Tag Archives: Russia

HALMEK LITHIUM to work with Metso Outotec on lithium hydroxide plant

HALMEK LITHIUM has selected Metso Outotec’s patented lithium hydroxide process for production of battery-grade lithium hydroxide at its greenfield plant in the Tula region in Russia.

The order value, which is not disclosed, has been booked in the company’s Metals June quarter orders received.

Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery consists of the engineering and key equipment supply for the lithium hydroxide process, the basis of which will be the Metso Outotec OKTOP® autoclave plant. The environmentally sound production process is one of Metso Outotec’s more than 100 Planet Positive products, the company said.

Pavel Galchenko, VP, Halmek Lithium, said: “One of the most important tasks in the project was the selection of technology. Instead of the more traditional sulphuric acid processing to produce lithium hydroxide, we decided to choose the Metso Outotec lithium hydroxide process as it is the most promising and environmentally-sound process at the moment.

“The pilot tests conducted at the Metso Outotec Research Center in Pori, Finland, provided excellent results.”

Mikko Rantaharju, Vice President, Hydrometallurgy business line at Metso Outotec, said: “Metso Outotec has developed lithium hard rock-related technologies for some 20 years now. It started with the battery-grade lithium carbonate process and, when the market changed to favour lithium hydroxide, the process flowsheet was converted to directly produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate from spodumene.

“Both of the processes are patented and will be significant assets in our battery chemicals business, meeting the need to produce high-end lithium-ion battery chemistries for the growing market.”

HALMEK LITHIUM’s new hydrometallurgical plant, which will complement its existing lithium hydroxide plant, is currently under construction. As raw material, the new plant will use spodumene concentrate; it will feature a capacity of 20,000 t/y of battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate, which is used in the production of batteries for electric vehicles. The first production line is planned to start up in 2023, and the second production line with a capacity of 20,000 t/y is expected to start production in 2026.

ALROSA looks to ABEL HM pumps for filter press feeding

Piston diaphragm pumps from ABEL are helping Russia’s ALROSA with its filtration process at one of its diamond mines in the country.

In Spring 2021, ABEL received an order for the delivery of six of these piston diaphragm pumps, HM pumps, following an initial HM pump order in 2020. This inaugural pump was delivered to ALROSA in February 2020 as replacement for a centrifugal pump previously used for filter press feeding. At the beginning of August, the ABEL pump was commissioned at the diamond producer’s plant. The dewatering result (higher solids content, shorter filtration time) was so convincing that ALROSA decided to feed all filter presses in this plant with the pumps, ABEL said.

The latest delivery is being facilitated by ABEL’s official distributor in Russia, SibComplectService.

ABEL’s HM pumps are available as single- or double-acting versions. They come with a high flow rate, reliable function and particularly low operating and maintenance costs, the company says.

In addition to filter press feeding, the hydraulic diaphragm pumps are also used for sludge transport, spray dryer feeding, rotary kiln feeding, autoclave feeding, and sealing/rinsing water supply, among other applications.

Petropavlovsk gears up for refractory gold push with Pioneer plant launch

Petropavlovsk has announced the “technical launch” of the flotation plant at its Pioneer operations in Russia’s Far East, becoming the second facility in the gold miner’s portfolio able to process refractory gold ore and produce flotation concentrate.

Denis Alexandrov, CEO of Petropavlovsk, said: “The successful launch of the Pioneer flotation plant represents a key strategic milestone for the company. We are pleased to have commissioned the facility slightly ahead of the mid-year target we set when I joined the company last year.

“The new plant will enable Petropavlovsk to take full advantage of Pioneer’s substantial refractory ore reserves while providing an additional source of own-mined concentrate for our state-of-the-art Pressure Oxidation (POX) Hub.”

The new Pioneer flotation plant has the capacity to process 3.6 Mt/y of refractory gold ore. Once fully operational, the plant is expected to deliver more than 100,000 t/y of refractory gold concentrate for treatment at its POX Hub, the company says.

The opening of the Pioneer flotation plant doubles the group’s capacity to process refractory gold ore which, including the existing Malomir flotation plant, now stands at 7.2 Mt/y. Pioneer is expected to become fully operational by July and to produce around 60,000 t of concentrate in 2021.

