Tag Archives: Tanami

LDO Group’s Rokion battery-electric light vehicle refocus starts to pay off

LDO Group is making serious headway in deploying Rokion’s ground-up-design electric light vehicles across Australia, with the New South Wales-based distributor hoping to have three machine trials in place before the end of the year.

LDO is focused on the underground mining and tunnelling industries, specialising in systems, processes, mine planning and training. It has been the exclusive distributor of Canada-made Rokion battery-powered vehicles in Australasia since 2018, having deployed vehicles across the soft- and hard-rock space.

The latest Rokion deployment LDO Group is celebrating is at Agnico Eagle Mines’ Fosterville gold operation in Victoria where a Rokion R400 was recently shown off alongside a Sandvik LH518B at a launch ceremony at the gold operation.

Alan Ross, General Manager of LDO Group, said the R400 vehicle – a platform able to accommodate three passengers in a utility vehicle setup or up to 12 in a passenger crew variant – has been deployed as part of a six-month trial at the operation.

“They (the Fosterville team) plan to use this in a people carrier configuration,” Ross told IM. “It will transport people to and from the operation.”

Considering the ramp-supported Fosterville operation goes below 800-m depth, this will present a good test for the R400’s re-generation capacity and uphill performance.

Rokion says the vehicle, which has 100 kWh of battery capacity, was engineered for the demands of underground mining and is its most adaptive platform design, capable of transporting a large crew in mine applications. Like all Rokion vehicles, it incorporates lithium iron phosphate battery chemistry, which, the company says, is the safest battery chemistry currently available.

The vehicle heading underground at Fosterville was previously deployed at a coal mining operation in Queensland, yet Ross says LDO Group is now re-focusing its efforts on the hard-rock mining space.

This has already seen the company partner with Newmont on an R400 deployment at its Tanami underground operation in the Northern Territory of Australia where it was initially used to transport team members up and down the mine.

Newmont said last year that early indicators had shown the vehicle had the capability to complete several trips to and from the bottom of the Tanami mine without requiring recharging.

Ross agreed with the Newmont assessment, explaining that the company was expected to re-deploy the same unit to the Tanami operation with an additional battery cooling module later this year.

“The ambient temperatures can reach 50°C in the Tanami desert, so we have equipped the vehicle with this new module to cope with such extremes,” he explained.

The company also has two R200 units – which include a four-passenger crew truck and a two-passenger utility truck – in Australia awaiting redeployment. One of these vehicles recently completed a successful stint at a tunnelling operation in the country.

LDO is also engaged with another mining company with an operation in New South Wales seeking to trial Rokion’s smallest battery-electric platform, the R100.

The R100 series includes a four-passenger crew truck and a two-passenger utility truck, with both models built on the same frame dimensions and available in ramp-ready configurations.

“We’re currently focused on these three key customers and supporting them in terms of the deployments and on-going operations,” Ross said.

In addition to regular site visits from LDO personnel to support maintenance and operations staff at the underground mines, LDO staff are able to remotely download data logs for these machines on a daily basis, assessing if there is potential for optimising the operation or if maintenance work may need to be conducted.

With many companies in the battery-electric light vehicle conversion space in Australia struggling to get hold of donor diesel vehicles, Ross says mining companies are increasingly appreciating Rokion’s ground-up approach.

“We have a fantastic OEM partner to rely on for these vehicles and we at LDO are able to support them in the best possible way,” he said. “We don’t have to rely on a different vendor to obtain the base machine; the design, engineering, manufacturing and testing are all performed under the Rokion roof, ensuring quality from concept to delivery.”

Ross said Rokion is continually working on design improvements and new machines based on industry feedback, with a newly-designed R200 vehicle set to bridge the gap between the existing R200 and the larger R400.

The latest in Rokion’s R200 Series is an 11-passenger crew truck built on a heavier frame and suspension construction than previous models, Kipp Sakundiak says

Kipp Sakundiak, CEO of Rokion, was happy to provide more details of this to IM: “The latest in our R200 Series is an 11-passenger crew truck built on a heavier frame and suspension construction than our previous models, all the while maintaining the simplicity and performance of dual drive motors.”

