Tag Archives: Macassa

Kirkland Lake Gold boosts Macassa battery-powered fleet with Artisan Z50s

With production at the Macassa gold mine in Ontario, Canada, set to ramp up over the next three years, Kirkland Lake Gold is, once again, bulking up its fleet of battery-electric equipment.

In its just released December quarter results, the company confirmed it recently purchased five 50-t battery-powered underground haul trucks for the operation, with the first already delivered in the current quarter.

The loaders in question are Artisan Z50s, which have a 50-t payload and are equipped with AutoSwap, a patented self-swapping system for the Artisan battery pack.

Macassa is a first adopter of battery-electric equipment, testing out early protoype versions of machines and now having a large fleet of trucks and LHDs from the likes of Artisan and Epiroc.

Kirkland Lake has big plans for Macassa, with the #4 Shaft project underpinning much of the planned growth.

In the quarterly results, the company said the shaft advanced 875 ft (277 m) in the three months ending December 31, having now reached a depth of 4,240 ft. Kirkland Lake said the project, which will see the shaft sunk to a depth of 6,400 ft in one phase, was around one month ahead of schedule at the end of 2020. Project completion was targeted for late 2022.

Macassa produced 183,037 oz of gold in 2020, down from 241,297 oz in 2019, following COVID-19-related changes. The company expects the mine to ramp up over the next three years, reaching 400,000-420,000 oz in 2023 following completion of the #4 Shaft.

Artisan battery-powered Z50 truck on its way to Kirkland Lake’s Macassa gold mine

Kirkland Lake Gold says it is expecting to receive a 50 t battery-powered Z50 underground haul truck at its Macassa gold mine, in Ontario, Canada, this quarter, following a purchase agreement signed last year.

The gold miner’s Macassa operation has been a leading adopter of new electric equipment and already has four 40 t battery-powered machines at the underground mine. These are matched by many battery-powered LHDs made by likes of Artisan Vehicle Systems and Epiroc.

The latest 50 t vehicle will come from Artisan, a Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions business unit.

The Z50 haul truck is a ground-up design that seamlessly integrates the most capable and proven battery-electric powertrain available in the mining industry with the latest and most coveted features of any haul truck on the market today, according to Sandvik. The 50 t machine is based off the existing design for the Z40 truck, which Artisan released back in 2018, but features a stretched rear frame (close to 19 in).

It is equipped with AutoSwap, a patented self-swapping system for the Artisan battery pack. This makes battery swapping faster and easier with a minimum amount of manual handling: changing the battery only takes about six minutes, and it can be done in a passing bay or old re-muck bay with no overhead cranes or external infrastructure needed, Sandvik says.

The news of the pending arrival of this electric vehicle came at the same time as Kirkland Lake released its 2020 production results. The company produced 369,434 oz of gold in the December quarter to make a total of 1.37 Moz of gold in 2020, 41% higher than the total in 2019, which was in line with its full-year 2020 guidance of 1.35-1.4 Moz.

Kirkland Lake Gold to trial battery-powered Sandvik LH518B at Fosterville

Kirkland Lake Gold, one of the leaders in battery-electric vehicle adoption in mining, is to trial a Sandvik LH518B LHD next year at its Fosterville underground mine, in Victoria, Australia, Rob McLean, the operation’s Chief Mining Engineer, has confirmed.

Speaking during a session titled: ‘What are Fosterville’s Current and Future Technology and Innovation Requirements, and Why?’ at the IMARC Online event, McLean said the trial is part of the company’s vision to “have a fully electric mine”, with the immediate goals being to remove diesel emissions and reduce heat at the operation.

Longer-term, electrifying the company’s fleet could result in the need for less ventilation, lower power costs and the elimination of infrastructure upgrades at the high-grade gold operation, he said.

Sandvik launched the 18 t battery-electric LH518B during its Innovation in Mining event in late September.

The loader, a Sandvik and Artisan Vehicle Systems joint development effort, has been designed from the ground up, entirely around the loader’s Artisan™ battery system and electric driveline to best leverage the possibilities the battery technology brings, Sandvik says. It can fit in a 4.5 x 4.5 m tunnel and is equipped with three 2,000 Nm permanent magnet motors and 450 kN of tractive effort. It can operate at speeds of up to 30 km/h and has 560 kW of continuous power output (peak power output of 660 kW).

