Tag Archives: Teck

Antamina leveraging MineSense’s in-shovel ore sorting technology

The largest mine in Peru, Antamina, has started using MineSense’s ore sorting technology as it looks to increase ore loading accuracy at the joint venture operation.

MineSense’s ShovelSense technology provides significant value to mine operators by identifying ore and waste, and classifying ore at the earliest stage possible in the mining process, the extraction face, using X-ray Fluorescence sensors, the Vancouver-based company says.

It has proved this technology out at multiple mine sites in North America, including Teck Resources’ Highland Valley Copper operations and Copper Mountain Mining Corp’s namesake mine, both of which are in British Columbia, Canada.

Enrique Parades Rivero, Mine Manager at Antamina Mine, stated at the recent Comasurmin 2021 conference that Antamina “plans to know what ore grades the mine is processing to the millimetre,” and this ore characterisation data is provided by MineSense’s ShovelSense technology. This technology, MineSense says, enables mines to generate more metal to increase profitability and improve operations, while optimising sustainability performance.

In terms of loading equipment, Antamina reportedly operates seven P&H 4100XPC electric shovels, four Hitachi EX5600-6 hydraulic shovels and two Cat 994F wheel loaders. Some of this loading equipment is interacting with the first fleet of electric drive 372 t class 798 AC Cat trucks in the country, which Ferreyros, the Caterpillar dealer in Peru, recently successfully put into operation.

The Antamina copper/zinc mine is owned 33.75% by BHP, 33.75% by Glencore 33.75%, 22.5% by Teck and 10% by Mitsubishi.

Teck leverages Nanozen tech to improve occupational health at mine sites

As part of its work towards eliminating occupational disease, Teck has completed a pilot project using an innovative combination of on-the-ground data and video technology to help better understand potentially harmful dust exposures at a task level.

The Nanozen pilot project, completed in 2020, was devised to understand task level exposures so the company could “laser focus” critical control strategies to reduce employee exposures.

As the company says, occupational exposures that can give rise to occupational disease represent the single most significant health and safety risk in the mining industry globally.

The large-scale pilot project it carried out, which included its Greenhills, Fording River, and Highland Valley Copper Operations, was funded by Teck’s Ideas at Work program. The pilot program leveraged the power of advanced analytics to collect real-time exposure data for job roles including pit crews, mechanics and equipment operators.

Exposure to dust at mine sites is a potential health and safety hazard, leading to respiratory diseases if proper precautions are not taken, Teck says. For years it has been industry standard to rely on daily sampling methods, averaged over the length of a shift, to determine dust exposure. These sampling methods provide one value indicating an employee’s overall dust exposure for a shift.

By making use of Nanozen’s real-time monitoring technology, Teck says it has been able to greatly improve the collection of information about dust levels during a work shift. Instead of a single value for an entire shift, it can now monitor live, accurate information on the concentration of dust exposures.

An overview of the instruments and tools deployed for the Nanozen pilot project

“This has enabled us to better understand how and when these exposures occur, and to target controls that reduce exposures from higher-risk activities,” the company said.

In 2020, the Nanozen pilot project was initiated at sites to deploy this technology into a wide range of roles including field and shop mechanics, pit utility and cable crews, bulldozer and grinding operators, and laboratory workers involved in sample processing. Teck’s Occupational Health and Hygiene team leveraged advanced analytics, diving deep into the data to find meaningful results and actionable changes, it said. This increased volume of research data, the company says, has helped it pinpoint the specific activities and times where dust exposures occur and prioritise approaches to mitigate them.

Dan Sarkany, Lead, Occupational Hygiene at Teck Coal, said: “Applying analytics to real-time particulate monitoring helps us determine exactly which activities lead to high dust exposures, allowing us to recommend and implement targeted controls to improve employee health and safety.”

This pilot project coupled Nanozen real-time dust monitoring technology with on-site video recordings and video analysts trained to recognise job activities. The footage collected maintained confidentiality and privacy by blurring faces and skin tone, and no audio was recorded. Teck said it had the full support of its workforce to undertake this work.

