Tag Archives: mineral transport

Capstone Mining eyes Santo Domingo IOCG project capex cuts with PASA MoU

Capstone Mining’s 70%-owned subsidiary Minera Santo Domingo (MSD) has entered into an agreement that could see it slash some $400 million off the capital cost for building its Santo Domingo copper-iron-gold project, in Chile’s Region III, by offloading the port and concentrate transport infrastructure development to another company.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Puerto Abierto SA (PASA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Puerto Ventanas SA (also a subsidiary of Sigdo Koppers SA) will see both MSD and PASA, over a 90-day period, explore mutual synergies and regional benefits for the proposed port component of the Santo Domingo project, Puerto Santo Domingo.

The port, which is fully permitted and located 100 km from the Santo Domingo project site, will be one of only two capesize vessel ports in the region, making it an attractive site for bulk shipments and a key asset allowing for broad resource development in Region III, Capstone says.

Santo Domingo is owned 70% by Capstone and 30% by Korea Resources Corp. A February 2020 technical report outlined an 18-year operation with a life of mine average throughput of 60,500 t/d for annual output of 137 Mlb (62,142 t) of copper, 4.2 Mt of iron ore and 17,000 oz of gold at the project. Development capital for this study came in at $1.51 billion (excluding cobalt processing).

As part of the MoU, MSD will allow PASA to study, at its own cost, the project engineering and conduct a market study over the 90-day period.

PASA is looking to potentially acquire, construct, operate and maintain the deep-water port, including financing its development, Capstone said. Once in operation, Santo Domingo will receive preferred service as its volumes will represent  a baseload of business for the port.

The MOU also gives PASA 90 days to evaluate the replacement of the 110 km magnetite concentrate pipeline with a railway as part of its rail business, Ferrocarril del Pacifico SA.

The project infrastructure under consideration in this MoU represents some $400 million of the capital expenditure identified in the most recent technical report, Capstone says, and includes:

  • Marine works including pier;
  • Iron concentrate pipeline from Santo Domingo mine to port;
  • Magnetite filter plant and stockpile building;
  • Copper storage building; and
  • Ship loading and support facilities.

“Over the past three months we have seen a surge in interest in our fully permitted Santo Domingo project,” Darren Pylot, President and CEO of Capstone, said. “I believe this relationship with Puerto Ventanas will serve as a major catalyst for our Santo Domingo project. Our path forward includes successful culmination of the strategic sales process, executing a gold stream agreement and arranging project debt financing.”

Dr Albert Garcia, VP, Projects at Capstone, said the partnership with PASA, coupled with the fixed cost, turnkey proposal from POSCO E&C, significantly “de-risks” the overall project.

Antofagasta responds to environmental concerns with new Los Pelambres copper mine plan

Antofagasta Minerals is preparing to submit an investment proposal for its Los Pelambres mine in Chile that could see it stop using water from the Choapa River and nearby wells, and to use mainly seawater from 2025.

In this way, MLP will be able to guarantee the availability of water for its operations and advance its studies into extending its operations beyond 2035, when its current environmental permits expire, it said.

The submission to the Environmental Impact Assessment System (SEIA) also considers Minera Los Pelambres (MLP), the operating entity, building a new concentrate transportation system with modern control systems, routed away from the most populated areas. This will allow maintenance to be carried out without interfering with the daily life of the surrounding communities.

The 60%-owned mine produced 363,400 t of copper in 2019, alongside 11,200 t of molybdenum and 59,700 oz of gold.

Iván Arriagada, CEO of Antofagasta Minerals, said: “We are going to invest in works that allow us to adapt our operation to the changes that have occurred in the Choapa province and the region over the last 20 years as a result of the prolonged drought caused by climate change and the increase in its population and productive activity.

“This is a key step in the future of Los Pelambres.”

Arriagada added: “We have a long-term strategic vision to extend the life of the operations while ensuring its continued coexistence with other productive activities in the province of Choapa. We are particularly interested in taking care of natural resources that are scarce today, such as water, and continuing to reduce our potential impact on the environment.”

