Tag Archives: Oz Minerals

Sandvik delivers 100th automated loader in APAC region

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it has delivered its 100th loader connected to the AutoMine® platform in the Asia Pacific region.

A Sandvik LH621i loader was delivered to Byrnecut Australia in March, making it Sandvik’s 100th automated load and haul unit to be delivered in APAC.

Sandvik has 30 AutoMine systems installed across Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, with customers including Barminco, OceanaGold, Redpath, and Byrnecut, who now have 11 sites in Australia connected to AutoMine. The first AutoMine system in the region was delivered and commissioned in 2008 for Mount Isa Copper Operations, now owned by Glencore.

AutoMine is Sandvik’s automation system for autonomous and tele-remote operation for a wide range of Sandvik and non-Sandvik underground and surface equipment. It provides a safe and controlled process to increase mine productivity and profitability, as well as protect operators and other mine personnel in underground and surface operations.

AutoMine can be scaled from tele-remote or autonomous operation of a single machine to multi-machine control and full fleet automation with automatic mission and traffic control capability. Operators can simultaneously control or monitor multiple machines from the comfort and safety of a remote control room, Sandvik says.

Sandvik recently demonstrated this capability with the successful trial remote operation of a LH621i loader at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine in South Australia. The LH621i was successfully operated from the Remote Operating Centre in OZ Mineral’s Adelaide office, taking OZ Minerals a step closer to realising its goal of remote operations from home.

“The digitalisation field has developed significantly over the years and we have adapted to meet the industry needs along the way,” Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions Technical Support Manager – Mine Automation, Ty Osborne, said.

“We have seen our customers change their mindset from ‘this technology is nice but won’t work in our mine’, to, ‘what do have to do to make this work in our mine?’. Our customers are now seeing the value of including digitalisation in their mine planning and recognise the tangible benefits an automated fleet can bring to their operation.”

OZ Minerals partners with Unearthed to encourage hydrogen innovations for mining

OZ Minerals has partnered with Unearthed to encourage innovators to come up with safe ways of applying hydrogen in the mining value chain and help decarbonise its operations.

Hydrogen Hypothesis is a Think & Act Differently™ (TAD) initiative powered by OZ Minerals, the companies said. It is underlined by the miner’s strategic aspiration to eliminate Scope 1 emissions and strive to systematically reduce Scope 2 and 3 emissions across its value chain.

OZ Minerals explained: “The use of hydrogen as a green, low carbon energy source is one of the most widely explored subjects on the planet today. In our journey towards zero carbon emissions, OZ Minerals recognises the importance of hydrogen and we want to better understand the potential uses cases.”

This challenge invites innovators from inside and outside the mining sector, across the globe to propose safe experiments to demonstrate the role hydrogen could play in the mining value chain and help OZ Minerals learn how it can support a transition to low carbon emission operations, OZ Minerals said.

The challenge, open to companies, teams and individuals from any industry including mining, energy, aerospace, transportation and others, is looking for mature or early-stage hydrogen technologies and concepts that can be applied to mining.

Launched today, it has a final submission deadline of May 28.

OZ Minerals’ TAD incubator is a process and ecosystem designed to facilitate novel and challenging ideas that will accelerate the implementation of its strategy, the miner said.

“Our challenges are focused on themes aligned with our aspirations, namely Clean Products, Energy & Emissions, Waste & Water, Scalable & Adaptable Assets and Data & Technology,” it said. “The TAD process involves framing opportunities, diverging in our thinking to generate ideas, converging on experiments that we can use to test the best ideas, and then accelerating these experiments by providing funding, access to sites and support in developing ideas.”

As the challenge closes, select teams will be invited to participate in the TAD incubator’s Convergence and Accelerator phases, with the latter expected to run from June 28 onwards.

ZED70 Ti battery-electric vehicle takes trip underground at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena

The Zero Automotive ZED70 Ti has become one of the first Australia-made street legal light electric vehicles to enter an underground mine after making a trip into the Tjati Decline at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold operation in South Australia.

The vehicle made the trip in January and, according to OZ Minerals, managed over four complete round trips ‒ from the surface to the bottom of the mine and back ‒ without requiring a plug-in charge.

