Tag Archives: Sunrise Dam

AngloGold investigating use of battery-electric vehicles at Cuiaba mine in Brazil

AngloGold Ashanti says it is weighing up the potential introduction of battery-electric vehicles at its Cuiaba mine in Brazil as a small part of a wider initiative to achieve a 30% absolute reduction in its Scope 1 and 2 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 2030.

The company says this carbon emission reduction target could be met through a combination of renewable energy projects, fleet electrification and lower-emission power sources. The company has already reduced its absolute GHG emissions by more than two thirds since 2007, and remains committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

The targeted reduction announced today, from a 2021 baseline of 1.4 Mt of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), aims to see emissions from the company’s activities diminish to about 1 Mt by the end of the decade. When growth projects are factored in, including those in Nevada and Colombia, AngloGold Ashanti is targeting a 46% reduction in emissions by the end of the decade.

The capital cost required to achieve these reductions over the coming eight years is anticipated to be about $1.1 billion, of which $350 million will be funded over that period by AngloGold Ashanti and the remaining $750 million through third-party funding, including from providers of renewable energy infrastructure. The company plans in the coming weeks to initiate a process to secure a green funding facility of $250-300 million to finance its portion of these decarbonisation initiatives across its business.

“We have a clear pathway to achieve our target by 2030, when we expect to have lowered our overall emissions by almost a third,” AngloGold Ashanti Chief Executive Officer, Alberto Calderon, said. “This ensures we continue to do our part in reducing our carbon footprint, while also improving the value of our business.”

The targeted reductions announced today incorporate initiatives at each business unit including the introduction of renewable energy, cleaner grid power and partial fleet electrification.

Approximately 60% of the planned emissions reductions will come from large renewable energy projects including wind and solar projects at the company’s Australian operations and solar-power plants at both Siguiri in Guinea and the Iduapriem and Obuasi operations in Ghana, AngloGold said. In addition, a prefeasibility study has commenced at the Cuiaba mine in Brazil to confirm the benefits of replacing some mobile fleet with battery-electric vehicles. AngloGold will also be working with Sandvik to trial underground mining’s largest-capacity BEV truck, the 65-t payload TH665B at Sunrise Dam.

The Cuiabá complex includes the Cuiabá and Lamego underground mines and the Cuiabá and Queiroz plants. Ore from the Cuiabá and Lamego mines is processed at the Cuiabá gold plant. The concentrate produced is transported by aerial ropeway to the Queiroz plant for processing and refining. Total annual capacity of the complete Cuiabá circuit is 1.75 Mt.

The viability of a wind farm at Cerro Vanguardia in Argentina is also being investigated. The vast majority of these projects are expected to be NPV-positive adding value to the business by reducing energy costs and improving energy security, the company said.

Two “clean grid” initiatives are already close to completion – a switch from diesel generation at the Geita mine site in Tanzania to the country’s national power grid, which has a high proportion of power sourced from gas and renewables, and the transition to full hydro-grid power in Brazil.

Micromine mine control and fleet management solution set for AngloGold Ashanti deployments

Micromine says it has entered into a three-year software agreement with AngloGold Ashanti to deliver mine control and fleet management software solution, Micromine Pitram.

The solution will be implemented at AngloGold Ashanti’s Australian operations, Sunrise Dam and Tropicana, both in Western Australia’s north-eastern goldfields.

Micromine Pitram will help the operations personnel capture, manage and optimise its activities by obtaining core operational asset data, including equipment, materials and locations, Micromine says.

Andrew Birch, Chief Executive Officer of Micromine, said: “We are extremely proud to be providing our Micromine Pitram solution to AngloGold Ashanti. Our comprehensive mine control and fleet management solution enhances the productivity and profitability of a mine through real-time or near-real-time data.”

The open and scalable technology provides flexibility to incorporate equipment, systems, locations and network assets as needed. From an executive team analysing profit, operations managers optimising productivity, to operators tracking progress, Micromine Pitram provides stakeholders at every level with greater visibility, control, and understanding of operational activities, according to the company.

“Micromine Pitram is used and trusted by many of the world’s largest mining organisations, and this agreement is just another fantastic example,” Birch added.

As per the agreement, Micromine Pitram will be deployed at Sunrise Dam and Tropicana this month.

Sunrise Dam is predominantly an underground operation with average production of 2.7 Mt/y of ore. Tropicana, a joint venture between AngloGold (70%) and Regis Resources (30%), is an open-pit mine and underground mine.

