Tag Archives: LNG

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.

Woodside and EDL to supply LNG to Strandline’s Coburn mineral sands project

After securing a contractor to build the power generation facilities at its Coburn project in Western Australia, Strandline Resources has appointed subsidiaries of Woodside Energy and EDL, in joint venture (WEJV), as preferred contractor to supply LNG to the mineral sands development’s power generation facilities.

The WEJV solution provides Strandline with a long-term clean, reliable and affordable solution for Coburn, the company said.

Under the WEJV proposal, LNG will be supplied via road train from Woodside’s Pluto LNG Truck Loading Facility near Karratha, Western Australia.

“Coburn’s mine site power infrastructure is based on a low-cost, low-emission solution integrating LNG-fuelled generation with state-of-the-art solar and battery storage technology (provided by third parties),” the company said.

The proposed LNG supply contract is over a 10-year term (with appropriate pricing review and adjustment mechanisms) and enables Strandline to capture energy supply cost savings relative to the definitive feasibility study published in June 2020.

As preferred contractor, the parties will now compile final contract documentation subject to the satisfaction of Coburn’s lenders and agreement between the parties.

Strandline Managing Director, Luke Graham, said the appointment establishes an important long-term relationship with two industry leaders in the energy sector, in Woodside and EDL.

“The company continues to move rapidly towards development of Coburn and these key contract appointments to well-credentialled suppliers provide delivery certainty,” he said.

Strandline energises Coburn mineral sands plan with Contract Power BOO agreement

Strandline Resources says it has taken another important step towards development of its Coburn mineral sands project in Western Australia by appointing Contract Power Australia as preferred contractor to build, own and operate (BOO) the power generation facilities for the project.

Coburn’s purpose-designed power infrastructure is based on a low-cost, low-emission solution integrating natural gas fuelled generation with solar and battery storage technology.

The proposed power solution enables Strandline to capture energy supply cost savings relative to the definitive feasibility study published in June 2020, it said.

Contract Power, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pacific Energy Ltd, specialises in turnkey design, installation and operation of energy assets and has a strong track record of delivery in the mining sector of Western Australia, Strandline says.

Coburn’s power station will be located near the mineral separation plant. The power station is designed for a maximum demand capacity of 16 MW and average consumed power of circa-10 MW. Natural gas will be supplied by others under an industry standard long-term LNG supply agreement and trucked to an on-site storage and re-vapourisation facility supplied by Contract Power (Contract Power’s typical LNG-fuelled power station build layout, pictured), according to Strandline. The LNG then feeds a set of engine generators on an N+1 basis and has circa-30% solar penetration for the major stable loads. Generation is at 11 kV with step up to 22 kV for power transmission to the project loads across the mine site, Strandline says.

As preferred contractor, the parties will now compile final contract documentation to the satisfaction of Strandline and Coburn’s lenders. The contract is based on a 15-year BOO (and maintain) commercial model with fixed and variable payment regime for power consumed over the term.

This appointment follows Strandline’s recent A$18.5 million ($13.1 million) equity raising to advance early works development activities while finalising the balance of project funding. Strandline says it continues to make strong progress towards definitive finance documentation and conditions precedent for the NAIF A$150 million loan facility and is advancing discussions to secure a commercial debt tranche expected to stand alongside the NAIF funding.

Since raising the A$18.5 million, Strandline has appointed Macmahon as the principal contractor to provide site-wide civil and bulk earthworks construction services for the project, instructed Piacentini & Son to design and construct three mobile dozer mining units for Coburn and awarded preferred EPC status to Primero Group for the mineral sands asset.

Strandline Managing Director, Luke Graham, said the appointment marked another key step in its strategy to bring Coburn into production and establishes an important relationship with Contract Power, a leader in sustainable clean energy generation in Western Australia.

Coburn has a JORC compliant mineral resource of 1,600 Mt at 1.2% total heavy mineral (THM), classified as 119 Mt measured, 607 Mt indicated, and 880 Mt inferred. The ore reserve comes in at 523 Mt grading 1.11% THM for circa-5.8 Mt of contained heavy mineral, underpinning an initial mine life of 22.5 years at a mining rate of 23.4 Mt/y.

BHP weighs trolley assist and IPCC as part of decarbonisation efforts

BHP has provided an update on its progress on climate action, new climate commitments and how it integrates climate change into corporate strategy and portfolio decisions in a new report.

