Tag Archives: Peru

TOMRA’s XRT solution creates value from waste at Mina Esperanza de Caravelí in Peru

The integration of TOMRA’s ore sorting technology at the Mina Esperanza de Caravelí mine in Peru has helped the polymetallic miner produce more metal as well as clean up its legacy tailing operations.

The close collaboration between two companies emphasises a shared philosophy, that of making the most of natural resources and embracing a circular economy.

Mina Esperanza de Caravelí, owned by MTP and operated by Minera Croacia, is a polymetallic vein deposit with a mining rate of 150 t/d. It is located in the district of Atico, in the Nazca-Ocoña geological gold belt in the southern part of Peru, and contains narrow veins with a rosary formation, of which over 30 have been discovered so far. The mineralisation is located in vein fill fractures of hydrothermal origin and are mesothermal in appearance.

In 2019, Minera Croacia contacted TOMRA to explore a solution to extract value from low-grade material previously deemed uneconomical, and to address the environmental issue of metals left in the dumps.

Marco Fernandez Concha, Senior Geologist to Minera Croacia, said: “Mining operations need to find ways to optimise the use of natural resources while reducing waste and their impact on the environment as much as possible. With TOMRA’s ore sorting technologies, this is possible.”

A sensor-based ore sorter represents a significant investment for a mine the size of Minera Croacia, according to Emilio Uribe, Senior Metallurgical Advisor at Minera Croacia.

“When we purchase important equipment, we need to analyse the solution in great detail because we can’t afford to make mistakes,” he said. “We need it to work and deliver the results we want from the start. TOMRA has adapted to our needs as a small business with limited resources. They have been an important advisor, giving us all the support we needed with highly qualified and knowledgeable staff. They have really committed to the project and found the solution that meets our operational needs and is financially viable for us.”

The teams from TOMRA and Minera Croacia worked closely to precisely analyse the requirements and identify the best solution. TOMRA’s Test Center in Wedel, Germany, conducted three series of tests on samples from the mine to narrow down the requirements. A technical team from Minera Croacia attended the final session, which gave them a better understanding of what TOMRA’s XRT technology could do for their operation.

Christian Korsten, who at the time was the Test Center’s Manager, said: “This project stands out for presenting different types of ores from different locations. Usually we test one or two different ores for a customer, but, with Minera Croacia, we had different metallogenic veins. They were all a little bit different in mineralogy, sensor response and in the customer’s objectives for each.”

Strong communication between the two companies’ teams was crucial to the successful outcome – especially since COVID-19 travel restrictions limited the opportunities for face-to-face meetings.

Mathilde Robben, TOMRA Key Account Manager, said the company ensured Minera Croacia received the support and advice they needed throughout the process.

“We did it all through online meetings,” she said. “The management team and staff at Minera Croacia were always to the point and friendly, and together we completed this fast-track project.”

Korsten agreed: “Minera Croacia had very clear objectives. All our questions were answered in a perfect, fast and professional manner, and the same applies to the discussion of the test results. This project was one of my favourites in almost 10 years in the Test Center.”

Following the detailed analysis of the test results and Minera Croacia’s requirements, Robben proposed the use of a TOMRA COM Tertiary XRT sorter as the solution: a machine suited to the particle size range of the dump material (-25 mm/+ 10 mm and -40 mm/+ 25 mm) and an investment that fitted Minera Croacia’s budget.

The test results made a clear business case for the sorter, showing that out of 1,300 t of run of mine material containing gold and copper, 21% are fines (-10 mm) and screened out. This results into a concentration of gold and copper in the fines and, therefore, this material does not need to be sorted. Of the rest of the material, 34% is enriched, going from a grade of 2.7 g/t gold-equivalent to 5.12 g/t gold-equivalent – almost double.

This leaves 45% of the material discarded as waste with very low metal content, 0.41 g/t gold-equivalent, which addresses the environmental issue, as it contains virtually no contaminants. This also shows that maximum value has been extracted from the material, as there is virtually no gold left, TOMRA said.

Uribe said: “The test has shown that TOMRA’s sorter can create value from material that would have gone to the waste dump, from 33% of the run of mine that is too low-grade for processing to be financially viable.”

The TOMRA COM Tertiary XRT sorter is now installed and has been operating since December 2021 re-processing the mine’s 800,000 t of historic dumps. It is delivering on all counts for Minera Croacia: now able to increase the grade of the dump material that was not considered economic, it has reduced freight costs of the operation as it is now transporting less low-grade material to its processing plant, and it has successfully addressed the environmental impact of its waste materials.