Sakundiak said the new model was robust and powerful, at the same time offering a comfortable ride for all crew members.

He added: “There is a lot of adaptability built into the new platform, including configurations for soft- and hard-rock applications. It’s one of our most versatile designs.”

Newmont’s Gosteva urges action to achieve mining industry’s decarbonisation goals

Partnerships between miners and mining equipment, technology and service (METS) providers will prove key in solving the emissions reductions and sustainability targets mining companies have set for 2030 and beyond, Victoria Gosteva, Decarbonisation Program Manager at Newmont, said at the SME MineXchange Annual Conference & Expo in Salt Lake City today.

While outlining Newmont’s Energy & Decarbonization Program on stage, Gosteva made important statements about how the wider industry could decarbonise its operations and hit the goals it has set. Newmont, itself, has set a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 30% by 2030, with an ultimate goal of being net zero carbon by 2050.

Gosteva, urging actions over the near term, said partnerships with the METS community would be needed to set the companies on the right track to hit their sustainability goals, explaining that it was not only the technology-readiness element that needed to be addressed, but also the required infrastructure to, for example, charge electric vehicles.

“We can no longer afford to be fast followers as an industry,” she said. “There is really not that much time left to reach the 2030 targets.”

She said the investment community was also taking note of the need to decarbonise mine sites, with emissions likely to become a big contributor of company valuation metrics in the future.

Focusing on Newmont’s journey, in particular, she highlighted the $500 million the company committed over five years toward climate change initiatives back in 2020.

In addition to a number of PPA agreements looking to decarbonise the power grid of many of its remote mines, she also highlighted the 2021 signing of a strategic alliance with Caterpillar Inc to deliver a fully connected, automated, zero carbon emitting, end-to-end mining system, as well as a number of “energy efficiency” type of projects related to automation, data analytics and other projects that came under these initiatives.

Many of these projects were being helped by an enhanced investment system and process that incorporates and addresses emissions through an embedded carbon pricing mechanism. Gosteva said adding an emission calculator into these models where every project has an emission aspect in the investment review saw many of these projects develop a solid business case.

One project that has been helped by this is the strategic alliance with Caterpillar that will see the introduction of first-of-a-kind battery-electric haulage technology and automation at the gold miner’s Cripple Creek and Victor (CC&V) and Tanami mines in the USA and Australia, respectively.

Under the agreement, Newmont plans to provide a preliminary investment of $100 million as the companies set initial automation and electrification goals for surface and underground mining infrastructures and haulage fleets at Newmont’s CC&V mine in Colorado, USA, and Tanami mine in Northern Territory, Australia. The goals include:

  • Introduction of an automated haulage fleet of up to 16 vehicles at CC&V planned through 2023, with a transition to haulage fleet electrification and implementation of Caterpillar’s advanced electrification and infrastructure system with delivery of a test fleet in 2026. Actions include validating first-of-a-kind battery-electric haulage technology in the years prior to full production of autonomous electric haulage equipment;
  • Caterpillar will develop its first battery electric zero-emissions underground truck to be deployed at Tanami by 2026. The deployment includes a fleet of up to 10 battery-electric underground haul trucks, supported by Caterpillar’s advanced electrification and infrastructure system. This includes first-of-a-kind battery electric haulage technology for underground mining in 2024, the introduction of battery autonomous technology in 2025, with full deployment in 2026.

Gosteva highlighted that this project – which would also see the companies work on re-using batteries for energy storage when they hit their end of life in mobile mining applications – was very important to the company achieving its goals, but acknowledged that there was no silver bullet to achieving its targets.

Caterpillar to introduce battery-electric and autonomous haulage tech at Newmont ops

Newmont has announced a strategic alliance with Caterpillar Inc to deliver a fully connected, automated, zero carbon emitting, end-to-end mining system that will see the introduction of first-of-a-kind battery-electric haulage technology and automation at the gold miner’s Cripple Creek and Victor and Tanami mines in the USA and Australia, respectively.

