according to Weir.

Weir said: “Once this transaction completes, on a pro forma basis, more than 80% of Weir’s revenues will be from attractive aftermarket-intensive mining and upstream oil and gas markets.”

Weir Group CEO, Jon Stanton, said: “The decision to sell Flow Control is part of Weir’s recent portfolio transformation which focuses the group on where we can maximise long-term value – building on our strong global leadership positions in mining and upstream oil and gas markets.”

Jeff Quake and Neil Hartley, Managing Directors of First Reserve, said: “In our view, Weir Flow Control represents an attractive growth platform in a fragmented sector, with internationally recognised brands driven by recurring high-margin aftermarket parts and services which have proven to be resilient through multiple economic environments.”

After the sale completes, Flow Control will continue to be led by current President David Paradis and his management team, Weir said.

In the year to December 31, 2018, Flow Control’s unaudited financial results included profit before tax of £23 million on a pre-exceptional items and intangibles amortisation basis.