Tag Archives: Roy Hill

Wabtec FLXdrive battery-electric loco to work at Roy Hill rail network in the Pilbara

Roy Hill, in Western Australia, has announced the purchase of a Wabtec FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive, the world’s first 100% battery, heavy-haul locomotive for the region and the mining industry.

“We are committed to transforming the next generation of transportation by adopting advanced technologies that improve energy efficiency, lower operating costs and improve our rail and mining network,” Gerhard Veldsman, CEO of Roy Hill, says. “The FLXdrive locomotive will be the first for the region and the first for the mining industry and will improve our rail operations from the mine to Port Hedland.”

Roy Hill will receive the newest version of the FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive in 2023 with an energy capacity of 7 MWh. It is an upgrade from the 2.4 MWh prototype that was successfully tested in revenue service with a Class 1 railroad in the USA earlier this year.

Based on the route and Roy Hill’s rail operations, the FLXdrive is anticipated to reduce the company’s fuel costs and emissions in percentage by double digits per train. The ongoing use of the FLXdrive will also reduce ongoing operational costs through maintenance spend.

Simon Pascoe, General Manager of Engineering for Roy Hill, says: “Our analysis with Wabtec confirms the FLXdrive locomotive is ideally suited for our rail network. It has the horsepower to operate in a heavy haul train consist pulling loaded wagons with 35,000 t of iron ore, while at the same time reducing the entire train’s fuel consumption. The FLXdrive also is designed to function in the extreme heat of the Pilbara region.”

Today, Roy Hill uses four Wabtec ES44ACi “Evolution Series” diesel-electric locomotives in a consist to pull trains that are typically 2.7 km in length. The FLXdrive will replace one of the diesel locomotives to form a hybrid consist, and recharge during the trip through regenerative braking.

The FLXdrive manages the overall train energy flow and distribution through its Trip Optimizer system, an intelligent cruise control system programmed through artificial intelligence to respond to every curve and grade of the track in the most energy-efficient way possible, Wabtec says. It is also designed with a special liquid cooling system to withstand the Pilbara heat, where temperatures can reach 55°C.

Wendy McMillan, Regional Senior Vice President Australia and New Zealand for Wabtec, says: “This order demonstrates Roy Hill’s progressive and forward-thinking approach to the mining industry. By adopting this revolutionary technology in region, Roy Hill is pioneering new approaches to its operations that will benefit the company’s bottom line. The FLXdrive is a continuation of our growing partnership and shared vision to bring more efficient solutions to mining and rail industries.”

Wabtec’s goal is to develop the next generation of zero-emission locomotives. The company says it has a clear path to power new locomotives – and repower existing locomotives – with batteries, hydrogen internal combustion engines and hydrogen fuel cells. It is part of Wabtec’s vision for the rail industry to play a key role in building a clean energy economy and will enable the reduction of up to 300 Mt of global carbon emissions.

Rogerio Mendonca, President of Freight Equipment for Wabtec, says: “Controlling emissions is critical in the fight against climate change. The FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive is a bold step toward a low-to-zero-emission locomotive future. We continue working on solutions that cut the overall carbon footprint of the industries we serve through the development of low-emitting locomotives like the FLXdrive, and the use of alternative fuels such as bio-diesel, renewable diesel and hydrogen.”

Charge On Innovation Challenge sparks more miner interest

The organisers of the Charge On Innovation Challenge have reported an overwhelming response to the preliminary phase, which closed on July 31, with 21 mining companies joining as patrons, over 350 companies from across 19 industries registering their interest as vendors, and more than 80 organisations submitting expressions of interest (EOI).

The challenge, a global competition, is expected to drive technology innovators across all industries to develop new concepts and solutions for large-scale haul truck electrification systems aimed at significantly cutting emissions from surface mining. It also aims to demonstrate an emerging market for charging solutions in mining, accelerate commercialisation of solutions and integrate innovations from other industries into the mining sector.

BHP, Rio Tinto, and Vale, facilitated by Austmine, launched the Charge On Innovation Challenge in May of this year, initiating the EOI process on May 18. Since the initial launch, Roy Hill, Teck, Boliden, Thiess, Antofagasta Minerals, Codelco, Freeport McMoRan, Gold Fields and Yancoal came forward as patrons by early July.

The latest release has highlighted another nine miners to join as patrons. This includes Barrick Gold, CITIC Pacific Mining, Evolution Mining, Harmony Gold, Mineral Resources Ltd, Newcrest Mining, OZ Minerals, South32 and Syncrude.

The patrons, supported by Austmine, will assess the proposals over the next month and select a shortlist of vendors who will then formally pitch their challenge solutions.

