Tag Archives: process plant

SilverCrest adds process plant EPC remit to Ausenco’s Las Chispas FS work

SilverCrest Metals is racing ahead with securing one of the key contracts for its Las Chispas project in Mexico, with one of its Mexican subsidiaries entering into a fixed price engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with Ausenco Engineering Canada and one of its affiliates ahead of the publication of a feasibility study on the silver-gold project.

While the study is still pending finalisation by Ausenco, with announcement of results targeted for late January 2021, SilverCrest says it is confident entering into the process plant agreement based on the substantial feasibility information currently available.

At the same time, the company entered into a $120 million project financing facility with an affiliate of RK Mine Finance for funding the Las Chispas build.

The lump sum turnkey price of $76.5 million for the EPC contract will include construction of a 1,250 t/d process plant at Las Chispas, with execution of Ausenco’s scope of work to begin in February 2021, and commissioning of the process plant targeted for the June quarter of 2022. The process plant production ramp-up is expected to start in the September quarter of that year.

The construction execution plan includes stringent COVID-19 protocols including the use of a confined single room occupancy camp designed to limit the potential for a virus outbreak at the site and in the local communities, SilverCrest says.

Ausenco is in the throes of completing the Las Chispas feasibility study and progressing detailed engineering and the construction management plan. Detailed engineering is progressing well at around 60% completion, according to SilverCrest, and procurement of long lead items started in the final quarter of 2020.

“Advancing these programs in parallel has allowed Ausenco to develop comprehensive capital and operating cost estimates for Las Chispas while progressing detailed engineering beyond what is customary at a feasibility study level,” SilverCrest said.

“The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic also allowed SilverCrest to initiate an early works program tailored to further reduce project execution risks.”

This early works program included the earthworks package, the water pumping system and the first phase of the construction camp. The advancement of the program, coupled with the fixed price nature of the EPC contract, reduces many common construction and market-related risks, the company said.

Beyond the tasks included in the EPC contract, the remaining initial capital costs anticipated for Las Chispas construction will include development costs of the underground mine; owner’s site costs; on-site infrastructure including Phase 2 of the confined construction camp, a bridge and the filtered (dry stack) tailings system facility; a new 33 kV, 49 km long powerline; and an analytical laboratory located in the community.

Pierre Beaudoin, COO of SilverCrest, said: “We are pleased to be working with Ausenco, a well-known and respected engineering firm with substantial global experience in designing, constructing, and commissioning precious metal process facilities. We have been working closely with Ausenco to complete the EPC contract and the feasibility study in close succession. We are confident that their intimate knowledge of the project will benefit the successful construction and commissioning of Las Chispas.”

A February 2019 preliminary economic assessment on Las Chispas outlined a 1,250 t/d production rate with an initial mine life of 8.5 years. This resulted in average annual production of 5.38 Moz of silver and 55,700 oz of gold.

E and I Zambia helps power up process plant for copper miner

Electrical control and instrumentation specialist, E and I Zambia, says it has successfully completed a large project on a new process plant for one of Zambia’s leading copper miners.

The contract included the installation of six electrical substations, 20 transformers, five 1,250 kVA diesel generators for back-up power and a 950 m overland conveyor. Almost 250 km of cable was pulled and nearly 15 km of cable racking was constructed, according to the company.

Also completed were six earth mat rings, 12 mast lights and a range of general plant earthing and lighting installations around the plant, as well as the fitting and termination of instruments. E and I Zambia conducted the work between January 2019 and April 2020, in close collaboration with both a leading design house and the end-client, the company said.

According to Projects Manager, Dave Opperman, the company has a sound track record in the country, having been active on the copperbelt and beyond since 2002.

“The experience of our team on site, the quality of our artisans and the training of workers ensured that the quality of this job was world class,” Opperman says. “While prioritising safety and quality, we were still able to adapt to the inevitable fine-tuning of project parameters and schedules, and to deliver on the client’s timelines.”

The safety standards were reflected in the achievement of 395 Lost-Time Injury Free days. This was achieved despite a busy site – peak manpower grew to over 270 employees and subcontractors – in a project that consumed almost 590,000 manhours. Almost all the staffing on the project was local, the company said.

