Tag Archives: Redpath

MMG brings in new Sandvik equipment for owner-operator transition at Dugald River

MMG Limited has acquired new underground equipment for its Dugald River zinc-lead mine in Queensland, Australia, as it gears up to make the transition from a contract miner-led operation to a run of mine (ROM) owner-operator model in 2023.

Among the purchases are three Sandvik DL421-15C longhole drills that will allow the team to drill holes up to 54 m in length and 115 mm in diameter.

A further seven Sandvik TH663i 63-t-payload underground haul trucks (pictured) have been purchased to support operations.

“These important acquisitions support Dugald River’s new operating model as ROM owner operator into 2023,” the company said.

Dugald River’s mining operations were previously overseen by Perenti-owned Barminco as part of a production and development contract which ends on December 31. Redpath Australia was awarded a new underground mining services contract at the mine, earlier this year.

Alamos’ Island Gold mine keeps giving up its goods

The latest drill intercepts from Alamos Gold’s Island Gold Mine in Ontario, Canada, have continued to showcase the potential of an asset that already has a more than 17-year mine life ahead of it, John McCluskey, President and Chief Executive Officer, says.

On the same day as releasing an assortment of promising drill intercepts outside of the existing reserves and resources – namely 110.17 g/t Au over 7.79 m, 97.21 g/t Au over 5.05 m and 525.28 g/t Au over 2.33 m – McCluskey continued to highlight the credentials of an asset that had just 1.8 Moz of mineral reserves and resources, and production around the 100,000 oz/y mark when it was acquired by Alamos in 2017 in a $620 million all-share deal for mine owner Richmont Mines.

“We’re now looking at one of the biggest, most profitable underground gold mines in Ontario,” he told IM in a meeting in London this week. “That is a far cry from what the market saw when we first acquired the company. We have since more than tripled the reserve and resource base and continue to build confidence in adding further ounces.”

The Phase 3+ Expansion Study released earlier this year outlined a 2,400 t/d shaft-supported operation with average annual gold production of 287,000 oz, starting in 2026 upon completion of the sinking and equipping of a 1,373-m-deep shaft. This represents a 22% increase from the previous Phase 3 study and a 121% increase from the mid-point of 2022 production guidance of 130,000 oz.

McCluskey confirmed this week that pre-sinking activities at the expansion project had been completed by contractor Redpath, going down to 42 m depth (pictured). He expected full sinking activities to start up next year in line with the above guidance.

The addition of a shaft connected to low-carbon intensity grid power in Ontario will support higher mining rates with a smaller mobile fleet of haul trucks resulting in significantly lower diesel consumption at Island, according to the company. This is expected to drive a 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the mine life.

While the current plan at Island is to sink down to circa-1,400 m, the company made the decision to acquire a hoisting plant for the expansion that could operate down to depths of 2,000 m. This is an indication of the undefined potential at the mine, according to McCluskey, who admitted the shaft could be sunk to even deeper depths should drilling results justify this.

“It would not require too much more engineering or money to extend the shaft below the circa-1,400 m level, so that is something we will continue to weigh up as we conduct further drilling,” he said. “The Island story continues to grow and we continue to see a very profitable future at what will become one of the lowest cost underground mining operations in the province.”

Sandvik and Redpath to tackle underground mine safety and profitability with new pact

Sandvik and Redpath are aiming to improve safety and reduce underground mining costs through technology advancements, innovation, continuous improvement projects and standardised best practices under a newly-signed agreement guided by operational and relationship key performance indicators.

The five-year agreement includes Sandvik commitments on local presence and support, as well as an annual technology summit and factory training sessions. It will also standardise the use of equipment, leading to cost reductions and safety enhancements, the companies said.

“Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has long been a valued supplier of underground mining solutions to our global operations,” George Flumerfelt, CEO of The Redpath Group, said. “This mutually beneficial cooperation will help ensure Sandvik provides the same service experience and quality, independently of the geographic location and size of Redpath operations.”

Mats Eriksson, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, added: “This agreement underlines the trust we have in our long-term relationship and further strengthens our good partnership with Redpath. Closer collaboration with Redpath’s business will enable us to deliver on expectations and optimise our product development.”

