Tag Archives: Kwinana

Metso Outotec, Mineral Resources deliver the next generation of crushing

What will crushing plants of the future look like? Mineral Resources Ltd and Metso Outotec have pondered that question and have since gone on to answer it with the delivery of a modular, scalable and relocatable plant at an iron ore operation owned by one of the world’s biggest miners.

Called ‘NextGen II’, the solution represents a ground-breaking approach to delivering safe and reliable production to the hard-rock crushing industry, Mike Grey, Chief Executive of Mining Services for Mineral Resources, says.

And it all started with a test for one of the company’s most technically minded individuals.

“We were sitting around the boardroom table with David De Haas, one of our key engineers on this project, and gave him the challenge to come up with a crushing plant that we could literally relocate anywhere very quickly, build on a very small footprint, and have it plug and play,” Grey told IM in a recent IM Insight Interview.

Mineral Resources, which counts CSI Mining Services (CSI) as a wholly-owned subsidiary, was in a unique position to deliver on this.

A provider of world-class tailored crushing, screening and processing solutions for some of the world’s largest mining companies, CSI specialises in build, own, operate (BOO) projects where it provides both the capital infrastructure and the operational expertise to ensure these crushing plants operate to their potential on site.

It carries out crushing services for Mineral Resources’ own mines, as well others across the mining sector.

Crushing collaboration

When offering such ‘crushing as a service’ type of contracts, the service must be underpinned by the best equipment possible.

Enter Metso Outotec.

Having initially commenced discussions with the global OEM in early 2019 (when it was still Metso), Mineral Resources, later that year, agreed with Metso on the design and delivery of a new type of crushing solution.

The pair recognised early on in these conversations that the industry was changing and they, as service and solution providers, needed to change with it.

The largest bulk commodity operations in the world are made up of multiple pits that get mined over time. As these operations expand, miners are left with a dilemma: extend the haulage time from the pit to the plant or build another plant.

The NextGen II crushing plant has provided a third option.

(Credit: Mineral Resources Ltd)

De Haas, collaborating with Metso Outotec, has delivered on the board’s brief with the design for a crushing plant able to produce 15 Mt/y using a modular design made up of several stations. The plant can move with the mining, being erected and taken down quickly without the type of in-ground services that can scupper such moves.

The first plant delivered under this collaboration is now operating in the Pilbara at a very well-known iron ore operation.

Customised crushing

Guillaume Lambert, Vice President of Crushing for Metso Outotec, provided some specifics.

“The NextGen II is a crushing and screening plant to crush iron ore and produce lump and fine products,” he said in the IM Insight Interview. “The process starts with a primary station made up of a Metso Outotec apron feeder (below left), followed by a vibrating grizzly scalper.” Then starts the size reduction process with a Nordberg C150 jaw crusher (below middle).

From this primary station, the ore goes to three secondary crushing stations, each comprised of an MF3072 banana screen (below right) and Nordberg HP400 cone crusher.

(Credit: Metso Outotec)

Fines and lump are the products from this secondary station, with the oversize arranged in close circuit with the screen, Lambert said.

The screen was designed specifically for the project – offering the compact dimensions that could fit inside the station’s footprint. Other customised add-ons included specialised cooling rooms for the lubrication units and extensive steel fabrication works.

Lambert added: “Really, the tailoring of design is around the modularity of the different stations. Each station is made up of several modules. All those modules can be pre-assembled and tested in a factory and transported by road to the site. This has been established to enable a fast erection process.”

This turned out to be the case with the very first NextGen II installation.

Despite a timeline setback caused by the global pandemic, the 1,500 t of steel needed for the plant construction was built in 16 weeks, starting in March 2020 and ready by July 25 of that year. It was shipped to CSI’s Kwinana facility in Western Australia for pre-assembly before delivery to site.

Final commissioning took place in early 2021, and the crusher has been working well since.

(Credit: Mineral Resources Ltd)

R U OK?

A distinctive blue colour, the plant reflects Mineral Resources’ commitment to mental health awareness and support, carrying the phone number and colour of Lifeline, a Western Australia-based charity formed to prevent suicide, support people in crisis and reduce the stigmas which can be a barrier to seeking help.

