Tag Archives: South32

PIMS Mining gains more work in NSW coal sector with Appin and Maxwell agreements

PIMS Group subsidiary, PIMS Mining, says it has been awarded a three-year fixed term contract – with a one-year extension option – with South32’s Illawarra Coal Holdings Pty Ltd, continuing to provide supplementary labour to its metallurgical coal mine, Appin, in New South Wales, Australia.

Appin mine is around 70 km south of Sydney and 37 km north of Wollongong, which produces premium-quality, hard coking coal for steelmaking, that is transported within Australia and around the world.

The scope of the contract includes providing supplementary labour for development, longwall, outbye and coal clearance processes. PIMS will require a variety of skilled personnel to support the increase to scope, from the previous contract.

South32’s Illawarra Metallurgical Coal operations has underground mines at Appin and Dendrobium, which produce premium-quality, hard coking coal for steelmaking.

PIMS Mining was also recently awarded Preferred Contractor status and received a Letter of Intent from Malabar Resources subsidiary Maxwell Ventures (Management) Pty Ltd to provide services for the Maxwell underground bord and pillar operation, in New South Wales.

Construction of the mine entry portals for the Whynot Seam bord and pillar operation is underway with the current project timeline requiring labour on site in January 2023 with a ramp up throughout the remainder of the March quarter.

The scope of the contract includes underground mining, employing the place change system and targeting run of mine production rates in the order of 900,000 t/y-1 Mt, PIMS said. During operation, PIMS Mining will work closely with the Maxwell leadership team to manage all aspects of the operations in the Whynot Seam, including planning, production of coal, maintenance and operation of all production equipment, conveyors, infrastructure and general mine construction, as well as ancillary activities.

PIMS Group Managing Director, Richard Mills, said: “PIMS Mining has extensive experience in underground coal mining, especially in safe, high productivity bord and pillar operations across Queensland and New South Wales and are excited to bring this experience to the Maxwell operation.”

Ampcontrol strengthens decarbonisation drive by joining the Electric Mine Consortium

Ampcontrol says it has joined the Australia-based Electric Mine Consortium (EMC) to drive efforts towards electrifying and decarbonising the mining industry.

The EMC is a growing group of highly regarded mining and service companies, driven by the imperative to produce zero-emission products for their customers and meet mounting investor expectations and industry challenges.

Ampcontrol is strengthening its strategic focus on decarbonisation through the innovation and development of electrical solutions, adapting to the changing times.

“Joining the Electric Mine Consortium is a natural progression of our commitment to supporting our customers and industry through the national energy transition,” Rod Henderson, Ampcontrol Managing Director and CEO, said. “Ampcontrol is at the forefront of renewable energy manufacturing. We engineer and supply advanced technology, products, and services to enable a competitive advantage in a net-zero carbon environment.”

EMC Founder and Director Graeme Stanway, said: “The way we generate, store and harness energy around the globe is undergoing a period of major change.

“A global ecosystem has begun to emerge to underpin the innovation and scaling of electrification technologies.”

As well as pioneering products in the renewable energy space, Ampcontrol has been using its engineering expertise to already assist with the transitioning mining industry.

Alongside Tritium, Ampcontrol was a winner in the global ‘Charge On Innovation Challenge’ in May 2022. The joint submission was an end-to-end mining haul truck battery swap solution that is fully automated, relocatable, scalable and cell agnostic. In a drive-in/drive-out recharging station, an autonomous transfer robot swaps batteries in 90 seconds, significantly reducing safety risks and increasing productivity by excluding personnel from the swaps process.

Henderson said: “One of the areas Ampcontrol identified as a need of the industry was assisting businesses with the next steps to get to the future state of electrified mining operations. When businesses think ‘I need energy’ to perform certain functions, the first instinct is often to acquire more energy. Our expertise at Ampcontrol is to help businesses use the materials they already have available, in a different way.”