The company’s climate change approach focuses on reducing operational greenhouse gas emissions, investing in low emissions technologies, promoting product stewardship, managing climate-related risk and opportunity, and partnering with others to enhance the global policy and market response, it says.

“BHP supports the aim of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C,” the company clarified.

It explained: “BHP has been active in addressing climate risks for more than two decades, and has already established its long-term goal of achieving net zero operational (Scope 1 and 2) emissions by 2050 and its short-term target of maintaining operational emissions at or below financial year (FY) 2017 levels by FY2022, using carbon offsets as required.”

In the past year, BHP has made progress on this aim, announcing that the Escondida and Spence copper mines in Chile will move to 100% renewable energy by the mid-2020s, and, last week, awarding new renewable energy contracts for its Queensland coal assets, and the world’s first LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carrier tender.

BHP’s climate change briefing and 2020 climate change report outline how the company will accelerate its own actions and help others to do the same, it said. Today’s update sets out:

  • A medium-term target to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30% from adjusted FY2020 levels by FY2030;
  • Scope 3 actions to contribute to decarbonisation in its value chain. This includes supporting the steelmaking industry to develop technologies and pathways capable of 30% emissions intensity reduction with widespread adoption expected post-2030 and, in terms of transportation, supporting emissions intensity reduction of 40% in BHP-chartered shipping of products;
  • Strengthened linking of executive remuneration to delivery of BHP’s climate plan; and
  • Insight into the performance of BHP’s portfolio in a transition to a 1.5°C scenario.

The report also outlined some examples of emission reduction projects the miner is considering, which will be weighed as part of the maintenance capital category of its capital allocation framework. This includes solar power installations; alternative material movement technologies such as overland conveyors and in-pit crush and convey solutions; and trolley assist to displace diesel for haul trucks.

The company expanded on this in its report: “The path to electrification of mining equipment will likely include solutions such as trolley assist, in-pit crush and convey, overland conveyors and battery solutions.

“Diesel displacement represents a higher risk, higher capital step towards decarbonisation, so a phased approach to execution is proposed with particular emphasis on Minerals Americas-operated assets that are further advanced on the decarbonisation journey. Taking a transitional approach to electrification provides flexibility to allow for the potential for rapid development of emerging technologies and to resolve the complexities of integrating these technologies into existing operations.

“During FY2021, we will seek to collaborate further with International Council on Mining and Metals members, industry and original equipment manufacturers to progress research and development to reduce costs and assess any potential impacts from electrified mining equipment solutions to replace current diesel options.”

BHP Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry, said of the report: “I’m pleased today to show how we are accelerating our own actions and helping others to do the same in addressing climate change. We see ourselves as accountable to take action. We recognise that our investors, our people and the communities and nations who host our operations or buy our products have increasing expectations of us – and are responsive to these.

“Our approach to climate change is defined by a number of key requirements. Our actions must be of substance. They must be real, tangible actions to drive emissions down. We must focus on what we can control inside our business, and work with others to help them reduce emissions from the things that they control. To create long-term value and returns over generations, we must continue to generate value and returns within the strong portfolio we have today, while shaping our portfolio over time to benefit from the megatrends playing out in the world including decarbonisation and electrification.

“Our portfolio is well positioned to support the transition to a lower carbon world aligned with the Paris Agreement. Our commodities are essential for global economic growth and the world’s ability to transition to and thrive in a low carbon future. Climate change action makes good economic sense for BHP and enables us to create further value.”

Cat continues to see LNG interest for large mining trucks

Caterpillar’s focus on minimising the environmental impact its large mining trucks have on operations has seen it pursue many new and old technologies of late, one of which is the use of alternative fuels.

In a recent Viewpoint post, David Rea, General Manager for Cat Large Mining Trucks, said the company is looking throughout its supply chain to reduce the emissions associated with using and building its vehicles.

“We’re meeting the most stringent emissions regulations,” he said. “We’re offering trucks that can run on alternative fuels, and others that can be electrified using our trolley conversion kit. We’re also making sure we get the most out of parts and components so we’re reducing waste and energy usage.”

On top of this, the company is pursuing Project Verde, a project “focused on energy and emissions reduction, and helping customers decrease their carbon footprints through machinery and power solutions that contribute to lower greenhouse gas”, Brian Weller, Chief Engineer, Surface Mining & Technology, Caterpillar Inc, told IM earlier this year.