Petropavlovsk said the construction of a third line at the Malomir flotation plant remains on track, and will add an additional 1.8 Mt/y of flotation capacity from the September quarter of 2022, bringing the total combined group capacity to 9 Mt/y.

“The launch of Pioneer flotation and expansion at Malomir will reduce the reliance of the POX Hub on treating lower-margin third-party concentrates,” the company added.

Rajant to showcase Kinetic Mesh networking advantages at Mining World Russia

Rajant Corp, the provider of Kinetic Mesh® wireless networks, is to attend Mining World Russia, taking place at Moscow’s Crocus Expo.

The international trade show, which is in its 25th year exhibiting machines and equipment for mining, processing and transportation of minerals, takes place on April 20-22, 2021, with Rajant joining its partners.

Showcasing collaborative solutions for fully-mobile mining connectivity will be Rajant’s Russia-based distributor CompTek and technology providers LANIT, AMT-GROUP, CROC, DCLogic, NEMAN and SATEL.

Showcased alongside Rajant’s networking will be LANIT’s virtual reality/augmented reality “smart glasses”.

Equipped with a video camera and compact screen, this technological solution’s software operates over the Rajant network and enables visualisation of on-site observations to command centres for collaborative off-site expertise to complete all phases of the mining mission successfully.

“You need a Mission Critical network to enable AR in hard-to-reach challenging locations,” Nikita Ivanov, CompTek’s Head of Sales, said. “CompTek’s integration partners in Russia and the CIS are committed to evolving mining’s overall productivity, safety and efficiency. With Rajant and its partners, a fully digitalised mine is possible.”

Rajant says its partnership with CompTek, a Russia-based distributor of network and telecommunications equipment, has brought together other Eastern Europe and CIS partners to demonstrate support of machine-to-machine connectivity and mobility for open-pit and underground mining.

Marcin Kusztal, Sales Director Eastern Europe and CIS for Rajant, says Rajant’s network is “unique”.

He added: “Our Kinetic Mesh BreadCrumb® nodes overcome the mine’s constantly changing conditions, which hinder connectivity and real-time application support, with industrial wireless networking that is unwavering in adverse and mobile environments.

“Rajant’s self-optimising Kinetic Mesh nodes work via multiple-frequency, peer-to-peer connections. Plus, the BreadCrumbs can be fixed or mobile, ensuring a mining operation’s continuous productivity and safety.”

Mechel’s Southern Kuzbass Coal Company launches new longwall

Mechel, one of Russia’s leading mining and steel companies, has launched a new longwall at the Southern Kuzbass Coal Company-owned V.I. Lenina underground mine in Russia.

Investment in the new longwall totalled around RUB470 million ($6.4 million), the company said.

The new longwall #0-16-10’s reserves are estimated at 435,000 t, with the average seam height coming in at 1.8 m. The longwall is nearly 200 m long with an extraction panel of 720 m.

The longwall is equipped with a 134-section powered support system, a cutter-loader, as well as a crusher, longwall conveyor and belt conveyor, Mechel said. All the longwall’s equipment is compliant with modern industrial and labour safety requirements, it added.

“V.I. Lenina Underground Mine’s reserves consist of coking coal with excellent quality characteristics, which is high in demand with coke producers,” Mechel Mining Management’s Chief Executive Officer, Igor Khafizov, said. “Southern Kuzbass Coal Company will be working this new longwall for eight months. The concentrate we will produce from its coal will be marketed both domestically and internationally.”

Polymetal 2020 profits rise as it accelerates ESG efforts

Polymetal recorded a strong set of financials in 2020, with its revenue, adjusted EBITDA and net earnings metrics all benefitting from higher production volumes and commodity prices.

Revenue increased by 28% year-on-year to $2.87 billion, adjusted EBITDA rose 57% to $1.69 billion and net earnings hit a record $1.09 billion in 2020.

The company’s 2020 gold-equivalent output amounted to 1.56 Moz, a 4% increase year-on-year and 4% above the original production guidance of 1.5 Moz. Strong contributions from its Kyzyl, Varvara and Albazino mines offset a planned grade decline at Voro, as well as lower production at Svetloye, the company said.

