Tag Archives: manganese

Hermosa

South32 selects Nogales location for Hermosa ROC

South32’s Hermosa project has announced that it would construct its remote operations centre (ROC) in Nogales, Arizona, USA, with the facility set to be named Centro.

Hermosa is, South32 says, currently the only advanced mining project in the US capable of producing two federally designated critical minerals – zinc and manganese.

The ROC location decision follows two years of extensive analysis and careful consideration of Hermosa’s county-wide planning and employment goals to retain the economic benefits of the project in the Santa Cruz County area, it says.

As part of the location announcement, the Hermosa project is also debuting a new name for the ROC: Centro, a name chosen by the community in an online vote that took place earlier this year.

Hermosa Project President, Pat Risner, said: “Locating Centro in Nogales enables us to help transform the Santa Cruz County economy, by creating and training local residents without prior mining experience to fill high-skilled, good-paying jobs so the next generation has more opportunities right here at home.”

The selected location, just off Interstate 19 near the Mariposa Industrial Park, is approximately 70 miles (113 km) south of Tucson and approximately 28 miles to the Hermosa mine site. The building location will reduce commuter traffic to and from the mine site, as well as help build out local roads and infrastructure in the surrounding area, South32 explained.

Designed as a commercial building with an office-like setting, Centro will accommodate employees and the automation technology needed to remotely monitor and operate some of the underground and surface equipment located at the mine site. Centro will host around 200 full-time employees over several shifts in a 24-hour period.

Centro will be part of a 9 acre (3.6 ha) complex that will also include an employee parking lot, a park & ride service area to take employees and contractors to our other sites, and a garden. Construction will begin by the end of 2024.

In addition to Centro in Nogales, the Hermosa project is assessing the potential to site additional buildings, operational and/or job training infrastructure throughout Santa Cruz County.

As the first mining project added to the federal government’s FAST-41 permitting process, the Hermosa project aims to put southern Arizona in the driver’s seat of the clean energy race, supplying two critical minerals needed for the expansion of clean energy technologies and associated infrastructure.

Back in February, South32’s board gave final investment approval to develop the Taylor deposit, part of the Hermosa project, saying it would cost some $2.16 billion based on feasibility study results.

It is a project that is set to apply ‘next generation mine’ design principles using automation and technology to drive efficiencies and lower operational greenhouse gas emissions. This includes a plan to incorporate battery-electric LHDs, drilling and ancillary fleets. This strategy, included in the feasibility study, results in improved efficiency, reduced diesel consumption and greenhouse emissions compared with the prefeasibility study on the project.

DMC Mining to construct Clark exploration decline at South32 Hermosa

DMC Mining Services says it will construct the Clark exploration decline at the South32-owned Hermosa site in Arizona, USA, as part of a recent contract award.

In an announcement last month, South32 said the board had provided the final investment approval to develop the Taylor deposit, part of the wider Hermosa project, with funding of $2.16 billion. This followed the release of a feasibility study outlining a circa-4.3 Mt/y operation with average payable zinc-equivalent output of circa-253,000 t/y over a 28-year mine life.

Beyond Taylor, however, South32 has been working on its Clark development option, currently the only advanced project in the USA with a clear pathway to produce battery-grade manganese from locally sourced ore, according to the company.

In May 2023, South32 released the results of a selection phase pre-feasibility study (PFS-S) for the Clark deposit, which confirmed the potential for an underground mine integrated with Taylor, and a separate process plant, capable of supplying battery-grade manganese. Study work has progressed to a definition phase pre-feasibility study, with South32 confirming the commencement of construction of an exploration decline, due to be completed in late 2025, to enable access to ore for demonstration-scale production. This is where DMC Mining comes in.

In announcing this contract award, DMC Mining said: “Throughout the meticulous planning phase, South32 and DMC have been united by a shared vision and unwavering values, setting the stage for unparalleled success. Together, we’re not just setting the bar, we’re raising it, ready to redefine industry standards!

“This project not only underscores our commitment to delivering superior project solutions, but also signifies a significant stride in our dedication to serving our clients in the US market.”

South32 eyes teleremote loading, dry stacking, ore sorting for Hermosa

South32’s Hermosa project in Arizona, USA, continues to make progress, and recently provided updates on the latest developments in construction, efforts to support local workforce development and benchmarking community health metrics to support future sustainability and safety initiatives.

The feasibility study and an independent peer review for Hermosa’s Taylor deposit is on track for completion by the end of the month, with a final investment decision in the March 2024 quarter.