In the meantime, Cat said it continued to see interest around the world for alternative fuels and was researching various solutions both in the lab and field in response to this.

One solution, liquefied natural gas (LNG), is a clean-burning fuel that can be sourced locally and is produced more naturally than diesel. It has been discussed as a diesel fuel alternative in the industry for more than a decade, but it is yet to find widespread industry appeal.

Nic Tegtmeyer, Senior Product Specialist at Cat, says the company’s Dynamic Gas Blending (DGB) conversion kits for mining trucks are a dual-fuel technology that enables miners to substitute diesel fuel with LNG.

“Not only has LNG been proven to reduce emissions by up to 30%, it also costs about 30% less than diesel,” he said. “Physical ability remains over 90% and DGB has no impact on unplanned downtime.”

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.

One place where this technology is being utilised is Fresnillo’s Penmont division in Mexico, where Cat and its Mexico-based dealer, Matco Cat, has converted the entire fleet of large mining trucks at the La Herradura open-pit mine, in Sonora.

Tegtmeyer says DGB is relatively new in mining, but it has over 10 million operating hours of proven data to its name.

“Testing and customer trials have resulted in zero recordings of unplanned downtime related to DGB,” he added.

DGB kits are currently available for Cat 785C and 793D trucks, but this offering could expand beyond that, according to Tegtmeyer.

“We’re listening to our customers and gauging interest in offering the kits for additional truck models,” he said. “Not every mine is an ideal candidate for this solution, but if a natural gas supply is nearby, it can provide significant savings.”

This article is an edited version of this story here.

Australia establishes new CRCs to tackle ‘future energy’ and mining economies

The Australian Government has confirmed it will provide A$40 million ($25 million) for the establishment of the Future Energy Exports (FEnEx) CRC and A$29.5 million for the CRC for Transformations in Mining Economies (CRC TiME).

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews (pictured), and Minister for Resources, Northern Australia and Water, Keith Pitt, delivered the news this week.

Since 2013, the Australian Government has committed A$1.1 billion to support the establishment of 30 cooperative research councils, with industry and research partners contributing A$3.4 billion in cash and in-kind contributions, it said. Among a number of active CRCs are the MinEx CRC, aimed at lifting Australia’s mineral discovery rate, and CRC ORE, focused on optimising resource extraction.

Andrews said the FEnEx CRC would help Australia maintain its position as a leading global energy exporter. The bid has been substantially supported by the WA State Government, global energy giant Chevron, Hydrogen leader ITM Power and mining innovator Mineral Resources with research partners UWA, Curtin University, Queensland University of Technology, University of South Australia and Swinburne University, the FEnEx CRC said.

“The world’s demand for energy is insatiable and Australia is already dominant, with current energy exports worth nearly A$90 billion,” she said. “The FEnEx CRC will further strengthen our export industry by developing technologies to improve the efficiency of existing LNG processes and the development of new exports like hydrogen.

“Importantly, the FEnEx CRC will tap into international interest in lowering the cost of energy production, while at the same time reducing the carbon footprint of the LNG industry.

“This CRC’s research program promises to place Australia’s LNG sector well ahead of the curve by anticipating future changes in our energy mix, improving the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries.”

Minister Andrews said the CRC TiME, which has a national consortium led by The University of Queensland and University of Western Australia behind it, meanwhile, would help keep jobs in regional communities, building on the strength of the resources and energy sectors.

“Australia’s world-class mining expertise is undeniable, but being a global resources powerhouse means ensuring a sustainable future for our mining towns in rural and regional Australia,” she said.

Minister Pitt added: “The resources and energy sector is building new infrastructure across regional Australia and developing highly skilled and highly committed local workforces. This new CRC will provide the tools for towns and regions to navigate opportunities to create new jobs and development that keep communities strong.

“The government and the resources industry recognise more needs to be done to diversify the economy of some local communities, which are highly dependent on individual mining projects. The work of CRC TiME will help mining communities broaden their local economies so they can continue to grow and stay strong.”

The FEnEx CRC has generated a further A$122 million in cash and in-kind contributions from industry and researchers, while the CRC TiME has generated a further A$105 million in cash and in-kind contributions from industry and researchers.