Tag Archives: tailings management

OZ Minerals set to deploy mDetect’s ‘space particle’ tailings dam safety device

Australian start-up, mDetect, a spin-out company from Swinburne University of Technology, is using particles from space, known as muons, to, it says, help mining companies detect weaknesses in dams that secure highly toxic mining waste by-products, making them environmentally safer.

The hazardous waste early warning system, using muon technology, will revolutionise how mining companies monitor the stability of tailings dams, thanks to mDetect’s technology and a A$1.5 million ($1.09 million) co-investment grant from the Federal Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) Commercialisation Fund and partners to fast track its commercial production, the university says.

Swinburne University of Technology’s Vice-Chancellor Professor, Pascale Quester, said research and education into space technologies and their terrestrial applications have extraordinary potential for positive economic and social impact.

“Swinburne is focused on ensuring that the vital research we do has significant positive impact,” Quester says. “The important work of mDetect, led by Swinburne’s Professor Alan Duffy, is emblematic of Swinburne’s cutting-edge research and our ability to market innovative ideas. This is paving the way for successful research commercialisation that provides real solutions for industries.”

OZ Minerals, as a key industry partner, has been integral to the development of the technology. The miner is expected to deploy the device at its tailings dam at the Carrapateena operation in South Australia.

Myles Johnston, General Manager of OZ Minerals Carrapateena Province, said: “OZ Minerals recognises our responsibility to meaningfully contribute to regional economic and social wellbeing as stronger communities create value for all stakeholders. By ethically and responsibly exploring for and mining copper, we contribute to a low carbon future and economic wellbeing, which helps us achieve our purpose and contribute to a better future.

“We congratulate mDetect on being awarded the AMGC grant, and the team at Carrapateena is excited to be collaborating with mDetect on the development of a fully supported, flexible 3D muon monitoring system.”

Professor Duffy said: “Muons are heavier versions of electrons that are made when cosmic rays slam into atoms in Earth’s atmosphere. We have patented new detectors, that, combined with powerful artificial intelligence techniques, take an X-ray style scan through solid rock revealing different density structures.”

This patented technology can provide intelligence on the internal structures and substances of buildings, infrastructure, and subterranean and aquatic features, opening up a range of commercial opportunities for the construction and mining industries, Swinburne University says.

“Simply put, muon technology can look through rock to create underground images and detect abnormalities which will provide the early warning signs needed to prevent potential structural failures.”

mDetect will work with local manufacturing company Elgee Industries and Swinburne’s Factory of the Future to produce the muon devices at scale. Connecting these devices and turning detections into underground images will be undertaken by Swinburne’s Astronomy Data and Computing Services software development team.

Cora Gold adds SENET, CSA Global and Epoch Resources to Sanankoro DFS team

Cora Gold Ltd has made key appointments related to the definitive feasibility study (DFS) it is carrying out on the Sanankoro gold project in southern Mali, bringing SENET, CSA Global and Epoch Resources into the study team, as well as naming Russell Bradford as Project Manager.

SENET, a DRA Global group company, has been appointed as independent project manager to oversee the critical elements of the DFS, while CSA Global, a member of the ERM group of companies, will be the geological and mining consultant, tasked with managing the updated mineral resource estimate and mining study. Epoch Resources has been appointed to oversee the tailings storage facility of the DFS.

The DFS will build upon the January 2020 scoping study, which outlined average annual production from Sanankoro of 45,632 oz.

Following positive metallurgical test work results in the second half of 2020, in addition to more recent positive drilling results, the company says it is likely it will look to focus on a conventional gravity/carbon in leach processing route at Sanankoro to allow higher recoveries.

Bert Monro, CEO of Cora Gold, said: “2021 has seen significant activity at Sanankoro with exceptional results reported from our largest ever drill campaign at the project. These results will support an updated mineral resource estimate in the coming months, which, in turn, will be used as the basis for our DFS aimed at outlining the optimum route to develop Sanankoro into a new gold mine in Mali.

“Last year’s scoping study highlighted the potential high returns for Sanankoro and fuelled our confidence in Sanankoro’s strong fundamentals, and the company looks forward to publishing the DFS in the first half of 2022.”