Uribe concluded: “All the calculations we made when we evaluated this investment are being fulfilled. The sorter’s performance is perfectly consistent with the test results, and we expect it to pay for itself as planned within two years – including the other components and infrastructure of the circuit.”

The company’s management is so impressed with the results achieved that it is considering investing in further sorters for low grade run of mine ore with the aim of extracting value from mineral that is currently considered marginal, according to TOMRA.

Anglo’s digital vision for Quellaveco takes shape with Epiroc autonomous drill rig arrivals

Anglo American’s automation plans for its Quellaveco mine in Peru are starting to take shape, with its first automated trucks having started up in “pre-mining” mode last year and now automation-ready drills on site ahead of first ore production later this year.

The company’s most digital and autonomous mine yet, Quellaveco is expected to produce 300,000 t/y of copper over the first 10 years of the mine from an orebody that currently has around 1,300 Mt of reserves.

In the company’s December quarter production results today, it said construction of the project was progressing to plan, with first ore mined in October and first copper concentrate production expected in the middle of 2022.

In the first half of 2021, the operation started up four of a planned fleet of 27 autonomous Cat 794AC haul trucks as one element in a range of technologies that will help to make Quellaveco Anglo American’s first 100% digital mine.

Anglo American plans to deploy a fleet of 27 autonomous Cat 794AC haul trucks at Quellaveco

Now, the company has drill rigs on site that, by the end of this year, should be fully integrated into its in-country remote operations centre. The rigs – six fully autonomous Epiroc Pit Viper 351s and three tele-remote SmartRoc D65s – will eventually be overseen from this remote operations centre.

IM put some questions to Tito Cacho, General Manager of Quellaveco, to find out more about these rigs and what led to the planned automation leap at the mine.

IM: How did your experience with Epiroc on developing and implementing a new tele-remote drilling project at Los Bronces influence the decision to implement a fully autonomous drill fleet at Quellaveco? Did many of the people that implemented the Los Bronces project come over to Quellaveco?

TC: One of the objectives of Anglo American has been building a modern and fully digital mine at Quellaveco, incorporating the latest technologies to make this an even safer, productive and sustainable mining operation. A team of Anglo American engineers that were involved in the Los Bronces implementation have assisted in some aspects of the project in Quellaveco, bringing the benefits from our experience gained in Chile.

IM: What qualities does Quellaveco as an asset have in terms of applying autonomous drilling (aside from the fact it is a ‘greenfield mine’ you can design around automation)?

TC: We believe that Quellaveco will set a new standard. Through our experience with automation, the industry is driving towards safer and more reliable operations. This can make a significant difference not only to the mining operations itself but for our stakeholders who increasingly demand more sustainable operations.

Our team has been developing processes and procedures to build autonomy into the operational culture from day one. We are developing multifunctional skills in our operators and technicians, so that they learn about new roles and equipment operation, giving us the flexibility for people to work in any part of the process. The enthusiasm and willingness to learn and work with this new technology that we have seen in all the groups in Quellaveco has been an incredible asset.

IM: What other benefits stood out to you when evaluating fully autonomous drilling at the asset (safety, productivity, etc)?

TC: Safety is the primary benefit, and, as you know, is our most important value at Anglo American. We can distance an operator from areas of risk and put them in an environment that is safer, with less exposure to dust, noise and vibration. The operator becomes an autonomous drilling controller and is more comfortable and in a better ergonomic position. In addition, we have been able to improve the use, efficiency and precision of the equipment, and the ability to control multiple machines per person are notable benefits over manual operation.

Anglo plans to deploy six fully autonomous Epiroc Pit Viper 351s at the operation

IM: How easy is it to implement fully autonomous drilling operations in Peru from a regulatory perspective? How does it compare with other countries?

TC: Anglo American’s approach is engaging with regulatory authorities from the beginning, and that is what we have done in Peru. We believe our stakeholders see the advantages of having a modern and fully digital mine operating in the country, from a safety, efficiency and sustainability perspective.

IM: How many rigs out of the “multiple” drill rigs you ordered from Epiroc will be autonomous? What does the timeline look like from here in terms of them reaching their capacity? When will their control and oversight be integrated into the remote operations centre?

TC: Quellaveco will have six Pit Viper 351s that operate fully autonomously and three SmartRoc D65s that operate in tele-remote (operator controlled from a distance with some autonomous functions). We aim to integrate full control and oversight of the drill fleet into the remote operations centre by the second half of this year.

