Tag Archives: Knight Piésold

Polymetal 2020 profits rise as it accelerates ESG efforts

Polymetal recorded a strong set of financials in 2020, with its revenue, adjusted EBITDA and net earnings metrics all benefitting from higher production volumes and commodity prices.

Revenue increased by 28% year-on-year to $2.87 billion, adjusted EBITDA rose 57% to $1.69 billion and net earnings hit a record $1.09 billion in 2020.

The company’s 2020 gold-equivalent output amounted to 1.56 Moz, a 4% increase year-on-year and 4% above the original production guidance of 1.5 Moz. Strong contributions from its Kyzyl, Varvara and Albazino mines offset a planned grade decline at Voro, as well as lower production at Svetloye, the company said.

While production rose, the company’s greenhouse gas emissions intensity reduced by 4%, Polymetal said. It attributed this to energy efficiency initiatives, switching its mining fleet to electric vehicles, a shift from diesel to grid energy sources and green energy contracts.

Back in December, SMT Scharf AG signed an agreement with Polymetal to develop and produce battery-electric powered LHDs and mid-range underground trucks as prototypes for its gold and silver mines, with these units to be delivered to the company by October 2021.

Polymetal’s environmental, social and governance efforts did not stop there.

In 2020, the company invested $29 million at its Omolon hub in the Magadan region of Russia. This capital expenditure was mainly related to the construction of a dry tailings storage facility and engineering and preparatory works for a 2.5 MW solar plant (due to come online this year). This will be joined by another 5-10 MW solar facility at its Kyzyl operation (Kazakhstan) in 2022.

On its other tailings facilities, Polymetal said: “We operate eight tailings dams in Russia and Kazakhstan; each is rigorously monitored daily. We are confident that any emergency dam failure would have no impact on local communities and employees.

“We welcome the new Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management and have committed to achieving compliance in all operations by 2023.”

In addition to state authority inspections of these facilities, the company conducted an independent third-party audit of its Mayskoye (Chukotka, Russia) tailings site, which was carried out virtually, due to COVID-19 restrictions, by Knight Piésold Ltd. “To further improve tailings safety and minimise the risk of the possibility of dam failure, we are shifting towards dry stack storage methods,” it said.

“Such facilities are already in operation at our Amursk and Voro (pictured filter press) mines, and will be extended to Omolon (2021), Nezhda (2021), POX-2 (2022), Dukat (2024) and Veduga (2025).”

Generation Mining readies more ‘aggressive’ Marathon PGM-copper project approach

Generation Mining says it is making headway on the development plan for its Marathon palladium-copper project, in north-western Ontario, Canada, having contracted all the major engineering companies for the study.

The study is expected to take around seven to eight months to conclude, with completion expected in early 2021, it said.

G-Mining Services will carry out the mine plan and mineral reserves, infrastructure scope of work and integration of the costs and economic analysis; Ausenco Engineering Canada is progressing the process facility layout and design based on the metallurgical testing that is currently underway at SGS-Lakefield; and Knight-Piesold is to design the tailings facility and open-pit geotechnical engineering. In support of the feasibility study and environment impact interactions, Stantec and Ecometrix P&E Mining Consultants will be responsible for the mineral resource estimate, the company said.

Jamie Levy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Generation Mining, said: “It is a very impressive team that we have assembled for the feasibility study. I am confident that these firms will optimise the value of the Marathon-PGM property and will continue to de-risk the project.

“Our goal is to maximise the net present value of the project while designing an operation which will minimise environmental impacts and provide economic benefits to the local communities. We see the Marathon project being near shovel-ready and well timed to the buoyant palladium market.”

Generation Mining acquired a 51% interest in the Marathon property from Sibanye Stillwater on July 10, 2019, and can increase its interest to 80% by spending $10 million over a period of four years. As of the March quarter, around $4 million of the $10 million has already been spent.

A preliminary economic assessment on Marathon published earlier this year outlined a 14,000 t/d open-pit operation growing to 22,000 t/d after expansion, with an average palladium output of 107,000 oz/y for 14 years. The open-pit mining would be owner-operated using conventional diesel equipment consisting of 254 mm diameter rotary drills on 10 m high benches, 29 cu.m bucket hydraulic excavators, and 221 t off-highway haul trucks and auxiliary equipment, according to the study.

On the feasibility study, Generation Mining said all groups were “integrating well” through good interactions and frequent communications.

“G-Mining will progress pit designs and sequencing that will prioritise the high-grade palladium values for initial production to bring increased palladium production into the first half of the mine life, and increase copper production in the mine’s later years,” the company said.

“Ausenco’s plant design is expected to update the quality work that was done in prior studies with newer technology, which, in turn, will improve concentrator operability and lower capital costs, while increasing palladium recovery without sacrificing copper recovery. This flowsheet is expected to be validated with the current metallurgical test work that is progressing at SGS-Lakefield.

