Tag Archives: Sumitomo Corporation

Rio Tinto and Sumitomo Corp look at hydrogen pilot for Yarwun refinery

Rio Tinto and Sumitomo Corporation have announced a partnership to study the construction of a hydrogen pilot plant at Rio Tinto’s Yarwun alumina refinery in Gladstone, Australia, and explore the potential use of hydrogen at the refinery.

The two global companies have signed a letter of intent that focuses on Yarwun as the location for a Gladstone hydrogen plant that Sumitomo has been studying. If the project proceeds, the pilot plant would produce hydrogen for the recently announced Gladstone Hydrogen Ecosystem, Rio said.

The study supports the efforts of Australian, Queensland and local governments to establish Gladstone as a clean hydrogen hub of the future, according to the company.

Rio Tinto Australia Chief Executive, Kellie Parker, said: “Rio Tinto has a long relationship with Sumitomo and we are delighted to partner with them to explore the possibilities of hydrogen, not only for our own refinery, but for Sumitomo to supply industry more broadly in Gladstone.

“Reducing the carbon intensity of our alumina production will be key to meeting our 2030 and 2050 climate targets. There is clearly more work to be done, but partnerships and projects like this are an important part of helping us get there.”

Sumitomo Corporation’s Energy Innovation Initiative Director, Hajime Mori, said: “We are excited about working together with Rio Tinto as our long-term partner to develop this hydrogen project in Gladstone and working toward our company’s vision of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

“We believe the pilot plant will play a significant role in establishing the Gladstone Hydrogen Ecosystem.

“Sumitomo has commenced the Design Study and Preliminary Master Planning to build the Gladstone hydrogen ecosystem and we will continue to work towards future hydrogen exports from Gladstone.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Steven Miles, said Gladstone is an industrial powerhouse and this partnership presents a great opportunity for the region and for Queensland.

“This is only the beginning of a wave of international collaborations that will lead to new industries and new jobs underpinned by the supply of renewable energy,” Miles said.

“With the Palaszczuk Government’s strong commitment to creating more jobs in emerging industries, we will work to keep Queensland at the forefront of renewable hydrogen and the opportunities that come with it.”

The Sumitomo partnership complements a recently announced feasibility study into using hydrogen to replace natural gas in the alumina refining process at Yarwun and provides the potential for larger-scale implementation if the studies are successful, Rio added.

Metso keeps Sierra Gorda analysers on stream

Metso says it is continuing to deliver a significant performance solutions contract at KGHM’s majority-owned Sierra Gorda copper-molybdenum mine, in Chile.

The services provided include preventive maintenance and calibration of Sierra Gorda’s eight on-stream analysers. The particle size analysers and chemical composition analysers, which are a core portion of the mine’s flotation process, play a vital role in controlling and optimising process performance, according to Metso.

As part of this agreement, Metso’s responsibilities include performing maintenance of the sample handling system, as well as the maintenance and calibration of the analysers. The two-year contract, which commenced in February 2019, includes daily, weekly and monthly tasks as well as stringent key performance indicators, it said. In this performance contract, Metso is evaluated on the ability to increase uptime and measurement accuracy.

Sierra Gorda is a joint venture project currently controlled by KGHM Polska Miedź SA (55%), Sumitomo Metal Mining (31.5%) and Sumitomo Corp (13.5%). Mining processes include ore blasting, loading and transport by haul trucks to a processing plant with an average throughout of 110,000 t/d of ore, where it is subjected to crushing and grinding processes. A plant with molybdenum concentrate separation is used for ore flotation.

Edgardo Chiappa, Plant Manager, Sierra Gorda SCM, KGHM Polska Miedz & Sumitomo Joint Venture, said: “The service provided by the Metso team demonstrates true professionalism, collaboration and teamwork. They have delivered high availability and accuracy of our on-stream analysers, consisting of Courier and PSI technology (both Outotec products). This has allowed for more timely operational decisions, aiding us in maximising process performance.

“We are really satisfied with the work Metso has delivered and look forward to our continued partnership.”

Giuseppe Campanelli, President, Minerals Services, Metso, said the company was proud to have had the opportunity to not only continue, but deepen, its partnership with Sierra Gorda.

“We greatly value this relationship as well as the confidence that they have shown in our ability to service such a key piece of their process,” he said.

Metso has been systematically expanding its service offering in the Chile and Pacific Rim mining markets, with the service organisation’s ability to deliver and sustain performance improvements within the mining industry based on this additional focus on maintenance, technology and process expertise.

Teck’s QB2 copper project in Chile moves forward to construction

Teck Resources has approved construction of the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 copper project in the Tarapacá Region of northern Chile after Sumitomo Metal Mining (SMM) and Sumitomo Corporation agreed to help fund the development in return for a 30% indirect interest.

The transaction with SMM and Sumitomo Corp will see the two companies pay $1.2 billion for a 30% interest in Compañia Minera Teck Quebrada Blanca SA (QBSA), which owns the QB2 project. This will be comprised of an $800 million earn-in contribution and a $400 million matching contribution. On top of this $50 million will be paid to Teck upon QB2 achieving an optimised target mill throughput of 154,000 t/d by December 31, 2025, subject to adjustment.

Don Lindsay, President and CEO of Teck, said QB2 was one of the world’s premier undeveloped copper assets, with this transaction further confirming the value of the project.

“This partnership significantly de-risks Teck’s investment in the project, enhances our project economics and preserves our ability to continue to return capital to shareholders and reduce bonds currently outstanding.”

The $4.74 billion project is expected to produce 316,000 t/y of copper-equivalent for the first five full years at all-in sustaining costs of $1.38/Ib ($3,043/t). The initial mine life of 28 years uses less than 25% of the current reserve and resource. Based on a $3/Ib average copper price over the life of the mine, QB2 is expected to provide a net present value (8% discount) of $2.43 billion.

The mine is expected to use “demonstrated industry-leading technology to enhance safety, productivity and sustainability, including an integrated operations centre located in Santiago, autonomous haulage fleet, and the first large-scale use of desalinated seawater in the Tarapacá Region to eliminate freshwater use in operations”, Teck said.

The company added that it was positioned for project construction with a strong and experienced execution team in place, major permits in hand, engineering nearly 80% complete, and contracting and procurement well advanced.

Lindsay said: “QB2 will be a long life, low-cost operation with major expansion potential, including the option to double production or more, to become a top-five global copper producer.”

This expansion potential is expected to be shown off with the completion of a scoping study to assess QB3 development options.

The social and environmental impact assessment for the QB2 project was approved in August and early field work commenced in September.

The project scope includes the construction of a 143,000 t/d concentrator and related facilities, which are connected to a new port and desalination plant by 165 km concentrate and desalinated water pipelines.

Teck has agreed with SMM and SC to cover their share of the cost of power under the existing power purchase agreements in excess of QBSA’s needs until the earlier of the startup of the first grinding line in the mill or September 30, 2022. The target date for project completion and the start of commissioning and ramp up is the December quarter of 2021. Full production is expected in the middle of 2022.

The project will build on the existing Quebrada Blanca copper mine, which produced 23,000 t of copper last year and is expected to stop producing cathode in mid-2019 as the supergene deposit is exhausted.

After the transaction is completed, the ownership of QBSA will be as follows: 60% Teck, 30% SMM/SC, 10% Enami.