Tag Archives: Saskatchewan

Certified Mining & Construction Sales & Rentals to represent Aramine in western Canada

Certified Mining & Construction Sales & Rentals has become the exclusive distributer for Aramine for Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta in Canada.

This partnership will bring cutting edge, battery-powered, heavy-duty equipment and parts to the mining industry in western Canada, the company says.

Certified Mining & Construction Sales & Rentals (CMC) is a Saskatoon-based sales and rental company that offers specialised equipment to the mining and construction industries in North America.

The company says: “This partnership with Aramine will only serve to build on both the rental options and the offering for the sales side. With Aramine’s offering on the battery-powered, mine-specific heavy equipment, we will be able to partner with our clients to work towards lowering emissions without lowering productivity.”

Aramine has designed an innovative and unique range of small and medium section machines, including the L140B battery-powered mini loader.

BHP greenlights Jansen Stage 1 potash project

BHP has approved $5.7 billion in capital expenditure for the Jansen Stage 1 (Jansen S1) potash project in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Jansen S1 is expected to produce approximately 4.35 Mt/y of potash, and has a basin position with the potential for further expansions (subject to studies and approvals), according to BHP. First ore is targeted in 2027, with construction expected to take approximately six years, followed by a ramp-up period of two years.

Jansen S1 includes the design, engineering and construction of an underground potash mine and surface infrastructure including a processing facility, a product storage building and a continuous automated rail loading system. Jansen S1 product will be shipped to export markets through Westshore, in Delta, British Columbia, and the project includes funding for the required port infrastructure. This infrastructure will be constructed by Westshore Terminals Investment Corporation as part of an agreement with BHP.

BHP Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry, said Jansen is aligned with BHP’s strategy of growing the company’s exposure to future-facing commodities in world-class assets, which are large, low cost and expandable.

“This is an important milestone for BHP and an investment in a new commodity that we believe will create value for shareholders for generations,” Henry said.

“In addition to its merits as a stand-alone project, Jansen also brings with it a series of high returning growth options in an attractive investment jurisdiction. In developing the Jansen project, BHP has had ongoing positive engagement and collaboration with First Nations and local communities, and with the provincial and federal governments. Jansen is designed with a focus on sustainability, including being designed for low greenhouse gas emissions and low water consumption.

“We anticipate that demand growth will progressively absorb the excess capacity currently present in the industry, with opportunity for new supply expected by the late 2020s or early 2030s. That is broadly aligned with the expected timing of first production from Jansen.”

BHP said: “Beyond the 2020s, the industry’s long run trend prices are expected to be determined by Canadian greenfield solution mines. In addition to consuming more energy and water than conventional mines like Jansen, solution mines tend to have higher operating costs and higher sustaining capital requirements.”

At consensus prices, the go-forward investment on Jansen is expected to generate an internal rate of return of 12-14%, an expected payback period of seven years from first production and an underlying EBITDA margin of around 70% given its expected first quartile cost position, according to BHP.

BHP says the $4.5 billion (pre-tax) of capital invested to date has resulted in a significant initial outlay. The investment to date includes construction of the shafts and associated infrastructure ($2.97 billion scope of work), as well as engineering and procurement activities and preparation works related to Jansen S1 underground infrastructure. Approximately $220 million of the $2.97 billion approved for the current scope of work, expected to be completed in 2022, is not yet spent.

The construction of two shafts and associated infrastructure at the site is 93% complete and expected to be completed in 2022, with Cementation Canada set to carry out the post liner excavation, steel and equipping of the shafts.

The sinking of the shafts was carried out by DMC Mining Services using Herrenknecht’s Shaft Boring Roadheader.

To date about 50% of all engineering required for Jansen S1 has been completed, significantly de-risking the project, BHP says.

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.”

Orano, Ideon deploy cosmic-ray muon detector at McLean Lake uranium site

Canada-based Earth ‘X-ray’ start-up, Ideon Technologies, and Orano Group, one of the world’s top uranium producers, have deployed the world’s first cosmic-ray muon detector for use in industry-standard boreholes.

The EUREKA-approved research and development project, which is receiving advisory services and funding support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, will run from now through the end of 2021 at McClean Lake, an Orano uranium site in northern Saskatchewan, Canada.

Ideon says it is a pioneer in muon tomography, providing X-ray-like imaging up to 1 km beneath the Earth’s surface. The Ideon discovery platform integrates proprietary muon detectors, imaging systems, inversion technologies, and artificial intelligence to produce high-resolution 3D density maps of underground targets, it explained.

