Tag Archives: Rio Tinto

Murray & Roberts’ Cementation Americas business wins Rio and BHP contracts

Murray & Roberts’ Cementation Americas business has confirmed two new mining contracts with Rio Tinto and BHP.

Cementation USA secured the Underground Characterisation Development and Infrastructure project in Utah for Rio Tinto’s Kennecott copper operations (open pit, pictured). The value of this agreement is circa-$70 million, with the initial scope including lateral development and associated infrastructure works.

Rio, only last month, approved a $108 million investment in underground development to enable early orebody access and undertake orebody characterisation studies for underground mining at the Kennecott copper operations.

The contract award positions Cementation USA well for the potential significant scope growth on this project, Murray & Roberts said.

Cementation Canada Inc has secured the completion of Phase 1 of the Jansen potash project in the province of Saskatchewan for BHP. This scope includes the post liner excavation, steel and equipping of the shaft.

The value of the complete project award, subject to a sanction decision for the project, is around $170 million. Cementation Canada has, in the interim, received a works order to proceed with the first work package to the value of $12 million.

BHP said last month that it expected to make a decision on whether to move forward with Jansen, which is expected to produce 4.4 Mt/y of potash in its first phase, in the next two months.

Cementation Canada will apply to also deliver the following phases of the Jansen project, Murray & Roberts noted.

Murray & Roberts said: “During the past year, mining companies in the Americas have experienced prolonged COVID-19 impact, creating short-term order book pressure for engineering and contracting companies. These awards are evidence of new mining investments returning to the region.

“The forecast improvement in capital investment in the mining industry is encouraging and, considering the platform’s leading global position and growing near term project pipeline, there is good potential for accelerated growth for the group’s mining platform.”

Komatsu teams with Rio, BHP, Codelco and Boliden on zero-emission mining solutions

Working together to rapidly innovate in support of carbon reduction targets, Komatsu has teamed up with several of its customers to form the Komatsu Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Alliance.

The founding members of the alliance are Rio Tinto, BHP, Codelco and Boliden.

Through the alliance framework, Komatsu’s GHG partners will work directly with Komatsu to actively collaborate on product planning, development, testing and deployment of the next generation of zero-emission mining equipment and infrastructure, the OEM said. The alliance’s initial target is advancing Komatsu’s power-agnostic truck concept for a haulage vehicle that can run on a variety of power sources including diesel-electric, electric, trolley (wired), battery power and even hydrogen fuel cells.

“We are honoured that our customers, several of the largest mining companies in the world, have agreed to participate in the Komatsu GHG Alliance and work in partnership with us to develop sustainable solutions for mining,” Masayuki Moriyama, President of Komatsu’s Mining Business Division, said. “We look forward to close collaboration with these industry leaders to accelerate development and deployment of the next level of equipment designed to reduce greenhouse gases from mining operations and ultimately achieve the goal of zero-emission mining.”

The formation of the alliance brings together mining leaders willing to share time, resources and information to deliver zero-emissions equipment solutions, Komatsu said. The company intends to expand the alliance to additional mining companies to enhance industry-wide collaboration on solutions to decarbonisation.

In a separate release, Rio Tinto said it will conduct a pre-production trial of the new equipment at a site and has the option to purchase some of the first trucks from Komatsu once they are commercially viable.

Alf Barrios, Rio Tinto’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Rio Tinto and Komatsu have a shared history of partnership on innovation going back to when we built the world’s largest Komatsu autonomous haulage fleet in 2008.

“Our support of a trial, and the option to buy some of the first trucks from Komatsu, underscores our shared commitment to actively collaborate on product planning, development, testing and deployment of the next generation of zero-emission mining equipment and infrastructure as we look to decarbonise our business.”

As a company, Komatsu, meanwhile, says it is committed to minimising environmental impact through its business, targeting a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions from use of its products and production of its equipment by 2030 (compared with 2010 levels) and a challenge target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Komatsu has worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for customers through product development for decades in many areas including electric diesel dump trucks, electric power shovels, regenerative energy storage capabilities and fuel saver programs, it said.

The company’s initial concept for a haulage vehicle that can run on a variety of power sources, part of the power-agnostic development, is set to make its official debut at MINExpo 2021 on September 13-15 in Las Vegas, USA.

