Tag Archives: Pinto Valley

Capstone Mining to modernise IT infrastructure, lower costs with SAP solution

SAP SE has announced that Canada-based Capstone Mining has selected the RISE with SAP offering as part of a company-wide enterprise resource planning (ERP) consolidation initiative.

Capstone, a base metal producer, is committed to responsible mining practices, including its approach to sustainability, which embraces technological innovations, SAP says. Through the implementation of RISE with SAP, Capstone aims to modernise its IT infrastructure and lower costs.

The company plans to implement SAP S/4HANA Cloud on Microsoft Azure, moving from SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) by the end of 2021. Capstone selected RISE with SAP not only for consolidation but also for improved flexibility and ability to scale, according to the company.

Capstone’s CFO, Raman Randhawa, said: “As commodity prices soar, we need to keep our operations competitive to maximise our output and opportunities. Consolidating our IT platforms and moving to a more secure, low-cost cloud option will allow us to modernise and streamline our business.”

Capstone chose to implement RISE with SAP, SAP’s business transformation as a service, to leverage the success it enjoyed with its legacy SAP software that was active at its Pinto Valley mine in USA (pictured), SAP says. The implementation will help to smooth the transition of SAP services across its other mining operations and will provide Capstone with a unified view of its overall business operations.

Freeport-McMoRan and BHP Ventures jump aboard the Jetti Resources tech train

Jetti Resources’ plan to rapidly rollout its breakthrough copper extraction technology has been given a boost with the announcement of $50 million in funding from the likes of Mitsubishi Corp, Freeport-McMoRan, BHP Ventures, Orion Resource Partners, and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price Associates Inc.

The Series C funding round was led by existing strategic investor, Mitsubishi Corporation, and included new investment from the other firms mentioned.

“Mitsubishi, an existing strategic shareholder of Jetti, has further deepened its involvement as an investor as part of a shared vision for transforming the copper industry,” Jetti said. “Mitsubishi’s extensive networks both upstream with copper mines and downstream with end users of copper are invaluable as Jetti enters the rapid growth phase of its development.”

Since the completion of its Series B capital raise in 2019, Jetti says it has commercially proven the effectiveness of its technology at Capstone Mining’s Pinto Valley Mine in Arizona. During the first year of Capstone’s partnership with Jetti, cathode production per area irrigated doubled, and discussions to expand this partnership are ongoing.

In addition, Jetti has significantly strengthened its Board and management team to support the next phase of its development, bringing on Chip Goodyear, the former CEO of BHP, and Trevor Reid, the former long-standing CFO of Xstrata PLC.

Jetti has a pipeline of 23 projects at various stages, including five active pilots and three opportunities transitioning to commercial status.

Following the close of its $50 million Series C financing, Jetti will have raised more than $100 million for the development and deployment of its technology.

Mike Outwin, CEO and Co-Founder of Jetti Resources, said: “Jetti’s financing round has been backed by two of the world’s largest copper mining companies, a leading global copper trader and mine owner, and a premier institutional investment fund and mining private equity group. These industry leaders recognise the potential for Jetti’s environmentally friendly technology to unlock vast untapped copper resources within their portfolios.”

Outwin said the funds raised will enable Jetti to further deploy its technology across large-scale copper mining operations.

“We look forward to working with all investors to accelerate the adoption of Jetti’s technology and deliver much needed ‘green copper’ to meet the world’s needs for a low-carbon electrified future,” he added.

Norikazu Tanaka, Group CEO, Mineral Resources Group, Mitsubishi Corporation, said: “Mitsubishi recognised the revolutionary nature of Jetti’s technology in 2019, and since then the team has not only proven its efficacy at scale but prudently identified a range of opportunities for its adoption at existing mines.

“They are naturally now expanding to create the critical mass required for the next stage of growth to meet the requirements of a low carbon global economy. We are thrilled to deepen our strategic partnership with Jetti through our increased investment and by leveraging Mitsubishi’s extensive networks both upstream with copper mines and downstream with end users of copper. We believe this partnership can make a significant contribution to more efficient development, conservation, and supply stability of the world’s limited copper resources.”

Josh Olmsted, Freeport-McMoRan’s President and Chief Operating Officer-Americas, said: “We are pleased to partner with Jetti, as we pursue technologies to improve copper production from leach stockpiles, reduce our carbon footprint, and supply responsibly produced copper to a global market with increasing demand. Freeport’s assets are well situated to test this technology, and we look forward to advancing opportunities to deploy the technology where appropriate at our operating locations.”