“It is really important for us to promote mental health; our fly-in fly-out workforce has matured over some years, but the challenges around working remotely remain,” Grey said. “It is important that we demonstrate we have the support mechanisms in place to support our workers and their families.

“The NextGen II plant is at the forefront of that – it is the first thing people see when they come to work and the last thing they see when going home. They can always reflect and make sure their work mates are OK.”

(Credit: Mineral Resources Ltd)

Support and service

The plant’s operating success has been helped by a local service and support network from both companies, with Metso Outotec providing critical spares and all large “rotable refurbishments” serviced by CSI’s Kwinana facility.

This is underwritten by a remote condition monitoring service that can see personnel and parts from both companies deployed to site at a moment’s notice.

This comprehensive offering has seen close collaboration between Metso Outotec’s Minerals (capital equipment) business, Service business and MRL’s own service team.

Understanding the challenges and potential delays for parts deliveries due to MRL’s remote location, the companies agreed to a specific consignment inventory close to the site to ensure parts availability and exclusivity for MRL to better support the operation.

In addition, a Metso Outotec service expert is present for maintenance and shutdown events to provide expertise and support to the MRL maintenance team.

Grey and Lambert said the collaboration has been a win-win for both companies.

“Working with Metso Outotec on this project has allowed us to define the scope together, rather than remotely,” Grey reflected. “That allows us to ensure we deliver to the timelines and then make any necessary changes on the run, hand-in-hand. We deliver the solution together.”

Lambert added: “Metso Outotec is an indisputable leader in crushing and screening technology, as well as plant. However, working with MRL, we learned a lot about improving the design of our station to maximise safety and improve accessibility in a very, very compact environment for high-capacity plant.”

In demand

This is unlikely to be the first and last next generation crushing plant to come out of the OEM/service provider collaboration.

While iron ore was the commodity of choice for the first installation, Lambert said there was potential for these types of plants featuring in base and precious metal operations.

“The NextGen II plant is very flexible,” he said. “Each station is individually plugged into the solution, and we can easily upgrade the crusher, the screen, etc throughout the year depending on capacity needs.”

Adding or removing some stations could see the throughput reduced or increased, with Lambert even talking about the ability to construct a 30 Mt/y plant that can be built, erected and relocated in the same way as the first 15 Mt/y plant.

“In addition, NextGen II, today, is designed for iron ore applications with lump and fine products,” he said. “If we want, we can add a tertiary crushing stage in order to produce only fines for iron ore. This can match with copper and gold operations also.”

There are plenty of gold miners extracting ore from multiple pits that could provide a strong business case for the installation of such a plant. Similarly, there is potential for this working at major open-pit copper mines.

Lambert concluded: “There is, for sure, global demand for modular crushing plants. Today, having a fast and safe erection process is a must in many countries and locations. In addition, we have more and more short-term operations emerging in very remote locations, so having the possibility to minimise civil works is key for a lot of our customers.”

To watch the full IM Insight Interview on ‘Mining’s next generation of crushing solutions’, click here.

CSI NextGen II modular crushing plant starts up at BHP Mt Whaleback

Mineral Resources Ltd’s CSI Mining Services team has reached a major milestone with the NextGen II modular crushing plant having now crushed its first ore at the BHP-owned Mt Whaleback iron ore mine in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The relocatable plant, developed by CSI and Metso Outotec, has been painted in Lifeline WA’s trademark blue and displays the 13 11 14 crisis support number.

The crusher has been on a monumental journey to get to its final home in the Pilbara, transported by a sea vessel from its manufacturing site in Turkey to CSI’s Kwinana workshop.

“The CSI team at Kwinana worked around the clock to assemble the revolutionary relocatable modular design last year, which allows for sustained reliable performance over time with the flexibility required to meet our clients’ changing and challenging production demands,” the company said.

CSI was awarded the contract to design, construct and operate the 12 Mt/y crushing plant back in June. It was due to replace the existing CSI crushing plant at the iron ore operation.

