Tag Archives: open-pit mining

Argonaut Gold moves forward Magino construction with Ausenco EPC contract

Argonaut Gold says it has executed a fixed bid engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPC) contract with Ausenco Engineering Canada for the construction of the Magino open-pit gold processing facility and other parts of the Magino construction project, in Ontario, Canada.

The EPC contract totals around 40% of Magino’s initial capital estimate of between $360-$380 million, the company said.

A 2017 feasibility study on Magino, a past-producing mine, outlined a 10,000 t/d operation with average annual production of around 116,000 oz of gold over a 17-year mine life (including three years of ore processed from a low-grade stockpile). This same study stated open-pit mining operations would use a fleet comprised of 16 m3 front shovels, a 13 m3 front-end loader and 140 t haul trucks.

Pete Dougherty, President and CEO of Argonaut Gold, said: “Ausenco is an industry leader in the field of building high-quality processing facilities in the mining industry and recently did an excellent job with the Moose River project in Nova Scotia, Canada.

“We are excited for Magino to be one of the first projects entering construction in the current gold price environment, as we feel first mover advantage is critical when securing a construction team of the highest quality and with a superior track record.”

Argonaut recently posted the first phase of financial assurance with the province of Ontario and expects the Magino project Closure Plan to be filed by the province of Ontario in January 2021, which will allow for construction to commence.

MACA eyes up Downer’s Open Cut Mining West division

MACA Ltd, in response to recent media speculation, says it is currently considering the potential purchase of Downer EDI Limited’s Mining West division.

The contractor says such a move for the open-pit mining business is consistent with statements made at its Annual General Meeting in November 2020, which outlined that it continued to explore and pursue growth opportunities that will deliver “value to shareholders on an ongoing basis”. This exploration, it said, may include investments in new businesses or acquisitions where considered appropriate.

MACA added: “The process is ongoing and MACA would only pursue a binding offer to acquire the business if it were to align with its strategy and deliver value for the company’s shareholders.”

Downer has previously announced it is seeking expressions of interest in the various parts of its portfolio of mining businesses.

It has already announced the sale of Downer Blasting Services, the Snowden consulting business and its share of the RTL Mining and Earthworks joint venture, while also stating the company is in active discussions with several interested parties in relation to the rest of its mining portfolio.

UQ-led geotechnical project targets open pit mine of the future roadmap

A A$4-million ($2.8 million) cash injection from industry has marked the beginning of the next phase of research for a large-scale geotechnical project headed up by University of Queensland (UQ) experts.

Professor David Williams (right) and Dr Mehdi Serati (left) have managed the Large Open Pit Project (LOP) from UQ’s civil engineering home base, since 2017, and they recently secured the management of further funding to begin phase three of the project, which will run until 2022.

“The LOP links innovative mining geomechanics and geotechnical engineering research with best practice in open-pit mining,” Professor Williams said. “Australia is a leader in open-pit mining, driven by a forward-thinking industry.

“The LOP has provided a focus for research for the past 15 years and, since 2017, allowed us to collaborate and advance the safety and risk components of open-pit mines.

“The project also ensures that the industry can maintain its immensely valuable contribution to the Australian economy into the future, with mining generating around A$250 billion annually and employing about 15% of the Australian workforce.”

The primary focus for researchers during this three-year term will be to create a roadmap for ‘The Open Pit of the Future’.

Together with international industry partners and research colleagues, the team will bring together cutting-edge knowledge around large open-pit design, operation and closure, supporting future trends, including the interaction with underground mines, and deeper and even more technology-driven unmanned and automated operations.

Dr Serati said the team aimed to produce a new generation of pit slope design guidelines that incorporated everything from the fundamentals of slope design and rock mass characterisation, through to 3D geotechnical modelling, slope monitoring techniques, controlled blasting and open-pit closure.

“In open-pit mining, the design of the slopes is one of the major challenges at every stage of planning, through operation to closure, and requires specialised knowledge of the geology and material geotechnical parameters, which is often complex,” Dr Serati said. “Good open-pit design also requires an understanding of the practical aspects of design implementation, so we need to work collaboratively to cover all of these elements and produce industry-wide best practice guidelines.