McLean said the trial of the LH518B would inform the mine’s future electrification direction, but he said the company was also considering the use of battery-electric or trolley assist trucks at the operation, in addition to battery-electric charging/spraying rigs.

Kirkland Lake says its Macassa mine, in Ontario, Canada, is a “world leader in the use of battery-powered equipment” with more than 80% of its fleet made up of battery-powered vehicles from the likes of Artisan, Epiroc and RDH Scharf.

Sandvik and Northern College to help train BEV service technicians of the future

Sandvik and Ontario’s Northern College have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to, they say, work collaboratively to enhance existing battery technician training modules, and develop a new program to educate service technicians and support the growing requirement for specialised battery-electric vehicle (BEV) technicians in the mining industry.

The Northern College Battery Electric Vehicle Technician training program for service technicians should prepare them for employment in this field.

BEVs are increasing in popularity in the Canadian mining industry due to the improvements they offer in operating environments, maintenance costs, efficiency and productivity, yet specialised BEV technicians are required to support the growing fleet of BEVs in Canada.

“It’s important to be aware of the fact that the technology powering battery-electric vehicles is considerably different than that of diesel machines,” Dr Audrey J Penner, President and CEO of Northern College, said of the new technology.

“Servicing and maintaining these fleets requires a different skillset than what is required for a diesel-powered fleet because BEVs have fewer mechanical components and more electrical components. For that reason, the Canadian mining industry requires a new generation of service technicians who are trained in servicing electrically-powered machinery and Northern College is responding to that call for talent and training.”

Northern College and the Haileybury School of Mines will develop a program with Sandvik and their partners to educate participants in BEV technology. Sandvik will serve as a subject matter expert on the topic of BEVs in a mining application to ensure program graduates are educated in areas relevant for the mining industry.

Peter Corcoran, Vice President Canada, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “This program is really a win-win for a cleaner industry while also supporting resource development in the communities close to the mines using BEV technology.

“We are investing in educating this next generation of service specialists because we forecast an increase in demand for technicians in the BEV field as more operations transition to zero-emissions equipment. We also want to invest in the local talent pool as the benefits of hiring locally and developing sustainable capacity in the community cannot be understated. This partnership addresses both of those areas.”

One industry proponent of BEVs in mining is Kirkland Lake Gold, which has deployed many battery-powered units at its Macassa gold mine in Ontario.

“Using BEVs at our Macassa Mine benefits us in a number of ways, including significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving working conditions and reducing capital requirements for ventilation,” Evan Pelletier, Kirkland Lake Gold’s Vice President of Mining, said.

Pelletier explains that Kirkland Lake Gold was among the first to bring electrification to the mining industry and the company has seen significant improvements in BEV technology in a relatively short timeframe.

Based on Kirkland Lake’s experience, Pelletier believes the participation of both original equipment manufacturer and mining companies in the development of a technician training program will be an important contributor to the program’s success.

“Working with colleges will help Kirkland Lake Gold further develop our technicians in this field,” Pelletier explains. “The program will not only develop new technicians, it will help to establish BEV standards in the industry that will lead the way for future advancements.”

Detour Lake acquisition to make Kirkland Lake Gold plus-1.5 Moz/y producer

Kirkland Lake Gold and Detour Gold Corp have entered into a definitive agreement will see the ASX- and TSX-listed miner become a plus-1.5 Moz/y gold producer through the all-share acquisition of Detour and its Detour Lake gold mine, in Ontario, Canada.

Under the terms of the transaction, which values Detour at C$4.9 billion ($3.3 billion), all the issued and outstanding common shares of Detour Gold will be exchanged at a ratio of 0.4343 of a Kirkland Lake Gold common share for each Detour Gold common share. Upon completion of the transaction, existing Kirkland Lake Gold and Detour Gold shareholders will own around 73% and 27% of the pro forma company, respectively.

Kirkland Lake says Detour Lake is a uniquely large-scale, long-life Canadian mine, with current production of around 600,000 oz/y and substantial growth potential.

The deal also solidifies Kirkland Lake’s position as a senior gold producer with pro-forma 2019 output targeted at more than 1.5 Moz and analyst consensus 2019 free cash flow of almost $700 million, Kirkland said.

The deal also increases Kirkland Lake’s mineral reserve base, adding 15.41 Moz to Kirkland Lake Gold’s mineral reserve base and extending its reserve life index by eight years.