At least one of these proposals has come from ABB, which confirmed earlier this month that it had submitted its ideas for the challenge using its mine electrification, traction and battery system eand charging infrastructure expertise.

At the end of the pitch phase, the challenge patrons will look to select the most desirable charging concepts identified as having broad industry appeal and application, as well as providing a standard geometry that enables chargers to service trucks from different manufacturers. The first concepts could be ready for site trials in the next few years, according to the organisers.

BHP’s Charge On Innovation Challenge Project Lead, Scott Davis, said: “The Charge On Innovation Challenge is a great example of the current collaborative work being done by the mining industry in seeking solutions to decarbonise mining fleets. The challenge received interest from companies based in over 20 countries, showing the truly global reach of the opportunity to help reduce haul truck emissions.”

John Mulcahy, Rio Tinto’s lead for the Charge On Innovation Challenge, said: “Twenty-one mining companies, all focused on lowering carbon emissions, have joined as patrons. Together we’re encouraging technology innovators to help us introduce large-scale haul truck electrification solutions. The sooner we bring these technologies to market, the sooner we can introduce them to our fleet, and reduce emissions.”

Vale’s Charge On Innovation Challenge Project lead, Mauricio Duarte, said: “We are very happy with the results of the first phase of the project. It´s still early to talk about the success of the challenge, but it is clear that the industry has reached a new level: we worked together on a common sustainability agenda and we will work collectively to reach our goals, gaining safety and speed on our way to low carbon mining.”

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.”

Civmec extends Pilbara stay with more iron ore agreements

Civmec Ltd has won multiple new contracts for its maintenance, manufacturing and construction divisions with a combined value of over A$100 million ($77 million).

Among these awards is a three-year contract for the maintenance division with Alcoa of Australia Ltd to provide calciner maintenance, major overhaul and repair services, including scaffolding, mechanical, refractory and electrical services at its Kwinana, Pinjarra, and Wagerup refineries. These plants contain 17 calciner units, two liquor burners and five regenerative thermal oxidisers.

The manufacturing division is celebrating minerals and metals sectors contracts in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

Among these is an agreement for Civmec to supply, manufacture, trial assemble and deliver four main train load-out bin modules for the BHP-owned Jimblebar iron project. The company will also supply, fabricate, surface treat and modularise shuttle trusses, conveyor trusses, platework and stick steel for the Rio Tinto-owned Gudai-Darri iron ore project, also in the Pilbara.

Still in the Australia iron ore hub, Civmec’s construction division is set to complete a civil package, including detailed earthworks, concrete placement, cabling and pipework for a Roy Hill de-bottlenecking project, as well as the delivery of a fixed plant workshop for Rio Tinto’s Mesa A project, where the group is already undertaking other structural, mechanical, piping, electrical and instrumentation work.

Roy Hill contracts Pentium Hydro for more bores at iron ore mine site

Pentium Hydro’s specialised drill rigs will extend their stay at Roy Hill’s iron ore mine in the Pilbara of Western Australia after the Vysarn Ltd subsidiary received a notice of contract award for hydrogeological drilling from the miner.

The new contract, which follows on from a general works contract Roy Hill and Pentium signed back in 2019, comes with an estimated revenue based on the initial scope of work of around A$12 million ($9 million).

It also stipulates for the issue of individual work requests for the supply of one or more drill rigs and comes with a three-year and five-month contract term starting from January 1, 2021, with a one-year extension option by Roy Hill.

The scope of work as defined under the contract is to provide the drilling and installation of production, injection and monitoring bores to support mining and exploration activities across Roy Hill mine site locations within the Pilbara, Pentium said, with revenue from these works based on a schedule of rates.

Pentium currently has one dual rotary drill rig and associated ancillary equipment on a Roy Hill mine site working under the terms of the previous contract announced on November 1, 2019. This drill rig and/or similar drill rigs in the Pentium fleet will start the execution of the scope of work defined within the new contract from January 1, 2021.

Roy Hill backs interoperability developments with ERDi TestLab membership

Iron ore miner Roy Hill has become the latest member of the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) Energy & Resources Digital Interoperability Industry 4.0 (ERDi i4.0) TestLab.

Roy Hill is committed to the development of interoperability within the resources industry and recently appointed Michael Waller to a new role – Interoperability Manager – to lead the company’s strategy and engagement, according to the TestLab.

In the few short weeks since Michael’s appointment, Roy Hill’s interoperability approach has progressed at a rapid rate, with Waller spearheading the establishment of a collaborative interoperability project within the TestLab, it added.

This new project will be sponsored by ERDi TestLab founding partner METS Ignited, and centres around interoperability in the mobile equipment execution management and control technology space across both manual and automated equipment, it said.