“Being so well established in Zambia, we have a solid database of skilled artisans that we can draw upon for large projects like this one,” Opperman says. “The country has a good foundation of these trades, and we can select the most suitable profile of skills to match the project.”

He noted that the company is also able to optimise its local procurement through its network of reliable suppliers, while maintaining a strong cross-border supply chain for large and specialised equipment and components from South Africa.

In line with quality standards, each phase of the project involved the sign-off of both in-house and external quality control officers. This ensured all work was carried out in accordance with engineering designs and industry standard specifications before being certified ready for use.

E and I Zambia is also able to draw on the extensive technical capacity of South Africa-based EnI Electrical, an operating entity within Zest WEG.

MACA receives early call up for Red 5’s King of the Hills gold project

Red 5 Ltd says it has taken another key step towards the development of its King of the Hills (KOTH) project in Western Australia, after issuing a notice of award for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract and the bulk earthworks for the process plant to MACA Interquip.

The EPC contract and bulk earthworks – which encompass the KOTH processing facility, equipping of the bore fields, high voltage power distribution, workshop, warehouse and bulk earthworks – will be undertaken as a fixed‐price contract, Red 5 said.

The KOTH feasibility study outlined a 16-year life of mine plan from open-pit and underground mining, whereby the company would produce 176,000 oz/y of gold over the first six years. The capital cost came in at A$226 million ($158 million) and life of mine all-in sustaining costs were A$1,415/oz.

MACA Interquip, a multi‐disciplined mineral processing provider, has a strong track record of the construction of similar carbon‐in‐leach processing plants to the 4 Mt/y process plant planned at KOTH, Red 5 explained.

Following execution of the EPC contract, commitments to‐date for the KOTH project will total A$143 million, compared with the capital budget of A$155 million for these items – which represent 82% of the total capital budget for processing infrastructure of A$188 million (excluding owners costs and contingency).

Commitments made to date include:

  • Purchase of 240‐bed camp accommodation, water and waste water treatment plants and central facilities;
  • Design and construction contract for a 450‐person village;
  • 6 Mt/y gyratory crusher and 4 Mt/y SAG mill;
  • Early works agreement with APA Group for the gas pipeline lateral; and
  • EPC contract for the process facility and bulk earthworks.

Construction of the village commenced in October 2020 and is on track to be operational in February 2021. The process plant bulk earthworks (for which equipment will be mobilised) are scheduled to commence on December 1, 2020, pending the final remaining permit (currently on schedule).

The EPC contract provides for two phases. The first is limited to A$50 million and Phase 2 is for the remainder of the contract value, which will be released at the discretion of Red 5, based on the status of debt financing.

The notice of award provides for the immediate commencement of the design and procurement activities for the process plant as well as mobilisation of earthmoving equipment to site, Red 5 said. It, however, limits commitments to A$10 million and is an interim measure to allow the plant design and mobilisation for earthworks to commence immediately while the contract is executed.

Once executed, the value of these contracts, together with the purchase of the 6 Mt/y gyratory crusher and 4 Mt/y SAG mill (already awarded to MACA Interquip), is A$129 million.

The purchased long‐lead items of the crusher and mill are currently being transported, in preparation for the planned delivery to Australia late in the June quarter of 2021.

The company is currently calling tenders for both the open pit and underground mining contracts, the independent power producer contract and the supply of gas. These contracts are expected to be finalised in the coming months, it said.

Red 5 Managing Director, Mark Williams, said: “Our decision to award these key contracts and make commitments to significant long‐lead items prior to completing project debt funding reflects our confidence in the robustness of the King of the Hills project.

“Importantly, the commitments made to date are below budget for this stage of the KOTH project, and should give our stakeholders confidence that we are well on track to progress the development of this major project, with production planned to start in June quarter of 2022.”

Macmahon, GR Engineering on board Calidus Resources’ Warrawoona gold project

Calidus Resources has started construction ahead of schedule at its Warrawoona project, as well as made two key appointments to deliver on its gold mine development in Western Australia.

It has appointed Macmahon Holdings as the preferred mining contractor for the project, while GR Engineering Services has been awarded preferred tenderer status for the process plant engineering procurement and construction.