GroundProbe offers Brazilian customers dedicated geotechnical monitoring option

GroundProbe has opened a dedicated Geotechnical Support Service (GSS) monitoring centre in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to, it says, better serve its growing customer base in the country.

The centre will provide 24/7 real-time remote radar and laser monitoring services for mine slopes and tailings dams.

The centre joins GroundProbe’s two existing high-tech monitoring centres in Santiago, Chile, and Balikpapan, Indonesia, to provide support in four languages – Portuguese, Spanish, English and Bahasa.

Monitoring live stability data and reacting to alarms to ensure the maximum safety of people and communities, the centre connects remote sites with geotechnical industry experts in real time, GroundProbe says. The centres are crewed by more than 100 highly experienced engineers and radar operators with extensive radar knowledge and experience.

GroundProbe, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orica, is widely accepted as a global leader in real-time technologies used to detect instabilities and predict when mine and dam collapses will occur.

GroundProbe CEO, David Noon, said that the company had witnessed a huge increase in demand for remote geotechnical expertise in Brazil.

“We saw it as an absolute necessity to bolster our offering and extend our support services to the region,” he said.

“The state-of-the-art centre provides the most technologically advanced solution for remote monitoring in the region and shows our level of commitment to our customers there.

“It leans on our five-and-a-half years of remote monitoring experience, our recognised systems and processes and our established resourcing model, all of which ensures the highest level of data integrity and service availability.”

GroundProbe Head of Geotechnical, Peter Saunders, explained how the service’s positive results and statistics speak for themselves.

“Together, our GSS team have detected and provided early notification to site of 1,440 slope failures, validated 3,615 alarms and managed 44,608 unwanted alarms,” Saunders said.

“GroundProbe also has the world’s largest library of wall folders. Our experts have unprecedented access to this data, gaining a unique perspective on geotechnical monitoring borne from analysing thousands of slope failures and assisting with numerous incident investigations.”

This newest monitoring centre in Belo Horizonte will provide the same services to customers, including: GSS-Remote, GroundProbe’s 24-hour remote monitoring solution; GSS-Training, its specialised SSR and laser training service; and GSS-Reporting, the company’s customised analysis and reporting service.

Metso Outotec to help Karara Mining expand tailings filtration at iron ore mine

Metso Outotec has signed a contract with Karara Mining Limited for the design of its tailings filtration plant expansion project at its iron ore mine in Western Australia.

This agreement includes the delivery of key filtration and material handling equipment and associated services, with the typical value for an order like this is in the range of €15-20 million ($11-15 million) depending on the scope of delivery. The order has been booked in Minerals’ June quarter 2021 orders received.

Karara produces a premium, high-grade (65-68% Fe) magnetite concentrate at a design production rate of 8 Mt/y, Metso Outotec said. With this expansion, the operation will increase the current tailings filtration capacity from 30,000 t/d to over 45,000 t/d enabling safe and sustainable storage of the process mine waste, with improved utilisation and recovery of water.

Kai Rönnberg, Vice President, Minerals Sales − Asia Pacific, said: “The Karara mine represents one of the largest filtered tailings facilities in the world. We are very proud that Karara Mining Limited has chosen Metso Outotec to deliver the plant design and key equipment in this expansion project. This is a continuation of earlier delivered proprietary key process equipment and long-term on-site maintenance service agreements.”

Metso Outotec’s scope in this expansion will include the Larox® FFP3512 filter press as primary filtration equipment, material handling conveyor systems and peripheral items. Additionally, spare parts and supervisory services will be supplied to support commissioning and plant ramp-up. Delivery will take place during 2022, and the plant is expected to start production late in the December quarter of 2022.

Weir Minerals pairs Multiflo, Warman and ESCO technology in latest slurry pump

Weir Minerals has launched the new Multiflo® Mudflo™ hydraulic submersible slurry pump, engineering the pump to, it says, tackle abrasive applications and large particle handling.

The Multiflo Mudflo pump features a hydraulically driven wet-end specifically designed to efficiently and safely reprocess and relocate tailings ponds, maintain water retention dams and manage slimes and sludge ponds.

It combines the Warman® MGS pump-end, Multiflo CB32 hydraulic cutters and ESCO® excavation teeth to provide efficient pumping of highly charged and abrasive slurries, the company claims.