The two companies have worked on many underground mining projects together in the past and, last year, Redpath became the first company to receive and operate a Sandvik DD212 production drill in Australia, putting it into action at Silver Lake Resources’ Rothsay gold mine in Western Australia.

Redpath opens mobile equipment repair facility in North Bay

Redpath, on the day it celebrated its 60th anniversary, has inaugurated a new state-of-the-art mobile equipment repair facility at its North Bay facility in Canada.

The new facility represents an C$8.5 million ($6.2 million) investment in the company’s North Bay infrastructure and shows Redpath’s continued confidence that the Ontario city is the ideal location for its global headquarters, it said.

The 15,600 sq.ft (1,449 sq.m) building consists of six repair bays, two inspection bays, along with welding and washing bays. Thanks to the new shop, Redpath will be able to handle the complete life cycle of any piece of equipment from its underground mining fleet in-house, it said.

The new building incorporates environmentally conscious features including solar-powered auxiliary power units, heated floors, wastewater collection and recycling, and recirculated air for ventilation.

Redpath said: “It was 60 years ago that Jim Redpath started the company with the commitment to provide superior contracting services to the mining industry. From a mere four employees in the early 1960s, Redpath today employs over 6,000 people in projects all over the world.”

Redpath continues mechanised sinking evolution with S20+ deployment at Odyssey

Redpath is continuing its focus on mechanised shaft sinking operations, with the latest example being the planned use of the hydraulic shaft mucker S20+ at the Canadian Malartic Partnership’s (CMP) Odyssey gold project in Quebec, Canada.

Redpath Canada was recently contracted by the CMP to sink a 6.5-m diameter, 1,800-m deep concrete lined shaft at Odyssey, a project that has the potential to become one of Canada’s largest and most technologically advanced underground gold mines.

CMP, which is 50:50 owned by Yamana Gold Inc and Agnico Eagle Ltd, previously laid out plans to extract 19,000 t of ore at an estimated grade of about 2.75 g/t gold and roughly 5,000 t/d of waste rock during peak operations at Odyssey. The ore will be processed at the operation’s existing plant, which will eventually be adapted to the future mine’s needs including shifting from 57,000 t/d to 20,000 t/d. The ore will be hauled to surface using Blair production hoists with use of both shaft bottom and mid-shaft ore handling systems.

The sinking concept at Odyssey includes the use of the S20+, which was built by Redpath Deilmann in Germany. A previous iteration of this machine, the S20, was used with success on four shaft projects in both soft rock – with an integrated tool package – and hard rock.

The S20+ offers similar capacity/productivity to a North American pneumatic telescopic boom mucker but with a much easier learning curve for operators, according to Kevin Melong, Vice President – Shafts and Technical Services, at Redpath Canada.

Unlike the RD S100, which can move independently of the galloway within the shaft via a telescopic boom, the S20+ is connected to the galloway, requiring the lowering of the galloway to move the mucker into position for mucking.

Melong added: “The S20+ does present some potential for concurrent mucking when in and around the shaft station construction/excavation, but, in general, does not act independent of the stage as in the S100 design.”

Fitted with a bucket as standard, the S20+ offers a maximum digging depth of 7.96 m and a bucket volume of 560 litres. It also offers good flexibility, with the bucket capable of six rotations per minute.

Alongside the S20+ and the aforementioned S100, Redpath has been mechanising the shaft sinking process in mining through the use of large-diameter raiseboring equipment and operation of Herrenknecht’s Shaft Boring Roadheader (in soft-to-medium rock). The company is also working with Herrenknecht on the development of the Shaft Boring Cutterhead, a machine developed for medium-to-hard rock applications up to 250 MPa UCS.

South32 making engineering and design headway at Hermosa project

A stellar set of annual financial results has provided the ideal backdrop for South32 to update shareholders on its rapidly progressing Hermosa project in Arizona, USA.

Released late last month, the company’s 2022 financial year results showed off record earnings of $2.6 billion, record free cash flow from operations of $2.6 billion and record return on invested capital of 30.1%.

