Tag Archives: Mine ventilation

Howden bolsters Ventsim CONTROL customer support with new ‘powerful communications centre’

Howden has launched the Ventsim CONTROL™ Service desk, a “powerful communications centre” designed to, it says, strengthen customer operations’ support.

As part of its new service, every customer request will generate a code, creating a continuous queue of client requests with all necessary data. The reported issue is either resolved on the spot or escalated to a specialist, as appropriate.

“We track every incident reported, whether a software anomaly, a new feature, to suggest an improvement, or anything else,” Howden explained. “In that way, we make every effort to ensure that all requests are appropriately reviewed, prioritised and forwarded to the right team member.”

The Service desk serves as a centralised location for all customer communications, with the customer kept up-to-date on the request progress. Concerns are addressed and resolved as promptly as possible, the company explains.

Ventsim CONTROL, a software platform provides ventilation design capabilities for control and optimisation, is fully integrated with Ventsim DESIGN, a mine ventilation simulation software. It communicates to hardware devices to remotely monitor, control, and automate airflow, heating, and cooling.

Aggreko ups the mine cooling ante with modular BAC10000s

Twenty years after establishing modular mine cooling solutions in Australia, Aggreko has released an offering for mines going deeper with its latest modular bulk air coolers (BACs).

These 40 ft (12.19 m) mobile BAC10000s coolers are “unique” and relatively new to the mine cooling market, according to Aggreko Australia-Pacific Managing Director, George Whyte.

“They are scalable, portable and boast three times the cooling capacity of our previous largest offering – the 20 ft long (about 6.09 m) containers,” he said.

Aggreko has delivered more than 50 mine cooling projects globally, and always draws on the experience of its engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance teams to stay at the forefront of technology, according to Whyte.

“Aggreko’s mining services pioneered mine cooling as a rental service 20 years ago as a result of mines looking for alternatives to capital refrigeration plants,” he said. “Previously mining companies would need to use capital to install built-in cooling systems which were not scalable, modular or as effective.

“In the past two decades we have witnessed mines becoming deeper and this has resulted in the need for larger cooling capacities and innovation. The need for deeper mines in increasingly remote locations, coupled with rising global temperatures, is forcing operation managers to seek affordable alternatives to cooling and ventilation systems.”

Aggreko Underground Cooling Sector Manager, Mitch Bevan, said the BAC10000s were used at a Western Australia mine last year and will soon arrive at a mine in New South Wales, Australia.

Bevan said part of the new modular BACs appeal were their simplicity and convenience when compared with purpose-built on-site cooling plants. The new BACs used a simple design involving pipes, chilled water and three axial fans – all comprised in a modular shipping container. He expected more mines globally would become interested in the company’s new product offering, particularly in regions such as Africa, Latin America and North America.

“The unit is more suited for larger installations and offers improved efficiency rather than using a large number of smaller BACs,” Bevan said.

“Capital refrigeration plants take a long time for mines to prepare for financially, as well as to install, whereas we can mobilise on relatively short notice. A rental option also provides a great deal of flexibility, which is often crucial for underground vent systems where it is difficult to predict the requirement year on year.”

Bevan said Aggreko re-engineered their cooling towers to come up with the 40 ft modular BAC10000s after anticipating there would be global demand for such an offering.

“Long running mines have continued to grow and their refrigeration requirement grows with the mine, so BACs are appealing as they can be scaled up or easily moved on-site,” he said.

“While mines are expanding, our clients are also focused on energy efficiency, and safer operation – such as more environmentally friendly refrigerants – and we are constantly working on new developments in these areas.

“The water-cooled BACs have less of an environmental impact seeing as the modular container sits on the ground’s surface and requires no serious ground modifications, such as concrete.

“The units only require water and power and, while some mines use diesel-generated power, as time goes on, that will shift to renewable energy. Our company has made major commitments to greener energy to help miners achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. That is why we are constantly exploring and investing in new technologies. Currently, our water-cooled chillers use half as much power as air-cooled options, which is part of their appeal, and we are the only rental company to provide such modular and scalable products.”

The BAC10000s have been successfully used at 29Metals’ Golden Grove mine – a high grade copper, zinc and precious metals mine, about 450 km northeast of Perth, which mills about 1.44 Mt/y.

When the mine underwent an expansion, which required almost two years to up-scale its permanent cooling plant, a quick and effective solution was needed in time for the 2020-21 summer, according to Aggreko. The power specialist was able to quickly supply the BAC10000s to install a 4.5 MWr water-cooled plant.