Last week, AspenTech and the owners of Micromine entered into a definitive agreement for the former to take over the latter company in a cash deal worth $623 million.

Sandvik outlines its emission-free mining journey at The Electric Mine 2022

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions President, Henrik Ager, got The Electric Mine 2022 Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, off to a bang earlier this month, with a major product reveal that will set a new benchmark in the battery-electric underground mining space.

After reflecting on a journey that saw him escape a broken lift on his way to the Radisson Waterfront that morning, Ager announced the company would soon release the largest-capacity battery-electric truck for underground mining to the market, the TH665B.

With a 65-t-payload capacity, this machine will be measured against the largest underground diesel-powered underground trucks for productivity, speed and cost. Interest is expected from major contractors and miners alike, with one of the bigger markets being the Australian underground hard-rock segment.

The prototype TH665B is currently completing factory testing, but it turned heads in Stockholm, with conference attendees witnessing a video of the machine in action on the company’s test track in California, USA.

Blending proven Sandvik design and advanced technology built around electric drivelines and battery systems, the TH665B will get its first mine site runout at AngloGold Ashanti’s Sunrise Dam gold mine in Western Australia. This trial is expected to prove its viability in a long ramp haulage application before commercial truck production commences in late 2023.

The Sandvik TH665B comes with an electric drivetrain that delivers 640 kW of continuous power, which equates to 858 horsepower

While displaying said video, Ager said the vehicle could haul a 65-t load up a 14.3% grade at 11.5 km/h. This, he said, was 30% faster than Sandvik’s 63-t diesel truck, the Toro TH663i, with which the TH665B shares a state-of-the-art cabin. An electric drivetrain that delivers 640 kW of continuous power, which equates to 858 horsepower, and significant torque, is behind such numbers.

Following the introduction of the Sandvik TH550B 50-tonne battery-electric vehicle at MINExpo INTERNATIONAL® 2021, last September, this latest vehicle launch shows, once again, how the company is betting big on its battery- and hybrid-electric loaders tackling the challenge of operating underground mines today and tomorrow.

Ager at the event outlined the three main drivers for the electrification move, namely: worker health, mine economics and sustainability. Sandvik’s battery-electric solutions, he said, hit all three criteria, providing safer, more productive and sustainable ways of moving the tonnes the industry needs to keep up with global commodity demand.

The primary driver for electrification came from ventilation and refrigeration constraints, followed closely by environmental, health and safety concerns over diesel exhaust emissions. At the same time, Ager said there was significant room for operating costs to fall with the adoption of battery-electric equipment given 40% of total mine operating costs were related to energy and ventilation, and electricity use was often cheaper than transporting and using diesel fuel underground.

Around the same time as MINExpo, Ager outlined that electric mining equipment could account for more than half of the company’s equipment sales in underground mining by 2030. In Stockholm, he added some colour to that statement.

The company’s generation three battery-electric vehicles have clocked up more than 500,000 operational hours with its Artisan™ battery packs and electric drivelines, with 22 active BEV units. This experience makes Sandvik an industry frontrunner, Ager said.

The machines out in the field include the 4-t-payload and 10-t-payload Artisan A4 and A10 LHDs, the Z40/Z50 (40 t/50 t payloads) haul trucks, the Toro™ LH514BE – an AutoMine®-compatible cable-electric loader, boosted with battery technology – plus the 18-t-payload battery-electric Sandvik LH518B LHD and 50-t-payload battery-electric TH550B truck.
This year will see the company officially release the LH514BE, which will be followed in 2023 by the TH665B and – judging from the preliminary nomenclature – a 15 t battery-electric and AutoMine-compatible LHD.

Three other battery-electric and AutoMine-compatible units are in the preliminary stages of development, scheduled for release in 2024-2025.

This comes on top of plans to electrify its full i-Series drilling line by 2030, drill rigs which tram on battery and plug into the grid while drilling/bolting.

Launches for the DD422iE-DC (development drill) and DS422iE (rock bolter) are expected in 2022, with the DL432iE (longhole drill) and the DT923iE (jumbo drill) coming to market between 2023 and 2026.

Since the rollout of the first battery-electric drill in 2016 – the DD422iE – 2.8 million metres had been drilled and 12,500 km had been trammed with these electric machines, Ager acknowledged.

