Tag Archives: salt

BCI Minerals signs up WHBO Infrastructure, Engenium for Mardie work

BCI Minerals Limited has confirmed around A$90 million ($68 million) of contract awards for its Mardie Salt & Potash project, in Western Australia, ahead of a final investment decision (FID).

The initial earthworks contract has been awarded to WBHO Infrastructure, a contractor with a long history of project delivery excellence in large civil construction projects and a strong presence in Western Australia.

The contract includes initial construction of the large-scale trial pond scheduled to commence in April, as well as construction of evaporation ponds 1 and 2, on terms aligned with definitive feasibility study (DFS) budget assumptions once the FID is achieved and required tenure and approvals are in place. The total earthworks volume in this scope is approximately 800,000 cu.m over an area of 24 sq.km.

Engenium, the successful tenderer for the Project Management Contractor role, is a Western Australian company with offices in Perth and Karratha. Engenium, which recently signed a letter of intent that could see it acquired by Stantec, was selected for its local and experienced team, proven track record in project delivery and construction management, excellent health and safety record and pricing within the DFS budget, BCI said.

“The PMC is an important contract in the overall execution of the Mardie project which will see Engenium manage the construction program through the provision of people and systems as an extension of the BCI owners’ team,” it said. “Engagement of Engenium on a staged basis will also support BCI to achieve construction-ready status ahead of main construction commencing in the second half of 2021.”

Various smaller contracts covering accommodation village expansion, minor earthworks, site surveys, communications, water supply, fuel storage and supply as well as the Karratha office fit-out have also been awarded this year. These works are all underway with Pilbara-based contractors expanding Mardie village and fitting-out the Karratha office and local indigenous companies carrying out aboriginal heritage surveys and minor earthworks.

BCI’s Managing Director, Alwyn Vorster, said: “The award of the initial earthworks contract, in particular, represents a key milestone in BCI’s progress toward main construction and demonstrates board confidence in Mardie’s development pathway. These contracts will be initially funded from BCI’s healthy cash balance and strong Iron Valley royalty income.”

The Mardie DFS outcomes indicated that the production of 4.4 Mt/y of high purity salt and 120,000 t/y of premium sulphate of potash (SOP) fertiliser was technically and financially viable. The total capital cost came in at A$779 million and the pre-tax net present value (7% discount) was A$1.197 billion.

A FID by the BCI Board is targeted in the June quarter, which will be followed by completion of the funding task. Construction could commence in mid-2021, which will allow for first salt sales in 2024 and first SOP sales in 2025, the company says.

K+S shifts digital analytics gears after trials provide InSiTE

A more than three-month trial of GHH’s inSiTE digital analytics solution on a 14-t-payload LF-14 LHD has convinced potash and salt miner, K+S, to complete a rollout of the platform across multiple mine sites.

GHH inSiTE, powered by talpasolutions, can distil complicated and seemingly random information into powerful tools for analysis, according to GHH, with the manufacturer promising the integration into daily operations leads to continuously improved productivity.

In one of the first applications of GHH inSiTE in an operation in the CIS region, the customer achieved decreased downtime, increased utilisation, a 7% reduction in fuel consumption, the identification of inefficiencies in cycle time, and a 12% boost in overall equipment efficiency, according to the company.

K+S was looking to put the promises of GHH to the test and initially agreed on a technical pilot.

This technical pilot and the promising opportunities regarding data analysis and visualisation must have been convincing because, in July, K+S signed up for a commercial deployment of GHH inSiTE. This will see GHH inSiTE used on 150 machines across its mine sites.

Andreas Walczyk, Program Manager, Digital Transformation, at K+S, told attendees of The 2nd International Conference on High-Performance Mining that the trial was a chance for the company to not only gather machine data, but also leverage it to make improvements to its maintenance, production and training processes.

“The main reason for this pilot was to figure out if we were on the right path regarding data logging, network, WLAN and more,” he said. “The answer is yes; the pilot was and is very successful because all of our expectations were met.”

The company came away with around 3,500 operating hours and 27 GB of data to play with and analyse.

It acquired this by connecting to the on-board CAN BUS and engine control systems on the LF-14, logging the machine data over that three-month period, creating a “data buffer” at each site, displaying said data on customisable dashboards, and connecting it all through a cloud-based WLAN system.

K+S has already started the rollout of GHH inSiTE across its operations, with Walczyk keen to see how the machine-to-machine connection can allow loaders to, for example, pick up data from scalers to further improve the operations’ data analytics.

Dr Jan Petzold, GHH Group CEO, says the GHH inSiTE system does not discriminate between mobile or fixed machinery, with operators and supervisors able to customise their dashboards to monitor the data and key performance indicators most important to them.

“Owning data is not good enough, you need to know what to do with the data,” he said. “There is now a tool available to help you improve your maintenance intervals, your mean times between failures, and you have the chance to store this data for review afterwards. We also enable our customers to integrate the data in existing workflows to take better actions based on actionable insights.”