The financial strength and technical expertise of the combined company is expected to support the continued optimisation and potential expansion of Detour Lake, Kirkland Lake said, explaining that opportunities exist to significantly increase production at improved unit costs and to expand current mineral reserves and mineral resources.

It also provides exploration upside, with Detour Gold’s land position covering 1,040 km2 along the northernmost sections of the prolific Abitibi Greenstone Belt (including 646 km² on existing Detour Lake property).

Tony Makuch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kirkland Lake Gold, said: “The acquisition of Detour Gold is an excellent fit for Kirkland Lake Gold. We have already taken two mining operations, Macassa and Fosterville, and transformed them into high-quality assets that generate industry-leading earnings and free cash flow. The addition of Detour Lake provides an opportunity to add a third cornerstone asset that is located in our back yard in northern Ontario.

“Detour Lake will provide the pro forma company with a 20-plus year mine life which provides unparalleled optionality and excellent growth potential for the benefit of all shareholders. The management team at Detour Gold has done an exceptional job in making improvements and building momentum at the mine.

“Once the transaction is completed, we will continue efforts to optimise current operations and commence engineering work to evaluate expansion opportunities at Detour Lake, which we anticipate could lead to significant production growth, improved unit costs and higher levels of mineral reserves and mineral resources.”

Andrew Schinkel on Kirkland Lake Gold’s battery-electric journey at Macassa

Kirkland Lake Gold is now carrying out more than 80% of its ore production from the Macassa gold mine in Ontario, Canada, with battery-electric machines, Andrew Schinkel, Senior Electrical Engineer, Macassa Mine Complex, told attendees at The Electric Mine conference in Toronto on Thursday.

The company placed its first battery-electric machine order in 2011, but now has 24 battery-powered LHDs and nine haul trucks (including four 40 t Artisan Vehicles Z40 machines, and Epiroc and RDH Scharf LHDs, among other machines), Schinkel said in a presentation titled, Powering up Macassa: operating a major battery-electric fleet at a deep underground mine.

The company’s learnings over the past eight years have been vast, but the main points Schinkel highlighted were trucks had slightly more availability than loaders, batteries can run down power quickly, the capital cost can be slightly higher than the diesel equivalent – but “it’s not about minimising costs, it’s about maximising value”, he said – and there is not as much equipment to choose from when compared with diesel machines.

Still, the company has made significant progress with these machines, he said. This includes increased reliability of machines, an increasing amount of purchasing options and improvements in the battery change-out process.

Kirkland Lake Gold’s Macassa mine on the charge with battery-electric machines

The use of battery-electric equipment at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Macassa operation in Ontario, Canada, is on the rise, according to the latest investor presentation from the gold mining company.

Macassa now has two of Artisan Vehicles’ battery powered Z40 trucks (pictured) working at the gold mine, in addition to 22 battery-powered LHDs provided by companies including Epiroc and Artisan, the company said this week.

This is part of a mining fleet that also includes six 20 ton (18 t) haul trucks and two production drills.

In addition to this, the gold mining company has been using at least one Artisan A4 LHD at its Taylor operation, also in Ontario.

Macassa, one of the company’s gold-production engines, is expected to have produced 220,000-225,000 oz of gold in 2018, but a future mine expansion could lead to annual output rising to 400,000 oz in 2022.

The company uses a combination of underhand cut and fill (~65%), sub-level long hole stoping (~25%) and overhand cut and fill (~10%) to mine the orebody at Macassa.

You can learn more about the battery-electric fleet being used at the Macassa operation at The Electric Mine event in Toronto, taking place on April 4-5. Andrew Schinkel, Senior Electrical Engineer at the Macassa Mine Complex, will present ‘Powering up Macassa: operating a major battery-electric fleet at a deep underground mine’ at the event. For more information, please click here.

Epiroc and Kirkland Lake Gold leading the mine electrification race, Riach says

Canada and Australia-focused Kirkland Lake Gold has helped Epiroc become one of the leaders in the underground battery-electric mining equipment market, Richard Riach, Global Senior Project Manager for the OEM, said at the company’s Power Change Days event in Örebro, Sweden, on Wednesday.

The miner currently has some 33 battery-electric vehicles running around underground at its Macassa mine in Ontario, Canada, 14 of which are Epiroc machines. Overall, some 75-80% of the company’s haul and load operations are carried out by battery-electric equipment, he said.

Based on those numbers, the miner is one of the leaders in the field of battery-electric adoption underground, as well as a key partner for Epiroc.