As well as water cooled refrigeration plants such as Aggreko’s 20 ft and 40 ft BACs, Aggreko also offers air cooled refrigeration plants (with power provided, if required) and underground spot cooling solutions.

“Newer mines are also continuing to come online in Australia and around the world,” Bevan said. “We are supplying modular cooling solutions throughout the entire mining lifecycle.

“We are constantly looking for opportunities to improve on our strengths to assist our clients further into the future. We provide flexible energy solutions and services to the mining sector and provide high standards regardless of a mine’s location in the world.”

VortexOHS and Howden set to integrate hygiene and ventilation reporting requirements

Howden’s pledge to provide “total mine ventilation solutions” to the industry has led to many corporate transactions and partnerships over recent years, with this customer vow showing no signs of abating.

A recent tie-up with South Africa-based VortexOHS might have gone under the radar among all the Howden M&A noise, but it is arguably one of the more timely and important associations the company has made when it comes to speeding up and improving the work of ventilation and hygiene professionals across the industry.

Many miners will be aware of VortexOHS’ work in the occupational hygiene space; its modular ventilation and occupational hygiene data collection and management system is used throughout South Africa and neighbouring nations for planning surveys, collecting information and generating hygiene reports.

Packaged in a SQL server-based system, it can be worked on by multiple people from all over the world concurrently. This means a supervisor in South Africa can collaborate and download a report at the same time as a mine manager overseas.

The generation of these reports, some of which are a required by South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), has become part and parcel of hygiene professionals’ daily workflows.

Shane Ambrosio, Director and Consultant at VortexOHS, says the repository, which allows mine sites to, among other things, set up homogeneous exposure groups (HEGs), as well as a sample register and service history of all measuring instruments, was created in direct response to the needs of the mining industry.

“Ventilation professionals, whenever they move from site-to-site, are governed by different ways of working,” he told IM. “No company or report is the same, with various employees compiling relevant data on spreadsheets or word documents with endless different formats. That is before mentioning the variances in the way these surveys measure and collect the data.”

Ambrosio, a ventilation professional by trade, realised the opportunity to create a database solution that could go some way to standardising the reporting process.

What started as a solution to cater to the occupational hygiene requirements from the DMRE – which requests mines to submit statutory reports on personal exposure monitoring to occupational hygiene stressors – has evolved into a platform that could go some way to solving the industry’s needs for a complete ventilation reporting solution. Additionally, the system hopes to bring some level of standardisation to the market.

Stephan Bergh, Mining Team Leader at Howden Africa, explained: “In South Africa and most of Africa – as the continent tends to follow suit – the Ventilation Engineering and Occupational Hygiene (VOHE) Department is one and the same. The legal appointee, in most instances, would look after both legs – occupational hygiene, which module one of VortexOHS speaks to from a statutory point of view, and ventilation surveys, which are the checks carried out on the workplace at prescribed intervals to make sure the hazards and risks employees are exposed to are within allowable limits.

“Howden’s Total Mine Ventilation Solution (TMVS) is focused on building sustainable, value adding relationships. Our fully-integrated approach to mine ventilation is aimed at creating work environments which are safe and risk free to the health of employees.

“The new modules in VortexOHS, such as ventilation surveys, will assist in making VortexOHS a complete sampling and reporting tool for VOHE professionals. This allows Howden to support mines in meeting their statutory, legal and safety objectives in more efficient ways, and supports our vision of offering a single-point-of-contact solution.”

For Ambrosio, the integration is an obvious one given that the ventilation and hygiene dynamic are so closely related.

“Noise aside, ventilation solves the majority of hygiene issues,” he said. “If you solve diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions at a heading in your mine, for example, you don’t have heat stress problems as you have so much ventilation in that heading to clear the DPMs.”

The way ventilation personnel are measuring and recording relevant information is continuing to evolve, which means Ambrosio has had to create a module for metal mines that can be customised and added to in the future.

“We’re trying to create a system that is robust and completely flexible – a customised experience with strong guidelines as to what is required for these comprehensive reports,” he said. “This is based on our experience in the sector as a consultant and software provider.”

