Tag Archives: METS Ignited

Emapper shoots for the skies after concluding successful METS Ignited backed project

METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds recipient Emapper has recently brought together industry partners, customers, service providers and supporters to celebrate the completion of its environmental site monitoring project in Australia.

Emapper and collaborative partners developed a multi-scale and multi-source environmental data platform to monitor, manage and reduce mining’s footprint and extend the global capability of mine site rehabilitation technology, according to METS Ignited.

METS Ignited’s industry-matched investment enabled this world-first technology to be rapidly developed and proven with strong support and engagement from customers Roy Hill and Anglo American, it said.

Emapper is an ecological restoration platform that uses UAVs, satellites, mobile field data and IoT sensors to monitor, guide and improve environmental performance. Users can identify and visualise environmental impacts and outcomes using on-demand analysis tools, selecting, procuring and deploying a variety of data sources to suit the sites, activities and requirements of the user. This allows users to produce customised compliance and management summary reports for all restoration and rehabilitation areas to plan, compare and share progress.

Across the life of the METS Ignited-backed project, Emapper has expanded its workforce from three to 10 full-time staff and increased its revenue more than 10-fold at the end of the project (September 2020), with significant growth anticipated in the next five years, METS Ignited says.

Emapper CEO, Julian Kruger, says the project funding has been foundational in bringing its ground-breaking technology to commercialisation, leading to better environmental outcomes and confirming Australia’s position as a global leader in mine rehabilitation.

“The funding helped us to reach our goal of creating a spatial analytics platform enabling faster, cheaper, safer environmental rehabilitation, by providing more data, improved results and better reporting to meet regulatory needs,” he said. “This project would not be possible without our collaborative partners Roy Hill Iron Ore Pty Ltd, Anglo American Metallurgical Coal Pty Ltd, Mount Gibson Iron Ltd, eagle.io Pty Ltd, Astron Environmental Services Pty Ltd and Solais Geoinformatics Pty Ltd.

“We are now focused on continuing to grow our Australian footprint, as well as expanding the service to international markets – everything we have learned from rolling out the platform to clients across all mining jurisdictions throughout Australia can be now applied to our international expansion.”

METS Ignited Industry Engagement Manager, Peter Clarke, says the remote capabilities of the Emapper platform continue to be advantageous to the company’s expansion.

“The great thing about Emapper is that it lets environmental managers and mine operators get amazing insights on their environmental performance whilst remaining remote,” he said. “Julian and the team have found that a number of their local clients who also operate internationally are now picking up on that opportunity.”

Gekko installs OLGA, Carbon Scout solutions at Gruyere as part of collaborative project

Gekko Systems, as part of a collaborative project to collect and analyse real-time gold reconciliations and automate gold processing plants, has installed its OLGA and Carbon Scout solutions at the Gruyere gold mine in Western Australia.

In October 2020, METS Ignited Industry Growth Centre announced the consortium of Gold Fields, Orway IQ, CSIRO, Curtin University and Gekko Systems as recipients of the Tranche 4 Collaborative Project Funds. The METS Ignited funding will assist the development of this project.

In a world-first, the project draws together a range of technologies, including the Gekko OLGA and Carbon Scout, and skill sets that are the first step to truly understanding what is happening in a gold production plant in real time and will eventually lead to a fully autonomous gold plant, Gekko said.

Gekko recently installed the OLGA and Carbon Scout at Gruyere (a joint venture between Gold Fields and Gold Road Resources), the site where the project will become reality.

“The Gekko OLGA and Carbon Scout will revolutionise the industry’s ability to measure gold circuit inventory and recovery in real time, move it into the digital world and provide opportunity for full automation,” Gekko said.

OLGA is a world first on-stream analyser designed to continuously read low grade gold grades in slurries and solutions, giving operations the ability to see and control their plants in real time, the company says. The alternative traditional sampling methods involve significant delays – of up to one or two days for feedback.

The Carbon Scout is a self-contained, ground-level sampling system to improve carbon concentration measurements in carbon-in-leach and carbon-in-pulp circuits to an accuracy of ±0.5 grams of carbon per litre of pulp. Uniquely, multiple other data points include slurry density, pH, DO and gold loading on carbon, Gekko explained. Data profiles are provided in every tank, every hour.

