Tag Archives: potash

Royal IHC to deliver automated wet harvesting equipment to Mackay potash project

Agrimin has awarded Royal IHC the front end engineering and design (FEED) contract to provide automated wet harvesting equipment for the Mackay potash project in Western Australia.

Wet harvesting is currently used at the world’s largest sulphate of potash (SOP) operations and IHC is the world leader in the design and manufacture of dredging systems for wet harvesting solutions, according to Agrimin.

The Mackay potash project has been designed to use automated wet harvesters to collect and transfer raw potash salts from the solar evaporation ponds directly to the processing plant in slurry form. Inclusion of the wet harvesting technique in the definitive feasibility study (DFS) was supported by critical field data generated from Agrimin’s pilot pond operations between October 2018 and June 2020, the company said.

Application of the wet harvesting technique can provide significant operating benefits to Mackay potash project, including:

  • Significantly lower energy consumption to transfer raw potash salts from the evaporation ponds to the processing plant (ie raw potash salts will be transferred to the plant via pipeline as a slurry, thereby removing the requirement to truck dry salts);
  • Reduced labour costs as wet harvesters will be automated;
  • Increased overall potassium recovery with harvesting of two pre-concentration ponds to recover a portion of the potassium-bearing entrained brine; and
  • Reduced pond sizes due to harvesting occurring earlier in the evaporation cycle and not having to take ponds off-line for harvesting.

The wet harvester FEED work will be completed over the next eight months, building on the DFS level design work that was completed by IHC. IHC will deliver detailed construction design drawings for all key areas of the equipment including cutting tools and propulsion, slurry transport systems, hydraulics, electrics, field testing and a fixed cost for supply of the harvesting equipment, Agrimin said.

Production capacity at Mackay is designed to be 450,000 t/y of SOP over an initial 40-year mine life.

BHP commits another $272 million for shaft lining at Jansen potash project

BHP has agreed to invest another $272 million in the Jansen Stage 1 potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada, following challenges encountered with placement of the shaft lining and more recent impacts from the company’s COVID-19 response plan.

Up until this point, BHP had committed to spending $2.7 billion on the project.

BHP said in its September quarter results: “As a consequence of the challenges encountered earlier with placement of the shaft lining and then the more recent impacts from our COVID-19 response plan, the board has approved additional funding of $272 million for the completion of the shafts, resulting in a total budget of $3.0 billion (previously $2.7 billion).”

This is expected to result in the excavation and lining of the 7.3 m diameter production (975 m deep) and service (1,005 m deep) shafts – sunk by DMC Mining using Herrenknecht’s Shaft Boring Roadheader – and the installation of essential surface infrastructure and utilities.

Back in August, the company said it would not decide on an investment in the full Stage 1 project until mid-2021, a delay on the February 2021 deadline it previously advised of. This was down to the shaft lining problem.

The current Stage 1 plan, which is 86% complete and has an expected capital outlay of $5.3-5.7 billion, involves building out initial capacity of 4.3-4.5 Mt/y of potash, with expansion optionality.

BHP added: “Jansen Stage 1 remains well positioned with attractive medium to longer-term commodity fundamentals, and is set to be a high-margin, low-cost, long-life asset, with multiple, basin-wide, expansion opportunities. As always, we will be disciplined about our entry into the market and it must pass our strict Capital Allocation Framework tests.”

GHH to create new service base in German potash and salt mining hub

GHH says it is to establish a new service base for its customers in the heart of the German potash and salt mining industry.

The Gelsenkirchen-based mining and tunneling equipment manufacturer took over the business activities of BAT Bohr- und Anlagentechnik GmbH in the village of Krayenberggemeinde on October 1. Through its subsidiary, GSE Europe GmbH, GHH took over the fixed assets of BAT, which will soon be renamed and continued at the site as BAT Bergbau Service GmbH. The company currently has 25 employees.

With this step, GHH wants to provide its German customers with comprehensive services quickly and reliably, it said. This mainly involves repair work, the construction of spare parts and parts logistics. GHH is also considering making the site the centre for its special-purpose machinery manufacturing operations.

“This will not only expand our range of services, but also continue a traditional location in this mining region, which is so important for Germany,” Dr Jan Petzold, CEO of the GHH Group, said.

Komatsu ups the cutting power on Joy 12HM46 continuous miner

Komatsu is getting ready to launch a new upgrade to its Joy 12HM46 continuous miner for industrial minerals that will boost its cutting power.