The crushing and screening plant is expected to come with low capital and operating costs, in addition to significant flexibility with its portability. It is assembled in modules and, compared with fixed crushing plants, provides for sustained reliable performance over time with the flexibility required to meet clients’ changing and challenging production demands, according to CSI.

BHP and Risen Energy to increase renewable use at Kwinana nickel refinery

BHP has signed a renewable power purchasing agreement (PPA) to supply up to 50% of its electricity needs at the Kwinana nickel refinery from the Merredin Solar Farm in Western Australia.

The agreement will help BHP reduce emissions from electricity use at the refinery by up to 50% by 2024, based on financial year 2020 levels.

The agreement with Risen Energy is for 10 years from February 1, 2021. This will effectively displace an estimated 364,000 t of CO2e over the life of the contract. This is the equivalent of removing 11,200 combustion engine cars from the state’s roads every year.

This is the first renewable energy PPA signed by BHP in Western Australia and follows renewable agreements covering BHP’s operations in Queensland in 2020 and Chile in 2019.

BHP Nickel West, Asset President, Eddy Haegel, said: “This contract will further increase the sustainability of the nickel produced by Nickel West. It will reduce the refinery’s electricity emissions by 50%, diversify our energy supply, and reduce the refinery’s electricity bill.

“Nickel is a future-facing commodity that is essential to creating the high performing lithium ion batteries used in battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Consequently, the demand for nickel and especially the nickel produced by Nickel West is set to grow dramatically. The sustainable production of nickel is also essential to meet this future demand as the customers purchasing BEVs want to know that the inputs to the manufacturing of these vehicles are also sustainable.

“Nickel West is already one of the most sustainable nickel producers in the world but has committed to significantly reduce CO2 emissions further.

“This contract, combined with our high quality nickel deposits, and our integrated value chain further improves our position as one of the lowest carbon nickel miners in the world.”

Risen Energy Australia, Vice General Manager, John Zhong, said: “We are proud to sign this agreement with BHP Nickel West. This agreement will bolster current and future Western Australian renewable projects. We look forward to welcoming many more clean energy partnerships to power manufacturing, minerals processing and other Western Australian industries.”

The contract will contribute to BHP’s medium-term, science-based target to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 30% by 2030.

The 132 MW Merredin Solar Farm is made up of 354,452 solar panels and is West Australia’s largest completed solar farm. It has an output of 274 GWh/y of electricity. This is enough green energy to power approximately 42,000 Western Australian homes.

Civmec extends Pilbara stay with more iron ore agreements

Civmec Ltd has won multiple new contracts for its maintenance, manufacturing and construction divisions with a combined value of over A$100 million ($77 million).

Among these awards is a three-year contract for the maintenance division with Alcoa of Australia Ltd to provide calciner maintenance, major overhaul and repair services, including scaffolding, mechanical, refractory and electrical services at its Kwinana, Pinjarra, and Wagerup refineries. These plants contain 17 calciner units, two liquor burners and five regenerative thermal oxidisers.

The manufacturing division is celebrating minerals and metals sectors contracts in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

Among these is an agreement for Civmec to supply, manufacture, trial assemble and deliver four main train load-out bin modules for the BHP-owned Jimblebar iron project. The company will also supply, fabricate, surface treat and modularise shuttle trusses, conveyor trusses, platework and stick steel for the Rio Tinto-owned Gudai-Darri iron ore project, also in the Pilbara.

Still in the Australia iron ore hub, Civmec’s construction division is set to complete a civil package, including detailed earthworks, concrete placement, cabling and pipework for a Roy Hill de-bottlenecking project, as well as the delivery of a fixed plant workshop for Rio Tinto’s Mesa A project, where the group is already undertaking other structural, mechanical, piping, electrical and instrumentation work.

WA Kaolin’s Wickepin kaolin processing plan gains momentum

WA Kaolin Ltd says building works have commenced at its wholly owned Wickepin kaolin project, in Western Australia, as the ASX-listed company looks to start up production from a “world-leading” kaolin processing plant.

