Tag Archives: Prominent Hill

Sandvik delivers 100th automated loader in APAC region

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it has delivered its 100th loader connected to the AutoMine® platform in the Asia Pacific region.

A Sandvik LH621i loader was delivered to Byrnecut Australia in March, making it Sandvik’s 100th automated load and haul unit to be delivered in APAC.

Sandvik has 30 AutoMine systems installed across Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, with customers including Barminco, OceanaGold, Redpath, and Byrnecut, who now have 11 sites in Australia connected to AutoMine. The first AutoMine system in the region was delivered and commissioned in 2008 for Mount Isa Copper Operations, now owned by Glencore.

AutoMine is Sandvik’s automation system for autonomous and tele-remote operation for a wide range of Sandvik and non-Sandvik underground and surface equipment. It provides a safe and controlled process to increase mine productivity and profitability, as well as protect operators and other mine personnel in underground and surface operations.

AutoMine can be scaled from tele-remote or autonomous operation of a single machine to multi-machine control and full fleet automation with automatic mission and traffic control capability. Operators can simultaneously control or monitor multiple machines from the comfort and safety of a remote control room, Sandvik says.

Sandvik recently demonstrated this capability with the successful trial remote operation of a LH621i loader at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine in South Australia. The LH621i was successfully operated from the Remote Operating Centre in OZ Mineral’s Adelaide office, taking OZ Minerals a step closer to realising its goal of remote operations from home.

“The digitalisation field has developed significantly over the years and we have adapted to meet the industry needs along the way,” Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions Technical Support Manager – Mine Automation, Ty Osborne, said.

“We have seen our customers change their mindset from ‘this technology is nice but won’t work in our mine’, to, ‘what do have to do to make this work in our mine?’. Our customers are now seeing the value of including digitalisation in their mine planning and recognise the tangible benefits an automated fleet can bring to their operation.”

Byrnecut adds Carrapateena to OZ Minerals underground contract mining portfolio

OZ Minerals Ltd has changed underground mining contractor at its Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia following Downer EDI’s move to divest its mining services businesses to MACA.

The company has now signed an agreement with Byrnecut Australia for the delivery of underground mining and associated mining services at Carrapateena. The two companies know each other well, with Byrnecut already carrying out underground mining services at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill for the past 10 years.

The five-year alliance-style contract with Byrnecut is valued at circa-A$130 million/y ($101 million/y), OZ Minerals said. Byrnecut has already commenced a seven-week mobilisation to the Carrapateena site and will assume full responsibility for mining services delivery from March 4, 2021.

“OZ Minerals, Byrnecut and Downer will work together during the transition period to ensure continuity of operational performance and development, and employee support and opportunities, with the objective of providing roles for the majority of the incumbent underground workforce,” the company said. “This transition will include the transfer of equipment from Downer to Byrnecut.”

Byrnecut will now provide underground mining services to both the Carrapateena and Prominent Hill mines.

“Byrnecut is a proven top-tier underground mining contractor who has been providing underground mining services to Prominent Hill for the past 10 years, with their Prominent Hill contract having been renewed in 2020,” OZ Minerals said.

The scope of work comprises all underground mining activity for the duration of the contract including production and development mining and associated mining services; and bedding in steady-state operations at nameplate site capacity.

Byrnecut, OZ Minerals and Sandvik achieve teleremote drilling first

Contract miner Byrnecut Australia has become the first underground operator in the world to successfully use a new automation and teleremote package for Sandvik development drills.

Byrnecut introduced a Sandvik DD422i development drill featuring the package to OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill gold-copper mine, southeast of Coober Pedy, South Australia, in March.

With COVID-19 travel restrictions preventing Sandvik staff from attending site, Byrnecut, OZ Minerals and Sandvik experts collaborated via phone, teleconference and email to complete remote commissioning of the rig.

The two-boom rig, which can be monitored and controlled from the surface and features a sophisticated boom-collision-avoidance system, has now been in operation for three weeks, according to the companies.

Byrnecut Australia Managing Director, Pat Boniwell, says the new automation features allow for enhanced drill operation across shift changes – a period when, historically, development drilling has stopped or been significantly reduced.

“We’re conservatively looking at a 10% increase in productivity with this machine through being able to drill extra holes and the machine being used more consistently,” he said. “It picks up on the deadtime, and if it does stop for any reason we’re able to remotely reset it.”