Laura Tyler, Chief Technical Officer, BHP said: “Jetti’s technology has the potential to unlock new copper production safely, productively and responsibly. To support renewable technologies and decarbonisation goals in limiting global warming to 1.5°C we expect global copper demand could double over the next 30 years, compared to the past 30 years.

Through our BHP Ventures team, we are delighted to invest in and partner with Jetti and help create opportunities for its innovative technology to progress a greener future.”

Jetti’s patented catalytic technology is designed to allow for the efficient and effective heap and stockpile leach extraction of copper. The company’s technology bolts onto existing solvent extraction/electrowinning leaching plants so it can be deployed rapidly with limited capital expenditure and, because it uses no heating or grinding, it has low operational costs. In addition, there are huge environmental benefits from using leaching over pyrometallurgy, according to Jetti.

Second Cat 994K wheel loader arrives at Capstone’s Pinto Valley in latest innovation push

Capstone Mining has brought a second Caterpillar 994K wheel loader to its Pinto Valley operation in Arizona, USA, as it looks to reduce its emissions and improve its operating cost base at the copper mine.

Last year, the mine added to its fleet a Cat 994K loader, which, the company says, burns circa-30 less gallons of fuel per hour (1.9 litres/min) than its current shovels. “This reduced our CO2 emissions and operational cost savings on approximately 116,000 gallons of fuel in 2020,” Capstone said.

The second 994K, added last week, will, in partnership with the first wheel loader, displace around 10,000 shovel hours a year and save approximately 410,000 gallons of fuel and millions in maintenance costs, the company claimed.

Capstone concluded: “Pinto Valley is innovating and optimising for exciting times ahead.”

This is not the only area of innovation the company is currently pursuing at Pinto Valley, an operation it acquired from BHP back in in October 2013.

In its 2020 results, released last month, Capstone said the implementation of phase one of its PV3 Optimization project at Pinto Valley had delivered a 10% sustainable throughput improvement compared with 2019.

The PV3 Optimization project has been designed to achieve safer, more reliable and higher capacity operations without major investments in new comminution equipment. It is doing this by leveraging new inexpensive technologies.

Phase one work, which included improved blast fragmentation processes, installation of a new secondary crusher and screen decks as well as a new mill shell, was completed last year. This saw the mine achieve throughput of 57,168 t/d in the December quarter, 10% higher than the annual 2019 average of 51,137 t/d. December 2020 mill throughput achieved 60,717 t/d, which represents a new monthly record in the mine’s operating history.

Phase two of the PV3 Optimization project is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021, upon completion of upgrades to a conveyor, mill auto controls, cyclone packs and retrofits to the thickeners, it said.

During the month of December, the company conducted a pilot plant test of Eriez HydroFloat coarse particle technology at Pinto Valley, with Capstone saying the results had surpassed expectations of a 6% improvement target to overall copper recovery. In fact, the tests showed a 6-8% increase in overall copper recovery was achievable, which, when combined with expected higher throughput rates, could result in an additional 9-12 MIb/y (4,082-5,443 t/y) of copper production at the operation, it said.

“Additional benefits to the technology include allowing the operation increased throughput by operating at a coarser grind size, which is expected to lower power costs, improve water consumption and lead to improved stability in the tailings storage facility,” Capstone said in its 2020 results. “The estimated $70 million expansionary capital, which includes the installation of Eriez HydroFloat and related equipment, if approved by the board of directors, is expected to be spread over half two 2021 and early 2022, with start-up expected in Q2 (June quarter) 2022.”

Capstone said it expects to release an updated NI 43-101 technical report that encompasses the PV3 Optimization Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects and improvements in the second half of 2021.

At the same time, it is also looking into a PV4 study at Pinto Valley.

Capstone explained: “Feasibility work on scenarios to take advantage of approximately one billion tonnes of mineral resource not currently in the mineral reserve mine plan, which is at similar grade to the current mineral reserves, will be conducted for Pinto Valley.”

The PV4 study is expected to be released in late 2022 and will contemplate using existing mill infrastructure rather than building new facilities, with higher mining rates, higher cutoff grades to the mill and increased tonnage available for leaching.