“Australia has some of the largest open-pit mines in the world, which are reaching ever greater depths, and the LOP Guidelines are vital in ensuring coverage of all of the important design aspects.”

The LOP is recognised as the premier international research and technology transfer body representing the technical disciplines contributing to large open pits and supporting future trends, UQ says. The LOP fosters close collaboration between industry and researchers, which is essential to meeting industry’s need to continuously innovate.

“A key aim of the LOP is to ensure that the mining industry is a safe, prosperous and environmentally friendly contributor to society,” UQ said.

The industry sponsors for LOP III (third phase) include Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, BHP, Debswana, Fortescue Metals Group, McArthur River Mining, Newcrest Mining, Rio Tinto and Vale, with other companies being encouraged to join.

Worley out to help miners on their open pit to underground mining transition

As open-pit mines reach their economic end of life, mine owners are considering the viability of transitioning their open-pit operations to underground.

Drawing on its deep level mining expertise in South Africa, Worley helps mine owners around the world to explore the feasibility of underground life of mine extensions and identify the most efficient and safe underground mining methods.

Among the driving factors in the transition to underground mining are declining ore grades, deeper ore deposits, and an increase in demand for minerals required for the global energy transition, such as copper, lithium, manganese and nickel, Worley says.

“Worley’s centre of excellence for copper in Chile has been supporting open-pit copper mine customers for nearly three decades,” the company said. “The company is gearing up its underground capability as these mines shift their operations to below surface to access deeper ore reserves.”

Going deep in South Africa

Worley’s South Africa operations is one of the company’s mining centres of excellence with niche experience in deep level mining.

Mining has been the mainstay of South Africa’s economy for well over a century, and a major source of employment as well as foreign investment. Consequently, Worley has grown its South Africa mining team in one of the best mining environments in the world, with a collective experience of over 120 years in deep level mining and process expertise.

Robert Hull, Vice President for Mining, Minerals & Metals in Africa, says Worley’s South African operation is recognised for its deep level shaft experience, and the company also has experience across most commodities including base metals, coal, platinum, gold, diamonds and ferrous metals.

Hull says Worley has a strong global workshare philosophy and culture of collaboration. The specialist skills in South Africa gained from working on some of the biggest underground projects in the world are an integral part of Worley’s mining, minerals and metals global project delivery offering.

Deep level mine skills

Some of South Africa’s specialist deep underground skills include shaft design, ventilation and refrigeration shafts, high pressure pumping, and deep level hoisting.

Worley says it is one of the few companies in the world that has the expertise to design hoisting systems for mass hoisting, such as at the Venetia Underground Project, which will hoist approximately 6 Mt/y of rock.

The De Beers Venetia Mine in South Africa is the biggest source of rough diamonds in the country, according to Worley. The mine is in the process of transitioning from open pit to underground, to extend its life by some 25 years.

As engineering procurement and construction management contractor for South Africa’s largest mining execution project, Worley is using 3D designs for the project infrastructure to provide 3D models for the entire project’s surface and underground infrastructure, it said.

Intelligent mines

Hull says Worley is leading the way in developing digital solutions for the planning, design and execution of mining projects, with the South Africa office having played a key role in the design and development of much of the group’s digital technology in mining and minerals processing.

Hull (pictured) cites the Wafi-Golpu (owned by Harmony Gold Mining and Newcrest Mining) feasibility study update, in Papua New Guinea, where the South Africa team drew on SmartPlant design technology, which uses rapid prototyping and Building Information Modelling. The technology allowed the entire project team to visualise project objectives as never before, greatly improving operational efficiency in a dynamic time and cost-saving environment, according to Worley.

The Wafi-Golpu project is ranked as a world-class deposit in terms of its size and the grade of gold and copper within it. If developed, it will be the largest, deepest and most complex underground mine in Papua New Guinea, with a mine life of 28 years, Worley says.

