Tag Archives: Kolomela

Kumba plans Sishen UHDMS iron ore project kick off

Kumba Iron Ore, energised by a record annual EBITDA of R45.8 billion ($3.12 billion) for its 2020 financial year, has made plans to extend the life of its Sishen iron ore mine in South Africa out to 2039.

The R3.6 billion ultra-high dense media separation (UHDMS) project was approved by the Kumba board late last week. It is expected to enhance the operation’s product quality and extend the life-of-mine by four years to 2039.

Kumba’s total iron ore production for 2020 came in at 37 Mt, down from 42.4 Mt in 2019 as both COVID-19-related events and weather-related headwinds impacted output. The company said reduced equipment reliability and availability also played a part to a lesser extent.

In line with this, total tonnes mined decreased by 14% to 256.3 Mt (2019: 297.9 Mt) and total waste stripping by 16% to 204.8 Mt (2019: 244.3 Mt) in 2020.

Owner fleet efficiency (OEE) reduced to 63% of benchmark for the year, compared with 68% for 2019.

“A number of interventions have been implemented to mitigate these impacts,” the company said. “We have enhanced our high rainfall readiness and associated recovery plans to manage through such weather impacts going forward.

“Our focus on improving equipment uptime through the implementation of defect elimination and work management programs, as well as artisan and supervisor skills development programs, is also delivering results and we are seeing improvements in equipment reliability across the fleet.”

The company is continuing to focus on improving operational efficiency through its P101 productivity improvements and various efficiency programs at both Sishen and Kolomela through the implementation of technology such as guided spotting, adaptive controls, truck speed digital twin and real-time condition-based monitoring.

Kumba’s total shovel fleet OEEs came in at 55% during 2020, but the company has a plan to hit the 80% mark in 2022. At Sishen, Kumba has six rope shovels consisting of Komatsu P&H 4100XPCs and Komatsu P&H 2800XPCs, while, at Kolomela, it has two Liebherr R996 hydraulic shovels.

Its total truck fleet OEEs came in at 82% in 2020, with a 100% target for 2022. At Sishen, Kumba has 100 Komatsu 860E and 960E trucks, while Kolomela has 36 Komatsu 730E trucks.

Meanwhile, at the UHDMS project, Kumba expects to break ground in the second half of 2021. This is ahead of commissioning in the second half of 2023.

Kumba, majority-owned by Anglo American, says the project will lower the strip ratio at the operation, extend the life-of-mine, as well as reduce its carbon footprint due to the reduction of waste material at the end of the operation’s life.

The total capital cost of the project of R3.6 billion is expected to be paid back with an after-tax internal rate of return of circa-30% and an EBITDA margin of around 40%.

Kumba already has a dense media separation plant that processes low-grade, non-DSO ore and separates it to higher grade iron ore at Kolomela (pictured).

Kumba’s Kolomela, Sishen iron ore mines to deploy Rosond nex-gen exploration drill rigs

Rosond of Midrand, South Africa, is combining automation, software, data analytics and machine learning to create a next-generation drill rig that will help transition the company from contractor to technology provider.

The company dispatched the final batch of 28 state-of-the-art drill rigs to Anglo American’s majority owned Kumba Iron Ore operations in the Northern Cape in December, to be rolled out at Kumba’s Kolomela and Sishen iron ore mines. This forms part of a R2 billion ($134 million), five-year tender clinched by Rosond to supply Anglo American with the latest drilling technology as it modernises its geoscience operations.

“We really believe that this is going to be a future game changer,” Ricardo Ribeiro, Managing Director of Rosond, said.

In the face of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, Rosond said it was able to compress a year’s work into six months. It collaborated with a leading Italian manufacturer to develop the advanced drill rigs, which will be deployed for core, percussion and reverse circulation drilling.

“I am happy to report that the last two drill rigs were dispatched in December 2020,” Ribeiro added. “We are excited to see the entire fleet operational early this year. These are some of the most highly-advanced exploration drill rigs in the world.”

The drill rigs feature increased safety with the automation of most of the arduous and dangerous manual labour involved, Rosond says, taking away the need to handle the drill rods, and load and unload heavy equipment from the drill rigs.

The rig operators are housed in a climate-controlled, air-conditioned control room for an improved work environment that, in turn, assists with fatigue management and also boosts productivity and accuracy, Rosond says.

The opportunity to build such rigs also arose with several women being deployed as part of a team at Kumba. Recruiting and training this team formed part of Rosond’s tender with Anglo American, Ribeiro explained.