Corrine Balcaen, Director, Occupational Health & Hygiene, said: “This project represents a leading health and safety initiative in the mining industry and other industries with dust exposures.”

Real-time dust monitoring, and the targeted controls developed as a result of the learnings, will continue to be implemented throughout its operations going forward, the company said.

“This technology serves a key role in improving exposure controls and working towards Teck’s goal of eliminating occupational disease,” it added.

In 2019, Teck employed Nanozen’s real-time dust monitoring technology at Greenhills as part of a study looking to gain detailed, real-time data on dust exposure levels throughout a typical haul truck driver shift.

This is an edited version of the story that first appeared on Teck’s website, here.

CMIC-backed novel comminution technology hits commissioning milestone

The Canada Mining Innovation Council’s (CMIC) Conjugate Anvil Hammer Mill (CAHM) and MonoRoll platform technology project has reached a new milestone with hot commissioning of the MonoRoll at COREM’s testing facility in Quebec, Canada.

CAHM is a platform technology advancing two technologies in parallel where both designs break particles in a highly efficient thin particle bed. CAHM, according to CMIC, provides a more efficient alternative to high pressure grinding rolls and SAG mills, while the MonoRoll variant is designed for finer grinds and to replace inefficient rod and ball mills.

In a recent post, CMIC said hot commissioning of the MonoRoll at COREM’s testing facility, using some of the 300 t of ore contributed by Agnico Eagle Mines, was now complete. Although the MonoRoll is being tested using hard rock, there is also significant interest from the iron ore, cement and aggregate industries, CMIC says.

It added: “Fabrication of the CAHM machine is underway and if the optimised discrete element method modelling results hold, we are confident that the MonoRoll and the CAHM are on track to achieve the following significant benefits in ore grinding:

  • “Reduce energy consumption by an estimated 50% compared to best available technology;
  • “Eliminate grinding media;
  • “Increase ore feed reduction ratio; and
  • “Simplify the comminution circuits.”

CMIC is leading a consortium including experts in comminution, product development, engineering and testing as well as six major hard-rock mining companies guiding the effort and participating as potential first adopters. Included among the consortium is CTTI, Hatch, Glencore Canada – XPS (Expert Process Solutions), COREM, Teck, Agnico Eagle, Newmont and Kinross.

The MonoRoll technology is one of only six finalists in Impact Canada’s Crush It! Challenge. Launched in October 2018, Crush It! challenged Canadian innovators to deliver game-changing solutions for cleaner, more efficient rock processing.

CMIC said: “The MonoRoll project is the only finalist developing a novel grinding mill, and if the project wins the C$5 million ($3.9 million) Grand Prize, the funds would be used to engineer a large-scale machine to test in active mining operations.”

Orica leverages MWD data, AI to create new blast loading design benchmark

Orica is looking to set a new benchmark for blast loading designs in Latin America after deploying its Design for Outcome solution in the region.

The company, focused on integrating its digital blasting tools to improve outcomes, is leveraging its BlastIQ digital blast optimisation platform within this new solution, Angus Melbourne, Chief Commercial and Technology Officer of Orica, told delegates at Massmin 2020 last week.

In a presentation titled, ‘Blasting’s Critical Role in Extracting Ore’, Melbourne mentioned Design for Outcome as an example of where the company was delivering integrated digital solutions in Latin America.

“Design for Outcome is an automated continual optimisation solution that sets a new benchmark for blast loading designs,” he said. “It utilises data science to process both upstream and downstream data to automate blast designs. This produces tailored and optimised blast designs by reducing blast variability and explosive consumption while increasing productivity.”

Using machine-learning algorithms, Design for Outcome processes measured-while-drilling data to classify ground hardness throughout each blast hole and then match explosives energy to hardness domains to automatically generate tailored blast loading designs, Melbourne explained.