Integrated project delivery teams

Worley’s South Africa team is also supporting its Australia counterparts to project manage the delivery of the deepening and expansion of an underground gold mine. This includes construction of a 1,460 m shaft, additional capacity in the processing plant, and supporting infrastructure to enable profitable recovery of ore at depth to 2 140m below surface. IM understands the project in question is the Newmont-owned Tanami Expansion 2 project, in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Mega machines for mega mines

Hull says every underground project Worley has executed has drawn on the company’s large material handling capabilities.

“In South Africa, we have a dedicated materials handling department that has the latest tools including discrete element modelling and finite element analysis, and advanced simulation tools for conveyer design,” he said.

Coenie Mynhardt, Winder Engineering at Worley, adds that mine payloads have increased dramatically in the last two decades in pursuit of higher productivity rates. Mines such as Impala and Phalaborwa, in South Africa, with an approximate 12-t per skipload, were considered ‘mega mines’ in their day. The mines of the future are more than double that size.

“The mega mines of the future need mega machines to be able to handle such big payloads,” Mynhardt says. “Materials handling technology for such deep, high tonnage operations will test current technology for capacity and reliability to bring the ore from the production levels to surface. We have the skills and expertise to find the solutions to these challenges.”

Global project delivery

“Countries such as Chile have immense potential for transitioning from open pit to underground if the geology supports it,” commented Hull. “With the wealth of experience across locations and over 4,000 staff in our mining, minerals and metals business line, we can safely and successfully deliver our customers’ underground mine assets through collaborative development of the mine and associated infrastructure anywhere in the world.”

Atlas Copco light towers illuminate JRC’s open-pit mining opportunities

Atlas Copco says Peru-based mining development, construction and infrastructure services business, JRC, has recently purchased six HiLight V5+ light towers to ensure continuous and efficient operations at the Iscaycruz zinc-lead mine in Oyón province.

Iscaycruz, owned by Empresa Minera Los Quenuales SA (majority owned by Glencore), is a polymetallic deposit with four mines in production: Limpe, Chupa, Tinyag 1 and Tinyag 2. Due to its altitude of 4,700-5,000 m above sea level, the mine is situated in one of the most challenging areas of Peru.

“The survival in this area is very hard, both for people and equipment: we worked with light towers from another manufacturer for a while and they did not work out,” Julio Tello, JRC Equipment Manager, said. “The three-cylinder engines shut down after two hours working and the lamps broke easily.”

The tough working conditions and the lack of having the right light tower for this project led to heavy losses for JRC, due to the impossibility of starting the night shift, according to Atlas Copco. To solve this issue, the company tested on site a HiLight V5+ light tower from Atlas Copco to ensure the unit was the right equipment for the project. After carrying out the test, JRC purchased six HiLight V5+ light towers to be used at Iscaycruz.

Atlas Copco’s HiLight V5+ light tower has been designed for the most demanding conditions, according to the company.

Featuring a HardHat® canopy as standard, which ensures maximum protection of internal parts, the design includes directional optic lenses that maximise practical light coverage while minimising dark spots. A single light tower has four LED floodlights each projecting 350 W of light and the HiLight H5+ can illuminate an area of up to 5,000 sq.m, providing an average brightness of 20 lux. The LED lamps offer users higher durability without any deterioration in lux level and have a life expectancy of more than 50,000 hours, according to Atlas Copco.

Additionally, the HiLight H5+ light tower offers low fuel consumption, offering a run time between refuelling of 260 hours and consumption of less than 0.5 litres/h of fuel.

“The acquisition of Atlas Copco’s HiLight V5+ light towers with two-cylinder engines changed the whole picture for us. It’s a solution that has been radical,” Tello said. “Until now, JRC’s expertise has been mainly in underground mining projects, however the operations at Iscaycruz is showing that we are the right fit for open-pit operations; that is why we are preparing seven mining projects in Peru and one in Mexico. The HiLight V5+ light towers are helping us to operate this type of project perfectly.”

