Tag Archives: SCADA

OZ Minerals Carrapateena debottlenecking accelerates with HIGmill addition

OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena operation in South Australia is gaining momentum with its processing plant running in excess of nameplate through a cost-effective and efficient debottlenecking strategy.

The latest sign of this strategy taking shape comes in the form of the installation of a second HIGmill from Metso Outotec.

This high-intensity grinding mill has been installed in parallel to the existing mill at the copper-gold operation to increase regrind capacity for all ore types to maintain optimal concentrate grades, the company says.

“We selected HIGmills due to the simplicity of installation and the total cost of ownership,” the company told IM. “As both HIGmills are identical, this allows for commonality of spares and predictable operation.”

The initial processing plant at Carrapateena was designed to produce at a nameplate of 4.25 Mt/y, yet, through debottlenecking and continued process improvement, the plant has recently run at annualised run rate in excess of 5 Mt/y, the company said. This is also an increase on the 4.6 Mt/y processed in 2021.

Like other ‘connected’ equipment within the Carrapateena processing plant, the new HIGmill has been fully integrated into a SCADA system monitored by the control room. It can also be monitored remotely at OZ Minerals’ Adelaide remote operations centre, the company added.

Beyond debottlenecking, OZ Minerals is planning a major expansion at Carrapateena through the development of a block cave operation, which was signed off by the OZ Minerals Board in early 2021.

The expansion, which will involve converting the lower part of the current sub-level cave into a series of block caves, is expected to prolong operations at the copper-gold mine, while boosting production to 12 Mt/y. This will see average copper production come in at 110,000-120,000 t/y and gold output average 110,000-120,000 oz/y from 2026, compared with production of 55,262 t and 89,778 oz, respectively, in 2021.

Under the expansion project, the company is targeting block cave 1 to begin operations by 2026 and block cave 2 by 2038.

While the block cave is being established, a second process plant will be built in parallel to the existing one. Below surface, construction of the second crusher is expected to be completed towards the end of next year, and processing plant optimisation is ongoing. These will help produce a concentrate to be transported to port and subsequently to smelters by ships, the company told IM.

Gekko Systems improves carbon sampling accuracy, safety at Cowal gold mine

The technical team at Gekko Systems has released further data that, it says, supports the benefits of new technology that optimises carbon management systems in gold processing facilities.

Optimising carbon management in the carbon-in-leach (CIL) circuit reduces gold solution losses and improves gold circuit recovery. This is essential for sites needing to offset higher inflationary costs with improved revenue, Gekko says.

The case study, released today, reviews operational performance of Gekko’s Carbon Scout at Evolution’s Cowal Gold Operation in New South Wales, Australia.

The Carbon Scout is a self-contained, ground-level sampling system that measures carbon concentration, as well as pH, DO and, more recently, has an option to measure gold loading on carbon using XRF technology on an hourly basis. Optimising the Carbon Scout for site conditions allows for more accurate, reliable and repeatable measurement of the carbon inventory of the CIL
circuit, Gekko says. Automating data collection and process actions such as carbon transfer, meanwhile, reduces operator risk exposure and person-hours (previously dedicated to the manual data collection tasks).

Installation of the Carbon Scout at Cowal commenced in February 2019, with the Gekko Systems Digital Services and Technical team providing ongoing support – both onsite and remotely – in the initial months of the system’s operation to ensure maximum availability was achieved and Evolution Mining was receiving the full benefit of the Carbon Scout.

After a few months of integration with the SCADA system, the Carbon Scout was able to use the data and analysis to facilitate automated transfer of the carbon inventory within the circuit to maintain pre-determined concentrations, according to Gekko.

The Carbon Scout at Cowal has successfully reduced operator exposure to slurry containing hazardous materials including cyanide and improved sample authenticity by collecting a more representative and repeatable sample, Gekko said in the case study.