Following the rollout of GHH inSiTE across the 150 machines at multiple operating sites, Walczyk says K+S will then look to integrate the solution into its SAP system.

Also included on the K+S roadmap is a plan to leverage GHH inSiTE for a move into the predictive maintenance arena at its sites, using the platform for spare parts and resource inventory management, performance benchmarking and innovations for targeted product development.

TOMRA delves below ground with K+S sensor-based sorter delivery

TOMRA Sorting Mining has delivered its first underground sensor-based ore sorting solution to K+S Minerals and Agriculture at its rock salt mine in Grasleben, Germany.

The major salt producer looked to TOMRA, which it has a long-standing research and development relationship with, to replace an existing sorting system at the mine.

At the Grasleben mine, rock salt is extracted from an underground deposit that stretches across two states. It is processed into a wide range of products, from de-icing salt for winter road services, to food-grade table salts and lick stones for livestock and domestic animals.

“For K+S, consistently achieving certified and guaranteed high purity, compliant with the strict standards of the food industry, is a priority,” TOMRA said.

Sven Raabe, Technische Büro Mechanik, K+S Minerals and Agriculture, said: “The sorting of rock salt is complex and demanding due to its crystalline properties. This leads to strong fluctuations in the appearance of the material.”

TOMRA recommended using colour sorting technology for this installation, with Mathilde Robben, Key Account Manager at TOMRA Mining, saying the customised setup of light sources allows the system to “detect the difference in transparency of the different particles, ensuring the high quality of the rock salt”.

The team also advised installing the sorter in the underground mine, so, after the initial underground sorting stage, only the coarsely crushed rock salt undergoes further grinding and sieving above ground.

Mathilde Robben, Key Account Manager at TOMRA Mining

“Only the valuable product needs to be transported in the shaft, and the final result is high-quality, pure rock salt products in various grain sizes, which are ideal for this application,” TOMRA said. “Furthermore, waste rejects can be backfilled underground, avoiding storage and emissions on the surface.”

TOMRA conducted a demonstration of the proposed solution at its Demonstration and Test Center in Wedel, Germany. Raabe attended the test with colleagues from K+S’s technical team, Florian Lieske, Stephan Meiberg and Sven Lindner.

“The tests were very well prepared,” Raabe said. “The on-site team quickly developed a feel for our product. The uncomplicated adaptation of the program to the different material qualities also convinced us.”

He added: “An important factor in our purchasing decision was the positive test result achieved with the system, using transmitted light to obtain more efficient separation. This has the added benefit of resource conservation. It is possible to react quickly and individually to changing situations during dismantling. We expect this to be more effective, and the ease of use of the system was also convincing.”

Following this experience and the results of the test, K+S placed the order for TOMRA’s solution, with installation planned for September 2020. The negotiations were conducted via video conference due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions and lockdowns.

The order was entered in TOMRA’s production plan and the Factory Acceptance Test was conducted on September 23, with the sorter transported to the Grasleben mine. It was put in position underground at the mine on September 30.

Robben concluded: “This is the first solution we provide for underground sorting, which raises specific challenges due to the dimensions and weight limitations of the mine shaft. In this project we also had to contend with the difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am very pleased that we have been able to meet K+S’s requirements and deliver on schedule.”

GHH to create new service base in German potash and salt mining hub

GHH says it is to establish a new service base for its customers in the heart of the German potash and salt mining industry.

The Gelsenkirchen-based mining and tunneling equipment manufacturer took over the business activities of BAT Bohr- und Anlagentechnik GmbH in the village of Krayenberggemeinde on October 1. Through its subsidiary, GSE Europe GmbH, GHH took over the fixed assets of BAT, which will soon be renamed and continued at the site as BAT Bergbau Service GmbH. The company currently has 25 employees.

With this step, GHH wants to provide its German customers with comprehensive services quickly and reliably, it said. This mainly involves repair work, the construction of spare parts and parts logistics. GHH is also considering making the site the centre for its special-purpose machinery manufacturing operations.

“This will not only expand our range of services, but also continue a traditional location in this mining region, which is so important for Germany,” Dr Jan Petzold, CEO of the GHH Group, said.

Komatsu ups the cutting power on Joy 12HM46 continuous miner

Komatsu is getting ready to launch a new upgrade to its Joy 12HM46 continuous miner for industrial minerals that will boost its cutting power.

The addition of a new optional gearcase on the machine will see cutting power increase by 50%, according to the company, with a spokesperson confirming the newest addition to the continuous miner will be transported to a customer later this month for a trial period.

The 12HM46 continuous miner is ideal for industrial mineral mining applications, including trona, gypsum, potash, and salt, according to Komatsu. It has a 1,600 mm cutter head diameter, making it the largest and most powerful drum-style continuous miner in the company’s product line-up.

The 12HM46 comes with a Ripperveyor cutting head system, with a variety of cutter bit lacing configurations available to suit different applications.