Tag Archives: SNC-Lavalin

SNC-Lavalin names Tony Lipiec as Global VP of Minerals & Metallurgical Processing

SNC-Lavalin, an integrated professional services and project management company, has appointed Tony Lipiec as its Global Vice President of Minerals & Metallurgical Processing.

Lipiec will lead engineering process teams on large- and small-scale mining and metallurgy process projects, covering multiple technical areas including mineral processing and hydrometallurgy for commodities in the base and precious metals industries, the Montreal-headquartered company said.

“We are very excited to welcome Tony, who will play an important role in delivering our global growth strategy,” Cesar Inostroza, Mining & Metallurgy Senior Vice-President, SNC-Lavalin, said. “From project management to innovative process development for base and precious metals, his expertise will further enhance our integrated ‘pit to port’ offering, providing efficient project operations and more value to our clients.”

Lipiec has more than 35 years of project and management experience, working in many segments of the mining and metallurgy engineering and construction business around the world, including in Africa, Russia, North and South America, SNC-Lavalin says. He also has extensive expertise in operations, engineering, research, plant construction and consulting on projects from pilot to full-scale process plants, including process development for precious, base and specialty metals using conventional and innovative technologies.

Last year, SNC-Lavalin announced the results of a strategic review of its Resources Business, with the decision to transform the business to focus solely on the profitable parts of the service business and sell or close non-primary parts of the business, including the exit of multiple geographies.

DuPont Clean Tech to provide low emission sulphuric acid plant input at Rhyolite Ridge

ioneer Ltd has awarded DuPont Clean Technologies a contract for the licence, engineering and supply of proprietary equipment for the planned sulphuric acid plant at the company’s Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Specialty technology provider DuPont will work with engineering partner SNC-Lavalin on the plant design, providing best-in-class MECS® sulphuric acid production technology for a plant with a 3,500 t/d capacity, and controls that limit emissions to among the lowest in the world for this type of facility, ioneer says.

The DuPont contract is conditional on a final investment decision on the project by the ioneer Board of Directors, which is expected shortly.

In June, Rhyolite Ridge became the first project with planned sulphuric acid production to receive a Class II Air Quality permit in Nevada.

Employing advanced technologies, the plant will meet stringent NV Class II air quality standards and water pollution control, according to ioneer. DuPont will also supply its latest generation MECS Super GEAR™ catalyst and other critical proprietary equipment, with the plant set to convert sulphur into commercial-grade sulphuric acid, used to leach lithium and boron from the crushed rock.

The heat released in the process will be recovered to produce steam for electricity. The plant will generate an initial 35 MW of electricity, which is sufficient to power the entire Rhyolite Ridge operation and means ioneer will not draw electricity from the grid, the company says.

“Rhyolite Ridge will be an energy-independent operation, using primarily co-generated, zero-carbon power,” it added.

The heat generated will also be used for evaporation and crystallisation processes required to produce lithium carbonate and boric acid.

Once operational, Rhyolite Ridge is expected to produce 20,600 t/y of lithium carbonate, converting in year four to 22,000 t/y of battery-grade lithium hydroxide, and 174,400 t/y of boric acid. Pending final federal US Department of the Interior approval of the Plan of Operation, the project is expected to begin production in the second half of 2024.

Commenting on the contract, ioneer Managing Director, Bernard Rowe, said: “Development of the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project is a critical strategic step to enable US production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage. ioneer’s core commitment is to produce essential materials in an environmentally and socially responsible and sustainable manner through lowered emissions, reduced water usage and a minimal surface footprint. We are delighted to welcome MECS-DuPont to our team. It is a world-leader in clean technology and emissions control and will work alongside ioneer to deliver this tier-1 project in the US.”

