Tag Archives: Tasmania

PYBAR brings in reinforcements for MMG Rosebery contract

PYBAR, part of Metarock Group Ltd, says it has secured a new three-year fixed term contract for the supply, delivery and application of fibrecrete and cement fill at MMG’s Rosebery Mine in Tasmania, Australia.

The contract, which comes with two one-year extension options, will create 25 employment opportunities across a range of roles within PYBAR and generate significant revenue for the business, it said.

A brand-new fleet of three CT WR820 Elphinstone 10 cu.m agitators, two Jacon Equipment spray rigs, and a permanent batch plant is slated for the project, which is due to get underway in early 2023.

“The award of the contract forms part of PYBAR’s ongoing growth strategy and will see us return to Tasmania, working with our Tier 1 client, MMG Limited, to deliver on this important project,” the company said.

Zinc, copper and lead concentrates, as well as gold doré, are produced at Rosebery using mechanised underground mining method followed by crushing, grinding and flotation processes.

Orica’s WebGen wireless initiation system helps unlock reserves at BMTJV Renison tin mine

The Bluestone Mines Tasmania Joint venture (BMTJV) says it has become the first company in the Tasmania mining sector to demonstrate Orica’s fully wireless initiating system, WebGen™.

Since early 2021, BMTJV, the owner of the Renison tin mine, has been in consultation with Orica to implement the WebGen wireless blasting technology.

The first WebGen blast was successfully loaded in the Central Federal Basset (CFB_1458_5990_F4) section of the mine on June 13, 2022, with the first wireless blast in Tasmania successfully fired at BMTJV over the mine’s leaky feeder system on June 19.

Some 107 WebGen primers were loaded into BP4 (Block Panel 4) and “slept” for 14 days while BP3 was charged and fired, the company explained. Due to the geometry of the blast – and it being a high seismicity area – for B4 to be mined conventionally, a further 60 m of development would have been required to recover this ore.

The Orica WebGen system includes an i-kon™ plugin detonator, a Pentex™ W booster and a DRX™, which is a digital receiver comprising a multi-directional antenna and a battery that serves as the in-hole power source.

The Encoder Controller individually programs each wireless primer with its own unique encrypted codes. This encoder contributes to the inherent safety of the system, and programs each wireless primer with two codes, BMTJV explained. The first code is a unique group identity number for exclusive use at each mine and assigned to specified groups of primers which will sleep, wake and fire together. The second code is a ‘delay time’ specific to the wireless primer and blast design.

Mark Recklies, Chief Operating Officer – BMJTV, said: “WebGen has now been used to support continual safety improvements and deliver savings across the working mine.”

EnviroGold Global to reprocess Hellyer Gold Mines tailings in Tasmania

EnviroGold Global has executed a binding definitive agreement with Hellyer Gold Mines Pty Ltd to reprocess the tailings owned by HGM at its namesake mine in Tasmania, Australia.

The execution of the transaction cements a major growth catalyst for EnviroGold Global, paving the way for finalisation of project financing negotiations and materially advancing the company’s accelerated pathway towards commercial production of precious metals (gold and silver), clean energy metals and battery metals (copper, lead, zinc) in 2022, it said.

The Definitive Agreement provides for a multi-stage tailings reprocessing project wherein EnviroGold Global will add its mineral processing technology to the currently operational and permitted Hellyer Gold Mine. EnviroGold Global and HGM believe this partnership will result in operational synergies and, in conjunction with EnviroGold Global’s independently validated, proprietary metallurgical solution for the Hellyer VMS tailings, will drive significantly increased metal recovery rates for the gold, silver, zinc, lead and copper contained in the Hellyer tailings.

EnviroGold Global CEO, Dr Mark Thorpe, said: “The execution of the definitive agreement with HGM is a testament to the quality of our world-class team and the commitment of HGM’s management and team to establish a working partnership for success. It represents the achievement of a strategic milestone for EnviroGold Global on our journey to producing precious, critical, and strategic metals at seven major projects by 2025.