Rosond took the strategic step in 2012 to begin developing new technology for the drilling and exploration sectors, with the drill rigs leveraging the latest developments in software, telemetry and automation.

“We brought in a lot of technology from the construction and oil and gas industries to develop specific functionalities such as dust suppression and automation, as well as software and telemetry systems,” Ribeiro said.

The 28-strong fleet at Kumba will be deployed in an 80 km radius to optimise exploration drilling by providing critical geological data about the sites under investigation, Rosond says.

Having successfully developed the hardware of the new drill rigs themselves, the future plan is to launch a software division to focus on the application of data analytics and artificial intelligence in optimising the drilling process, as well as promoting machine learning.

“We are optimistic that in the future our drill rigs will be able to identify all the necessary parameters in order to be able to guide the operators seamlessly,” Ribeiro said. “The end goal in our development process is to have a full autonomous drill rig.”

Metso reduces downtime and improves safety in Kumba Kolomela crushing circuit

Kumba Iron Ore’s Kolomela mine in South Africa has reduced crusher liner replacement downtime and improved safety using a concave carousel and removal trays system provided by Metso, the mining equipment manufacturer reports.

Located in the Northern Cape Province, Kolomela contacted Metso for assistance in reducing its primary gyratory crusher concave liners replacement time.

The mine produces over 13 Mt/y of iron ore and is one of Kumba’s (majority-owned by Anglo American) largest operations in the country.

In mineral processing, crusher efficiency can be compromised over time, affecting production time and, most importantly, the safety of employees, Metso said. A major factor affecting crusher efficiency is the amount of downtime. The longer it takes to replace the wear parts inside the chamber of a primary gyratory crusher during a maintenance shutdown, the less uptime and, thus, less production. By reducing the number of lifts, the replacement can be done much faster and safer, according to Metso.

Kolomela approached Metso’s expert team to help it reduce the average downtime the operation encounters when replacing concave liners of their Superior SG60-110 primary gyratory crusher.

Metso’s Regional and Technical Support Manager Crusher Wears, Andrew Stones, said: “When the mine approached us with a request to help them speed up the process of changing the concave liners on the primary gyratory on site, they asked us to replicate the methodology that we once used at one of Anglo American’s major copper mines in South America, Los Bronces, which included the use of special tooling such as carousels and removal trays to remove the liners.

“Following the review of the Los Bronces system, we identified that we used different parts and installation methods not suitable for Kolomela’s operating model.”

Metso’s team looked at an alternative solution not only for different fixing arrangement on the carousels, but also changed parts. Instead of the mine having six rows of concaves to install, Metso reduced the rows to four. This minimised the installation time, according to Metso.

In addition to this, the team supplied Kolomela with removal trays – which enable a faster removal of the worn segments – as well as with modified attachments to help lift and install the carousels.

Metso’s solution has reportedly halved the downtime required for a concave liner change, but reduced downtime was not the only value add provided; the mine also reduced the injury exposure rate by 95%, according to the company.

Metso said: “Unlike the previous system that the mine used, which required people to be in the crusher when lowering each concave, Metso’s innovative carousel system provided optimised operating labour and safer installations. It is not dependent on human interaction.”

Kolomela’s Section Manager Engineering, Pieter Malan, said: “At Anglo American, we are unconditional about the safety of our colleagues. When the Metso team highlighted the safety element that the carousel methodology brings, it was indeed an added benefit and advantage. We understood, at that point, that Metso will also prioritise the safety and well-being of all individuals. There is no price on safety.”

Metso’s Vice President Mining, Africa and Middle East, Qasim Abrahams, said: “Previously, the Kolomela mine used 288 lifts to remove and install each concave liner; a process that has been identified as potentially hazardous work for the liner replacement team. Our new concave carousel concept reduced the lifts to 16, substantially improving both uptime and safety. The carousel allowed an entire tier of new concave segments to be lifted in place at once.”

Metso’s relationship with Kolomela was established in 2010, when the company provided the mine with the installation and commissioning of its crushers and the supply of original equipment manufacturer spare and wear parts. Other Metso equipment on site include two MP800 cone crushers and one MP1000 cone crusher.

Metso said: “The removal trays and carousel systems can be used on any primary gyratory crusher – Metso or third party.”

While this was a known and tested concept, this project required a completely new carousel and removal tray design and also new wear parts which included new concave liner design, patterns and trial castings, according to Metso.

Metso’s team of experts completed this project in six months, from customer order until delivery.