The announcement comes a day after Newmont’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Dean Gehring, told the Energy and Mines Virtual World Congress that the company’s primary focus for decarbonising its mobile mining fleet was on battery-electric options. It also follows the deployment of autonomous haulage solution technology at the Boddington mine in Australia (control room, pictured).

Together, the two companies will collaborate to create a safer, more productive mine, and substantially support Newmont in reaching its 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets of more than 30%, with an ultimate goal of being net zero carbon by 2050, the companies said.

Tom Palmer, President and CEO of Newmont Corporation, said: “A year ago, Newmont announced industry-leading emission reduction targets because we understand the human contribution to climate change. We followed with a commitment to invest $500 million over five years to identify pathways forward as we firmly believe that we must make bold, lasting commitments to achieve the necessary change for a bright, healthy future.

“Today, we furthered that commitment by announcing a new strategic alliance with Caterpillar to address climate change by fundamentally changing the mining industry through the rapid development and implementation of a comprehensive all-electric autonomous mining system to achieve zero emissions mining.”

Newmont’s surface and underground mining fleets are responsible for approximately 40% of the company’s carbon emissions, and building a new model for surface and underground mining is critical to delivering on Newmont’s emissions reduction targets, the company said.

Newmont will also be supporting Caterpillar’s validation of evolving features and functionality within the MineStar suite to be deployed across Newmont’s surface and underground assets globally. This deployment facilitates centralised production and asset management.

“Caterpillar is committed to providing transformational advancements in safety, sustainability and technology,” Jim Umpleby, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc, said. “We share Newmont’s dedication to a reduced-carbon future, and we’re honoured to work together on this industry leading effort.”

(From left to right) Rob Atkinson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Newmont, Tom Palmer, President and CEO, Newmont, Jim Umpleby, Chairman and CEO Caterpillar Inc, and Denise Johnson, Group President, Caterpillar Inc

Under the agreement, Newmont plans to provide a preliminary investment of $100 million as the companies set initial automation and electrification goals for surface and underground mining infrastructures and haulage fleets at Newmont’s Cripple Creek and Victor (CC&V) mine in Colorado, USA and Tanami mine in Northern Territory, Australia. The goals include:

  • Introduction of an automated haulage fleet of up to 16 vehicles at CC&V planned through 2023, with a transition to haulage fleet electrification and implementation of Caterpillar’s advanced electrification and infrastructure system with delivery of a test fleet in 2026. Actions include validating first-of-a-kind battery-electric haulage technology in the years prior to full production of autonomous electric haulage equipment;
  • Caterpillar will develop its first battery electric zero-emissions underground truck to be deployed at Tanami by 2026. The deployment includes a fleet of up to 10 battery-electric underground haul trucks, supported by Caterpillar’s advanced electrification and infrastructure system. This includes first-of-a-kind battery electric haulage technology for underground mining in 2024, the introduction of battery autonomous technology in 2025, with full deployment in 2026.

Together, Newmont and Caterpillar plan to validate equipment, infrastructure, technologies and processes to transform both surface and underground mining, focusing on safety, automation, decarbonisation, optimisation, data and asset management across Newmont’s global operations, the miner said.

“Leveraging Newmont’s scale and operational capabilities, the alliance sets the stage for the rapid development and deployment of the technologies, ultimately improving safety, productivity and energy efficiency across the mining industry,” it added.

Newmont to drive mobile equipment decarbonisation plans forward with battery-electric power

Among the options for decarbonising mobile mining equipment, Newmont’s primary focus is on the use of battery-electric power, Dean Gehring, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, told the Energy and Mines Virtual World Congress today.

Gehring, after presenting ‘Toward Net Zero Mining: The Strategy Behind Our Climate Targets’, admitted that the biggest challenge the company faces in terms of decarbonising its operations is with diesel-powered mobile equipment.

