Tag Archives: Peñasquito

HID Global and Alutel Mobility soluion ups security at Newmont’s Peñasquito mine

HID Global and Alutel Mobility say they have collaborated on a project to “power” employee authentication at Newmont’s Peñasquito polymetallic mine in north-eastern Mexico.

HID’s OMNIKEY® readers, Seos® credentials, and Alutel Mobility’s solution with RAGTAB tablets and Alutel’s mobile app allow Newmont to safeguard and monitor multiple entry points and car access at rural and underground mine locations, which are often impossible to equip with readers and lack internet connectivity, according to HID.

“With HID Global and Alutel Mobility’s help, Newmont has been able to establish an innovative access control system that is optimised for our specific needs,” Daniel Tejeda, Project Manager at Newmont, said. “Previously, there was no control over who was on site. We have gone from zero control to complete control.”

The solution works by staff members tapping their Seos credentials into a RAGTAB tablet with an embedded HID OMNIKEY reader. The Alutel Mobility app then displays the worker’s photo and data for increased visual verification and connects with Newmont’s access control platform for authentication. Following this, the tablet displays signals to allow or deny site access.

If there is no internet connectivity during this process, the mobile device saves the data collected and verifies once connection has resumed, HID said.

Alutel Mobility’s employee verification solution is in full operation at Peñasquito, and is part of Newmont’s internal digital transformation initiative, according to HID. Since implementation, the company has processed more than 100,000 authentications with HID’s smart cards and mobile IDs each month.

While Newmont started with 21 RAGTAB tablets featuring the integrated HID OMNIKEY mobile readers, they are now planning to add eight more, according to HID.

Steve Currie, Vice President and Managing Director, Extended Access Technologies with HID Global, said: “HID and Alutel Mobility are committed to bringing together our innovative technologies to power convenient and secure access that enables our customers to perform their job functions with confidence.

“Newmont’s solution delivers a highly secure process that addresses the need for monitoring, managing and authenticating employees in unconventional spaces.”

The successful partnership among HID, Alutel Mobility and Newmont has laid the foundation for the company to examine future use cases to streamline processes, such as employee meal distribution, according to HID.

Tejeda said: “This will significantly improve how we deliver lunch boxes to our workers, and there are a number of other potential capabilities to consider as we take advantage of this system’s capabilities for increasing safety and efficiency.”

Mexico miners to suspend operations for April following government decree

Mexico has become the latest country to enforce a suspension of non-essential activities in response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with its Ministry of Health ordering a temporary halt of activities until April 30 in order to slow the virus spread.

Mexico is the world’s largest silver producer, having produced 6,300 t of the precious metal in 2019, according to the US Geological Survey. This was an increase of 180 t, year-on-year. It is also hosts major copper and zinc mines operated by Grupo Mexico and Southern Copper, and produces a significant amount of gold.

It joins the likes of Peru, Quebec and South Africa in declaring suspensions of all non-essential activities in order to curb the spread of the virus.

Among the miners with operations in the country to have already reacted to the Mexico Ministry of Health’s announcement was Newmont, Pan American Silver, Sierra Metals and Argonaut Gold.

Newmont, which operates the Peñasquito mine in the state of Zacatecas, said it was taking steps towards a safe and orderly ramp down of operations at the asset.

“At this time, mining has not been deemed an essential activity under the decree and the company is engaging with the government to understand the intended impacts of the decree on operations,” it said.

“Peñasquito will work closely with local governments, neighbouring communities, employees, unions and contractors to ensure a safe and orderly ramp down that complies with the federal government’s directives.”

Tom Palmer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Newmont, said the company intended to comply with Mexico’s latest directive, while engaging with the government to gain further clarity regarding “important activities that may continue at the mine”.