“The combination of OLGA and Carbon Scout, supported by the Gekko Sample Delivery System, means all CIL/CIP sampling can be done conveniently and safely at ground level,” it said. “Each tank is sampled by a patented pumpless delivery system. All samples in the plant including leach feed and tails will be delivered through this system to potentially alleviate the need for expensive cross-cut samples.”

The team of Orway IQ will deliver the data through the Trinity program. With the MillROC data system and the Gekko technical team using the data for system analytics.

The ultimate aim of the project is to have gold process and recovery data being analysed within minutes rather than days from anywhere in the world and for production to be adapted to reflect this data, Gekko said.

Roy Hill backs interoperability developments with ERDi TestLab membership

Iron ore miner Roy Hill has become the latest member of the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) Energy & Resources Digital Interoperability Industry 4.0 (ERDi i4.0) TestLab.

Roy Hill is committed to the development of interoperability within the resources industry and recently appointed Michael Waller to a new role – Interoperability Manager – to lead the company’s strategy and engagement, according to the TestLab.

In the few short weeks since Michael’s appointment, Roy Hill’s interoperability approach has progressed at a rapid rate, with Waller spearheading the establishment of a collaborative interoperability project within the TestLab, it added.

This new project will be sponsored by ERDi TestLab founding partner METS Ignited, and centres around interoperability in the mobile equipment execution management and control technology space across both manual and automated equipment, it said.

“We are thrilled to be working with Roy Hill and the other participants on this exciting project, more details of which will be announced soon,” it added.

Roy Hill’s interoperability streak was made clear earlier this year when it signed an agreement with Epiroc and ASI Mining to deliver a fully automated solution for the iron ore mining operation’s mixed fleet of 77 haul trucks.

Other companies to recently sign up to the TestLab include Trevali, RPMGlobal and ABB.

Polymathian finds funding for automation work at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena

Polymathian will be spearheading a A$2 million ($1.5 million) industrial mathematics project funded by industry partners and METS Ignited, and focused on OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena mine in South Australia.

This project will form part of the Industry Growth Centre’s latest Tranche 4 Collaborative Project funds totalling a combined investment of A$6 million, METS Ignited said.

The grant was awarded to Polymathian’s project at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold mine where, in collaboration with OZ Minerals, Downer, Deswik and others, the company is applying industrial mathematics to deploy the world’s first highly automated short interval control (SIC) system for the near real-time optimisation of sub-level cave development and production mining.

Project Lead and Partner at Polymathian, Steven Donaldson, said: “This funding allows us to marry industrial mathematics, automation and mine planning to optimise asset value at Carrapateena and explore how SIC can be done going forward.”

By applying industrial mathematics to the SIC process, the project collaboration automates the optimisation of the mine plan and autonomously dispatches tasks to the underground fleet by responding to live data.

Plans can be updated to respond to dynamic changes in the mine, as live data is received and assumptions change, according to the company. For example, at a weekly level, plans are updated as required for a rolling seven-day window, rather than on a set schedule for a fixed seven-day period. This avoids having fixed weekly plans that are at risk of becoming out-dated.

Matthew Fargher, OZ Minerals’ Senior Engineer for Long Term Planning at Carrapateena, said: “This project pursues a world first in mine planning where the mine plan is autonomously optimised and tasks dispatched in semi real-time to the underground fleet. By doing so, we can potentially remove value destroying constraints such as self-imposed time horizons and subjectivity in decision making to deliver the next best decision.

“We are excited to be a part of the team that’s delivering the blueprint for mine planning and executional change globally.”

Donaldson added: “The potential market for this tool is really quite large as the way we are solving the problem is very generic. We see this solution having potential to optimise operations across all hard-rock underground mines in Australia and globally.”

The project also has the potential to create new jobs at Polymathian including accelerating the growth of its newly opened Perth office.

METS Ignited Chief Executive, Adrian Beer, says the quality and capability of the funding applicants is becoming increasingly more sophisticated, with a number of the solutions having broader applicability across a number of sectors.

“This round of project fund recipients demonstrates just how capable our leading global METS sector is, and what is possible within our local technology sector,” Beer said.

“We are extremely proud of what has been achieved by the project fund recipients to date, and this new addition to the project funding shows that we have a huge potential to build upon.”

Aeris Resources adds battery-electric 20 t carrier/loader to Tritton fleet

Aeris Resources has confirmed the arrival of the battery-electric retrofit ‘TRITEV’ 20 t underground loader at its Tritton copper operations, with the company having added the Integrated Tool-Carrier/Loader to its fleet at the New South Wales, Australia, mine.

