Tag Archives: Kalgoorlie

Ora Banda benefits from Aggreko virtual LNG pipeline at Davyhurst gold mine

In what is a world-first for global energy provider Aggreko, the company has introduced its latest high efficiency gas engines at Ora Banda Mining’s Davyhurst gold mine in Western Australia.

The power station, which uses a virtual pipeline of gas trucked over 650 km, is expected to slash the mine’s carbon emissions by 25,000 t during the next five years, Aggreko says.

A virtual gas pipeline is a substitute for a physical pipeline whereby gas that would typically be conveyed through a conventional gas pipeline is instead transported as liquified natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas to the point of use by sea, road, rail or through a combination of one or more of these transport modes.

Aggreko Australia Pacific Managing Director, George Whyte, said the LNG station project at Davyhurst was another step in the company’s mission to help miners’ get closer to their net zero emission targets.

“The Davyhurst gas power station is a great example of how a mine which previously operated on diesel wanted to operate on cleaner fuel and we were able to switch from diesel to gas,” Whyte said.

“Creating a virtual pipeline application is a way to switch from diesel to a cleaner fuel source and reduce carbon immediately without requiring any capital outlay or a physical gas pipeline.

“The result at Davyhurst is a gas power station comprising five LNG-generating sets and two diesel generating sets for a combined modular power output of 8.2 MW. Aggreko’s gas-fired power station will enable Ora Banda Mining to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 25,000 t during the initial five years of operation.”

He added: “This project demonstrates great innovation, uses a virtual gas pipeline and is a world-first for us using the high-speed reciprocating gas engines in our power generators. The power station is highly efficient, scalable and very suitable for transient loads and for the introduction of solar at a later stage.”

Whyte said Aggreko’s contract to supply the mine with power saved the junior miner on large capital expenditure and allowed miners to focus on their core skill of mining.

“Of appeal to miners is being able to take on flexible contracts with no capital outlay,” he said. “In addition, Aggreko upscales the technology, and the level of power is scalable so it can evolve with the mine.

“At Aggreko, we will reduce the amount of fossil diesel fuel used in customer solutions by at least 50% by 2030 and become a net-zero business across all services we provide by 2050. We are continuing to innovate and work with miners to reduce carbon by providing them with cleaner, scalable and modular energy as they work toward their net-zero targets.”

Ora Branda Mining Managing Director, David Quinlivan, said mining operations started on its large land holding in Western Australia in 2019 and reprocessing started again in January 2021.

“As part of the capital works program, we needed to re-establish a power station at Davyhurst and we worked with Aggreko and EVOL LNG to build a natural gas-powered station to power all of the site,” Quinlivan said.

“Initially, power was supplied to the site via an overhead line from Kalgoorlie. It is now trucked 650 km to site where it is used to power the gas generators. The power station developed for the site now supplies power to the processing plant, to the administration complex, our exploration and core processing facilities, the main mine accommodation plant, and out to the underground mining offices. It also powers our primary communications facilities.

“Working with Aggreko has resulted in a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for our company.”

Aqura to take on Australia’s 5G LTE underground mining challenge

Aqura Technologies has been awarded a grant from the Australian Government under the 5G Innovation Initiative to, it says, augment the organisation’s own development work to address the challenge of delivering underground 5G LTE.

The grant is an important step to overcome the technical and commercial barriers associated with operating next-generation broadband wireless networks in sub-surface environments, according to Aqura.

Aqura Chief Executive Officer, Travis Young, said the project was founded on extensive customer and industry feedback as critical to enable mining operators to unlock the benefits that surface operators had been enjoying for a number of years.

“With over 50% of mining in Australia being conducted underground and increasing, the industry is still playing catch-up with technology that is being widely utilised to great benefit in surface operations,” he said.

“Our track record and development work, coupled with the 5G Innovation Grant, will enable our team to work to deliver technical architectures and a validated commercial model which will enable and accelerate adoption.”

The 5G Innovation Initiative grant will complement investment already made by Aqura to deliver technical architectures, commercial model development and installation of a live Private 5G LTE network in an operating mine. The project leverages a lot of learnings from a 2017 project where Aqura successfully delivered Private 4G LTE in an underground mine in the Kalgoorlie region of Western Australia, Aqura said.

The focus of the program is to fast-track the enablement of applications and processes that are being adopted in surface operations so underground operators can realise the benefits of enhanced environmental, safety and productivity outcomes that advanced wireless communications can deliver, it added.