Survey components (bottom) and measurement definition (top) screenshots from the new VortexOHS metal mine module

Buoyed by the interest – and backing – of a senior mining company that saw the potential to expand VortexOHS from the hygiene module, Ambrosio has been busy defining appropriate measurement metrics, building standardised components, incorporating sketches and finetuning the scheduling format to make the system easy to use, scalable and, most important, useful for the wider mining industry. Some of the reports the industry carries out require the measurement and entry of 200 readings, so scalability has been factored in at every turn.

“The idea is to build the relevant components once and then you can transfer these into different reports as you wish,” he explained. “It is pointless having the same element being measured in two different ways in two different reports, which is currently what happens.”

While South Africa may have dominated sales of the VortexOHS hygiene module, this new, in-development module has global appeal, according to Ambrosio.

Regional standards can be incorporated into reports as required and relevant calculations can be automated to inform the process and adapt to mine- and regulator-specific requirements.

“If this achieves what I plan for it to achieve, it will make a lot of people’s lives a lot easier,” Ambrosio said. “It will come with a lot more in demand than the hygiene module, for sure.”

The metal mine ventilation module should be complete by the end of the year, with additional modules for collieries and safety inspection to follow in 2022.

Howden leveraging Abitibi ventilation fan base as part of Quick Ship Program

Howden, as part of its Quick Ship Program, is now assembling underground mine fans in the Abitibi region of Quebec, Canada, as it looks to provide a quick and efficient distribution network across North America.

The company says it knew it needed to create a program to get its products to customers faster so, some years ago, based on direct customer feedback, developed the Quick Ship Program.

Setting up a base in the mining-rich region of the Abitibi to assemble these fans from is part of its latest efforts to make fans available for distribution in the continent in one-to-two weeks, based on motor availability.

Its Jetstream auxiliary or secondary fans in various diameters, horsepower speeds, voltages, etc fall under the program. Its Quick Ship VAX adjustable pitch vane axial fans, meanwhile, can be equipped with Howden standard Heavy Duty Options such as mining-duty suspension clips, grease nipple and conduit box rollover protection bars, the company said.

Howden said: “We developed this program with the customer in mind. We are keeping stock of auxiliary fans and spare parts to improve our response time. By having stock in North America, we can reduce our lead times down to two weeks significantly. Our shorter lead times mean less downtime and, more importantly, considerable cost savings for you.”

TLT-Turbo Africa addresses mining ventilation market need with new fans

TLT-Turbo Africa has extended its current auxiliary and booster fan range to include variants that, it says, are able to provide flexibility to clients on all underground ventilation performance requirements.

Following the launch and market success of the TLT-Turbo Auxiliary and Booster Fan (A&B) range for the mining industry launched in 2019, TLT-Turbo Africa noticed a trend emerging of mining companies focusing on energy efficient solutions for ventilation. Based on enquiries received from numerous existing and potential clients, TLT-Turbo identified a gap in the mining ventilation market as demand increased for fans in the size range between 1,600 mm and 2,000 mm diameter.

Vusi Madlopha, TLT-Turbo Africa Head of Sales & Business Development, said: “With the mining sector starting to move away from large-scale, end-of-life surface fan installations to smaller, more scalable and movable ventilation installations, it became clear to us that this niche will become more and more relevant in the future. TLT-Turbo Africa decided to bridge this gap in our offering by extending our current standardised A&B fan range to include 1,800mm and 2,000mm variants.”

The same design methodology and aerodynamic concepts on which the A&B fan range was based were taken on board to develop these larger fan products, TLT-Turbo said. Standardisation was also one of the main criteria for the development of the new fans to ensure a globally cost-effective supply chain of product components. This was achieved by using the same blade, impeller, and stator design from the A&B fan range.

“To enhance product robustness and performance, we included features of the TLT-Turbo Modular Mine Fan range which includes fans ranging in size from 2,000 mm to 3,150 mm,” Madlopha explained.

Stephan Viviers, Engineering Specialist at TLT-Turbo Africa, goes on to explain what makes these new fans exceptional from design and product development aspects.

“The standard design features include a horizontally-split fan casing to allow for larger foot mount motors to be installed and to make international transport of components possible within normal sized marine containers,” Viviers said. “All fans in the range are designed to operate in 50 Hz and 60 Hz applications with a 2-pole motor at 3,000 and 3,600 rpm and with a 4-pole motor at 1,500 and 1,800 rpm.”