With group copper-equivalent production expected to increase by 14% in the next financial year, South32 looked to be well leveraged to in-demand metal markets at the right time.

The company has progressively been repositioning its portfolio toward metals critical for a low-carbon future, having already established a pipeline of high-quality development options. One of these high-quality development options is Hermosa.

Hermosa, which the company acquired outright back in 2018 as part of a takeover of Arizona Mining, is key to the company’s critical metals pursuit, having exposure to base and battery metals that are expected to grow in demand – both domestically in the US and internationally.

It is being designed as South32’s first ‘next generation mine’, according to Hermosa President, Pat Risner, with a series of technical reports highlighting its use of automation and technology to minimise its impact on the environment and target a carbon-neutral mining scenario in support of the group’s goal of achieving net zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

These same reports also highlighted the potential to develop a sustainable, low-cost operation producing zinc, lead and silver from the Taylor deposit, with the bonus of possible battery-grade manganese output for rapidly growing domestic markets from the Clark deposit.

In the latest results, the company said it was devoting $290 million of growth capital expenditure in the 2023 financial year to progressing Hermosa as it invests in infrastructure to support critical path dewatering and progress study work for the Taylor Deposit. This is ahead of a planned final investment decision expected in mid-2023, which should coincide with the feasibility study.

South32 is devoting $290 million of growth capital expenditure in the 2023 financial year to progress Hermosa

Some $110 million of this was assigned to construction of a second water treatment plant (WTP2) to support orebody dewatering at the asset, alongside dewatering wells, piping systems and dewatering power infrastructure.

An additional $95 million was slated for engineering and initial construction ahead of shaft sinking at the operation, plus work to support power infrastructure and road construction.

The remaining amount was expected to support work across the broader Hermosa project, including Clark study costs and the Taylor feasibility study.

All signs from these results are that the company is laying the groundwork to develop this project ahead of that mid-2023 deadline.

In another sign of progress, South32 recently signed a “limited notice to proceed” for shaft engineering and design at Hermosa with contractor Redpath, Risner confirmed, adding that the award represented a positive step forward for the project.

“We look forward to continuing our engagement with local communities and all of our stakeholders as we make further progress with the project,” he said.

Redpath will no doubt be evaluating the technical studies that have been signed off to this point and informing future reports.

The PFS design for Taylor is a dual shaft mine which prioritises early access to higher grade mineralisation, supporting zinc-equivalent average grades of approximately 12% in the first five years of the mine plan. The proposed mining method, longhole open stoping, is similar to that used at Cannington, in Australia, and maximises productivity and enables a single stage ramp-up to the miner’s preferred development scenario of up to 4.3 Mt/y.

Yet, the Clark deposit opportunity – which has become even more tantalising with the US Government invoking the Defense Production Act and supporting the production of critical metals including manganese – could see the plan change.

The company says it may accelerate the prefeasibility study for the Clark deposit, which is spatially linked to the Taylor deposit. A scoping study has previously confirmed the potential for a separate, integrated underground mining operation producing battery-grade manganese, as well as zinc and silver from the deposit.

South32 previously said Clark has the potential to underpin a second development stage at Hermosa, with future studies to consider the opportunity to integrate its development with Taylor, potentially unlocking further operating and capital efficiencies.

With a PFS selection study expected later this year, investors and interested parties will soon know the role Clark could play in the wider Hermosa project.

What is easy to gauge already is that Hermosa is progressing on a track that many other development projects in in-demand sectors have gone down.

Redpath Australia wins cut and flit contract at Whitehaven’s Narrabri operations

Redpath Australia says it has been awarded the Cut and Flit Development Contract for Whitehaven Coal at its Narrabri operations in New South Wales, Australia.

Situated around 28 km southeast of Narrabri on the North West Slopes in New South Wales, the Narrabri operations mine site is one of Australia’s most productive underground coal mines. Whitehaven is the majority owner – with a 77.5% interest – and the operation has approval to extract up to 11 Mt/y of coal from the longwall operations.

Mark Donghi, General Manager – Mechanical Excavation for Redpath, says the project will employ around 55 personnel and the aim is to start recruiting immediately.