Extensive column leach test work in collaboration with Jetti Resources LLC will take place over 2021. Jetti’s patented catalytic technology, designed to allow for the efficient and effective heap and stockpile leach extraction of copper, has been a success at Pinto Valley’s leaching operation, where it expects to recover up to 350 million pounds of cathode copper over the next two decades from historic and new mineralised waste piles.

“Capstone is a pioneer in the application of this leach technology and we intend to use it to enhance the economics of a future expansion at Pinto Valley,” it said.

Capstone considering Eriez HydroFloat tech to boost Pinto Valley performance

Capstone Mining is continuing to leverage innovative, low-cost technology at its Pinto Valley mine in an attempt to further utilise its existing solvent-extraction and electowinning (SX-EW) plant at the Arizona, USA, operation.

In the December quarter of 2019, Pinto Valley commenced a PV3 Optimization project designed to achieve safer, more reliable and higher capacity operations without major investments in new comminution equipment. A goal was set to achieve increased reliability, and higher throughput at maximised copper recovery with lower costs by leveraging new inexpensive technologies.

In its September quarter results, the company provided an update on this project, saying, to October 27, it had spent $17 million as part of its Phase 1 developments. This included crushing and mill equipment replacements, which are 60% complete with full completion expected by July 2021.

As part of its Phase 2 developments, Capstone spent $10 million in conveyor, mill auto controls, cyclone packs and tailings thickener upgrades. These upgrades are planned to be completed by the end of the September quarter of 2021.

On top of this, the miner completed a blast fragmentation optimisation project to target 30% fines (minus-0.5 in) in run of mine feed in the June quarter. In the same quarter, it completed a $300,000 tele-remote Cat D10 Dozer project to increase worker safety for high-risk applications. Another $6 million was spent on new mine equipment to increase efficiency while lowering diesel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and other operating costs by $800,000/y. This project was completed in the September quarter.

In terms of its metallurgical innovation, the company continued to use novel catalytic technology developed by Jetti Resources at Pinto Valley, expected to deliver 300-350 MIb of copper cathode over the next 20 years from high-grade mine waste and historic stockpiles at all-in costs under $2/Ib. This technology uses a catalyst on primary sulphide minerals to disrupt the sulphur metal bond of the mineral and allow for a leaching solution to contact the copper. This enables the extraction of the metal to take place unimpeded.

Capstone also made plans to use new reagents to improve worker safety and improve overall metallurgical performance at its molybdenum plant re-start project. This would involve “minimal capital” and completion was targeted by the March quarter of 2021, it said.

Capstone says it is targeting to reach 60,000-63,000 t average daily throughput at Pinto Valley at an 85-90% recovery by 2022-2023. This is 17-30% higher than 2019 performance and is subject to further test work and studies to be completed in the first half of 2021, including tailings management, the company explained.

Added to this, following positive laboratory results on Pinto Valley flotation circuit samples, Capstone and Eriez are planning to commence pilot plant testing of the HydroFloat technology.

The HydroFloat fluidised bed assisted flotation cell has previously proven effective at floating coarse ore particles, up to two to three times the size limit of conventional flotation cells in commercial applications such as at Newcrest Mining’s Cadia Valley operation in Australia. Newcrest has recently decided to expand the use of this technology at the operation.

Capstone says the lab results at Pinto Valley had led Eriez to report an opportunity to reduce copper losses by up to 50%, thereby boosting overall recovery by up to 6% at Pinto Valley.

“Furthermore, the ability to recover coarse particles could allow for higher mill throughput while achieving high copper recovery,” Capstone said.

Other benefits could be lower grinding costs, lower water and energy consumption and increased tailings stability via coarser tailings.

Pilot testing is due to commence in November with results expected back in the March quarter of 2021.

Lastly, work on PV4 expansion scenarios to take advantage of around one billion tonnes of measured and indicated resources at 0.30% Cu continued during the September quarter.

“Given management’s confidence in PV3 Optimization progress to date, including the successful implementation of the novel catalytic technology from Jetti Resources to enhance leaching performance, Capstone has decided to evaluate expansion scenarios using existing assets rather than building new mill infrastructure,” the company said.

The study is assessing higher mining rates, higher cutoff grades to the mill, and an increased tonnage available for leaching.

While a significant mill expansion is not currently being contemplated, an expansion of Pinto Valley’s SX-EW capacity of 25 MIb/y may be necessary, it said. Extensive column leach test work will be conducted over 2021, with the overall PV4 expansion study expected to be released in 2022, Capstone added.