This new stage of the company’s development, called Los Pelambres Futuro, also includes the contribution of the Los Pelambres Expansion project, which was 36% complete as at the end of June. A significant part of the work on the project was stopped as a result of COVID-19 and construction is now restarting in stages.

“We want to make minor adjustments to the design of the expansion project, which is already under construction, to facilitate the future expansion of the desalination plant,” Arriagada said. “In this way, there we will be less impact on the environment.”

It is estimated that the Operational Adaptation Investment (OAI) will be submitted to the SEIA in the first half of 2021. Its execution could begin in 2023, creating up to 2,000 jobs.

The OAI includes the expansion of the 400 litre/s desalination plant, currently being built in Punta Chungo, and the industrial quality desalinated water supply system, to 800 litres/s.

Mauricio Larraín, General Manager of MLP, said: “If our investment proposal is approved, in the coming years we could stop extracting water from the Choapa River and nearby wells, and more than 95% of the water used by Los Pelambres will either come from the sea or will be recirculated water.”

This plan could see MLP become the first mining company in the central zone of Chile to operate predominantly with seawater.

“The decision to use desalinated water is an idea that arose from dialogue with nearby communities and authorities and seemed to us to be the best way that we could contribute to easing the water scarcity challenges in this part of the country that affects us all,” Larraín said.

The company, which currently has environmental permits to extract water from the Choapa River until 2035, has worked for years with its neighbours and the authorities on the water management of the Choapa Valley. This work will continue in the future with the objective of promoting the sustainable use of the available water and strengthening the Rural Drinking Water systems for human consumption, the company said.

Lastly, the Environmental Impact Study will include some continuity and maintenance works for the tailings system. These works are already included in the Environmental Qualification Resolution (RCA) 38/2004 and consist of works on the north and south contour channels, repositioning pipes and other works.

Arriagada concluded: “This set of initiatives will require very significant investment in the province of Choapa over the next 10 years, close to $1 billion, and will also generate a significant number of jobs. It will also contribute towards helping the region and the country overcome the social and economic crisis generated by COVID-19 as soon as possible.”

Venture Minerals takes ‘one-stop shop’ approach at Riley with Qube agreement

Venture Minerals has awarded bulk material handling services company, Qube, with preferred road haulage tenderer status for the Riley iron mine, in Tasmania, Australia.

Alongside this, Venture has also engaged Qube to provide the necessary Burnie Port Services to complete the logistics solution of delivering iron ore from Riley to on board the ship.

Venture said: “Securing Qube as the complete ore transport provider for the Riley iron ore mine will increase the efficiencies for one of the project’s key cost centres as the company progresses towards becoming the next Australian iron ore producer.”

Recently, Venture Minerals commenced dry screening operations at Riley as part of the ramp-up phase of the project. Full production is expected to occur upon successful commissioning of the wet processing plant, which is subject to financing, the company said.

At a $90/t 62% iron ore price, an August 2019 feasibility study on the project returned a post-tax cash surplus of A$31 million ($23 million) over the two-year production life of the mine.

Andrew Radonjic, Venture Minerals’ Managing Director, said: “Venture is fortunate to be working with Australia’s leading provider of bulk material handling services to provide a complete logistics solution in delivering Riley iron ore from the mine gate to the port and then on board ship. This one-stop shop approach will increase efficiencies and reduce costs which is all important when mining bulk commodities.”

He added: “Qube is a professional logistics company with modern, well managed vehicles and trained, professional drivers. Qube’s safety record was also an important part of our selection criteria and their real-time monitoring of vehicle movements is impressive.”

Alaska Peninsula Corp signs up for Pebble transportation contract

Northern Dynasty Minerals’ wholly-owned US-based subsidiary, Pebble Limited Partnership, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop a consortium of Alaska Native village corporations as a major transportation contractor for the Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum project.