OZ Minerals said: “A big shout out to Zero Automotive for their hard work in developing such a great vehicle and commissioning it for underground use within two days!”

The Zero Automotive ZED70 Ti uses LTO chemistry and comes equipped with a specially selected battery housing, control systems and charging capability to endure the “hyper saline underground environment” at Carrapateena, OZ Minerals previously said.

OZ Minerals previously tested a Zero Automotive ZED70 battery-electric light vehicle on site at Carrapateena.

In June 2020, it also outlined a prefeasibility study on an expansion of Carrapateena that included a trial of electric light vehicles and establishment of a renewable energy hub.

Aqura Technologies to boost FMG’s network at Kangi accommodation camp

Veris Ltd’s wholly-owned subsidiary Aqura Technologies has been awarded A$1.1 million ($849,165) in works to undertake an upgrade of the in-situ accommodation network at Fortescue Metals Group’s Kangi 1,850 room village in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia.

The scope of the Kangi village engagement is to design and deliver physical upgrades to the GPON network to ensure a high level of reliability of services to village guests, it says.

The enhancement of the existing infrastructure using Aqura’s specialist technical expertise will establish an extremely robust platform for the delivery of entertainment services and wellbeing programs to the large workforce accommodated at the site, the company explained.

Aqura has commenced the design phase and will look to complete the scope of works by July.

“The new contract adds to Aqura’s strong track record in delivering high-performance Content Access Network (CAN) solutions for clients such as BHP, Newmont, OZ Minerals and Abra Mining,” Veris said. “Aqura’s expertise in the delivery of CAN solutions has delivered enhanced user experiences in over 16,000 accommodation rooms completed to date.”

The Kangi camp was constructed – and expanded – by Pindan (photo courtesy of Pindan) as part of FMG’s Solomon iron ore mine development.

Aqura Technologies CEO, Travis Young, said: “We’re pleased to kick off a new engagement with Fortescue who are looking to our in-house team to provide a high-quality foundation for their Kangi Village network.

“The contract award is testament to the strong quality and safety record of Aqura in the design and delivery of high-quality network infrastructure.

“We are very mindful of the benefits of this type of investment which fundamentally supports and enhances the positive wellbeing for fly-in fly-out staff who are away from home for extended periods and need reliable infrastructure to support connections to family and friends.”

Byrnecut adds Carrapateena to OZ Minerals underground contract mining portfolio

OZ Minerals Ltd has changed underground mining contractor at its Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia following Downer EDI’s move to divest its mining services businesses to MACA.

The company has now signed an agreement with Byrnecut Australia for the delivery of underground mining and associated mining services at Carrapateena. The two companies know each other well, with Byrnecut already carrying out underground mining services at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill for the past 10 years.

The five-year alliance-style contract with Byrnecut is valued at circa-A$130 million/y ($101 million/y), OZ Minerals said. Byrnecut has already commenced a seven-week mobilisation to the Carrapateena site and will assume full responsibility for mining services delivery from March 4, 2021.

“OZ Minerals, Byrnecut and Downer will work together during the transition period to ensure continuity of operational performance and development, and employee support and opportunities, with the objective of providing roles for the majority of the incumbent underground workforce,” the company said. “This transition will include the transfer of equipment from Downer to Byrnecut.”

Byrnecut will now provide underground mining services to both the Carrapateena and Prominent Hill mines.

“Byrnecut is a proven top-tier underground mining contractor who has been providing underground mining services to Prominent Hill for the past 10 years, with their Prominent Hill contract having been renewed in 2020,” OZ Minerals said.

The scope of work comprises all underground mining activity for the duration of the contract including production and development mining and associated mining services; and bedding in steady-state operations at nameplate site capacity.

OZ Minerals on the road to electrifying Carrapateena mine

OZ Minerals’ electrification transformation at its Carrapateena copper-gold operation in South Australia has kicked into another gear with a Zero Automotive ZED70 battery-electric light vehicle arriving on site.