In May, the Hermosa team began initial excavation for the main exploration shaft and the ventilation shaft to provide underground access to the zinc resource.

Pre-sink activities for both shafts remain on track, with 50 ft (15 m) excavated for the main exploration shaft and 115 ft excavated for a ventilation shaft. This construction will allow the creation of infrastructure needed for safe passage of people and vehicles underground, while total depth of the shafts will be approximately 2,900 ft (884 m).

Taylor will use tele-remote semi-autonomous mucking for production stopes, including for development prior to production mining, South32 says. This will enable operation from the remote operating centre and would ‘engineer out’ vehicle and pedestrian interactions in the production mining area.

The project is also looking to make use of other advanced mining methods such as dry stack tailings, advanced process control, and the use of ore sensing and ore sorting, the company added.

Hermosa Vice President Project Delivery, Andy Thompson, said: “This advanced, underground mining method enables reduced surface impact and the amount of tailings resulting in a more sustainable mine.”

The South32 Hermosa Workforce Development Taskforce has been formed to identify the skills needed and local facilities available to help train, develop and expand the region’s workforce. The taskforce enables the Hermosa team to work with local education experts to develop a clear pathway for training local residents to fill skilled jobs at Hermosa, South32 says.

Skylie Estep, Human Resources Director North America, said “The first step in helping transform the local economy is partnering with community members whose expertise and understanding of our region’s educational needs can help create opportunities, so that the next generation can stay in Santa Cruz County.”

South32 says the Hermosa team has engaged Ramboll, a global consulting firm, to guide a baseline community health assessment and outreach to local public health institutions.

“Protecting the health of our workforce and the local community is our priority, and partnering with third-party public health organisations to regularly monitor and report findings ensures transparency and accountability on this critical metric,” the company said.

A baseline assessment will help Hermosa team to understand what levels of manganese and other minerals already exist in the community and environment, it said. By conducting this assessment before operations begin, the company says it can make sure health and safety controls are in place, better understand any changes over time, and ensure controls remain effective throughout the life of the project.

Thiess re-enters the Northern Territory with GEMCO manganese contract

Thiess has been awarded a three-year contract with GEMCO, a manganese operation on Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory, owned jointly by South32 and Anglo American.

The mining services contract, valued at approximately A$120 million ($79 million), marks Thiess’s re-entry into the Northern Territory.

Thiess says it is committed to efficient and safe mining operations, sustainability, and local community engagement and employment.

Thiess Group Executive Chair and CEO, Michael Wright, said: “This award demonstrates Thiess’ commitment to delivering sustainable mining solutions for our clients, strongly supporting the further development of the local community. For Thiess, the continued diversification into different commodities needed for the energy transition is a key part of our strategy, with manganese playing a crucial role in steel production and having the potential to replace cobalt cathodes in lithium-ion batteries.”

The three-year deal, with the potential for a two-year extension, encompasses a range of services critical to GEMCO’s manganese operation. Thiess will supply, operate and maintain the equipment for the pre-strip mining operations, as well as undertaking the design and construction of support infrastructure, including workshops and related mobile maintenance facilities.

Thiess Group Executive Australia West, David Greig, said: “This contract win represents a significant milestone for Thiess as we re-enter the Northern Territory.

“This contract award is a testament to the collaborative efforts of our Australia East and West regional teams, showcasing the strength and synergy within Thiess. It reflects our ability to leverage expertise from across our company to deliver exceptional outcomes for our clients.”

This contract win follows the scope awarded to FleetCo earlier this year, which included the provision and major servicing of excavators, trucks and ancillary equipment.

Wood to help build major European manganese processing facility

Wood, a global consulting and engineering company, has been awarded a major award by Euro Manganese to deliver what could end up being Europe’s largest high-purity manganese processing facility.

This cost-reimbursable contract will be delivered by Wood’s Projects business unit and is in line with Wood’s end market growth strategy, it said.

Wood will deliver front end engineering and design (FEED) and engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) solutions for the processing facility as part of the Chvaletice manganese project, in the Czech Republic.

This project involves the processing of historic mine tailings, traditionally a waste product, to extract manganese deposits from a decommissioned mine.

The Chvaletice site is the only significant identified source of manganese in the European Union, according to Wood.

Ken Gilmartin, CEO at Wood, said: “This project holds real significance for Wood as we continue to lead the development of critical mineral projects to support the energy transition. We have the mineral project capability and specialist expertise in advanced hydrometallurgy to successfully deliver this innovative project. This is a perfect example of the kind of projects we are passionate about as we continue to design a sustainable future for energy and materials.”