While construction activity has already commenced ahead of the main project construction activities, which are expected to kick off in the March quarter of 2021, these contract tenders will allow finalisation of major contracts as part of the ongoing feasibility study at Warrawoona, due for completion this month, Calidus said. It will also help facilitate front end engineering and design for the project and the placing of orders for long lead items.

This project involves the development of a new open-pit mine in the Pilbara region, with the scope of work for Macmahon to include all open-pit mining activities, and potentially some early stage civil works.

Macmahon estimates the open-pit mining work will generate around A$220 million ($160 million) in revenue over 54 months and require capital expenditure of circa-A$30 million. There is also potential for the Warrawoona project to include underground mining, which could represent a further opportunity for Macmahon when this is developed, it said.

Macmahon expects it will start work on site in the first half of 2021, with the project to eventually employ more than 120 of its personnel.

GR Engineering, which has completed the last two gold plants in Western Australia, according to Calidus, will work on the design and construction of the process plant and associated infrastructure, meanwhile.

A prefeasibility study on Warrawoona completed in July 2019 outlined average gold production of 97,000 oz/y at an all-in sustaining cost of $1,159/oz over an initial six-year mine life via a 2 Mt/y conventional CIL processing circuit with single stage crush and SAG mill.

Among the initial works the company has started are 7 km-long access road to the village and process plant (pictured); the installation of the 240 room village that has been previously purchased by Calidus; the installation and operation of communications by Telstra; and the installation and equipping of water bores.

ABB provides plant managers with more visibility

ABB has looked to upgrade its ABB Ability™ System 800xA Minerals Process Control Library with a new graphical interface that provides operators with relevant process information in its “situational context”.

Successfully operating in more than 450 cement and mining sites worldwide, the Minerals Process Control Library is an automation software solution for both industries designed to achieve the highest plant productivity, availability and safety, as well as the best operator efficiency, ABB says.

The new ABB 800xA 6.1 automation platform update has further improved the solution, according to the company.

It comes with a completely new clear and intuitive graphical interface for process displays, faceplates and workplace layout, which enables awareness of any given situation in a plant, according to the company. It also offers an extensive set of options for adapting presentation so that the focus can be tailored, and users can navigate to the required information much faster.

A key new feature that comes with the update is the “unique alarm system”. This enables plant operators to immediately detect, understand and resolve all types of process situations and disturbances in minimum time, according to the company.

“The most critical elements of the production process are emphasised through a combination of context-based information and consistent alarm colours and shapes, ensuring that attention is always drawn to those requiring immediate response.”

The wider release follows the first installation of the updated ABB Ability™ System 800xA Minerals Process Control Library at the Hoghiz cement plant in the Brasov region of Romania, which produces 1 Mt/y of cement.

Razvan Cocea, Head of Electrical and Automation for CRH Hoghiz Plant, said the latest version of the system, which has been in operation at the plant since early July, provides a much clearer process displays.

“”With the new visual control graphics, it is now immediately obvious which equipment requires attention,” he said. “The new process alarms instantly alert operators when something is wrong. They can then easily navigate to the detailed displays to find the root cause of the problem and take appropriate measures to bring the process up and running again.”

Michael Marending, Lead Engineer at ABB, said the growing level of automation and intercommunication in industries such as mining and cement means fewer people are managing much larger plant areas.

“This adds complexity to daily plant operation and places increasing demands on today’s control room personnel,” he said. “The ability of humans to be able to respond, with good decisions at the right time, is crucial for the optimization of plant efficiency and reliability.”

He continued: “Visualisation is critical to the process, providing the main interface between humans and the production site. This new HMI offers a whole new set of functions and makes real-time information much more accessible to operators. The new visual control graphics make it easier for all users of the system to take the right decisions in any situation and allow operators, maintenance and engineers to collaborate in new ways. Visual control graphics can be easily integrated into other existing ABB and external vendor subsystems.”

ABB Ability™ System 800xA Minerals Process Control Library is part of the ABB Ability™ MineOptimize portfolio of digitally connected products, services and solutions that enable mines and cement plants to maximise visibility, reliability, productivity and energy efficiency and optimise performance.