The company has made its electrification and sustainability aspirations clear to stakeholders, confirming it is working towards emitting zero Scope 1 emissions and striving to systemically reduce Scope 2 & 3 emissions across its value chain. It also wants to consume and produce in a way that generates zero net waste and creates value for its stakeholders.

In June, a prefeasibility study on an expansion of Carrapateena included a trial of electric light vehicles and establishment of a renewable energy hub.

The precursor to the ZED70 Ti electric light vehicle developed in partnership with Zero Automotive, the ZED70 (pictured) is based on a Toyota Landcruiser 79 Series and uses either NCM (Nickel Cobalt Manganese) or LTO (Lithium Titanate Oxide) battery chemistry.

The vehicle comes with continuous power of 75 kW and peak power of 134 kW, plus 358 Nm of continuous torque. Depending on the selected battery chemistry, the battery capacity comes in at 88 kWh (NCM) or 60 kWh (LTO).

The ZED70 Ti electric light vehicle to be delivered to Carrapateena following the trial of the ZED70 will use LTO chemistry and come equipped with a specially selected battery housing, control systems and charging capability to endure the “hyper saline underground environment” at Carrapateena.

“Working in partnership with Zero Automotive, we recently welcomed the first electric light vehicles onto site, and have the ZED70 Ti model in use underground,” Oliver Glockner, the OZ Minerals lead in developing the ZED70 Ti with Zero Automotive, said. “This is has been well received on site as a significant step in our electrification roadmap towards no diesel particulates underground and no scope 1 emissions on site.”

Dan Taylor, Business Development Manager at Zero Automotive, told IM that OZ Minerals has worked closely with the company in finalising the vehicle requirements and the change management process for implementing a battery-electric vehicle at the mine site.

“Some of the things I am talking about here include:

  • “Regular communications with their team on the progress with the project;
  • “Establishing charging points at the mine;
  • “Organising trial test drive bookings with those employees interested, and collecting performance data and feedback from them;
  • “Testing charging of the vehicle from one of their generators;
  • “Reviews by the emergency services and maintenance teams; and
  • “Planning the site acceptance testing when the OZ Minerals vehicle is delivered.”

Taylor said the LTO batteries the ZED70 Ti is fitted with can travel around 3 million km or endure 20,000 recharges before the battery re-charge ability reduces by 20%. This compares favourably with the 475,000 km, or 1,200 charges, it would take for the NCM battery’s re-charging ability to drop by the same amount.

At the same time as this, the LTO battery system will charge to a 95% charge in three hours on 415 V three-phase power, compared with four-and-a-half hours for the NCM equivalent.

“With DC-DC fast charging you will need 30 mins on the LTO (two hrs for NCM),” Taylor added.

Such benefits outweigh the lower energy density and upfront expense that come with using these LTO batteries, according to Taylor.

In October, OZ Minerals became the first miner in Australia to take delivery of a battery-powered Normet Charmec MC 605 VE SmartDrive (SD) at Carrapateena.

Polymathian finds funding for automation work at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena

Polymathian will be spearheading a A$2 million ($1.5 million) industrial mathematics project funded by industry partners and METS Ignited, and focused on OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena mine in South Australia.

This project will form part of the Industry Growth Centre’s latest Tranche 4 Collaborative Project funds totalling a combined investment of A$6 million, METS Ignited said.

The grant was awarded to Polymathian’s project at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold mine where, in collaboration with OZ Minerals, Downer, Deswik and others, the company is applying industrial mathematics to deploy the world’s first highly automated short interval control (SIC) system for the near real-time optimisation of sub-level cave development and production mining.

Project Lead and Partner at Polymathian, Steven Donaldson, said: “This funding allows us to marry industrial mathematics, automation and mine planning to optimise asset value at Carrapateena and explore how SIC can be done going forward.”

By applying industrial mathematics to the SIC process, the project collaboration automates the optimisation of the mine plan and autonomously dispatches tasks to the underground fleet by responding to live data.

Plans can be updated to respond to dynamic changes in the mine, as live data is received and assumptions change, according to the company. For example, at a weekly level, plans are updated as required for a rolling seven-day window, rather than on a set schedule for a fixed seven-day period. This avoids having fixed weekly plans that are at risk of becoming out-dated.

