Tag Archives: Minas-Rio

Anglo American renews clean energy commitment in Brazil

Atlas Renewable Energy, a leading renewable energy company in Latin America, and Anglo American have signed the largest solar energy purchase and sale contract in Brazil worth an estimated BRL881 million ($190 million).

The clean energy supply contract will see the Atlas Casablanca photovoltaic solar plant, in Minas Gerais, supply about 9 TWh over a 15-year period, commencing in 2022.

This contract is part of Anglo American’s strategy to use 100% renewable energy for its operations in Brazil as of 2022 and is part of Anglo American’s Sustainable Mining Plan, which has among its goals to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030.

In addition to the Minas-Rio iron ore operation, in Minas Gerais, Anglo also has the Barro Alto nickel operation (Goiás).

The Atlas Casablanca solar plant has an installed capacity of 330 MW with more than 800,000 modules, according to Atlas. This is enough energy to supply a city of 1.4 million inhabitants, according to the average consumption of a Brazilian family, it says.

“Atlas Renewable Energy will use bifacial modules in the Atlas Casablanca solar plant, a cutting-edge technology in the generation of solar energy,” the company said. “These novel solar panels are able to use the reflection of the sun’s rays from their front and back sides, increasing the efficiency of the photoelectric conversion, and therefore increasing the energy generation and efficiency of the plant.”

Wilfred Bruijn, CEO of Anglo American in Brazil, said: “With this agreement and the contract for the construction of a wind power plant in Bahia (an agreement with AES Tietê) signed in December, we will now be sourcing 90% of our energy from renewable sources, leading to a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions associated with our activities.”

Carlos Barrera, Atlas Renewable Energy CEO, said: “Atlas is leading in the new trend of providing clean energy directly to large energy consumers. The forms of supply are being transformed, making clean sources available to large companies, thus reducing their carbon footprint and production costs.

“Atlas is proud of pioneering, once again, the bilateral solar PPA in a new Latin American country. Our team was the first to implement a solar Private PPA in Chile some eight years ago, and now we do so in Brazil. We would like to acknowledge and congratulate Anglo American’s leadership for their commitment to become a more sustainable institution.”

Anglo American receives Minas-Rio tailings approval

Anglo American says it has received an important licence for the tailings facility at its Minas-Rio iron ore mine, in Brazil, that will help the long life operation reach its full potential.

The company received the next phase of its operating licence for the facility following the work to raise the dam as part of the Step 3 licence area of the mine. The regulatory authorities in Brazil granted the installation licence for this work in January 2018 and the construction work was completed in accordance with that licence in August 2019, Anglo said.

Seamus French, CEO of Bulk Commodities at Anglo American, said: “This is an important milestone for our Minas-Rio iron ore operation in Brazil towards reaching its full potential. Minas-Rio has a long asset life of 48 years and produces a high grade, premium quality product for our customers, supporting lower emissions in the steel industry.”

He added: “We expect Minas-Rio to produce 23 Mt in 2019, with an FOB unit cost of circa-$24/t.”

The Minas-Rio tailings dam uses a downstream construction design and is an embankment dam structure, built using compacted imported earth-fill material, with carefully selected granular materials for the drainage and filter zones, Anglo explained. Tailings are not used to build the dam, and instead construction materials are placed in controlled layers.

“This is a conservative and high quality design for a tailings dam, being designed and built as a water-retaining type of dam,” the company said.

Minas-Rio could feel the effects of coarse particle flotation tech, Anglo says

The coarse particle flotation technology being explored as part of Anglo American’s FutureSmart Mining™ platform is gaining traction after the company announced it was to carry out a prefeasibility study on applying it at the Minas-Rio iron ore mine, in Brazil.

The announcement, made during a “Bulks Seminar & Site Visit” in Brisbane, Australia, comes shortly after DRA Global confirmed it had been awarded a feasibility study contract to build a coarse particle recovery plant at Anglo’s Quellaveco copper project, currently in construction in the Moquegua region of Peru.

During the seminar, Anglo said the application of coarse particle flotation technology could see 20% of feed rejected as silica sand, improving the product quality and consistency at Minas-Rio. It also said it could potentially provide a circa-$500 million net present value uplift at the operation, on top of a 15% water saving and 20-30% mill energy reduction.

The coarse particle flotation technology is expected to play a key role in the company’s aim to ultimately eliminate tailings dams, according to Anglo American Technical Director, Tony O’Neill.

It should allow the company to coarsen grind size while maintaining recoveries – thereby reducing the energy required to grind ore, as well as reducing water intensity by more than 20%. When combined with dry-disposal technology, the company is targeting a reduction in water intensity of more than 50%.

The company previously said it was set for trials of the technology at its Amplats operations in 2020.

The flowsheet at Minas-Rio currently includes crushing, screening, milling, desliming, grinding and flotation, with 38% Fe grade ore upgraded to a 67% Fe pellet feed product.

Anglo resumes operations at Minas-Rio iron ore mine

Anglo American has resumed operations at its Minas-Rio iron ore mine in Brazil almost nine months since it suspended activities following the discovery of two leaks along the 529 km slurry pipeline.

The restart of the integrated iron ore operation follows a technical inspection of the pipeline that carries the iron ore in slurry form from the mine to the port, the repair of certain sections of the pipeline and receipt of the appropriate regulatory approvals, Anglo said.

“The inspection of the entire pipeline by specialist pipeline inspection devices (PIGs), and the analysis of the collected data by expert teams drawn from Brazil and internationally, confirmed the pipeline’s integrity,” the company added.

As part of Anglo’s “responsible approach” to the leaks, it has pre-emptively replaced a 4 km stretch of pipeline where the two leaks of non-hazardous material occurred, as well as a small number of individual sections of pipe where the PIGs detected minor anomalies below the normal threshold for intervention. It also shortened the intervals for future inspections by PIGs from five years to two years to ensure the long-term integrity of the pipeline, while also fitting a fibre-optic system of acoustic, temperature and vibration sensors along critical sections of the pipeline to monitor performance.

Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American, said: “The protection of the natural environment surrounding local communities and the overall integrity of the pipeline have formed the focus of our work to restart Minas-Rio and meet our obligations to our host communities, employees, customers and other stakeholders.”

Cutifani said the majority of Minas-Rio employees have been deployed across its operations in Brazil during this year, including on the construction work required to secure its Step 3 operating licence for Minas-Rio. Safety and other refresher training has been under way since early November in preparation for the restart, he added.

Anglo American expects the operation to ramp up to 1.2 Mt/mth (wet) and to produce approximately 16-19 Mt (wet) of iron ore in 2019, with the expectation that the Step 3 licences are received as planned.

Anglo’s Brazil chief executive, Ruben Fernandes, told Reuters earlier this year that the company expects to hit the 26.5 Mt/y (wet) nameplate capacity some time in 2021.