While production rose, the company’s greenhouse gas emissions intensity reduced by 4%, Polymetal said. It attributed this to energy efficiency initiatives, switching its mining fleet to electric vehicles, a shift from diesel to grid energy sources and green energy contracts.

Back in December, SMT Scharf AG signed an agreement with Polymetal to develop and produce battery-electric powered LHDs and mid-range underground trucks as prototypes for its gold and silver mines, with these units to be delivered to the company by October 2021.

Polymetal’s environmental, social and governance efforts did not stop there.

In 2020, the company invested $29 million at its Omolon hub in the Magadan region of Russia. This capital expenditure was mainly related to the construction of a dry tailings storage facility and engineering and preparatory works for a 2.5 MW solar plant (due to come online this year). This will be joined by another 5-10 MW solar facility at its Kyzyl operation (Kazakhstan) in 2022.

On its other tailings facilities, Polymetal said: “We operate eight tailings dams in Russia and Kazakhstan; each is rigorously monitored daily. We are confident that any emergency dam failure would have no impact on local communities and employees.

“We welcome the new Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management and have committed to achieving compliance in all operations by 2023.”

In addition to state authority inspections of these facilities, the company conducted an independent third-party audit of its Mayskoye (Chukotka, Russia) tailings site, which was carried out virtually, due to COVID-19 restrictions, by Knight Piésold Ltd. “To further improve tailings safety and minimise the risk of the possibility of dam failure, we are shifting towards dry stack storage methods,” it said.

“Such facilities are already in operation at our Amursk and Voro (pictured filter press) mines, and will be extended to Omolon (2021), Nezhda (2021), POX-2 (2022), Dukat (2024) and Veduga (2025).”

Uralkali strives for safer, more efficient operations with new technology

One of the leading global producers of potash, Russia-based Uralkali has five mines and seven ore treatment plants in the towns of Berezniki and Solikamsk, in the Perm Region, to its name. As IM discovered from an exchange with Eduard Smirnov, the company’s Technical Director, many of these operations are leveraging new innovations for safety, productivity and efficiency.

IM: In terms of automation, electrification and digitalisation, where is Uralkali making the most notable technological advances?

ES: Uralkali is focused on implementing new technology to make our operations safer and more efficient.

In 2020, we introduced the Geological and Mining Information System (GMIS), which is a single database containing all the necessary information about mine fields and surfaces (spatial data about objects, geological, geophysical and chemical parameters of rocks, data on plant facilities, etc) in order to plan and manage all production processes related to ore mining. The system provides full automation of geological surveying and mining operations, as well as reporting.

Eduard Smirnov, Uralkali Technical Director

We have also introduced an alert system for mine personnel, which can warn miners through the rock mass using low-frequency electromagnetic pulses in case of an accident, as well as a system for positioning personnel and vehicles in mines with information output to the mine dispatcher’s console unit.

This positioning system includes zone readers with antennas, which are located at the entrance to the mine cage and at the exit from the cage at the bottom level, as well as in the mine shops; garage; petroleum, oils and lubricants depot; and explosives depot. These systems are also located along the transport and evacuation routes and monitor every entry to the panel in which mining is underway. The movement of vehicles carrying people is also monitored, including inside each vehicle.

When emergency response is activated, the mine’s central control room sees how many people and vehicles there are in the mine and how they move towards the shaft exit.

Among other systems that have been automated at Uralkali’s facilities are:

  • the control of conveyor lines and hydraulic backfilling of mine voids;
  • skip and cage hoist, batch plants, key ventilation units;
  • gas calorifers (heaters), which are used for heating the air in the mine;
  • re-ventilation systems; and
  • boiler stations and gas turbine units.

Tunnelling machines are equipped with a Combine Condition Monitoring System, which, through wireless sensors of vibration, temperature, oil presence and oil contamination, collects and transmits data on the state of the combine units both to the main computer control panel and to an external information retrieval device (smartphone, flash card). Additionally, the system collects and transmits information about the technical regime of the combine. All collected information is then transferred to a common database to generate statistical and analytical reports.