Aqura’s Chief Operations Officer, Alan Seery, said underground operators are wanting a kick-start to advance their technology capabilities.

“Many underground mines use processes and technologies that are decades old and operators want to leverage the latest technology, but the technical challenges and the commercial model to acquire can be prohibitive,” he said.

“We’ve learnt a lot through our previous work in underground, and we believe our new LTEaaS (LTE as a service) platform optimised to deliver next-generation private industrial operations networks will support a new commercial approach that will better suit the business models utilised by mining operators.

“And with new advances in radio access, we’re excited to have the opportunity to work with some very motivated partners to develop and make available new architectures which will bridge the underground connectivity gap.”

Many of Aqura’s core team were behind the first Private 4G LTE network in Australian resources, delivered Private 4G LTE underground and supported delivery of one of the first above-ground Private 5G LTE networks in north Queensland earlier this year, it said.

The project has kicked off with Aqura working with a large gold operator to commence scoping. Various partners have indicated support to validate applications, devices and processes around autonomy, condition monitoring, safety systems, data access, PTT communications and IoT sensors.

Bardoc and GR Engineering get to work on optimising gold processing plant plan

Bardoc Gold has signed a letter of intent (LoI) with GR Engineering Services that confirms its status as preferred tenderer for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the processing facility and associated infrastructure at the Bardoc gold project near Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

The appointment of GRES as preferred tenderer represents another significant step for Bardoc as work continues to accelerate on key project optimisation strategies aimed at streamlining the mining and production schedule, growing the production rate and improving project economics and returns, Bardoc said.

It follows Bardoc recently initiating a Cash-flow Optimisation Study, which is aimed at increasing the forecast production rate, margins and cashflow of the project. The definitive feasibility study, published earlier in the year, outlined a 2.1 Mt/y project with average annual gold sales of 135,760 oz over 8.2 years of mill production.

The LoI contemplates Bardoc working closely with GRES to complete the optimisation work currently underway as the company moves towards project financing and a Final Investment Decision before the end of the year.

Further updates on the optimisation work will be provided in the coming weeks, with results expected to be provided to the market by the end of August, Bardoc said.

GR Engineering has recently completed the construction of several comparable processing plants in Western Australia, according to Bardoc.

Progressing from the current LoI to a formal EPC contract will be subject to various conditions, including board approvals, project financing, statutory approvals and final contractual pricing and terms.

Bardoc Gold CEO, Robert Ryan, said: “Bardoc is moving rapidly towards the development of a new high-quality, high-margin gold project near Kalgoorlie. The competitive EPC tender process has drawn a number of quality submissions, reflecting the rapid progression of the Bardoc Gold Project and the high-quality work completed as part of the definitive feasibility study.

“The appointment of GR Engineering marks another key step in the development of the project and establishes an important relationship with a leading design and construction group. We look forward to working with the GRES team over the coming weeks and months.”

New Kalgoorlie metals research lab to pave the way for mining’s greener future

Curtin University is to open a new research lab geared towards carbon-neutral metal production paths at its Kalgoorlie campus in Western Australia.

Curtin’s WA School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering Head of School, Professor Michael Hitch, said the Kalgoorlie Metals Research Laboratory would explore cleaner alternatives through teaching and research that would pave the way for a greener future for the industry.

“The Kalgoorlie Metals Research Laboratory will provide undergraduate students with practical education in carbon-neutral metal production paths, which is particularly important given they are the generation that will help decarbonise the mining industry in the most challenging area of pyrometallurgy,” Professor Hitch said.

Iron ore processing expert, Dr John Clout, has been appointed the Professor of Practice in Pyrometallurgy at the lab with Curtin’s WA School of Mines Kalgoorlie Director, Sabina Shugg, saying he would oversee a high-tech laboratory, fitted with experimental high temperature furnace equipment, capable of simulating the complete industrial process to test renewable energy and green hydrogen sources in the metal extraction process of pyrometallurgy, which currently require fossil fuels.

“Highly respected in the field of pyrometallurgy, Professor Clout will bring real-world experience to the laboratory’s teaching and research, ensuring we contribute to a sustainable future for the Western Australia resources industry,” Shugg said.

Professor Clout said he was thrilled to support the new research hub’s development as an internationally-recognised laboratory and pilot-scale pyrometallurgical research facility for undergraduate teaching and applied research.