Ampcontrol says it recognises the importance of partnerships and collaboration in developing technology solutions to enable a competitive advantage in a net-zero carbon environment.

“It is important to demonstrate we work alongside other businesses to contribute to the low carbon economy transition and to the responsible sourcing of prime materials to enable a competitive advantage in a net-zero carbon environment,” Henderson said.

The EMC has launched a call out to companies in the tech, renewable and manufacturing industries that can provide ground-breaking solutions to long haul EV trucks and associated charging infrastructure for mine sites and global supply chains.

Driven by collective demand for electric equipment across the EMC’s operating sites, spread over six continents, the consortium is looking to form synergies between mining and non-mining industries to accelerate decarbonisation solutions across the industry – the mining industry currently contributes 8% of the globe’s emissions.

Ampcontrol joins over 20 miners and suppliers to the sector that includes Newcrest, South32, Barminco and Epiroc to create the EMC with the ambition to accelerate progress towards the fully electrified zero CO2 and zero particulates mine.

South32 making engineering and design headway at Hermosa project

A stellar set of annual financial results has provided the ideal backdrop for South32 to update shareholders on its rapidly progressing Hermosa project in Arizona, USA.

Released late last month, the company’s 2022 financial year results showed off record earnings of $2.6 billion, record free cash flow from operations of $2.6 billion and record return on invested capital of 30.1%.

With group copper-equivalent production expected to increase by 14% in the next financial year, South32 looked to be well leveraged to in-demand metal markets at the right time.

The company has progressively been repositioning its portfolio toward metals critical for a low-carbon future, having already established a pipeline of high-quality development options. One of these high-quality development options is Hermosa.

Hermosa, which the company acquired outright back in 2018 as part of a takeover of Arizona Mining, is key to the company’s critical metals pursuit, having exposure to base and battery metals that are expected to grow in demand – both domestically in the US and internationally.

It is being designed as South32’s first ‘next generation mine’, according to Hermosa President, Pat Risner, with a series of technical reports highlighting its use of automation and technology to minimise its impact on the environment and target a carbon-neutral mining scenario in support of the group’s goal of achieving net zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

These same reports also highlighted the potential to develop a sustainable, low-cost operation producing zinc, lead and silver from the Taylor deposit, with the bonus of possible battery-grade manganese output for rapidly growing domestic markets from the Clark deposit.

In the latest results, the company said it was devoting $290 million of growth capital expenditure in the 2023 financial year to progressing Hermosa as it invests in infrastructure to support critical path dewatering and progress study work for the Taylor Deposit. This is ahead of a planned final investment decision expected in mid-2023, which should coincide with the feasibility study.

South32 is devoting $290 million of growth capital expenditure in the 2023 financial year to progress Hermosa

Some $110 million of this was assigned to construction of a second water treatment plant (WTP2) to support orebody dewatering at the asset, alongside dewatering wells, piping systems and dewatering power infrastructure.

An additional $95 million was slated for engineering and initial construction ahead of shaft sinking at the operation, plus work to support power infrastructure and road construction.

The remaining amount was expected to support work across the broader Hermosa project, including Clark study costs and the Taylor feasibility study.

All signs from these results are that the company is laying the groundwork to develop this project ahead of that mid-2023 deadline.

In another sign of progress, South32 recently signed a “limited notice to proceed” for shaft engineering and design at Hermosa with contractor Redpath, Risner confirmed, adding that the award represented a positive step forward for the project.

“We look forward to continuing our engagement with local communities and all of our stakeholders as we make further progress with the project,” he said.

Redpath will no doubt be evaluating the technical studies that have been signed off to this point and informing future reports.

The PFS design for Taylor is a dual shaft mine which prioritises early access to higher grade mineralisation, supporting zinc-equivalent average grades of approximately 12% in the first five years of the mine plan. The proposed mining method, longhole open stoping, is similar to that used at Cannington, in Australia, and maximises productivity and enables a single stage ramp-up to the miner’s preferred development scenario of up to 4.3 Mt/y.