Global business leader of DuPont Clean Technologies, Eli Ben-Shoshan, said: “We have worked in close partnership with ioneer and SNC-Lavalin to be able to guarantee the precise performance and emissions control ioneer needs for its Rhyolite Ridge project to meet stringent environmental standards and production objectives. We are excited to be part of a project that helps ioneer cleanly produce lithium essential to advancement of electric energy markets and to be able to support it with our many decades of expertise in sulphuric acid plant technology.”

ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project achieves major permitting milestone

ioneer Ltd, a lithium-boron project developer, has confirmed the issuance of a Class II Air Quality Permit for its Rhyolite Ridge project in Nevada, USA.

The issuance of the Air Quality Permit follows a detailed review of the project by the State of Nevada Division of Environmental Protection Bureau of Air Pollution Control and is a requirement for construction to commence at Rhyolite Ridge.

The project will comprise a quarry, an overburden storage facility, the first sulphuric acid plant permitted in the State of Nevada, an ore processing facility responsible for boric acid and lithium carbonate production, and a spent ore storage facility.

The project’s acid plant features MECS®/SNC Lavalin designed heat recovery technology, which means the plant will generate all the electricity and heat needed for normal operations, according to ioneer. This means the operation will be energy-independent and using co-generated zero-carbon power. The acid plant features state-of-the-art controls that limit emissions to among the lowest in the world for this type of plant, the company claims.

“The facility will not use fossil fuels to generate electricity during normal operations and will not draw power from the electricity grid,” the company said.

ioneer’s Managing Director, Bernard Rowe, said: “Our commitment to responsible production is at the core of our operation. The issuance of the Class II Air Quality Permit represents a significant milestone for the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project and supports our detailed plans for a processing plant with low emissions and minimal hazardous air pollutants.

“After regulatory review and public comment period, we are pleased that Rhyolite Ridge is the first project with sulphuric acid production to receive a Class II Air Quality permit in Nevada.”

He added: “As the most advanced lithium development project in the US, we are committed to ensuring Rhyolite Ridge is a sustainable, environmentally sensitive operation that also delivers significant positive economic impact in the state of Nevada. This important step allows us to continue to develop the project and work toward construction.”

The lithium and boron resource at Rhyolite Ridge is estimated at 146.5 Mt, including a reserve of 60 Mt. The company expects to mine and process 63.8 Mt over the 26-year mine life at an average annual rate of 2.5 Mt/y.

Nouveau Monde receives provincial green light for Matawinie graphite mine build

Following a rigorous environmental review, the Québec Government has issued a ministerial decree authorising Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc’s Matawinie mining project for a 100,000 t/y high-purity graphite concentrate production.

Located only 150 km north of Montréal, the company’s deposit constitutes the largest projected graphite operation in North America and Europe and is expected to become the world’s first all-electric open-pit mine, Nouveau Monde says.

“Since filing its bankable feasibility study, Nouveau Monde has invested time and effort to meticulously plan mining and environmental engineering, master the ore metallurgical process to reach 97% purity after simple flotation, de-risk its operation through its demonstration plant, and actively engage with the local community of St-Michel-des-Saints to secure a social licence to operate and with the Atikamekw First Nation,” the company said.

The environmental decree now provides Nouveau Monde with the operational criteria and final design parameters to launch construction activities.

It plans to start early works at the mining site as of the June quarter, and full construction is expected to be launched in the September quarter once permits and authorisations are finalised. The project timeline places commissioning activities and start-up of commercial production in 2023.

Arne H Frandsen, Chairman of Nouveau Monde, said: “Today’s milestone is something we have worked towards as a team since the outset in 2011. After a decade of meticulous planning, we can now commence the mine construction of our world-class Matawinie graphite project. We are most grateful for the continued support Nouveau Monde has received from the Québec Government and our partnership with Investissement Québec as well as the backing from our local host communities – all being important stakeholders of this success.