“That is the largest area and probably the most challenging, technologically, to address,” he said. “Anything that is plugged into the grid, we have opportunities either through PPAs (power purchase agreements) to buy green energy or to potentially build wind or solar power. That (decarbonising mobile equipment) is an area, in particular, I think we will need a lot of support and partnership with vendors.”

He added: “We are not eliminating any opportunities (for haul truck mobility). We recognise it will take probably a multitude of different solutions to get there. Our primary focus is on battery-electric. We think that is probably going to be the best option going forward. But, like I said, this is a very dynamic space, so we are not eliminating any solutions.”

The company’s decarbonised mobile equipment solutions to date include the use of battery-electric equipment at the Borden underground gold mine in Ontario.

Gehring said the company is also considering the use of trolley assist haulage at the Penasquito operation in Mexico. Newmont already has Komatsu 930E electric drive haul trucks at the operation, with Gehring saying the introduction of overhead power lines on the most fuel intensive haulage routes, could lead to the Penasquito fleet saving up to $30 million and potentially reducing the company’s emissions by over 20,000 t/y of carbon.

The company has also mooted a potential battery-electric fleet at the underground Tanami Expansion 2 project in Australia.

While Gehring did acknowledge there were few “high production” examples of battery-electric trucks in mining operations across the globe, he did point to a potential secondary life for ‘spent’ batteries after use in haulage vehicles, saying he saw them being incorporated in battery storage projects on mine sites.

Newmont has plans to achieve a greater than 30% reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions and intensity by 2030 (Scope 1 and 2), which will be delivered from current operating assets through a shift to renewable energy, fuel switching, fleet electrification, and site energy efficiency improvements through its Full Potential program.

Newmont starts Rokion R400 battery-electric vehicle trial at Tanami

Newmont’s Tanami operation in the the Northern Territory of Australia has started trialling a new electric vehicle in its underground operations.

The Rokion R400 will initially be used to transport team members up and down the mine, the company said in a post on Facebook. The vehicle is equipped for the transport of 12 people and comes with a battery capacity of 100 kWh.

Newmont said the vehicle is fitted with good suspension and ergonomics, being designed for passenger comfort.

Early indicators show the vehicle has the capability to complete several trips to and from the bottom of the Tanami mine without requiring recharging, Newmont said.

“We hope the trial proves to be successful, and can become the starting point for the future of electric vehicles both light and heavy at Newmont Tanami,” it added.

This is not the first Canada-manufactured Rokion battery-electric vehicle to make an entrance in Australia. The company has previously tested both a Rokion R200 and Rokion R400 at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s Broadmeadow mine in Queensland.

Newmont, meanwhile, is in the process of expanding the Tanami operation through the Tanami Expansion 2 project. This is expected to increase the annual capacity of the processing site to 3.5 Mt/y, from 2.6 Mt/y, and extend the life of the mine beyond 2040.

Altrad eyes ‘value-adding opportunity’ with Valmec acquisition

ASX-listed energy services group Valmec is to be acquired by Altrad Australia Pty Ltd in a deal that values Valmec at A$52 million ($38 million).

The two have entered a binding Scheme Implementation Deed (SID) for the cash acquisition by Altrad for Valmec, with the scheme to be voted on at a shareholders meeting in mid-October 2021.

Altrad, a leader in industrial maintenance services headquartered in France, has identified Valmec as a significant value-adding opportunity for its client base and service offering.

Altrad Services Chief Executive Officer, Asia Pacific Region, Neil Sadler, said: “The acquisition of Valmec will mark another transformational milestone for our Asia-Pacific business and deliver a value-accretive step change in the scale and diversity for our company. Once the scheme is implemented, I look forward to working with my leadership team and the Valmec team to identify value-adding opportunities for our combined existing and prospective client bases.”

Among other work in the mining sector, Valmec has previously been contracted at Newmont’s Tanami project in the Northern Territory of Australia – infrastructure works at the Tanami Expansion 2 (TE2) project – and Mineral Resources Wodgina lithium project in Western Australia – delivering a gas pipeline.