The new boom collision avoidance system means both of the rig’s drill booms can be left in operation during shift change – something that was previously not possible. In the first few weeks of operation, the drill has been able to drill 60-70 holes while being operated autonomously and remotely from surface, the companies said.

General Manager of OZ Minerals Prominent Hill operations, Gabrielle Iwanow, says when Byrnecut approached her about trialling the upgraded development drill, she was immediately interested.

“OZ Minerals is a modern mining company,” she said. “We’re interested in innovation and looking for safer, faster, and more efficient ways of doing our work.”

Iwanow said the commissioning of the drill in such trying times is a true credit to all those involved and the positive working relationship between OZ Minerals, Byrnecut and Sandvik.

Byrnecut Drill Master, Noah Wilkinson, says a solid working relationship with Sandvik and good communication contributed to the success of the commissioning.

“People from the Sandvik factory in Finland were able to remote into the machine over the internet and adjust settings that were stopping some of the functions from working,” he explained.

Sandvik’s Global Account Manager for Byrnecut, Andrew Atkinson, paid credit to Byrnecut’s openness to adopting autonomous technologies in areas including development drilling, loader operation, production drilling and ore trucks, which are all engineered for compatibility with Sandvik’s AutoMine® and OptiMine® products.

In addition to the collision avoidance and teleremote capabilities of the DD422i, the new automation package allows for semi-autonomous bit changing.

Another handy feature of the setup during the current period of social distancing has been the virtual network computing capability that allows the control panel of the drill to be viewed remotely on a tablet. This means that during operator training, the instructor need not be in the cabin with the operator.

Outotec to deliver ‘unique’ paste backfill plant to OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine

Outotec says it has been awarded a contract to design and deliver a mine paste backfill system to OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill copper-gold mine, in South Australia.

The contract price is €15 million ($16.5 million) and it has been booked into Outotec’s 2019 June quarter order intake, the mineral processing company said.

Outotec’s supply includes the design and delivery of a complete paste backfill system, as well as detailed design of the underground distribution network and fill management systems, it said.

The new paste backfill plant will be based on a unique process design, which allows flexibility to use continuously produced fresh tailings or store filter cake to meet the future backfill needs of the underground mining operation, Outotec said. The new facility is expected to have a capacity of 215 m³/h.

“A reliable paste backfill system is critical to the whole mine and its operations. We are pleased to support our customer to improve their tailings management in a sustainable way,” Kimmo Kontola, Head of Outotec Minerals Processing Business, said.

Prominent Hill is a copper-gold mining operation made up of the Malu open-pit mine – which concluded operations last year – the Ankata and Malu underground deposits and a conventional crushing, grinding and flotation processing plant.

Outotec has previously delivered an EPC backfill system, plus build own operate backfill plant for ongoing operation at Prominent Hill.

 

Adelaide Brighton cements contract extension with OZ Minerals at Prominent Hill

ASX-listed Adelaide Brighton has announced the signing of a contract with OZ Minerals for the continuation of cement supply to the Prominent Hill copper-gold operation in South Australia.

The contract period is for a five-year term with options to extend, Adelaide Brighton said.

In addition to the supply of cement, Adelaide Brighton will also supply aggregate and sand from the company’s Sellicks Hill Quarry and Price sand operation as well as auxiliary logistics services, it said.

Adelaide Brighton CEO, Nick Miller, said: “The contract, which now also includes aggregate and sand supply for the Prominent Hill operation, reflects the company’s competitive offering of a broad range of products in the South Australian market.”

Prominent Hill is a copper-gold mining operation in northern South Australia, which is made up of the Malu open-pit mine – which concluded operations last year – the Ankata and Malu underground deposits and a conventional crushing, grinding and flotation processing plant.

OZ Minerals and Unearthed Explorer Challenge goes live

The Explorer Challenge has officially kicked off, with more than 2 TB of OZ Minerals project data going live and more than 1,000 global innovators on a wait list to test the limits of data science and geology by developing groundbreaking approaches to mineral exploration, Unearthed says.

OZ Minerals and Unearthed, an energy and resources open innovation platform, partnered to deliver this online crowdsourcing competition to find new exploration targets at the Mount Woods tenements of the Prominent Hill copper-gold mine (pictured), in South Australia.