Redpath Australia’s Managing Director, Gavin Ramage, said the company is looking forward to working closely with Narrabri operations in delivering the project safely and efficiently.

The company said: “As a market leader in providing advanced development solutions to mine owners across Australia and around the globe, Redpath is well placed to deliver this project for Narrabri Coal Operations.”

PT Freeport Indonesia, Redpath achieve drawbell milestone at Grasberg Block Cave

Freeport Indonesia’s (PTFI) Grasberg Block Cave (GBC) operations in Indonesia, together with strong Redpath support, have successfully attained the milestone of constructing and blasting the 300th drawbell.

The milestone, which occurred on June 30, 2021, came in a record time of only 2.5 years from the production start date, according to Redpath.

The same production crews also surpassed the 100,000 t/d mark, by reaching a record of 107,000 t/d on June 26, 2021. This record surpassed the previous site record of 101,000 t/d.

In Redpath’s Advance magazine, I Made Pasek, General Superintendent, GBC Operations, said COVID-19 had not prevented the GBC project from becoming the world’s largest block cave mine.

“In addition to delivering safe and effective development meters, the GBC1 development team has reached the significant milestone of completing the excavation of the GVD 9 Fan Chamber (Grasberg Ventilation Decline), the fifth such chamber of the GBC ventilation system,” Pasek said when reviewing progress during the June quarter. Each of these chambers is equipped with a 5,500 kW fan able to produce 1.7 million cu.ft (48,139 cu.m) of air per minute.

The underground production levels of the GBC mine requires not two, but three crusher chambers to be excavated and constructed to deliver the targeted quantity of 160,000 t/d of ore. PT Redpath Indonesia’s GBC 2 crew are leading with the development of the #603 crusher chamber while concurrently initiating access to the #604 conveyor drives, according to Pasek.

GBC’s construction, MRC and MCM teams were challenged with the realignment of a key section of rail installation for the #602 unloading arrival station during the June quarter. This particular section of rail needed to be disassembled and raised in order to enable ore trains of 11 rail cars to enter the #602 unloading station as per design.

“Working seamlessly with the client’s engineering, planning and rail teams, the undertaking was safely and effectively accomplished ahead of schedule,” Pasek said. “The work itself consisted of drilling 1,000-plus holes for track support, epoxying track bolts into the existing concrete base, followed by meticulous forming works under each track base plate. The work required a high level of accuracy with tight tolerances to ensure rail alignment and smooth travel, in order to meet the established productivity rates.”

Pasek added: “These significant achievements would not be possible without a strong and deeply rooted safety culture in the GBC operations, paving the way for even greater successes in the future.”

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.”

Redpath to deliver Pumpkin Hollow ramp-up, Nevada Copper says

Nevada Copper has engaged mining contractor Redpath USA to implement its ramp-up strategy for its underground copper mine at Pumpkin Hollow, in Nevada.

The company commenced production at the underground mine in December and is now entering into a new phase of development supporting its ongoing operations. It said it has “high confidence” in Redpath’s ability as a partner during the ramp-up to full commercial production in 2020.

Redpath replaces the previous mining contractor and will be the company’s principal underground mining contractor going forward, Nevada Copper said. “Redpath is a highly experienced mining contractor with experience of delivering complex projects both internationally and in Nevada, ahead of schedule and under budget,” it added.

Matt Gili, Chief Executive Officer of Nevada Copper, said: “Nevada Copper made the transition to producer in Q4 (December quarter) 2019 and we have developed a clear, straightforward strategy for ramping up our Pumpkin Hollow underground project to full commercial production. Redpath is considered throughout the mining industry as the partner of choice for production ramp up and we are excited to be working with them during this important period of growth.”

Nevada Copper has previously said it is focused on ramping up the mine, in Yerington, to reach nameplate capacity in the first half of 2020.

The 2017 prefeasibility study plan for the underground mine outlined a 5,000 t/d project able to produce some 50 MIb/y (22,680 t/y) of copper, 8,000 oz of gold and 150,000 oz of silver over a 13.5-year life at all-in sustaining costs of $1.96/Ib of copper. It also laid the foundations for a larger integrated project that includes open-pit development and could increase throughput to 70,000 t/d.