In the meantime, the company would ensure Peñasquito, which is the largest gold mine, second largest silver mine and one of the largest producers of zinc and lead in Mexico, remains well-positioned to safely and efficiently ramp up operations in a timely manner once the government’s directive is lifted, Palmer added. This includes maintaining critical safety, environmental management, infrastructure maintenance and security activities, while continuing to provide essential community support.

Pan American Silver, which operates the La Colorada (Zacatecas, pictured) and Dolores (Chihuahua) operations in Mexico, said it would expand its initiative of reducing the number of people on site to increase physical distancing, to bring the mines into compliance with the executive order.

It is continuing to conduct care and maintenance at the suspended operations to sustain strict safety and environmental systems, and to ensure operational readiness when the government restrictions are lifted and Pan American determines it is safe to resume operations, it added.

La Colorada produced 8.2 Moz of silver in 2019, while Dolores’ output came in at 5.1 Moz.

As a result of this declaration, Sierra Metals said it will only maintain an essential services crew at its Bolivar mine site until April 30, and the Cusi mine site will be placed into care and maintenance during this period. “The company anticipates resuming normal production levels at the mines after this period,” it said.

Bolivar, an underground mine with a 3,600 t/d processing capacity, had previously been expected to produce 16,402- 18,225 t of copper-equivalent in 2020, while the Cusi underground mine was down to produce 1,732-2,126 oz of silver.

Sierra Metals added: “Production can recommence to normal levels very quickly after April 30, and the company has some operating flexibility at Bolivar to run the ore processing mill at higher levels, which should help recover lost ore tonnages from this suspension.”

Argonaut Gold, which is looking to merge with Alio Gold – a transaction that will see it increase its Mexico exposure – said it was working towards an orderly suspension of mining, crushing and stacking activities at its El Castillo gold-silver open-pit mine in Durango, and its La Colorada open-pit operation in Sonora. These assets produced 131,277 gold-equivalent ounces and 55,338 gold-equivalent ounces, respectively, in 2019.

The company added: “Given that Argonaut operates heap leach mines, the company expects metal production and metal sales will continue during the temporary suspension of mining activities.”

Newmont turning to software for Peñasquito TSF planning

Newmont is looking to leverage planning software already used in the oil sands industry to create a safe, stable and well-planned tailings storage facility at its Peñasquito gold mine, in Mexico, according to Ross Hunsaker.

Hunsaker, the gold miner’s Tailings and Fresh Water Manager, is due to present ‘Newmont Goldcorp Peñasquito Mine – How Technology has Enhanced Tailings Planning’ at the 2020 SME MineXchange Annual Conference & Expo, in Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday, with a presentation abstract revealing more about his talk.

As he said in this abstract, the oil sands industry operates large, complex tailings storage facility (TSF), with these operators taking advantage of tools generated for mining and using them for planning and scheduling TSFs.

“Several different software packages are needed to handle this planning due to beach slope changes, mature fine tailings and water management,” he said. “Mining lags behind the oil sands industry when it comes to tools for tailings planning.”

At the Peñasquito mine, which produced 272,000 oz of gold in 2018, the TSF dam spans 11 km and, at completion, will be 150 m high. It has a centreline raise for three sides and a downstream raise for the fourth side, according to Hunsaker. It is being constructed using a mine fleet of Komatsu 930Es for a buttress, and a fleet of Cat 777 haul trucks for a sliver fill, with 20-ton (18 t) dump trucks for rock fill and cycloned sand, he added.

According to Hunsaker, the Peñasquito team is implementing planning software to integrate all construction activities into one plan, with scenario planning enhanced by software to optimise resources, activity duration and constraint identification.

Back in 2018, Goldcorp (which later merged with Newmont) achieved commercial production at Pyrite Leach project (PLP) at Peñasquito, a project that has seen tailings reprocessed for metal recovery.

The PLP plant processes the existing plant tails, feeding a sequential flotation and leach circuit with precious metals recovered through a Merrill Crowe process, producing doré as the final product. Tails from the new plant report to the existing TSF.

