Tag Archives: Syama

First Wärtsilä Modular Block destined for Resolute’s Syama gold mine

Wärtsilä has announced the first order of its innovative new Wärtsilä Modular Block solution for power generation to Aggreko, with four Wärtsilä Modular Block enclosures – with one medium-speed Wärtsilä 32 engine in each – to provide 40 MW of energy to Resolute Mining’s Syama gold mine, in Mali.

The Modular Block order was placed by Aggreko in November 2019 and the contract is the first one signed under the cooperation agreement between Wärtsilä and Aggreko, announced in June.

The pre-fabricated, modular, and expandable enclosures feature medium-speed Wärtsilä 32 and 34 family engines, can run on a variety of fuels and can operate as a re-deployable power generation solution, according to Wärtsilä. “The Wärtsilä Modular Block solution can be installed in a matter of weeks, and can be expanded to accommodate increased energy needs. Similarly, it can be dismantled and relocated to alternative locations as and when required, making it highly suited to temporary power generation,” Wärtsilä said.

Resolute announced last month that it was partnering with Aggreko on this power solution, saying that the thermal element of the project was expected to be implemented in partnership with Wärtsilä using its new Modular Block technology and design.

“The Wärtsilä Modular Block solution will replace the existing diesel generators currently powering the mine,” the company said, adding that the high efficiency of the engines should result in “substantial monthly savings” in fuel costs.

It added: “Fast-starting and load following capabilities will facilitate the integration of renewables into the mine’s energy system. The mine will be powered by a reliable, flexible and affordable solution, which will help to enhance the mine’s environmental impact.”

Three Wärtsilä Modular Blocks, providing a total of 30 MW of power will be installed next to the existing power station in 2020. The fourth 10 MW Modular Block will be installed in 2022, with an option to add a fifth 10 MW unit to the power plant.

Stephane Le Corre, Strategy and Development Director at Aggreko, said: “The Wärtsilä Modular Block supports our technology investment strategy and, when included as part of a hybrid solution, has enabled us to offer Resolute an extremely cost-effective solution for 16 years.”

Jean Nabb, Director, Strategic Partnerships, Wärtsilä Energy Business, said: “The Wärtsilä Modular Block solution opens up exciting new opportunities, both for permanent and rental electricity generation. We are delighted to be partnering with Aggreko in this rapidly growing market, and this first order is encouraging for the future success of our cooperation.”

Under the agreement between Aggreko and Wärtsilä, Wärtsilä will provide the technology and design for the core power generation equipment, with Aggreko incorporating Wärtsilä’s Modular Block enclosure and power generation within its Rental/Power Solutions sales offering.

Sandvik showcases digital mining developments in Brisbane

Last week, close to 300 leaders from the mining, construction and quarrying industries from Australia, Japan and Indonesia met in Brisbane, Australia, for a two-day summit, hosted by Sandvik, to showcase best practice examples of digitalisation.

The Digitalization in Mining event, on December 3-4, allowed Sandvik to demonstrate its latest digital offering and introduce participants to the latest innovations across its product portfolio, including process optimisation with OptiMine®, information management through My Sandvik digital services and autonomous operation with AutoMine ̶ together with the latest equipment in underground and surface drilling, loading and hauling, crushing and screening and the rock tools management system.

During the event Sandvik also announced two product launches: AutoMine Access API, which gives mines the power to connect non-Sandvik equipment to AutoMine, and its first Stage V compliant underground loaders for hard-rock mining applications.

Jim Tolley, Vice President, Sales Area Australia Pacific, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said digitalisation is helping companies to grow and optimise their operations. “Our partners were keen to join us at this event because they know that digitalisation has a critical part to play in making their mines sustainable for the future.”

Day one of the event featured speakers from mining companies across Australia, as well as leaders in mining technology, process optimisation and automation. They explained the benefits their organisations have gained by implementing automation and process optimisation solutions, as well as the accompanying change in mindset, according to Sandvik.

The following presentations set the program for the day, followed by a panel discussion:

  • Shaping the Industry Digital Ecosystem (Sandvik);
  • Holistic Perspective, Focusing on Productivity, Safety and Optimised Machine Performance (Byrnecut);
  • Developing the Mine of Tomorrow (Barminco Ltd);
  • Machine Learning  ̶  Keeping it Real with Case Studies from across the Mine Value Chain (PETRA Data Science);
  • Capturing Opportunities for Digital and other Product Technology Solutions (Rio Tinto);
  • Automation Technology to Improve Efficiency and Consistency in Longwall Development Operations (Glencore);
  • Direction of Technology and Automation (Newcrest); and
  • Data Privacy, Rights and Control (Sandvik).