“We are pleased to continue to deliver on our commitments to our shareholders and stakeholders while establishing circular-economy leadership through the production of Metals Without Mining. We look forward to announcing the execution of additional major growth catalysts in the near-term including finalisation of project financing negotiations for the Hellyer Tailings Project, establishment of a strategic operating partnership with a global EPCM company, publishing the Buchans Tailings Project resource estimate and advancing the development of our global tailings reprocessing project portfolio.”

Hellyer is owned by NQ Minerals, with the company having a plan to increase its financial year production to 1.5 Mt of tailings reprocessing in 2022, from the estimated 1.4 Mt in 2021.

TOMRA Mining’s ore sorting solution helps Renison tin mine do ‘more with less’

TOMRA Mining and its X-ray Transmission (XRT) technology has, the company says, provided an effective solution for the extreme conditions at the Bluestone Mines Tasmania JV (BMTJV) Renison tin mine in Tasmania, Australia, with sensor-based ore sorting solution unlocking significant value and delivering environmental benefits.

The Renison mine is 50% owned by Metals X through the BMTJV, and is the only major tin mine in production in Australia with a mining rate of close to 1 Mt/y, according to TOMRA. While slated capacity is 1 Mt/y, the concentrator is restricted to 750,000 t/y.

The mine’s extreme humidity and highly acidic processing water (pH around 4.5) create unique challenges for the sorting process, the equipment and waste management, according to TOMRA.

A complex flowsheet

The underground mine operates a primary crushing system before the material is transported to the surface through a shaft. Once there, it enters the pre-concentration plant, where it undergoes a three-stage crushing, screening and cleaning process. The particles are split into two fractions – 10-25 mm and 25-60 mm – which are fed into two TOMRA XRT sorters. The output consists of two streams: the product, which is transferred to the wet plant, and the waste, which is fed into a TOMRA EM sorter to separate acid-forming sulphides from this waste stream.

In the wet plant, the product goes through primary grinding followed by bulk sulphide flotation. The tailings are processed downstream to concentrate the cassiterite tin mineral through gravity concentration; gravity tails are further treated via desliming and tin flotation. The combined concentrates are fed to a leaching circuit to remove carbonate minerals. After a final wash stage, the concentrate is de-watered and dispatched.

BMTJV approached TOMRA to address two key requirements at the plant. The first was the need to upgrade the tin feed to the plant, as Ben Wraith, Principal Project Metallurgist at BMTJV (pictured below), explained: “The Renison tin operation wanted to achieve economies of scale, putting more tonnes through the front end of the plant without upgrading the back end downstream – we wanted to do more with less.”

The second requirement was to address the environmental issue of removing acid-forming sulphides from the waste.

Following site visits and extensive discussions with BMTJV’s teams, TOMRA proposed a solution that addressed the tin feed quality with two COM Tertiary XRT 1200 sorters and the waste issue with a COM Tertiary EM 1200 sorter. A team from BMTJV visited the TOMRA Test Center in Sydney, Australia, where they observed what the XRT sorter operating at capacity is capable of.

Gavin Rech, Technical Manager at TOMRA, said: “Our XRT stands out for the high spatial and density resolution and its ability to do contrast sorting, identifying fine high-density tin inclusions in the ore with an accuracy that has no equal on the market. On top of that, it can separate it from the acid-forming sulphides, so that we have the ability of pulling the tin into the first product and sending the rest to the EM sorter.”

Gavin Rech, Technical Manager at TOMRA

The two COM Tertiary XRT 1200 sorters went into operation in 2018. Initially, BMTJV’s strategy focused on low reject grades, devoting less focus to achieving the mass reject rate and overall process plant throughput. However, the specific conditions at the Renison mine affected the results achieved. The large variance in run of mine (ROM) particle size distribution resulted in insufficient stability in the feed to the circuit. In addition, the extremely wet conditions in west Tasmania and consequent high ambient moisture content, combined with the high moisture of the ore delivered from underground, further affected the sorting process.

In 2019, a new investigation was conducted into the ore sorting performance and led to a change of direction, where the operation shifted away from targeting low reject grades, towards sorting as aggressively as possible, according to Wraith, moving from a “tin recovery-based” operating strategy to a “mass reduction” one.