“Knight-Piesold will be updating the past tailings dam designs to reflect current best available practices and technologies.”

Stantec and Ecometrix are involved in the feasibility study team to help facilitate the update of the Environment Impact Study report addendum and to help inform the critical path regulatory approvals process, the company added.

At this early stage, the work on the feasibility study will consider an optimised processing and mine production rate that is “more aggressive” than outlined in the PEA, the company said, contemplating starting at 5 Mt/y and expanding to 8 Mt/y after five years.

Pure Gold moves onto engineering stage at Madsen Red Lake

Having recently secured the finance to develop its Madsen Red Lake gold project in Ontario, Canada, Pure Gold Mining has started to secure contractors to build the mine.

The company has awarded the surface engineering and procurement (EP) contract to JDS Energy & Mining in partnership with Hatch and Knight Piesold, while Dumas Mine Contracting has secured the underground mine design engineering contract.

Just last month, Pure Gold Mining secured a $90 million project financing package with Sprott Resource Lending Corp that, on top of money already raised, more than covers the C$95 million ($72 million) in upfront capital required to build the mine. This will be put towards redeveloping the old mine workings, adding additional development levels and investing in a new fleet – much of which could be battery-electric.

With the engagement of its engineering partners, the company says it has commenced construction at Madsen, which is due to produce an average of 80,000 oz/y of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of $787/oz.

“Detailed design work on surface infrastructure, as well as underground electrical distribution, mine ventilation, mine service design and stope optimisation has been initiated, as well as equipment sourcing and the procurement of long lead time items,” the company said.

Pure Gold Mining President and CEO, Darin Labrenz, said: “Madsen began as an exploration concept in late 2014, and has evolved into a multi-million ounce gold deposit that is now under construction as Canada`s highest grade gold development project. Along the way, the team has hit every milestone we set: from first resource estimate, to early conceptual studies, through a comprehensive feasibility study, an agreement with our First Nation partners, and now a fully funded financing package.

“Today, as we commence construction, our project is perfectly timed to benefit from a rising gold market, and looks set to generate well over C$800 million in cumulative pre-tax cash flow with gold currently near C$2,000/oz.”

Pure Gold Mining has also appointed Dimitry Demianyuk as Project Manager, Madsen Red Lake Mine. Demianyuk will work with the VP Operations, Ken Donner, providing engineering management and project management focused on the optimisation of project scope, budget, quality and schedule, Pure Gold said.

Demianyuk is an engineering professional with 15 years of industry experience in mine development at all project stages, having worked for established EPCM firms earlier in his career and then transitioning to specialise in project management and engineering management as part of owner’s teams at Rio Tinto, Frontera Mining, Newcrest Mining, and Nevsun Resources.

Barbara Womersley, meanwhile, has been engaged as a Human Resources Lead for the company.

Ausenco to lead First Cobalt refinery restart study

First Cobalt Corp, following a finance agreement with Glencore, has started to award key contracts to complete a 55 t/d feasibility study on the proposed expansion of its cobalt refinery.

Field work is expected to commence in September and will culminate in the delivery of a definitive feasibility study (DFS) in the March quarter, the company said.

Ausenco Engineering Canada will lead the preparation of a DFS for a refinery restart at 55 t/d with SGS carrying out advanced metallurgical test work on cobalt hydroxide and a specialty cobalt feed to be supplied by Glencore, Knight Piésold conducting tailings studies in support of the DFS, Story Environmental taking on the environmental and permitting aspects of the engineering studies and Glencore providing technical support throughout the study phase through its Sudbury-based affiliate, XPS – Expert Process Solutions.

In addition to the delivery of the DFS on a 55 t/d refinery restart, a prefeasibility study (PFS) on a 12 t/d interim operating scenario will also be conducted.

First Cobalt recently announced it had entered into a $5 million loan facility with Glencore to complete advanced engineering, metallurgical testing, field work and permitting associated with a recommissioning and expansion of the refinery. Upon completion of a positive DFS for the expansion, and subject to certain other terms and conditions, Glencore is prepared to advance an additional $40 million to recommission and expand the refinery, according to First Cobalt.

Trent Mell, First Cobalt President & CEO, said: “The First Cobalt Refinery is a permitted facility that is in excellent condition and has a recent operating history. Our strategy is to work with Glencore to expand the refinery to serve the growing needs of the North American electric vehicle market. To that end, we have partnered with a first-rate study team appropriate for the importance of the task at hand.”

Inmarsat and Knight Piésold join forces for remote tailings dam monitoring

Inmarsat says it will partner with Knight Piésold UK to deliver highly accurate tailings dam monitoring, analysis and real-time management capabilities for the mining industry.