GR Engineering to tackle surface infrastructure for Tanami Expansion 2

GR Engineering Services Ltd has executed a subcontractor agreement with RUC Cementation Mining Contractors Pty Ltd in relation to work on Newmont’s Tanami gold mine in the Northern Territory of Australia.

RUC has been engaged by Newmont under a head contract to complete certain construction works for the Tanami Expansion 2 project. Included within this is shaft lining, equipment and headframe construction.

The scope of work for which GR Engineering is responsible comprises the construction and commissioning of the temporary and permanent works associated with the surface infrastructure.

Based on the current budget for the scope of work, it is anticipated that revenue from the subcontractor agreement will be approximately A$68 million ($51 million), GR Engineering said. Work is expected to be completed by April 2023.

Back in November, the two companies signed a “teaming agreement” related to the project.

Geoff Jones, Managing Director of GR Engineering, said: “GR Engineering is pleased to have executed this first subcontractor agreement with RUC and we look forward to working with RUC to deliver safe and successful outcomes for Newmont and on other future projects. GR Engineering continues to build its pipeline of work for financial year 2022 and financial year 2023.”

The Tanami Expansion 2 project is expected to increase the annual capacity of the processing site to 3.5 Mt/y, from 2.6 Mt/y, and extend the life of the mine beyond 2040.

RUC Mining set for Newmont Tanami shaft lining and equipping contract

RUC Cementation Mining Contractors says its RUC Mining business has been awarded preferred bidder status for the shaft lining and equipping contract at Newmont’s Tanami Expansion 2 project in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Additionally, Newmont, last week, granted RUC Mining authority to proceed with long lead procurement RFQ process via a short-term contract to progress the works, the contractor said.

Back in November, RUC Cementation Mining Contractors and GR Engineering Services agreed to team up as part of a plan to construct surface infrastructure, as well as complete the shaft lining and equipping, for a proposed hoisting shaft at the Tanami Expansion 2 project. There was no mention of this agreement in the latest news from RUC Cementation.

“RUC Mining is excited to be engaged on the major project with global leader Newmont, the world’s largest gold producer,” it said. “Together we look forward to safely progressing the Tanami Expansion 2 project, delivering long-term value to both Newmont and RUC shareholders.”

Subject to finalisation of agreements, the contract award is expected this month, it said.

The Tanami Expansion 2 project is expected to increase the annual capacity of the processing site to 3.5 Mt/y, from 2.6 Mt/y, and extend the life of the mine beyond 2040.

Alliance extends Newmont Tanami aviation services agreement

Alliance Aviation Services has executed a contract extension with Newmont Mining to continue chartering flights for the miner to the Granites Mine Site in the Northern Territory of Australia from bases in Perth, Darwin and Brisbane.

The three-year agreement servicing Newmont’s Tanami mine in the Northern Territory extends the current contract with the miner until 2024.

“This contract is considered by Alliance to be material as it is forecast to represent between 5% and 7% of revenue in the next 12 months,” the company said.

Alliance has been providing services to Newmont continuously for the last nine years, with Lee Schofield, Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, saying the company is “thrilled” to be continuing this relationship.

“Air charter services to Newmont’s mine site have increased over the last nine years and it is the only site in Australia where we fly into from three different states/territories,” he said.

“This contract extension was won due to the ability of Alliance to continue to operate safe, reliable and cost-effective air charter services for Newmont.”

Newmont says Tanami is a fly-in, fly-out operation in one of Australia’s most remote locations.

Worley out to help miners on their open pit to underground mining transition

As open-pit mines reach their economic end of life, mine owners are considering the viability of transitioning their open-pit operations to underground.

Drawing on its deep level mining expertise in South Africa, Worley helps mine owners around the world to explore the feasibility of underground life of mine extensions and identify the most efficient and safe underground mining methods.

Among the driving factors in the transition to underground mining are declining ore grades, deeper ore deposits, and an increase in demand for minerals required for the global energy transition, such as copper, lithium, manganese and nickel, Worley says.

“Worley’s centre of excellence for copper in Chile has been supporting open-pit copper mine customers for nearly three decades,” the company said. “The company is gearing up its underground capability as these mines shift their operations to below surface to access deeper ore reserves.”

