Tag Archives: Silver

Vast sees path forward at Manaila with help of TOMRA’s XRT ore sorting solution

Vast Resources says it is continuing to evaluate the recommencement of production at its Manaila polymetallic mine in Romania and, as part of this process, has been working with TOMRA to assess the suitability of X-ray Transmission (XRT) ore sorting technology to optimise the mine’s production profile.

The assessment has demonstrated, to date, that by installing an XRT machine at the plant to pre concentrate ore at the pit, the technology would be highly effective for three main reasons:

  • A reduction in transportation costs as improved mass reduction would significantly reduce the material being transported from the mine to the processing plant;
  • A reduction in processing costs due to reducing the throughput at the plant; and
  • Higher-grade product being delivered to the plant.

It is anticipated that processing and transportation costs could be reduced by up to 55%, according to Vast.

“This cost reduction could have a dramatic impact on the mine’s financial performance,” the company says.

Samples from both types of mineralisation at Manaila, massive sulphide and disseminated sulphide, were sent to the TOMRA Test Centre in Wedel, Germany, to ascertain improved mass reduction and grade upgrade potential. Both mineralisation types showed amenability to the XRT process with metal content recovery on the massive sulphides at 95.4% for copper, 93.6% for lead and 95.2% for zinc in 71% of the mass, the company explains. The disseminated sulphides returned a metal content recovery of 84.2% for copper, 67.2% for lead and 84.4% for zinc in 35% of the mass.

The combined results show that 93.1% of copper, 82.2% of lead and 92.4% of zinc metal could be recovered in 45% of the mass when mining the polymetallic ore on a ratio of three tonnes disseminated sulphide to one tonne of massive sulphide, being the typical historical ratio of mining at Manaila.

Andrew Prelea, Chief Executive Officer of the Vast Resources, says: “These results clearly underpin our view that Manaila is economically viable, and the management team are considering various mine plan scenarios of bringing Manaila back into production.”

The 138.6 ha Manaila-Carlibaba exploration licence contains a JORC 2012 compliant measured and indicated resource of 3.6 Mt at 0.93% Cu, 0.29% Pb, 0.63% Zn, 0.23 g/t Au and 24.9 g/t Ag with inferred resources of 1 Mt at 1.1% Cu, 0.4% Pb, 0.84% Zn, 0.24 g/t Au and 29.2 g/t Ag. Comprising the Manaila polymetallic mine (currently on care and maintenance) and the Carlibaba extension project, Vast intends to establish a larger mining and processing facility at Manaila-Carlibaba which would eliminate the need for costly road transport of mined ore to the existing processing facility located at Iacobeni, around 30 km away.

Preliminary studies by the company indicate the potential for a new open-pit mine to exploit mineral resources to a depth of some 125 m below surface, and to simultaneously develop a smaller higher-grade underground mine below the open-pit mineral resources.

Boliden invests $160 million in leaching plant, underground repository at Rönnskär

Boliden has opened a new leaching plant and underground repository at its Rönnskär operations in Sweden as it looks to extract additional metal from residual materials at the smelter and store any remaining waste in a sustainable way.

For many years, residual materials from smelting processes containing copper, zinc and lead, among other elements, have been stored temporarily at the Rönnskär site.

These residual materials, together with future residues from production, will from this point pass through the newly built leaching plant where further metal extraction will take place. The remaining material will then be transported straight down to the underground repository, which is located about 350 m below the site.

This will see Rönnskär become the only copper smelter in the world with a long-term, sustainable on-site storage solution, according to Boliden.

Investments in the two facilities have amounted to SEK 1.4 billion ($160 million), Boliden says.

Daniel Peltonen, President Boliden Smelters, says: “Our aim is to extract as much metal as possible from our raw materials while ensuring the best achievable environmental and climate performance. The investments we have now made represent a new chapter in Rönnskär’s history in both of these areas.”