The collaboration agreement with Knight Piésold, a member of the international geotechnical, tailings management and engineering consulting group, will combine Inmarsat’s satellite-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) solution, with Knight Piésold’s leading consultancy, Inmarsat said. “This will enable smarter decision making, improved safety standards and will support regulatory compliance; offering a new approach to the way tailings dams are currently audited and managed,” it added.

This pact comes only weeks after the tragic breach to the tailings dam at the Vale-owned Feijão mine in Brumadinho, Brazil, and a number of mining companies have published data on how they monitor these facilities.

Inmarsat said: “Mine tailing audits are typically carried out at infrequent intervals, with employees and third-party consultants making long distance trips to collect data and audit the status of the dam.

“The solution makes data available between site visits to any accredited users, anywhere in the world. This means that current, on-site auditing practices can now be supplemented with a remote, customisable, ‘daily management cycle’, with auditor recommendations and real-time decision-making now available to on-site engineers.”

Inmarsat’s solution collects data from a range of industry standard sensors via edge connectivity such as Long Range Wide Area Network, before it is transferred across Inmarsat’s L-band satellite network to a single cloud dashboard. This enables mining companies and national regulators to gain a comprehensive view of the status of their dams with granular metrics such as pond elevation, piezometric pressures, inclinometer readings and weather conditions displayed in one place, no matter where the mine is located, according to the company. The solution is also highly versatile and features sensor-agnostic capabilities, so it will work with both existing sensors and new devices, Inmarsat said.

Richard Elmer, Regional Manager for Knight Piésold UK, said: “The current tailings auditing and management business consists of semi-annual or annual site visits with recommendations based on these visits. Instrumentation data is often collected on-site and mining companies are largely reliant on human activity for the collection, storage and analysis of the data.

“Our collaboration with Inmarsat provides our clients access to the latest and best available technology for real time data collection and analysis. We see this as a game changing improvement in how companies monitor their current tailings storage facilities and we are proud to be at the forefront of this latest industry innovation.”

Paul Gudonis, President of Inmarsat Enterprise, said: “We have been working with Knight Piésold’s UK practice since 2017 to develop an approach to tailings dam monitoring that supports smarter, safer and more regulated mining practices. Following successful trials, we are pleased to be able to bring what we believe to be a truly disruptive solution to market. We know that the industry is committed to zero harm and, by teaming with Knight Piésold to launch this tailings dam solution, this is another step towards achieving complete health, safety and operational success in the mining sector.”

Filo del Sol copper-gold-silver blueprint includes autonomous haul truck fleet

Filo Mining has released the results of a prefeasibility study, carried out by Ausenco, on its Filo del Sol copper-gold-silver project on the borders of Chile and Argentina.

The PFS envisages average annual production of approximately 67,000 t of copper, 159,000 oz of gold, and 8.65 Moz of silver at a C1 cost of $1.23/lb ($2,712/t) copper-equivalent.

It also contemplates the use of an autonomous haul truck fleet, which allows the company to take advantage of the technology’s proven productivity improvements and operating cost savings, Filo Mining said.

Filo Mining is the second development-focused company in the past few months to make plans to incorporate autonomous haulage from the off. In November, NGEx Resources said it assumed its Josemaría project in Chile would use the latest in autonomous haul truck technologies.

The Filo del Sol study contemplates open-pit mining, with conventional drilling, blasting and loading performed on 12 m benches and is based off an initial probable reserve of 259 Mt at 0.39% Cu, 0.33 g/t Au and 15 g/t Ag.

Pre-production capital was pegged at $1.27 billion (excluding costs prior to a construction decision) and the company estimated a 14-year mine life with copper cathode, gold-silver doré and a high-grade copper precipitate produced. Filo said the post-tax net present value (8% discount) was $1.28 billion at copper, gold and silver prices of $3.00/lb, $1,300/oz and $20/oz, respectively.

Filo del Sol hosts a high-sulphidation epithermal copper-gold-silver deposit associated with a large porphyry copper-gold system. The project is in the Andes Mountains on the border of Chile and Argentina, approximately 140 km southeast of the city of Copiapó.

From the open pit, ore would be trucked to a conventional two-stage crusher, designed to process 60,000 t/d of ore. Crushed ore would be treated by sequential heap leaching, to extract copper and subsequently gold and silver from the ore followed by hydrometallurgical processing to produce copper cathodes and gold-silver doré. A portion of the barren leach solution, following zinc precipitation, would be treated to avoid a build-up of recirculating copper and cyanide through the gold circuit. This treatment is based on the SART process, which produces a copper sulphide precipitate (with grades of around 65% Cu) and recovers cyanide for use in the heap leach.

Groundwater for the process plant would be supplied from nearby aquifers to the plant site, and power would come from a 127 km of power line construction to connect to the Chilean national grid.

The PFS was prepared and managed by Ausenco Engineering Canada, with input from AGP Mining Consultants, BGC Engineering, Knight Piésold, Advantage Geoservices Limited, Merlin Geosciences and SRK Consulting.