The MoU, signed this week with Alaska Peninsula Corporation (APC), positions APC to lead the development of a consortium of Alaska Native village corporations with land holdings along Pebble’s 82 mile (131 km) access route north of Lake Iliamna.

Once formalised, the consortium will provide various services to the future Pebble mine, with the contracts expected to exceed $20 million in value each year, according to Northern Dynasty.

The Pebble Partnership said the consortium would operate all related logistics for the project related to the proposed northern transportation corridor.

This would include managing port operations, maintaining the access road between the Pebble port and the Pebble mine site, and providing trucking and other logistics services between the two.

“The operation of this logistics chain is critical to the successful development of the Pebble project and this MoU is evidence of the strong support these village corporations have provided to Pebble over the past few years,” the Pebble Partnership said.

Ron Thiessen, Northern Dynasty President & CEO, said: “It has always been a core commitment of ours and the Pebble Partnership’s that this project benefit local communities and local people.

“As we move toward a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) this month and a Record of Decision later this summer, we are rolling out a series of programs and announcements to bring that commitment to life.”

Thiessen said the lead federal agency for Pebble’s permitting process, the US Army Corps of Engineers, has now signalled the Final EIS will be published later this month.

In the run-up to this milestone, the Pebble Partnership has announced the Pebble Performance Dividend initiative to distribute a 3% net profit royalty interest in the future Pebble mine to full-time residents of Bristol Bay, the initiation of a public consultation process for power sharing in the region, and now the formation of a major local contracting consortium.

Other benefits Pebble is expected to generate for the people of Bristol Bay and Alaska, according to Northern Dynasty, include:

  • Between 850-1,000 full-time, direct high-wage jobs and as many as 2,000 total jobs;
  • Up to $400 million annually in mine expenditures;
  • More than $50 million annually in state government revenues; and
  • Up to $20 million annually in revenues for the Lake & Peninsula Borough.

The PLP’s current plan for Pebble is to establish a 20-year open-pit operation with a circa-63 Mt/y average mining rate and a 163,260 t/d processing plant. This could lead to annual production of 555,991 t of copper-gold concentrate and 13,605 t of molybdenum concentrate.

OZ Minerals to use SIMEC Mining’s Whyalla Port for Carrapateena concentrate exports

OZ Minerals has become the first company to sign a long-term port services contract with SIMEC Mining’s Whyalla Port, in South Australia.

The pact will see OZ ship copper concentrate from its new Carrapateena mine from the port.

The port in Whyalla currently serves SIMEC’s haematite and magnetite iron ore mines as well as the Liberty steelmaking facilities in the same location (all part of the GFG Alliance). The facility handles both the loading of vessels with export-bound ore, as well as the inbound handling of raw materials, storage and blending of iron ore, according to SIMEC Mining.

SIMEC Mining Executive Managing Director, Matt Reed, said the three-year contract was the first major deal the business had secured.

“We’ve stated for some time that our port is open for business, and the last few years have demonstrated that through the number and variety of trials we’ve undertaken,” he said. This includes wind farm transport and the current ship deconstruction, scrapping and recycling project utilising the old shipyard slipway, the company explained.

Reed continued: “To take that to the next level and secure an ongoing contract is testament to our increased capability; and an exciting step in the evolution of the Whyalla Port.”

The contract will see secure containers of copper concentrate trucked from the mine – located about 165 km north of Port Augusta – to the Whyalla Port for consolidation. The concentrate will then be shipped out in 5,000-10,000 t cargoes, with annual shipments gradually increasing in conjunction with the ramp up of the mine.

In its March quarter report, OZ Minerals said Carrapateena was expected to produce 20,000-25,000 t of copper and 35,000-45,000 oz of gold in the 2020 financial year to the end of the June. It added that the plant ramp-up was ahead of schedule with a five-day continuous period at 12,000 t/d nameplate capacity achieved in March.

According to SIMEC Mining, strict environmental controls are in place including sprays to manage dust – with the state government and EPA consulted and engaged prior to providing the necessary approvals.