The addition of a new optional gearcase on the machine will see cutting power increase by 50%, according to the company, with a spokesperson confirming the newest addition to the continuous miner will be transported to a customer later this month for a trial period.

The 12HM46 continuous miner is ideal for industrial mineral mining applications, including trona, gypsum, potash, and salt, according to Komatsu. It has a 1,600 mm cutter head diameter, making it the largest and most powerful drum-style continuous miner in the company’s product line-up.

The 12HM46 comes with a Ripperveyor cutting head system, with a variety of cutter bit lacing configurations available to suit different applications.

Canada invests in Suncor-backed clay content analyser project for mining sector

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, has announced a C$1.6 million ($1.2 million) investment in the development of an analyser able to provide near real-time measurements of the active clay content in oil sands and mine tailings.

The project, led by the Saskatchewan Research Council with Suncor Energy Inc and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology as partners, could prove beneficial to Canada’s diamond, potash and oil sands sectors.

On top of the Federal Government’s funding, through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program, the project collaborators are also providing in-kind and financial contributions, bringing the overall project value to C$2.29 million.

Clay is naturally present in varying quantities within minerals deposits and presents a significant tailings management challenge. The clay analyser will assist in near real-time measurements of clay concentrations, which will allow the companies to develop strategies for effective process control and tailings management options that can reduce the use of chemicals, resulting in operating cost savings and reducing tailing deposit footprints.

The technology is also applicable to different types of mines, such as diamond, potash and oil sands, and will have various environmental benefits, including improved water management and reduced land disturbance, leading to progressive reclamation of mine sites, the government said.

Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program invests in clean technology research and development projects in Canada’s energy, mining and forest sectors. The program is a C$155 million investment fund that helps emerging clean technologies further reduce their impacts on air, land and water while enhancing competitiveness and creating jobs.

(photo: Suncor Energy’s oil sands)

RA International to set up camp at Colluli sulphate of potash mine

Danakali reports that the Colluli Mining Share Company (CMSC) has appointed RA International Group as its preferred contractor for the supply of accommodation, support services and other infrastructure buildings in support of the Colluli sulphate of potash project development, in Eritrea.

RA, listed on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM board, specialises in building, operating and maintaining facilities in remote and challenging conditions across Africa, providing complex humanitarian, governmental, mining, and other commercial developments and services, Danakali says.

Colluli has a JORC-2012 compliant measured, indicated and inferred resource of 1,289 Mt at 11% K20 equivalent and 7% kieserite. Development is already underway with expected production in 2022.

As part of the agreement with CMSC, owned 50:50 by Danakali and the Eritrean National Mining Corporation, RA will supply, deliver and install a mine accommodation camp as well as a plant administration and service facilities for the Colluli mine site. Additionally, it will provide comprehensive camp services incorporating catering, cleaning, laundry, pest and vector control, grounds keeping and waste management.

The plant administration and services facilities will incorporate administration offices, medical clinic, warehouses, and workshops (see graphic above, credit: RA International). The accommodation camp, meanwhile, has been designed to accommodate 600 personnel during the production phase with the flexibility to accommodate 1,115 during the construction phase. The 600 person camp capacity is exclusive of camp services personnel, which will have an additional camp, provided by RA, located within the overall camp boundary.

Niels Wage, CEO of Danakali, said: “I am pleased to announce the appointment of RA International as our preferred accommodation and support services contractor. They have significant experience in executing projects of the scale and quality required for the Colluli project. We are confident in RA International’s capabilities to deliver a high-quality product and service.”

Soraya Narfeldt, CEO of RA International, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the preferred contractor to work with Danakali and its partners on this project which we see as globally significant.

“The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has indicated Colluli has the potential to significantly boost the Eritrean economy and have a substantial positive impact on the Sustainable Development Agenda of Eritrea. The appointment of RA International is testament to sound execution of our growth strategy, highlighting continued new business momentum with another significant award in the mining sector.”

Construction nears at Colluli potash project following Eritrea ministry nod

Danakali and the Eritrean Government’s plan to put the Colluli potash mine into production is accelerating after the Eritrean Ministry of Energy & Mines accepted the project’s Notice of Commencement of Mine Development.

Acceptance of the notice is one of the conditions precedent to the financing for the Colluli project and is a positive step toward achieving financial close of the project facilities, Danakali said.