Yet, the Clark deposit opportunity – which has become even more tantalising with the US Government invoking the Defense Production Act and supporting the production of critical metals including manganese – could see the plan change.

The company says it may accelerate the prefeasibility study for the Clark deposit, which is spatially linked to the Taylor deposit. A scoping study has previously confirmed the potential for a separate, integrated underground mining operation producing battery-grade manganese, as well as zinc and silver from the deposit.

South32 previously said Clark has the potential to underpin a second development stage at Hermosa, with future studies to consider the opportunity to integrate its development with Taylor, potentially unlocking further operating and capital efficiencies.

With a PFS selection study expected later this year, investors and interested parties will soon know the role Clark could play in the wider Hermosa project.

What is easy to gauge already is that Hermosa is progressing on a track that many other development projects in in-demand sectors have gone down.

Electric Mine Consortium launches Surface Long Haul EV Challenge

The Electric Mine Consortium (EMC) – made up of Evolution Mining, South32, Newcrest and a total of 21 major industry players – has launched a Surface Long Haul EV Challenge, calling on the automotive and electric vehicle (EV) industry for solutions in its mission to establish decarbonised mine sites.

The EMC’s call out to companies in the tech, renewable and manufacturing industries is looking for ground-breaking solutions to long haul EV trucks and associated charging infrastructure for mine sites and global supply chains.

Driven by collective demand for electric equipment across the EMC’s operating sites, spread over six continents, the consortium is looking to form synergies between mining and non-mining industries to accelerate decarbonisation solutions across the industry – the mining industry currently contributes 8% of the globe’s emissions.

EMC Founder and Director, Graeme Stanway, explains there’s currently no equipment and associated infrastructure solution that’s available at scale, in line with mining companies’ operational needs.

“The mining industry’s path to electrification is where the car industry was 10 years ago,” Stanway said. “We have the technology, but it needs acceleration and adaptation to meet the needs of varied mine sites across the world.”

He says there’s a big opportunity to recreate mining from a place of siloed communication between companies to a point where collective strategy drives the industry to drastically reduce and ultimately eliminate carbon emissions, through electrification.

“We have the world’s largest data platform of shared knowledge surrounding renewables in mining,” Stanway said. “Through the Surface Long Haul EV Challenge, we’ll be working to accelerate, pilot and convert all new fleets to electric with detailed use case studies for knowledge sharing across the industry.

“If we can solve this for our freight in mining, imagine the impact we can have on the rest of the transport market. Mining has a great opportunity to flip the perception…from being seen on the wrong end of the ledger, to being a leader.”

The EMC is now seeking businesses who can design or supply electric long-haul equipment solutions.

BluVein’s underground dynamic charging developments accelerating

BluVein, after officially receiving agreement and project approval from all project partners, has initiated the third phase of technology development and testing of its underground mine electrification solution, BluVein1, it says.

BluVein is a joint venture between Australia-based mining innovator Olitek and Sweden-based electric highways developer Evias. The company has devised a patented slotted (electric) rail system, which uses an enclosed electrified e-rail system mounted above or beside the mining vehicle together with the BluVein hammer that connects the electric vehicle to the rail.

The system, which is OEM agnostic, provides power for driving the vehicle, typically a mine truck, and charging the truck’s batteries while the truck is hauling load up the ramp and out of an underground mine.

The underground-focused development under BluVein is coined BluVein1, with the open-pit development looking to offer dynamic charging for ultra-class haul trucks called BluVein XL. This latter project was recently named among eight winning ideas selected to progress to the next stage of the Charge On Innovation Challenge.

The purpose of the third phase of the BluVein1 technology development is to:

  • Conduct a full-scale refined hammer (collector) and arm design and testing with a second prototype;
  • Execute early integration works with mining partners and OEMs;
  • Provide full-power dynamic energy transfer for a vehicle demonstration on a local test site; and
  • Confirm a local test site for development.

