Tag Archives: South Australia

BHP contracts indigenous-owned Zancott Knight for Olympic Dam refuelling services

In the lead-up to the 20-year rebuild of the flash furnace at BHP’s Olympic Dam mine in South Australia, the miner has awarded a A$1.8 million ($1.3 million) contract for refuelling services to local, indigenous-owned company Zancott Knight.

The flash furnace rebuild is part of the current smelter maintenance campaign, SCM21, at Olympic Dam, with BHP actively seeking out opportunities for local, small and indigenous businesses to be part of the action, Jenny Purdie, Asset President Olympic Dam, told attendees at the Copper to the World Conference in Adelaide, yesterday.

Purdie said Zancott Knight is a local, indigenous-owned company closely connected to the Arabana community. She added that Zancott Knight has brought in a sub-contracting partner, WB Enterprises, who are closely connected to the Kokatha community, to carry out the refuelling services contract.

Both these groups make up two of the Traditional Owner partners Olympic Dam engages with, she said.

BHP’s global operations spend approximately $2 billion with small, local and indigenous businesses each and every year, Purdie added.

OZ Minerals Board gives go ahead for shaft expansion at Prominent Hill

The OZ Minerals Board has approved construction of a hoisting shaft at the Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia, paving the way for a mine life extension and throughput expansion.

Prominent Hill mine began operation in 2009 as an open pit and is now an underground mine producing 4.5 Mt/y, moving to 4.5-5 Mt/y from 2022 via a trucking operation.

Coming with a pre-production capital expenditure of A$600 million ($436 million), the Wira Shaft expansion project will see the underground production rate increase to 6 Mt/y from 2025. At this point, the average annual copper and gold production is expected to be circa-54,000 t and circa-108,000 oz, respectively, some 23% more than expected in the current trucking operation.

The study leverages close to 100 Mt of mineral resources outside the previous Prominent Hill ore reserves of 38 Mt of underground material.

Sinking of the shaft is expected to commence in the March quarter of 2022. Mining and installation of underground and surface infrastructure is scheduled for completion along with commissioning of the Wira shaft at the end of 2024, with nameplate capacity expected in the first half of 2025.

The shaft design comprises a 1,329-m-deep, concrete-lined shaft with a diameter of 7.5 m. Construction of the shaft will be via conventional strip and line method, with the sinking period approximately two years.

The shaft mine expansion also enables generational province potential with further mine life extensions possible as 67 Mt of resource remains outside the shaft expansion mine plan, OZ Minerals says. Further, an exploration program has also identified that mineralisation remains open at depth beyond the current resource boundary, potentially accessible via the shaft.

Announcing the expansion today, OZ Minerals Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Cole, said: “We are thrilled to see a long and productive future for Prominent Hill with the Wira shaft mine expansion enabling access to areas previously thought uneconomic and opening up potential new prospects.

“Prominent Hill is a quality orebody and remains open at depth. The reliable performance of the operation and its consistent resource to reserve conversion rate were all influential in the decision.”

For the first time, the company has used a carbon price in determining the project valuation, a practice it plans to adopt in other OZ Minerals projects going forward, Cole said.

The company plans to reduce its underground loading fleet to eight vehicles, from nine after the shaft expansion, with its trucking fleet going from circa-14 to five, post-shaft.

Scope 1 emissions intensity per tonne of concentrate are also expected to drop from 0.47 t CO2-e/t to 0.28 t CO2-e/t after the shaft installation.

The pre-production capital of A$600 million, which was an increase on the A$450 million outlined in the November 2020 expansion study, enables transformation of the site in line with the strategic aspirations of OZ Minerals, it said.

Provisions have been included in site capital projections to support this transformation, including progressing underground fleet electrification, upgrading some of the existing infrastructure, remote operation capability and automation.

The company expanded on this: “A battery-powered mining fleet is part of the future vision as OZ Minerals moves towards its zero-carbon emission aspiration. For this study, diesel trucks were assumed. However, installation of enabling infrastructure is included in the Prominent Hill Expansion case to minimise future disruptions when the switch to an electric fleet occurs. This, implemented as part of the asset’s site-wide electrification aspiration, would contribute to a further reduction in Scope 1 emissions.”