Dr Matthew James, President & CEO of Euro Manganese, said: “Awarding the EPCM contract to Wood is the result of an extensive and robust selection process and I am very pleased to be partnering with such a high calibre engineering firm. We look forward to building a world-class facility to produce high-purity manganese, an essential component in most lithium-ion batteries. Together, we are working to advance the global energy transition.”

The combined FEED and EPCM contract has a duration of approximately four years and will be delivered collaboratively by Wood’s Project teams in Perth, Australia and Italy.

South32 and Redpath kick off shaft sinking works at Hermosa

South32 has now broken ground on one of two exploration shafts at the Hermosa project in southern Arizona, USA, in a sign of major progress at the base and battery metal project.

This milestone achievement commemorates the initial surface excavation that will be continued by Redpath USA to a planned depth of 900 m, the contractor stated in a LinkedIn post. Redpath and South32 signed a “limited notice to proceed” for shaft engineering and design at Hermosa last year.

Redpath said in this latest post: “The shafts will enable underground access for continued exploration of a world-class deposit containing the US critical mineral zinc as well as lead and silver – minerals needed for supporting electrification and renewable energy.”

In South32’s March quarter results, the company said it invested $176 million over the last nine months as it continued critical path activity and study work for the Taylor zinc-lead-silver deposit and the Clark battery-grade manganese-zinc-silver deposit. It also directed $12 million to capitalised exploration in the nine months ended March 2023 as it continued exploration programs at Taylor and Clark and the copper-lead-zinc-silver Peake prospect 8.

Just last month, the Hermosa project was confirmed by the United States Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, an independent federal agency, as the first mining project added to the FAST-41 process, which is focused on supporting informed decision-making while reducing and eliminating unnecessary and costly delays associated with projects.

South32 making engineering and design headway at Hermosa project

A stellar set of annual financial results has provided the ideal backdrop for South32 to update shareholders on its rapidly progressing Hermosa project in Arizona, USA.

Released late last month, the company’s 2022 financial year results showed off record earnings of $2.6 billion, record free cash flow from operations of $2.6 billion and record return on invested capital of 30.1%.

With group copper-equivalent production expected to increase by 14% in the next financial year, South32 looked to be well leveraged to in-demand metal markets at the right time.

The company has progressively been repositioning its portfolio toward metals critical for a low-carbon future, having already established a pipeline of high-quality development options. One of these high-quality development options is Hermosa.

Hermosa, which the company acquired outright back in 2018 as part of a takeover of Arizona Mining, is key to the company’s critical metals pursuit, having exposure to base and battery metals that are expected to grow in demand – both domestically in the US and internationally.

It is being designed as South32’s first ‘next generation mine’, according to Hermosa President, Pat Risner, with a series of technical reports highlighting its use of automation and technology to minimise its impact on the environment and target a carbon-neutral mining scenario in support of the group’s goal of achieving net zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

These same reports also highlighted the potential to develop a sustainable, low-cost operation producing zinc, lead and silver from the Taylor deposit, with the bonus of possible battery-grade manganese output for rapidly growing domestic markets from the Clark deposit.

In the latest results, the company said it was devoting $290 million of growth capital expenditure in the 2023 financial year to progressing Hermosa as it invests in infrastructure to support critical path dewatering and progress study work for the Taylor Deposit. This is ahead of a planned final investment decision expected in mid-2023, which should coincide with the feasibility study.

South32 is devoting $290 million of growth capital expenditure in the 2023 financial year to progress Hermosa

Some $110 million of this was assigned to construction of a second water treatment plant (WTP2) to support orebody dewatering at the asset, alongside dewatering wells, piping systems and dewatering power infrastructure.

An additional $95 million was slated for engineering and initial construction ahead of shaft sinking at the operation, plus work to support power infrastructure and road construction.

The remaining amount was expected to support work across the broader Hermosa project, including Clark study costs and the Taylor feasibility study.

All signs from these results are that the company is laying the groundwork to develop this project ahead of that mid-2023 deadline.

In another sign of progress, South32 recently signed a “limited notice to proceed” for shaft engineering and design at Hermosa with contractor Redpath, Risner confirmed, adding that the award represented a positive step forward for the project.

“We look forward to continuing our engagement with local communities and all of our stakeholders as we make further progress with the project,” he said.

Redpath will no doubt be evaluating the technical studies that have been signed off to this point and informing future reports.

The PFS design for Taylor is a dual shaft mine which prioritises early access to higher grade mineralisation, supporting zinc-equivalent average grades of approximately 12% in the first five years of the mine plan. The proposed mining method, longhole open stoping, is similar to that used at Cannington, in Australia, and maximises productivity and enables a single stage ramp-up to the miner’s preferred development scenario of up to 4.3 Mt/y.