IM understands that the company is close to sealing an agreement for a local test site where it will carry out trials of the dynamic charging technology.

James Oliver, CEO, BluVein, said the third phase represents an essential final pre-pilot stage of BluVein1.

“It excites me that the BluVein solution is becoming an industry reality,” he said. “The faster BluVein1 is ready for deployment, the better for our partners and the mining industry globally.”

BluVein recently entered a Memorandum of Understanding with Epiroc, where the Sweden-based OEM will provide the first ever diesel-to-battery-converted Minetruck MT42 underground truck for pilot testing on the slotted electric rail system from BluVein.

“This MoU also ensures that we are designing and developing the system into a real-world BEV for full-scale live testing and demonstration on a pilot site in 2023,” BluVein says.

In addition to Epiroc, IM understands BluVein is working with Sandvik, MacLean, Volvo and Scania, among others, on preparing demonstration vehicles for the BluVein1 pilot site.

The BluVein1 consortium welcomed South32 into the project in May, joining Northern Star Resources, Newcrest Mining, Vale, Glencore, Agnico Eagle, AngloGold Ashanti and BHP, all of which have signed a consortium project agreement that aims to enable final system development and the construction of a technology demonstration pilot site in Australia.

The project is being conducted through the consortium model by Rethink Mining, powered by the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC), which CMIC says is a unique collaboration structure that fast-tracks mining innovation technologies such as BluVein and CAHM (Conjugate Anvil Hammer Mill).

Carl Weatherell, Executive Director and CEO, CMIC/President Rethink Mining Ventures, said: “With the urgent need to decarbonise, CMIC’s approach to co-develop and co-deploy new platform technologies is the way to accelerate to net zero greenhouse gases. The BluVein consortium is a perfect example of how to accelerate co-development of new technology platforms.”

Oliver concluded: “The BluVein1 consortium is a great reminder that many hands make light work, and through this open collaboration with OEMs and mining companies, we’re moving faster together towards a cleaner, greener future for mining.”

SRG Global banks contract extensions with South32 at Worsley and BCI at Mardie

SRG Global Ltd says it has secured significant new contract awards with existing Tier 1 clients, including South32 and BCI Minerals, valued at circa-A$80 million ($55 million).

The South32 term contract is an extension to the existing contract and has a duration of two years for works at the Worsley Alumina bauxite and alumina refinery operations in Western Australia. The scope of works is to provide civil services for the continuous enhancement of BRDA embankments as well as other civil and road maintenance services. The contract will commence immediately and is expected to complete in 2024.

The BCI Minerals contract will see SRG Global continue to provide earthworks and civil services for the construction of evaporation pond embankment walls as well as other civil infrastructure for gas pipeline corridors and drainage at the Mardie salt and potash project in Western Australia. The contract extension applies to existing works that will start immediately and will be complete in 2022.

David Macgeorge, Managing Director, said: “The South32 contract builds on our six-year relationship at the Worsley Alumina site and is evidence of our ability to add value for key clients through our diverse capability.”

Back in October 2020, SRG Global secured a long-term circa-A$100 million contract with Worsley Alumina to provide specialist refractory services, including gunning and casting and installation of refractory products and anchors.

At Worsley Alumina, South32 mines bauxite (pictured) and transports it on an overland conveyor belt to a refinery where the bauxite is turned into white alumina powder. The alumina is then exported to smelters around the world.

He added: “The contract extension at the globally significant Mardie salt and potash project demonstrates our ability to provide value-engineered services to our clients from project inception, and the capability to deliver critical infrastructure for the burgeoning salt and potash sector.”

Electric Mine Consortium partners with AWS on world-first mine decarbonisation platform

Australia’s Electric Mine Consortium (EMC), made up of some of the world’s leading mining and service companies, has announced it is working with Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company, to accelerate the electrification of mine sites globally.

Announced at AWS Summit 2022, EMC is using AWS’s depth and breadth of services, including machine learning, business intelligence and storage, to build the world’s first mining data platform, to capture real-time information on mine decarbonisation from sites globally.

