Tag Archives: Sibanye-Stillwater

Generation Mining readies more ‘aggressive’ Marathon PGM-copper project approach

Generation Mining says it is making headway on the development plan for its Marathon palladium-copper project, in north-western Ontario, Canada, having contracted all the major engineering companies for the study.

The study is expected to take around seven to eight months to conclude, with completion expected in early 2021, it said.

G-Mining Services will carry out the mine plan and mineral reserves, infrastructure scope of work and integration of the costs and economic analysis; Ausenco Engineering Canada is progressing the process facility layout and design based on the metallurgical testing that is currently underway at SGS-Lakefield; and Knight-Piesold is to design the tailings facility and open-pit geotechnical engineering. In support of the feasibility study and environment impact interactions, Stantec and Ecometrix P&E Mining Consultants will be responsible for the mineral resource estimate, the company said.

Jamie Levy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Generation Mining, said: “It is a very impressive team that we have assembled for the feasibility study. I am confident that these firms will optimise the value of the Marathon-PGM property and will continue to de-risk the project.

“Our goal is to maximise the net present value of the project while designing an operation which will minimise environmental impacts and provide economic benefits to the local communities. We see the Marathon project being near shovel-ready and well timed to the buoyant palladium market.”

Generation Mining acquired a 51% interest in the Marathon property from Sibanye Stillwater on July 10, 2019, and can increase its interest to 80% by spending $10 million over a period of four years. As of the March quarter, around $4 million of the $10 million has already been spent.

A preliminary economic assessment on Marathon published earlier this year outlined a 14,000 t/d open-pit operation growing to 22,000 t/d after expansion, with an average palladium output of 107,000 oz/y for 14 years. The open-pit mining would be owner-operated using conventional diesel equipment consisting of 254 mm diameter rotary drills on 10 m high benches, 29 cu.m bucket hydraulic excavators, and 221 t off-highway haul trucks and auxiliary equipment, according to the study.

On the feasibility study, Generation Mining said all groups were “integrating well” through good interactions and frequent communications.

“G-Mining will progress pit designs and sequencing that will prioritise the high-grade palladium values for initial production to bring increased palladium production into the first half of the mine life, and increase copper production in the mine’s later years,” the company said.

“Ausenco’s plant design is expected to update the quality work that was done in prior studies with newer technology, which, in turn, will improve concentrator operability and lower capital costs, while increasing palladium recovery without sacrificing copper recovery. This flowsheet is expected to be validated with the current metallurgical test work that is progressing at SGS-Lakefield.

“Knight-Piesold will be updating the past tailings dam designs to reflect current best available practices and technologies.”

Stantec and Ecometrix are involved in the feasibility study team to help facilitate the update of the Environment Impact Study report addendum and to help inform the critical path regulatory approvals process, the company added.

At this early stage, the work on the feasibility study will consider an optimised processing and mine production rate that is “more aggressive” than outlined in the PEA, the company said, contemplating starting at 5 Mt/y and expanding to 8 Mt/y after five years.

New leadership at remote optimisation consulting company

Orway IQ has named former Sibanye-Stillwater employee Marnu Lombaard as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Lombaard, who was named company chief with effect from May, takes over from Fred Kock who filled the role temporarily during the establishment phase of the business development, the company said. Kock remains a Director and Technical Consultant within the business.

Lombaard joins the company from Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold segment where he held the position of Vice President Metallurgy and Surface operations.

“Marnu brings to the position a wealth of knowledge and an array of experiences in the mining industry on a national and global level,” Orway said. “His expertise in technology, global strategy and leadership combined with his strong operational experience in the mining industry, make him ideally suited to accelerate our remote optimisation consulting solution (MillROC) to the mineral processing industry.”

MillROC, a joint venture project between Orway Mineral Consultants and Process IQ, is focused on delivering a remote optimisation consulting service for the mineral processing industry. The cloud-based system is initially focusing on comminution circuits.

“The Orway IQ Board feels Marnu’s vision for our company leverages our strong digital foundations, embraces an innovation mindset, builds on our customer-centric culture and invests in the capability of our people,” the company said.

Condra delivers fully automated overhead crane to South Africa PGM operation

Condra says it has developed fully automated overhead crane capability, with the first machine of this type recently delivered to a South Africa platinum group metals operation.

Marc Kleiner, Condra’s Managing Director, said the company was making full use of new developments in sensors, controls and software to offer a very precise positioning capability in automated applications, with the company aware of an industry shift towards more automated operations.