The Booster fan range is supplied as standard with in-situ blade pitch angle adjustment brackets, according to TLT-Turbo. The full range of fans can also be supplied with optional temperature and vibration sensors, as well as an Anti-Stall Unit. The fans are fully Variable Speed Drive (VSD) compliant and, thus, can be integrated into any Ventilation on Demand system. A large range of duty points can be achieved at high efficiency by varying the blade pitch angles, as well as the solidity of the impeller, the company says. Fans can also be installed in series up to three stages to achieve higher pressure requirements allowing the client more flexibility.

TLT-Turbo Africa recently completed the build and supply of the first MC2000 for the Australian market.

Madlopha described this fan as a “top of the range South African manufactured product in terms of size and performance”. The fan’s highest duty point was designed to deliver a volume flow of 90.0 cu.m/s and 4,000 Pa of total pressure at an air density of 1.2 kg/cu.m and VSD setting of 110%. This particular unit was intended for a force draft application and included an aerodynamic conical inlet as well as an outlet diffuser to allow for further static pressure recovery.

Viviers concluded: “Having this size product as a standard offering in the mining industry is of huge global significance based on the direction that mining developments are taking with dynamic scalability at the heart of ventilation. Mining contractors are also interested in a product that can allow them to use more smaller, and modular fans for underground booster applications. This enhancement of the TLT-Turbo product range will shorten lead times and capital costs to our customers’ growing applications.”

Tata Steel’s Jharia Division receives coal prep plant, ventilation power supply boost

In line with its mechanisation and modernisation program, Tata Steel’s Jharia Division has commissioned a “state-of-the-art” 2 Mt/y coal preparation plant and 400 kVA uninterrupted power supply (UPS) for the main ventilation fan at the Jamadoba Colliery in India.

On the occasion, D B Sundara Ramam, Vice President (Raw Materials), Tata Steel, said: “Introduction of appropriate technology is key to the success of underground mining. At Tata Steel, we leverage our innovation capabilities, technology leadership with focus on safety and sustainability to create long-term value. This state-of-the-art beneficiation plant not only addresses issues like productivity, safety and environment but, at the same, time ensures production of coal at a competitive price.”

Built using cutting-edge technology, the 2 Mt/y preparation plant has been transformed from the oldest running washery in Asia (in operation since 1952) to one of the most modern washeries across the globe, Tata Steel said.

The washery is a major upgrade from the conventional set-up, consisting of a dense media separation cyclone circuit for coarse material, reflux classifier for the intermediate circuit and flotation for the fines circuit – all geared towards improving production efficiency. This is also the first washery in the country with a 100% dewatering facility built within its plant, thereby completely eliminating the need for a tailings pond, auto sprinklers and dry fog systems.

The giant UPS provides uninterrupted power supply to the 450 hp (336 kW) mine fan and automatically changes over during power failure from DVC, keeping the fan running for 40 minutes – enough time for power restoration or change-over to captive supply. This battery back-up UPS is the first-of-its-kind in the country for any mine ventilation fan, according to Tata Steel, enhancing the safety and ergonomics within the mines and providing a more comfortable environment for the miners to work.

Tata Steel says its Jharia Division has been at the helm of innovation and modernisation since its inception, with initiatives like its chair lift man riding system, cooling plant, low capacity and low cost continuous miner with the haulage system setting benchmarks when it comes to underground mining in the country. The Jharia Division has undertaken several initiatives of automation and digitalisation which has helped in improving operational excellence.

Howden boosts Ventsim CONTROL functionality with ‘cooling on demand’

Howden is continuing to expand its flagship Ventsim CONTROL software, with the latest update to the ventilation control platform set to bring an ‘on demand’ element to mine ventilation cooling.

An upgrade from Ventsim DESIGN, Ventsim CONTROL uses intelligent software connected to Howden or third-party hardware devices to remotely monitor, control and automate airflow heating and cooling to deliver safer, more productive, and lower cost ventilation for mines, the company says.

Hugo Dello Sbarba, Director of Ventsim and Sales Mining, says the addition of a ‘cooling on demand’ module to Ventsim CONTROL coincides with an industry move to install more mine cooling plants to achieve higher standards of health and safety for workers. Howden has seen this trend up close and personal, having recently successfully delivered the first phase of an 8 MW surface bulk air mine cooling plant for Roxgold’s Yaramoko gold mine in Burkina Faso.

“We chose now to introduce cooling on demand to Ventsim CONTROL partially because more mines are getting deeper, require cooled air and are adopting higher standards in advance of incoming regulations,” he told IM. “This reflects a wider industry move towards more sustainable operations.”