Nelson Batistucci, Atlas Copco Business Line Manager for the Andean region, explains: “In order to deliver the right solution for our customers, we need to understand their needs well. In this case, considering the challenges of working at extreme altitude, as it is common for many of our mining customers in Peru, helped us choose the right light tower for JRC. At Atlas Copco, we are strongly committed to technological innovation and have a highly skilled team to analyse the challenges and provide the best solution for our customers.”

Generation Mining readies more ‘aggressive’ Marathon PGM-copper project approach

Generation Mining says it is making headway on the development plan for its Marathon palladium-copper project, in north-western Ontario, Canada, having contracted all the major engineering companies for the study.

The study is expected to take around seven to eight months to conclude, with completion expected in early 2021, it said.

G-Mining Services will carry out the mine plan and mineral reserves, infrastructure scope of work and integration of the costs and economic analysis; Ausenco Engineering Canada is progressing the process facility layout and design based on the metallurgical testing that is currently underway at SGS-Lakefield; and Knight-Piesold is to design the tailings facility and open-pit geotechnical engineering. In support of the feasibility study and environment impact interactions, Stantec and Ecometrix P&E Mining Consultants will be responsible for the mineral resource estimate, the company said.

Jamie Levy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Generation Mining, said: “It is a very impressive team that we have assembled for the feasibility study. I am confident that these firms will optimise the value of the Marathon-PGM property and will continue to de-risk the project.

“Our goal is to maximise the net present value of the project while designing an operation which will minimise environmental impacts and provide economic benefits to the local communities. We see the Marathon project being near shovel-ready and well timed to the buoyant palladium market.”

Generation Mining acquired a 51% interest in the Marathon property from Sibanye Stillwater on July 10, 2019, and can increase its interest to 80% by spending $10 million over a period of four years. As of the March quarter, around $4 million of the $10 million has already been spent.

A preliminary economic assessment on Marathon published earlier this year outlined a 14,000 t/d open-pit operation growing to 22,000 t/d after expansion, with an average palladium output of 107,000 oz/y for 14 years. The open-pit mining would be owner-operated using conventional diesel equipment consisting of 254 mm diameter rotary drills on 10 m high benches, 29 cu.m bucket hydraulic excavators, and 221 t off-highway haul trucks and auxiliary equipment, according to the study.

On the feasibility study, Generation Mining said all groups were “integrating well” through good interactions and frequent communications.

“G-Mining will progress pit designs and sequencing that will prioritise the high-grade palladium values for initial production to bring increased palladium production into the first half of the mine life, and increase copper production in the mine’s later years,” the company said.

“Ausenco’s plant design is expected to update the quality work that was done in prior studies with newer technology, which, in turn, will improve concentrator operability and lower capital costs, while increasing palladium recovery without sacrificing copper recovery. This flowsheet is expected to be validated with the current metallurgical test work that is progressing at SGS-Lakefield.

“Knight-Piesold will be updating the past tailings dam designs to reflect current best available practices and technologies.”

Stantec and Ecometrix are involved in the feasibility study team to help facilitate the update of the Environment Impact Study report addendum and to help inform the critical path regulatory approvals process, the company added.

At this early stage, the work on the feasibility study will consider an optimised processing and mine production rate that is “more aggressive” than outlined in the PEA, the company said, contemplating starting at 5 Mt/y and expanding to 8 Mt/y after five years.

Epiroc slims Sweden workforce following COVID-19 related demand drop

Epiroc has provided a notice of termination to 425 employees in Sweden as it looks to adapt to the changing COVID-19 demand situation in the mining and infrastructure sectors.

The move is in response to lower global demand from these sectors amid the pandemic, and to position the company better for the future, it said.

Some 350 positions are expected to go at the company’s Örebro facilities, with 75 positions being removed in Fagersta, Sweden, of which half are positions in production, the company said.

Örebro is a main manufacturing and research and development hub for Epiroc’s underground and surface equipment as well as for service and spare parts supply, while Fagersta is home to Epiroc’s rock drilling tools business. Epiroc has about 3,100 employees in Sweden, out of a global workforce of some 14,000.

