Tag Archives: LNG

Fresnillo completes conversion of Herradura haul truck fleet to Cat dual-fuel system

In its recently released 2021 financial results, Fresnillo confirmed it had completed the conversion of its haul truck fleet at the Herradura gold mine in Mexico to a dual-fuel system leveraging both diesel and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The company started its dual-fuel journey all the way back in 2016 when, together with Caterpillar, it trialled/piloted the mining OEM’s Dynamic Gas Blending™ (DGB) dual-fuel technology on two prototype trucks as part of a strategy at Herradura to reduce both its carbon footprint and costs.

Caterpillar’s dual-fuel DGB technology works by blending lower cost LNG with diesel fuel, with the resultant improvements in fuel, emissions and maintenance adding up to millions of dollars each year in cost savings, the mining OEM says.

Following some good initial results from Herradura, the company made plans to roll out this technology across its fleet, converting its haulage fleet’s diesel engines to a dual-fuel system, which optimises consumption by automatically switching between diesel and LNG depending on the terrain.

The Herradura fleet consists of Cat 785C and 793D haul trucks, among others.

A Fresnillo spokesperson told IM: “The 785C series consume approximately a 40:60 diesel-LNG mix, while the 793D has a 65:35 ratio, thus achieving, in 2021, a reduced energy factor of 20.97% and 18.68%, respectively.

“To date, we’ve recovered 35% of our investment through fuel savings, which considers both the LNG conversion kits and the biomodal supply station.”

The company has now converted 31 of its 785Cs to run on this mix, along with 10 793Ds. It has also invested in infrastructure to ensure it has the appropriate LNG storage capacity at Herradura.

BHP achieves shipping first as it extends funding for steelmaking decarbonisation

BHP has welcomed the arrival of MV Mt. Tourmaline – the world’s first LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carrier – that will transport iron ore between Western Australia and Asia from 2022.

The mining company has chartered five LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carriers from Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) for five years and awarded the LNG fuel contract to Shell.

On her maiden voyage, the vessel arrived at Jurong Port in Singapore for her first LNG bunkering operation (the process of fuelling ships with LNG) which will take place through the first LNG bunker vessel in Singapore, the FueLNG Bellina. FueLNG, a joint venture between Shell Eastern Petroleum and Keppel Offshore & Marine, operates the bunker vessel.

After LNG bunkering, the 209,000-deadweight tonne vessel will leave for Port Hedland in Western Australia for iron ore loading operations.

BHP Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “BHP works with our suppliers to embed innovative and sustainable solutions in our supply chain. This vessel delivers significant improvements to energy efficiency and emissions intensity, as well as reduced overall GHG emissions in our value chain. These achievements demonstrate BHP, EPS and Shell’s shared commitment to social value through innovative emissions reduction initiatives.

“These LNG-fuelled vessels are expected to reduce GHG emissions intensity by more than 30% on a per voyage basis compared to a conventional fuelled voyage and will contribute towards our 2030 goal to support 40% emissions intensity reduction of BHP-chartered shipping of our products.”

EPS CEO, Cyril Ducau, said: “Today’s historic LNG bunkering is further evidence that the industry’s energy transition is in full swing. These dual-fuel LNG Newcastlemax vessels are a world’s first, but more importantly, they represent a culture shift in shipping and mining.”

In a separate announcement, BHP confirmed it would extend its partnership with the Centre for Ironmaking Materials Research (CIMR) at the University of Newcastle with a further A$10 million ($7 million) in funding to support ongoing research into decarbonising steelmaking.

The expanded research program will focus on low carbon iron and steelmaking using BHP’s iron ore and metallurgical coal, including conventional blast furnace ironmaking with the addition of hydrogen, and emerging alternative low carbon ironmaking technologies.

The collaboration, with funding from BHP’s $400 million Climate Investment Program, will last five years and help train the next generation of PhD researchers and engineers.

Dr Rod Dukino, BHP VP Sales & Marketing Iron Ore, said: “Greenhouse gas emissions from steelmaking represent around 7-10% of global total estimated emissions and the industry remains one of the most difficult sectors in the world to abate. Research and innovation have a critical role to play in accelerating the industry’s transition to a low carbon future.