A pilot study is also being undertaken to review a low-energy dry grinding option. The Prominent Hill Expansion Study is not directly connected to, nor dependent on this ongoing work, however, the work presents potential future cost reduction and other opportunities, OZ Minerals said.

Australia’s FBI CRC backs Mine Electrification project

Experts led by the University of Adelaide are looking to help the mining industry find a pathway to more efficient, green, sustainable and safer mining operations by transitioning to battery-supported electric vehicles (BEVs).

In a new project funded by the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBI CRC), researchers are providing the Australian mining industry with a suite of decision-making tools and guidelines that will aid their transition towards BEVs and associated stationary machinery in their mining operations, the FBI CRC said.

“About 30-50% of the total mine site energy usage is related to diesel-powered mining vehicles,” Dr Ali Pourmousavi Kani, the University of Adelaide’s, Lecturer, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, said. “This represents a significant proportion of current mining operational costs, and the prevalence of diesel fuel usage presents significant health and safety concerns.

“Mining is a critical industry in Australia. It is great to see a growing movement in this industry to reduce their carbon emissions in line with the global transition to renewable energy and electric transportation. Electric vehicles and machinery, combined with partial or standalone renewable energy powered microgrids, will provide a pathway to more efficient, sustainable and safer mining operations.”

Dr Pourmousavi Kani will work on the project, named ‘Assessment, Design and Operation of Battery-Supported Electric Mining Vehicles and Machinery’, or Mine Electrification for short, with Associate Professor, Wen Soong, and Associate Professor, Nesimi Ertugrul, who are also from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

The project was developed in conjunction with and funded by the FBI CRC and its participants which are: BHP Nickel West, IGO Limited, Energetics Pty Ltd, Galaxy Resources Limited, Multicom Resources Limited, the South Australian Department for Energy and Mining, Queensland’s Department of Energy and Public Works, the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia and the University of Western Australia.

The project, which has a budget of approximately A$2.76 million ($2.02 million), of which A$1.16 million is in cash and the remainder in-kind support, and lasts for 3.5 years, will, the FBI CRC says, enable the resources sector to:

  • Reduce the costs and improve the reliability of energy;
  • Improve occupational health and safety; and
  • Reduce the carbon footprint of production.

“The project will allow mining companies to understand the benefits and technical risks and costs of implementation,” Dr Pourmousavi Kani said.

“It will also assist equipment, technology and service providers to service mining companies during the transition to BEVs. End users will benefit from a de-risked strategy to transition, reduced production costs, reduced energy costs, reduced emissions and an upskilled work force.

“Overall, this project will help the Australian mining industry to remain competitive globally by greening their production and lowering their operational costs.”

Dr Jacques Eksteen, a Research Director of the FBICRC, said: “This project is highly significant for the FBI CRC as it serves as an important development and demonstration project of the uptake of battery technologies in mining vehicles and mobile equipment.

“This application of battery technology offers significant potential benefits to industry, and we are keen to invest in developing and enhancing capability in the field of mobile mine electrification.”

South Australia’s Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, added: “Sustainable mining operations is a focus for South Australia, and the Mine Electrification project demonstrates our leadership and ability to collaborate as we work towards reducing our carbon emissions.”

ZED70 Ti battery-electric vehicle takes trip underground at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena

The Zero Automotive ZED70 Ti has become one of the first Australia-made street legal light electric vehicles to enter an underground mine after making a trip into the Tjati Decline at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold operation in South Australia.

The vehicle made the trip in January and, according to OZ Minerals, managed over four complete round trips ‒ from the surface to the bottom of the mine and back ‒ without requiring a plug-in charge.

OZ Minerals said: “A big shout out to Zero Automotive for their hard work in developing such a great vehicle and commissioning it for underground use within two days!”

The Zero Automotive ZED70 Ti uses LTO chemistry and comes equipped with a specially selected battery housing, control systems and charging capability to endure the “hyper saline underground environment” at Carrapateena, OZ Minerals previously said.

OZ Minerals previously tested a Zero Automotive ZED70 battery-electric light vehicle on site at Carrapateena.