“We will exercise our mandate in the spirit of cooperation, sustainability and benefit sharing for all parties involved. The creation of the Western World’s largest anode-quality graphite mine will assist positioning Québec as the prime location for the North American battery materials hub – supplying the continent with the critical anode and cathode materials required for the batteries needed for the global electrification of mobility.”

Eric Desaulniers, President and CEO of Nouveau Monde, added: “With this green light to launch our Matawinie project, we plan to bring to market a responsibly extracted high-purity graphite to supply electric vehicles and energy storage sectors with a local and sustainable alternative. Doing so will position Nouveau Monde as a leading anode material provider for decades to come, creating opportunities and unlocking value for all parties involved.”

Nouveau Monde is working towards developing an operation that can provide the volumes required by major auto original equipment manufacturers and battery manufacturers; the most recent estimates indicate 120.3 Mt combined measured and indicated resources at a 4.26% Cg grade. Geological knowledge of the Matawinie property, paired with experience in extracting and concentrating the ore at the company’s demonstration plant, have significantly de-risked the project.

Nouveau Monde has also integrated forward looking and innovative environmental initiatives to limit the project’s footprint and protect local biodiversity, namely:

  • Integrated onsite water management system guaranteeing constant monitoring and treatment that meet the highest quality standards;
  • Co-disposal of tailings and waste rock in line with requirements of the best practices such as The Global Tailings Review, the International Network for Acid Prevention and the Canadian Mine Environment Neutral Drainage Program. This management solution helps avoid acid mine drainage, provides greater environmental safety in the long term and reduces the infrastructure’s footprint;
  • Progressive land reclamation through backfilling of the pit and a comprehensive restoration plan; and
  • An all-electric fleet – a world’s first for an open-pit mine – powered by Québec’s clean, abundant, and affordable hydroelectricity.

Through its demonstration operations, Nouveau Monde has already validated its process for desulphurisation of tailings and completed the construction of a co-disposal experimental cell through a collaborative partnership with Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

Over the life of mine, the company intends to implement this system through a co-disposal pile and backfilling of the pit as of year six, promoting thereby the restoration of the natural ecosystem while reducing environmental risks. To ensure long-term sustainability, the co-disposal storage facility will also include a capillary barrier effect multi-layer cover to block oxygen and vegetate the site.

SNC-Lavalin, Lamont Expert, Minesite Drainage Assessment Group and the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada have conducted modelling analysis of Nouveau Monde’s co-disposal design to study critical design parameters on sulphide oxidation reaction rates and optimise configurations of the pit backfill and co-disposal pile.

Recently the company has expanded the mandate of NRC to simulate additional site-specific pile design parameters, like compaction level, using Nouveau Monde’s demonstration plant tailings and test cell results. NRC will expand the model developed in earlier phases and provide the company with a strong tool to optimise tailings deposition plans.

SNC-Lavalin to manage construction of Coeur’s Rochester silver-gold mine expansion

SNC-Lavalin has been awarded a $30 million contract by Coeur Rochester Inc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coeur Mining, to provide construction management services for the Plan of Operations, Amendment Number 11 (POA 11) expansion project, at Coeur’s Rochester mine near Lovelock, Nevada, USA.

The contract commenced in the December quarter and is estimated to be completed by the end of 2022. This win is aligned with SNC-Lavalin’s new strategy moving forward in the Services segment, it said.

The POA 11 expansion project includes the construction of a new crushing plant, including a primary, secondary and tertiary crushing circuit (high pressure grinding rolls), a new heap leach pad (272 Mt), a new Merrill-Crowe process plant (62,509 litres/min), and upgrades to existing electrical utility system infrastructure, including a new substation and power distribution lines.

Coeur says this will more than double planned annual crusher throughput capacity from around 12.7 Mt to over 25.4 Mt, post-expansion. This will see average annual silver and gold production total over 8 Moz and some 80,000 oz, respectively, for the initial 10 years, post-expansion

SNC-Lavalin said: “This mandate is well aligned with our expertise in silver, gold and base metal project delivery as well as our commitment to delivering real value to our clients.”