“We are getting 20-25% mass reduction, so 75-80% of the materials are going into the wet plant, and we are still achieving 97-98% tin recovery overall across the crushing circuit,” he said. “Pre-concentration didn’t materially impact overall recovery because the tin in the material that is rejected as waste is extremely fine grained and a proportion is associated with sulphides, so it wouldn’t have been fully recovered in the downstream wet plant and would have been lost to tailings.”

This approach, he said, is best for Bluestone’s application as it provides the ability to process 15-20% more tin units without having to upgrade the downstream concentrator.

Wraith added: “Operating the sorting circuit has slightly increased our overall processing cost, but this is more than offset by the large increase in ROM throughput by 15-20% and, thus, tin production, so the unit cost per tonne of tin produced is reduced by almost 10%. We’ve broken multiple production records in the last year in tin units, and this gives us confidence in what we can achieve because the machine performs over and over again if you treat it right and if you prepare your feed correctly.”

TOMRA XRT success leads to upgrade decision

In view of the results achieved with the two TOMRA XRT sorters, BMTJV decided to upgrade the ore sorting circuit with two new, recently launched XRT models with stainless steel internal parts and advanced features such as the TOMRA ACT user interface and the TOMRA Insight cloud-based platform, according to TOMRA.

“The decision to buy new machines was easy,” Wraith said. “The stainless steel will assist prolonging the TOMRA sorter’s life by protecting the unit from our high-moisture and corrosive environment. The more ergonomic design will help our maintenance teams, which is particularly important for machinery operating in these harsh conditions.”

Wraith said the use of TOMRA Insight, the ore sorting company’s subscription-based service that relays and analyses machine data, will “enhance everybody’s understanding and experience of the machines”.

He added: “It will be more of an analytical platform for our metallurgy and maintenance staff, providing ample opportunity to gain valuable information that can be analysed and optimised over time. The one feature I am personally interested in is the particle size monitoring through the machines, which will enhance our overall circuit performance because we have an integrated circuit with the crushing and screening plant. Feed preparation is key to maintain a consistent performance – knowing how well you’re preparing your feed in a live fashion can only end up with a better result.”

TOMRA will also be able to log into the machine and check the daily reports generated by TOMRA Insight, so its technical teams will be prepared ahead of site visits for maintenance or optimisation.

Wraith concluded: “TOMRA has been working with the site maintenance team to tailor solutions to our operating environment, which has been invaluable. TOMRA supported me through site visits, which included equipment inspections, site-based training of our personnel, and an openness to continually improving the technology and finetune it to our site-specific requirements. They assisted the site with troubleshooting, optimisation, discussing the nuts and bolts of the issues as they arose, and finding a solution that works.”

Elphinstone sells 50th underground motor grader

Elphinstone has announced the sale of its 50th underground motor grader, designed and manufactured at the company’s facilities in Burnie, Tasmania.

In 2017, Elphinstone identified an opportunity to expand its range of underground support vehicles by introducing the UG20K and UG20M haul road maintenance machines, based on the Caterpillar 120K and 120M surface grader platforms, with custom modifications designed for underground conditions.

The first Elphinstone underground grader was developed from a Caterpillar 12G in 1978.

The role of the underground grader, Elphinstone says, is to prepare and maintain haul and access roads with adequate drainage throughout the tunnel network. Quality haul road maintenance ensures all production, support and light vehicles can move freely in a safe and controlled manner with optimal efficiency. The added benefit is increased production equipment tyre and component life and speed on grade.

Elphinstone graders are currently operating in Argentina, Canada, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tanzania and USA.

TERRATEC to debut TRC3000C Raise Boring Machine in India

TERRATEC has successfully completed the factory acceptance testing of a custom TR3000C Raise Boring Machine (RBM) at its workshop in Tasmania, Australia, with the machine destined for a customer in India.

After extensive research and analysis, TERRATEC was chosen to supply this first large raiseborer to India, the company said.

“This is an important milestone that the Indian mining industry has been looking forward to for many years,” Managing Director of TERRATEC India, Gulshan Gill, said. “To see simultaneous increases in safety and productivity through the use of raiseboring machines for the excavation of vertical ventilation shafts is for many a dream come true.”