Weir Minerals’ Ultrachrome® A05 chrome alloy impeller ensures high wear resistance and the specially engineered suction strainer minimises the risk of clogging by preventing large solids and debris from entering the pump. Drawing on decades of Warman pump design experience, the Multiflo Mudflo pump is capable of pumping between 150 cu.m/h and 1,200 cu.m/h, up to 82 m head.

The Multiflo CB32 hydraulic cutters feature the ESCO Ultralok® tooth system to prevent premature breakage, avoid tooth loss and protect the integral locking system to ensure the continuous operation of the pump, it says.

Engineered by the Weir Minerals dewatering pump experts in Australia, it is available for global customers from July 2021.

Cameron Murphy, Director of Dewatering Weir Minerals APAC, said: “The Multiflo brand is synonymous with high quality and long-lasting equipment. In designing the Mudflo pump, our dewatering experts drew from the very best Multiflo, Warman and ESCO technology and used advanced hydraulics to create an innovative and cost-effective new solution for mine dredging applications.”

The product was developed following close customer collaboration and a mutual commitment to safety and technical excellence, Weir Minerals said.

Geoff Way, Weir Minerals Dewatering Specialist, said: “It is not uncommon for sites to use a combination of pumps, shovels, excavators and trucks for dredging applications. When one of our long-time partners in Indonesia contacted us about developing a custom solution for the slurry build-up in their sumps, we knew we could provide a better solution. We are problem solvers. We considered our customer’s pain points and engineered a new solution to efficiently and safely manage their site processes.”

The Multiflo Mudflo pump can also be retrofitted to competitor OEM equipment, Weir Minerals says, with the quick-hitch plate attachment ensuring convenient installation and removal from hydraulic excavators.

The Multiflo Mudflo pump can be assembled on land, eliminating the safety risks associated with assembling pumps over water. Furthermore, the new hydraulic hose management system reduces the risk of hose entanglement and trip hazards, all the while providing a reliable hose bend radius to ensure smooth oil flow.

ANDRITZ ups the filtration ante with new ME2500 filter press

ANDRITZ has introduced a new filter press, the ME2500, to complete its range of “proven” A4F and the SE series filter presses for the mining and minerals industry.

The ME2500 is the best-fit for fast processing of tailings (also with high clay content) or mining concentrates like iron, copper, lead or zinc, the company says. The new model has an hourly processing capacity of up to 450 kg/sq.m, a filtration area of up to 840 sq.m, and features chained plates for faster filter cake discharge. These attributes enable the highest throughputs without compromising on safety, while reflecting a customer focus on saving water, ANDRITZ says.

The innovative closure system on the ME2500 largely replaces hydraulic components with electrical ones and further reduces cycle times, thus increasing capacity and operating availability.

“The increased use of electrical components enables highly sustainable operation of the filter press by reducing the amount of hydraulic oil needed, as well as improving safety thanks to more precise control and less reliance on high-pressure lines that are susceptible to leaks,” the company said.

In addition, and to further optimise the productivity of single machines or plants with multiple filter presses, all modules of the ANDRITZ intelligent filter press – controlled by the Metris addIQ control system – are also available for the ME2500 filter press and can be provided with the full range of options. This draws on smart sensors, data analytics and augmented reality, including multiple sensors to allow for online safety monitoring of the plate package and moveable parts.

The company concluded: “The safe disposal of tailings generated by the mining and minerals sector is a significant cost factor for the industry. ANDRITZ is known for its innovative range of overhead and sidebar filter presses that meet the industry’s most stringent requirements with regard to fast cake discharge and saving water and costs. The maintenance-friendly equipment from ANDRITZ is easily upgradeable, with a modular design for customised process solutions.”

Metso Outotec and FAM to collaborate on IPCC, tailings projects

Metso Outotec and FAM GmbH have signed a global non-exclusive co-operation agreement on the delivery of integrated end-to-end solutions for in-pit crush and convey (IPCC) and tailings management plants to the mining industry.

The combination of the companies’ leading expertise in their respective fields will allow the parties to form the market’s strongest offering for IPCC and tailings management plants, they said.