Going deep in South Africa

Worley’s South Africa operations is one of the company’s mining centres of excellence with niche experience in deep level mining.

Mining has been the mainstay of South Africa’s economy for well over a century, and a major source of employment as well as foreign investment. Consequently, Worley has grown its South Africa mining team in one of the best mining environments in the world, with a collective experience of over 120 years in deep level mining and process expertise.

Robert Hull, Vice President for Mining, Minerals & Metals in Africa, says Worley’s South African operation is recognised for its deep level shaft experience, and the company also has experience across most commodities including base metals, coal, platinum, gold, diamonds and ferrous metals.

Hull says Worley has a strong global workshare philosophy and culture of collaboration. The specialist skills in South Africa gained from working on some of the biggest underground projects in the world are an integral part of Worley’s mining, minerals and metals global project delivery offering.

Deep level mine skills

Some of South Africa’s specialist deep underground skills include shaft design, ventilation and refrigeration shafts, high pressure pumping, and deep level hoisting.

Worley says it is one of the few companies in the world that has the expertise to design hoisting systems for mass hoisting, such as at the Venetia Underground Project, which will hoist approximately 6 Mt/y of rock.

The De Beers Venetia Mine in South Africa is the biggest source of rough diamonds in the country, according to Worley. The mine is in the process of transitioning from open pit to underground, to extend its life by some 25 years.

As engineering procurement and construction management contractor for South Africa’s largest mining execution project, Worley is using 3D designs for the project infrastructure to provide 3D models for the entire project’s surface and underground infrastructure, it said.

Intelligent mines

Hull says Worley is leading the way in developing digital solutions for the planning, design and execution of mining projects, with the South Africa office having played a key role in the design and development of much of the group’s digital technology in mining and minerals processing.

Hull (pictured) cites the Wafi-Golpu (owned by Harmony Gold Mining and Newcrest Mining) feasibility study update, in Papua New Guinea, where the South Africa team drew on SmartPlant design technology, which uses rapid prototyping and Building Information Modelling. The technology allowed the entire project team to visualise project objectives as never before, greatly improving operational efficiency in a dynamic time and cost-saving environment, according to Worley.

The Wafi-Golpu project is ranked as a world-class deposit in terms of its size and the grade of gold and copper within it. If developed, it will be the largest, deepest and most complex underground mine in Papua New Guinea, with a mine life of 28 years, Worley says.

Integrated project delivery teams

Worley’s South Africa team is also supporting its Australia counterparts to project manage the delivery of the deepening and expansion of an underground gold mine. This includes construction of a 1,460 m shaft, additional capacity in the processing plant, and supporting infrastructure to enable profitable recovery of ore at depth to 2 140m below surface. IM understands the project in question is the Newmont-owned Tanami Expansion 2 project, in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Mega machines for mega mines

Hull says every underground project Worley has executed has drawn on the company’s large material handling capabilities.

“In South Africa, we have a dedicated materials handling department that has the latest tools including discrete element modelling and finite element analysis, and advanced simulation tools for conveyer design,” he said.

Coenie Mynhardt, Winder Engineering at Worley, adds that mine payloads have increased dramatically in the last two decades in pursuit of higher productivity rates. Mines such as Impala and Phalaborwa, in South Africa, with an approximate 12-t per skipload, were considered ‘mega mines’ in their day. The mines of the future are more than double that size.

“The mega mines of the future need mega machines to be able to handle such big payloads,” Mynhardt says. “Materials handling technology for such deep, high tonnage operations will test current technology for capacity and reliability to bring the ore from the production levels to surface. We have the skills and expertise to find the solutions to these challenges.”

Global project delivery

“Countries such as Chile have immense potential for transitioning from open pit to underground if the geology supports it,” commented Hull. “With the wealth of experience across locations and over 4,000 staff in our mining, minerals and metals business line, we can safely and successfully deliver our customers’ underground mine assets through collaborative development of the mine and associated infrastructure anywhere in the world.”