“The Kalgoorlie Metals Research Laboratory will aim to develop end-to-end production paths that set new standards for efficiency, value and carbon neutral management, which will ultimately support a cleaner future,” he said.

“After working in the gold, iron ore and nickel industries for more than four decades, I am especially excited to be working with the future leaders of the resources sector to find the most efficient renewable energy sources and processes for pyrometallurgy.

“There is significant potential for industry to be extracting and producing critical metals right here in Western Australia, especially in the Goldfields where there is significant scope for renewal energy production, untapped critical mineral resources, an existing infrastructure network and workforce.”

The Kalgoorlie Metals Research Laboratory has been established as the result of a A$600,000 ($443,697) grant from Curtin University.

The new research facility is also seeking support from industry and private donors for the purchase of additional equipment and ongoing industry-funded projects.

Insig Tech and Ampcontrol broaden Western Australia service offering

Insig Technologies says it is partnering with the Ampcontrol Group of Companies to establish a service centre in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, to support, repair and service Ampcontrol products for the Western Australia market.

Insig Technologies will also be a distributor for the Ampcontrol multifunction outlet starter, Rockstarter, for underground hard-rock mining, tunnelling and other industrial applications.

In late May, Insig Technologies and Ampcontrol signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the foundation for the partnership and have now advanced the new association to service market and customer needs.

“We believe the partnership will further enhance Insig Technologies offerings in the underground mining electrical services domain and provide a one-stop-shop for Ampcontrol customers in Western Australia,” Insig said. “We look forward to working with existing and new Ampcontrol customers under this new partnership arrangement.”

Ampcontrol says its Rockstarter is a multifunction outlet starter that, compared with traditional starters, has been custom engineered, designed and built for specific applications. It controls a single power outlet, rated up to 250 A/1.1 kV and incorporates an integrally designed circuit breaker, contactor and all protection electronics into a single unit.

“The versatile unit can be re-used for a wide range of applications, including all normal pump, fan and drill rig applications,” the company said. “The Rockstarter can also be scaled to suit specific applications, allowing multiple units to be connected in a series to supply all active operations in an area.”

BHP Nickel West to reduce emissions with Southern Cross Energy contract extension

BHP has executed a 15-year contract extension to its power purchase agreement (PPA) with energy provider Southern Cross Energy (SCE) for the supply of electricity to its Nickel West operations in the Goldfields of Western Australia.

The agreement extends the current arrangement to 2038, giving Nickel West access to all electricity produced by SCE.

Nickel West Asset President, Eduard Haegel, said the PPA also provided Nickel West with the additional ability to integrate renewable electricity generation, including solar and wind, with energy storage technologies to meet its emissions reduction targets and deliver lower carbon, sustainable nickel to its customers.

Study phases for renewable energy supply and carbon emissions reduction under the extended PPA are underway, including an 18.5 MW solar photovoltaic farm at Nickel West’s Leinster and Mount Keith operations, supported by a battery energy storage system. A 17 MW waste heat steam turbine system at the Kalgoorlie smelter is also being evaluated to provide low-emissions electricity from furnace heat recovery, BHP said.

The combined projects have the potential to reduce Nickel West’s Scope 2 electricity greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15% by 2023, based on 2020 levels.

“These projects contribute to the first phase of our emissions reduction strategy, as we continue to evaluate plans for additional renewable energy supply to decarbonise our nickel operations,” Haegel said.

“We are at the beginning of an energy revolution that will transform our world and materially increase demand for nickel. BHP Nickel West is well placed to provide our nickel units sustainably, and with one of the lowest carbon footprints.”

BHP has committed to a science-based target of a 30% reduction in carbon emissions from 2020 levels by 2030, with a long-term target of net zero operational emissions by 2050.

“Our integrated value chain and the sulphide nature of our nickel deposits makes Nickel West one of the lowest carbon emitters in the industry and gives BHP a global advantage in the sustainable production of nickel,” Haegel said.

MICROMINE makes a software splash at Diggers & Dealers

With Western Australia one of MICROMINE’s key markets for its Micromine and Pitram products, it is hardly surprising the software leader chose this week’s Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie to reveal a host of new updates for the 3D modelling and mine design/mine production and fleet tracking solutions.

Across the company’s product suite, MICROMINE has been readily engaging with customers throughout the world, with users providing feedback to form its product roadmaps.

One of the results of this consultation process is a move to a six-monthly release cycle to enable its software to grow and adapt with clients’ operations.