There was also a push from existing Ventsim CONTROL customers for such cooling functionality, according to Dello Sbarba, with these clients realising the benefits that could come with controlling the process from the underground readings, assessing where cooling was most needed.

“While the actual capital cost associated with the cooling plant installation is unlikely to change – given these plants should be sized by engineers on a worse-case scenario basis – you should definitely see significant improvements in terms of the operating and energy cost of the plants,” he said.

This economic benefit is complemented by the health and safety advantages already mentioned.

“At the moment, miners tend to put a chilling plant on surface and just cool the air regardless of where it is destined to go,” Dello Sbarba said. “This process doesn’t consider the fact that the only reason you are cooling air on surface is for the deeper levels of the mine that experience particularly high temperatures.

“You currently don’t have intelligent control of this cooled air across the underground mine.”

With Howden’s cooling on demand module within Ventsim CONTROL, users can monitor if they are obtaining the required temperatures at these deeper levels, making sure the cooled air is pushed to where it needs to go.

Aside from a subscription to Ventsim CONTROL with at least Level 3 and 5 functionality – providing required set points for airflow, gas levels, and/or temperature – and the right-sized ventilation fans, users only require temperature and humidity sensors underground to carry out such control.

“Even though you need many of these monitors, they are relatively cheap with many hardware solutions available on the market,” Dello Sbarba said.

Equipped with these elements, users can assign certain temperature/humidity setpoints in areas of high activity, plug these setpoints into Ventsim CONTROL and allow the software to ‘communicate’ with the cooling plant and fans to automatically cool these areas to the required temperature. An advanced Level 5 installation of Ventsim CONTROL allows users to automatically optimise underground fan and regulator settings and adjusting main fan settings to maintain required cooling levels while maximising energy savings.

He concluded: “The reason it is advantageous to perform cooling on demand with Ventsim CONTROL over other solutions is the 3D modelling capabilities within the software. The model helps you predict and better control your air flows based on what you are seeing in the simulation.

“It has an edge over any other custom-made ventilation engineering solution on the market.”

The new cooling on demand functionality is now in the final throes of testing in a factory setting, with a mine site trial being lined up for later in the year.

Howden delivers mine cooling plant at Roxgold’s Yaramoko mine

Howden says it has successfully delivered the first phase of an 8 MW surface bulk air cooling plant for Roxgold’s Yaramoko gold mine in Burkina Faso.

The Yaramoko Mine Complex is in a remote region of Burkina Faso, 200 km southwest of Ouagadougou.

The cooling plant is designed to deliver a maximum of 190 cu.m/s of chilled downcast ventilation air, with the air cooled from a design ambient temperature of 25.8°C, down to 15°C.

The plant comprises an open-spray vertical bulk air cooler located on top of the shaft collar, centrifugal chillers and conventional cooling towers, Howden explained.

Plant design and construction were started at the beginning of 2020 during the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, despite a challenging environment, Howden successfully delivered the project’s first phase in May.

Howden said: “This latest project continues to positioning Howden as a process and system specialist to design, supply and install mine cooling systems. Howden has a technology-neutral approach whereby technology options are offered which best suits customer’s technical and commercial requirements.”

The Yaramoko Mine Complex, which consists of two underground operations, delivered production of 35,308 oz of gold in the March quarter, Roxgold reported in May.

Howden boosts mine ventilation offering with VortexOHS occupational hygiene collaboration

Howden has signed a new partnership with VortexOHS™, a modular ventilation and occupational hygiene data collection and management system.

This partnership, Howden says, further strengthens the ventilation expert’s commitment to mine ventilation solutions for the health and safety of customers worldwide.

Howden’s Ventsim Design and Ventsim Control products help ensure mines can efficiently design and provide airflow, heating and cooling to underground environments offering a safe atmosphere for workers. At the same time, VortexOHS further improves safety by assisting ventilation and occupational hygiene professionals to collect, manage and report data and information from their occupational health and safety (OH&S) sampling programs.

The partnership is a perfect fit for Howden’s mission to offer new safety solutions and achieve excellence in mine ventilation design, monitoring, and control, the company said.

Howden’s Hugo Dello Sbarba said: “Ventsim accurately models, designs, controls, evaluates, and optimises underground mine ventilation systems. Expanding Ventsim capabilities to incorporate VortexOHS’ innovative solutions provides a powerful tool for mine operators to improve safety and ensure compliance with regulations.”