Anglo American and ENGIE agree on ‘green’ electricity supply for Quellaveco

Anglo American and ENGIE’s Peru-based subsidiary have signed an agreement to convert the current contracted energy supply for the Quellaveco copper project to 100% renewable sources, in addition to agreeing on another eight years of energy supply for the mine, starting in 2029, from “green energy” inputs.

The agreement will see Quellaveco, a copper project being developed by Anglo and Mitsubishi Corp, become the first mining operation to promote the construction of a non-conventional renewable energy plant, according to ENGIE.

As part of the pact, ENGIE Energía Perú has agreed to convert the total electricity supply for Quellaveco (187 MW) to 100% green energy, with 150 MW of supply over eight years from 2029 also coming from green energy sources.

ENGIE Energía Perú will source the renewable energy from its Punta Lomitas wind power plant, an in-development wind farm with a joint nominal capacity of 260 MW located in Ocucaje-Ica and a 60 km transmission line connecting the plant with the National Interconnected Electric System. The project has been granted a generation and transmission concession by the Ministry of Energy and Mines, and construction is expected to start in the second half of 2021, the company says.

Tom McCulley, CEO of Anglo American in Peru, said: “We are working from different areas to contribute to a healthy environment. Our goal is to transform the very nature of the industry to ensure a safer, cleaner and more sustainable future.

“By resorting to the use of higher precision technologies, such as those that Quellaveco will have, as well as by focusing on consuming less energy and less water, we will reduce our environmental footprint for every kilogram of copper that we produce, starting in 2022.”

Rik De Buyserie, CEO of ENGIE Energía Peru, added: “Thanks to the renewable energy certificates delivered by the Punta Lomitas Power Plant to supply the demand for the Quellaveco project, we are proud and committed to accompany our client Anglo American and mining in Peru, on their path to carbon neutrality.”

Quellaveco, owned 60% by Anglo and 40% by Mitsubishi Corp, comes with a production blueprint of 300,000 t/y of copper over the first 10 years of the mine, with first production expected in 2022.

Anglo’s Quellaveco to receive the coarse particle recovery treatment

Anglo American has approved the construction of a coarse particle recovery (CPR) plant at its in-development Quellaveco copper project in Peru.

The announcement came within the company’s 2020 financial results, which showed Anglo generated underlying EBITDA of $9.8 billion and a profit attributable to equity shareholders of $2.1 billion for the year.

CPR, Anglo says, is one of many significant breakthrough technology initiatives that has the potential to increase throughput and productivity, while simultaneously reducing environmental footprint, through rejection of coarse gangue (near-worthless waste material), dry stacking of sand waste, minimising the production of traditional tailings and reducing overall water consumption.

The CPR plant signoff at Quellaveco follows a full-scale demo plant installation at the company’s El Soldado mine in Chile – which is ramping up to full capacity by mid-2021 – and the decision to construct a full-scale system at the Mogalakwena North PGM concentrator in South Africa.

The El Soldado plant used the HydroFloat™ CPR technology from Eriez’s Flotation Division. Here, a single 5 m diameter HydroFloat cell, the largest in the world, treats 100% of mill throughput, with the objective of proving the waste rejection process at full scale.

Anglo said of the Quellaveco CPR plant: “This breakthrough technology will initially allow retreatment of coarse particles from flotation tailings to improve recoveries by circa-3% on average over the life of the mine. This investment will also enable future throughput expansion which will bring a reduction in energy and water consumption per unit of production.”

The capital expenditure of the CPR project is around $130 million, with commissioning of the new plant expected in 2022. DRA Global previously carried out a feasibility study for the CPR plant at Quellaveco.

In terms of Quellaveco project progress, Anglo said today that, despite the COVID-19-related slowdown, first production was still expected in 2022. This was, in part, due to the excellent progress achieved prior to the national lockdown, and based on optimised construction and commissioning plans, Anglo said.

Key activities in 2021 include the start of pre-stripping, which will see the first greenfield use of automated hauling technology in Peru; progressing construction of the primary crusher and ore transport conveyor tunnel to the plant; completion of the 95 km freshwater pipeline that will deliver water from the water source area to the Quellaveco site; completing installation of the shells and motors for both milling lines; and completion of the tailings starter dam.

The mine, owned 60% by Anglo and 40% by Mitsubishi Corp, comes with a production blueprint of 300,000 t/y over the first 10 years of the mine.

Hochschild’s Inmaculada set for ore sorting pilot plant

Hochschild says it has approved a $7 million budget to construct an ore sorting pilot plant at its Inmaculada gold mine in Peru in 2021.