“They’ve been the people that have helped us develop the products we have today,” Riach said.

The benefits haven’t all been one way.

Riach said Kirkland Lake had witnessed just a 2°C increase in the underground environment during the battery-electric mucking cycle with LHDs and trucks at Macassa, compared with an 8°C increase using the diesel equivalent.

Vibration and noise emissions have fallen, while operators are less tired at the end of a shift – a tell-tale sign of operating with heavy polluting diesel equipment. The amount of dust circulating around the workings has also dropped.

Riach, who formerly worked for Vale in Sudbury, said Epiroc’s development timeline for battery-electric machinery started all the way back in 2012. The first Scooptram ST7 Battery was produced in 2013 before a 2014 machine trial with Goldcorp’s Red Lake mines department. The Minetruck MT2010 then came along in 2015.

With around 65,000 hours of operating data from battery-electric equipment, Epiroc has now launched its second generation of battery-electric machines – two new LHDs (Scooptram ST14 and Scooptram ST18), a 42 t truck (Minetruck MT42, pictured) and a range of mid-sized drilling equipment including face drilling, production drilling and rock reinforcement rigs.

While the company will start to roll out these products from next year – IM understands at least one piece of the second-generation machinery will go to Agnico Eagle Mines’ Kittila gold operation in Finland as part of the SIMS (Sustainable Intelligent Mining Systems) project – it already has its sights on more products.

Stevan Topalovic, Vice President Marketing Underground Rock Excavation division at Epiroc, said the technology was readily scalable and Epiroc was already working on an 18 t LHD.

There is also a target to roll out battery-electric equipment across its entire underground fleet within the next five years.

And about the potential for retrofitting, Erik Svedlund, Global Marketing Manager – Electrification, Epiroc, said the company was carrying out studies to do exactly this. This could lead to the retrofitting of battery-electric technology on Epiroc diesel equipment and, even more interesting, other OEM’s machines.

The company would not have been able to get to this point in its product evolution without the help of battery maker Northvolt and ABB. Both companies have been instrumental in providing the technology to make this transition from diesel to electric operation.

As part of this new range, Epiroc is committed to its Battery as a Service offering. This will see the mining OEM provide a warranty for the battery and provide both software and hardware updates on an annual basis.

“Our battery system will improve every year with improvements in the battery cells,” Svedlund said, explaining the modular design of the machines and batteries allowed this. He said the company was even prepared for a future switch to solid-state batteries.

By shifting the battery element of these machines from a capex to opex item, providing the widest range of battery-electric mining equipment across the market and remaining open to changes in both the battery chemistry and system, the company is hoping to differentiate its machines from its competitors.

Artisan Vehicles reveals new battery electric LHD, the A10

US-based Artisan Vehicles has announced its newest underground battery electric vehicle, the 10 t A10 LHD.

The company made the announcement at the Mining & Exploration International Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, US, last night.

This is the company’s third battery-electric underground vehicle for mining, adding to its A4 (4 t) battery-electric LHD and Z40 (40 t) haul truck. The Z40 is to be used at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Macassa underground gold mine in Ontario, Canada, while the A4 is being used at the mining company’s Taylor operation, also in Ontario.

Artisan sees the implementation of battery-electric vehicles as having a significant reduction in ventilation, heat and overall operating cost resulting in a positive impact of the mine’s bottom line.

“Powered by lithium batteries and an extremely power dense electric motor system, the A10 is the same size as its 7 t competitors and is the only battery-electric LHD of its size capable of carrying 10 t,” Artisan said.

The A10’s two electric motors generate 540 kW of power and 4,100 Nm of torque, while the pattented battery system uses lithium-iron-phosphate chemistry.

“Our power is not constrained by ventilation limitations and therefore we use the most powerful electric motors available, which directly improves productivity,” the company said.

The machine also benefits from a spring applied hydraulic release (SAHR) brake system with electric regeneration. This allows for the battery to recharge during the braking process by converting mechanical energy into electrical energy.

“In the right environment, a battery electric vehicle could potentially operate for an entire shift on a single charge,” Artisan said, explaining that this directly translates to added production and increased revenue for the mine.

The A10 also has a self-loading battery swapping system without the need for a hoist or crane, which, again, boosts productivity.

“Operators prefer the A10 for its powerful and productive mucking capability as well as its cool, quiet performance with zero poisonous diesel fumes,” Artisan said.