“This is a capability that we will offer to our customers as an option,” Kleiner said. “We will mainly, but not solely, target the copper mines, especially tankhouse and copper-leaching applications where we have extensive experience.”

Condra’s announcement follows the increasing sophistication of its semi-automated installations, which began in 2003 with a grabbing crane installed at a Durban spice company to pick spices and transport them to specific points for release over hoppers, the company said.

At Sibanye Stillwater’s Marikana platinum mine (owned by Lonmin prior to Sibanye-Stillwater’s acquisition of the company), the fully-automated machine recently installed and commissioned is a 16 t, 16 m-span double-girder electric overhead travelling grabbing crane. It features a customer-specified mechanical rope grab in place of the hydraulic alternative to deliver the improved durability of mechanical operation within Marikana’s abrasive operating environment, Condra said.

There are dual hoists in the design; one to raise and lower the load, the other to mechanically close the grab by means of an internal sheave arrangement to overcome the spring-loaded open state.

Variable speed drives are fitted throughout the crane, delivering maximum speeds of 10 m/min on the lift, and 20 m/min and 40 m/min on the cross-travel and long-travel respectively. Four long-travel motors deliver the materials handling equivalent of four-wheel-drive, enabling automated control of all four wheels for precise crane positioning accurate to within 5 mm.

The crane is fully automated with a manual override, according to Condra, and is programmed by an operator from a remotely located control room, where on-screen monitoring is complemented by visual monitoring capability via closed-circuit television.

Condra’s fully automated option applies across the company’s product offering of single girder and double-girder overhead travelling cranes, gantry cranes, bridge cranes and cantilever cranes for markets worldwide, it said.

These machines go up to heavy duty Class 4, with a focus on product quality and reliability to the standards of ISO, GOST and other internationally recognised quality control bodies, Condra said.

Two lines of hoists are manufactured in several standard models suited to most mining, industrial and general applications, from 1 t to 500 t, with motors bought from external suppliers.

Terra Drone lifts off in South Africa with Sibanye-Stillwater underground demonstration

Terra Drone South Africa has shown off its surveying expertise to Sibanye-Stillwater, with one of its drones successfully navigating a 3m x 3 m tunnel at one of the gold and PGM miner’s underground assets.

A simultaneous localisation and mapping-equipped drone was able to realise “stable automatic navigation” under a “non-GPS environment,” Terra Drone said. The result was the generation of a highly accurate 3D model.

Terra Drone said the many injuries caused by fall of rock incidents in Africa could be somewhat alleviated through the use of accurate surveying and inspection.

“We believe that this technology (drone mapping) will improve safety and work efficiency in Africa’s mining industry in the future,” the company said.

Teppei Seki, Terra Drone Chief Operating Officer, said he was delighted to have carried out such a demonstration with Sibanye-Stillwater. He said the company would now focus on volume calculation by “making 3D measurements of stopes, survey and inspection for ore path and vertical shaft with Sibanye-Stillwater”.

The collaboration is expected to be a “giant step” towards opening up the development of more underground mines in Africa in the future, he added.

Terra Drone is a leading commercial drone technology company that is expanding. It has a branch in South Africa along with nine others in the world covering mining, oil & gas and electricity solutions.

DRDGOLD completes WRTRP acquisition, welcomes Sibanye-Stillwater as shareholder

DRDGOLD has completed the acquisition of Sibanye-Stillwater’s West Rand Tailings Retreatment Project (WRTRP) assets in South Africa, over nine months since the deal was initially announced.

Niël Pretorius, DRDGOLD CEO, said the acquisition was key to the company’s growth strategy, increasing its gold reserves by 90% to 5.75 million ounces.

“The way is now clear for us to expedite phase one of our phased plan for the development of WRTRP, to be known going forward as Far West Gold Recoveries,” he said.

“Phase one involves the upgrading of the Driefontein 2 plant to process tailings from the Driefontein 5 dump at a rate of between 400,000 and 600 000 tonnes per month and depositing the residue on the Driefontein 4 tailings dam.”

DRDGOLD has secured a R300 million ($22.6 million) revolving credit facility from a South African financial institution for phase one, and confirmed orders for most of the long-lead items, according to Pretorius. This is all geared towards production in the March quarter of 2019.

Sibanye-Stillwater now holds 38.05% of DRDGOLD and is entitled to exercise – within 24 months – an option for cash to increase its shareholding by up to 50.1%.