OZ Minerals’ Chief Financial Officer, Warrick Ranson, said: “We were really excited to hear that SIMEC had opened its port to third parties, and it has made a significant difference for us in reducing transport times.

“We are impressed with the capability SIMEC has managed to develop through the facility in recent years and look forward to partnering with them to deliver our product to market.”

While initially a three‐year contract, Reed is hopeful the agreement can be extended to reflect the overall life of the mine.

“This contract justifies our investment in the port – particularly the installation of our state‐of‐the‐art mobile harbour crane – as this wouldn’t have been possible with our old facilities,” he said.

“We will be able to transport this material safely, efficiently and with a high standard of environmental care; and expect our performance to lead to further long-term contracts in the near future.”

BEUMER Group makes the economic case for ore transport by conveyor

BEUMER Group thinks more miners should include the use of conveyor belts for ore transport in their mine development calculations, as, on many occasions, the investment can pay off in the short- to medium-term.

Raw materials must be transported from the mine to a factory or port, often over uneven ground and across populated areas. To do this, companies often choose trucks for transportation.

As an alternative, system suppliers including BEUMER Group offer open troughed belt conveyors or closed pipe conveyors. These solutions are more environmentally friendly and can be considerably more economical, according to BEUMER.

“Deciding if the investment is worthwhile depends on several factors,” the company said, adding that a feasibility study and cost comparison can help with the decision.

Richard Munson, who manages the development and sales of conveying systems for the energy, cement and mining industries and port terminals, says a positive investment outcome depends on the application at hand, adding: “Companies should carry out a profitability evaluation beforehand.”

Whether it is calculating the net present value, or carrying out a cashflow analysis, the comparison needs to factor in the topography, length and power consumption associated with running the conveyor systems.

BEUMER Group says costs for conventional conveying systems average between €1,000 ($1,084) and €3,000 per metre. “More costs are added for the construction, supply and the mechanical and electrical installation,” it said.

Complex construction work is also often necessary, which makes the initial investment in a conveying system fairly high, the company says.

Munson says the operating costs are, however, considerably lower than the use of trucks.

The costs for the vehicles also include the labour input, vehicle depreciation, maintenance, repair, fuel and street maintenance, for example. And, oftentimes there are additional, more difficult to identify charges.”

To operate a conventional conveying system, the typical costs for transporting one tonne of material amounts to €0.20, with trucks the costs are roughly €3, according to BEUMER Group.

“The biggest variable for the vehicles is the number of trips per hour,” Munson said. “In the case of short and direct routes, this ranks better than for long routes, where detours are necessary to get to the destination.”

Troughed belt conveyors and closed pipe conveyors lead directly to the destination, on the other hand. They can also be adapted to the specific surroundings, with an essential feature of the technology being the ability to handle horizontal and vertical curves. Angles of inclination of up to 15° are possible, depending on the characteristics of the material to be transported and the topography, with lengths greater than 12 km.

“Due to their ability to navigate curves, considerably fewer and − in some cases no − transfer towers are required,” BEUMER Group said. “This results in substantial cost savings for the customer and the system continuously transports the material even over challenging ascending and descending sections, rivers or street crossings.”

Using BEUMER calculation programs, the experts precisely calculate the static and dynamic tractive forces of the belt during the system development phase. This is the prerequisite for the safe dimensioning of the curves, according to the company.

For trucks, more cost factors must be accounted for that are not as easy to estimate; control measures against dust and rain drainage, for example. These variables are eliminated completely in the case of closed pipe conveyors.

Munson said: “If circa-1 Mt of bulk material are moved per year, then the gross differential value between trucks and a conveyor, using the above mentioned costs of the material that needs to be conveyed, is at €2.8 million.”

According to Munson, such a conveying system pays for itself after only a few years.

The electric drives and low-energy belts also have a positive effect on the operating costs of the belt conveying systems. They are also better for the environment compared with truck transport.