Pat Boniwell, Managing Director, Byrnecut Australia, said the industry will improve productivity, safety and optimise machine performance through a more “fundamental understanding” of the individual processes that make up our operations.

“New technology, automation, data transfer and analysis will all assist us in increasing the utilisation of our resources,” he said. “Data is essential, but if it is not being looked at then we are just gathering data for the sake of it. We need to continue to increase the levels of engagement between all stakeholders.”

He concluded: “We are doomed to failure unless we take our people with us and are prepared to question and be challenged.”

PETRA CEO, Penny Stewart, meanwhile, homed in on machine learning, which, she said, powers “digital twin prediction, simulation and optimisation to increase mine productivity, efficiency and yield, by showing engineers and supervisors how to reproduce their ‘best performance’ 24 hours a day, seven days a week”.

She added: “PETRA’s MAXTA™ Suite digital twin applications provide platform agnostic software-as-service operational decision support across the mine value chain ̶ from resource engineering through to processing plant set point optimisation.”

Day two of the event began with a presentation on sustainability by Henrik Ager (pictured), President, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, explaining how critical it is for long-term performance.

“Driving productivity and greenhouse gas efficiency together is going to be key for us at Sandvik, improving productivity and greenhouse gas efficiency will be the best way for us to add value for our customers,” he said. “My view is that the more we link our sustainability targets to normal business targets and find ways to combine them to achieve a common good, the better chance we have to deliver on them.”

Also, during the second day, delegates had the opportunity of a virtual visit to several Sandvik customers, including: Northparkes Mine (Australia), Resolute Mining Syama mine (West Africa), RedBull Powder Company (New Zealand) and Aeris Resources Tritton mine (Australia).

Harry Hardy, General Manager Customer Accounts, Applications Engineering and Marketing, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, Sales Area APAC, said the company often gets asked for reference cases and data to illustrate the value and payback of digital solutions. “Over the two days of the conference, our customers were able to share their own experiences and quantitatively demonstrate how our solutions have helped increase their productivity, reduce their production costs and increase their safety.”

West Africa investments about to pay off for Capital Drilling

Capital Drilling’s push into West Africa will start paying off in the second half of the year, according to Executive Chairman, Jamie Boyton, with the contractor having sealed a number of drilling agreements in the region in the opening six months of 2019.

The company has progressively invested more resources in West Africa over the past few years, aiming to capture market share in a region where gold exploration is high.

The company recorded revenue of $54.7 million over the six-month period, a 0.4% year-on-year increase, while its average revenue per operating rig dropped to $183,000, compared with $200,000 in the first half of 2018, primarily due to new contract mobilisations. The group maintained guidance on anticipated revenues for the current financial year of $110-120 million, with revenue expected to increase in the second half of this year.

During the period, the company purchased an additional blasthole rig for the long-term contract at Centamin’s Sukari gold mine, in Egypt, as part of the group’s ongoing fleet management; made further progress in the establishment of its West Africa operations, with drilling commencing in Burkina Faso with Golden Rim Resources in May; and was awarded its first drilling contract in Nigeria with Thor Explorations Ltd, with drilling scheduled to commence in the December quarter.

The company also, in these six months, appointed Jodie North as Chief Operating Officer, increased business development resources, appointing Chris Hall to position of Business Development Manager, West Africa, maintained its ongoing rig improvement program and achieved a number of safety records at the likes of Sukari, North Mara (Tanzania), Geita (Tanzania), Tasiast (Mauritania) and Syama (Mali).

Boyton said: “The first half of the year was focused on further consolidating Capital Drilling’s presence in the highly active West African market, with a number of new contracts awarded, which will contribute to group revenues from the end of Q3 (September quarter). This strong push into this region has seen the commencement of our first drilling contract in Burkina Faso during Q2.

“Today we have also announced our expansion into Nigeria from Q4 (December quarter), a mineral rich, yet poorly explored country with significant potential, where we already operate a successful mineral analytics laboratory. Pleasingly, our major operations have also continued to achieve significant safety milestones throughout the first half.”