TERRATEC says it is already the leading tunnel boring machine manufacturer in India, with the expansion into raiseboring an obvious next step.

Manufactured at TERRATEC’s workshop in Tasmania, the TR3000C Raise Boring Machine is a highly robust piece of equipment, designed for ease of operation and maintenance, providing a high level of reliability, according to the company. The unit has a nominal boring size of 3 m in diameter and 400 m in depth and has a standard pilot hole diameter of 311 mm.

The machine has been designed in a modular form that makes disassembly of the major components for inspection, transport, or repair easy to achieve, the company claimed.

The “Derrick Configuration” includes a powerful near-ground loading pipe loader that results in a very low profile in relation to drill string length, TERRATEC said. Rotation is powered by a hollow shaft hydraulic motor, affording protection to the drill string when operating at near maximum capacity, as well as unrestricted flow of flushing water through the drive train into the drill pipe.

Custom features incorporated on this machine include an upgraded proprietary gearbox design, which allows for some flexibility in alignment when raiseboring and adding drill pipe.

Dip angle adjustment (0-30° from vertical) is powered from the hydraulic power pack and can be achieved using the layback cylinders on the diesel-powered crawler/erector assembly, according to the company.

TERRATEC has numerous Raise Boring Machines around the world in Australia, China, India and many countries in both North and South America. These include the company’s range of Raise Boring Machines, Down-Reaming Drills and Box Holing Rigs, as well as combination of those in the form of Universal Boring Machines.

Tasmania drill core library receives investment boost

The Tasmania Government says it is expanding its geotechnical testing capabilities, with a A$2.4 million ($1.9 million) upgrade to its Mineral Resources Tasmania Core Library at Mornington.

The upgrade, expected to be completed by the middle of the year, will help the Australian island state both retain and grow its natural resources work, Guy Barnett, Minister for Resources in the Tasmania Government, expects.

Local construction company Fairbrother has been awarded the contract to upgrade the library, which will combine laboratory facilities, currently spread across two sites, and provide an upgraded and expanded state-of-the-art facility for geoscientific and analytical functions, which will better serve both government and industry needs, Barnett said. It will also provide an up-to-date interface for Mineral Resources Tasmania’s engagement with industry.

“This is a significant investment in a sector that supports more than 5,100 direct job, contributes more than 51% of our state’s exports, and produces product with a value of more than A$2 billion each year,” he said. “When our resources sector is strong, our economy thrives, and that is why we are making a significant investment into the scientific capability available right here in Tasmania.”

This is the first major upgrade since the library was first opened some 30 years ago, according to Barnett. The Core Library already stores more than 770 km of drill core and around 70,000 rock samples from across the state.

“This facility is a vital resource for our mining, exploration, research and education, and broader industrial sectors, and the upgrade will make it more efficient, effective and accessible to industry,” Barnett added. “This upgrade will play a significant role in realising our mineral potential and supports our collaborative efforts in working with industry through our existing scientific and exploration support packages.”

GFG Alliance, South32 and Anglo American complete TEMCO transaction

GFG Alliance says it has finalised the purchase of the hydro energy-powered Tasmanian Electro Metallurgical Company (TEMCO) smelter in Bell Bay in northern Tasmania, Australia.

After entering a binding sale and purchase agreement with South32 and Anglo American in August, today’s finalisation sees TEMCO join LIBERTY Steel Group as part of the GFG Alliance family, it said.

The smelter, in Tasmania, Australia, was run by the Samancor Manganese joint venture, owned 60% by South32 and 40% by Anglo American.

GFG Alliance Executive Chairman, Sanjeev Gupta, said the acquisition not only secured the jobs of the smelter’s 250 workers but would also play a key role in enhancing LIBERTY’s drive to be self-sufficient in the supply chain.

“When we entered into the agreement in August, I flagged that our investment in key inputs such as ferromanganese and silicomanganese would generate supply chain value to ensure a sustainable and globally competitive steel manufacturing sector,” Gupta said. “This acquisition is an upstream integration for Whyalla and all our steel plants globally.

