Tag Archives: lead

Boliden invests $160 million in leaching plant, underground repository at Rönnskär

Boliden has opened a new leaching plant and underground repository at its Rönnskär operations in Sweden as it looks to extract additional metal from residual materials at the smelter and store any remaining waste in a sustainable way.

For many years, residual materials from smelting processes containing copper, zinc and lead, among other elements, have been stored temporarily at the Rönnskär site.

These residual materials, together with future residues from production, will from this point pass through the newly built leaching plant where further metal extraction will take place. The remaining material will then be transported straight down to the underground repository, which is located about 350 m below the site.

This will see Rönnskär become the only copper smelter in the world with a long-term, sustainable on-site storage solution, according to Boliden.

Investments in the two facilities have amounted to SEK 1.4 billion ($160 million), Boliden says.

Daniel Peltonen, President Boliden Smelters, says: “Our aim is to extract as much metal as possible from our raw materials while ensuring the best achievable environmental and climate performance. The investments we have now made represent a new chapter in Rönnskär’s history in both of these areas.”

Rönnskär produced 226,000 t of copper, along with 33,000 of zinc clinker, 28,000 t of lead, 506,000 t of sulphuric acid, 524,000 kg of silver and 14,000 kg of gold last year, according to Boliden.

GR Engineering captures A$90 million of EPC contracts from Galena Mining

GR Engineering Services has been given the notice to proceed with the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of a 1.2 Mt/y lead sulphide flotation processing plant at Galena Mining Limited’s majority-owned Abra base metals project in Western Australia.

The contract, which follows a conditional agreement from February 2020, comes with a value of A$79.5 million ($59 million) to be realised predominantly in GR Engineering’s 2022 financial year.

In addition, Abra Mining has also awarded GR Engineering an EPC contract to relocate, refurbish and commission the Abra Mining-owned Higginsville paste plant. The value of this contract is a further A$10 million.

Geoff Jones, Managing Director, said: “GR Engineering looks forward to continuing its solid working relationship with the Abra Mining team on the delivery of the project and supporting Abra Mining as it becomes the next Australian base metals producer.”

Mastermyne looks for hard-rock exposure with PYBAR Mining buy

Mastermyne has accelerated its hard-rock mining strategy with an agreement to acquire PYBAR Mining Services in a cash and share deal that comes with an expected equity purchase price of A$47 million ($35 million).

The acquisition for PYBAR Holdings, owner of PYBAR Mining Services, will see Mastermyne, a metallurgical coal-focused contractor, exposed to PYBAR’s gold, copper, zinc and lead-related revenues, it said.

The deal is expected to create a leading Australia-based diversified mining services business with material scale, it said, adding that the combined group will have a A$1.7 billion-plus order book and an active tender pipeline of A$2.7 billion-plus after completion.

To reflect the changing make up of revenues, Mastermyne is proposing to change its name to Metarock Group Ltd.

Mastermyne MD and CEO, Tony Caruso, said: “The PYBAR acquisition is highly complementary to Mastermyne’s existing underground business and expands the combined group’s addressable markets to support ongoing growth, in addition to increasing the earnings resilience of the group by diversifying our commodity exposure.”

PYBAR Mining Services was established in 1993 and has gone on to become one of Australia’s largest underground mining contractors, serving the likes of Glencore (Black Rock mine), Diversified Minerals (Dargues gold mine), Gold Fields (Hamlet North mine), Evolution Mining (Cowal gold mine), OZ Minerals (Carrapateena) and more.

It has a large fleet of equipment, which includes Sandvik DD421 and DD421i series drills, a fleet of Cat R1300, R1700, R2900 and Sandvik LH621i LHDs, Cat AD45V-AD60 sized trucks and several Sandvik TH663s haul trucks. It provides services such as mine development, raiseboring, mine production, shotcreting, cable bolting and production drilling.

Mastermyne says PYBAR will continue to operate as an independent business unit within the group with the existing management team should the deal go through.

Subject to Mastermyne shareholder approval and the satisfaction or waiver of other conditions associated with the transaction, Mastermyne anticipates the deal completing by the end of the year.

PYBAR sets records at Glencore’s Black Rock mine with Sandvik DL432i longhole drill

The introduction of PYBAR’s new Sandvik DL432i longhole drill in October 2020 has led to month-on-month improvements in drilling productivity at the Black Rock copper-lead-zinc mine, in Queensland, Australia.

Versatile and compact, the Sandvik DL432i is a fully mechanised electro-hydraulic top hammer longhole drill, designed for large-scale mining. The Sandvik iSOLO drilling control system allows the client (Glencore in this case) to provide electronic drill plans on a USB, which is plugged straight into the drill. The operator then lines the drill up on the survey markings and selects the required drill design, with the remainder of the drilling taken care of by the iSOLO software.