AUSPAN, one of Australia’s leading steel frame construction companies, has been contracted to carry out the Stage 1 Building Structural Design and Construction at the project. The company has now mobilised to site to commence its work program with a team of around 20 ramping up over coming weeks.

The concrete batching plant was delivered to site on January 6, and work has commenced on the footings and part of the slab being laid ahead of the plant build, WA Kaolin said.

A 2020 definitive feasibility study completed by BDB Process on the Wickepin kaolin project showed the potential for the project to ramp up to 400,000 t/y through the development of the processing plant and extraction of the 30.5 Mt of high-grade premium kaolinised granite reserves within the existing Mining Lease.

The company plans to use its proprietary dry K99 processing method on ore from the two existing open-pit deposits at Wickepin. This involves drying and beneficiation through physical separation with no chemicals required. The simple and proven process is already operating on a small-scale commercial basis in Kwinana where the company operates a small plant, WA Kaolin says.

Andrew Sorensen, WA Kaolin CEO said: “Our 2021 work program has already commenced in earnest with the arrival of the crew and equipment to proceed with the initial building works of the kaolin production plant. At this point, we are on track to commence the build in February and will provide regular updates to the market as we proceed.”

Ben Richardson, General Manager, AUSPAN, added: “Mobilisation is well under way and construction on site is ramping up following the Christmas break. Footings are almost complete and we will be ramping up to a construction team of approximately 25 by early February.

“It is exciting to be working with WA Kaolin on this world-leading Kaolin processing plant. With approximately 100 t of structural steel already delivered to site, the landscape is about to change with the commencement of structural steel installation.”

WA Kaolin’s plan is to increase production at Wickepin to 400,000 t/y by 2023 with further modular increases to capacity to be implemented in tune with market demand.

Ora Banda’s Davyhurst gold mine restart to be powered by LNG

Ora Banda Mining and Wesfarmers’ liquified natural gas business, EVOL LNG, have signed a new long-term agreement to bring LNG to the Davyhurst gold mine in Western Australia’s Goldfields region.

The gold mine is aiming to restart production in January 2021 after being placed into care and maintenance in 2018.

Ora Banda’s definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the Davyhurst Restart project outlined a production target of 418,000 oz of gold over an initial five-year mine life based on an ore reserve of 460,000 oz (6.1 Mt at 2.4 g/t Au) from six deposits within 50 km of the existing 1.2 Mt/y plant. The plant is being refurbished by GR Engineering Services.

EVOL LNG’s Manager, Nick Rea, said the business had proven its winning LNG solution to the mining industry over the past 12 years with its customer base continuing to grow.

“We are excited to support the Davyhurst mine back into production,” he said. “Ora Banda is now our ninth mining customer and we are keen to provide them with the benefits and value that are afforded to EVOL LNG’s customers.”

EVOL LNG will build, own, operate and maintain the on-site LNG storage and vaporisation facility at the mine. The facility will use EVOL LNG’s modular design, which, the company says, allows for fast installation and expandability if the mine’s energy requirements increase in the future.

Ora Banda Mining’s Managing Director & CEO, David Quinlivan, said: “Ora Banda’s agreement with EVOL LNG has enabled the company to secure a stable long-term energy solution for Davyhurst on terms consistent with those outlined in the DFS. The use of LNG as the primary fuel source for the Davyhurst power station also provides significant
environmental benefits.

“The company estimates its power generation greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by approximately 25,000 t during the initial five years of operation when compared to conventional diesel power generation.”

The mine will use EVOL LNG to fuel a 7.5 MW gas-fired power station, with supply planned to commence from December 2020.

The LNG will be supplied from EVOL LNG’s Kwinana production facility in Western Australia, which was expanded earlier this year. Planning is underway for the next expansion to meet the growing market demand.

Siempelkamp to supply conveyor belt press line to Fenner Dunlop’s Kwinana facility

Siempelkamp is to help Fenner Dunlop expand its Kwinana facility in Western Australia with the delivery of a new steel cord conveyor belt press line including a multi-cylinder press.

Fenner Dunlop, only last month, announced it would again expand this facility, with a third steel cord press line set to boost capacity by 50%.