Prior to issuing this notice, the jointly-owned Colluli Mining Share Company (CMSC) had satisfied several key Colluli development preconditions including executing a Mining Agreement and having a Mining Licenses issued; submitting and obtaining approval for the Social & Environmental Impact Assessment Study and Social & Environmental Management Plans; and submitting the commercial sulphate of potash production expectations over the life of the mine.

Colluli, owned 50:50 by Danakali and the Eritrean National Mining Corporation, has a JORC-2012 compliant measured, indicated and inferred resource of 1,289 Mt at 11% K20 equivalent and 7% kieserite.

Upon accepting the notice, the ministry, Danakali said, also showed support for the financing of the Colluli project by:

  • Granting time to commence the commercial production within 36 months from submission of the notice, (mid-December 2022);
  • Consenting to the security to be granted in support of the financing; and
  • Consenting to the account structure for the financing for the Colluli project.

The notice was submitted to the ministry by the CMSC on December 17, 2019, however the process has been slower than expected due to COVID-19-related lockdowns in Eritrea.

In accordance with the Mining Agreement, CMSC has 36 months from submission date to spend $200 million within the Mining Licence Area, Danakali said.

Along with the acceptance of the notice, the ministry has also granted all required permits, licences and authorisations for infrastructure construction and development outside the Colluli Mining Licence area. This includes the Sea Water Intake and Treatment Area at Anfile Bay (WITA); pipeline and access corridor of 87 km between the WITA and the Colluli process plant; and Colluli site access road of 57 km connecting Colluli to Marsa Fatuma.

Niels Wage, CEO of Danakali, said: “This year, the project team has made significant progress through management of DRA during Phase 1 and 2 of the EPCM works and most recently by commencing the necessary test works, enabling us to maintain forward momentum of the project development.

“I look forward to updating the market on the progress of our project in due course.”

The company has previously said production could commence in 2022.

Gensource signs up K-UTEC, Koeppern and Ebner for Tugaske potash project

Gensource says it has engaged a consortium of world-class potash process design and equipment fabrication companies to work together to provide a design-supply-commission package for the entire process plant at the Tugaske potash project, in Saskatchewan, Canada.

The kick-off of engineering work for the major process equipment package is another milestone for the project, the fertiliser development company said.

Gensource previously announced advances in the development and financing of the Tugaske project, with KfW IPEX-Bank and Société Générale, joint lead arrangers for the project debt, nearing completion of their due diligence process.

The total senior debt financing for the project is expected to be supported by export insurance coverage with the German Export Credit Agency (ECA), Euler Hermes.

To satisfy a significant portion of the German export requirement, Gensource has elected to work with a consortium of three German-based design and equipment fabrication companies, namely: K-UTEC AG Salt Technologies, Koeppern GmbH & Co KG and Ebner GmbH & Co KG.

“Individually, these companies represent world-class capabilities in their specific areas of expertise, whether in the design of potash and salt processing plants or the design and fabrication of equipment,” Gensource said.

Together, the three companies known as KKE have the capability to supply the entire main process plant in a single design-supply-commission package, the company said.

K-UTEC AG Salt Technologies will look at the physical chemistry, overall process development and engineering, including practical bench scale testing, for the project; Koeppern will be engaged for drying, compaction, and screening process design and compaction equipment design and manufacture; and Ebner (tour of Ebner fabrication facility in Eiterfeld, Germany, pictured below) will be in charge of cooling crystallisation process design and crystallisation equipment design and manufacture.

“Based on the combined experience and capabilities of KKE, Gensource saw an opportunity to not only work with these top-tier companies and have this work qualify for ECA coverage, but also to simplify the number of project interfaces by packaging the entire process plant into a single design-supply-commission contract package,” Gensource said.

“Together, these companies provide a complete solution: from receiving the raw brine from the solution mining wellfield all the way through to a final potash product, meeting the off-taker’s specifications, ready for storage and shipping.”

Additionally, by packaging the entire process plant into one export contract, Gensource says it de-risks the project through obtaining a process guarantee from KKE for product quality and process plant throughput.

To advance the scope on this process plant package, Gensource has initiated the first phase of engineering with KKE, which will start the detailed process and equipment design, leading to the fabrication and ordering of key equipment for the process plant.

Advancing the scope of this package supports a development timeline that targets production from the Tugaske project in late 2022, supplying product to Tugaske’s off-taker and future equity partner, Helm Fertilizers.