In June 2020, it also outlined a prefeasibility study on an expansion of Carrapateena that included a trial of electric light vehicles and establishment of a renewable energy hub.

Byrnecut adds Carrapateena to OZ Minerals underground contract mining portfolio

OZ Minerals Ltd has changed underground mining contractor at its Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia following Downer EDI’s move to divest its mining services businesses to MACA.

The company has now signed an agreement with Byrnecut Australia for the delivery of underground mining and associated mining services at Carrapateena. The two companies know each other well, with Byrnecut already carrying out underground mining services at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill for the past 10 years.

The five-year alliance-style contract with Byrnecut is valued at circa-A$130 million/y ($101 million/y), OZ Minerals said. Byrnecut has already commenced a seven-week mobilisation to the Carrapateena site and will assume full responsibility for mining services delivery from March 4, 2021.

“OZ Minerals, Byrnecut and Downer will work together during the transition period to ensure continuity of operational performance and development, and employee support and opportunities, with the objective of providing roles for the majority of the incumbent underground workforce,” the company said. “This transition will include the transfer of equipment from Downer to Byrnecut.”

Byrnecut will now provide underground mining services to both the Carrapateena and Prominent Hill mines.

“Byrnecut is a proven top-tier underground mining contractor who has been providing underground mining services to Prominent Hill for the past 10 years, with their Prominent Hill contract having been renewed in 2020,” OZ Minerals said.

The scope of work comprises all underground mining activity for the duration of the contract including production and development mining and associated mining services; and bedding in steady-state operations at nameplate site capacity.

OZ Minerals on the road to electrifying Carrapateena mine

OZ Minerals’ electrification transformation at its Carrapateena copper-gold operation in South Australia has kicked into another gear with a Zero Automotive ZED70 battery-electric light vehicle arriving on site.

The company has made its electrification and sustainability aspirations clear to stakeholders, confirming it is working towards emitting zero Scope 1 emissions and striving to systemically reduce Scope 2 & 3 emissions across its value chain. It also wants to consume and produce in a way that generates zero net waste and creates value for its stakeholders.

In June, a prefeasibility study on an expansion of Carrapateena included a trial of electric light vehicles and establishment of a renewable energy hub.

The precursor to the ZED70 Ti electric light vehicle developed in partnership with Zero Automotive, the ZED70 (pictured) is based on a Toyota Landcruiser 79 Series and uses either NCM (Nickel Cobalt Manganese) or LTO (Lithium Titanate Oxide) battery chemistry.

The vehicle comes with continuous power of 75 kW and peak power of 134 kW, plus 358 Nm of continuous torque. Depending on the selected battery chemistry, the battery capacity comes in at 88 kWh (NCM) or 60 kWh (LTO).

The ZED70 Ti electric light vehicle to be delivered to Carrapateena following the trial of the ZED70 will use LTO chemistry and come equipped with a specially selected battery housing, control systems and charging capability to endure the “hyper saline underground environment” at Carrapateena.

“Working in partnership with Zero Automotive, we recently welcomed the first electric light vehicles onto site, and have the ZED70 Ti model in use underground,” Oliver Glockner, the OZ Minerals lead in developing the ZED70 Ti with Zero Automotive, said. “This is has been well received on site as a significant step in our electrification roadmap towards no diesel particulates underground and no scope 1 emissions on site.”

Dan Taylor, Business Development Manager at Zero Automotive, told IM that OZ Minerals has worked closely with the company in finalising the vehicle requirements and the change management process for implementing a battery-electric vehicle at the mine site.

“Some of the things I am talking about here include:

  • “Regular communications with their team on the progress with the project;
  • “Establishing charging points at the mine;
  • “Organising trial test drive bookings with those employees interested, and collecting performance data and feedback from them;
  • “Testing charging of the vehicle from one of their generators;
  • “Reviews by the emergency services and maintenance teams; and
  • “Planning the site acceptance testing when the OZ Minerals vehicle is delivered.”

Taylor said the LTO batteries the ZED70 Ti is fitted with can travel around 3 million km or endure 20,000 recharges before the battery re-charge ability reduces by 20%. This compares favourably with the 475,000 km, or 1,200 charges, it would take for the NCM battery’s re-charging ability to drop by the same amount.