The investment follows previous test work carried out with both TOMRA and Steinert. This saw the company conduct initial bulk testing in Germany with both companies and a 20-t pilot scale test with Steinert in Brazil.

The company also enlisted the help of Ausenco to carry out a prefeasibility study on applying ore sorting at Inmaculada.

In the company’s 2019 preliminary results presentation back in February, Ramón Barúa, Hochschild Mining Chief Financial Officer, said ore sorting could prove particularly useful at the Millet and Divina veins at Inmaculada.

He said, in addition to consulting with TOMRA, Steinert and Ausenco, the company had been working in-house to improve the sensors and the algorithm that separates the ore from the waste in these sorters, with the technology showing a clean separation between the quartz-based mineralisation and the andesite holding the rock at Inmaculada.

In its latest financial year results released today, Hochschild said of the ore sorting investment: “We believe this project may eventually deliver significant improvements in recoveries at the mine and potentially help to optimise other key projects in Hochschild’s portfolio.”

For 2020, the company recorded overall production of 289,293 oz of gold-equivalent at an all-in sustaining cost of $1,098/oz of gold equivalent. Inmaculada remained the cornerstone of the company, producing 176,086 oz of gold-equivalent.

Caterpillar microgrid hybrid power solution keeps Peru copper mine energised

Caterpillar dealer Ferreyros has been selected by Ferrenergy, Ferreycorp’s energy company in Peru, to provide a microgrid power system for the Agromin La Bonita underground copper mine in Acarí, Peru.

Supplied by Ferreyros to support a power purchase agreement between Ferrenergy and the operators of the Agromin La Bonita mine, the system includes more than 2,400 ground-mounted photovoltaic solar modules that supply a total of over 960 kW of energy, twelve 75 kW power inverters, a 1.5 MVA power transformer, and a 500 m medium-voltage transmission line. The solution helps to provide power around the clock for mine lighting and ventilation, ore processing, and workforce accommodations, according to Cat.

“Southern Peru features some of the highest photovoltaic power potential in the world, making it an ideal location for a solar microgrid system,” Bart Myers, General Manager for Caterpillar Large Electric Power Solutions, said. “The solution designed by Ferreyros for the Agromin La Bonita mine illustrates how Cat dealers combine technical expertise with a deep knowledge of their customers’ businesses to leverage renewable sources of energy while delivering reliable power for critical enterprise activities.”

Caterpillar’s hybrid energy solutions technology suite is designed to reduce fuel expenses, lower utility bills, decrease emissions, and reduce the total cost of ownership while increasing energy resiliency in even the most challenging environments, it says.

Key offerings include:

  • The Cat Microgrid Master Controller, which keeps loads continuously energised with high-quality power at low cost by managing the flow of power from every source in the system;
  • Cat Connect Remote Asset Monitoring, which provides data visualisation, reporting and alerts from anywhere in the world through a web interface;
  • Cat Bi-Directional Power (BDP) inverters, which supply real and reactive power with grid-forming and grid-following capabilities;
  • Cat Energy Storage System modules, which use advanced lithium-ion batteries with superior energy density, high discharge/recharge efficiency and high cycle life to compensate for fluctuations in output from renewable energy sources; and
  • Cat photovoltaic solar modules that deliver reliable and predictable output, robust performance, scalability, compatibility, and simplified installation.

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.”

AGQ Labs wins environmental monitoring contract with Minera Chinalco

AGQ Labs has won a contract to carry out environmental sample analysis services for Minera Chinalco Perú SA over the next three years.

Minera Chinalco owns the Toromocho open-pit copper mine in the Morococha district of Peru, situated 4,500 m above sea level. Toromocho will produce 1 Mt/y of copper concentrate, 10,000 t/y of molybdenum and 4 Moz/y of silver oxide, according to the company’s website.

Minera Chinalco is a subsidiary of Aluminum Corporation of China, the second largest alumina producer in the world and the third largest producer of primary aluminium.