“The expanded research program with the University of Newcastle complements BHP’s existing partnerships with our key steelmaking customers in China, Japan and South Korea. We are pursuing the long-term goal of net zero Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 20501. Recognising the particular challenge of a net zero pathway for this hard-to-abate sector, we are continuing to partner with customers and others in the steel value chain to seek to accelerate the transition to carbon neutral steelmaking.”

Kutcho Copper outlines combined open-pit/underground plan for mine

Kutcho Copper Corp has outlined a plan to develop an open pit and underground operation at its copper and zinc project in northern British Columbia, Canada, with the publication of a feasibility study.

The results of the study highlight an 11-year mine life with metal production of 533 Mlb (241,765 t) of copper, 841 Mlb of zinc, 10.6 Moz of silver and 129,700 oz of gold at all-in sustaining costs of $1.80/lb ($3,969/t) of copper equivalent. It came with an initial capital cost of C$483 million ($388 million).

The Main deposit at Kutcho is designed to be mined primarily as a conventional shovel and truck open-pit operation, with a deeper remnant mined by underground longitudinal longhole open stoping (LLHOS) with cemented rock fill (CRF). The underground Esso deposit is also designed to be mined using LLHOS with CRF.

A total of 17.3 Mt is planned to be mined over an 11-year mine life, with 14.5 Mt coming from the open pit and 2.8 Mt from the underground mines. A steady-state crusher production rate of 4,500 t/d is expected be achieved by the end of the first year of operations.

After primary crushing at an average steady state rate of 4,500 t/d, an ore sorter using an X-ray Transmission (XRT) sensor would remove low-grade and waste material from the feed to the SAG and ball mills, followed by conventional flotation, regrind and dewatering circuits. Approximately 3,900 t/d of ore would report to the milling and flotation circuit after ore sorting. The XRT plan follows testing of Kutcho samples at TOMRA Sorting Mining facilities.

The project design includes an extensive progressive reclamation program, including the backfilling of the open pit and water treatment during operations and for the closure period.

The company also plans to use liquified natural gas for power generation as opposed to diesel, which will significantly reduce the generation of greenhouse gases and reducing the potential for fuel spills. This would see four 2.5 MW LNG generators plus one on standby used, with a 2 MW diesel generator providing occasional plant start-up assistance.

Vince Sorace, President & CEO of Kutcho Copper, said: “The feasibility study represents a major milestone for Kutcho Copper as we continue to advance the high-grade Kutcho copper-zinc project towards a development decision. The significant redesign and engineering of the project delivers a mine plan that is a predominantly open-pit mining operation with the concurrent development of two underground mines. The mine plan has resulted in a technically robust and capital efficient project with a minimised footprint.

“The results of the feasibility study highlight the attractive economics of the Kutcho project which are resilient at lower metal prices, very attractive at base case prices and exhibit significant leverage to rising prices as reflected in spot metal prices with a C$931 million after-tax NPV (7% discount) and a 41% internal rate of return. We believe that the results of the feasibility study mean that Kutcho Copper is now one of the most undervalued copper investment opportunities in North America.”

Ora Banda benefits from Aggreko virtual LNG pipeline at Davyhurst gold mine

In what is a world-first for global energy provider Aggreko, the company has introduced its latest high efficiency gas engines at Ora Banda Mining’s Davyhurst gold mine in Western Australia.

The power station, which uses a virtual pipeline of gas trucked over 650 km, is expected to slash the mine’s carbon emissions by 25,000 t during the next five years, Aggreko says.

A virtual gas pipeline is a substitute for a physical pipeline whereby gas that would typically be conveyed through a conventional gas pipeline is instead transported as liquified natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas to the point of use by sea, road, rail or through a combination of one or more of these transport modes.

Aggreko Australia Pacific Managing Director, George Whyte, said the LNG station project at Davyhurst was another step in the company’s mission to help miners’ get closer to their net zero emission targets.

“The Davyhurst gas power station is a great example of how a mine which previously operated on diesel wanted to operate on cleaner fuel and we were able to switch from diesel to gas,” Whyte said.

“Creating a virtual pipeline application is a way to switch from diesel to a cleaner fuel source and reduce carbon immediately without requiring any capital outlay or a physical gas pipeline.