Hunsaker concluded in the abstract: “The overall software implementation is a work in progress with the overall goal of a safe, stable and well planned TSF.”

Jim Cooper to optimise Newmont’s Peñasquito gold mine

Newmont has decided to transfer Jim Cooper, General Manager of the Boddington mine in Australia, to lead the Peñasquito mine, in Mexico, in order to optimise the asset.

Cooper will assume leadership of Peñasquito in the March quarter and report to Dan Janney, Newmont’s Regional Senior Vice President for North America.

Peñasquito is one of several assets where the company intends to deliver cost and productivity improvements over the next few years, with Newmont seeing potential for debottlenecking the mill feed and lowering mining costs.

Tom Palmer, President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Under Jim’s leadership, Boddington has delivered step-change improvements in safety, mill throughput and recovery, mine plan sequencing and execution.

“Boddington’s scale and processing characteristics are similar to Peñasquito’s, making Jim uniquely qualified to replicate Boddington’s consistently strong performance at Peñasquito in Mexico.”

Jen Bennett, currently serving as Vice President of Operations for Newmont’s South America region, will succeed Jim to lead Boddington and build on the operation’s success through a continued focus on safe, efficient production, and project delivery, the company said.

Peñasquito’s current General Manager, Brian Berney, will focus on government and community engagement in Mexico while supporting an effective transition with Cooper.

In October, Peñasquito’s production was halted for close to two weeks following an illegal blockade. This followed another illegal blockade, earlier that year, involving trucking contractors.

The mine produced 272,000 oz of gold in 2018.

Fatigue Science equips Goldcorp’s Peñasquito workers with Readiband

Fatigue Science says it has been selected by Goldcorp to enable the proactive monitoring and mitigation of worker fatigue risk across the Peñasquito polymetallic mine in Mexico.

Goldcorp is deploying Fatigue Science’s predictive fatigue management solution, Readiband™, to more than 1,000 employees at Peñasquito, the global leader in fatigue and readiness management technology said.

“The initiative will enable Goldcorp to proactively monitor for fatigue and support workers who present acute or chronic fatigue and is part of Goldcorp’s broader Health & Safety vision: ‘Safe Enough for Our Families’ – a portfolio of programmes which support the safety and health of their people at work, at home and in their communities,” Fatigue Science said.

Mine employees will be equipped with Fatigue Science’s wrist-worn Readiband and its mobile software application so they can manage their personal readiness and fatigue levels in advance of and during their shift ahead, the company said. In the interest of worker safety, management will use a fatigue prediction dashboard prior to the start of each shift to proactively assess and intervene with those mine operations personnel projected to become at risk of experiencing high levels of fatigue during their upcoming shift, it added.

Andrew Morden, CEO of Fatigue Science, said: “The scale of this deployment across more than 1,000 workers validates our vision that by providing accurate, actionable and predictive fatigue data to organisations like Goldcorp, we can positively impact the well-being of workers and organisations as a whole and concurrently deliver value.”

The company said: “Effective fatigue and readiness management requires more than simply measuring the prior night’s sleep so Goldcorp has chosen to rely on the world’s best readiness and fatigue model, which was developed by the US Army Research Lab for Fatigue Science, to make sense of it all. Available only from Fatigue Science, the SAFTE™ Biomathematical Fatigue Model analyses a full spectrum of personal sleep patterns captured by the Readiband to empower workers to measure, manage, and reduce their fatigue levels.”

Victor Vdovin, Mine Operations Manager at Penasquito, Goldcorp, said: “We understand that monitoring and addressing worker readiness and fatigue has substantial economic benefits including the reduction of injuries and lost time, while increasing worker satisfaction and productivity.

“Through close collaboration with Fatigue Science, we have also obtained full support of Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Mineros, Metalúrgicos, Siderúrgicos y Similares de la República Mexicana which represents our mine employees, in deploying the Readiband fatigue management programme. We want to ensure that every one of our people goes home safe at the end of every shift, and we’re confident that Readiband will help enable that.”