The purpose of the AGQ Labs contract is to analyse environmental samples during the next three years in various environmental matrices, including:

  • Surface waters, in this matrix, will be determined in accordance with the environmental quality standards (ECAs), looking at, among other parameters, run of total metals, anions, cyanide, microbiological and hydrobiological, volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile, organochlorine pesticides, phosphors, carbamates and polychlorinated biphenyls;
  • Groundwater, among other parameters, will be analysed for metals, anions, cyanides, COD, microbiological elements;
  • Domestic and industrial wastewater, in accordance with the applicable legislation for the sector, will be analysed for, among other parameters, metals, anions, cyanides, coliforms, etc;
  • Drinking water, complying with 100% of DS 031-2010.SA, will be looked at for microbiological and parasitological, organoleptic, volatile, semi-volatile organic compounds, pesticides and alpha and beta radiation;
  • Air quality will be determined according to the applicable ECAs, among others PM10, PM2.5 particulate material, metals, gases and others;
  • Characterisation of soils – cover or top soil – where the study of agronomic characterisation, metal run, and others of relevance for the purpose will be made;
  • Soils and sediments, in order to verify compliance with the applicable ECAs, will be analysed for metal, hydrocarbons in the three fractions, volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, and other elements;
  • For environmental geochemistry, an ABA Test, and others will be determined;
  • Characterisation of mining waste, applying the current standard in accordance with the EPA standard and others, for flammability, corrosivity, reactivity, toxicity and pathogenicity. According to the test results, a judgment will be issued about the associated risk; and
  • Environmental monitoring of air quality parameters, electromagnetic radiation and day and night environmental noise will be examined in accordance with current regulations.

In this sense, Minera Chinalco is entrusting to AGQ Labs a specialised service for the monitoring and analysis of environmental samples, according to its experience and national accreditation, the company said.

H-E Parts and Barrick extend maintenance relationship at Lagunas Norte

H-E Parts has helped Barrick Gold’s Lagunas Norte gold-silver miner in Peru improve maintenance and lower costs through the implementation of its Birrana™ mobile mining technology.

The US-based METS company has a long history of providing Barrick with global solutions to improve mine maintenance practice and, following a long partnership with its Pierina mine, Barrick’s Lagunas Norte operation engaged H-E Parts to provide a Komatsu 730E-7 wheel group repair program.

Located on the western flank of the Peruvian Andes at an elevation of 4,000 m above sea level, Lagunas Norte is an open-pit gold and silver mine within the Alto Chicama property. Barrick placed the mine on care and maintenance at the end of the September quarter.

H-E Parts said it put a maintenance regime in place and Lagunas Norte implemented the wheel groups.

This involved re-manufacturing the 730E-7 wheel groups, incorporating H-E Parts proprietary Birrana enhancements. This included the Birrana control fit wheel bearing system – which includes flexible spacer, hardened spacer, custom bearing design and specifications, and preload adjustment – and the Birrana brake wear gauge to allow for easy and fast brake wear measurement, reduced downtime, and improved safety.

“Once in production, Birrana enhanced wheel groups accomplished the required planned component replacement timeframes while also achieving a lower cost per operating hours,” the company said. “The product quality and service received by Barrick was expected with H-E Parts having previously supplied front and rear wheel groups for their fleet of Caterpillar 785D haul trucks operating at Barrick Pierina mine site.”

H-E Parts has now delivered over 40 wheel groups to Lagunas Norte.

“Unlike other service options available to Lagunas Norte, H-E Parts has the ability to provide major mobile component solutions across a range of equipment brands,” the company said. “This allows our customers a single maintenance solution for their mobile fleets, which is backed by decades of global experience and performance.”

AGQ Labs to keep environmental tabs on Glencore’s Contonga polymetallic mine

AGQ Labs’ mining division has been awarded a contract to carry out the environmental monitoring of the quality of soil, water, plant and hydrobiological tissue at Glencore’s Contonga polymetallic mine, in Peru.

The Contonga mine, in Ancash, is owned by Glencore subsidiary Compañía Minera Los Quenuales. It is a polymetallic underground zinc, lead, copper and silver mine with more than 100 years of operating history, according to AGQ Labs. Glencore acquired the asset from Nyrstar back in September 2017.

The mining company, as part of its environmental commitment at the mine, performs environmental monitoring of its components to determine their chemical stability and the potential for acid mine generation, as well as their characterisation through complementary studies, AGQ Labs said.

AGQ Labs Mining will provide the sampling service and technical analytical support through a specialised service for the characterisation of soils, waters and plant tissue. This uses selective analytical techniques for the characterisation of the matrices under study.

For this, AGQ Labs uses a set of tests to define the quality of the soils under study through fertility tests and characterisation of the profiles.

Mobilisation of the different analytes under study are also characterised through leaching tests such as methodologies proposed by Tessier and the Flask Extraction Test. The characterisation of its acid generation capacity with ABA methodologies and mineralogy analysis is carried out with Thin Sheet Microscopy.

AGQ Labs said: “The characterisation works are complemented by the taxonomic classification of the most representative flora and the study of the waters through laboratory analyses of physicochemical and hydrobiological parameters.”