To drive decarbonisation, mining companies can use the platform to measure energy storage levels and electrical infrastructure use from global mine sites to accelerate the creation of a cleaner, more electrified future in mining, EMC said.

Co-founder of the EMC, Graeme Stanway, says the platform can help enable EMC members to share sustainability insights and analyse the outcomes of adopting electrified mining infrastructure and sustainable operations.

“The way we generate, store and harness energy around the globe is changing drastically,” Stanway said. “EMC’s collaboration with AWS will help see us at the forefront of this change, driving the mining industry’s electrification at scale.”

Stanway said the industry is crying out for tools to decarbonise due to tightening government emission reduction targets, increasing environmental, social and governance pressure, and the industry being responsible for 7% of the greenhouse gas emissions globally.

“Like the electric vehicle industry, electric mines are the future” Stanway said. “Not only can they be safer through the eradication of diesel particulates, pollution, noise and vibrations, they can also be more targeted, precise and effective when it comes to mining, and yield stronger results than traditional mines with minimal ground disturbance.”

As part of the initiative, EMC created a “data lake” using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), a cloud object storage service, that can securely store thousands of datasets from the consortium’s mines, including data on energy consumption and renewable energy infrastructure output.

EMC can then clean the data and run data pipelines using AWS Step Functions, a low-code, visual workflow service; AWS Glue, a serverless data integration service; and AWS Lambda, a serverless, event-driven compute service. AWS Glue can provide EMC with data catalogue functionality, and AWS Lake Formation, a service that makes it easy to set up a secure data lake in days, can deliver security and access control.

Amazon QuickSight, a business intelligence service (screenshot pictured), can allow everyone in the consortium to explore and understand mining data through user-friendly interactive dashboards that identify efficiency practices that may reduce emissions, according to EMC.

Also, using Amazon SageMaker, a fully managed service to build, train, and deploy machine learning models, EMC can train machine-learning models to predict energy usage spikes at mines and track the carbon efficiency of deploying sustainable energy infrastructure.

Sarah Bassett, Head of Mining and Energy, Australia at AWS, said: “Data capture and analysis is essential to mining operations, and AWS is helping consortium members to share their critical datasets and collective insights to drive the digitisation and evolution of the industry. I am excited to be collaborating with the EMC and its consortium members to improve the design of mines globally and accelerate the industry’s journey to decarbonisation on the global scale.”

The EMC is a growing group of over 20 mining and service companies. These companies are driven by the imperative to produce zero-emission products for their customers and meet mounting investor expectations. Thus, the objective of the EMC is to accelerate progress toward the zero-carbon and zero-particulate mine through:

  • Resolving key technology choices;
  • Shaping the supplier ecosystem;
  • Influencing policy; and
  • Communicating the business case

The EMC is emerging as a key vehicle for the decarbonisation of the mining industry, particularly for underground operations, and will remain responsive to the rapidly changing external environment.

Members include OZ Minerals, Newcrest Mining, Gold Fields, IGO, South32, Blackstone Minerals, Evolution Mining, Barminco and Iluka Resources.

BluVein XL open-pit mining dynamic charging solution gains momentum

Much of the buzz around BluVein to this point has focused on its dynamic charging infrastructure for underground mining and quarries, but the company has also been gaining momentum around a surface mining project – as the most recent Charge On™ Innovation Challenge announcement indicates.

The company and its BluVein XL solution were today named among eight winning ideas selected to progress to the next stage of the competition, which is seeking to solve one of the biggest challenges in decarbonising mining operations: the electrification of haul trucks.

Within this context, BluVeinXL, the company’s new product line, will be capable of dynamically feeding power to heavy-duty mining fleets with up to 250-t payloads.

The technology leverages much of what was developed for BluVein1: a patented slotted (electric) rail system using an enclosed electrified e-rail system mounted above or beside the mining vehicle together with the BluVein hammer that connects the electric vehicle to the rail. This system provides power for driving the vehicle, typically a mine truck, and charging the truck’s batteries while the truck is hauling load up the ramp and out of an underground mine.