Goldcorp’s Peñasquito mine seeing benefits of fully-autonomous drilling

Goldcorp says it is seeing the multiple benefits of autonomous drilling at its Peñasquito gold mine in Mexico, with the company set to ramp up the use of this technology in the next few years.

In a site visit presentation, the company said using a fully-autonomous drill solution – where the drill is given instructions that it carries out automatically supervised by an operator in a safe and climate-controlled area – has been beneficial to the amount of metres drilled, the quality of drill holes and safety.

In 2017, Peñasquito pursued the use of automation by fitting two drill rigs with autonomous technology for a trial as it looked to reduce its workforce’s exposure to potential hazards associated with drilling in the open pit.

The company now has multiple rigs installed with this technology. In 2018, it retrofitted two Epiroc Pit Viper PV-351 rigs with autonomous features and it is set to retrofit another two this year, according to the site visit presentation. In 2019, it also intends to bring in two automation-ready Pit Viper PV-271s (pictured), and has another scheduled for delivery in 2020.

These are supervised in a control room where up to 12 rigs can be monitored.

The company’s current drilling fleet includes nine Pit Viper PV-351s, one Pit Viper PV-271 and four Flexiroc D65s, according to the presentation.

On the technology itself, Goldcorp said: “The drill can now operate through blasting and other interruptions, providing opportunities for additional drilling hours.”

In addition to this, the autonomous drills can achieve a consistent higher penetration rate, while improving metres per operating hour and reducing operating costs.

Goldcorp said operating hours per calendar day per drill had increased 25% since the introduction of fully-autonomous drilling, while the metres drilled per operating hour had risen 12%. This has amounted to a 40% productivity gain in metres per day, plus improved fragmentation, it added.

Just this week at an SME Annual Conference & Expo press briefing, Matthew Inge, Business Line Manager, Drilling Solutions for Epiroc, said companies were also achieving significant maintenance benefits from the use of autonomous drilling solutions.

Goldcorp turning tailings into money at Peñasquito Pyrite Leach project

Goldcorp has achieved first gold at the Pyrite Leach project (PLP) at its Peñasquito operation in Mexico.

Commissioning commenced in the September quarter and the PLP is now processing 100% of the existing plant tailings, with the PLP plant operating 24 h/d as it continues to ramp up.

David Garofalo, President and Chief Executive Officer of Goldcorp, said the project was a major investment decision for the company and one of the first that went through the “Goldcorp Investment Framework”.

“We are very pleased with the results in completing the project both ahead of budget and schedule. We are already moving forward with a post investment review where we can take our lessons learned to continue to improve our framework and overall capital allocation strategy,” he said.

The PLP is part of Goldcorp’s $420 million investment to improve the processing facilities at its Peñasquito operation. It is expected to recover some 35% of the gold and 42% of the silver currently reporting to the tailings and add production of over 1 Moz of gold and 45 Moz of silver over the current life of the mine.

The PLP plant processes the existing plant tails, feeding a sequential flotation and leach circuit with precious metals recovered through a Merrill Crowe process, producing doré as the final product. Tails from the new plant will report to the existing tailings storage facility. As the plant is ramped up to achieve design recovery, there will be ongoing optimisation of the circuit chemistry and regrind performance.

Goldcorp highlighted that the PLP was delivered with over 9.5 Million site-hours, zero lost time incidents and an industry-leading all injury frequency rate of 0.09. It was constructed by a 100% Mexican workforce, commissioned two quarters ahead of schedule and came in 9% under the $420 million budget.

Commercial production is now expected by the end of 2018, two quarters ahead of plan, the company said.

The carbon pre-flotation circuit (CPP), which is integral to the performance of the PLP and existing plant, was commissioned in the June quarter as planned and the circuit has now treated 6 Mt of high-carbon ore and is operating and exceeding initial performance expectations.