Self-propelled vehicles and tunnelling machines are electrified and powered by high-voltage cable.

Wireless systems for continuous dynamic control of smoothness of movement of the lift conveyance have been introduced into the skips, which makes it possible to identify defects in the reinforcement on the specific tier of the shaft.

We have also installed a virtual reality simulator for personnel to train electrical shifts at our power substations.

IM: Are you using digital technology for both equipment maintenance and plant process control?

ES: We use wireless transmission of data from observation hydrogeological wells at different sites and level control in the dam of a pond.

We also use video monitoring for our technological processes, such as product loading into cars, wagons, control of dead spots, product distribution between bunkers and at remote sites, as well as for maintenance and construction.

Uralkali is also implementing a module for video analytics of wearing a mask when entering or leaving the cage.

QR codes are used for weighbridges for automatic transmission of data on routes and weight of the loaded product.

We have also introduced automatic data transmission to the Automated Transport Logistics Control System from all rail weighing systems and the generation of documents for shipment via Russian Railways. We also use automatic (sometimes wireless) data transmission from commercial gas metering units and an automated gas balance formation system.

A Mobile Wireless Vibration and Temperature Sensors System is being introduced as another example of digital technology.

We have launched a pilot test of the virtual mathematical moisture analyser for the furnace at one of our facilities to improve the drying process and introduced mathematical control models for steam boilers operating at optimal efficiency.

IM: When it comes to personnel safety, what systems do you have to reduce vehicle-to-person or vehicle-to-vehicle interactions in your mines?

ES: Personnel safety at our operations is our number one priority, and we use a number of systems to continuously increase our safety performance. For example, we use rear-view cameras for all vehicles, produced by Brigade Elektronics, SMD Company LLC and SPbEC-Mining LLC (more than 200 machines are equipped). We are also testing personnel safety systems in tunnelling machine areas, which are based on magneto generators and individual miners’ tags. These include two systems from Davis Derby and Mine Site Technologies (MST).

Rajant Corp furthers Eastern Europe, CIS ambitions with CompTek pact

Rajant Corp, the provider of Kinetic Mesh® wireless networks, is expanding further into Eastern Europe and the CIS with a strategic distribution agreement with Russia’s CompTek.

The Russia-based reseller of network and telecommunication equipment will help support machine-to-machine connectivity and mobility in markets like open-pit mining, underground mining, indoor warehousing, ports, and other industrial markets, Rajant said.

Marcin Kusztal, Sales Director Eastern Europe and CIS for Rajant, said: “Russia has a vast, high tech economy and CompTek is keenly focused on providing their channel partners with value-added solutions within their portfolio to support emerging IIoT networking demands.

“Rajant’s unique ability to hold many connections over multiple frequencies and overcome obstructions in the hardest-to-network areas was missing from CompTek’s offerings. With Rajant, CompTek has what their telecom operators, systems integrators, application developers, and resellers in more than 100 cities in Russia and the CIS have been looking for, creating favourable conditions for its partners’ business development.”

Nikita Ivanov, Comptek’s Head of Sales, added: “We believe Rajant is the most valuable solution for clients in different verticals and markets.

“Industrial wireless networks are needed more than ever. As companies try to digitalise most processes to evolve their overall productivity, Rajant solutions are vital for them. We are happy to be partnered with Rajant.”

Back in August 2019, Rajant announced it was expanding its global presence to include Eastern Europe and the CIS, with its first strategy targeting the mining market in Russia and CIS, and its second approach looking at developed countries (Germany, Switzerland and part of Eastern Europe) where investment in developing advanced technologies was a high priority.

Nornickel targets safety boost at Bystrinsky GOK with collision avoidance tech

Norilsk Nickel’s Bystrinsky GOK operation in the Trans-Baikal Territory of Russia has been testing a collision avoidance system from V2-Group with the aim of improving safety and avoiding haul road accidents at the open-pit gold-iron-copper mine.

Bystrinsky GOK, which consists of a mining operation and processing plant, is home to the Bystrinsky gold-iron-copper deposit. This deposit contained some 343 Mt of reserves when the mine started up in 2017.