“Mine electrification, reduction in power and water consumption, as well as de-risking tailings disposal, are common goals for the mining industry and Metso Outotec to improve sustainability,” Metso Outotec said. “State-of-the-art IPCC and tailings management plants cater for these requirements.”

Markku Teräsvasara, President of the Minerals business area at Metso Outotec, said sustainability is a top priority for Metso Outotec.

“In addition to our investments to develop our IPCC and tailings management plant offering, we are pleased to be able to announce our cooperation with FAM,” he said. “This will allow us to meet our customers’ growing demand in such plants, where spreaders or conveyor bridges are required.”

Torsten Gerlach, CEO of FAM, added: “FAM’s leading technology in dry tail stacking systems and spreaders ties well in with Metso Outotec’s hard-rock crushing and minerals processing portfolio. Where end-to-end systems are required, we are glad teaming up with a strong partner.”

GroundProbe reacts to geohazard monitoring concerns with RGR-Velox

GroundProbe says it has launched the industry’s most advanced doppler radar for reactive geohazard monitoring, the RGR-Velox.

RGR-Velox (Reactive Geohazard Radar) is a military-precision reactive monitoring and alarming system for tailings dam breaches, large slope failures, landslides and avalanches. It detects, tracks and alarms on moving geohazards in real time, keeping people, assets and communities safe by giving warning of a breach or collapse, GroundProbe, an Orica subsidiary, explained.

The RGR-Velox is the latest technology to be born out of GroundProbe’s Research and Development (R&D) and product development programs, and the most recent innovation to be added to the company’s fleet of technologies and services.

This is GroundProbe’s first product release in reactive monitoring, with the company now offering both predictive and reactive monitoring technologies. Its predictive monitoring solutions (Slope Stability Radars and lasers) detect and warn people and communities of impending mine collapses, dam failures, rockfalls and landslides. The RGR-Velox, a reactive monitoring solution, tracks and alarms on already moving geohazards, post-collapse, giving early warning to take action or evacuate through alarm outputs such as lights, sirens, pagers or phones.

GroundProbe CEO, David Noon, said the company has a customer-oriented approach to innovation and technology which has led to the development of this reactive monitoring solution.

“GroundProbe already has the industry’s broadest range of geotechnical monitoring technologies and services, yet we continually strive to design and develop new solutions to best meet our customers’ needs,” he said. “This technology was a true collaboration between many facets of our organisation, a valued customer and a key partner.

“By having our customers actively participate in our product development process, we are able to co-create value and produce the most beneficial solution offering.”

The RGR-Velox is the highest precision, fastest scanning and longest range doppler radar in the market, according to the company. Military-grade hardware is combined with GroundProbe’s safety-critical software, alarming and systems to provide, it says, unrivalled confidence.

GroundProbe’s VP Technology, Fernanda Carrea, said the RGR-Velox sets the new standard in emergency geohazard monitoring.

“The RGR-Velox sweep-scans an entire area instantly, much like taking a radar photograph, to capture actionable information as it happens and provide new details of the scene every 0.25 seconds,” Carrea said. “Perhaps most impressive is the device’s ability to differentiate and locate small moving objects with precise accuracy, even when moving at just 0.05 m/s.

“Its alarming capabilities are completely customisable, ensuring users are empowered to design alarms tailored entirely to their specific site challenges and conditions.”

Noon said this latest piece of technology reinforces GroundProbe’s number one value and commitment to safety.

“At GroundProbe, we aim to keep people, assets and communities safe through better risk management and the RGR-Velox is the ultimate assistant in reactive safety monitoring.”

The Mining Association of Canada updates tailings management guidance

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has announced updates to its guidance on responsible tailings management that, the association says, aligns its policies with the ‘Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management’ published last year.

The Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) standard, first developed by MAC in 2004, is a globally recognised sustainability program that supports mining companies in managing key environmental and social risks. TSM was the first mining sustainability standard in the world to require site-level assessments and is mandatory for all companies that are members of implementing associations.

Through TSM, eight critical aspects of social and environmental performance are evaluated, independently validated, and publicly reported against 30 distinct performance indicators.

As part of this, MAC has also come up with its ‘Tailings Management Protocol’ and supporting guidance documents.

