Tag Archives: SIMEC Mining

SIMEC’s Whyalla Port doubles handling capacity as it prepares for miner influx

SIMEC and port operator Qube have, SIMEC says, demonstrated their long-term commitment to the Whyalla Port operations in South Australia with the installation of a second Mobile Harbour Crane (MHC), doubling the port’s handling capacity.

The state-of-the-art port handling equipment complements Qube’s existing crane, which was delivered in 2019. It can handle the import/export of a variety of commodities, mining consumables and project-based equipment, according to SIMEC.

The doubling of handling capacity will make Whyalla Port one of the most competitive ports in the region, according to SIMEC, further enhancing its appeal to “third parties seeking a capable and competitive operation through which to transport their materials”, it said.

The second MHC is expected to be operational within the next three months, with a reach of 54 m and capacity up to 144 t, making it capable of handling bulk, containerised and project cargo shipments.

SIMEC Mining Executive Managing Director, Matt Reed, said the new crane was testament to Whyalla as a strong industrial gateway for South Australia.

“Since opening the port to third-party operators, we have seen it become an integral part of supply chains across South Australia,” he said. “With the additional investment from Qube, we expect activity at the port to continue to grow even further.

“Qube have been a fantastic partner in the port, supporting our existing steel and port operations while helping us realise the potential of this state-significant asset. Their team have been extremely professional, delivering high levels of safety and environmental performance.”

According to Qube Bulk Director, Todd Emmert, Qube sees Whyalla as the most logical port to service South Australia’s mining industry.

“With two mobile harbour cranes, this port rivals the service levels that that are currently available in Adelaide,” Emmert said. “Economic port operations, combined with the very significant cost savings that can be achieved by reducing the distance required to rail or haul products, makes Whyalla a local choice for miners who want to build and deliver robust and economic supply chains.”

Back in June, OZ Minerals became the first company to sign a long-term port services contract with SIMEC Mining’s Whyalla Port, with the miner looking to use the facility to ship copper concentrate from its Carrapateena mine.

OZ Minerals to use SIMEC Mining’s Whyalla Port for Carrapateena concentrate exports

OZ Minerals has become the first company to sign a long-term port services contract with SIMEC Mining’s Whyalla Port, in South Australia.

The pact will see OZ ship copper concentrate from its new Carrapateena mine from the port.

The port in Whyalla currently serves SIMEC’s haematite and magnetite iron ore mines as well as the Liberty steelmaking facilities in the same location (all part of the GFG Alliance). The facility handles both the loading of vessels with export-bound ore, as well as the inbound handling of raw materials, storage and blending of iron ore, according to SIMEC Mining.

SIMEC Mining Executive Managing Director, Matt Reed, said the three-year contract was the first major deal the business had secured.

“We’ve stated for some time that our port is open for business, and the last few years have demonstrated that through the number and variety of trials we’ve undertaken,” he said. This includes wind farm transport and the current ship deconstruction, scrapping and recycling project utilising the old shipyard slipway, the company explained.

Reed continued: “To take that to the next level and secure an ongoing contract is testament to our increased capability; and an exciting step in the evolution of the Whyalla Port.”

The contract will see secure containers of copper concentrate trucked from the mine – located about 165 km north of Port Augusta – to the Whyalla Port for consolidation. The concentrate will then be shipped out in 5,000-10,000 t cargoes, with annual shipments gradually increasing in conjunction with the ramp up of the mine.

In its March quarter report, OZ Minerals said Carrapateena was expected to produce 20,000-25,000 t of copper and 35,000-45,000 oz of gold in the 2020 financial year to the end of the June. It added that the plant ramp-up was ahead of schedule with a five-day continuous period at 12,000 t/d nameplate capacity achieved in March.

According to SIMEC Mining, strict environmental controls are in place including sprays to manage dust – with the state government and EPA consulted and engaged prior to providing the necessary approvals.

OZ Minerals’ Chief Financial Officer, Warrick Ranson, said: “We were really excited to hear that SIMEC had opened its port to third parties, and it has made a significant difference for us in reducing transport times.

“We are impressed with the capability SIMEC has managed to develop through the facility in recent years and look forward to partnering with them to deliver our product to market.”

While initially a three‐year contract, Reed is hopeful the agreement can be extended to reflect the overall life of the mine.

“This contract justifies our investment in the port – particularly the installation of our state‐of‐the‐art mobile harbour crane – as this wouldn’t have been possible with our old facilities,” he said.

“We will be able to transport this material safely, efficiently and with a high standard of environmental care; and expect our performance to lead to further long-term contracts in the near future.”

Weir GEHO pumps keep up the pressure at SIMEC’s Whyalla steelworks

Weir Minerals’ GEHO® positive displacement pumps are helping SIMEC Mining keep up its production goals at the Whyalla steelworks in South Australia.