Collision avoidance sensors from V2-Group have been installed on one Komatsu PC4000 excavator and two Caterpillar 789D mining trucks at the open-pit operation, Nornickel confirmed. The company has also employed a V2-Group dispatch system at the mine.

A Nornickel spokesperson said testing of the system started in November 2020, with the company currently looking at trialling collision avoidance equipment from other vendors as part of its due diligence process.

“A collision avoidance system should be operational around-the-clock without fail even in the most difficult weather conditions,” the spokesperson said. “It should have the capacity to adjust its parameters depending on the dimensions of various equipment and situations encountered in the pit, on the dump, and while moving between mines.”

The testing represents a step towards helping the company meet one of its key priorities in the operation of the “largest mining and processing plant in the Trans-Baikal Territory – that of ensuring safety, especially when working with mining equipment”, the spokesperson added.

The mining operation has already implemented a range of measures, including IT projects, to ensure safety of personnel, industrial safety and road safety. Last year, it tested a fatigue detection system, which quickly detects everything from episodes of driver microsleep to distractions on the road, as well as an intelligent control system.

Should testing of the collision avoidance systems prove successful, Nornickel expects to rollout the equipment on all mining and auxiliary vehicles, the spokesperson concluded.

Nornickel backs responsible sourcing and production practices with blockchain agreement

Norilsk Nickel says it is joining the Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network (RSBN), an industry collaboration among members across the minerals supply chain using blockchain technology to support responsible sourcing and production practices from mine to market.

The move to join RSBN comes after Nornickel announced a broad strategy to use sophisticated digital technologies to create a customer-centric supply chain, which would include metal-backed tokens on the global Atomyze platform, a tokenisation platform that represents physical assets in digital form. Both the Atomyze and RSBN platforms were developed by leveraging Hyperledger technology, with IBM’s participation, the PGM and base metal miner said.

With Nornickel joining the RSBN, a series of its supply chains will be audited annually against key responsible sourcing requirements by RCS Global. The audits cover each stage of the company’s vertically integrated operations from mines in Russia to refineries in Finland and Russia.

Once audited against responsible sourcing requirements, each supply chain will be brought on to the RSBN and an “immutable audit data” trail will be captured on the platform, proving responsible nickel and cobalt production, its maintenance and its ethical provenance.

“Integration with RSBN is yet another step for Nornickel towards achieving greater business sustainability by creating a permanent record of minerals on the blockchain,” the company said.

At a later development stage, data such as upstream carbon intensity and other ESG attributes will be tracked, it added.

Built on IBM Blockchain technology and powered by the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric, the RSBN platform helps improve transparency in the mineral supply chain by providing a highly secure and immutable record that can be shared with specified members of the network, Nornickel says. Additionally, RCS Global Group assesses each participating entity both initially and annually against responsible sourcing requirements set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and those enshrined by key industry bodies, including the Responsible Minerals Initiative.

Anton Berlin, Nornickel’s Vice President, Sales and Distribution, said: “As one of the largest industry groups globally and the producer of the minerals essential for the transition to a carbon-free world, Nornickel is well aware of its responsibility to make the metals supply chains sustainable and highly transparent. We believe that the digital technologies of RSBN and Atomyze will create the path for Nornickel and its partners to participate in a circular value chain, tracing commodity flows in near real time as well as replacing cumbersome paperwork.”

RCS Global CEO, Dr Nicholas Garrett, added: “The RSBN has proven that responsible sourcing can be traced and documented using blockchain technology. Assuring Nornickel’s supply chains is another milestone engagement for RCS Global and Nornickel’s commitment to the RSBN and demonstrates momentum for blockchain backed responsible sourcing platform in the metals sector.”

Manish Chawla, Global Managing Director, Chemicals, Petroleum & Industrial Products, IBM, said: “Norilsk Nickel is an important addition to the Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network and we look forward to their contributions to help advance the assurance for responsible sourcing and the group’s sustainability goals that have a direct impact on successful and accountable development for entire industries.”

RSBN is designed to be adopted across industries by original equipment manufacturers in automotive, electronics, aerospace and defence as well as their supply chain partners such as mining companies and battery manufacturers.