Rönnskär produced 226,000 t of copper, along with 33,000 of zinc clinker, 28,000 t of lead, 506,000 t of sulphuric acid, 524,000 kg of silver and 14,000 kg of gold last year, according to Boliden.

MTS, Ericsson deploy Russia’s first commercial 5G-ready private network at Polymetal’s Nezhda

Mobile TeleSystems PJSC, a leading provider of media and digital services, has completed the construction and launch of operations of what it says is Russia’s first commercial 5G-ready Private network at Polymetal International plc’s Nezhdaninskoye gold deposit in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

The planned installation of the network, built on the Ericsson Dedicated Networks solution, was announced last year.

Within the project, MTS deployed a wireless network for Yuzhno-Verkhoyansk Mining Company JSC, affiliated with Polymetal. The network supports integrated mining dispatching systems, positioning, remote and automated control of various equipment, including excavators, drilling rigs, measuring devices, monitoring systems for remote equipment and video monitoring.

Within the project a full range of turnkey works and services has been implemented, including site inspection, network architecture design, supply and installation of radio base stations, network core and auxiliary equipment, network testing and commercial launch, MTS says. At the first stage, the network built on Ericsson solutions will operate in the LTE standard with the possibility of smooth and fast upgrade to 5G, according to the company.

The network is built on Ericsson Dedicated Networks solution, which complies with the 3GPP standards and includes a full-fledged carrier-grade network core. It supports 4G and 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) simultaneously and allows dual-mode core capability to support 5G New Radio Standalone (5G NR SA). An enterprise can use all the carrier grade packet network functions for its own mission-critical applications, MTS says.

Georgy Dzhabiev, Director, Digital Solutions, MTS, says: “We are grateful to our partner Polymetal for cooperation that resulted in the creation of the first commercial Private LTE network in Russia for remote monitoring and managing critical processes in difficult geographic and weather conditions. I am sure that the competence and experience of MTS in the implementation of unique network and IT solutions, digitalisation and automation of production processes will help our customers to increase their business efficiency and improve the working conditions.”

Alexander Laguta, Head of Information Technology and Communications department, Yakutsk branch of Polymetal, says: “The system is already showing its effectiveness and is ready to move to next stage of introducing innovative technologies in production. The Private 5G-ready network will significantly increase the speed of transferring large amounts of data and reduce the cost of maintaining the technological network. One of the first projects on the basis of this network will be launch of dispatching systems, remote control of drilling rigs and video monitoring.”

Alexander Romanov, Head of Private Networks, Ericsson Russia, says: “The Private Network is the backbone of critical communications infrastructure and the Industrial Internet of Things, not only in mining, but also in other industries with a high demand for seamless coverage, performance, security and reliability while supporting mission-critical business processes in a new digital reality.”

At the next stages of the project, the implementation of a dispatch radio communication system based on MC-PTT (Mission Critical Push-to-Talk) over LTE network is planned, along with integration with the internal telephone network of the enterprise.

SENET wins EPCM gig at AMAK’s Moyeath copper-zinc project in Saudi Arabia

Al Masane Al Kobra Mining Co (AMAK) has awarded SENET, a wholly owned subsidiary of DRA Global, the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract for the design and execution of the Moyeath copper-zinc project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, SENET says.

AMAK has been producing copper, zinc in concentrate and gold and silver in doré from its operations in the country since 2012.

Moyeath is a third major orebody (together with Saadah and Al Houra) discovered in the immediate vicinity to the AMAK underground mines. The Moyeath orebody is a high-grade copper-zinc volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit, SENET says.

The planned 400,000 t/y run of mine flotation process plant will produce copper and zinc concentrates, while filtered tailings will be trucked to an existing dry stacking area operated by AMAK, which handles tailings from its Al Masane (pictured) and Guyan process plants.

Preliminary test works shows it is possible to produce saleable copper and zinc concentrates, with most of the gold and silver reporting to flotation concentrates, SENET noted. The mineralogy of the Moyeath orebody is complex and requires a similarly complex approach to produce copper and zinc concentrates at favourable recoveries and saleable concentrate grades.