The efforts of the KKE group will be integrated into the project by Gensource’s key project delivery partners: Engcomp Engineering & Computing Professionals, the lead engineering and design consultant for the project; and South East Construction (SEC), the general construction contractor for the project, it said.

“Together, Gensource, Engcomp, and SEC are acting as an integrated team, responsible for the overall execution and delivery of the project,” Gensource said, explaining that both Engcomp and SEC were seasoned engineering and construction professionals in the Saskatchewan potash industry.

Mike Ferguson, President & CEO of Gensource, said: “The three companies of the KKE group have unrivalled global experience in the potash and salt industries and bring their tremendous know-how, experience and proven track record of success to our project.

“Together with Gensource, Engcomp, and SEC, KKE rounds out the world-class potash team that we have established, which will no doubt deliver a world-class sustainable potash production facility in Saskatchewan via the Tugaske project.”

Like other Gensource module designs, the Tugaske project will produce a minimum of 250,000 t/y of saleable muriate of potash product.

Wirtgen 220 harvester up and running at Kalium Lakes’ Beyondie potash project

Kalium Lakes has commissioned a recently delivered salt harvester from Wirtgen at its Beyondie Sulphate of potash project (BSOPP) in Western Australia.

The Wirtgen harvester was selected after extensive trials using different harvesting methods and machinery as part of Kalium Lakes’ 10 ha pilot scale ponds program, the company said.

The Wirtgen 220 can produce up to 600 t/h of harvested salts at a consistent floor height and grain size, according to Kalium Lakes.

Those salts harvested are transported to the nearby purification plant for processing into a final sulphate of potash product, the company explained. Similar Wirtgen harvesters are in use in other salt mining operations around the world.

Earlier this week, Kalium Lakes awarded the engineering procurement and construction contract for the 90,000 t/y SOP processing plant at the BSOPP to DRA Global.

The commissioning of the Wirtgen 220 also allowed the company to confirm several operational parameters including salt pavement thickness, harvesting methodology, expected grain size and the estimated timeframes to drain the evaporation pond of brine, harvest, refill with brine and recommence salt crystallisation, Kalium Lakes said.

Managing Director, Brett Hazelden, said: “As we approached the milestone of 30,000 t of SOP brine pumped into our evaporation ponds, it was a timely opportunity to commission the harvester on site and confirm the operational assumptions.

“This very impressive machine has been specifically designed to generate a certain product size to enable the downstream purification plant to operate efficiently. It is also pleasing to see our operation completing another first for the SOP sector in Australia, as we continue to develop this new industry aimed at supplying our local Australian farmers.”

Veolia crystalliser technology to help Salt Lake Potash produce SOP

Veolia Water Technologies says it has been contracted by Salt Lake Potash to supply HPD® crystallisation systems for its Lake Way potash mining project in Western Australia.

The systems will help the company produce a high-quality sulphate of potash (SOP) fertiliser, it said.

Salt Lake Potash is developing Lake Way into a 245,000 t/y SOP (K2SO4) operation, with first production expected by the end of the year. To recover low-cost, high-grade SOP, the production uses solar evaporation to concentrate the hypersaline, potassium-rich brines for salt harvesting, according to Veolia.

To further process these solids, Veolia will design and supply two HPD crystallisers: one to grow 32 t/h of high-purity potassium sulphate crystals, the other to recycle 54 t/h of solids to yield the maximum potassium recovery.

As part of this contract, Veolia provided bench-scale testing at its Phillip J. Stewart Technology centre in Plainfield, Illinois (USA). The results validated the feed chemistry, simulated the optimal flowsheet design, and confirmed process performance projections that helped to de-risk the project, according to the company.

To accelerate this fast-track project and achieve the delivery schedule, Veolia staged the progress to advance the basic engineering and testing simultaneously, it said. “These actions not only optimised capital investments but also lowered operating costs through a system design that minimises fouling and cleaning requirements,” the company explained.

Jim Brown, CEO of Veolia Water Technologies Americas, said: “We are pleased to support Salt Lake Potash in delivering natural fertilisers to a market hungry for specialty potash nutrients. Based on test work, which confirmed the process viability, our reliable proven crystalliser technology will help the flagship Lake Way project set the industry benchmark in producing high-grade SOP.”

With its HPD technologies tailored to growing fully-soluble crystals, Veolia helps global fertiliser producers optimise their recovery operations and the value of its product portfolio with a focus on enhancing environmental sustainability as well as energy and resource efficiencies, it said.