To this point, funding support for the BluVein1 project – being developed for vehicles up to 60-t payload and powered by Rethink Mining (Powered by CMIC) – is being provided by Vale, Glencore, Oz Minerals, Northern Star, South32, BHP, Agnico Eagle, AngloGold Ashanti and Newcrest Mining.

BluVeinXL, meanwhile, has seen the company engage with more than 10 “global mining company leaders” in progressing to a pilot demonstration of the technology. While the company plans to announce the names of these supporting mining companies shortly, it says they all see the need for an industry-standardised, OEM-agnostic, safe dynamic power feed infrastructure to suit mixed OEM open-pit fleets.

The key benefits of the dynamic power feeding solution BluVein is pushing are smaller on-board battery packs, faster vehicle haulage speeds up ramp, grid load balancing and maximum fleet availability.

“Our mining company supporters have provided feedback to us on the benefits they see with BluVeinXL over traditional overhead exposed wire catenary systems offered by other OEMs,” the company said. These are:

  • Near to the ground installation enabled by our patented Ingress Protected safe slotted rail technology;
  • Safer and faster installation;
  • Easy relocation as required to suit open-pit ramp movements over time;
  • Requires no heavy civil foundation requirements;
  • Alleviates the requirements on haul road conditions;
  • Offers purchasing flexibility on electric vehicles through the adoption of an industry-standard dynamic power feed infrastructure; and
  • Safer mine sites with no high voltage exposed overhead wires.

The company concluded: “Together with our mining company supporters, BluVein looks forward to working with all OEMs as we progress towards our planned pilot demonstration at a yet to be announced location.”

South32 becomes latest miner to join BluVein mine electrification project

BluVein has announced its ninth and newest funding partner to join the BluVein mine electrification project powered by Rethink Mining (Powered by CMIC), with South32 being the latest miner to join the cause.

BluVein is a joint venture between Australia-based mining innovator Olitek and Sweden-based electric highways developer Evias. The company has devised a patented slotted (electric) rail system, which uses an enclosed electrified e-rail system mounted above or beside the mining vehicle together with the BluVein hammer that connects the electric vehicle to the rail. The system provides power for driving the vehicle, typically a mine truck, and charging the truck’s batteries while the truck is hauling load up the ramp and out of an underground mine.

South32 joins Vale, Northern Star Resources Limited, Glencore, Newcrest Mining, AngloGold Ashanti, BHP, OZ Minerals and Agnico Eagle Mines Limited as BluVein funding partners.

Earlier this month, BluVein and Epiroc formed an MoU with BluVein aimed at fast-tracking development of the BluVein dynamic charging solution towards an industrialised and robust solution which is ready for deployment across the global mining industry. The MoU is focused on the BluVein Underground solution (BluVein1), but BluVein is also developing a solution for open-pit mining.

Swift kicks off work with Rio, Roy Hill, Strandline, OZ Minerals and South32

Swift, a specialist technology company focused on delivering network infrastructure and premium entertainment and communications, has announced it has recently commenced works on seven new projects across Western Australia and Queensland for key clients Rio Tinto, Roy Hill, Strandline, OZ Minerals and South32.

As part of these projects, Swift will be upgrading and installing its various network solutions which have been designed and deployed by Swift’s in-house team. The total contract value of these agreements is A$1.2 million ($866,418).

Swift CEO, Brian Mangano, says: “These new projects not only represent an increase in project activity but are the result of long-standing relationships between Swift and resource sector clients. Maintained by the talent and expertise of our entire team from sales to inhouse network engineers, delivery, installation specialists and support teams, we are excited to see the positive impact that these upgrades have on our clients and their workforces.

While the aggregate revenue from these contracts is material to the company, no individual contract currently generates revenue over A$1.0 million, Swift said.