Another is providing networking options to expand usage of its software across a wider number of users – the free Micromine Effects reader enabling anyone to view, share and interrogate Micromine output files without needing access to a full software licence.

“We’ve also introduced subscription offerings which our customers have quickly adopted because they provide a flexible and scalable option for large teams to access more functionality across our product suite, with less upfront cost compared to the traditional perpetual model,” Adam Brew, MICROMINE Australia Manager, told IM.

Shifting any capex item to the opex column is bound to go down well with the mining community, as MICROMINE has shown.

Having occurred in August 2019, the move led to almost nine months straight of subscription-only sales, according to Brew. “It surpassed our expectations,” he said. “The ability to have a subscription model allowed us to then launch the Free April campaign.”

The “Free April” campaign – which saw MICROMINE offer miners complimentary access to its general mining Micromine package during April as COVID-19 started to bite – led to around 4,000 new people interacting with the software, according to Brew.

MICROMINE has been busy on updates during the pandemic, but it has also delivered its first fully remote implementation of Pitram at a mine operation in Greece, leveraging the experience from its global Pitram support desk to fully deploy a Pitram FMS and Material Management solution.

This Greek project is well advanced with Pitram playing a crucial role in a major refurbishment and expansion of existing operations. The solution at the mine is aimed at helping improve development and production mining cycles; accurately track materials from source to processing; provide Online Analytical Processing reporting and analysis; enhance reactions to, and minimise the impact of, unplanned events; and increase equipment availability and utilisation.

Yet, those attending the MICROMINE booth at Diggers & Dealers this week will have even more to talk about.

Something new

“Micromine 2021 is scheduled for release later this year and attendees of Diggers and Dealers will be the first to get a pre-release reveal of our flagship software offering,” Brew said.

Australia, in particular, has bucked global trends in terms of exploration expenditure, and the Micromine value proposition has been central to the company capitalising on this resurgence in exploration activities, according to Brew.

It is no wonder then that the company has put significant efforts into updating its flagship product.

“The first thing clients will notice is a completely redesigned user interface that provides easier access to the critical functions of the software, transforming the whole user experience with responsive design and efficient workflows,” Brew said.

Delivering this transformation has been a focal point for the business for more than a year, according to Brew, with developers reviewing customer requests most commonly received from the support team, analysing how users work with the array of Micromine functionality, and modelling interface scenarios to optimise the presentation of key functions within the software.

“By providing easier access to these functions and a smart interface that responds contextually, Micromine 2021 anticipates and supports workflows in a genuinely intuitive way,” Brew said.

The Micromine update has more than a new look.

It also includes new tools for importing and working with as-drilled drill-hole data, Brew explains.

These provide faster and more intuitive control over underground ring drill and blast design – also a focus of the earlier Micromine 2020.5 update – enabling designs to quickly adapt to changes in the field, identifying drilling inefficiencies and improving design protocols.

“We are also introducing intuitive tools that mirror the terrain of a blast face and speed up the process of creating blast-hole patterns within the bounds of the dig block,” Brew said. “Users will be able to accommodate polygons/blast masters of varying shapes, reducing the need for manual adjustment.”

The new grade control capabilities in Micromine 2021 provide dynamic updating of grade control reports to enable faster design preparation and reserve evaluation, according to Brew. This can allow miners to explore variations in dig block configuration and evaluate the ramifications of design changes on the grade – a function bound to appeal to opex-focused companies mining complex orebodies.

An integrated scheduler, meanwhile, enables planners to build and visualise an optimised schedule through configurable templates, scripting capabilities and scenarios built from real-world constraints, Brew said.

While the new and intuitive interface is likely to capture the immediate attention of users, MICROMINE has evidently not scrimped on updated and upgraded features.

Getting to the core

With the release of Pitram 4.17 earlier this year, there were improvements to the Materials Movement and Shift Planner modules, but Pitram 5, to be released later this year, goes above and beyond that.

“Stockpile management is now part of your end-to-end process and not managed as isolated assets within Pitram,” Brew says of Pitram 5. Geologists can work with data up- and down-stream to manage and react to material mismatches. Such data validation and accuracy is key to the value proposition Pitram drives in MICROMINE’s global implementations, according to Brew.

“Pitram is at the core of any mining operations ecosystem,” he said. “Our ability to accurately track Last Source, Destination Moved, Quantity and Grade as well as set individual depletion models across the various stockpiles across the mine, makes it a more flexible offering while maintaining data integrity.”