It is not just product releases that are on the Sandvik roadmap, with Ager stating plans to develop different drivelines (battery-electric, hybrids, cable, battery-cable), quantify the value and beat the economics of conventional drivelines, expand into other applications such as narrow vein and narrow reef mines, and continue to develop 100% electrified, energy efficient mechanical cutting for soft- and hard-rock applications.

He also said the company would look to address the capital expenditure gap with diesel machines, aiming for cost parity from a total cost of operations perspective.

The company, at the same time, is planning to further its global capabilities to serve the electrified fleet throughout its entire life cycle, while building out battery optimisation expertise and developing global application knowledge to support customers in designing, planning and executing electric transition strategies.

Real equipment for the real world

This might look like a long ‘to-do’ list, but Ager’s colleague, Brian Huff, VP of Technology and Product Line for the BHEV business unit with Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, was able to outline several real-world wins from machine deployments later at the conference that showed how far the company has already come in addressing industry pain points.

Huff, a co-founder of Artisan Vehicle Systems, relayed some observations from field trials of the company’s LH518B and Z50 battery-electric vehicles, summing them up in series of snappy statements such as: “everything will be serviced, whether it was intended to be or not”; “battery cells are consumable, but the driveline is not”; “damage is expected, resilience and serviceability are required”; “isolation fault monitoring is more than shock hazard prevention”; “availability improves with each ‘opportunity’”; and – one of the more important ones – “operators prefer BEVs”.

“They take a beating and keep on working and, despite what people may think, these batteries are not fragile,” Brian Huff told delegates at The Electric Mine 2022 Conference earlier this month

Delving into specifics, Huff said real-world trials had proven the opinion that electric drivelines came with dramatically longer life and less maintenance. He also acknowledged batteries had become the new ‘consumable’ in this equation.

“Maintenance requires parts, but comes with very low labour,” he said, explaining that battery modules can be replaced underground and then rebuilt at the factory with new cells, making rebuilds both quick and painless. At the same time, refreshing the battery brought opportunities to use improved cells as they are developed – a reflection on the accelerated winds of change in the battery market.

Battling early market perceptions, Huff said these machines were far from “experimental”, having been used and proven to work at many hard-rock mines. “They take a beating and keep on working and, despite what people may think, these batteries are not fragile,” he said.

One of the new solutions to have come out from these real-world trials is the introduction of a new battery cage design that aids serviceability, Huff said. Coming with removable side covers, an improved locking system and structural design, this battery cage incorporates the company’s AutoConnect function, which, when combined with AutoSwap, facilitates quick battery swapping without the operator having to leave the cabin. The new cage would be available on the TH665B as well as other models, Huff said.

He then put some names and numbers behind earlier statements, highlighting a trial of a Z50 truck at Pretivm’s Brucejack gold mine in British Columbia, Canada, that saw more than 90% machine availability, exhibited speeds of 9.5 km/h on a 15% grade with a 42-t load, and observed battery swap times of less than 10 minutes. This added up to a 42% increase in tonnes hauled compared with a diesel-equivalent machine and a 22% boost in speed.

The trial at New Gold’s New Afton gold mine, also in British Columbia, saw a 56% mucking cycle time beat over a diesel-powered-equivalent, a plus-70% ramp speed improvement (on a 17% ramp), and decreases of 80% and 90% in energy use and heat generated, respectively.

Referring to another LH518B trial where the machine only clocked in a 74.9% availability, Huff was quick to highlight that all the problems/failures that caused the reduction in availability were correctible.

And, channelling his engineering DNA and the leading role Sandvik is willing to take in the industry’s pursuit of the zero emission, electrified mine, he reflected on all these real-world trials with: “a failure isn’t a failure, it is an opportunity to improve.”

Sandvik introduces underground mining’s largest-capacity battery-electric truck

Sandvik is introducing what it says is the largest-capacity battery-electric truck for underground mining, with the release of the Sandvik TH665B. The unit was launched today, February 17, at The Electric Mine 2022 conference in Stockholm, Sweden by keynote speaker Henrik Ager, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.

With a 65-t-payload capacity, the Sandvik TH665B prototype is completing factory testing in California, USA. Finalisation of the trial agreement with Barminco and AngloGold Ashanti Australia will soon see the truck trialed at the Sunrise Dam gold mine in Western Australia to prove its viability in a long ramp haulage application before commercial production of the Sandvik TH665B is expected to commence in late 2023.