Through artificial intelligence, these algorithms are trained with the data received from the fleet control systems (FMS) and previous blast results. This enables final automation of the blasting design process and its execution in the field with Orica’s smart control systems and programming interfaces, loading the blast accurately according to the generated design. These elements combine to ensure the desired outcomes are achieved, Melbourne said.

“Digitally-enabled blasting solutions such as Design for Outcome are allowing us to work with customers in different ways, to think and act differently and expand our role in the mining value chain,” he said.

Such a solution is part of the company’s plans to automate its segment of the mining process. This goal was strengthened last month with the launch of the Orica and Epiroc jointly developed Avatel™ semi-automated explosives delivery system.

A key enabling technology of Avatel, which is built on the foundation of Epiroc’s Boomer M2 carrier, and Orica’s automation vision is WebGen™, the company’s fully wireless initiation system. When combined with Orica’s LOADPlus™ smart control system, specifically designed on-board storage, assembly, digital encoding capability and Subtek™ Control bulk emulsion, Avatel provides customers with complete and repeatable control over blast energy from design through to execution, Orica says.

While referencing the second key pillar in Orica’s digital strategy, Melbourne highlighted the use of the company’s Bulkmaster™ 7 smart, connected explosives delivery system in Latin America during the virtual event.

The new delivery systems not only improve productivity but begin to digitise critical workflows between design and execution in drill and blast operations, according to Melbourne.

The Antamina copper mine in Peru, a joint venture between BHP, Glencore, Teck and Mitsubishi, will soon be leveraging such a system, with Melbourne confirming seven Bulkmaster 7 units had been shipped to the mine and were undergoing commissioning.

Orica’s third digitalisation pillar is the measurement of downstream impacts of the drill and blast process, which is where FRAGTrack™, the company’s automated rock fragmentation measurement device comes into play.

This device captures, analyses and reports real-time data for optimising blast operations, improving downstream productivity and tracking overall operational performance in mining and quarrying, Melbourne explained.

This system is active across several key customer sites in Latin America, with Teck’s Carmen de Andacollo operation in Chile being one of the first to adopt the technology in the world, according to Melbourne. He said the copper operation is using the insights to deliver efficiencies across the value chain through digitally enabled optimised blasting.

Teck and AES shake on renewable power agreement for Carmen de Andacollo copper mine

Teck Resources and The AES Corp’s Chile affiliates, Compañía Minera Teck Carmen de Andacollo SA (CdA) and AES Gener SA, have entered into a long-term power purchase agreement to provide 100% renewable power for Teck’s Carmen de Andacollo Operation in Chile.

Under the agreement, CdA will source 72 MW (550 GWh/y) from AES Gener’s growing renewable portfolio of wind, solar and hydroelectric energy.

The transition to renewable power will replace previous fossil fuel power sources and eliminate around 200,000 t/y of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent to removing over 40,000 passenger vehicles from the road, Teck says.

Don Lindsay, President and CEO of Teck, said: “Teck is tackling the global challenge of climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of our operations and working towards our goal of becoming carbon neutral. This agreement takes Teck a step closer to achieving our sustainability goals, while also ensuring a reliable, long-term clean power supply for CdA at a reduced cost to Teck.”

Andrés Gluski, AES Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer, said the company was honoured to continue working with Teck to help the miner progress towards its goal of carbon neutrality.

“By providing Teck with innovative renewable energy solutions, AES Gener is helping build Chile’s sustainable and reliable grid of the future,” Gluski said.

As part of its updated Sustainability Strategy, Teck has set the goal of being a carbon-neutral operator by 2050. In support of that long-term objective, Teck has established milestone goals including sourcing 100% of all power needs in Chile from renewable power by 2030 and reducing the carbon intensity of operations by 33% by 2030. Teck previously announced an agreement with AES Gener to supply renewable power for the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) project currently under construction. Once effective, more than 50% of QB2’s total operating power needs will be from renewable sources.

The Carmen de Andacollo renewable power arrangement is in effect as of September 1, 2020, and will run through to the end of 2031.

Alejandro Vásquez, Vice President, South America, Teck, said: “Switching to clean, renewable power for Carmen de Andacollo is another step forward in our ongoing commitment to responsible resource development across our operations and activities.”