3ME Technology and Batt Mobile Equipment (BME) unveiled this industry-first machine last month, with 3ME saying the machine would head to Tritton later this year as part of an initiative developed under Project EVmine, with the help of METS Ignited.

The collaboration between 3ME and Aeris Resources started all the way back in 2017, Aeris Resources said in its arrival announcement on LinkedIn

Based on a second-hand Volvo diesel-powered L120E, the TRITEV required a “ground-up rebuild” from the 3ME and BME teams, 3ME Chief Business Development Officer, Steven Lawn, told IM last month.

This included removing all diesel internal combustion engine components, except the transmission and drivetrain; modelling the expected duty cycle at Tritton; developing a battery-electric system to suit the application at hand; writing the vehicle control unit software; integrating the system into the existing platform; and providing a mechanical overhaul of the machine.

The 3ME and BME teams planned to test the machine at the Newstan mine, in New South Wales (previously owned by Centennial Coal and now on care and maintenance), ahead of sending to Tritton.

Bis, Xsights, Roborigger and IES to embark on METS Ignited-back sensor tech program

METS Ignited has announced four ambitious companies to take part in a 12-month program to evaluate new cost-effective sensor technologies.

“With more data available, in shorter timeframes, on an expanding number of devices – IoT sensors and data collection are changing the nature of the mining industry and providing METS companies with significant opportunity to develop new applications to capture and extract value,” METS Ignited said.

METS Ignited is dedicated to helping the Australian METS sector develop globally competitive skills and knowledge, and drive the adoption of digital technologies and innovation into industry.

Its Industry Growth Centre has partnered with Innovation Central Perth (ICP), a centre led by Cisco with partners Curtin University, Woodside and CSIRO’s Data61, to aid the development and commercialisation of IoT technology to service a wide array of industries.

Due to the level of interest and calibre of applications, METS Ignited extended the original opportunity of two memberships valued at A$10,000 ($7,128) each, to four. The four Western Australia-based businesses embarking on the program are Bis, Xsights Digital, Roborigger and Integrity Engineering Solutions (IES), all of which are set to accelerate their knowledge and application for IoT technologies in an innovation program run by ICP, it said.

Bis is a resources logistics company, providing innovative logistics, materials handling and specialised equipment solutions to the global mineral resources sector.

Xsights is an Australia-owned company focused on being the leading provider of technology-enhanced data collection and insights reporting solutions for real-time audience measurement and asset tracking.

Roborigger paves the new way of thinking about crane lifting and logistics with the wireless load controlling device that improves safety and efficiency by keeping people away from the loads, controlling loads using wireless and logging all load movements with images and weight.

IES has developed the patented RT-Bolt load measurement system, which allows real-time measurement of the load in any fastener during assembly or operation. This facilitates significant improvement of the reliability of critical bolted joints in the resources industries.

ICP’s Wireless Industrial Sensor Environment Program will deliver foundational learning in sensors, visualisation platforms, data science, networks and communications. Each of the participating companies will gain access to a test environment and resources to collaborate and build real world industrial IoT solutions, METS Ignited says.

Mine electrification shift could create new business opportunities, report says

Heightened social pressure and a need for economically efficient mining practices will see Australia’s mining industry shift towards a future of automation, electrification and the ultimate goal of zero emissions on site, according to the State of Play: Electrification report.

The report states the majority (89%) of the globe’s leading mining executives expect mine sites across the world to electrify within the next 20 years.

Electrification is a game changer for the mining industry as it allows the complete removal of diesel from mines and, when combined with renewable energy, results in a decarbonised mine site.

Australia’s leading mining companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP, South 32 and OZ Minerals – along with Tesla – provided input into the report, which uncovered that the need to shift to low footprint, electric mines is being driven by economic, environmental and health related opportunities.

More specifically, nearly 79% of mining executives believe there will be a health-related industry class action in the next 15 years and 91% expect the shift to electrics will create new business opportunities.

It’s these perceived health risks – if nothing changes – and economic benefits that State of Play Co-Founder and Chairman, Graeme Stanway, says is driving the industry to take a close look at current practices and think: how can we do this better?

“Electric equipment will allow for a shift from the typical underground mine sites we see today in Australia with many pieces of heavy equipment, powered by diesel, operating underground in confined spaces alongside teams of people, towards a clean future of mining, not seen before,” he said.