Trevali to test out FLSmidth’s Rapid Oxidative Leach tech on Caribou material

Trevali Mining has announced the commencement of a pilot plant testing program using Caribou run-of-mine and milled material at FLSmidth’s Rapid Oxidative Leach (ROL) process testing facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The program expands on previous laboratory test work and is aimed at demonstrating the potential to recover zinc, lead, copper, gold and silver as a precipitate or metal and additional zinc and lead from Caribou ore and mill tailings.

The leach test program is targeting an improvement to zinc, lead, copper, gold and silver metal recoveries, the potential to produce a precipitate or metal on site replacing the current ore concentrate that is produced at Caribou – which, if implemented, would lead to savings on transport costs and offsite treatment costs – and the opportunity to process historic mill tailings, which include gold and copper metals, in addition to run of mine ore. The latter would increase revenues and reduce closure liabilities, Trevali said.

Trevali says the use of FLSmidth’s ROL technology also provides the potential to reduce Trevali’s carbon footprint at Caribou and extend Caribou’s mine life and treat lower-grade deposits in the Bathurst camp of Canada.

FLSmidth says ROL leaches 97-99% of copper directly on-site in six to eight hours, from concentrates as low as 5% Cu. In gold, ROL has the potential to unlock the value of undeveloped refractory gold deposits with less than 3 g/t gold head grade, it says.

Unlike other refractory processing techniques, the ROL process uses the application of mechanical energy coupled with oxidation under atmospheric conditions. The process relies on stirred media reactors to accelerate the oxidation of sulphide minerals. This eliminates the need for ultrafine grinding, high temperatures and high pressure which makes it energy saving and very cost-effective, according to the mining OEM.

Trevali said a successful pilot plant test program using ROL may allow Trevali to replace the existing flotation circuit at Caribou with atmospheric leach vessels and potentially an SX/EW train, introducing the possibility of producing base and precious metals on-site and thereby save transport costs and offsite treatment costs.

Conceptual objectives of the program include:

  • Recovery of metals/minerals that are not recoverable using the current technology at Caribou (precious metals and magnetite); and
  • Improved payables/selectivity of the traditional flotation process using new and emerging technologies.

Ricus Grimbeek, President and Chief Executive Officer of Trevali, said: “FLSmidth’s ROL metallurgical technology has the potential to transform the Caribou mine and the wider Bathurst Mining Camp.

“This next phase of the testing program is an essential step in evaluating the suitability and economic viability of a processing solution with the potential to enhance the value of the in-situ material and tailings at Caribou as well as the surrounding deposits in the Bathurst region. The positive results to date support further study and analysis given the potential implications for the Bathurst Mining Camp in general and Trevali in particular.”

Beyond quantifying the ability to recover additional metal values, the objective for the pilot plant test program is to determine the various kinetic factors, mass and energy balance and engineering data to support future engineering on a preliminary economic assessment for potential processing of the Trevali mill feed and mill tailings and produce metal on site.

Continuous pilot plant trials commenced in June 2021 (Phase 1) to tune the pilot plant and provide material for precious metal leach tests in late July, followed by a test program at the Caribou Mine site that is planned for September 2021 (Phase 2). Leach data and results are expected to verify that batch testing results can be achieved in a continuous operation.

Endeavour Silver centralises, standardises Terronera process management with ARES PRISM

Endeavour Silver has selected ARES PRISM project controls software for use on its Terronera silver project in Mexico to, ARES PRISM says, reduce manual labour, standardise processes and workflows, and improve project data integration.

Terronera was acquired in 2010, and, according to a recent pre-feasibility study, has the potential to produce around 3 Moz/y of silver and 33,000 oz/y of gold over an initial 10-year mine life.

ARES PRISM project controls software has a proven track record and is used throughout the mining industry at more than 80% of the world’s top mining organisations, the company claims.