With this new project, both companies continue their long-standing cooperation in the production of high-quality steel cord conveyor belts, Siempelkamp said. The scope of supply includes the whole production line, especially the multi-cylinder press, which provides, as with both existing press lines from Siempelkamp at this facility, an “outstanding pressure distribution” during the full curing process, it said.

“This state-of-the-art press technology enables our customer to cure conveyor belts from 5-50 mm thickness, providing a unique process accuracy and stability which cannot be achieved with other, traditional press concepts,” the company said.

The entire machine and process control technology has been developed, tested and implemented by Siempelkamp when it comes to hardware and software. Installation and start-up of the new press line is scheduled for 2021.

“With the new Siempelkamp press line, Fenner Dunlop once again demonstrates its commitment to the growing market for conveyor belts in Australia, a country rich in raw materials,” Siempelkamp said. “The use of conveyor belts, compared to the conventional ‘truck and shovel operation’, results in considerable CO2 savings when transporting the billions of tonnes of kilometres of bulk materials within the mines, between mine loading stations, and within the loading ports.”

Since 2006, companies of the Fenner Dunlop Group in Australia and the USA have been relying on Siempelkamp expertise in the area of presses for textile or steel cord conveyor belts, Siempelkamp said.

In 2011, the Fenner Dunlop Australia subsidiary placed an order for a complete steel cord line for conveyor belt production as part of an initial expansion of the Kwinana plant. With this first line, Siempelkamp said it set three records at once: the world’s largest conveyor belt press, the strongest press in the plastics and rubber industry, and the first multi-cylinder press for the Australian market.

“The multi-cylinder press concept provides plant operators with a particularly even pressure distribution which leads to a more stable process control and thus to more uniform product qualities,” Siempelkamp said. “With this new production line, as in both the existing press lines at this manufacturing facility, the creel is equipped with twice the required maximum number of steel cord let offs to provide a higher flexibility and a quick changeover with respect to the production settings.”

This design effectively eliminates several hours of downtime for loading and unloading of the creel and dramatically increases the number of usable production hours of the whole production line, according to Siempelkamp.

The new project was initiated by the intensive cooperation between the Australia Siempelkamp subsidiary, headed by Geoff Robson, and the Siempelkamp sales team in Krefeld, Germany. Negotiations and design were conducted during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Steffen Aumüller, Sales Manager at Siempelkamp, said: “With this order, we are pleased to continue a successful co-operation in a special application and to support Fenner Dunlop Australia, member of the Michelin group, with our technology.”

Fenner Dunlop presses ahead with Western Australia expansion plans

Fenner Dunlop is to once again expand its Kwinana manufacturing facility in Western Australia, with a third steel cord press line set to boost capacity by 50%.

Since opening the A$70 million ($50 million) manufacturing facility in Kwinana, in 2009, the company has looked to progressively expand its capabilities in line with market demand.

The original facility, built specifically to produce steel cord belting, represented, at the time, the largest investment in conveyor belting manufacturer ever made in Australia by any company, according to the company.

In 2013, an additional A$20 million was invested to install a second press line to double the plant’s production capacity and increase the Kwinana workforce by 30%.

“Australian manufacturing has survived many challenges over the past decade,” the company said. “The COVID-19 crisis in 2020 has demonstrated the value of Australian manufacturing to the economy and to the mining sector in particular.

“While other companies are contracting and moving their manufacturing operations offshore, Fenner Dunlop continues to support the local economy and is proud to be the largest conveyor belt supplier in Australia and the only company to manufacture the complete range of conveyor belts for all mining applications locally.”

Today the facility houses two of the world’s largest steel cord press lines and has the capability to produce steel cord and rubber ply belting up to 3,200 mm wide and up to 50 mm thick.

Steve Abbott, Chief Operating Officer, said: “Kwinana is close to its main customers, allowing us to provide a quality product with reduced lead times while keeping the investment in Western Australia.

“Our customers have the convenience of dealing with a global business, supported by a state-of-the-art conveyor belt manufacturing facility in their backyard and the assurance of technical support that understands the local operational environment.”

These customers include Rio Tinto, BHP and many more.