The other critical success achieved by the Carbon Scout is its ability to take a larger CIL tank sample that is more representative. This is achieved by the Carbon Scout drawing from deeper within the tank, where more superior slurry-carbon mixing occurs, and a larger sample of up to 20 litres is taken, which is 10-20 times the typical manual sample size. Additionally, the sample is extracted from a consistent point each time the Carbon Scout cycle samples from that tank.

Gekko concluded: “Optimising the Carbon Scout for site conditions allows for more accurate, reliable and repeatable measurement of the carbon inventory of the CIL circuit. Utilising these measurements and integrating with a plant’s SCADA system, the automatic control of carbon concentrations through the CIL circuit can be achieved. Automating data collection and process actions such as carbon transfer reduces operator risk exposure and man hours previously dedicated to the manual data collection tasks.

“The improvement derived from the utilisation of the Carbon Scout should lead to increases in circuit recovery by reducing soluble gold losses.”

The Carbon Scout was originally the brainchild of Curtin University’s Gold Processing team, led by Dr Teresa McGrath and Bill Staunton. Curtin University selected Gekko Systems as its commercialisation partner.

Staunton noted that “real-time data collection instrumentation and related analysis is essential to the future of the gold processing industry”.

Gekko Systems’ Technical Director, Sandy Gray, said: “The increasing installation base of the Carbon Scout globally is providing a fantastic baseline of evidence that supports the benefits of quality data collection and automation.”

Codelco El Teniente to improve mine grid visibility with Hitachi Energy MicroSCADA X

As part of Codelco’s drive to reduce its carbon footprint and boost sustainability, the company has looked to upgrade and modernise its energy automation system at El Teniente in Chile, with the objective to ensure the operational continuity of the mine as it continues to go deeper.

To achieve this, Codelco has to install a new supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system to manage the power grid within the mine. Taking this further, the company sought to expand the functionality of the system by deploying the solution centrally in its new data centre in the city of Rancagua, 70 km from the mine. The goal was to link the company’s divisions, starting with El Teniente, with the data centre to centrally manage the power grids of the twin projects related to the Northern Andes.

Codelco chose Hitachi Energy’s advanced MicroSCADA X solution to control and manage the power grid comprising 27 electrical substations in El Teniente; seven of them located on the surface and 20 inside the mine. With MicroSCADA X, Codelco will have better access to virtualised information and enable a more secure system for storing strategic data, according to Hitachi Energy.

MicroSCADA X is a user-centric energy automation solution, providing a modern and intuitive experience, the company says. As part of the solution, Hitachi Energy will provide engineering, remote terminal units, cabinet supplies, upgrade of the existing electrical SCADA system and operation, in addition to a five-year contract to maintain the systems at El Teniente.

IM put some questions to Marcio Ferraz, Hub Manager, Grid Automation Latin America, Hitachi Energy, to find out more about the project.

IM: Are you seeing more mining companies looking to centralise their SCADA systems into remote operations centres like Codelco? What special considerations need to be factored into such installations?

MF: Yes, it is possible to see a trend in having centralised operations centres for mining companies in the same model as installed in Codelco El Teniente. Within this kind of solution setup, it is possible to operate the full mining electrical system remotely or even from cities far from the mine location. Also, with MicroSCADA X, Codelco will have the possibility to deploy web-based solutions, making it possible to control the electrical system from a tablet or even from a mobile phone. All of this is aligned with the digitalisation efforts in the mining sector across Latin America.

IM: Is Codelco El Teniente’s setup – 27 electrical substations, with 20 within the mine and seven on the surface – unusual in terms of the MicroSCADA X work you have done in mining? Are you seeing mining installations become more complex of late?

MF: The robustness of Codelco’s El Teniente solution, both in terms of networking and MicroSCADA X configuration, brings a lot more reliability and flexibility to El Teniente’s operations. These are reflected by fully redundant networking and distributed MicroSCADA X servers based on IEC 61850, making use of physical and virtualised servers. As an example of this flexibility, it is possible to see the full electrical network in every station of the mine. The Hitachi Energy solution is also fully compliant with cybersecurity concepts and requirements. On this basis, the solution we have provided Codelco meets several requirements which are critical for 365/24/7 operations under harsh conditions.