Carmen de Andacollo is an open-pit copper mine located in the Coquimbo Region of central Chile, around 350 km north of Santiago. Teck owns a 90% interest in the mine, with Empresa Nacional de Minería holding the remaining 10%. It produced 54,000 t of copper in 2019.

Teck renews carbon reduction goals with help of AES

Teck Resources, AES Corp and their respective Chile-based affiliates, Compañía Minera Teck Quebrada Blanca SA and AES Gener SA, have entered into a long-term power purchase agreement for the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) copper project in Chile, which will enable the transition to renewable energy for around half the power required for the operation.

Under this arrangement, CMTQB will source 118 MW for Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 from AES Gener’s growing renewable portfolio of wind, solar and hydroelectric energy, in addition to the 21 MW of solar power already contracted from AES Gener. Once effective, more than 50% of QB2’s total operating power needs are expected to be from renewable sources, Teck said.

The transition to renewable power will replace QB2’s previous fossil fuel power sources, avoiding some 800,000 t/y of greenhouse gas emissions. “That is equivalent to the emissions of about 170,000 combustion engine passenger vehicles – equal to permanently parking more than half of all the cars in the City of Vancouver, or all the cars in the Tarapacá Region of Chile where QB2 is located,” Teck said.

The renewable power arrangement will come into effect as early as January 2022 and will run through October 2042. CMTQB’s other arrangements with AES Gener, totaling 122 MW of power, are not impacted, Teck said.

Don Lindsay, President and CEO of Teck, said: “Switching to renewable power for QB2 is part of Teck’s ongoing work to reduce emissions, achieve carbon neutrality across our business and support global action on climate change. This agreement secures reliable, long-term power for our major copper growth project at no additional cost, while helping to reduce our environmental footprint.”

Lindsay said the company would continue to explore further opportunities to increase the use of renewable energy as part of Teck’s ongoing focus on decarbonisation.

Andrés Gluski, President and CEO of AES, said: “We are proud to work with our customers in the transition to a low-carbon energy future. We have a long-term relationship with Teck and are happy to support their evolving energy needs.”

Ricardo Manuel Falú, AES Gener’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “At AES Gener, we are contributing to the mining sector’s goal of being more sustainable while supporting the decarbonisation of the Chilean energy matrix. With our Greentegra strategy and our Coal to Green solution, we enable our customers to become greener and more competitive by replacing coal-based energy sources with renewables.”

The $4.74 billion project is expected to produce 316,000 t/y of copper-equivalent for the first five full years at all-in sustaining costs of $1.38/Ib ($3,043/t). The initial mine life of 28 years uses less than 25% of the current reserve and resource, according to Teck and, based on a $3/Ib average copper price over the life of the mine, QB2 is expected to provide a net present value (8% discount) of $2.43 billion.

In addition to renewable power, QB2 will also feature the first large-scale use of desalinated seawater for mining in the Tarapacá Region of Chile, in place of freshwater use.

The QB2 announcement comes at the same time as Teck announced a goal of becoming carbon neutral across its operations and activities by 2050.

“This objective builds on Teck’s progress on climate action to date, including implementing projects and initiatives to reduce GHG emissions at its operations by 289,000 t since 2011 – the equivalent to taking over 88,000 combustion engine cars off the road – and 81% of Teck’s current total electricity consumption is from renewable energy sources.”

AES is also committed to reducing its carbon intensity by 50% by 2022 and 70% by 2030, compared with a 2016 baseline. Aligned with that goal, AES Gener is leading the decarbonisation efforts in Chile, with the largest amount of renewable energy capacity under construction in that country, according to Teck.

Teck examines solar power options with acquisition of SunMine energy facility in BC

Teck Resources says it has purchased the SunMine solar energy facility in Kimberley, British Columbia, from the City of Kimberley.