WesTrac to rebuild Rio’s Pilbara dozers at Geraldton facility

Rio Tinto, WesTrac and the Western Australia Government have agreed on a project that will see dozers from Rio’s Pilbara operations head to WesTrac’s Geraldton facility for rebuilds, with up to 54 machines committed between 2021 and 2025.

Western Australia Regional Development Minister, Alannah MacTiernan, welcomed the news, saying it would provide a major boost for the Mid-West’s mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.

The project was negotiated between the State Government through the Mid West Development Commission and industry after feasibility studies identified WesTrac’s Perth and Pilbara facilities were at capacity and unable to accommodate the additional repairs and maintenance required by Rio’s mining operations.

The Geraldton facility will receive up to 12 dozer rebuilds annually, from various Pilbara operations, according to the statement.

The project will support two new, localised apprenticeship opportunities in the Mid-West as well as creating new local skilled jobs and providing pathways to employment with Rio Tinto, the government said. The project also reduces transport times and negates logistical difficulties mining companies face getting heavy machinery in and out of the metropolitan area.

“The state will look to expand the initiative into a cross-regional Smart Specialisation project with linkages to the Kimberley and Goldfields regions, using the Mid-West as a demonstration pilot,” it added.

MacTiernan said: “This is a fantastic initiative that will see more work carried out in our regional centres, rather than shifting to Perth. It confirms that geography is not a barrier to global success for our regionally-based METS facilities, but in fact an advantage.”

Rio Tinto Port, Rail and Core Services Managing Director, Richard Cohen, said: “Rio Tinto is committed to growing regional Western Australia by supporting jobs and training opportunities for local people. Regional investment initiatives like the METS project will deliver ongoing benefits to the local economy.

“By unlocking the capabilities of the Geraldton WesTrac branch, we are significantly reducing transport time by removing the roughly 900-km round trip to Perth. This will lower costs, improve productivity and reduce the risk of driving related incidents that can occur on congested metropolitan roads.”

WesTrac CEO, Jarvas Croome, said the company was committed to developing capacity and capability throughout the state.

“Like many providers in the METS sector, WesTrac is seeing strong demand across all areas of our business due to the level of mining and construction activity,” he said. “That applies to new and used equipment sales, training, maintenance services and equipment rebuilds, and if there are opportunities to expand our offerings in regional centres and provide efficient outcomes for our customers, we’ll happily consider them.”

As well as multiple metropolitan operations, WesTrac currently has branches in eight regional centres including the major Western Australia mining regions. The company also operates as the authorised dealer of Caterpillar equipment in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

NRW Holdings to deliver solar power solution for Rio’s Gudai Darri

NRW Holdings has secured two new contracts from Rio Tinto, one of which will see it enter the renewable energy fold with an agreement to deliver a 34 MW solar photovoltaic system at the Gudai Darri mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

This contract is part of Rio Tinto’s commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations with a stated target to reach net zero emissions by 2050, NRW said, adding that the contract value is approximately A$60 million ($44 million).

The scope of work for the solar farm includes design, procurement, construction, testing and commissioning of all equipment including a 33 kV substation to be integrated into the overall Rio Tinto Iron Ore infrastructure, including remote control and monitoring via the Rio Tinto Iron Ore Remote Operation Centre.

The solar farm will be connected to the Rio Tinto grid at the Gudai Darri Central Substation via a 6-km long overhead powerline and fibre-optic link, which is not included in the NRW scope.

Design and procurement will commence immediately followed by commencement of construction in August 2021. Construction and commissioning are scheduled for completion in early 2022, it said.

Jules Pemberton, NRW’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, said: “Securing this work recognises the broader delivery capability of the business and NRW’s long-standing experience of delivering projects for Rio Tinto in the Pilbara. Renewable energy represents an increasing opportunity for the group in particular captive projects like this where the energy output is integrated to the client’s network.”

Alongside this announcement, NRW said it had been awarded the Stage 3 Expansion Works at the Nammuldi Waste Fines Storage (WFSF) facility. The works to be undertaken for this project are the Stage 3 expansion to the existing WFSF for Hamersley Iron Pty Ltd, a Rio subsidiary that manages the joint venture Nammuldi operation (53% owned by Rio, 33% owned by Mitsui Iron Ore Development, 10.5% owned by Nippon Steel Australia and 3.5% owned by Sumitomo Metal Australia), at the Nammuldi Below Water Table (NBWT) project.