Orano’s imaging target is a high-grade, compact uranium deposit located at 300 m depth. Multiple borehole muon detectors are deployed down a single drill hole in a connected sequence, delivering progressive imaging results throughout the survey.

Orano and Ideon have been collaborating since 2016, when Ideon deployed its first-generation, large-format detectors at the McArthur River uranium mine in Saskatchewan, successfully imaging a high-grade uranium deposit under 600 m of sandstone. Since then, Ideon has completed a 50 times miniaturisation effort to create the first industry-standard borehole (<100 mm diameter), low-power (<10 W continuous power consumption), zero-maintenance muon tomography detector suitable for operation in the extreme environmental conditions of mineral exploration sites around the world, the company explained.

“We’re excited to move forward on this project with Ideon because we expect it to transform the very nature of how we explore,” Hervé Toubon, Research & Development and Innovation Director at Orano Mining, said. “Global uranium demand is projected to grow by up to 40% by 2025 and it is virtually impossible for us to detect high-grade deposits at depth using traditional geophysical exploration techniques. The subsurface intelligence we gain with muon tomography gives us the ability to accurately locate those anomalies while reducing the need for drilling and lowering our overall environmental impact. That value proposition is hard to beat.”

Gary Agnew, CEO at Ideon, said: “This deployment milestone is more than a decade in the making. We’ve spent seven years doing commercial trials in partnership with the mining industry and several years of system design and development, de-risking, and prototyping in the lab. Orano has been there right along with us for much of that journey, leading the way as a customer-driven innovator in the global energy transition. We are grateful for their enthusiasm, flexibility, trust, and willingness to break new ground with us.”

In addition to muon tomography models, Ideon will work with Orano to develop joint inversions with existing drill data and other geophysical datasets.

Ideon is currently implementing an exclusive early access program for borehole muon tomography. The company claims it is the only straight-line subsurface imaging technology available today, delivering the highest available resolution along with precise anomaly location information. Muon tomography uses a passive and free energy source (cosmic rays from space), offers the ability to image in noisy or conductive environments, and captures data continuously – improving imaging results over time, the company said.

Foran Mining assembles FS team for ‘world first’ carbon neutral copper mine project

Foran Mining says it has bolstered the design team for its ongoing definitive feasibility study at the McIlvenna Bay project, in Saskatchewan, Canada, providing the company with the technical expertise to execute on its strategy of building the world’s first copper mine designed to be “carbon neutral” from day one of production.

The advisors are anticipated to employ a range of technologies and initiatives in the design of the mine and processing facilities to materially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental impact of the operations.

Foran says its due diligence to date has highlighted the potentially superior returns achievable through implementing this strategy, while the use of battery-electric vehicles will also be safer for employees, reducing risk of injury and physical stressors, such as vibration and noise.

The FS team includes experts from:

  • Stantec – mine design and engineering;
  • Knight Piésold Ltd – tailings storage facility design;
  • Halyard Inc – process plant design;
  • Micon International Limited – resource estimate;
  • Base Metallurgical Laboratories Ltd – metallurgical testing;
  • Canada North Environmental Services Ltd – environmental; and
  • Synergy Enterprises – sustainability and carbon accounting

Dan Myerson, Executive Chair of Foran, said: “The appointment of these world-class environmental and engineering specialists reflects our ambition to develop a technically and economically compelling solution to the environmental and social challenges which have been traditionally associated with the sector. We are therefore thrilled that professionals of this calibre have agreed to support us on this journey.”

He added: “Together, we intend to ensure that our operations emit net zero greenhouse gases and set new safety benchmarks for the industry, while also ensuring that the local community and the broader Canadian population benefit from our operations. The responsible production of copper and zinc is critical as the world transitions to a low carbon future; these metals are used in the production of renewable energy assets and electronic industries, for example. We look forward to providing more updates, in relation to our infill and expansion drilling, as well as announcing more detailed plans about how we will be putting our ambitions into practice.”

The 2020 prefeasibility study on McIlvenna Bay envisaged a 3,600 t/d underground operation with on‐site crushing and mineral processing facilities, a paste plant and filtered tailings storage facility. It considered a nine-year life of mine and scheduled treatment of the full reserve of 11.34 Mt grading 4.01% Zn, 1.14% Cu, 0.54 g/t Au and 20.97 g/t Ag. It also included plans for McIlvenna Bay to be an early adopter of battery-electric haul trucks.