Andres Zavaleta, Project Management Consultant with Endeavour Silver, said: “Our objective was to establish a centralised system that could be used from the beginning of the project to standardise processes and improve the flow of project data allowing for increased efficiency and better project delivery. ARES PRISM can fully integrate with our current ERP system to enable Endeavour Silver to create standardised workflows and processes.”

Endeavour Silver is implementing the full PRISM G2 software suite, which includes the cost management, engineering, contracts, procurement and field management modules. Alongside this, it will implement PRISM Docs and PRISM Dashboard.

“PRISM Docs will enable their teams to find, share and control business documents, while PRISM Dashboard will provide them a series of pre-designed dashboard views and reports for visually showing progress and performance information,” the company said.

Endeavour Silver has also elected to implement PRISM Go, a web-based extension that allows remote access into a project’s core data set and limited portal access for third-party contractors for project progression in a secure environment.

Geoffrey Stubson, CFO of ARES Project Management, said: “We find that many project organisations are limited by data silos. But in choosing to implement nearly the entire ARES PRISM project software suite, Endeavour Silver has taken a strong initiative to eliminate silos and get the most of their project data while saving time and costs developing the Terronera mine.”

Abra project heads for first lead-silver production in 2023

The Abra base metals project in Western Australia is racing forward to first production in 2023 after the project owners signed off a positive final investment decision (FID) for the mine’s development.

The FID was made following the satisfaction of key conditions to draw in excess of $30 million under a debt facility.

As of May 31, 2021, the project is 17% complete, with completed works including: construction and commissioning of a 280-unit mine site village; mining of the box cut (pictured); box cut ground support works; installation of site communications; and various site clearing, roadworks and civil works.

“As a result, Abra is largely prepared for the deployment of key contractors for the construction of the plant and auxiliary infrastructure, and deployment of the underground mining contractor,” Galena Mining, the 77.28% owner of the project, said.

Among the key contractors at Abra is GR Engineering Services, which is set to deliver a 1.2 Mt/y lead sulphide flotation process plant and ancillary infrastructure under a A$75 million ($58 million) guaranteed maximum price arrangement. The underground mining services contract has been awarded to a tier one Australian mining contractor, Galena said without naming the contract recipient.

“Under the current project schedule, procurement of certain long-lead items will take place immediately,” Galena said. “The underground mining contractor is expected to initiate the portal and decline development in the third (September) quarter of 2021 calendar year and physical on-site plant construction is expected to commence in the fourth (December) quarter of 2021 calendar year.”

Related to the decision to move ahead with development, Galena said it was appointing Anthony James as Managing Director of the company, a mining engineer with senior underground operational and development experience. He will replace current MD Alex Molyneaux who will remain a director of the company.

This definitive feasibility study outlined development of a mine and processing facility with a 16-year life producing a high-value, high-grade lead-silver concentrate containing around 95,000 t/y of lead and 805,000 oz/y of silver after ramp-up.

Perenti boosts Botswana portfolio with Sandfire Motheo copper project contract

Perenti Global Ltd says its surface mining business in Africa, African Mining Services (AMS), has been awarded the contract for open-pit mining services at Sandfire Resources’ Motheo copper project in Ghanzi, Botswana.

The contract, which is yet to be finalised, has an estimated value of $496 million over an initial seven-year-and-three-month term with a provision for a one-year extension.

Under the terms of the Mining Services Contract, AMS will identify a suitable local Botswana company or companies as a joint venture partner for the project and transition to the joint venture before the commencement of mining in early 2022.

Finalisation of the contract is contingent on the satisfaction of two primary conditions, namely Sandfire being granted a mining licence for the project; and finalising the terms of the Mining Services Contract.

Perenti Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Norwell, said Motheo represented a game-changing growth opportunity for AMS and will substantially increase Perenti’s presence in Botswana.