The site is around 60 km northwest of Tom Price, with the WFSF Stage 3 expansion consisting of raising the existing earth fill embankment by a further 6 m using the downstream method with associated earthworks along with mechanical upgrades to water management structures, waste fines deposition lines and pond decant infrastructure.

The expansion works to be undertaken will achieve the ultimate limit currently permitted for the WFSF, NRW said.

Construction works will start in mid-August 2021 with all works complete in June 2022. A work force of about 75 personnel will be engaged on the project which has a contract value of circa-A$26.5 million.

CrossBoundary wind, solar, battery solution set for Rio QMM ilmenite operation

Rio Tinto has signed a power purchasing agreement for a new renewable energy plant to power the operations of its QMM ilmenite mine in Fort Dauphin, Southern Madagascar.

This project, which uses solar and wind energy, will significantly contribute towards Rio Tinto’s operations in Madagascar achieving its carbon neutral objective by 2023, it said. It is part of a broader initiative to reduce the ilmenite mine’s environmental footprint which includes programs that focus on emissions reduction, waste and water management, carbon sequestration, ecological restoration and reforestation.

QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM), is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (80%) and the government of Madagascar (20%).

The renewable energy plant, to be built, owned and operated by independent power producer, CrossBoundary Energy, over a 20-year period, will consist of an 8 MW solar facility and a 12 MW wind energy facility to power mining and processing operations. There will also be a lithium-ion battery energy storage system of up to 8.25 MW as reserve capacity to ensure a stable and reliable network.

It will supply all of QMM’s electricity demand during peak generation times, and up to 60% of the operations’ annual electricity consumption, according to Rio. QMM is to replace the majority of the power it currently supplies to the town of Fort Dauphin and the community of around 80,000 people with renewables, the company added.

The renewable energy plant will comprise more than 18,000 solar panels and up to nine wind turbines located in the Port Ehoala Park area. Construction is expected to begin this year with the solar plant scheduled to start operations at the beginning 2022. The wind power plant is planned to commence construction in early 2022 and become operational by the end of 2022.

QMM President, Ny Fanja Rakotomalala, said: “On a sunny and windy day, all the electricity needed by QMM and the Fort Dauphin community will be generated by the Malagasy sun and wind. It is a major step forward on our journey towards a truly sustainable mine, that protects and promotes the uniqueness of Madagascar’s environment and benefits the community with reliable and clean electricity.”

Rio Tinto Minerals Chief Executive, Sinead Kaufman, said: “With this flagship project, QMM is leading the way at Rio Tinto and in Madagascar in utilising renewable energy to power mining operations and reduce carbon emissions.”

CrossBoundary Energy Co-founder and Managing Partner, Matt Tilleard, added: “Emissions from electricity use in mining is estimated to account for around 1% of all greenhouse gases globally. Rio Tinto is leading the way in demonstrating how mines can seize a huge opportunity to reduce these emissions. We are focused on delivering cleaner power to businesses and were, therefore, able to offer Rio Tinto a flexible, fast, all-equity funding approach, combined with our reliable track record as one of Africa’s largest distributed renewable utilities.”

QMM is near Fort Dauphin in the Anosy region of south-eastern Madagascar, and primarily produces ilmenite, in addition to zirsill and monazite. It includes the deep-water Port d’Ehoala, where the raw material is shipped to the Rio Tinto Fer et Titane plant in Canada and processed into titanium dioxide.

Rio and POSCO look to combine iron ore processing and steel-making technologies

Rio Tinto and POSCO, the largest steel producer in South Korea and one of the world’s leading steel producers, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly explore, develop and demonstrate technologies to transition to a low-carbon emission steel value chain.

The partnership will explore a range of technologies for decarbonisation across the entire steel value chain from iron ore mining to steelmaking, including integrating Rio Tinto’s iron ore processing technology and POSCO’s steel-making technology.

The MoU with POSCO underlines Rio Tinto’s commitment to working in partnerships with customers on steel decarbonisation pathways and to invest in technologies that could deliver reductions in steelmaking carbon intensity of at least 30% from 2030 or with potential to deliver carbon-neutral steelmaking pathways by 2050, the company said. Both Rio Tinto and POSCO share the ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, it added.