Foran recently commenced its largest drill program ever (pictured), with over 30,000 m of infill and expansion drilling in the deposit. This has been designed to maximise the conversion of the current inferred resource to the indicated resource category, which can then be interrogated for inclusion in the updated reserve statement.

Foran says the feasibility study will, among other things, look to:

  • Further optimise and detail the McIlvenna Bay project engineering, including the estimation of reserves, mine design, stope sequence, development and production schedules;
  • Refine power and equipment requirements to support the company’s commitment to carbon neutral operations;
  • Update and detail the design and feasibility of the tailings desulphurisation process, dry stack storage facility and cemented paste backfill processes;
  • Provide detailed construction scheduling, including optimisations that would arise from pre-fabrication and/or modular (off-site) construction to the greatest extent possible;
  • Identify further mine optimisation to increase productivity and reduce operational expenditures; and
  • Consider equipment usage and activities where greenhouse gas emissions can be eliminated, reduced or offset to ensure that McIlvenna Bay is a carbon neutral operation.

Nutrien increases use of Triax’s Proximity Trace tech to curb COVID-19 spread

Nutrien says it is expanded its use of proximity monitoring and contact tracing technology, Proximity Trace™ from Triax Technologies, to its potash mines in Saskatchewan, Canada, as it looks to continue tracking and combatting the spread of COVID-19.

More than 8,000 employees are using the technology to date, with an additional 6,500 expected to be part of the expansion in the coming months, representing 65% of Nutrien’s global employee base.

At the start of the pandemic, Nutrien was deemed an essential service in its core markets for its role in supporting the agriculture industry. To help mitigate the spread of the virus, Nutrien partnered with Triax to help its workers maintain a minimum of 6 ft (close to 2 m) of physical distancing and automatically capture data about their interactions with co-workers, as part of its COVID-19 protocols.

Originally deployed last July at Nutrien’s nitrogen and phosphate sites in the US, Proximity Trace is now being rolled out at Nutrien’s potash mines in Saskatchewan and at corporate offices in Colorado, Illinois, Alberta and Saskatchewan, it said.

Nutrien EVP & Chief Information Officer, Brent Poohkay, said: “In the early days of the pandemic, global health authorities called upon the private sector to step up and do our part to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. Nutrien developed a playbook that articulates a strategy and a plan for handling the virus, and the Triax system has been valuable in keeping our essential workers safe to help ensure a health crisis doesn’t become a food crisis.

“Now we are expanding the playbook as we redefine the future of work with safety and integrity at the forefront.”

Proximity Trace tags are attached to workers’ clothing or hard hats and produce an audio and visual alert to those who come within 6 ft of one another. These wearable sensors also automatically log data for leaders to quickly perform contact tracing if a positive case arises, thereby preventing further spread at the site and reassuring those who are not at risk, Nutrien explains.

“Since it pinpoints the individuals who may have been exposed, the solution also helps Nutrien minimise operational shutdowns and reduces the risk of associated costs and product delivery delays,” it said.

Dr Tarek Sardana, one of the medical experts who’s been advising Nutrien’s executive leadership team regarding COVID-19 responses and protocols, said: “At the workplace, if you maintain proper physical distancing, then your risk of spreading the virus is very low. I encourage people to think of themselves as if they’re living within six-foot bubbles, and if no one penetrates the bubbles, it’s harder for the virus to spread.”

Robert Costantini, CEO of Triax Technologies, said: “We’re honoured that Nutrien has included our Proximity Trace technology as an essential part of its COVID-19 health and safety playbook. Nutrien’s commitment to worker safety through physical distancing and contact tracing was prioritised early on by their management and their focus on this issue has been exemplary. We’re pleased that our wearable sensors can play a critical role in enabling these protocols to create a safer environment.”

Since the implementation of the Triax technology, Nutrien has been able to safely support as many as 1,700 employees and contractors at a time at its nitrogen and phosphate sites. The physical distancing alerts have reduced the number of close contacts, positive cases and quarantines. Additionally, the automated data system has improved the efficiency and accuracy of contact tracing, it said.

“As Nutrien explores how to safely return more employees who have been working remotely to the workplace, the Triax technology will support additional prevention and protection across Nutrien’s North American footprint,” the company concluded.

BHP commits another $272 million for shaft lining at Jansen potash project

BHP has agreed to invest another $272 million in the Jansen Stage 1 potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada, following challenges encountered with placement of the shaft lining and more recent impacts from the company’s COVID-19 response plan.

Up until this point, BHP had committed to spending $2.7 billion on the project.