“Growing our footprint in Botswana is aligned with our 2025 strategy, to further expand into stable mining jurisdictions and pursue quality projects. The benefit of adding Motheo to the Perenti project portfolio is the opportunity to leverage our existing in-region operational presence at Zone 5 (owned by Khoemacau Copper Mining) as well as partnering with Sandfire to develop Botswana’s next large-scale, highly productive, world-class copper mine.

“The Motheo project is another positive step in the ongoing transformation of our AMS business as we seek to create value and certainty for our client Sandfire and the Ghanzi community.”

Motheo is in the Kalahari Copper Belt, an emerging and relatively underexplored copper producing region. It is around 200 km to the southwest of the Khoemacau Zone 5 project, where Perenti, through its subsidiary Barminco, is currently engaged to undertake underground mine development works.

Motheo is held through Sandfire’s subsidiary, Tshukudu Metals, and was approved for development by Sandfire’s Board of Directors in December 2020 following completion of a definitive feasibility study (DFS) on a base case of a 3.2 Mt/y operation with expansion potential.

The DFS outlined an initial 12.5-year operation, underpinned by an updated ore reserve of 39.9 Mt at 0.9% Cu and 12.2 g/t Ag for 360,000 t of contained copper and 15.6 Moz of contained silver, producing on average circa-30,000 t/y of contained copper and 1.2 Moz/y of contained silver over the first 10 years of operations.

Perenti Mining Chief Executive Officer, Paul Muller, said: “Through this commitment and the establishment of a local joint venture partnership, we expect that more than 95% of the workforce will be citizens of Botswana. Furthermore, and leveraging our existing Maun based state-of-the-art mining training centre, our workforce will have access to the latest mining techniques and technology to enable the creation of a safe, highly skilled and productive workforce to support economic growth and diversification within Botswana.”

Muller said the company was also excited by the opportunity to deploy “future-focused mining technology initiatives” on the project that not only provide expected productivity and safety benefits to Sandfire but are also aligned with the two firms’ sustainability goals.

Perenti anticipates pre-production work to commence in late 2021 with mining to commence in early 2022.

Chrysos Corp’s PhotonAssay tech hits major milestone

Chrysos Corp has announced that its ground-breaking PhotonAssay technology has now assayed over one million customer samples.

The milestone comes amid accelerating demand for the technology, which has seen the number of samples analysed more than triple in the last six months, the Australia-based company said.

Driven in part by increasing industry focus on safety, sustainability, and sample turnaround time, Chrysos PhotonAssay is competing with the centuries-old fire assay process in the gold assaying market. Chrysos says the technology, which originated out of a CSIRO project, is fast taking over fire assay to be the preferred technology of miners and laboratories seeking a solution to the supply chain and environmental challenges created by traditional gold assaying methods.

Chrysos CEO, Dirk Treasure, explained, “Demand for PhotonAssay has grown over the last year and further accelerated in the last six months as more miners and laboratories have reached the conclusion, through their own due diligence, that PhotonAssay not just meets and exceeds their accuracy and cost requirements, but also overcomes the speed, safety, and environmental challenges inherent in fire assay.”

Recently, Chrysos and Intertek declared a deal to install two PhotonAssay units at Intertek’s new Minerals Global Centre of Excellence in Perth, Western Australia. Chrysos also announced a partnership with MSALABS, a subsidiary of Capital Ltd, to deploy at least six PhotonAssay units across the globe over an 18-month period. Prior to that, the company signed a deal enabling Kirkland Lake Gold to use PhotonAssay for its Fosterville Mine in Bendigo, Victoria.

Hitting samples with high-energy X-rays, PhotonAssay causes excitation of atomic nuclei allowing enhanced analysis of gold, silver and complementary elements in as little as two minutes, Chrysos claims. Importantly, the non-destructive process allows large samples of up to 500 g to be measured and provides a “true” bulk reading independent of the chemical or physical form of the sample.