Since arriving on site, a specialised pump has been installed on the DL432i, allowing AMC (a subsidiary of IMDEX) to add a Bore Hole Stabiliser™ to the water circuit while drilling to improve hole integrity in the soft ground conditions. This technology, combined with Sandvik’s iSOLO drilling control software, has been key to PYBAR’s production success at Black Rock to date, the contractor said.

“The ground conditions at Black Rock have put Sandvik’s iSOLO drilling control system to the test, and the technology has proven itself with flying colours,” PYBAR said. “After several months of on-site refinement of the automated drilling system, the drill can now operate with minimal operator input.”

This has led to month-on-month increases in production drilling rates with a record month in March, closely matched in April, according to PYBAR. This, in turn, has meant a significant increase in available production fronts resulting in increased tonnes and improved overall project performance.

Trials of automated drilling for complete firing patterns will begin shortly at Black Rock to enable drilling to take place during firing and shift change, as well as free up the operator to assist with other tasks around the mine, PYBAR said.

The transition to further automation has the potential to significantly maximise both productive drilling time and overall performance for the project, it added.

Trevali to test out FLSmidth’s Rapid Oxidative Leach tech on Caribou material

Trevali Mining has announced the commencement of a pilot plant testing program using Caribou run-of-mine and milled material at FLSmidth’s Rapid Oxidative Leach (ROL) process testing facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The program expands on previous laboratory test work and is aimed at demonstrating the potential to recover zinc, lead, copper, gold and silver as a precipitate or metal and additional zinc and lead from Caribou ore and mill tailings.

The leach test program is targeting an improvement to zinc, lead, copper, gold and silver metal recoveries, the potential to produce a precipitate or metal on site replacing the current ore concentrate that is produced at Caribou – which, if implemented, would lead to savings on transport costs and offsite treatment costs – and the opportunity to process historic mill tailings, which include gold and copper metals, in addition to run of mine ore. The latter would increase revenues and reduce closure liabilities, Trevali said.

Trevali says the use of FLSmidth’s ROL technology also provides the potential to reduce Trevali’s carbon footprint at Caribou and extend Caribou’s mine life and treat lower-grade deposits in the Bathurst camp of Canada.

FLSmidth says ROL leaches 97-99% of copper directly on-site in six to eight hours, from concentrates as low as 5% Cu. In gold, ROL has the potential to unlock the value of undeveloped refractory gold deposits with less than 3 g/t gold head grade, it says.

Unlike other refractory processing techniques, the ROL process uses the application of mechanical energy coupled with oxidation under atmospheric conditions. The process relies on stirred media reactors to accelerate the oxidation of sulphide minerals. This eliminates the need for ultrafine grinding, high temperatures and high pressure which makes it energy saving and very cost-effective, according to the mining OEM.

Trevali said a successful pilot plant test program using ROL may allow Trevali to replace the existing flotation circuit at Caribou with atmospheric leach vessels and potentially an SX/EW train, introducing the possibility of producing base and precious metals on-site and thereby save transport costs and offsite treatment costs.

Conceptual objectives of the program include:

  • Recovery of metals/minerals that are not recoverable using the current technology at Caribou (precious metals and magnetite); and
  • Improved payables/selectivity of the traditional flotation process using new and emerging technologies.

Ricus Grimbeek, President and Chief Executive Officer of Trevali, said: “FLSmidth’s ROL metallurgical technology has the potential to transform the Caribou mine and the wider Bathurst Mining Camp.

“This next phase of the testing program is an essential step in evaluating the suitability and economic viability of a processing solution with the potential to enhance the value of the in-situ material and tailings at Caribou as well as the surrounding deposits in the Bathurst region. The positive results to date support further study and analysis given the potential implications for the Bathurst Mining Camp in general and Trevali in particular.”

Beyond quantifying the ability to recover additional metal values, the objective for the pilot plant test program is to determine the various kinetic factors, mass and energy balance and engineering data to support future engineering on a preliminary economic assessment for potential processing of the Trevali mill feed and mill tailings and produce metal on site.

Continuous pilot plant trials commenced in June 2021 (Phase 1) to tune the pilot plant and provide material for precious metal leach tests in late July, followed by a test program at the Caribou Mine site that is planned for September 2021 (Phase 2). Leach data and results are expected to verify that batch testing results can be achieved in a continuous operation.

ANDRITZ ups the filtration ante with new ME2500 filter press

ANDRITZ has introduced a new filter press, the ME2500, to complete its range of “proven” A4F and the SE series filter presses for the mining and minerals industry.

The ME2500 is the best-fit for fast processing of tailings (also with high clay content) or mining concentrates like iron, copper, lead or zinc, the company says. The new model has an hourly processing capacity of up to 450 kg/sq.m, a filtration area of up to 840 sq.m, and features chained plates for faster filter cake discharge. These attributes enable the highest throughputs without compromising on safety, while reflecting a customer focus on saving water, ANDRITZ says.