BHP said in its September quarter results: “As a consequence of the challenges encountered earlier with placement of the shaft lining and then the more recent impacts from our COVID-19 response plan, the board has approved additional funding of $272 million for the completion of the shafts, resulting in a total budget of $3.0 billion (previously $2.7 billion).”

This is expected to result in the excavation and lining of the 7.3 m diameter production (975 m deep) and service (1,005 m deep) shafts – sunk by DMC Mining using Herrenknecht’s Shaft Boring Roadheader – and the installation of essential surface infrastructure and utilities.

Back in August, the company said it would not decide on an investment in the full Stage 1 project until mid-2021, a delay on the February 2021 deadline it previously advised of. This was down to the shaft lining problem.

The current Stage 1 plan, which is 86% complete and has an expected capital outlay of $5.3-5.7 billion, involves building out initial capacity of 4.3-4.5 Mt/y of potash, with expansion optionality.

BHP added: “Jansen Stage 1 remains well positioned with attractive medium to longer-term commodity fundamentals, and is set to be a high-margin, low-cost, long-life asset, with multiple, basin-wide, expansion opportunities. As always, we will be disciplined about our entry into the market and it must pass our strict Capital Allocation Framework tests.”

Saskatchewan to create Canada’s first rare earth processing facility at SRC

The Government of Saskatchewan has announced C$31 million ($23 million) in funding for a rare earth processing facility in the province, delivering, it says, on a key element of its 2030 Growth Plan.

The facility will be owned and operated by the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC). It will be the first-of-its-kind in Canada and will begin to establish a rare earth element (REE) supply chain in Saskatchewan, forming an industry model for future commercial REE resource expansion in the province, the government says.

Global demand for REEs will increase significantly in the coming decade as demand for electric vehicles, renewable power generation and all forms of electronics increases, it added.

“Saskatchewan’s new rare earth processing facility will be a catalyst to stimulate the resource sector in Saskatchewan and across Canada, providing the early-stage supply chain needed to generate cash flow, investment and industrial growth of the sector,” Saskatchewan Premier, Scott Moe, said. “It will also help ensure the competitiveness of Saskatchewan as we focus on our economic recovery and grow our province over the next decade.”

Minister responsible for the SRC, Jeremy Harrison, said: “Saskatchewan has a globally recognised mining industry, workforce and culture with local companies already beginning to explore REE deposits both in Saskatchewan, and in surrounding provinces and territories. This facility will allow the REE industry to grow and create both immediate and long-term jobs.”

The conversion of REE ore to individual REE products is carried out in two main stages. The first is the concentration of ore to mixed REE carbonate. The second is the more complex separation stage that converts the mixed REE carbonate to commercial pure-grade REEs. The facility will address both stages of REE processing, according to the government.

The facility will be able to process both main hard rock ores (bastnaesite and monazite) and in the future, will also be capable of processing uranium raffinate concentrate, a rich source of REE from Saskatchewan’s uranium industry.

The facility is expected to be fully operational in late 2022 with construction beginning this autumn.

SRC is Canada’s second largest research and technology organisation. With more than 290 employees, C$91 million in annual revenue and nearly 75 years of experience, SRC provides services and products to its 1,500 clients in 27 countries around the world, it says.

Herrenknecht heralds ‘game changer for shaft sinking in soft and medium-hard rock’

Having successfully excavated two 8-11 m diameter blind shafts using Shaft Boring Roadheaders (SBRs) at the BHP-owned Jansen potash project, Herrenknecht is leveraging all the lessons it learnt in Saskatchewan, Canada, to ensure this technology proves to be a “game changer” for the sinking of shafts in soft and medium-hard rock.

Mining contractor DMC Mining Services used two SBRs to excavate the blind shafts at Jansen, with the successful project completion acting as proof of the feasibility and advantages of the Herrenknecht SBR concept for the mining industry, according to the Germany-based company.

In August 2018, the mining industry milestone was achieved with the successful completion of two blind shafts to depths of -975 and -1,005 m, respectively, at the Jansen potash project. For the first time, shafts in the mining business were sunk using only mechanical excavation for this reference project.

Two Herrenknecht SBRs excavated the ground by a partial-face cutting method, using a cutting drum mounted on a telescopic boom. The excavated rock was then conveyed from the bench by an innovative pneumatic mucking system (PNM) and transferred into muck buckets to be hoisted to surface, the company said.

An innovative laser navigation system designed by the Herrenknecht subsidiary, VMT Group, using target units mounted on the SBR and lasers connected to the shaft wall, was used to keep the machines on track.