At the same time as this, the LTO battery system will charge to a 95% charge in three hours on 415 V three-phase power, compared with four-and-a-half hours for the NCM equivalent.

“With DC-DC fast charging you will need 30 mins on the LTO (two hrs for NCM),” Taylor added.

Such benefits outweigh the lower energy density and upfront expense that come with using these LTO batteries, according to Taylor.

In October, OZ Minerals became the first miner in Australia to take delivery of a battery-powered Normet Charmec MC 605 VE SmartDrive (SD) at Carrapateena.

PYBAR takes the load off raisebore reamer removal underground

PYBAR, an equipment manufacturer and the team at Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia have developed a safe work methodology to remove large diameter raisebore reamers in an underground environment.

As the contractor says, the removal of raisebore reamers has traditionally been a hazardous, complex, costly and time-consuming process. Because of this, PYBAR saw a need to develop a safe work methodology to remove large diameter reamers in an underground environment.

Working with Carrapateena Mine and an equipment manufacturer, the SL100 Reamer Lifting Gantry system was developed.

The SL100 unit, based on the Enerpac SL100 lift and shift technology, is a track-mounted gantry system with hydraulic lifting units capable of lifting up to 80 t. The unit is operated remotely, removing employees from the shaft area during reamer lifts. When the reamer is lifted out of the shaft, the reamer is trammed away from the open shaft, which is then covered with a hole cover to create a safe working area.

PYBAR’s Raise Bore and Shaft Lining Manager, Phillip Viljoen, said: “PYBAR’s underground raisebore reamer removal system is a safety win for the raisebore industry, and we would be happy to share the methodology with anyone interested in a safer and more efficient way of removing large diameter reamers in an underground environment.”

The PYBAR underground reamer lifting gantry methodology has now been accepted as industry best practice, according to PYBAR, and sets the standard for removing large diameter reamers safely in an underground environment.

Normet battery-powered Charmec arrives at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena mine

OZ Minerals has become the first miner in Australia to take delivery of a battery-powered Normet Charmec MC 605 VE SmartDrive (SD), with the unit arriving at its Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia last month.

In a post on LinkedIn, the company said of the machine: “It is Australia’s first battery-powered vehicle for underground explosive charging and emits zero local emissions.”

Back in June 2019, Normet made history by, for the first time in Europe, demonstrating battery-electric emulsion charging in a production environment underground at the Pyhäsalmi mine, in Finland, with its Charmec MC 605 VE SD.

This followed the launch of its SmartDrive battery-electric vehicle architecture at Bauma in Munich, back in April 2019.

According to Normet, battery-based charging makes the explosives charging process safer and more efficient, as there is no need to plug in to the mine’s electric grid.

The company says the Charmec MC 605 VE SD presents the new era of charging in underground mines.

“Normet SmartDrive battery-electric vehicle technology, integrated to the state-of-art emulsion charging technology, offers the highest value to customer in terms of safety, health, ergonomics and productivity, with zero local emissions,” it said.

A prefeasibility study on an expansion of Carrapateena, released in June, included a trial of electric light vehicles and establishment of a renewable energy hub.

Alliance secures BHP Olympic Dam connection with contract extension

Alliance Aviation Services says it has signed a contract extension with BHP Olympic Dam for a period of three years with two 12-month extension options, permitting a full term of up to five years.

The extension will see Alliance continue to operate charter services for the BHP Olympic Dam mine site operations, in South Australia, as well as scheduled services supporting the local community of Roxby Downs.

Alliance has been servicing Olympic Dam and the Roxby Downs community since 2007 and, if exercised for the full term, by the end of this contract extension, will see continuous operations in support of Olympic Dam, by Alliance, of at least 19 years.

The contract will see the introduction of Fokker 100 jet aircraft, a 100 passenger seat aircraft, into Olympic Dam Airport to coincide with the significant upgrades currently going on at the airport, which are due for completion in February 2021.