Fenner Dunlop says it is once again partnering with Siempelkamp to commission the third line, which is the finest multi-piston press and associated equipment in the world, continuing the longstanding partnership in the production of high-quality conveyor belts.

The third line will increase the plant‘s capacity by a further 50%, and additional investment will support the efficient manufacture of fabric conveyor belts for Western Australian customers, the company added.

Abbott said: “The plant expansion is part of our longer-term strategy, following the plant opening in 2009 and the initial expansion in 2013. While the expansion is a reflection of our success, it allows us to maintain our responsiveness in quoting, production and delivery to meet the constantly changing requirements of our customers.”

The A$23.5 million investment is part of Fenner Dunlop’s commitment to grow its conveyor belt production to meet the increasing demand in Western Australia, it said.

The manufacturing plant also incorporates a testing and R&D laboratory to ensure all work is done to the highest quality and safety standards and all systems are under constant review and continual improvement.

Site work is scheduled to start in March 2021 with the commissioning in December 2021. The new press line will start full production in January 2022, according to the company.

MRL and Metso Outotec NextGen II crushing plant installation on track

Mineral Resources and Metso Outotec’s plans to deliver their NextGen II modular crushing plant to BHP’s Mt Whaleback mine remain on course, with the fabricated steelwork having arrived in Western Australia.

In January 2020, the joint venture awarded a fabrication contract to three separate companies in Turkey: Birikim and Mass Makina, in Ankara, and Bilim Makina, in Bursa, around 100 km south of Istanbul.

The contract was to procure, fabricate, trial assemble, surface treat, and deliver to the port about 1,400 t of fabricated steel work. This effort was led by Mineral Resources Technical Director, David De Haas, and Fabrication Manager, Michael Killeen.

Mineral Resources’ wholly-owned subsidiary, CSI Mining Services, has now received this infrastructure, with all NextGen II works to be assembled at CSI’s Kwinana workshop during a six-week period, working 24/7.

The assembly of the 12 Mt/y plant will be completed on site at BHP’s Mt Whaleback mine, replacing the existing CSI crushing plant at the iron ore operation. This contract was announced last month.

“The manufacture of NextGen II has been completed in very difficult times internationally as the coronavirus pandemic swept the world and the whole team is to be congratulated for their efforts,” Mineral Resources said.

“We look forward to the successful construction, installation and commissioning of the new plant at Mt Whaleback, and are confident this will be the first of many opportunities for this ground-breaking approach to deliver safe, reliable production for the hard-rock crushing industry.”

The company concluded: “CSI is already the world’s largest crushing contractor and NextGen II will help us maintain our position as the partners of choice for the mining industry.”

The first 12 Mt/y portable and modular NextGen crushing plant was installed in 2018 at the Pilgangoora lithium project, owned by Pilbara Minerals, in Western Australia.

Chevron to supply gas to BHP Nickel West operations

Chevron has announced the signing of a domestic gas sale agreement with BHP’s Nickel West division that will see a total of 22 Pj of equity domestic gas delivered to the operations in Western Australia over a 3.5-year period.

Chevron will supply the natural gas from its Wheatstone domestic gas facility from July.

Chevron Australia Managing Director, Al Williams, said the agreement highlighted the important role of natural gas in powering critical industries, such as mining, across the state.

“As a reliable and cost-effective way to generate electricity, natural gas is a vital energy source for current and future energy needs of Western Australian industry,” he said.

At full capacity, the Chevron-operated Gorgon and Wheatstone natural gas facilities will produce 500 tj/d of domestic gas for the Western Australia market – enough to generate electricity for 4.3 million households, according to the company.

Nickel West is a fully integrated mine-to-market nickel business with over 3,500 employees and contractors, BHP says. All nickel operations (open pit and underground mines, concentrators, a smelter and refinery) are located in Western Australia. The integrated business adds value throughout the company’s nickel supply chain, with the majority of Nickel West’s current production sold as powder and briquettes, the company added.

The division is currently in the middle of construction of a nickel sulphate plant at the Kwinana nickel refinery. Stage 1 is expected to produce up to 100,000 t/y of nickel sulphate.