The innovative closure system on the ME2500 largely replaces hydraulic components with electrical ones and further reduces cycle times, thus increasing capacity and operating availability.

“The increased use of electrical components enables highly sustainable operation of the filter press by reducing the amount of hydraulic oil needed, as well as improving safety thanks to more precise control and less reliance on high-pressure lines that are susceptible to leaks,” the company said.

In addition, and to further optimise the productivity of single machines or plants with multiple filter presses, all modules of the ANDRITZ intelligent filter press – controlled by the Metris addIQ control system – are also available for the ME2500 filter press and can be provided with the full range of options. This draws on smart sensors, data analytics and augmented reality, including multiple sensors to allow for online safety monitoring of the plate package and moveable parts.

The company concluded: “The safe disposal of tailings generated by the mining and minerals sector is a significant cost factor for the industry. ANDRITZ is known for its innovative range of overhead and sidebar filter presses that meet the industry’s most stringent requirements with regard to fast cake discharge and saving water and costs. The maintenance-friendly equipment from ANDRITZ is easily upgradeable, with a modular design for customised process solutions.”

Abra project heads for first lead-silver production in 2023

The Abra base metals project in Western Australia is racing forward to first production in 2023 after the project owners signed off a positive final investment decision (FID) for the mine’s development.

The FID was made following the satisfaction of key conditions to draw in excess of $30 million under a debt facility.

As of May 31, 2021, the project is 17% complete, with completed works including: construction and commissioning of a 280-unit mine site village; mining of the box cut (pictured); box cut ground support works; installation of site communications; and various site clearing, roadworks and civil works.

“As a result, Abra is largely prepared for the deployment of key contractors for the construction of the plant and auxiliary infrastructure, and deployment of the underground mining contractor,” Galena Mining, the 77.28% owner of the project, said.

Among the key contractors at Abra is GR Engineering Services, which is set to deliver a 1.2 Mt/y lead sulphide flotation process plant and ancillary infrastructure under a A$75 million ($58 million) guaranteed maximum price arrangement. The underground mining services contract has been awarded to a tier one Australian mining contractor, Galena said without naming the contract recipient.

“Under the current project schedule, procurement of certain long-lead items will take place immediately,” Galena said. “The underground mining contractor is expected to initiate the portal and decline development in the third (September) quarter of 2021 calendar year and physical on-site plant construction is expected to commence in the fourth (December) quarter of 2021 calendar year.”

Related to the decision to move ahead with development, Galena said it was appointing Anthony James as Managing Director of the company, a mining engineer with senior underground operational and development experience. He will replace current MD Alex Molyneaux who will remain a director of the company.

This definitive feasibility study outlined development of a mine and processing facility with a 16-year life producing a high-value, high-grade lead-silver concentrate containing around 95,000 t/y of lead and 805,000 oz/y of silver after ramp-up.

Telson Mining ready to experiment with metallurgical innovations at Campo Morado

Telson Mining, following a strong quarter of production from the Campo Morado mine, in Guerrero State, Mexico, is making plans to boost throughput and recoveries through the potential use of grinding, leaching and flotation technologies from the likes of Maelgwyn Mineral Services, Core Group and Glencore Technology.

The mine’s throughput averaged out at 58,100 t/mth in the March quarter, with total throughput for the quarter of 174,400 t being 4% higher than the December quarter. Some 11,013 t of zinc concentrate and 1,907 t of lead concentrate was produced over the period, compared with 9,974 t and 1,916 t, respectively, in the previous quarter.

Gold, silver, lead and zinc recoveries all improved, quarter-on-quarter, in the first three months of the year, the company added.

Ralph Shearing, Telson CEO and President, said: “These strong first quarter results continue to reflect our steady progression of improving the throughput and recoveries at Campo Morado. To this end, management intends to initiate a rigorous metallurgical testing program to advance through second phase testing the Leachox™ Process of Maelgwyn Mineral Services and the Albion Process™ of Core Group, both of which returned positive test results in first phase testing.”

He said this metallurgical testing program will also study the ability to increase base metal recoveries at microfine grinding with flotation recovery using Imhoflot Flotation (also Maelgwyn) and Jameson Cell (Glencore Technology) flotation technologies, both designed for such purposes.

“We are confident that additional recovery improvements are available utilising these exciting modern technologies which, if successful, can provide increased revenue streams,” Shearing added.

Maelgwyn’s Leachox Process consists of several Maelgwyn proprietary processes linked together including Imhoflot G-Cell flotation technology, ultra-fine grinding using the Ro-Star mill, Aachen Reactors and Aachen assisted cyanide destruction.