Matthew Fargher, OZ Minerals’ Senior Engineer for Long Term Planning at Carrapateena, said: “This project pursues a world first in mine planning where the mine plan is autonomously optimised and tasks dispatched in semi real-time to the underground fleet. By doing so, we can potentially remove value destroying constraints such as self-imposed time horizons and subjectivity in decision making to deliver the next best decision.

“We are excited to be a part of the team that’s delivering the blueprint for mine planning and executional change globally.”

Donaldson added: “The potential market for this tool is really quite large as the way we are solving the problem is very generic. We see this solution having potential to optimise operations across all hard-rock underground mines in Australia and globally.”

The project also has the potential to create new jobs at Polymathian including accelerating the growth of its newly opened Perth office.

METS Ignited Chief Executive, Adrian Beer, says the quality and capability of the funding applicants is becoming increasingly more sophisticated, with a number of the solutions having broader applicability across a number of sectors.

“This round of project fund recipients demonstrates just how capable our leading global METS sector is, and what is possible within our local technology sector,” Beer said.

“We are extremely proud of what has been achieved by the project fund recipients to date, and this new addition to the project funding shows that we have a huge potential to build upon.”

Normet battery-powered Charmec arrives at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena mine

OZ Minerals has become the first miner in Australia to take delivery of a battery-powered Normet Charmec MC 605 VE SmartDrive (SD), with the unit arriving at its Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia last month.

In a post on LinkedIn, the company said of the machine: “It is Australia’s first battery-powered vehicle for underground explosive charging and emits zero local emissions.”

Back in June 2019, Normet made history by, for the first time in Europe, demonstrating battery-electric emulsion charging in a production environment underground at the Pyhäsalmi mine, in Finland, with its Charmec MC 605 VE SD.

This followed the launch of its SmartDrive battery-electric vehicle architecture at Bauma in Munich, back in April 2019.

According to Normet, battery-based charging makes the explosives charging process safer and more efficient, as there is no need to plug in to the mine’s electric grid.

The company says the Charmec MC 605 VE SD presents the new era of charging in underground mines.

“Normet SmartDrive battery-electric vehicle technology, integrated to the state-of-art emulsion charging technology, offers the highest value to customer in terms of safety, health, ergonomics and productivity, with zero local emissions,” it said.

A prefeasibility study on an expansion of Carrapateena, released in June, included a trial of electric light vehicles and establishment of a renewable energy hub.

Mine electrification shift could create new business opportunities, report says

Heightened social pressure and a need for economically efficient mining practices will see Australia’s mining industry shift towards a future of automation, electrification and the ultimate goal of zero emissions on site, according to the State of Play: Electrification report.

The report states the majority (89%) of the globe’s leading mining executives expect mine sites across the world to electrify within the next 20 years.

Electrification is a game changer for the mining industry as it allows the complete removal of diesel from mines and, when combined with renewable energy, results in a decarbonised mine site.

Australia’s leading mining companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP, South 32 and OZ Minerals – along with Tesla – provided input into the report, which uncovered that the need to shift to low footprint, electric mines is being driven by economic, environmental and health related opportunities.

More specifically, nearly 79% of mining executives believe there will be a health-related industry class action in the next 15 years and 91% expect the shift to electrics will create new business opportunities.

It’s these perceived health risks – if nothing changes – and economic benefits that State of Play Co-Founder and Chairman, Graeme Stanway, says is driving the industry to take a close look at current practices and think: how can we do this better?

“Electric equipment will allow for a shift from the typical underground mine sites we see today in Australia with many pieces of heavy equipment, powered by diesel, operating underground in confined spaces alongside teams of people, towards a clean future of mining, not seen before,” he said.

“A future where machinery is safe, automated and battery powered; this would effectively cut out two of the biggest issues in mining: carbon impact and particulate exposure and result in zero carbon emission mines.”

While the industry as a whole understands these benefits, when it comes to individually implementing them as an organisation, cost becomes a key hurdle, according to Stanway.