This near real-time tracking ability has previously failed on occasion from connectivity issues.

Not anymore.

“Pitram 5 is a huge leap forward in how we deploy our solution from a connectivity point of view,” Brew said. “Many of the mines we work with have limited or varying degrees of underground Wi-Fi and communications available. Our Peer to Peer solution bridges the gap where communication back to the server is not available at the face, for example.”

The Peer to Peer software can be installed on light vehicles which move around the mine encountering heavy equipment and collecting data in areas of no network coverage before moving back to a Wi-Fi-enabled area to sync the data back to the main server and into the control room. This allows miners developing new areas of their operation to keep up the communications flow without the need to immediately install or expand a communication network.

Such a solution has been successfully deployed at several sites globally, with Independence Group’s Nova nickel operation, in Western Australia, being the company’s reference site.

“Additionally, we have driven more R&D in how we can better leverage our Pitram Restful Integration Service (PRIS) to communicate shift planning data back to the shift bosses and mine managers in near real time,” Brew said.

The free Pitram Connect application, downloadable from the Apple or Google Play store, will show users real-time shift data as well as give them the ability to make updates to the shift, such as equipment or location allocations.

“Our ability to deliver on short interval control is a common requirement we are measured against and providing this planner to key users underground unlocks considerable value for an operation,” Brew said.

Pitram 5’s machine-learning update in the 2021 release leverages the company’s learnings from earlier deployments at some Central Asia mines.

“Utilising the processes of computer vision and deep machine learning, on-board cameras are placed on loaders to track variables such as loading time, hauling time, dumping time and travelling empty time,” he said. “The video feed is processed on the Pitram vehicle computer edge device, with the extracted information then transferred to Pitram servers for processing.”

Reflecting on the product updates and more than six months of pandemic-affected upheaval, Brew concluded: “Our business is extremely fortunate to have powered on through the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’ve worked hard to maintain our renowned ability to work, support and deploy our solutions remotely.

Diggers & Dealers is the pre-eminent event for the Australian region of our business, with representation from all our customers, so it represents a fantastic opportunity to show how we continue to drive value to our existing customer base as well as connect with new customers.”

MICROMINE to reveal mining software latest at Diggers & Dealers

MICROMINE is set to reveal a host of new features to its flagship products at this year’s Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum, in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, as the mining software leader lifts the lid on its latest software innovations.

“This year, we are excited to be providing on-site demonstrations of our upcoming release of Micromine 2021,” Adam Brew, MICROMINE Australia Manager, said. “Our principal Micromine consultant will provide an early pre-release insight to the new features which have been added to our core product, as well as a new user interface, designed to enrich the daily experience for users and improve how they drive outcomes from the software.”

MICROMINE will also be showcasing the updates made to its flagship mine production and fleet tracking solution, Pitram, with an interactive presentation on its booth, it said. Pitram 5, the latest release coming at the end of this year, positions itself at the “core of your mine’s ecosystem”, delivering more value from its machine-learning capabilities, materials management, shift planning and data validation, the company said.

A technical team will be demonstrating the company’s software solutions, which also includes Geobank, and answering questions at the event, taking place on October 12-14.

“As a WA-founded company, it is great to unveil our latest achievements on home turf,” David Bartlett, Principal Micromine Consultant, said. “Visitors won’t be disappointed as we’ll be showcasing our latest releases. We’ve got a surprise up our sleeves too – with a sneak peek of something new coming later this year but you have to visit the stand for an invitation to find out more.

“We’ve been exhibiting at Diggers & Dealers for over a decade and it’s a great opportunity for the industry to see first-hand the next generation tools being developed using advanced technology to optimise their operations and profitability.”

MICROMINE now has offices in 18 of the world’s mining capitals, and its software is being used by miners and explorers on 2,000 sites in 90 countries around the world, according to the company.

“While COVID-19 has meant a lot of changes to the global mining and exploration industry, the industry is steaming ahead in Western Australia and we are excited to be part of this showcase for Australian innovation and achievement,” Chris Higgins, Pitram Strategy Manager, said. “It’s a great opportunity for all the key players in the industry to come together to network, share their news and insights and experience the latest products and innovations, including the latest technologies coming from MICROMINE.”

MICROMINE will be demonstrating the latest version of its 3D modelling and mine design solution – Micromine 2021 – with new and improved tools for modelling, estimation, design, optimisation and scheduling, it said.