SunMine, located on fully reclaimed land at Teck’s former Sullivan Mine site, is a 1.05 MW solar facility that has been operational since 2015. It is the first grid-connected solar facility in the province and the first built on a reclaimed mine site. It also has potential for future expansion, according to Teck.

Don Lindsay, President and CEO of Teck, said: “Our involvement with SunMine is part of our commitment to taking action on climate change, advancing renewable energy development, and supporting the global transition to a low-carbon economy.

“SunMine will help us gain first-hand experience with solar power generation as we advance the use of solar power at other operations.”

Teck has been involved with SunMine from its beginning, having provided the land and site infrastructure for development of the solar facility. Teck’s former Sullivan mine was a major producer of zinc, lead and silver, operating for nearly 100 years before closing in 2001, and close to 1,100 ha of the former mining area has since been reclaimed.

Development of SunMine aligns with Teck’s approach to working with stakeholders to develop post-mining land uses, from wildlife habitat to economic diversification, the company said.

Since 2011, Teck has implemented projects and initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at its operations by 289,000 t – the equivalent to taking over 88,000 combustion engine cars off the road, according to Teck – and 81% of Teck’s total electricity consumption is from renewable energy sources.

The sale amount is around C$2 million ($1.53 million), equal to the City of Kimberley’s outstanding debt obligation for SunMine, Teck said.

Teck trialling new blasting process to protect water quality in BC, Canada

As part of its commitment to improving water quality in British Columbia’s Elk Valley region, a number of research projects are underway to prevent nitrate from entering the environment and protect water quality in the region.

One source of nitrates is from explosives that interact with water during the blasting process, Teck said. “When this occurs nitrates can leach out of blastholes and enter the natural environment. To stop this from occurring plastic liners are used to prevent explosive materials from coming into contact with water,” the company said.

However, in order to use plastic liners, blast holes have historically needed to be dewatered so that the liner can reach the bottom of the hole and stay there, Teck said. “For blastholes that refill with water, a new approach was required.”

To tackle this problem, Teck undertook a research project to determine how plastic liners could be used in blastholes that naturally refill with water (often called dynamic blastholes). The research project was led by Teck with support from suppliers Maxam, Teck’s explosives provider, and Friesen Plastics, Teck’s liner supplier. Together, various combinations of procedures, liner types/packaging and explosive bulk truck modifications were trialed until a new system was developed.

Teck explained: “The emulsion in a liner system involves using the charging hose on the explosives truck to place the plastic liner in the bottom of a dynamic blasthole. The hole is then loaded with water resistant explosive from the bottom up, both filling the liner and keeping it in place. Once complete, the end result is a lined blasthole with the explosives protected from the water.”

In order for the plastic liner to be effectively placed down the blasthole, a hydraulic arm and funnel were added to the explosive bulk truck hose and the traditional borehole plastic liners had to be compressed into an accordion shape, according to Teck. The hydraulic arm allows for the hose to be placed directly over the blasthole and the funnel removes the wrinkles from the compressed plastic liner as it unfolds and is pushed to the bottom of the hole. “This ensures consistent lining of every blasthole while meeting our needs of durability and functionality,” the company said.

A common problem identified during early tests was the plastic liner being pulled back up the blasthole as the hose was withdrawn.

To address this, a system was developed that applies mineral oil to the bulk truck hose which acts as a lubricant allowing the hose to be withdrawn while keeping the plastic liner and blast material in the hole, Teck said.

“This process has now been successfully field tested on over 400 holes and has proven to be a safe and effective design,” the company said.

This new process is currently being piloted at Teck’s Fording River and Greenhills operations, but the plan is to implement across all of Teck’s steelmaking coal operations in 2019, the company said.

”As a result, every blasthole in the Elk Valley that is operationally accessible will contain a liner that protects both the explosive product and the environment. This will significantly reduce nitrate at source and help to protect water quality.”

GMG members devise mine automation guideline

The likes of Anglo American, BHP, Barrick Gold, Glencore, Newmont, Rio Tinto, Teck and Vale have collaborated on the Global Mining Guidelines Group’s (GMG) latest guideline on automation.