The completion of the CPP de-risks not only stockpiled material, it also enhances flexibility to sequence ores and has the capability to process the complex organic carbon ore types remaining in the reserves. CPP achieved commercial production on October 1.

The CPP circuit currently consists of three stages of flotation to remove organic carbon from the cyclone overflow prior to the existing lead flotation circuit.

Innovation and integration unlocking doors for Fluor’s mining and metals business

With mining companies looking to replenish spent resources in many commodities, EPC and EPCM contractors’ pipelines are starting to fill up.

IM Editor Dan Gleeson spoke with Tony Morgan, President, Mining and Metals, Fluor, to find out how the contractor is continuing to win business and differentiate its offering from the rest of its peers.

International Mining: How important is securing early-stage involvement in mining projects in terms of eventually winning the major EPC/EPCM contract?

Tony Morgan: It is very important and there are some good reasons for that. If you get a contractor that is used to building significant projects and can apply the right tools in the earlier phase of the project, you will receive an aligned project in terms of the technology used, execution strategy and the techniques, such as modularisation. All of these plans will be built in at the front-end of the project and, when you go into the execution phase, the personnel executing the project will be well-versed in the strategy.

Quellaveco in Peru (pictured), South Flank in Australia, a bauxite mine in Guinea and Peñasquito in Mexico are good examples of projects where we were engaged in the early stages and helped set the projects up for success.

This isn’t to say that if one contractor starts a project, another contractor cannot come in. We have taken over and succeeded in the execution of several projects in this way. This typically occurs when the client deems that the previous contractor will be unable to perform the project’s execution phase because of the project’s size or the contractor has failed to perform in the current phase.

IM: Has the talk from mining companies of more EPC/EPCM contracts being offered with incentives/penalties that effectively share execution risk become a major trend in the industry?

TM: There’s always been a desire to include penalties and incentives in contracts. The extent to which these can be evenly applied really depends on the market, whether contractors are willing to take them on and then the client’s desire to have control over the project.

The best way to execute a project is to allocate the risk to the party that can best control the risk. If you step away from that principle, it can create inequalities in the contract.

Fluor is willing to take incentives and penalties where we have full control of the project, i.e., where we have been engaged from the start, we understand the project and have control over the execution phases. In a lot of our projects, we do that, especially using our engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction model.

In projects where we don’t have full control, there are other contractor arrangements that can be used successfully. For example, we are carrying out a project at the moment where we have an integrated project management team that combines the best personnel from both our client’s team and our team. On this project, there are significant performance incentives at the end of the project.

IM: How has the proliferation of automation, electrification and digitalisation impacted your work as an EPC/EPCM provider?

TM: It’s fair to say nobody – our clients especially – want mines coming into service in the 2020s and beyond that use the technology of 10 to 15 years ago. Automation, electrification and digitalisation are all critical to the success of these future projects.

At Fluor, we are investing a great deal in developing our automation and digitalisation expertise. We are working with IBM on several efforts around predictive analytics. We also have a section of the company focused purely on innovation. We are bringing innovative and automated solutions to projects, including some active and passive sensing technologies used to help safeguard personnel in the field and track equipment and materials.

One of the solutions we have developed is Safety Pin, which allows us to know where every worker is and to notify workers of areas that are not safe to enter.

Innovation is a differentiator for us as we have been adopting various innovations on a number of projects. We know what works and what doesn’t. Others talk about innovation without having applied innovations to large-scale projects.

IM: Where is Fluor seeing most demand for its services on a regional and commodity basis?

TM: We have projects globally, including bauxite and diamond projects in Africa, iron ore projects in Australia and gold projects in Mexico. Copper projects in South America are extremely active right now. We are executing a number of projects in South America – Quellaveco and Spence being two of the largest – and are also engaged on a number of other ones.

This article is part of a larger Q&A to be featured in the December print issue of International Mining