“The significance of the technology’s ability to analyse large sample sizes is underlined by Novo Resources’ recent announcement that it has signed a multi-year deal for priority access to the two new PhotonAssay units being installed at Intertek’s Centre of Excellence,” Chrysos said. “In finalising the agreement, Novo signalled its belief that PhotonAssay is the ideal technique for analysing the nuggety gold mineralisation at its Beatons Creek operation in Western Australia.”

Dr James Tickner, Chrysos Corp Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, agreed: “Accurate assaying for coarse gold has always been a challenge, and it’s on difficult deposits where the much larger sample mass of PhotonAssay really delivers. It’s great to see industry recognising this, with Novo Resources committing to run at least 20,000 samples per month through each unit at Intertek’s brand-new facility in Perth. The two PhotonAssay units we’ve just commissioned there will really help Intertek deliver faster, cleaner and more accurate results, not just for Novo, but its other customers as well.”

Another factor driving fast adoption of the technology is Chrysos’ commercial and operating model whereby the company leases, rather than sells, its PhotonAssay units to customers, the company says. This approach not only minimises expenditure by relieving the customer of capital expenditure charges and any service, delivery and maintenance fees, but also reduces ongoing staffing, training and related occupational health, safety and environmental costs.

In return, the leasing model facilitates a recurring revenue stream for Chrysos, which the company has used for research and development and the overall broadening of applicability and accessibility of PhotonAssay for wet samples and other metals such as silver and copper, it says.

Reviewing recent successes and foreshadowing upcoming events, Treasure summarised, “Even with more than A$80 million ($62 million) in contracted revenue and 14 PhotonAssay units either in-use or committed, we remain focused on executing our smart, sustainable growth plans. Market feedback indicates that our disruptive technology is helping customers achieve faster, safer and cleaner business outcomes ‒ and that is the type of value creation Chrysos finds compelling.

“Ultimately, we want our customers, shareholders and community stakeholders to feel as much pride using and engaging with PhotonAssay, as we do when we create and deliver it across the globe.”

Scotgold boosts underground fleet at Cononish with DUX truck

Scotgold, as it looks to further enhance safe production at its Cononish gold-silver mine in Scotland, has added another DUX underground truck to its fleet.

The second DUX truck at Cononish is a DT-12N, a narrow vein version of the DT-12 produced by DUX that measures 1,625 mm wide, has an 11 t payload and a 6 cu.m capacity. The first DT-12N has been operating at the mine for some time.

In the company’s announcement on June 1, it said the mine has been producing both gold concentrate and gravity separated gold dore, following the resolution of various outstanding technical issues affecting the processing plant earlier in the year. The first shipment of concentrate was made on May 11, 2021, achieving a major milestone for the company. The mine poured first gold back in December 2020.

“We shipped 25 t of concentrate at an average of 182.4 g/t of gold, exceeding the target of 150 g/t, achieving maximum price within the agreed terms within the offtake agreement,” the company said. “Modest amounts of gravity gold dore was also produced and sent to refiners this month for further treatment.”

Scotgold said it is encouraged with the mine and process plant performance, although performance had been intermittent to date.

“On given days throughout April and May, both the mine and process plant have been achieving near design rates of production,” it said. “The company is also pleased with the quality of ore that has been mined and produced through the process plant.”

Scotgold says its focus is to further enhance safe production through consistency and stability of mine and process plant operations in parallel with the opening of multiple faces of ore in the underground mine itself.

“The current limited available number of ore faces does limit our immediate ability to focus on the highest-grade ore zones of the Cononish orebody,” it explained. “Having proved that the mine and processing plant can operate as designed, our focus is on reducing outages through more efficient management of spares and having further redundancy in our mining mobile fleet with the arrival of the second haulage DUX truck.”

This new DUX truck will be complemented by an existing fleet that includes an Epiroc T1D single-boom face drilling rig and Epiroc ST2G Scooptram LHD.

When ramped up, Cononish is expected to average annual gold production of 23,370 oz over a nine-year life of mine.