The Guideline for the Implementation of Autonomous Systems in Mining offers a broad view of the implementation of these systems, which are being used more and more frequently due to their potential for making the mining industry safer and more productive, according to GMG.

Christine Erikson, General Manager Improvement and Smart Business at Roy Hill, said the guideline “covers all aspects of operations, including people, safety, technology, engineering, regulatory requirements, business process and organisation models”. She added: “The guideline considers all perspectives in the industry, making it relevant and practical in implementation.”

The guideline provides a framework for mining stakeholders to follow when establishing autonomous mining projects ranging from single autonomous vehicles and hybrid fleets to highly autonomous fleets, GMG said. It offers guidance on how stakeholders should approach autonomous mining and describes common practices.

“More specifically, the publication addresses change management, developing a business case, health and safety and risk management, regulatory engagement, community and social impact, and operational readiness and deployment,” GMG said.

“There has been an incredible level of engagement in this project since its launch last year,” said Andrew Scott, Principal Innovator, Symbiotic Innovations, and GMG Vice-Chair Working Groups, who facilitated many of the workshops. “The industry interest reflects the growing importance and relevance of autonomous systems in mining and the industry’s need for a unified framework for mitigating risks and managing change while maximising the value of autonomy.”

Chirag Sathe, Principal, Risk & Business Analysis Technology at BHP – one of the project co-leaders alongside Glenn Johnson, Senior Mining Engineer, Technology at Teck – said the guideline is relevant even to those who have already embraced autonomy: “I would say that even though some mining companies have implemented autonomy, it hasn’t been a smooth ride and there are a number of lessons learned. This guideline would be a good reference material to everyone to look at various aspects while implementing autonomy. It is not meant to provide answers to every potential issue, but it at least may provide some guidance on what to look for.”

Erikson concurred, saying, “Roy Hill’s involvement has given greater insight into industry learnings that we have considered as part of our own autonomous projects.”

The guideline also promotes cooperation between the involved parties as a means of easing the implementation process, according to GMG. Andy Mulholland, GEOVIA Management Director at Dassault Systèmes, said: “Mining companies will need to rely heavily on their technology partners.” This guideline “sets down a great framework to be able to collaborate”, he added.

Sathe said: “As technology is moving very fast, guideline development also should keep pace with the change.”

As a result, the guideline will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis, according to GMG.

GMG said: “Although implementing autonomous systems creates new challenges, such as changes to the workforce and the workplace, their successful deployment adds definite value, with improved safety and efficiency and lower maintenance costs. As more operations move toward the application of these technologies, this guideline will be an invaluable asset.

Mark O’Brien, Manager, Digital Transformation at CITIC Pacific Mining, said the process of developing the guideline highlighted “just how much there is to factor into deciding whether to implement autonomy, whether you’re ready for it and what the journey is going to look like.

“Having this all captured in a single, well-considered document is a terrific resource.”

Teck’s Kalev Ruberg to become GMG Vice Chair

Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG) has welcomed Teck Resources’ Vice President of Digital Systems and Chief Information Officer (CIO), Kalev Ruberg, as its new Vice Chair.

He brings extensive experience in information technology and business leadership to the GMG Executive Council, GMG said. He has held the position of CIO with Teck since 2006 and has a strong background in information systems and technology and applied artificial intelligence. Ruberg was appointed Vice President, Digital Systems, in 2017.

Ruberg, who holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will sit on the Executive Council and help shape GMG strategy, the organisation said. As part of his Vice Chair role, he will be on track to become Chair in 2020.

“Teck is a GMG leadership member, and this new partnership reinforces a shared vision for a sustainable future of mining and a shared commitment to bringing industry leaders together to achieve it,” GMG said.

Michelle Ash, GMG Chair, said: “It is wonderful to have Kal join the executive as Vice Chair. In his role with Teck, he has shown his tremendous ability for leadership, strategy and collaboration, all of which he will bring to the role with GMG.”

Ruberg will officially join the GMG Executive Council at the Annual General Meeting on April 30 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.