“A future where machinery is safe, automated and battery powered; this would effectively cut out two of the biggest issues in mining: carbon impact and particulate exposure and result in zero carbon emission mines.”

While the industry as a whole understands these benefits, when it comes to individually implementing them as an organisation, cost becomes a key hurdle, according to Stanway.

“Our data shows renewables, all electric systems and batteries will help fuel the change towards a healthier, economically viable future of mining, but uncertainty remains when it comes to to which area to invest in first, and how,” Stanway says.

He says the industry should focus on collaborating to overcome cost barriers and uncertainty in technology choices that may be beyond the capacity of individual companies. And, while the mass adoption of electrification technology has so far been low, key players such as Independence Group, Gold Fields, South32, OZ Minerals and Barminco are joining forces to accelerate achieving the goal of zero emissions mines.

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, is part of this collaboration and says Australian mining companies have a huge advantage compared with their global counterparts when it comes to alternative energy sources.

“Here, in Australia, we have an abundance of renewables that the industry is tapping into, particularly in our most remote operations,” he said. “Local mine sites have the opportunity to install solar and wind, and battery energy storage systems to power their operations at a much cheaper cost than many global players.”

He added: “For the country to fully realise the opportunity of zero emissions mines, we also need to be able to effectively implement these technologies. We need to modernise our regulatory framework, and consider what skills our sector will need, across the entire range of the workforce, from trades and technicians, university graduates, through to our scientists and PhDs.”

Collaborative project featuring Gold Fields looks to revolutionise gold plant data analysis

Gold Fields, Orway IQ, CSIRO, Curtin University and Gekko Systems have come together to commercialise a complete solution package for collecting and analysing gold plant data in real time.

This is a process that will revolutionise the industry’s ability to measure circuit inventory and recovery in real time, move it into the digital world and provide opportunity for full automation, according to Gekko.

Earlier this month, METS Ignited Industry Growth Centre announced the consortium as recipients of the Tranche 4 Collaborative Project Funds. The METS Ignited funding will assist the development of a system to collect and analyse real-time gold reconciliations and automate gold processing plants by providing the technology, software, skills and expertise to the miners as an integrated package.

“In a world-first, the project draws together a range of technologies and skill sets that are the first step to truly understanding what is happening in a gold production plant in real time and will eventually lead to a fully autonomous gold plant,” Gekko said.

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, said the project funding is supporting the commercialisation of innovation developed in partnership with industry, research and Australia’s mining equipment technology and services (METS) companies.

“The METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds are a catalyst for industry collaboration to enable commercial pathways for Australian technology to deliver global results,” he said.

Gold Field’s Processing Projects Coordinator, Matt Dixon, said the value of this collaboration was having information available in real time to make decisions.

“The METS Ignited project is looking to integrate multiple technologies to achieve a step change in the automation and optimisation of gold processing,” he said. “Recent innovations by CSIRO and Curtin University, in partnership with Gekko Systems, are now making the potential to monitor gold in real time a reality.”

Gold Fields has chosen the Gruyere gold mine (owned 50:50 with Gold Road Resources) as the site to install and test these technologies, according to Dixon.

“Combining the OLGA (OnLine Gold Analyser, pictured) and Carbon Scout, with newly developed data capture and analytics technologies, aims to provide a step change to how we measure, monitor and optimise gold recovery,” he said.

This is a “world-first project”, creating a technological capability that does not yet exist anywhere else in the gold sector, according to Dixon.

The project will address current difficulties in accounting for gold during production, lag times in assessing data and adapting procedures to maximise production from the data provided and the safety around a number of those procedures.

The ultimate aim is to have gold process and recovery data being analysed within minutes rather than days from anywhere in the world and for production to be adapted to reflect this data, Gekko said.

3ME, Batt Mobile Equipment gear up for TRITEV deployment at Aeris’ Tritton mine

With the launch of the ‘TRITEV’ in Australia earlier this month, 3ME Technology and Batt Mobile Equipment unveiled what is believed to be the first fully battery-electric retrofit 20 t loader suitable for deployment in underground hard-rock mines.

The Integrated Tool-Carrier/Loader is scheduled to arrive at Aeris Resources’ Tritton underground copper mine in New South Wales later this year as part of an initiative developed under Project EVmine, with the help of METS Ignited.

It follows on the heels of Safescape’s Bortana EV, launched in 2019, also as part of Project EVmine.

Steven Lawn, Chief Business Development Officer at 3ME, told IM that the machine’s development represented more than just a “diesel refit”.