“Therefore, especially in these times of climate change and increasing greenhouse gas emissions, they are considered a more sustainable option,” BEUMER Group said. “The motors used for these systems are usually adjustable, which permits the loads to be optimally distributed on the drive units under various operating conditions. If the belt conveying system conveys downhill, the system works in regenerative operation. The generated electric energy is fed to the mains by a regenerative feedback unit. This way the owners can further reduce the operational costs of the entire system.”

Depending on the project, belt conveying systems require up to 90% less primary energy compared with truck transport, Munson says, referencing a project implemented for China cement manufacturer Sichuan Yadong Cement. Here, trucks operated with diesel fuel required a specific primary energy of 11.4 kWh for each tonne of transported material at the site. The belt conveying system built later on required only 1.44 kWh.

“If, as in this case, 7.5 Mt of raw material are transported annually, the user can save a total of 74 million kWh/y with the belt conveyor,” BEUMER Group said. “This corresponds to an energy consumption of more than 20,000 single-family houses. Solely by saving diesel fuel, the operational costs of the company are reduced by more than €5.5 million/y.”

Munson concluded: “In the end, the operator needs to consider the total costs per tonne over time when evaluating both transport options.”

The operational costs for a belt conveyor are considerably lower than for a truck, but the decisive factor is how much material is transported during the project term and the environmental concerns at play with the project.

SCE wins transport contract for Peabody Metropolitan coal mine

Australia-based SCE says it has been awarded a multi-year contract to transport coal wash reject from Peabody’s Metropolitan mine in Helensburgh, New South Wales, to various tipping locations in the Illawarra district.

Under the contract SCE will be moving 400,000 t/y with special consideration to be given to the Helensburgh community to ensure minimal heavy vehicle impact operating between set hours (7 am-5 pm), including operating outside school zone hours.

The contract is estimated to be worth A$14 million ($9.83 million) during the initial three-year period with options for a further two-year extension.

Metropolitan uses underground longwall mining techniques to extract the coal which is then transferred by conveyor to the major surface facilities area. The coal is transported by train to the Port Kembla Coal Terminal for shipping to domestic and overseas customers. The mine sold 1.9 million tons (1.7 Mt) of coal from the mine in 2018.

“We are extremely pleased to have been awarded this contract by Peabody,” SCE Transport and Logistics Manager, Paul Minogue, said. “Metropolitan is one of the oldest continually operating coal mining operations in Australia and has been an integral part of the Helensburgh community for 130 years.”

He added: “Similarly, we have a wealth of experience in all facets of the mining services industry including stockpile management, emplacement services, civil projects, water management and transport solutions.”

Minogue said the company will have a fleet of up to 25 semi-trailers to transport coal wash reject from the mine site with the capability to flex down and up, depending on demand.

“As always, our top priority is to ensure we move all materials safely while also taking into consideration the communities in which we operate,” he added.

Martin Engineering sizes up new compact conveyor belt cleaner

Martin Engineering addressed the problem of installing conveyor belt cleaning technology in areas where space is limited with the development of its new design SQC2STM RM (Reduced Mini) cleaner.

The SQC2STM RM is a compact secondary belt cleaner built with a narrow profile that resists material build-up.

Patented rubber buffers maintain cleaning pressure on the new design, engineered to deflect and allow splices to pass without damage to the belt or cleaner, even on reversing belts. The construction incorporates individually-cushioned stainless steel blades with tungsten carbide tips for effective cleaning with negligible risk to belt, splice or blade, and it can withstand even punishing operating conditions, including corrosive environments, high-speed belts and high-tonnage loads, according to the company.

The SQC2S RM requires just 134 mm (5.27 in) of space from the tip of the blade to the bottom of the mainframe, the company says.

Dave Mueller, Conveyor Products Manager at Martin Engineering, said it is not just the size of the cleaner that is a major selling point.

The blades of the cleaner conform to the belt profile and adjust individually to deliver continuous contact across the belt, he said.