“The result at Davyhurst is a gas power station comprising five LNG-generating sets and two diesel generating sets for a combined modular power output of 8.2 MW. Aggreko’s gas-fired power station will enable Ora Banda Mining to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 25,000 t during the initial five years of operation.”

He added: “This project demonstrates great innovation, uses a virtual gas pipeline and is a world-first for us using the high-speed reciprocating gas engines in our power generators. The power station is highly efficient, scalable and very suitable for transient loads and for the introduction of solar at a later stage.”

Whyte said Aggreko’s contract to supply the mine with power saved the junior miner on large capital expenditure and allowed miners to focus on their core skill of mining.

“Of appeal to miners is being able to take on flexible contracts with no capital outlay,” he said. “In addition, Aggreko upscales the technology, and the level of power is scalable so it can evolve with the mine.

“At Aggreko, we will reduce the amount of fossil diesel fuel used in customer solutions by at least 50% by 2030 and become a net-zero business across all services we provide by 2050. We are continuing to innovate and work with miners to reduce carbon by providing them with cleaner, scalable and modular energy as they work toward their net-zero targets.”

Ora Branda Mining Managing Director, David Quinlivan, said mining operations started on its large land holding in Western Australia in 2019 and reprocessing started again in January 2021.

“As part of the capital works program, we needed to re-establish a power station at Davyhurst and we worked with Aggreko and EVOL LNG to build a natural gas-powered station to power all of the site,” Quinlivan said.

“Initially, power was supplied to the site via an overhead line from Kalgoorlie. It is now trucked 650 km to site where it is used to power the gas generators. The power station developed for the site now supplies power to the processing plant, to the administration complex, our exploration and core processing facilities, the main mine accommodation plant, and out to the underground mining offices. It also powers our primary communications facilities.

“Working with Aggreko has resulted in a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for our company.”

Orezone ties up LNG and solar power options for Bomboré gold project

Orezone Gold Corp’s Bomboré gold project is to become the first mine in Burkina Faso to use LNG to power its operations after the Vancouver-based company signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Genser Energy Burkina SA for the supply of “clean energy electrical power” to the project.

Under the PPA, Genser will use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as its main fuel, augmented with a staged solar plant, Orezone said. A fixed rate energy tariff will apply over the life of mine oxide operation with a fixed rate tariff to be negotiated for the additional energy demand upon commissioning of the sulphide processing circuit expected in Year three of commercial production.

The power plant will consist of 6 2.5 MW LNG generators with four 2.6 MW diesel back-up units. This configuration is sized for the initial oxide operation and the planned sulphide expansion, the company explained. At the same time, a solar photovoltaic plant, up to 14 MWp, is to be installed in stages with an 11 kV powerline to connect the gas and backup diesel generators, and solar plant.

Genser is to design, permit, finance and install all power generating equipment and associated infrastructure including LNG storage and diesel storage terminals. It will also be the operator and owner of the power plant facility.

Patrick Downey, President & CEO of Orezone, said: “We are extremely excited to be the first mine in Burkina Faso to use a LNG and solar hybrid power supply. Besides being an excellent cost-effective choice for Bomboré, we also see this new power solution as being a very positive step for the Burkina Faso mining and electricity generating sectors. LNG power systems, coupled with solar, will enable energy intensive industries such as mining to reduce fuel consumption, decrease energy costs, and significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions.”

He added: “This life of mine fixed cost agreement for clean energy from Genser provides power cost certainty over life of mine oxide production at Bomboré and provides an excellent platform for project expansion and growth.”

The Honourable Dr Bachir Ismael Ouedraogo, The Minister of Mines and Energy for Burkina Faso, said: “Having the first LNG plant at a mining operation is a great step forward for the industry and we congratulate Orezone in this regard. As a government, we continue to support clean energy alternatives that provides a platform for sustainable growth and benefits our communities.”

Alongside the announcement of the PPA, Orezone said that significant progress had been made at Bomboré during the first two quarters of the year. Engineering is now approximately 30% complete and on schedule, with design and bulk quantities from this work trending favourably against the quantity estimates used in the 2019 feasibility study.

Procurement is well advanced with firm orders placed for most mechanical and electrical equipment with purchase costs generally below budget estimates, it added.