Unearthed said: “Economic mineral deposits are becoming increasingly difficult to find. Geologists regularly spend years collecting and analysing disparate data, frequently testing hypotheses, from huge areas of land, often for little or no reward.

“Explorers are looking for new approaches to solve this problem and develop innovative processes and ways of working that can drive up the discovery rate and, in doing so, decrease the number of holes drilled for less environmental and economic impact, resulting in a more sustainable and efficient future for mineral exploration.”

Crowdsourcing is a process by which such a problem and the accompanying data is made available digitally to third parties from around the world, who then compete to deliver the best solution.

In addition to a A$1 million ($713,785) prize pool, the winning model on the Explorer Challenge will be tested in real life, with the top targets scheduled to be drilled by the end of 2019.

OZ Minerals’ Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Cole, said: “The iterative process of collecting different datasets, followed by geological interpretation can take a long time. The Explorer Challenge is one way we can speed up the exploration lifecycle and analyse information at a much faster rate.”

Unearthed Industry Lead – Crowdsourcing, Holly Bridgwater, said: “Geologically speaking, the key advantage of crowdsourcing is for us to be able to assess an area of ground much faster. Instead of accessing a few opinions, you have access to hundreds and potentially thousands of opinions and you can use that collective brainpower in a short period to collate many different interpretations and see where potential targets might be.

“All the different data collected has the potential to give signals and indicators and when analysed in different ways, gives the best opportunity to highlight points of difference and generate new thinking to help find the prized needles in the haystack.”

The Explorer Challenge will run until the end of May, with winners announced in June.

OZ Minerals teams up with Unearthed to set Explorer Challenge

Mining company OZ Minerals and energy and resources open innovation platform Unearthed have partnered to launch the Explorer Challenge.

This online crowdsourcing competition calls for geologists and data scientists from across the globe to develop ground-breaking approaches to discover new exploration targets at a site near Oz Minerals’ Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia, with a A$1 million ($722,497) prize pool to be awarded to winning ideas, Unearthed said.

Prominent Hill sits within the Mount Woods exploration tenements in northern South Australia. The mine has been in operation since 2009. The site for this competition is the remaining land of the Mount Woods exploration tenements surrounding Prominent Hill.

OZ Minerals’ Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cole said: “We’ve taken an approach from outside our industry and applied it to the challenge. This gives us potential access to thousands of scientists’ ideas and data, compared to our relatively small team of in-house geologists – a different and diverse perspective to interpret our exploration data.

“The challenge presents a number of benefits and, importantly, helps us gain new insights and find new approaches to push the boundaries of our geological understanding of the area.

“The challenge is a continuation of our digital transformation journey, which we started two years ago when we migrated all our exploration data to the Amazon Web Service cloud. We want to find ways to work smarter with all the data we’ve got, not just geological data, and challenge existing concepts of how we are harnessing it.”

The Explorer Challenge seeks to test how the global mining and resources industry may leverage data science to its full potential in the future.

Unearthed Founding Director Justin Strharsky said mineral exploration is difficult and economic mineral deposits are rare: “During the exploration process, the iterative process of collecting different datasets, followed by geological interpretation, can take a very long time. Vast amounts of data are collected and processed, and very often this does not result in a discovery.

“The Explorer Challenge will speed up the exploration lifecycle and allow us to analyse information at a much faster rate than before. This competition represents a fundamental change in approach to problem-solving. Data science techniques can be used for exploration and many other challenges faced by the industry.

“This is a very real example of the future of work within the industry in general and exploration, in particular. Organisations must understand the business-as-usual approach in this industry will no longer suffice. The traditional borders of our companies must be expanded virtually to include people with different skills and perspectives from around the world. If your approach to digital skills is to hire people who happen to live near your HQ on the basis of a CV or a degree from a school you recognise, you’re doing it wrong.”

Participating innovators will put their skills to the test and develop solutions for the duration of the 10-week online competition and compete for not only A$1 million in prize money, but also the chance to have their winning model tested in real life, with the top targets scheduled to be drilled next year, Unearthed said.

OZ Minerals will announce the Explorer Challenge at the South Australian Exploration and Mining Conference held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on December 7, 2018.

Interested participants can register their interest at the Explorer Challenge site and will be notified when the competition opens in February 2019. Entries close May 2019, and winners will be announced in June 2019.