“TSM provides an established system for credible performance measurement and reporting, including rigorous standards to help ensure that tailings facilities are being responsibly managed,” MAC said. “Effective tailings management is rightly being prioritised more than ever to ensure that stakeholders, communities surrounding mine sites, investors and the general public can have confidence in how mining operations are being run.”

Pierre Gratton, MAC’s President & CEO, said the publication of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management last year provided a good opportunity to review TSM’s requirements, with a view to incorporating aspects of it that would further enhance the safe management of tailings facilities around the world.

“What we found was broad alignment in most critical aspects, plus some opportunities to further strengthen our guidance and TSM requirements,” he said. “We also found that, in many respects, TSM is more detailed and rigorous than the standard and is a surer guarantee of the safe management of tailings facilities.”

In efforts to ensure continued best practices and world leading tailings management expertise, MAC has updated ‘A Guide to the Management of Tailings Facilities’ to improve alignment with requirements of the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management. These updates, the first step in a process of further strengthening TSM requirements and guidance for tailings management, are based on a detailed comparison of the equivalency of TSM requirements to those of the standard, MAC said. To further align with the standard, MAC is also expanding the application of the TSM Tailings Management Protocol to closed and inactive sites.

With these changes, TSM will, MAC says, meet or exceed most of the requirements in the standard and will continue to:

  1. Provide more detailed and rigorous performance measurement expectations. For example, the standard has three high-level requirements related to developing and implementing an operation, maintenance and surveillance (OMS) manual for tailings facilities, whereas TSM identifies more than 120 items that must be addressed to be in conformance with the TSM requirement to develop and implement an OMS manual;
  2. Take a more comprehensive approach to identifying and addressing human and community rights and benefits; and
  3. Have an established and independent verification process with almost two decades of experience measuring, assuring and publicly reporting site level performance.

Adam Matthews, Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Church of England Pensions Board, who repesented the Principles for Responsible Investment that helped developed the standard, said: “We welcome the Mining Association of Canada’s intent to incorporate the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management into the TSM framework. We hope and expect the mining industry as a whole to adopt the standard, and support improvements that will lead to the safer management of waste.”

TSM does not fully address elements of the standard related to the planning, design, and initial construction of new tailings facilities. In addition to guidance in the MAC Tailings Guide, MAC members also rely upon the Canadian Dam Association safety guidelines and tailings dam bulletins.

Gratton concluded: “With the growth and expansion of TSM internationally, including its adoption most recently by the Minerals Council of Australia, we now have a robust system for ensuring the promotion and implementation of best practices in tailings management the world over.”

Nordgold taps Swift Geospatial for tailings and community monitoring at Lefa

Nord Gold has implemented a new state-of-the-art monitoring system at its Lefa mine in Guinea that, it says, will help it keep track of the condition of the operation’s tailings storage facilities to proactively identify potential risks.

The move, in line with the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship, has been facilitated by Swift Geospatial Solutions, a service provider experienced in change detection algorithms that developed the solution.

Lefa’s new monitoring system uses satellite imagery processing algorithms to both analyse the condition of the mine’s tailings storage facilities, as well as monitor community welfare by tracking community dynamics, including house building, it said.

Additionally, the technology can help to monitor artisanal mining activities around Lefa’s current mining permit, allowing local management to better assess and prevent potential safety and security hazards

The company explained: “The Lefa mine’s licence area currently spans more than 1,100 sq.km. The latest satellite technology enables cost-effective monitoring of this expanse with regular updates and is backed by a robust AI package.

“As part of the new system, Planet and SkySAT satellite platforms will be used to perform different tasks, both integrated within the Swift Geospatial Solutions online platform. All outputs are delivered through a custom-built web-application and dashboard environment.”

Evgeny Tulubensky, Nordgold’s Chief Legal Officer and Director of ESG at Nordgold, added: “We are very pleased to test this innovative tool, enabled by satellites, at our Lefa mine. It will help us to receive timely and relevant information about the condition of Lefa’s critical environmental infrastructure and the mine’s immediate surroundings.

“Using this rich data, our aim is to continue reducing our impact on the natural environment and ensuring the sustainable development of local communities. Depending on the outcomes of this pilot, we will assess its viability for other Nordgold operations.”