IM: What allowances are you making for the El Teniente setup in terms of incorporating renewable energy solutions into the mix? Can MicroSCADA X seamlessly integrate these solutions?

MF: The delivered solution is able to incorporate expansions for renewable energy at every point of the connection. This scalability of the MicroSCADA X solution makes it fully compliant with all future requirements and demands to incorporate renewable energy solutions. This takes into account that the mining sector has a key objective to continue its contribution toward sustainable operations and continuing to be strong sponsors to investments in renewable energy sources.

IM: How ‘autonomous’ is the MicroSCADA X system at El Teniente? In addition to fault finding, does it also automatically adjust operations in response to these faults, or does it simply notify operators for manual intervention? Is this the most autonomous MicroSCADA X system you will have in place within mining upon start-up in 2024?

MF: The MicroSCADA X solution for El Teniente has all the alarms and notifications to allow operators to quickly solve faults in the mining electrical system. Additionally, the MicroSCADA X solution makes it possible to expand to an autonomous operation, using complex algorithms, when required by Codelco. In this respect, we can say that besides having a robust solution like MicroSCADA X, Codelco has a scalable system with all the possibilities to evolve according to operational needs in the future.

New SICK LMS111 conveyor belt tool measures up the competition

SICK has extended its LMS Bulkscan laser scanner offering with the SICK LMS111 measurement tool, allowing more users to benefit from continuous monitoring of volume and mass throughput of bulk materials on conveyor belts.

The LMS111 Bulkscan provides highly-accurate, delay-free volume and mass flow measurements to maximise throughput of a wide range of bulk materials including gravels, sands and cements, according to the company.

Compact, and easy-to-integrate, it can be designed into new lines or easily retrofitted on to existing conveyors.
It is a cost-effective alternative to a conventional beltweigher, SICK says, offering wear-free, low-maintenance advantages of non-contact, real-time measurement. The multi-echo, time-of-flight laser scanning technology enables a reliable output of the material’s volume and mass flow, while the material’s centre of gravity is continuously monitored to help avoid uneven loading and resultant belt wear.

Darren Pratt, SICK UK’s National Product Manager for Industrial Instrumentation, said: “The new SICK LMS111 Bulkscan presents a value-added alternative to a standard belt scale and is a robust and consistent performer even in dusty production environments or when mounted behind glass.

“By measuring the load height profile every 20 milliseconds, the LMS111 Bulkscan delivers an accurate, continuous profile measurement. It then works out the volume of the material using the belt speed which can be provided as a fixed value or input via an encoder in the case of a variable speed belt. The mass is computed from the volume and a known density of the material.”

Volume is more important than mass for many production processes, according to Pratt. This makes Bulkscan an ideal alternative to beltweighers in conditions where the density of material changes significantly.

The LMS111 Bulkscan is easy to install and set up in a vertical (nominal 5°) alignment for accurate profile measurement, according to SICK. Using the pulsed, time-of-flight laser measurement system with a 190° wide field of view, the unit can be applied to the narrowest and widest conveyors.

The instrument outputs three analogue signals via the BAM100 processing unit accessory, or delivers three digital signals that can be assigned to a bulk quota or for condition monitoring. A TCP/IP interface ensures connectivity with a PC, factory SCADA and PLC communications networks.

The unit measures only 152 mm x 102 mm x 105 mm, so is easy to install in a wide variety of locations. It can be mounted up to 10 m above the conveyor, while ambient operating conditions range from +50°C to -30°C. Environmental protection is rated at IP67.

SICK says the LMS111 complements the LMS511 Bulkscan PRO which provides additional measurements and is designed for operation in more challenging dusty and dirty conditions, including the most arduous ambient conditions.