The introduction of larger capacity aircraft will provide ongoing savings to both Alliance and BHP Olympic Dam, provide BHP Olympic Dam with greater scalability for future growth plans and provide greater comfort for all passengers, Alliance said.

Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Lee Schofield, said: “Alliance is delighted to be in a position to provide jet services into Roxby Downs. Passengers will enjoy a smoother, quieter and, more importantly, a quicker flight between Adelaide and Roxby Downs with a reduction of 20 minutes, or 25%.

“Since our first service into Olympic Dam in 2007, we have safely transported in excess of 1 million passengers with industry leading on time performance throughout the past 14 years. Alliance has also been an active participant in the local community with staff living in the local community and actively participating in local community events.

“We are also the largest provider of air charter services to the BHP group, servicing mines in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.”

In May 2019, BHP presented Alliance with an Aviation Safety Award in recognition of the safe carriage of 3.5 million BHP staff and contractors on charter and scheduled services since the company’s first charter flight for BHP in April 2002.

Magnetite Mines up for NextOre magnetic resonance ore sorting pilot at Razorback

Having shown potential in lab-based test work to increase head grades at the Razorback project, NextOre’s magnetic resonance (MR) ore sorting technology is to now get an outing in South Australia at the high-grade iron ore development.

Razorback owner, Magnetite Mines, says it has entered into an agreement with NextOre to supply a mobile bulk ore sorting plant using a magnetic resonance (MR) sensor for a trial of the technology at the project.

The company said: “This advances our exclusive partnership with NextOre and is an important step in our journey to unlocking the potential of the Razorback project. The company is excited by the potential of the NextOre technology to enhance processing of by ‘pre-concentrating’ run of mine ore feed to increase plant head grade.”

The NextOre agreement includes a non-refundable deposit of A$100,000 ($71,418) and contemplates further, staged payments of A$700,000, Magnetite Mines says. The scope covers supply of a full-scale mobile ore sorting plant to site at Razorback for sorting magnetite ore using MR technology during the trial period for the purpose of mine feasibility analysis. The agreement includes milestone dates, with the equipment despatch from the CSIRO Lucas Heights facility, in New South Wales, expected in 2021.

Formed in 2017 by CSIRO, Advisian Digital and RFC Ambrian, NextOre supplies MR ore sorting solutions to global mining companies that applies mineral sensing technology developed by the CSIRO.

Unlike traditional ore sorting technologies that are based on X-ray or infra-red transmission, NextOre’s on-belt MR analyser ore sorting solution allows for the grade of high throughput ore to be measured at industry-leading accuracies and speeds, NextOre says. Due to the high speed of the technology, the integrative system is able to perform the analysis, computation and physical diversion of waste ores down to one second intervals allowing for fast diversion or high-resolution sorting.

As previously reported, the company entered into an exclusivity agreement with NextOre granting Magnetite Mines exclusive use of its MR ore sorting technology for any magnetite processing applications Australia-wide and all iron ore applications in the Braemar (including New South Wales) for a period of four years.

Magnetite Mines Chairman, Peter Schubert, said: “NextOre’s magnetic resonance sorting technology, developed over many years in conjunction with the CSIRO, has a rapid response time allowing unprecedented selection accuracy and speed. The result is potential for a substantial increase in the head grade of plant feed, resulting in lower unit operating costs and a significant improvement in capital efficiency.

“This technology also offers potential environmental benefits, with enhanced water efficiency and reduced tailings volumes.”

He added: “We are particularly interested in the potential of the NextOre technology to increase the grade of ore fed to the concentrator. The bulk trial of this exciting technology will contribute to the study work now underway.”

Chris Beal, CEO of NextOre said: “We are enthusiastic supporters of Magnetite Mines’ vision of unlocking the vast resources in South Australia’s Braemar region. Their disciplined approach, which leverages emerging technologies with well-established mining methodologies, is a testament to the team’s knowledge and experience in the field.

“In our collaborative planning, the Magnetite Mines methodology of carefully integrating mine and mill activities speaks strongly to the ability to generate the maximum value from bulk ore sorting solution. I am thrilled that NextOre can contribute to this transformative project and I look forward to jointly developing Australia’s reputation as a global leader in green resource extraction.”