Also being showcased is Geobank 2020 – revealing how enhancements to the popular geological data management software are adding value to geologists and mining engineers by making data management simpler and more efficient.

CRC ORE’s Kal Hub integrated into Curtin University’s WA School of Mines

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub, an initiative of the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction (CRC ORE), has, this week, transitioned to be part of Curtin University’s Western Australian School of Mines (WASM).

The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub has been operating out of the Chamber of Mines and Energy (CME) office in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, since 2018. It was established in the renowned Goldfields mining community thanks to a partnership between CRC ORE, Curtin University, the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia, the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and CME.

CRC ORE Chief Operating Officer, Dr Luke Keeney, said he was pleased that the Kal Hub has become part of WASM and will continue this collaborative innovation.

“We are proud of what has been achieved through the Kal Hub since its inception and look forward to seeing great things under its new stewardship,” Dr Keeney said. “It is an optimal outcome that Curtin University, one of our valued Research Participants and key partner in the hub to date, is ensuring the future of the Kal Hub as a centre of mining innovation for Western Australia and beyond.”

Curtin University Kalgoorlie Campus Director, Sabina Shugg, said the Kal Hub is a welcome addition to the local campus.

“The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mining Innovation Hub is growing in stature and already has strong ties to the University, WASM and the local community,” Shugg said. “It is fitting that the Kal Hub is now operated locally to focus on innovations and solutions for the local mining industry.”

Reflecting on the hub and its achievements while operating as a node of CRC ORE, Dr Keeney said the flagship Integrated Screening and Particle Sorting project was a standout.

“This collaborative study with Australian mining companies BHP, Norton Gold Fields and Saracen on the integration of screening and particle sorting techniques is delivering benefits across the resources sector,” Dr Keeney said. “Run through the hub, this study developed a robust and scientifically rigorous framework for collecting, testing and reporting results for integrated screening and particle sorting techniques in a variety of ore domains.”

Dr Keeney said the hub creates opportunities for innovation, collaboration, employment and education.

“We’re particularly proud of being able to engage students – mining’s future brightest minds, with the hub through the vacation student program,” he said.

As part of the transition, Kal Hub Technical Adviser, Dr Laurence Dyer, now works full time for Curtin University. He divides his time between hub projects and his existing role as Curtin’s Discipline Lead for Metallurgical Engineering.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to support collaborative innovation throughout the Goldfields region and beyond,” Dr Dyer said.

Curtin University is planning several new initiatives for the Kal Hub including scaling up an existing major water management project and new partnerships with leading mining technology providers.

Metso Outotec to supply rotary kiln system for Lynas rare earth plant in Kalgoorlie

Lynas Corp says it has taken a significant step towards developing its new Kalgoorlie rare earths processing plant having awarded Metso Outotec with a contract to supply the plant’s rotary kiln system following a competitive tender process.

The 110 m long, 1,500 t kiln is the largest and longest lead time piece of equipment required for the plant’s operation, according to Lynas.

The contract for engineering and supply of the kiln is valued at around $15 million, including the discharge housing, combustion chamber and burner, motor control stations and delivery to Kalgoorlie.

The kiln will be manufactured by Metso Outotec to Lynas’ own design, which improves on the design of the four 60 m kilns currently in operation at the Lynas Malaysia plant, the company says. The new kiln will provide increased efficiency and reliability, it added.

Lynas CEO and Managing Director, Amanda Lacaze, said: “The kiln is the longest lead time item for our Kalgoorlie project and placing this order is an important milestone in the development of our new processing plant in Kalgoorlie. We are making good progress on the project, and we look forward to working with Metso Outotec on the engineering and supply of the kiln.”

Stephan Kirsch, President Minerals business area, Metso Outotec, said: “We are excited having been selected by Lynas as a key supplier for the development of its significant greenfield project in Western Australia. The Metso rotary kiln system forms an integral part for the processing of rare earths.”

Metso Outotec will commence work on the kiln immediately, with components to be manufactured in Australia as well as in European countries, Lynas said.

The plant will process concentrate from the Mt Weld mine (pictured), also in Western Australia’s Goldfields region, and provide an intermediate feed for further processing to produce neodymium and praseodymium, which are key elements used in high-tech consumer electronics and green energy technologies. Concentrate is currently exported to the Lynas rare earth processing facility in Malaysia.