SNC-Lavalin’s offices in Reno, Nevada, and Toronto, Ontario, will continue to support the construction management phase of the project. In addition, a team based locally at the site will manage construction-related activities.

César Inostroza, Senior Vice-President, Mining & Metallurgy, SNC-Lavalin, said: “SNC-Lavalin’s Mining & Metallurgy strategic plan is gaining traction with this mandate. It is an example of the mining services work that our team is winning across our core geographies, including the USA. SNC-Lavalin and Coeur continue to foster a strong relationship that finds and executes services solutions to create world-class operations

“This award is a testament to the continued partnership between SNC-Lavalin and Coeur. It leverages our knowledge of the Rochester mine and engineering expertise from the previous phase of this project and expands our work in the US.”

Terrence FD Smith, Coeur’s Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer, added: “The strong business partnership between Coeur and SNC-Lavalin will help ensure a robust project delivery for Rochester, paving the way for improved performance in the future.”

Since approval of the initial Plan of Operation in 1986, the Rochester mine has undergone periodic mine plan amendments to support development projects and continued operations. The POA 11 proposes another mine life extension, which is expected to maintain the current workforce and support full production activities at Rochester until 2033.

SNC-Lavalin delivering on new strategy with Rochester POA11 project win

SNC-Lavalin says it has been awarded a contract to provide engineering, procurement and overall project management services for the Rochester POA11 project in Nevada, USA, by Coeur Rochester Inc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coeur Mining.

This phase of the project is estimated to be complete by October 2020, according to the company.

The project is anticipated to include a 20 Mt/y crushing plant, including a primary and secondary crushing circuit as well as a high pressure grinding roll circuit, a 13,750 gpm (52,049 litres per minute) Merrill-Crowe process plant, a new substation with power distribution and new heap leach pad.

Since approval of the initial plan of operation in 1986, the Rochester Mine has undergone periodic mine plan amendments to support mine development projects and continued operations. The mine plan amendment (termed Plan of Operations Amendment Number 11, or simply ‘POA 11’) proposes another mine life extension, which would maintain the current workforce and operate the mine at full production until 2033, SNC-Lavalin said. Coeur says it expects to produce 27,000-33,000 oz of gold and 4-5.5 Moz of silver in 2020.

The Rochester POA11 project is located 160 km northeast of Reno near Lovelock, Nevada. The Rochester mine is an open-pit operation that produces silver and gold. Mining methods include typical open-pit techniques where ore and waste rock are drilled, blasted, crushed, loaded and hauled to either leach pads (ore) or rock disposal sites.

This mining and metallurgy contract win is aligned with the company’s new strategy moving forward towards engineering services and greater growth, SNC-Lavalin said.

The Montreal-based company will provide overall project management services and integrate the engineering performed by various service providers under one set of specifications, procurement policies, standards, systems and procedures, it said. Services will be provided out of its offices in Toronto, Canada, with local support from the Reno, Nevada, branch. This mandate will include additional support such as public consultations, community engagement and working with the local community to address any impacts on the public, housing and accommodations during the project period.

César Inostroza, Senior Vice-President, Mining & Metallurgy, SNC-Lavalin, said: “As a first project with Coeur Mining, we look forward to building a long-term relationship and supporting our client to develop their silver and gold mine in Nevada.

“This mandate is well aligned with our services-based strategy for mining and metallurgy projects. This is one of multiple mining projects we have recently been awarded in the US market, and we see great potential in expanding our capabilities in the region. We look forward to contributing to our client’s project success through our extensive technical and project experience.”

SNC-Lavalin to lead on engineering, procurement for NMG’s graphite plant build

Nouveau Monde Graphite has awarded SNC-Lavalin, in partnership with Seneca and Boucher-Lachance Architects, the contract for detailed engineering and procurement services for the construction of its concentrator as part of its Matawinie graphite project, in Quebec, Canada.