SIMEC produces iron ore concentrate for the steelworks from a 10 Mt/y iron ore mine in the Middleback Ranges of South Australia, with the GEHO pump’s responsible for transporting the slurry 67 km from the plant to Whyalla, where it is then dewatered and converted to pellets for the steelmaking process. SIMEC has two GEHO PD pumps on site, which, through high pressure pumping, ensure the material stays suspended in the pipeline throughout the journey.

“The GEHO pumps transport the slurry about 250 cubic metres an hour, 300 tonnes an hour into town,” Chris Stanton, Senior Process Engineer, SIMEC Mining, said. “They run every day, all day and are very powerful pumps. They have defined maintenance intervals that allow us to run each pump for the nominal amount of time without any risk of breakdown.”

As the pumps are critical for both the plant and steelworks, it’s crucial they are well maintained to continue to perform year after year. This is made possible through the close partnership between Weir Minerals and SIMEC Mining, according to Weir.

Anthony Sheely, Concentrator Operations Coordinator, SIMEC Mining, said: “If the GEHO pumps didn’t operate properly then the pipeline would be at risk, and that would be a major issue as the pipeline is the lifeblood for both our operation and the entire township of Whyalla.”

Pumping long distance is a critical requirement at many mines around the world, but often comes with challenges and key design considerations that operators must be mindful of.

Peter Thissen, Global Product Manager for GEHO pumps at Weir Minerals, said: “The biggest challenge of long-distance pumping is generating slurry with a suitable particle size distribution for the application. Operators must concentrate the particle size distribution to make it a pumpable slurry whilst trying to minimise the amount of water used in the process.”

He added: “We deal predominantly with high solids concentrations, which is becoming more important in both a water constrained and environmentally sensitive industry. Our depth of experience and knowledge together with the delivery of innovative designs has provided effective solutions to meet our customers’ needs around the world.”

Designing a pipeline like the one for Whyalla is a complex balancing act between the rate of flow, the concentration of slurry and the size of particles, according to Weir. For solids in slurry to remain in suspension, they need to be moved by the liquid at a minimum velocity.

Another challenge operators are faced with is the pipeline route. This must be the most economic means of transportation and suitable for the flow behaviour of the material.

Thissen says: “It’s much easier to build a pipeline on flat land as it stays horizontal and the operational condition for the materials is constant, as long as we can keep the particles in suspension. However, if we have to cross rivers, mountains or valleys then the pipeline will be built on an angle and great consideration must be given to the design of the pipeline, transport velocities and starting and stopping the pipeline.”

Weir Minerals’ GEHO crankshaft driven pumps are among the world’s most advanced positive displacement pumps, according to Weir. They are designed to transport slurry over long distances, reaching up to 550 km and more than 2,000 m uphill.

Thissen says: “Our GEHO pumps are designed to handle high-density slurry with solids up to 85%. With extremely high availability, low energy consumption and operating costs they ensure uninterrupted, trouble-free operation.”

The diaphragm in the pump separates the abrasive slurry from the operating components, with the exception of the valves, protecting them from wear and ultimately prolonging the life of the pump, according to Weir.

“What this means for the operator is significant savings for wear parts, resulting in a very economic and extremely reliable product for pipeline transportation,” Weir said. “If maintained properly the GEHO pumps continue to run year after year, 24 hours a day; with references of GEHO pumps in operation for 30+ years.”

Thissen concluded: “As long as the make-up of the slurry doesn’t change and pumping conditions remain the same, our GEHO pumps will continue to operate indefinitely. Combined with long maintenance intervals and highly dedicated service engineers, they keep processing plants operating at peak performance while delivering a low total cost of ownership.”

Bis gets firm handle on GFG Alliance Whyalla contract

Bis says it will become the single materials handling contractor for GFG Alliance in Whyalla, South Australia, as of October 1.

As part of GFG Alliance’s strategy to maximise efficiency at its Whyalla-based operations ¬– incorporating its Liberty Primary Steel and SIMEC Mining businesses (which includes a 10 Mt iron ore mine in the Middleback Ranges of South Australia) – several materials-handling work packages were consolidated into a single contract to be operated by a single contractor partner.

The contract will see Bis deliver a range of site services to Whyalla including steel services, scrap processing and handling, slag processing and handling, and bulk materials handling.

The award comes as Bis celebrates 60 years in Whyalla this year, where it currently employs 170 people. Bis will bring on another 80 employees as part of the expanded scope of works.

Liberty Primary Steel Acting Executive Managing Director, Jason Schell, said: “GFG Alliance is looking forward to partnering with Bis to help drive our continuous-improvement culture and turn our business around for a sustainable, long-term future.

“This consolidated contract will result in significant cost savings for our business, while providing greater opportunities to optimise Bis’ assets and workforce across multiple work-fronts.”

Bis Chief Executive Officer, Brad Rogers, said the announcement showed the strength of the company’s relationship with GFG Alliance, as well as Bis’ track record of safely and reliably delivering flexible, efficient solutions for its customers.

Hadyn Shepherd, Bis General Manager Mining Services South East, meanwhile, said the win was great recognition for Bis and the team in Whyalla.