Tag Archives: Kalgoorlie

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.

Mondelphous strengthens BHP ties in Western Australia

Monadelphous Group has secured a number of contracts across Western Australia with BHP as part of a package of construction and maintenance agreements worth circa-A$110 million ($75 million).

The news comes on top of existing maintenance and other contracts the company has previously secured with the major mining company.

These include a contract at the BHP-owned Mining Area C iron ore mine site in the Pilbara, where Monadelphous will provide upgrades to existing conveyer equipment, and power switching and stackers. Work is expected to be completed in the September quarter of 2020.

The engineering firm has also won a contract for the provision of services associated with the demolition and rehabilitation of a number of end-of-life facilities at Nelson Point in Port Hedland. This contract is expected to commence in January 2020 and will be completed in the September quarter of 2020.

Monadelphous will also carry out a 12-month extension to its existing contract with BHP’s Nickel West division for the provision of maintenance, shutdowns and off-site repair services at the Kalgoorlie nickel smelter.

Lastly with BHP, the company has been awarded a contract with thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (Australia) for the construction of a reclaimer and two stackers at BHP’s South Flank project in the Pilbara. thyssenkrupp has previously said these will be the largest rail mounted stacker/reclaimers in the world, with a loading capacity of 20,000 t/h.

Monadelphous’ work is expected to be completed in the March quarter of 2021.

In Queensland, meanwhile, the ASX-listed company has secured a three-year contract for the provision of general mechanical and maintenance services as part of Incitec Pivot’s scheduled turnarounds for its Queensland manufacturing facilities, it said.

Chrysos Corp completes PhotonAssay hat-trick at MinAnalytical Lab

Following on from the successful commissioning of its second PhotonAssay Max system earlier this year, Chrysos Corp says it has now completed commissioning of a third PhotonAssay Max system at the MinAnalytical laboratory in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

The Chrysos PhotonAssay solution provides rapid, accurate, safe and non-destructive ore grade analysis and, with the installation of this new system, MinAnalytical’s Kalgoorlie facility now has the security of double-redundancy and the capacity to service customers with fast turnaround on up to 100,000 samples per month, Chrysos said.

The technology, which was developed by CSIRO, slashes the time it takes to analyse a drilling sample from days to hours, according to Chrysos, and is an alternative to the traditional fire assay process. It represents a chemical-free approach to material analysis that gives accurate results in minutes and uses a larger sample size than fire assay, with reduced sample preparation.
A further benefit is that the new process enables the sample to be tested repeatedly if required – unlike fire assay, which involves the destruction of the sample, the company says.

Arriving in Kalgoorlie in late October, the new PhotonAssay Max was installed by Chrysos and its manufacturing partner, Nuctech, and completed site acceptance testing in mid-November, with final sign-off occurring earlier this month.

“With NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) accreditation of the new system expected in 2020, and a fully-automated sample preparation solution from Scott Automation incorporated by May, MinAnalytical’s Kalgoorlie laboratory represents the cutting edge of gold analysis and reporting,” the company said.

Chrysos was formed in 2016 in partnership between CSIRO and RFC Ambrian for the purpose of commercialising the PhotonAssay technology. Ausdrill has invested in Chrysos and is assisting in commercialising the company’s technology. Ausdrill, through its subsidiary MinAnalytical, was the first company in the world to offer the technology to mining companies.

NSR transforms Kalgoorlie drill & blast ops with Minnovare Production Optimser

A newly released case study from Minnovare and Northern Star Resources (NSR) has shown just how effective the Australia-based technology company’s Production Optimiser drilling solution has proven at the gold miner’s drill and blast operations.

The study, ‘Northern Star: 1-Year-On’, shows drill and blast productivity has increased significantly since implementing Production Optimiser in March 2018. At just one of NSR’s Kalgoorlie gold operations, the miner achieved 42,000 additional stoped tonnes, or around 8,300 oz/y of gold; increasing revenue by A$18 million ($12.2 million), according to the study.

In addition to this, the technology led to a cumulative 31% increase in drilling productivity, a 7% reduction in average stope cycle time and a 54% decrease in “bridged tonnes”.

Minnovare implemented the Production Optimiser system at one of NSR’s operations in March 2018 – running three long hole production rigs. This was followed by a second operation in August 2018, also running three long hole rigs, where NSR increased drilled meters by 33% – boosting average drill meters towards 10,000 m per rig, per month, it said.

Production Optimiser, which works independently of the rig’s on-board systems and can be retrofitted to any make or model of drill rig, uses Minnovare’s CORE software. This software digitises “drill plans and plods (Digi-Plan/Digi-Plod) for accurate drill-data capture and real-time transfer throughout the mine” to deliver greater speed, accuracy and reliability in rig setup – leading to greater drilling accuracy and optimum blasts, according to Minnovare.

Improved stope productivity and, ultimately, increased profitability follow, the company said.

Jeff Brown (pictured), Principal Innovation and Technology at NSR, said: “We’ve seen average drilled meters across our Kalgoorlie operations increase by up to 33%. That’s a significant impact, which has been underpinned by this technology.

“The follow-on from that increase is an equally significant impact to the productivity and, ultimately, profitability of our operations. It’s a prime example of a new technology can quickly add value to multiple areas – producing a better business outcome.”

Due to the success achieved from the Production Optimiser, NSR has entered into an official ‘Collaboration Agreement’ with Minnovare.

Brown said: “This [agreement] will help fast-track a number of new product developments currently in the pipeline, that we see as having the potential to make just as big an impact on our operations. That’s exciting and promising for us as we look to develop and expand on our assets.”

In addition to the work in Kalgoorlie, NSR has agreed to equip its fleet of long-hole drill rigs at the Pogo gold mine, in Alaska, USA, with the Production Optimiser technology.

RCT’s Kalgoorlie branch makes quick work of automating Sandvik LH621i LHD

RCT says it has successfully installed its autonomous technology on the recently released Sandvik LH621i underground loader for one of its clients in Western Australia’s Goldfields.

Earlier this month, RCT’s Kalgoorlie branch received the loader and commissioned the ControlMaster® Guidance automation technology package only weeks after the machine was first released to the Western Australia market.

The ‘i’ series represents Sandvik’s latest iteration of its underground loader range and, according to Sandvik, is the LHD of choice for rapid mine development and large-scale underground production. It is a matching pair with the previously introduced 63-t payload Sandvik TH663i truck.

ControlMaster Guidance Automation means machines can automatically tram between production level locations at higher speeds while also providing real time, graphical machine information to operators situated in remote automation centres, RCT said.

RCT Kalgoorlie Branch Manager, Rick Radcliffe, said the company could install and commission the Sandvik LH621i loader and deliver it to site within a relatively short lead time.

“Now that we have documented the new LH621i, all future ‘i’ series loaders can be commissioned in exactly the same amount of time as traditional Sandvik 621 loaders,” he said.

“This work follows on from a previous project where we commissioned two Sandvik LH517i loaders in the Kalgoorlie workshop for clients in the region.”