“Our data shows renewables, all electric systems and batteries will help fuel the change towards a healthier, economically viable future of mining, but uncertainty remains when it comes to to which area to invest in first, and how,” Stanway says.

He says the industry should focus on collaborating to overcome cost barriers and uncertainty in technology choices that may be beyond the capacity of individual companies. And, while the mass adoption of electrification technology has so far been low, key players such as Independence Group, Gold Fields, South32, OZ Minerals and Barminco are joining forces to accelerate achieving the goal of zero emissions mines.

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, is part of this collaboration and says Australian mining companies have a huge advantage compared with their global counterparts when it comes to alternative energy sources.

“Here, in Australia, we have an abundance of renewables that the industry is tapping into, particularly in our most remote operations,” he said. “Local mine sites have the opportunity to install solar and wind, and battery energy storage systems to power their operations at a much cheaper cost than many global players.”

He added: “For the country to fully realise the opportunity of zero emissions mines, we also need to be able to effectively implement these technologies. We need to modernise our regulatory framework, and consider what skills our sector will need, across the entire range of the workforce, from trades and technicians, university graduates, through to our scientists and PhDs.”

OZ Minerals, Loesche team up following West Musgrave vertical roller mill test work

OZ Minerals, following a successful prefeasibility study of vertical roller mills (VRM) at the West Musgrave project in Western Australia, has signed a “Partnering Agreement” with Loesche.

The agreement with the leading original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of VRMs will help the company as it moves to the next phase of the project, OZ Minerals said.

“By working in a collaborative, innovative and transparent way, we believe we will deliver superior outcomes for the project when compared to more traditional ways of engaging with suppliers,” OZ Minerals said.

In November 2017, OZ Minerals and Cassini, which owns 30% of West Musgrave, announced that the West Musgrave project would progress to a prefeasibility study. This prefeasibility study timeline was extended in 2019 to complete a detailed evaluation of additional value-add opportunities, the most significant of which was the use of a dry VRM to reduce power consumption.

The study, released earlier this year, showed off plans for a 26-year open-pit mine with “bottom quartile cash costs” and average production of circa-28,000 t/y of copper and circa-22,000 t/y of nickel in concentrates, OZ Minerals said.

It also included details of an “innovative mineral processing plant” that would be built on site.

The grinding circuit for West Musgrave was expected to consist of two stages of crushing followed by two parallel VRMs treating nominally 5 Mt/y each. The second stage of crushing and VRMs replaced a traditional SAG mill, ball mill and pebble crushing circuit.

OZ Minerals explained in the study: “Vertical roller mills are widely used in the grinding of cement plant feeds and products, slag, coal and other industrial minerals, with thousands currently in operation worldwide. The mill has benefits in reducing power consumption by circa-15%, no ball charge grinding media, higher flotation recovery and can be ramped up and down in response to the availability of low-cost renewable energy.”

The VRM uses compression-style comminution principles taking 75 mm rock to flotation feed size in the one machine, according to OZ, adding that the application of the VRM had reduced processing costs and provided a circa-2% improvement in nickel recovery compared with a previous scoping study.

“The technology has been peer reviewed for West Musgrave by an independent expert and has been substantially de-risked through a series of pilot tests whereby 5 t of West Musgrave ore has been tested,” the company said.

Reviewing the prefeasibility study, OZ Minerals Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Cole, said: “We have been able to achieve a further significant reduction in carbon emissions and power demand through the adoption of vertical roller mills as the grinding mill solution and a flotation flowsheet which achieves metal recovery at a much coarser grind size than was previously considered in the design.

“This lower power usage has resulted in a reduction in operating costs, while the use of dry grinding from the vertical roller mills has also resulted in an improvement in nickel recovery.”

Another innovation the company plan to use at West Musgrave include the use of hybrid renewables that could include a combination of wind and solar energy, battery back-up, and diesel or gas.

Mining at West Musgrave is modelled to be conventional drill, blast, load and haul and is assumed to be contractor operated during the first five years of operation, transitioning to owner operate in year six.

The haulage fleet will comprise up to 25 220 t haul trucks and optionality is being maintained to allow for these trucks to be fully autonomous in the future, OZ Minerals said.