“In a perfect world, bulk materials would load uniformly, wearing the blade evenly, but that rarely happens. By having multiple segments attached to a single rigid assembly, the tension can be maintained and adjusted accurately, quickly and safely,” he said.

Like the other designs in the SQC2 product line, blade removal and replacement is carried out by removing the lock pin from the main support assembly and sliding out the cartridge.

“The lock pins are a key component to Martin Engineering’s ‘no-reach design’, which allows workers to conduct their lockout/tag-out procedure more safely,” Martin Engineering said, adding that the unit is one of its Safety First™ family of products, helping customers achieve OSHA compliance.

The cleaner is suitable for belt widths from 450-1,829 mm (18-72 inches) and operating speeds up to 3.81 m/s (750 ft/min). It can be used in applications involving operating temperatures between -34°C and 149°C (-30°F and 300°F) and the design features all-steel powder coated construction (except for the rubber buffer).

Additionally, a dust-tight door to cover the opening for the mainframe has been designed to fit the reduced component size, for a clean, efficient installation, Martin Engineering says.

Similar to the original design, when the blade wears out, the removable cartridge allows easy replacement, so the end user can have a spare cartridge on the shelf and the service can be carried out in a “matter of minutes”, the company says.

Martin Engineering expects the SQC2S RM to be in demand in applications where installation space is at a premium, including biomass, recycling, waste-to-energy, trash sorting, foundries and steel production.

More load and haul for Bis at Glencore’s Newlands coal mine

Resource logistics provider Bis will continue its load and haul services for Glencore Australia at its Newlands coal mine, in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, as part of a new agreement between the two companies.

The contract will see Bis support the Newlands operations until 2021. This aligns Bis’ optimised high payload dual powered road train technology to Glencore’s production requirements, Bis said.

Bis has provided a range of load and haul, underground equipment hire and site services to support Newlands over the past 22 years.

Glencore Operations Manager at Newlands, Paul Sear said: “Bis’ strong commitment to delivering safe and innovative solutions that add value to our operation has been recognised in this contract renewal, and we look forward to continuing our successful relationship with the team.”

Bis CEO Brad Rogers said: “Bis’ ability to move bulk commodities in smarter, safer and more reliable ways continues to drive efficiencies for our customers. We look forward to continuing to deliver at this quality operation, and to continuing our valued partnership with Glencore Australia.”

Newlands includes an open pit and longwall mining operation, producing steam coal and coking coal for export markets via the Abbot Point Bulk Coal export terminal.

Pacific National signs up Matrix to help increase freight load capacity

ASX-listed Matrix Composites & Engineering Ltd has agreed to build four prototype transport systems that could significantly increase the freight load capacity of bulk transportation, according to the company’s CEO Aaron Begley.

The A$2.4 million ($1.8 million) contract, for the largest combined rail freight company in Australia, Pacific National, will see Matrix use composite materials that have lightweight, rigid and fabrication advantages over traditional steel materials.

It follows on from a January letter of intent between the two companies that originally envisaged a $2 million contract for up to 10 prototype systems.

Pacific National has expertise in coal, in particular, with nearly 6,000 specialised coal wagons, 600 locomotives and 10,000 people in teams throughout Australia.

Matrix will start manufacturing the prototypes at its Henderson facility in Western Australia, with the initial stage expected to be completed in the second half of 2019. A second stage to manufacture 110 units is also planned, subject to a successful functional commercialisation assessment of the prototypes.

Begley said the contract is suited to Matrix’s expertise: “This contract is perfectly in line with our strategy to combine Matrix’s proven capabilities in advanced materials, with our state of the art composite manufacturing facility to develop lightweight composite structures for the large and growing transportation market here in Australia and overseas.”

Under the contract, Matrix has been awarded a 20-year licence to market the product to other potential customers in Australia and to extend this internationally.

The company said other opportunities for lightweight transportation structures are also being pursued with discussions having commenced with major bulk transport and freight transport companies for fleet upgrades.