In January, the company appointed Lycopodium Minerals Pty Ltd as the project’s EPCM contractor, while, in February, Sila Equipement ET BTP SA was named as its open-pit mining contractor.

Meanwhile, bulk materials including concrete reinforcing bar and embeds, CIL tank platework, structural steel and platework, HDPE liner, and overland piping have also been ordered with costs also trending within budget, Orezone said.

Off-channel reservoir mining, earthworks for the plant site area and tailings storage facility are rapidly advancing, and the award of the contracts for concrete installation and CIL tank erection and overland piping are imminent, it added.

Orezone’s 2019 feasibility study on Bomboré envisaged a 5.2 Mt/y throughput operation able to produce, on average, 117,760 oz of gold over a 13-year mine life where both oxide and sulphides would be mined and processed. The project remains on track for first gold pour in the September quarter of 2022.

B2Gold weighs use of dual fuel haul trucks at Kiaka project

B2Gold’s strong growth path in Africa looks like continuing into future years after the company laid out preliminary plans to develop a mine in Burkina Faso that could use on-site hybrid power in addition to dual fuel haul trucks burning a mix of diesel fuel and LNG.

The Vancouver-based miner reported record total production in 2020 of 1.04 Moz of gold, with its Fekola (Mali) and Ojikoto (Namibia) mines contributing some 790,559 oz. It is guiding for 970,000- 1.03 Moz of gold in 2021.

In announcing these results, the company also provided an update on its Kiaka gold project in Burkina Faso.

This project, which B2Gold owns 81% of, currently hosts 4.25 Moz of indicated resources on a 100% basis at an average grade of 0.95 g/t Au. It also comes with 900,000 oz of inferred resources at 0.99 g/t.

The company is currently updating the existing feasibility study for the Kiaka project, reflecting, it says, the potential for improved economics resulting from lower fuel prices, alternative power options and a higher gold price.

A mineral resource model using additional drill results and revised model interpretations was completed in December, with the study set to leverage the new resource and several new concepts to reduce costs. Included among these new concepts is a plan to use a liquid natural gas (LNG) hybrid power plant combined with solar power, and dual fuel haul trucks that burn a mix of diesel fuel and LNG.

A larger processing plant size of 12 Mt/y is also being considered for this updated feasibility study, it said.

B2Gold expects to have an internal decision document completed by the end of March, with an updated feasibility study completed by the end of June.

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.

Shell to supply BHP’s LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carriers

BHP says it has awarded its first LNG supply agreement for five LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carriers, which will transport iron ore between Western Australia and China from 2022.

Shell has been awarded the contract to fuel the vessels, which BHP will charter from Eastern Pacific Shipping for a five-year term as part of a previously announced arrangement confirmed in September.

BHP Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “The LNG bunkering contract marks a significant step in how BHP is working with our suppliers to reduce emissions across the maritime supply chain.

“LNG fuelled vessels are forecast to help BHP reduce CO2-e emissions by 30% on a per voyage basis compared to a conventional fuelled voyage between Western Australia and China, and contribute to our 2030 goal to support 40% emissions intensity reduction of BHP-chartered shipping of our products.”

Steve Hill, Executive Vice President, Shell Energy, said: “I would like to congratulate BHP on reducing emissions in their maritime supply chain with the world’s first LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carriers. Decarbonisation of the shipping industry must begin today and LNG is the cleanest fuel currently available in meaningful volumes.

“This LNG bunkering contract strengthens the bunkering market in the region and we look forward to working with BHP and other customers in the maritime sector on their journey to a net-zero emissions future.”

The contract is the result of a tender process that included potential suppliers across several geographies. Technical capability, available infrastructure and cost competitiveness were among the stringent criteria.

LNG bunkering – the process of fuelling ships with LNG – will take place through the first LNG bunker vessel in Singapore, ‘FueLNG Bellina’. The vessel is operated by FueLNG, a joint venture between Shell Eastern Petroleum and Keppel Offshore & Marine. The bunker vessel will be able to bunker fuel at a rate of 100-1,000 cu.m/h.

“The LNG bunkering contract will enable BHP to manage fuel supply risk, build LNG operational capability internally, and also help to strengthen the emerging LNG bunkering market in the region,” Pant said. “This contract is expected to form up to 10% of forecasted Asian LNG bunker demand in FY2023 (financial year 2023).”