Engineering work is already underway to complete priority activities by the end of the December quarter of 2019, including the process review, a Class 2 estimate, and a risk and opportunity assessment to optimise infrastructure design and generate savings, NMG said.

In 2015, Nouveau Monde discovered a graphite deposit on its Matawinie property, located in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, 150 km north of Montréal. It completed a feasibility study in 2018, which revealed strong economics with projected high-quality graphite concentrate production level of 100,000 t/y over a 26-year period.

Eric Desaulniers, President and CEO of Nouveau Monde, said: “With an impressive track record in concentrator design, procurement and project management in Quebec, the selected firms will facilitate the commissioning of commercial operations to supply the market with high-quality graphite.”

The entire project will be carried out in virtual design & construction (VDC), enabling integrated and dynamic modelling of the building information modelling (BIM) engineering for the concentrator, according to NMG.

“This innovative platform will facilitate the transfer from engineering to construction and then to operation,” the company added.

NMG’s master team, part of the management team and composed of senior specialists with several decades of experience each, will act as experts to validate the engineering, the procurement strategy and the technical specifications for the equipment, it said.

The engineering work will also take advantage of process optimisations identified at the Matawinie demonstration plant (pictured), which has been operational for one year. With a few hundred tonnes of graphite concentrate produced to date, the operation has demonstrated exceptional ore quality and a high-performance process to achieve a graphite purity of 97% on average and up to 99% for the largest flakes, according to NMG.

Nouveau Monde leverages this production, which is segregated into several granulometric categories ranging from flakes of more than 0.3 mm (+50 mesh) to the finest products of less than 0.1 mm (-150 mesh), to supply potential customers with samples so they can test the concentrate and confirm their commercial intentions. The demonstration plant will also be the preferred training platform for future Nouveau Monde employees to accelerate the start-up of operations thanks to process knowledge and hands-on experience with similar equipment.

Desaulniers concluded: “Nouveau Monde’s mining project has really taken off in recent months now that we have a solid foundation for our Matawinie graphite project. Our demonstration plant has validated the effectiveness of our treatment process, which is now being optimised by our team of experts in anticipation of the commercial plant. Next year promises more achievements as we complete the design of our operation, reserve key equipment and crystallise our customer base.”

SNC-Lavalin’s Resources segment in line for reorganisation

SNC-Lavalin Group says it is exiting lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contracting and will reorganise its Resources (Oil & Gas and Mining & Metallurgy) and Infrastructure Construction segments into a separate business line following continued poor performance.

The company, which earlier this year stopped bidding on all future mining EPC projects, said it was also exploring all options for its Resources segment, particularly its Oil & Gas (O&G) business, including transition to a services-based business or divestiture. SNC-Lavalin’s Resources division reported negative EBIT of C$256.6 million ($195.4 million) in 2018.

“The decision to reorganise the company will allow SNC-Lavalin to focus on the high-performing and growth areas of the business, which will be reported under SNCL Engineering Services,” the company said, adding that it will fulfil the contractual obligations of its current LSTK projects and then be reorganised as SNCL Projects.

The reorganisation and exiting from LSTK contracting is the first step of the new strategic direction for the company that is focused on de-risking the business and generating more consistent earnings and cash flow, SNC-Lavalin said.

Ian L Edwards, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “LSTK projects have been the root cause of the company’s performance issues. By exiting such contracting and splitting it off from what is otherwise a healthy and robust business, we are tackling the problem at the source and, as a result, we expect to see a material improvement in the predictability and clarity of our results.

“Going forward, the reorganisation will allow us to focus on leveraging growth opportunities and end-to-end project management capabilities that we have in SNCL Engineering Services, delivering consistent earnings and cash flow, with a leaner capital structure, to our shareholders.”