Epiroc said: “The action is the result of Epiroc facing a significant drop in demand from customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on the global economy. The work reductions are also part of Epiroc’s continuous effort to become as agile and efficient as possible and follows various efficiency measures taken worldwide since 2019.”

The company, in April, announced it would consolidate the manufacturing of exploration drilling tools in Canada, gradually moving its base from North Bay to Montreal and Sweden over the course of 2020, with around 65 employees in North Bay, Ontario, being affected.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “We are taking these actions to adapt to the new market situation following the COVID-19 pandemic and to make us stronger and more resilient for the future. Unfortunately, we must take such a drastic action as giving notice of termination. We regret the negative consequences this will have for our colleagues and those close to them, and we will support our employees in this difficult situation.

“These actions will allow us to continue to prioritise innovation and to develop our technology leadership in order to support our customers’ operations and improve their productivity.”

Epiroc’s innovation investments have led to the mining and infrastructure industries becoming more productive, safe and climate friendly, according to the company, following the adoption of its automation, digitalisation and electrification solutions.

Deswik targets open-pit mining efficiency gains with road audit tool

Deswik, noting a growing industry focus on road audit and compliance, is highlighting the use of an application that, it says, semi-automates the road auditing process and reduces reporting turnaround times while increasing consistency.

The company says: “In a large open-cut mine, you will often find 300-plus tonne trucks running in multiple directions on haul roads, together with a mix of light vehicles and ancillary equipment. This means that the construction and maintenance of compliant roads is a crucial element to running mine operations, especially when there is a growing focus on road audit and compliance.”

However, conducting road audits is usually a manual and time-consuming process, according to Deswik. It is also difficult to maintain in an environment where roads and safety bund requirements are changing and labour is expensive, the company says.

A common road audit process involves surveyors or engineers measuring gradients manually in the field. They may also use the combination of a manual CAD and spreadsheet process – by taking periodic slices through the LIDAR or DTM modules and manually measuring the distances and gradients of the road.

“This often takes more than 40 hours of work for a single operation,” Deswik says. “As a result, the process is completed rarely, with high cost and potential disconnection from the current operating environment.”

Deswik has identified this as a high-value area for process automation, enabling faster feedback and reducing cost. This is where the Deswik Road Audit tool comes in.

The tool measures road and bund physicals, compares them with site requirements and highlights non-compliant areas in a single process, according to the company.

“This has seen a reduction in the typical road audit process – what may have taken over 40 hours to complete for 20 km of roadway, is now down to less than 30 minutes,” Deswik says. “The automated outputs of this process include new refined road centrelines, road sections, polygons showing non-compliance for plotting and reporting, bund non-compliance areas, and so on.”

By completing the process using the integrated Deswik solutions, productivity analysis can be run on the outputs to determine the potential production uplift gained by modifying the roads, the company says, with detailed designs created and sent directly to machine guidance systems for rectification works.

“By using the Deswik Road Audit tool, sites can complete the road audit process much faster, allowing operations to get quicker feedback and free up personnel to complete value-add tasks,” it said.

As well as being much more efficient than the standard road audit process, the Deswik Road Audit tool is easy to use, the company claims. The simple, repeatable process requires less inputs and setup time, while producing consistent outputs with much less manual work. “This means that even users new to Deswik can produce the road audit reports required to ensure continued safety on-site,” Deswik says.

BHP’s Alex Rowell, a Deswik Road Audit tool user, backs up the company’s opinion.

“The Deswik Road Audit tool is super simple to use and provides some fantastic outputs,” Rowell said. “I had never used the tool before, but in less than 30 minutes I was able to create the required inputs to audit all of the primary haul routes for a large open-cut coal site in the Bowen Basin.

“All that is needed is rough centrelines for the haul routes to be audited and the design parameters. I was able to run checks on ramp gradients, cross gradients, road widths and bund heights against the design parameters.”

Truck & Shovel conference gains Singapore Mining Club support

The inaugural Truck & Shovel conference is now just over seven weeks away and the stage is set for an exciting event looking into the future of the global loading and haulage industry.