“We are thrilled to be working with Roy Hill and the other participants on this exciting project, more details of which will be announced soon,” it added.

Roy Hill’s interoperability streak was made clear earlier this year when it signed an agreement with Epiroc and ASI Mining to deliver a fully automated solution for the iron ore mining operation’s mixed fleet of 77 haul trucks.

Other companies to recently sign up to the TestLab include Trevali, RPMGlobal and ABB.

UGL banks A$200 million of work from Rio Tinto, Roy Hill and BHP

UGL says it has secured several construction and maintenance contracts with Rio Tinto, Roy Hill and BHP with a combined value of more than A$200 million ($143 million).

The contracts will be executed over a multi-year period, providing mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and access services for maintenance, shutdowns and sustaining capital projects, the CIMIC Group subsidiary said.

The contracts include civil, structural, mechanical, piping, electrical, communications and instrumentation work for Rio Tinto at the Mesa J PP2 Rescreening Plant in Western Australia. The project, part of Rio’s Robe Valley Sustaining iron ore project, will see around 160 people employed. Works will commence immediately and continue until September 2021, UGL says.

Also with Rio Tinto, UGL has secured a contract extension for scheduled major shutdown services at Rio Tinto’s Gove alumina refinery, in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Back in the Pilbara, UGL will install a run of mine crusher and materials handling circuit for Roy Hill’s iron ore operation. Comprising supply, structural, mechanical, electrical and instrumentation works, the project will employ some 100 people, it said.

Lastly, the company was appointed to BHP’s engineering services panel to provide civil, structural, mechanical, piping, electrical, instrumentation and rail services for shutdowns and sustaining capital projects across BHP’s Western Australian iron ore mine site and port operations, and rail facilities in the Pilbara.

CIMIC Group Chief Executive Officer, Juan Santamaria, said: “These contracts are demonstration of UGL’s 30 years of experience in building partnerships with leading mining companies and delivering solid performance of maintenance and shutdown services.”

UGL Managing Director, Jason Spears, added: “These new contracts and contract extensions highlight UGL’s capabilities in the mining sector and expand on our strong relationships with our clients. We look forward to carrying out these contracts in a safe and reliable manner.”

John Holland keeps Rio Tinto and Fortescue iron ore projects on track

Infrastructure and rail specialist, John Holland, is currently mobilising advanced specialist railway fleet to carry out maintenance and service support across the Western Australia rail network.

The mass assembly of equipment involves the refurbishment and service of multi-million dollar machinery at John Holland’s Welshpool Plant Operations Centre including Tampers, Regulators, Mobile Flashbutt welders and the New Track Construction Machine (NTC, pictured).

In August, this specialised rail construction equipment will be shipped to the Pilbara for projects owned by Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group. John Holland still maintains a significant rail specialised plant presence at its South West based operations, including a maintenance contract with the Public Transport Authority and project works with Arc Infrastructure, the company said.

“As it’s only used every few years, there’s always a buzz with rail enthusiasts when the NTC is unpacked from storage,” John Holland Plant Operations Manager, Anne Williams (also pictured), said. “It was most recently used to lay 350 km of railway at Roy Hill and, prior to that, it was used in the construction of the Perth to Mandurah Rail Line.”

John Holland Plant Services has been in operating in Western Australia for 22 years and at the current Welshpool location for six years. According to Williams, her local team of 26 are proud to do their bit in supporting the Australian economy.

“John Holland own the largest privately owned specialist railways maintenance fleet in Australia, which includes fully equipped service vehicles. We also manufacture and carry out modification of specialised rail track machines,” she said.

“It’s well known that Western Australia’s mining industry is playing a significant role in the economy and our role is to provide this industry with much-needed infrastructure to keep it moving forward.”

Bis to deliver off-road bulk load and haul services to Roy Hill

Bis and its innovative haulage solutions have been selected for a major contract from Roy Hill at its iron ore mine in the east Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The new contract follows a competitive tender process and includes off-road bulk load and haul and site services, the resources logistics company said.

Bis CEO, Brad Rogers, said: “Bis has more than a century of experience in mine site haulage, and we are thrilled to welcome Roy Hill as an important new customer.”

Bis’ industry-leading safety record and Zero Harm approach to people, community and environment, in addition to the company’s culture of innovation, was integral in the company being awarded the contract, it said.

Rogers added: “This award highlights Bis’ strong reputation and capability across mining projects in Australia and Indonesia. We look forward to building strong relationships with the Roy Hill team and supporting their iron ore operation and delivering the contract efficiently and safely.”

Mobilisation to site will commence shortly, with a contract start date in September 2020, Bis said.

Roy Hill has an integrated mine, rail and port facilities and produces 55 Mt/y of iron ore, with approval to increase to 60 Mt/y.