Herrenknecht, with its experience as a technology leader in mechanised tunnelling, developed the SBR for the mechanised sinking of blind shafts in soft to medium-hard rock. Based on the proven technology of the Herrenknecht Vertical Shaft Sinking Machine (VSM), the SBR offers improved safety performance compared with conventional shaft sinking methods while also achieving higher advance rates, according to the company.

The geological conditions at Jansen, however, were anything but easy. At a depth of around 450 m, the SBR encountered a layer of extremely hard competent rock causing excessive pick wear and low rates of advance. To overcome this and some further hardness challenges, the cutting drum was upgraded to a hard-rock cutting drum and torque output was doubled.

Because an existing high-pressure underground waterway, known as the Blairmore aquifer, posed a risk for water ingress into the shaft, ground freezing was executed temporarily in 2011 by BHP to a depth of approximately 650 m.

A major success in this difficult geology was the use of a mechanical ring erector, which allowed the installation of steel tubbing segments with minimal risk to personnel and a high degree of accuracy, according to Herrenknecht. The steel liner rings were installed through the Blairmore aquifer to assist in the development of a composite steel and concrete watertight liner in both shafts.

Since the project-specific design changes at Jansen required modifications to the SBRs, Herrenknecht, together with contractor DMC Mining Services, refined the SBR technology over the long term. The result is the second generation of Herrenknecht SBR technology.

As an example, the second generation SBR is equipped with an additional stabilisation level that allows the fixation of the SBR centre pipe on both ends. This ensures a stable transfer of the reaction forces from the cutting process to the shaft wall without movement of the machine – even with fluctuating excavation diameter of 8-11 m, as encountered at the Jansen potash project.

In addition to an improved filter system, a new design of the PNM system was installed in the second-generation machine, which results in a higher degree of separation in the suction tank itself, allowing wet material and even water to be handled.

Martin-Devid Herrenknecht, General Manager Mining at Herrenknecht, said: “The technical development of the second SBR generation is based on the lessons learnt from the Jansen project.” Two SBRs of this generation are currently in operation in Belarus and achieving good performance as a result of the improvements made, Herrenknecht said. “This pioneering approach is certainly a game changer for shaft sinking in soft and medium-hard rock, impacting the whole mining industry,” he said.

After the successful excavation at Jansen, another task was to be managed: the disassembly of the huge machines in the deep shafts. To remove the SBR from the shaft bottom, it was necessary to reduce the weight of the machine from 390 t to 340 t. This was achieved by stripping all components off the SBR that were in the excavation chamber. Both SBRs were safely extracted from the two shafts at the Jansen potash project in May 2019.

The Jansen potash project, located approximately 140 km east of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is a BHP-owned future potential potash mine with an expected initial mining output of around 3-4.5 Mt/y with valuable expansion options.

BHP’s Jansen potash project set for early-2021 investment decision

While uncertainty remains around the construction of BHP’s Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada, the company, in its September quarter results, confirmed it is still spending money on the asset prior to making a development decision.

BHP said the Jansen Stage 1 potash project will be presented to the board for a final investment decision by February 2021. The currently Stage 1 plan, which is in the feasibility study stage, involves building out initial capacity of 4.3-4.5 Mt/y of potash, with expansion optionality.

The miner has, so far, committed to spending $2.7 billion on the project. This is expected to result in the excavation and lining of the 7.3 m diameter production (975 m deep) and service (1,005 m deep, pictured) shafts – sunk by DMC Mining using Herrenknecht’s Shaft Boring Roadheader – and the installation of essential surface infrastructure and utilities. The overall Stage 1 project is expected to have a capital outlay of $5.3-5.7 billion.

In the September quarter results, BHP said in order to make a final investment decision, work on engineering to support project planning and on finalising the port solution is required. The BHP Board has, as a result, approved $144 million of spending for these activities, with an additional $201 million in funding set aside to further de-risk the project. The latter is focused on the mine’s scope of work, advancing other engineering and procurement activities, and preparation works for underground infrastructure, it said.

“This will enable an efficient transition of the project team between the study and execution phase, should the project be approved,” BHP said, adding that the release of funding to the project will be staged over this period.

The company, meanwhile, gave an update on its South Flank iron ore development, in the Pilbara of Western Australia, with CEO Andrew Mackenzie saying the project was 50% complete, with all major items on schedule and budget.

South Flank, which is expected to cost $4.6 billion to build, is set to replace production from the existing Yandi mine, which is reaching the end of its economic life. BHP is targeting first ore extraction at the operation in 2021 and expects to ramp up to 80 Mt/y of output.