Rio Tinto Chief Commercial Officer, Alf Barrios, said: “This partnership with POSCO, a valued and long-standing customer, demonstrates our combined commitment to working together to identify ways to reduce emissions across the steel-making process. The agreement also complements Rio Tinto‘s partnerships with other customers as the industry focusses on developing technologies that support the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

POSCO’s Head of Steel Business Unit, Hag-Dong Kim, said: “Tackling climate change is a critical item in achieving sustainable development for a better future. On the journey to achieving carbon neutrality with Rio Tinto, we can play an important role of finding a way to build a low-carbon steel industry”

Antofagasta becomes latest Charge on Innovation Challenge patron

Antofagasta, as part of its sustainability efforts, has joined the Charge On Innovation Challenge as a patron.

The initiative, which counts BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale as founding patrons, seeks to develop solutions to charge the batteries of electric mining trucks safely, quickly and sustainably. This is essential in order to replace the use of diesel in these trucks and the emissions it produces, the challenge organisers say.

The goal is to enable trucks of 220 t or more to stop using diesel and run on electric batteries, just like other electric vehicles. In order to achieve this, it is essential to develop a battery charging system that does not use polluting fuels and, at the same time, allows the extraction trucks to operate as they usually do.

Today there are already efforts underway to develop and use electric trucks, but those are for trucks of a smaller tonnage (100 t) which can regenerate their own energy, Charge on Innovation says. The collaborative work with the Charge On Innovation Challenge seeks to develop solutions for larger trucks.

Iván Arriagada, CEO of Antofagasta, said: “As a mining group focused on innovation, we are interested in collaborating and contributing to the development of the industry for the future. That is why we decided to participate in this challenge, which is key to being able to use electric trucks and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

As part of its Climate Change Strategy, from 2022, the electricity supplying Antofagasta companies will come from renewable sources. Antofagasta’s Zaldívar mine has been operating from clean energy sources since July 2020.

Thanks to these advances and other measures adopted by the company, Antofagasta was able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 580,000 t since 2018. Its new goal is to decrease those emissions by an additional 30% between now and 2025.

The Charge On Innovation Challenge was launched by BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto in partnership with Austmine. It has since added Roy Hill, Teck, Boliden and Thiess as additional patrons.

Australian government backs mining and metal sector decarbonising initiative

A new Cooperative Research Centre focused on integrating green energy sources such as hydrogen, ammonia and solar into high-heat and high-emission manufacturing processes for products like steel, aluminium and cement has won Australia government backing.

The Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre (HILT CRC), to be led by the University of Adelaide, has been provided with A$39 million ($29 million) of funding through the CRC Grants program. It is also backed by an additional A$175.7 million in funding and in-kind support from research and industry partners such as Alcoa, Rio Tinto Aluminium, South32, Roy Hill, Fortescue Metals Group, the Australian National University and the CSIRO.

South Australia Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Christian Porter, said the CRC would help to secure the future of heavy industries right across the country by helping them to lower costs and establish a reputation as exporters of high-quality, low-carbon, value-added products.

“In order to remain internationally competitive, it is crucial that our heavy industries begin the transition to lower cost and cleaner energy technology to secure the long-term future of their operations,” Minister Porter said. “By connecting those industries with our best and brightest minds from within our major research institutions – coupled with the significant funding that’s now available to fast-track this work – we expect real-world solutions can be delivered within the 10-year life of the CRC.”

Dr David Cochrane, who is Technology Lead at core CRC partner South32 and also an industry leader of the HILT CRC, said: “The HILT CRC will play an important role in transitioning to a low-carbon future by creating a framework for industry to collaborate, sharing knowledge and experience while lowering the risk of trialling technology.

“For South32, we have recently set medium-term targets to halve our operational emissions by 2035 as we transition to net zero by 2050 and initiatives like the HILT CRC are part of our plan to achieve these targets.”

Susan Jeanes, who is Chair-elect of the HILT CRC, said: “Decarbonising Australia’s heavy industry will position it to be competitive in the rapidly developing, global low carbon markets for green iron and aluminium products that have higher value than our current exports. These new markets are being driven by our trading partners in countries like China, Japan and Europe, which are introducing a range of financial measures to meet their carbon targets, such as EU’s Carbon Border Tax.

“Our mineral resources geographically co-exist around the continent with our first-class renewable energy resources making decarbonising more competitive here than in other parts of the world.”