“The Bell Bay precinct and nearby George Town is a long-standing industrial community with a proud heritage, and we are committed to seeing this facility continue to play an important role in the future of the Australian steel industry.”

The TEMCO facility, which is powered by Hydro Tasmania, has four submerged arc furnaces, including a sinter plant, and has the capacity to produce around 150,000 t/y of high carbon ferromanganese and 120,000 t/y of silicomanganese used in the production of steel, the company said.

“GFG Alliance already produces the lowest carbon aluminium in the world in both the UK and France and I’m proud to add one of the world’s greenest ferro alloy producers to our portfolio,” Gupta said. “Our goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030 and I am proud to invest in a state like Tasmania, which has a plentiful supply of renewable energy resources.”

Fortescue considers investment in Tasmania ‘green hydrogen’ plant

Fortescue Metals Group has confirmed it is investigating the development of a green ammonia plant in Bell Bay, Tasmania, that could have a 250 MW green hydrogen capacity.

The plant, which has been announced as a successful participant in the Tasmanian Government’s Renewable Hydrogen Industry Development Funding program, would be constructed at the Bell Bay Industrial Precinct, with green ammonia production capacity of 250,000 tonnes per year for domestic and international export.

“It has the capacity to be one of the world’s largest green hydrogen plants, powered entirely by Tasmanian renewable energy,” the company said, adding that the project is targeted for an investment decision by the Fortescue Board in 2021.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines (left), said: “Working with our wholly-owned subsidiary, Fortescue Future Industries, we are assessing clean energy opportunities locally and internationally to capitalise on the important role that green hydrogen will play to ensure the world can meet the Paris 2050 targets.

“Subject to detailed feasibility analysis, the Tasmania project will be an important step in demonstrating our intention to position Australia at the forefront of the establishment of a bulk export market for green hydrogen.

“Fortescue has a successful track record of identifying and assessing opportunities and by building on our expertise and supply chain capabilities, we will ensure that the financial and project execution discipline that Fortescue is renowned for is applied to projects developed by Fortescue Future Industries.”

She concluded: “Partnering with the Tasmanian Government to harness the abundant renewable energy in Tasmania, we see potential to create a significant new green industry.”

The project supports Fortescue’s operational target to be “net zero” by 2040 and builds on the company’s investment in green hydrogen production and technologies.

This includes a partnership with the CSIRO for the development of new hydrogen technologies; a A$32 million ($23 million) hydrogen mobility project at Christmas Creek; a partnership with ATCO Australia to build and operate the first combined green hydrogen production and refuelling facility in Western Australia; and a memorandum of understanding with Hyundai Motor Co and CSIRO to advance renewable hydrogen technology for domestic transport.

Venture Minerals takes ‘one-stop shop’ approach at Riley with Qube agreement

Venture Minerals has awarded bulk material handling services company, Qube, with preferred road haulage tenderer status for the Riley iron mine, in Tasmania, Australia.

Alongside this, Venture has also engaged Qube to provide the necessary Burnie Port Services to complete the logistics solution of delivering iron ore from Riley to on board the ship.

Venture said: “Securing Qube as the complete ore transport provider for the Riley iron ore mine will increase the efficiencies for one of the project’s key cost centres as the company progresses towards becoming the next Australian iron ore producer.”

Recently, Venture Minerals commenced dry screening operations at Riley as part of the ramp-up phase of the project. Full production is expected to occur upon successful commissioning of the wet processing plant, which is subject to financing, the company said.

At a $90/t 62% iron ore price, an August 2019 feasibility study on the project returned a post-tax cash surplus of A$31 million ($23 million) over the two-year production life of the mine.

Andrew Radonjic, Venture Minerals’ Managing Director, said: “Venture is fortunate to be working with Australia’s leading provider of bulk material handling services to provide a complete logistics solution in delivering Riley iron ore from the mine gate to the port and then on board ship. This one-stop shop approach will increase efficiencies and reduce costs which is all important when mining bulk commodities.”

He added: “Qube is a professional logistics company with modern, well managed vehicles and trained, professional drivers. Qube’s safety record was also an important part of our selection criteria and their real-time monitoring of vehicle movements is impressive.”