In March, SNC-Lavalin confirmed a $260 million engineering, procurement and construction contract with Codelco at Chuquicamata, in Chile, had been cancelled following a dispute.

 

SNC-Lavalin wins EPCM contract for NEXA Aripuanã polymetallic project

SNC-Lavalin has been awarded an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract from NEXA Resources for its majority-owned Aripuanã zinc-copper-lead project in Mato Grosso, Brazil.

The Montreal-based professional services and project management company will deliver EPCM services for the project out of its Belo Horizonte office, in Brazil, and will include all operations required for copper, zinc and lead ore processing, including crushing, grinding, flotation, thickening, filtration and storage of concentrates and tailings, as well as load out of the final concentrated products and all related surface infrastructure, it said. The mandate also includes waste backfill, mine ventilation, and mine dewatering.

The Aripuanã project is an underground polymetallic mine and concentrate processing facility to extract zinc, copper and lead. Once completed, it will have an anticipated mine life of 13 years and a processing capacity of 1.8 Mt/y of ore per year, according to SNC-Lavalin.

The project’s zinc process flowsheet has been developed by considering conventional technologies for treatment, including sequential flotation for the recovery of zinc, copper, and lead as separate concentrates, according to NEXA.

SNC-Lavalin said the project will rely on “data-centric engineering” for development and design, and the use of immersive technologies for training operations personnel.

Work has begun and is slated for completion by the beginning of 2021.

Maria de Lourdes Bahia, General Manager of SNC-Lavalin Brazil, said: “Our Mining & Metallurgy sector has a long history in reimbursable EPCM services, and this award is testament to our continued recognition in this model of project delivery.

“This mandate is well aligned with our services-based strategy for mining and metallurgy projects. We look forward to continuing our trusted relationship with NEXA Resources in the successful execution of the project.”

Codelco terminates SNC-Lavalin contract at Chuquicamata

Codelco has terminated its contract with SNC-Lavalin following a dispute related to a copper project the engineering firm was working on for the mining company.

SNC-Lavalin, which confirmed the news in a press statement, said Codelco had also initiated a drawdown on its approximately $42 million in bank guarantees.

News of a problem with one of SNC-Lavalin’s mining and metallurgy contracts came to light earlier this year, when the Canada-based company said an unfavourable cost reforecast related to a project would affect its 2018 financial results.

The two parties were unable to agree on a way forward for the project and, following further discussions, agreed to settle the dispute through an accelerated arbitration process. SNC-Lavalin said at the time that it expected to make significant recoveries in the future, but it would in the meantime continue to work on the project, which it expected to complete by the end of the June quarter.

Codelco said the $260 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the building of two new acid plants at the Chuquicamata smelter, in Chile, had been terminated due to a serious breach in the contract milestones.

“Among the non-compliances, are the delay in payments to its subcontractors, delays in the execution of the project and problems in the quality of the works, among others,” Codelco said in a news release translated from Spanish.

SNC-Lavalin, which earlier this year stopped bidding on all future mining EPC projects, said it was “appalled and surprised” by the decision taken by Codelco.

“We had reached an agreement in good faith on February 1, 2019, regarding the full completion of the project and a process for a fast track dispute resolution of previously announced unresolved issues through accelerated arbitration.”

The company said as it was nearing the end of the project completion, Codelco’s actions would put the completion and commissioning date further at risk.

“We believe that this termination is unwarranted and in breach of good faith agreements reached by the parties. It should be noted that Codelco has reached this decision after SNC-Lavalin openly informed Codelco of the status of the execution of the works, as requested by Codelco, which showed delays caused by site conditions that were the responsibility of Codelco, and the poor and unjustified acts by the main construction subcontractors,” SNC-Lavalin said.

SNC-Lavalin said it was now demobilising the job site and assessing the legal and financial impact of Codelco’s decision and preparing the dispute resolution actions to “recover as much as possible of the previously announced losses that are due directly to our client and to poor sub-contractor performance”.