The Albion Process, meanwhile, is a combination of ultrafine grinding and oxidative leaching at atmospheric pressure. The feed to the Albion Process is refractory base or precious metal concentrates, where the sulphides in the feed are oxidised and liberated, allowing the target metals to be recovered by conventional means.

Rio Tinto Kennecott to recover tellurium from copper smelting

Rio Tinto is to construct a new plant that will recover tellurium, a critical mineral used in solar panels, from copper refining at its Kennecott mine near Salt Lake City, Utah.

The company is investing $2.9 million to set up the plant, which will recover tellurium as a by-product of copper smelting, extracting a valuable mineral from waste streams. The plant will have a capacity to produce around 20 t/y of tellurium, the miner said.

Rio expects to begin production of tellurium in the December quarter of 2021, creating a new North American supply chain for the critical mineral.

Tellurium is an essential component of cadmium telluride, a semiconductor used to manufacture thin film photovoltaic solar panels. Thin films made of this compound can efficiently convert sunlight into electricity, according to the miner. Tellurium can also be used as an additive to steel and copper to improve machinability, making these metals easier to cut. It can also be added to lead to increase resistance to sulphuric acid, vibration and fatigue.

Rio Tinto Kennecott Managing Director, Gaby Poirier, said: “The minerals and metals we produce are essential to accelerate the transition to renewable energy. Adding tellurium to our product portfolio provides customers in North America with a secure and reliable source of tellurium produced at the highest environmental and labour standards with renewable energy. Rio Tinto is committed to using innovation to reduce waste in our production process and extract as much value as possible from the material that we mine and process.”

Utah Governor, Spencer Cox, said: “With abundant natural resources, Utah is ideally positioned to help supply the critical minerals essential to maintain American manufacturing competitiveness. Rio Tinto’s smelter at Kennecott is one of only two that is capable of producing copper and other critical minerals. The new tellurium plant is another valuable contribution to critical mineral independence and energy security in the US”

Along with producing almost 20% of US copper, Kennecott’s smelting process also recovers gold, silver, lead carbonate, platinum, palladium and selenium, while molybdenum is recovered from the Copperton concentrator. In total, nine products are currently recovered from the ore extracted at Kennecott.

Rio Tinto is a partner with the US Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Institute (CMI) and works closely with CMI experts to discover further ways to economically recover critical mineral by-products such as rhenium, tellurium and lithium. The company is also investing in new facilities to extract battery-grade lithium from waste rock at its Boron, California mine site and high quality scandium oxide from waste streams at its metallurgical complex in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec.

Galena signs up Contract Power for hybrid power gen facility at Abra JV

Abra Mining Pty Ltd, the joint venture company behind the Abra base metals project, has executed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Contract Power Australia that could see the construction and operation of a hybrid power generation facility made up of a natural gas and solar energy array at the Western Australia project.

Announcing the PPA, Galena Mining, which owns 77.28% of the project, said Contract Power will build, own and operate an integrated hybrid power generation facility combining a 10 MW natural gas fired power station, a 6 MW solar array, 2 MW of battery energy storage and a 900 Kl LNG storage and regasification facility.

Power will be purchased by Abra under the PPA for an initial term of 16-years (extendable), it said.

Galena Managing Director, Alex Molyneux, said: “We’re pleased to partner with Contract Power on a clean, cost-effective power solution for Abra. Integrating solar with relatively clean natural gas instead of diesel achieves a marked reduction in Abra’s carbon footprint compared to alternatives considered in the tender process.

“Pleasingly, the design also offered the most cost-effective solution, in line with our feasibility study estimates.”

This definitive feasibility study outlined development of a mine and processing facility with a 16-year life producing a high-value, high-grade lead-silver concentrate containing around 95,000 t/y of lead and 805,000 oz/y of silver after ramp-up.

A Western Australia-based company wholly-owned by Pacific Energy Ltd, Contract Power specialises in the design, construction and operation of remote power stations for the mining and government sectors.

Contract Power has operated power stations around Australia under turnkey build-own-operate arrangements since 1999, and recent projects include a 56 MW gas fired power station for Mineral Resources Ltd’s Wodgina lithium project, a 18 MW gas fired station for Capricorn Resources’ Karlawinda project and a 18 MW gas and diesel power station at Wiluna Mining Corp‘s Wiluna gold project.

Contract Power’s Managing Director, Leon Hodges, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Galena on this important project and look forward to rewarding their confidence by delivering a world-class hybrid power station.

“Contract Power’s combined LNG and renewables integration capability has allowed our design team to maximise solar penetration as high as the economics and technology allows, providing the Abra project with the highest reliability and lowest cost of power on an unsubsidised basis.”

The PPA remains subject to the condition of Abra Mining Pty Ltd proceeding to final investment decision for the project, Galena said.