With topics such as automation, digitalisation, fleet management, and tyre and fuel optimisation on the agenda, there will be much to discuss at the 1.5-day event, taking place at the InterContinental Singapore, Middle Road, on September 19-20.

In addition to gaining the support of Komatsu Mining (Platinum Sponsor), Zyfra Mining (Gold Sponsor) and Mining Industry Professionals (Media Sponsor), IM Events is pleased to announce that the Singapore Mining Club has backed this global event.

Truck & Shovel 2019 will now be held in association with the Singapore Mining Club, an influential group that exists to promote development of Singapore as the pre-eminent regional hub for the management and financing of mining enterprises.

We chose Singapore for this global event for several reasons, including:

  • Many of the big mining companies have procurement and marketing hubs in this Asian metropolis;
  • It acts as a gateway through to key mining hubs such as Australia, India, China and Indonesia, and;
  • It has good transport links and an excellent reputation for event hospitality.

Taking place in Ballroom I and II of the InterContinental Singapore, this event has attracted a number of high-profile speakers that have masses of industry knowledge to share with delegates.

We plan to kick off the day with a keynote from Komatsu Mining’s Jason Knuth (Senior Manager – Data Solutions) and Simon Van Wegen (Product Manager – Data Solutions) on ‘Data-driven designs for dynamic mining environments’.

The duo, who have spoken at many high profile conferences around the world, are set to reveal how advanced mining original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are leveraging the plethora of data nodes on smart equipment to adapt equipment and design solutions for the modern mine environment.

Mikhail Makeev, Global Business Director, Zyfra Mining, is set to continue this digitalisation theme during his catchily-titled ‘How to make your mine “rock”’ presentation. The company has automation and fleet management expertise that it has applied across many mine sites, with Makeev keen to share details on these experiences.

Automation

For those focused on surface mining automation, Truck & Shovel tackles the concept from three different angles.

Drew Larsen, Director of Business Development, ASI Mining, will provide a business case for haulage automation with a presentation titled: ‘Autonomous Mining – more feasible than you might think’. The company, 34% owned by global mining OEM Epiroc, began work on a project with Barrick Gold to retrofit and automate a fleet of Komatsu 930-E Ultra Class haul trucks at the Arturo joint venture operation in Nevada, last year, and is expecting to issue news on projects with other miners in the near future.

Tony Cutler, Principal Consultant, OTR Global, will be tackling automation from a different stance in his ‘Factoring tyres into autonomous haulage’ presentation. Research from the leading mining OEMs offering autonomous haulage systems (AHS) indicates these systems have the potential to prolong tyre life, a claim Cutler will interrogate up on stage.

And Steve Russell, Director – Mining, Scott Technology Ltd, will be looking at autonomous refuelling in his talk. With a title of ‘Robofuel Robotic Refuelling – A safety and productivity initiative for the 21st Century Mine’, he will highlight case studies that showcase just how effective this process is in an open-pit mining context.

Equipment design and innovation

The look and feel of loading and haulage equipment hasn’t changed dramatically over the past few decades, but with mining companies and OEMs now receiving data in real time about how trucks and excavators are operating and interacting with each other, one would expect these design blueprints to, in the future, be altered in some way – for example Komatsu’s cabless haul truck concept.

Taking on this topic at the event will be Christopher B Althausen, Director of Sales & Marketing for Pioneer Solutions LLC, and Brad Rogers, CEO of Bis Industries.

Althausen’s presentation, ‘Mining truck design and development: challenges, hurdles and solutions’, looks at his and his company’s experiences approaching haul truck design over many decades. Rogers’ talk, meanwhile, focuses on ‘Innovation in minesite haulage’. With Bis Industries now having successful trials of its revolutionary Rexx haul truck in its back pocket, delegates will look forward to hearing all about the proven productivity benefits of using this 20-wheel machine.

Maximising payload

The first day of the event will finish with a packed session on truck bodies and excavator buckets where four speakers will highlight just how effective customised solutions can be in the open-pit mining environment.