Yet, the Clark deposit opportunity – which has become even more tantalising with the US Government invoking the Defense Production Act and supporting the production of critical metals including manganese – could see the plan change.

The company says it may accelerate the prefeasibility study for the Clark deposit, which is spatially linked to the Taylor deposit. A scoping study has previously confirmed the potential for a separate, integrated underground mining operation producing battery-grade manganese, as well as zinc and silver from the deposit.

South32 previously said Clark has the potential to underpin a second development stage at Hermosa, with future studies to consider the opportunity to integrate its development with Taylor, potentially unlocking further operating and capital efficiencies.

With a PFS selection study expected later this year, investors and interested parties will soon know the role Clark could play in the wider Hermosa project.

What is easy to gauge already is that Hermosa is progressing on a track that many other development projects in in-demand sectors have gone down.

Atlas Copco VSD electric compressors help improve Autlán’s manganese ore sorting capacity

Atlas Copco’s E-Air V1100 Variable Speed Drive (VSD) electric compressors are helping Mexico-based manganese producer, Autlán, improve the effectiveness of its ore sorting process by providing clean, dry compressed air whose temperature doesn’t exceed 20°C above ambient, the company says.

Compressed air is an essential component in the production of manganese nodules, with one such area being the company’s mineral sorting machine, which helps to classify the manganese ore. It blasts air at stones deemed to be waste, separating them from stones with high manganese content.

To do this, it needs clean, dry compressed air whose temperature doesn’t exceed 20°C above ambient. The amount of free air (FAD) needed to do this task is 45 Nm3/min at 150 psi.

Atlas Copco Power Technique Mexico worked closely with Autlán to understand and define the optimum airflow for the process. It advised Autlán that a constant flow of air was not required because the air shots were not continuous (only when stones with low manganese grades needed to be separated). Because of this intermittent requirement, Autlán could specify a compressor that met its FAD requirements but saved energy and lowered costs.

The suggested solution was to install three E-Air V1100 VSD mobile compressors: two compressors for production and one for stand-by purposes. These electric mobile air compressors with VSD technology are built to operate in harsh and outdoor conditions. Because of their robustness, Autlán did not need any special installation or compressor room, saving money on civil works, Atlas Copco says.

Atlas Copco’s E-Air VSD comes with the standard spillage-free frame that offers 110% fluid containment, providing reassurance against possible spillages on site. This was a key feature for Autlán, avoiding the possibility of polluting the soil of the mine, which is strongly regulated.

Moreover, the compressors come equipped with potted motor windings to prevent dust and water ingress, an IP65-rated controller, an IP67-rated water-cooled drive, single-sheet steel, non-welded undercarriage, and a three-layer anti-corrosion paint system, the company explained.

As the compressed air quality is vital for this project, Atlas Copco recommended adding its UD+ filter after the cooler to ensure the air guns didn’t clog. The UD+ filter is a patented design, two-in-one coalescing filter that takes out oil aerosols, dust and water, providing clean compressed air with hardly any pressure drop or efficiency loss. Moreover, this system is a space-saving option compared with traditional filter packages, according to Atlas Copco.

Julio Ponce, Sales Engineer & Air Master for Atlas Copco in Mexico and Central America, says: “The E-Air VSD provides Autlán with a reliable flow of compressed air without any CO2 emissions.”

The E-Air’s integrated VSD-driven permanent magnet electric motor only requires low power for start-up, so there is no need to oversize the power supply. The VSD and permanent magnet motor also make an important contribution to efficiency. Combined, they offer the best-in-class efficiency at partial load and ensure that power consumption closely follows the air demand trend, according to Atlas Copco.

These electric mobile air compressors with VSD range include the Atlas Copco’s PACE system (Pressure Adjusted through Cognitive Electronics). This enables users to control the pressure between 5 and 12 bar, in precise 0.1 bar increments, thereby adjusting the flow to the optimal level for their application. Because of this, one compressor can handle various jobs that previously would have required multiple units.

The E-Air VSD features the Smart Air Xc4004 controller. This increases the efficiency of operations by providing insights and features in an easy-to-use interface that allows a simultaneous view of several parameters, including pressure and flow. Additionally, top structured alarm settings allow for operation monitoring.

The E-Air VSD range is also equipped as standard with an after-cooler, providing high-quality air for applications like sandblasting.