Gold Fields to trial Caterpillar dual-fuel solution on haul trucks at Tarkwa mine

Gold Fields plans to test the use of LNG to power haul trucks in a trial at its Tarkwa open-pit gold mine in Ghana, CEO Nick Holland told attendees of the IMARC Online event this week.

Speaking on a panel reviewing progress of the Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles (ICSV) initiative – a supply chain collaboration between the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) – Holland said the trial would involve a mix of LNG and diesel fuel at the operation, and four trucks would initially be tested with the fuel combination in 2021.

Gold Fields later confirmed to IM that the trial would take place in the second half of 2021 and involve the use of Caterpillar’s dual-fuel LNG Dynamic Gas Blending (DGB) retrofit system on four of the mine’s Cat 785C 146 t payload dump trucks.

The DGB conversion kits, available on Cat 785C and 793D haul trucks, are a dual-fuel technology that enables miners to substitute diesel fuel with LNG, according to Cat. The use of LNG has been proven to reduce emissions by up to 30%, as well as lower costs by up to 30%, Cat says.

DGB vaporises liquid fuel into natural gas, then replaces diesel fuel with LNG when possible. On average, DGB replaces about 60-65% of diesel with LNG, according to Cat.

Tarkwa, which is 90% owned by Gold Fields, produced 519,000 oz of gold in 2019, 1% lower than the 525,000 oz produced in 2018. It employs Engineers & Planners Co Ltd as mining contractor.

While this trial will potentially lower the company’s carbon emissions – as will Gold Fields’ plan to fit “diesel filters” on all its machines underground in the next 12-18 months – Holland pointed to a much loftier long-term goal during the ICSV panel.

“The challenge to our teams and OEMs is to move away from diesel completely,” he said.

Such a move could see the company employ both battery-powered and hydrogen-powered solutions at its underground mines, he added.

Anglo American to introduce LNG into iron ore chartering fleet

Anglo American has announced the award of a 10-year charter contract for four LNG fuelled capesize-plus vessels, introducing LNG into its chartered fleet for the first time.

The new build LNG vessels offer significant environmental benefits, including a circa-35% cut in CO2 emissions compared with standard marine fuel, while also using new technology to eliminate the release of unburnt methane, or so-called “methane slip”, the company said.

Peter Whitcutt, CEO of Anglo American’s Marketing business, said: “Anglo American is committed to reducing emissions from its ocean freight operations and to playing a leading role in shaping a more sustainable future for the maritime industry. Today’s agreement is aligned with Anglo American’s goal to be carbon neutral across our operations by 2040 – as we work to reduce emissions not only at our production sites but also along our entire value chain – and builds on our track record of implementing concrete actions to deliver on the targets set by the International Maritime Organisation’s 2018 strategy.

“LNG is a readily available, commercially viable, lower emission solution which, combined with innovative technology designed to eliminate unburnt methane, will allow these new builds to provide a much improved environmental and more efficient performance.”

LNG marine fuel offers significant environmental advantages over heavy fuel oil – the most widely used fuel by vessels operating along sea trade routes – and is abundantly available through an established global network of existing infrastructure, according to Anglo American. Compared with conventional fuel options, the use of LNG eliminates sulphur oxides, considerably reduces nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from vessel exhausts and, as mentioned, cuts CO2 emissions by around 35%.

Designed to be larger than, but remain as flexible as, a conventional capesize vessel, the new builds will optimise cargo transport by increasing load and improving overall cost effectiveness. U-Ming Marine Transport will own the newly designed 190,000 DWT LNG fuelled bulk carriers. The fleet will be built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding in China and is expected to be delivered in 2023.

The fleet is expected to carry up to 5 Mt/y of product, transporting iron ore from Anglo American’s operations in Brazil and South Africa to the company’s global customer base. The new builds will be flagged and registered in Singapore, which will also serve as prime bunkering port, thereby avoiding deviations from trading routes for refuelling purposes, the company said.

Earlier in October, Anglo American was among the founding signatories of the Sea Cargo Charter – created by some of the world’s largest energy, agriculture, mining, and commodity trading companies, with the aim of establishing a standard methodology and reporting framework to allow charterers to measure and align their emissions from ocean transportation activities.