Rio Tinto and Schneider Electric partner on decarbonisation initiatives

Rio Tinto and Schneider Electric have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a “first-of-its-kind” collaboration to develop a circular and sustainable market ecosystem for both companies and their customers.

This multi-product partnership will see Schneider Electric use responsibly-sourced materials produced by Rio Tinto. These include low-carbon aluminium and copper produced with renewable power, iron ore and borates. Rio Tinto will, in turn, use energy and industrial services from Schneider Electric, as the companies work together to develop digital platforms, technologies and solutions to be deployed across the metals and mining supply chain to drive further decarbonisation, they said.

Rio Tinto Chief Commercial Officer, Alf Barrios, said: “This unique partnership will help accelerate decarbonisation and renewable energy solutions by combining low-carbon materials with cutting-edge digital technology. Working together will allow Rio Tinto and Schneider Electric to pursue opportunities beyond what is possible for either company on its own.

“This collaboration also opens doors to consider strategic initiatives such as expanding the use of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to reduce downtime in our plants, digitisation of our supply chains, and a host of other transformative technologies.”

Schneider Electric Executive Vice-President Industrial Automation, Barbara Frei, said: “We are excited to work with Rio Tinto to develop clean and pioneering solutions to meet industrial decarbonisation challenges. As the world’s most sustainable corporation and a manufacturer with a global network of smart factories and smart distribution centres, Schneider Electric is on a mission to make industries of the future eco-efficient, agile, and resilient through open, software-centric industrial automation and sustainable energy solutions. This new partnership demonstrates that Rio Tinto is as passionate as we are about bridging progress and sustainability for all.”

The partnership will draw on Schneider Electric’s Energy as a Service expertise to evaluate the use of innovative solutions, including microgrids, to supply energy from low-carbon sources, and artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to help meet sustainability goals at Rio Tinto sites and throughout its supply chain.

Rio Tinto’s START traceability and transparency initiative, the first sustainability label for aluminium using blockchain technology, will be deployed with Schneider Electric to unlock value for customers, suppliers and partners, it said. The companies will work to expand this transparency, offering START in combination with Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure™ platform, an IoT system architecture that connects everything in an enterprise to deliver enhanced safety, reliability, efficiency and sustainability.

The companies will also partner to evaluate emerging innovation opportunities, such as the efficient production of critical materials for renewable technologies and advances in low-carbon, green steel manufacturing, both of which will play a significant long-term role in industrial decarbonisation.

Monadelphous Group banks engineering work with BHP, Rio and Codelco

Monadelphous Group Ltd has secured several new construction and maintenance contracts in the resources sector totalling around A$215 million ($163 million).

Included within this slate of new work is a contract for smelter campaign maintenance works at the BHP owned Olympic Dam copper mine in South Australia. Monadelphous said work will commence immediately and is expected to be completed in December 2021.

Monadelphous has also been awarded a two-year extension to its existing maintenance services contract at Olympic Dam. The contract scope includes civil, structural, mechanical, building maintenance and electrical services, as well as the addition of underground rail maintenance services.

In the iron ore sector in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, Monadelphous has been awarded several contracts, including several sustaining capital contracts under its panel agreements with BHP and Rio Tinto; and a contract with Rio for the provision of construction and support services associated with the Gudai-Darri iron ore project, with work expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

In Chile, the company’s maintenance and construction services business, Buildtek, has secured a number of new contracts, including a three-year contract with Codelco for the operations and maintenance of water infrastructure at the Chuquicamata underground mine in Calama. Buildtek has been providing these services on this site since 2018.

In addition, the engineering company has secured two new contracts with Codelco for maintenance activities associated with the concentrator plant at El Teniente mine in Rancagua; and a contract with BHP Minera Escondida for the construction of modularised pump stations and associated infrastructure of the Escondida copper mine in Coloso.

Finally, Monadelphous, in collaboration with global heavy lifting services company Fagioli, has secured a contract with NMT International (Australia) to deliver specialist heavy lifting and haulage services at the Iron Bridge magnetite project, a joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group subsidiary FMG Magnetite Pty Ltd and Formosa Steel IB. The strategic collaboration with Fagioli enables Monadelphous’ specialist Heavy Lift business to increase capacity and broaden capability for the Australian resources and energy markets, it said.