TOMRA Mining to demonstrate Final Recovery diamond sorter at Electra Mining 2022

TOMRA Mining will showcase its sensor-based sorting solutions at the Electra Mining 2022 exhibition, in Johannesburg, South Africa, in September, showcasing, for the first time, live demonstrations of its COM XRT 300 /FR Final Recovery sorter for diamond operations.

Representatives from its Sales and Field Service teams will also present TOMRA’s offering of advanced digital products and services, such as the TOMRA Insight cloud-based platform and its latest generation TOMRA ACT PC-based system, as well as its portfolio of sorting solutions for the diamonds, metals and industrial minerals industry at the show, which runs from September 5-9.

Corné de Jager, Diamond Segment Manager TOMRA Mining, said: “The Electra Mining Show is the perfect platform for us to showcase TOMRA’s advanced mining solutions. This important exhibition attracts a wide audience – from operators and metallurgists – interested in smart solutions that are simple to operate and maintain, to decision makers who need to be up to date with the latest value-adding technologies. At the event we will have the opportunity to meet them face-to-face and discuss their requirements, giving them a taste or TOMRA’s collaborative approach, product expertise and after-sales support.”

TOMRA will demonstrate the Final Recovery sorter with fine kimberlitic or alluvial ore together with diamond powdered tracers in a Final Recovery and Sort House application. Visitors will be able to experience first-hand the sorter’s capability to produce an ultra-high diamond-by-weight concentrate with an exceptionally low yield by using TOMRA’s proprietary ultra-high-resolution sensor, advanced new image processing and high-precision ejector valve system, the company says. The sorter offers 100% diamond detection within the specified size fraction and > 99% guaranteed diamond recovery with appropriate feed material preparation.

“We are very excited to demonstrate the TOMRA COM XRT 300 /FR sorter,” de Jager says. “It completes our unique partnered diamond recovery ecosystem, which covers the entire process. We are now able to offer our customers a full XRT solution to sort +2-100 mm particles: +4-100 mm particles with our bulk concentration sorters, and +2-32 mm particles with the COM XRT 300 /FR in its Final Recovery, Sort House or small-capacity exploration applications. The sorter offers higher efficiency, better grade, simplified security requirements with fewer sorting stages and a smaller footprint. It reduces complexity and operational costs, and unlocks the potential for previously deemed non-profitable projects and marginal deposits to be economically viable. ”

The COM XRT 300 /FR sorter can also add value to existing kimberlitic and alluvial operations that use conventional bulk-concentration methods like rotary pans, dense medium separation or X-ray luminescence, if installed in a Final Recovery and/or Sort House function after these existing processes. With a contained capital expense, operations can benefit from a quick, simple and significant revenue gain, TOMRA says.

The TOMRA team at the exhibition will explain the full benefits of its complete partnered diamond recovery ecosystem consisting of XRT technology covering the entire process – from Bulk Concentration to Final Recovery and Sort House applications – as well as its advanced digital products and services. These include the newly refreshed TOMRA ACT PC-based system interface and TOMRA Insight cloud-based subscription solution.

TOMRA Mining has 190 sorter installations operating around the world, of which more than 60 are in Africa. It offers installation opportunities in Africa in the metals industry, for example in applications such as lithium, chromite, platinum, manganese and gold.

Assmang orders battery-electric mining equipment for Black Rock manganese mine

Epiroc says a large fleet of battery-electric mining equipment will be deployed at Assmang Proprietary Ltd’s Black Rock underground manganese mine in the Northern Cape of South Africa after the two companies signed an agreement.

Assmang has ordered several of Epiroc’s battery loaders and mine trucks – the Scooptram ST14 Battery and Minetruck MT42 Battery, respectively – for the deployment. The order was booked in the March quarter of 2022 and is valued at SEK120 million ($12.5 million).

The order extends Assmang’s and Epiroc’s collaboration to use state-of-the-art solutions for optimised operations at the mine, Epiroc said. Assmang has previously ordered the same type of battery-electric machines for this mine, and, in 2019,  selected Epiroc’s Mobilaris Mining Intelligence digital solution, which provides superior situational awareness of the mining operation in real-time

“Epiroc is proud to support Assmang on its journey toward lower emissions through the use of our cutting-edge battery-electric machines, while also prioritising productivity and safety,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said.

The Scooptram ST14 Battery and Minetruck MT42 Battery machines, manufactured in Örebro, Sweden, are built to face the toughest conditions and are packed with intelligent features, according to Epiroc. They will be equipped with a Collision Avoidance System as well as with the telematics system, Certiq, which allows for automated monitoring of productivity and machine performance.