Carl Samuelson, Global Business Support Manager, Metso Haul Truck Solutions, will talk about successes the mining OEM has had with its hybrid haul truck tray, the Metso Truck Body, while David Pichanick, Global Manager Market Development & Innovation, Austin Engineering, will reveal how thinking ‘outside the box’ and changing the way the company uses materials in dump bodies and buckets has had an impact on safety and productivity. Tom Smith, Engineering Manager at DT HiLoad, rounds out the truck body talk, presenting, ‘HERCULES: The Strongest Tray in Earth’.

Ian Cornfoot, Managing Director of G&G Mining, has the honour of closing day one with a presentation on the use of customised excavator buckets titled, ‘Moving Rocks Not Steel – “Productive innovations in earthmoving buckets”’.

Fuel efficiency and management

As has been well documented, fuel efficiency is key when it comes to open-pit mining, with optimised fuel selection and management often keeping the cost per tonne down.

This topic kicks off day two of the event, with Kevin Dagenais, CEO of Blutip Technologies, looking at the use of predictive modelling techniques to target mining inefficiencies in this space. Sean Birrell, Group Product Officer, FluidIntel, follows closely behind him on ‘Analytics opportunities in fuel and lubricant management – unseen risks & untapped value in your supply chain & operations’, with Joao Silveirinha, Chief Technology Officer of Banlaw, rounding out the fuel talk with a talk titled, ‘Digital Transformation and Automation as it relates to the management of Hydrocarbons in Mining’.

Safety and training

The last session of the conference is all on safety and training, with two speakers keen to talk up the benefits of these in open-pit mining where accidents can cost lives and machines.

Daniel Bongers, Chief Technology Officer of SmartCap Technologies, will present, ‘Zero fatigue incidents achieved – moving to alertness monitoring’ in his 30-minute slot, with Graham Upton, Director of Business Development at simulator specialist, Doron Precision Systems Inc, following him with ‘Shovel and Truck, side-by-side Coordinated Training’.

For details of how to register for this event, or access the full program, please visit the website: https://im-mining.com/truck-and-shovel/

Please note, all company delegations of two or more people are entitled to a discount. Get in touch with Editorial Director, Paul Moore ([email protected]), or Editor, Dan Gleeson ([email protected]), for more information.

West African picks Ausdrill’s AUMS for Sanbrado open-pit mining

Ausdrill, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, African Mining Services (AMS), has been selected by West African Resources as the preferred open-pit mining contractor for the Sanbrado gold project, in Burkina Faso.

Sanbrado, a low-cost, high-grade operation only 90 km from the country’s capital, Ouagadougou, will be the 14th commercial gold mine in Burkina Faso in 14 years. It is forecast to have average annual production of 217,000 oz/y of gold at all-in sustaining costs of less than $600/oz in its first five years of mine life.

The AMS scope of work includes a full suite of open pit mining services – including site preparation, drill and blast, load and haul, and maintenance works – over a five-year term, generating approximately A$235 million ($160 million) in revenue under a schedule of rates contract, Ausdrill said.

AMS anticipates it will employ some 190 personnel at the project, with the workforce to be predominantly local, and use a mix of new and existing equipment to deliver on the project.

AMS and West African Resources are in the process of finalising the contract terms, which will include the provision of an optional deferred payment arrangement for up to $10 million at a commercial interest rate, with works expected to commence in early 2020. West African Resources said mobilisation activities were expected to commence in November, ahead of open-pit mining commencement in January 2020.

Ausdrill Group Managing Director, Mark Norwell, said: “A key focus for the new Ausdrill group has been to enhance our surface operations in Africa and target substantial growth opportunities across a range of commodities in select African countries.

“Being selected as preferred contractor at the Sanbrado gold project is a significant achievement and represents the excellent progress we are making in building on the suite of quality projects on which AMS operates in the region.”

West African Resources Managing Director, Richard Hyde, said: “Sanbrado is the highest margin gold project in construction in West Africa and we are on target for approximately 300,000 oz of gold in the first 12 months of production. We look forward to partnering with AMS to bring this fully funded project into production in mid-2020.”