New contracts awarded during the first six months include:

  • Compass Gold Corp (Sikasso, Mali, pictured). Awarded a 10,000m exploration drilling contract, using one reverse circulation (RC) and one diamond rig from the existing fleet. Drilling commenced in June;
  • Golden Rim Resources (Kouri, Burkina Faso) (previously announced). Awarded a 20,000m exploration drilling contract using one multi-purpose rig from the existing fleet. Drilling commenced in May;
  • Allied Gold Corp (Bonikro, Côte d’Ivoire). Awarded a five-year exploration drilling contract, using one diamond rig and one RC rig from the existing fleet. Drilling is scheduled to commence in December quarter;
  • Thor Explorations Ltd (Segilola, Nigeria). Awarded a five-year exploration and grade control contract, using one RC rig from the existing fleet. This will transition to grade control in 2020, with exploration drilling scheduled to commence in the December quarter and grade control in H1 2020;
  • Kinross Gold Corp: (Tasiast, Mauritania): MSALABs was awarded a three-year onsite laboratory services contract with Kinross at the Tasiast gold mine. Operations commenced in July 2019, and;
  • Resolute Mining Ltd (Syama, Mali). Awarded one-year extension of the long-term underground grade control drilling contract using two underground rigs from the existing fleet. Contract extended to June 2020.

Wood Mackenzie poses mine electrification and automation question

Electrification and automation will be key priorities for mining companies in 2019, new research from Wood Mackenzie has claimed.

In reviewing the research firm’s ‘Global trends: what to look for in 2019’ report, Wood Mackenzie Research Director, Prakash Sharma, said: “Building a world-class low-cost mining business seems to be the mantra.

“Major players, such as BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale, are increasing the share of electricity and automation in mining operations. The objective is to not only reduce scope 1 emissions (from their own activities) and air pollution, but also to lower human involvement and operating expenditure.

“By employing data analytics, companies are chasing productivity and efficiency and lowering costs as a result. The aim is to stay at the lower end of the cost curve should demand for traditional mining commodities fall.”

In 2017, BHP set a long-term goal of achieving net-zero scope 1 and 2 emissions in the second half of this century, while, in 2018, Rio Tinto announced successful deployment of AutoHaulTM (pictured), “establishing the world’s largest robot and first automated heavy-haul long-distance rail network in the Pilbara region of Western Australia”, Sharma said.

“The key question will be whether other mining majors follow this trend in 2019.”

In terms of adopting automated technologies, BHP and Rio are far from being alone.

Vale’s Brucutu iron ore mine in Minas Gerais, Brazil, is set to go fully-autonomous this year – as a fleet of seven new Caterpillar 240 ton (218 t) 793F CMD fully autonomous trucks is expanded to 13 – Fortescue Metals is continuing its manual-to-automation fleet conversion at Christmas Creek, in Australia, and Norilsk Nickel recently told IM it was looking to introduce a “fully-automated mine”.

This is only the start.

NGEx Resources and Filo Mining, which are looking to develop open-pit copper operations in South America, confirmed in the past few months they were looking to incorporate autonomous haul truck technology from the off. These admissions came in their prefeasibility studies, which are likely to pre-date mining operations by three to five years.

And, underground, Resolute Mining and Sandvik plan to fully-automate the Syama block cave mine in Mali this year. The mine started commissioning at the back end of last year, hit the first production stopes in December and is expected to ramp up to steady-state output of over 300,000 oz/y by June.

This is but a handful of trials and projects going on in the automated mining space, with the process plant end also seeing a number of innovative trials or installations to move away from manual mode.

On the electrification question, specifically, Sharma told IM that grid-connected mines were acting faster when it came to adoption compared with those operating remotely. “Shovels and drilling machines at surface mines are already using electricity. Up to 100 t dump trucks are using electric-motors (battery-operated) at some mines in China,” he said.

“At underground mines, electric machines are increasingly used but batteries are yet to take off.”

The latter isn’t the case in Ontario, Canada, where Goldcorp (Borden) and Kirkland Lake Gold (Macassa) are using battery-powered equipment underground in their load and haul and utility fleets. In Sudbury, Canada, too there have been a number of deliveries of such machinery to some of its world-renowned base metal mines. (You can hear more about this at the inaugural Electric Mine conference in April).

As with the majority of technology projects, finance is the biggest hurdle for widespread adoption, according to Sharma.

“Another issue is around the financial health of the mining companies. Some are not willing to re-invest due to uncertainty around the commodities they mine. Some are focused on diversification of portfolios. There are others who want to act quickly, consolidate and take first mover advantage to decarbonise,” he said.

“We believe the electrification and automation in mining will continue to expand and tightening environmental policies will drive the shift. But a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach will not work,” he concluded.