VortexOHS’ Shane Ambrosio said: “I have enjoyed assisting mines in improving the efficiency and speed of their OH&S system and reporting. We are looking to continue building the existing VortexOHS success, thanks to the collaboration with Howden and the Ventsim suite of products integration.”

Automation, electrification, alternative haulage weighed for GSR’s Wassa UG expansion

A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) on the potential expansion of Golden Star Resources’ Wassa gold mine in Ghana has flagged the potential for applying alternative underground haulage methods, and autonomous and battery-electric equipment at the operation.

The PEA provides an assessment of the development of the Southern Extension of Wassa and the increase in mining rates to fully use available process plant capacity. While the study itself represents a conservative plan that excludes exploration opportunities from the scope and adopts the current mining practices and equipment, the “opportunities” section of the technical report outlines some more innovative approaches to expanding mining rates and filling the plant capacity.

Wassa, which Golden Star owns 90% of, produced 168,000 oz of gold in 2020 using the sub-level longhole open stoping method.

The PEA is focused on the development of the large inferred mineral resource (just over 7 Moz) which comprises the Southern Extension zone. Around 50% of the total resource was included in the PEA inventory, which showed off a life of mine of 11 years, with total gold production of 3.5 Moz. Average annual gold production of 294,000 oz represented an approximate 75% increase on the current production rate.

The mine plan considers a production rate targeting the processing capacity, at or close to 2.7 Mt/y run-of-mine material, after a five-year ramp-up period. The plant has previously operated at these rates with feed from both Wassa and the Bogoso-Prestea operation (since sold).

Mining would be by underground trackless decline access (1:7 gradient), with access from duplicate access ramps and independent ventilation infrastructure on each side of the deposit to support the increased mining rate and provide efficient access across the mineralised footprint (circa-850 m along circa-300 m across strike). Truck haulage will utilise the dual access ramps.

The mining method proposed for the expansion is bottom-up long hole open stoping with 25 m level spacing and nominal stope sizes of 25 m length x 30 m width x 25-100 m height with cemented paste backfill. Stopes will be mined in a primary-secondary sequence down to around 1,000 m depth, transitioning to pillarless retreat below that point to account for increasing in-situ stress, which will need to be further investigated in future work.

The PEA assumes average recovery of 94.8%, which is supported by current plant performance and metallurgical test work on a small number of samples that suggest processing performance for the Southern Extension feed will be similar to material currently treated. This will be evaluated in the next phase of work.

Capital expenditure is expected to total around $790 million over the life of the PEA mine plan. Of this total, 29% is growth capital and 71% is sustaining capital. The PEA mining method relies on paste fill, with Golden Star confirming the paste fill plant was constructed in 2020 and commissioning is expected to be finalised this quarter. Capital has been allowed for an expansion of the paste fill system in the PEA mine plan.

Based on a $1,300/oz gold price, the expansion project is expected to generate a post-tax net present value (5% discount) of $452.2 million.

So far, so conventional…

The company said it planned to complete option and trade-off studies to optimise the project plan ahead of a feasibility study on the expansion, due in early 2023.

Just some of the innovations being considered in these trade-off studies include the use of automation, electrification and alternative haulage.

In terms of increasing machine productivity through technology, the study listed off the potential use of semi- or fully-autonomous vehicles to increase shift operating time and remove operators from hazardous areas. It said the highest likelihood applications were in production drilling and drawpoint loading.

Golden Star confirmed current projects included in its in-development technology roadmap were the introduction of tele-remote loading and digitalisation of production data.

In terms of haulage infrastructure opportunities, Golden Star said it was considering the replacement of truck haulage with an infrastructure system like shaft hoisting, conveyor, or Rail-Veyor. The capital demand for such options would be offset by a large reduction in operating costs with automated systems, reduced diesel consumption and reduced ventilation demand, it noted.

These haulage options were being studied to design different systems, estimate capital and operating costs, then complete a trade-off analysis, the company said.

The current mine design assumes loaders digging from open passes to load trucks, but Golden Star said feeder systems could be installed to automate loading, increasing efficiency and reducing operating costs.

And, of course, the company said it was considering options for clean energy technology applications, particularly battery-electric trucks. As part of this, it was assessing available systems and developing fleet selection criteria. This will have knock-on benefits to the mine’s ventilation requirements.