“The machine we used was a second-hand Volvo L120E that required a ground-up rebuild,” he said. “The guys removed all diesel internal combustion engine components except the transmission and drivetrain. They then modelled the expected duty cycle.”

After this modelling, the designers developed a battery-electric system (battery, motor, motor control unit and ancillary items) that would suit the application at hand.

The software team then entered the process, writing the vehicle control unit software (ie the software that makes everything work), with a focus on ensuring the human machine interface remained the same so there was no difference for an operator controlling the legacy diesel variant and the battery-electric retrofit version, Lawn explained.

They then integrated the system into the existing platform before the team at Batt Mobile Equipment provided a mechanical overhaul of the machine.

Ahead of deployment at Tritton, the company plans to test the machine at the Newstan mine, in New South Wales, Lawn said. This underground mine, previously owned by Centennial Coal, was put on care and maintenance back in 2014.

The partnership that delivered this industry first already has eyes on another EV retrofit, Lawn said, explaining that a Minecruiser platform for use in underground hazardous area mines is next on the agenda.

3ME Technology is understood to have an upcoming release in the pipeline in regards to its state-of-the-art battery system for mining applications, now also under demand from the defence market as indicated by recent public announcements about 3ME Technology’s participation in Australia’s C4 EDGE Program.

“The increased levels of safety and compliance achievable with the 3ME Technology battery system means that 3ME Technology is spearheading the supply of high-performance lithium-ion batteries into underground mining,” the company said.

3ME and Batt Mobile Equipment showcase new 20 t battery-electric loader

A new underground mine electric vehicle (EV) has been showcased in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, promising a “rEVolution for mining operations”.

The ‘TRITEV is believed to be the first fully battery-electric retrofit 20 t loader suitable for deployment into underground hard-rock mines. It has been developed in Australia for the mining industry alongside Safescape’s Bortana EV, launched in 2019.

A collaboration between 3ME Technology and Batt Mobile Equipment to deliver the fully operational TRITEV prototype is anticipated to represent a successful shift away from diesel-run vehicles for Aeris Resources and its Tritton copper project in New South Wales.

With the TRITEV now complete and operating with a capability that meets or exceeds the diesel variant, 3ME Technology believes the platform will be a key player in the drive to decarbonise, and eliminate the issue of diesel particulate matter underground all while saving on the high operating costs associated with mine shaft ventilation and the running of an ageing diesel fleet.

The electric vehicle has been developed under the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds, which bring together Australian METS companies, global suppliers, mine operators, research organisations and capital providers to support the improved productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity of the Australia’s leading METS sector.

Justin Bain, 3ME Technology’s CEO, who unveiled the TRITEV at this week’s event, said: “The TRITEV has been the result of a heavily collaborative effort. Whilst it’s been a challenging integration process, we’ve enjoyed working closely with all parties and we are now in position to replicate these models at scale.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the team at Batt Mobile Equipment. Their industry knowledge, vehicle design expertise and mechanical acumen is second to none. We felt today would be the perfect time to announce we have formalised our partnership, which we believe will mark the Hunter [Valley] as a powerhouse in the battery-electric mining space.”

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, said the showcase highlights the immense capability of Australia’s METS sector to deliver technologies to improve sustainable mining practices.

“METS Ignited Industry Growth Centre is pleased to support the commercialisation of technologies enabling safety improvements for Australia’s mining industry and potential global partners,” Beer said.

3ME Technology COO, Martin Kime, said the TRITEV is already receiving strong interest from the underground mining industry.

“With hundreds of these platforms in mines across Australia, we have seen significant interest from other miners in the battery-electric retrofit of existing platforms,” Kime said. “From the conversations we’ve had, what is driving the orders we’ve received is the recognition that there is an absolute need to remove diesel and many miners realise that by getting in early they will secure access to the platforms.

“Given the demand, we look forward to bringing jobs to the Hunter, helping with the COVID recovery whilst creating next-generation, clean-battery technology!”

With a range of additional mining vehicles out there to be electrified, building on the success of the ‘Project EVmine’, it is anticipated the METS Ignited, Safescape, Aeris Resources, 3ME Technology, Batt Mobile Equipment partnership will continue with its quest to electrify underground mining to increase the standards of workplace health and safety for the miners, benefit the environment while allowing miners be more competitive on the global market via significant savings to operating expenses, METS Ignited said.