Following the introduction of the Sandvik TH550B 50-tonne battery-electric vehicle at MINExpo INTERNATIONAL® 2021, last September, Sandvik is continuing to execute on its BEV strategy by expanding its line of battery-electric trucks and loaders to include both larger and smaller size classes, it said. The Sandvik TH665B is engineered to improve productivity, sustainability and cost efficiency in bulk mining operations.

Henrik Ager states: “With more than 50 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of underground mining equipment, we’re proud to continue to lead the way in helping customers embrace more sustainable solutions. Our 65-t battery-electric truck is our latest development in helping mass hard-rock miners and contractors to make the shift towards more productive, emission-free mining.”

The Sandvik TH665B blends proven Sandvik design and advanced technology built around electric drivelines and battery systems. Due to an extremely efficient electric driveline, a fully loaded Sandvik TH665B is expected to be up to 30% faster on a 1:7 ramp than a comparable conventional diesel underground truck.

Each of the truck’s four wheels is equipped with independent drives, resulting in a simpler driveline, improved overall efficiency and maximum power output. The Sandvik TH665B electric drivetrain delivers 640 kW of continuous power, enabling high acceleration and fast ramp speeds, Sandvik said.

The truck is equipped with Sandvik’s patented self-swapping system, including the AutoSwap and AutoConnect functions, which enables battery swap in a matter of minutes, and without any major infrastructure like overhead cranes or other heavy-handling equipment. The Sandvik TH665B also features a new battery lifting system for improved reliability. Sandvik has redesigned the battery cage design to improve serviceability, enabling battery module changes without a need to remove the battery packs from the cage for service.

The new truck operator cabin uses the same design as the cabin of Sandvik’s Toro™ TH663i underground truck, with the cabin offering premium operator ergonomics with a significant number of adjustment possibilities to facilitate a comfortable operating environment, the company said. The central oscillation frame design results in stability, and front axle suspension, ensuring a smooth ride on rough roads. The cabin is equipped with joystick steering, large touchscreen colour display and the newest control system, providing easy access to equipment data.

Barminco and Sandvik in mobile raiseboring world first

Barminco, part of the Perenti Group, says it has become the first company globally to have taken delivery of a mobile raiseboring machine with uphole, downhole, and back reaming capability.

The hardrock underground mining services provider has been using Sandvik’s new Rhino 100 Mobile Raise Boring machine for 18 months in Ghana and three months in Australia, and has now added a module enabling back reaming capability to the machine.

The Rhino 100 is a fully mechanised and self-contained electro-hydraulic mobile raiseborer designed for slot raising in underground mining. Up until now, a back reaming module had not been used anywhere in the world on this rig, Barminco said.

Mick Radi, Barminco’s General Manager of Mining, said the new module – which had already been deployed at AngloGold Ashanti Sunrise Dam gold mine, in Western Australia – would enable safe, efficient upward and downward drilling providing maximum flexibility for clients.

“We are thrilled Barminco is offering a world first for our clients. The new plug and play back reaming module gives us the capability to quickly change from an uphole slotting machine to a conventional back reaming raisebore machine,” he said.

“The mobile carrier enables the Rhino to be totally self sufficient with no requirement for other fleet to assist in rig moves. Fast set up times and high drilling productivity is helping us to derisk our clients production plans and increase the certainty of meeting targets.”

Radi said the company had been successful using our Rhino 100 Mobile Raise Boring machine on its client’s sites in the Goldfields region of Western Australia and its plan was to keep the machine in this region where there is demand for this capability.

“The addition of this new module is just one of many ways Barminco is providing innovative solutions for clients, such as AngloGold Ashanti,” he said. “We have been working with AngloGold for 14 years and by providing this new capability we are helping them improve their operations to be even more efficient and safe.”

Bryan Watson, Manager Mining from AngloGold Ashanti, said the module was already making a significant difference on site.

“This new piece of equipment saves us time, is safer, and will assist us achieving production targets at Sunrise Dam,” Watson said. “We appreciate Barminco’s approach to working with us as a client to help us achieve more efficiencies on site.”

The down drilling module drills a pilot hole at 279 mm, up to a depth of 200 m. This can then be reamed to a diameter of 660 mm or back reamed to a diameter of 1.06 m. Back reaming can be achieved to a depth of 100 m with hole angles at a maximum of  15° dump, and 30° to either side from vertical.

The setup time for the machine is two hours, compared with a three to four day set up for a conventional raiseboring machine.