Tag Archives: mining EPC

NFC China, ERG agree on EPC contract to construct ‘special coke plant’ at JSC Shubarkol Komir

Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) and China Nonferrous Metal Industry’s Foreign Engineering and Construction Co Ltd. (NFC China) have signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to construct a “special coke plant” at JSC Shubarkol Komir in Kazakhstan’s Karaganda Region.

The new 400,000 t/y plant will produce a reducing agent that is key to the production of ferroalloys, ERG says.

Under the ЕРС contract, the plant will be constructed on a turnkey basis and is scheduled to be put into operation in 2023. Investments in the project will total about KZT40 billion ($94 million).

Ruslan Mulyukbayev, CEO of ERG Capital Projects, the company responsible for developing and implementing large-scale investment projects in Kazakhstan, said: “The new plant will enable JSC Shubarkol Komir to manufacture a high value-added product and cut the imports of reducing agents significantly. In addition, it should help increase local content in ferrochrome production and meet ERG’s needs by supplying a domestically manufactured product. The plant will use state-of-the-art technological solutions and automation that are fully compliant with all national standards. We plan to create 120 new jobs.”

Qin Junman, President of NFC, said: “The signing of the EPC contract marks another milestone in the long-term cooperation between NFC and ERG. I am fully confident that, with our good track record of successful implementation of a number world-class projects in Kazakhstan, including ERG’s state-of-the-art Aluminium Smelter project, we will be able to deliver another exemplary project of Sino-Kazakh cooperation within schedule, with good quality and with international HSE standard.”

In addition to 400,000 t of special coke, the new plant will produce more than 70,000 t/y of coal tar and oil from Shubarkol Komir’s coal. ERG is also exploring the possibility of exporting these products.

The new enterprise will use technological solutions to enable safe and environmentally friendly production, as well as to increase electricity, heat and water conservation, ERG says. Its ventilation system will be equipped with air purifiers. All water used in the production process, as well as the contaminated wastewater, will be treated and supplied to the water recycling system.

JSC Shubarkol Komir is already home to a special coke plant with a capacity of over 200,000 t/y that was built and put into operation in 2005. The company has implemented a project to equip the plant with the newest, most efficient system for tar removal from coke oven gas, a process which involves five-stages of treatment.

NioCorp extends Cementation Americas’ stay at Elk Creek project

NioCorp Developments says it has signed a contract with Cementation USA, part of the Cementation Americas group, to continue advancing detailed engineering work associated with the Elk Creek Superalloy Materials project in Nebraska, USA.

Under the contract, the underground mine contracting and engineering company will conduct an evaluation of the current design for the project’s underground mine and prepare a detailed cost estimate for the final detailed engineering that would be required to bring the mine design to “Issued for Construction” status, NioCorp said.

As previously announced, NioCorp selected Cementation as the lead engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the underground aspects of the project. The company expects to engage Cementation, if and when additional project financing becomes available, to undertake Phase 2 of the contract, which involves completion of the detailed engineering for the mine.

An April 2019 feasibility study on Elk Creek estimated average production of 7,220 t/y of ferroniobium, 95 t/y tpa of scandium trioxide and 11,642 t/y of titanium dioxide over the 36-year mine life.

Mining EPC/EPCM space in transition mode, Ausenco’s Ebbett says

The past 12 months has been an interesting period for the mining EPC/EPCM space with miners looking to offload more risk and leverage new technology to improve design accuracy, reduce cost and shorten the time between construction and production.

Ahead of the annual focus on this sector, to be published in International Mining’s December issue, IM heard from Ausenco’s Vice President of Global Project Delivery, John Ebbert, on the recent trends affecting the project design, construction and delivery market.

IM: In the past 12 months, how has the market for mining EPCM contracts evolved? Do some of the big contract awards to the likes of WorleyParsons (Koodaideri), Bechtel (QBII) indicate a shift in the type of contracts/services some of the big projects/companies are now looking for?

JE: These large project awards are in line with increased mining investment. The market is moving towards a greater level of integration between owners and EPCM service providers with a focus on minimising risks typically associated with mega projects. This is not only the case in the mining sector; we are seeing similar trends in other sectors. This shift reflects the capacity of each contracting party to accept risk. During periods of reduced activity, contractors need to accept greater risk (EPC) to protect their revenue and margins. Conversely in periods of greater project activity, contractors are able to realise similar margins on a risk-free basis (EPCM).

IM: Over the same time period, has automation become more firmly entrenched in mine engineering plans? Are big open-pit mines now being designed to facilitate autonomous equipment or a combination of manned and autonomous equipment?

JE: Automation is considered at all stages of project development. The productivity and efficiency gains afforded by automation and digitisation help de-risk or improve return on investment, something owners always aim to achieve. The level and application of automation ranges from simply reducing dependency on operators, through to the creation of digital twins that support asset optimisation using advanced analysis techniques. Not only are we designing mines that support and enable automation, we are also designing to enable advanced data and analytics processes.

IM: For underground mine design, how has the evolution of mine electrification influenced design? Is the use of this equipment enabling mines to go deeper on ramps than they were previously able to (thanks to reduced ventilation needs)?

JE: The evolution of mine electrification emphasises the need for flexible mine design that will accommodate new and emerging technology predicted to be mainstream in the not-so-distant future. Adequately ventilating underground mines is a challenge due to the sheer volume of power required to move and potentially cool the air. Not only does the shift away from diesel-powered equipment towards electrification have well documented health and environmental benefits, it also allows greater flexibility in development cycles, mining at greater depths and increased productivity as ventilation requirements to maintain a safe environment for personnel are lower.

IM: In terms of the project pipeline, what are the big contract awards to look out for in the mining space over the next 12 months?

JE: From a global market perspective, we are expecting continued demand for and investment in metals such as copper, lithium and cobalt in line with the increasing global demand for electric vehicles. Similarly, due to global trade and market uncertainty, gold is likely to remain a strong player in the next 12 months.