Tag Archives: Vale

SpectraFlow wins second Crossbelt Analyzer order from Vale

SpectraFlow Analytics says it has received a second order from Vale for a Crossbelt Analyzer as part of the mining company’s quality monitoring processes at its iron ore dispatch terminal of Ponta da Madeira (TMPM), in Maranhão, Brazil.

While it is the second order from Vale, it is the third order for a minerals Crossbelt Analyzer in South America.

The company said: “After the very successful installation of a SpectraFlow Crossbelt Analyzer for the same application in the Terminal Ilha Guaíba in Rio de Janeiro, this is now second installation of a SpectraFlow Analyzer within Vale to enhance the ship loading with real-time data.”

SpectraFlow analysers are already installed in the cement, iron ore, gold, platinum, copper, potash, bauxite and recycling industries. They leverage Near Infrared Sensors, providing measurements of dry raw material composition at key points in mining, processing and refining value chains.

Olitek ships first Remote Charge-up Unit to Newmont’s Cadia operation

Olitek Mining Robotics says it has reached an important milestone in its Remote Charge-up Unit (RCU) project with the dispatch of a RCU to Newmont’s Cadia operation in New South Wales, Australia.

The RCU uses robust mining robotics and a modified Volvo Construction Equipment wheeled excavator platform to enable full face charge-up from the safety of the cabin, Olitek explains.

Mechanised charge-up of tunnel development faces significantly reduces exposure of charge-up crews to tunnel face hazards such as seismicity, rockfalls, thermal stress and repetitive strain injuries. The development face explosives loading and priming crews are most ‘at risk’ to these geotechnical hazards due to the lengthy exposure duration at the tunnel face to perform their tasks.

The RCU project was part of a Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC)-backed consortium involving Vale, Newcrest (now Newmont), Agnico Eagle and Glencore, which sought to deliver a TRL7 (Technology Readiness Level) fully functioning prototype unit that will move personnel at least 4-5 m away from the underground development face and provide faster manual charge-up options to reduce exposure time for existing operations.

The system leverages Olitek’s patented HELX initiation system, allowing full charge-up and tie in to be completed using low-cost conventional detonators, the company says.

Olitek said the dispatch represents a major commercialisation milestone.

Riino zero-emission monorail haulage system receives mining company backing

Riino, a company incorporating technology influences from monorails, subway systems and the mechanised raise climber, is a step closer to bringing its zero-emission material movement concept to reality, having signed up three mining company backers for a technology scoping study, utilising a consortium approach, supported by the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC).

Agnico Eagle Mines, Rio Tinto and Vale are now all part of a CMIC-backed consortium pushing the Riino project forward under CMIC’s Surface Mining Alternative Haulage project. In addition, Riino has also been successful in achieving funding as part of Canadian government backing through the Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator Network.

Riino is an innovative monorail haulage system targeting the reduction of the industry’s carbon emissions and achieving net-zero goals, CMIC says. It is designed to receive its power from internal, train-mounted motors as well as auxiliary on-board batteries for a complete electric and automated operation.

The Riino concept originated out of President and CEO Aaron Lambert’s experience as a contract miner in Sudbury – a role that saw him interact and engage with many different technologies.

The standard 120-t (18% grade) or 400-t payload numbers used by Riino have been influenced by existing underground or open-pit mining profiles

Lambert has been working on Riino for several years, with the initial plan to produce a system that is both capex- and opex-efficient. The headline numbers associated with this are a targeted 50-80% reduction in haulage operating costs.

As time has gone by, the zero-emission element has created a further selling point for Riino, encouraging mining companies to consider its use alongside a host of other ‘green’ haulage alternatives to the standard diesel-powered truck and shovel fleet.

All three of the mining companies attached to the ongoing scoping study have been interrogating the data and designs Lambert and his team have assembled over recent months, and are now pledging financial resources to wrap some in-depth numbers and technical data around what it will take to build a prototype to a sufficient technology readiness level.

To this point, the power requirements for Riino have been based off existing specifications for both open-pit and underground mines. The standard 120-t (18% grade) or 400-t payload numbers have also been influenced by existing underground or open-pit mining profiles.

“We’ve had great early engagement from mining companies since we started the Riino project, and the latest backing from Agnico, Rio and Vale is tangible evidence of that,” Lambert told IM.

The three mining companies and Riino are currently engaged in this four-month study, which will be concluded by the end of this year. The idea is to then engage in another staged development process that could result in a full-scale prototype being built for testing at a location in Sudbury, owned by Rainbow Concrete Industries.

Trevor Kelly, Innovation Manager at CMIC, said: “We see the scoping study as a good opportunity for the industry to look at this solution. It offers a low-cost entry point and definitive outcome to enable companies to get involved initially, quickly. As with many other CMIC projects, we work with entrepreneurs and mining companies to find the ‘sweet spot’ between what money and resources are available, matching that to a relevant technology scope.

“As a result, it gives Riino and the mining companies a view on the potential of this technology and the possible paths forward.”

Gary Molloy, Innovation Manager at CMIC, added on the scoping study: “At this stage, it is all about building confidence in your company and your product.”

Each Riino locomotive – of which there are several making up a system – has internal, train-mounted motors to offer optimal driveline power across the system. These locomotives also come with wheels that have full attachment to the rails – via load-bearing, side-attachment and under-attachment wheels – similar to that of a rollercoaster. This eliminates the potential for train derailments, according to Lambert, saving potential system damage as well as downtime.

The inclusion of a Busbar able to provide 750 V of DC power comes out of the subway and surface transit space, meanwhile.

On top of this, the system has auxiliary on-board batteries to eliminate a significant amount of electrical infrastructure such as power cables and additional sub-stations.

This makes for a system able to offer speeds of up to 80 km/h, transport material lump sizes up to -760 mm, carry 120 t on a standard 18% incline road/ramp and navigate road widths of 1.8 m.

The Riino system has auxiliary on-board batteries to eliminate a significant amount of electrical infrastructure such as power cables and additional sub-stations

Lambert concluded: “Riino’s ambitious journey to revolutionise material movement in mining has gained substantial momentum and is swiftly progressing toward realisation.

“This pivotal phase, marked by rigorous study and financial commitments, aims to propel Riino towards a prototype build, positioned for testing in Sudbury. With a scoping study drawing to a close by year-end and subsequent developmental stages on the horizon, Riino stands poised to redefine mining logistics, offering a glimpse into a greener, more efficient future.”

World Economic Forum members to discuss global energy transition at IMARC

The World Economic Forum (WEF) will bring together political and business leaders at a special forum focusing on the global energy transition, and Australia’s role in it, as part of the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) being held in Sydney from October 31-November 2.

The event, consisting of an exclusive roundtable and a panel discussion, will explore the challenge of transitioning to renewable energy while managing the need for low-cost and reliable power generation.

The “Australia Energy Transition Community” roundtable will take place on November 1 for WEF’s mining, energy, finance and public sector members.

It will bring together major players from both the public and private sectors to discuss the opportunities, complexities and realities of the energy transition for Australia. Its aim is to set a clearer pathway forward between the government and the private sector on Australia’s energy transition and critical minerals strategy.

IMARC Conference Director, Sherene Asnasyous, says the WEF initiative highlights IMARC’s role as a key forum to enable the industry to address the issues facing not only Australia, but the global energy sector.

She says IMARC, unlike other industry forums, can bring together stakeholders from across the entire value chain to share their insights, perspectives and solutions on how to achieve a sustainable and prosperous energy future for Australia and the world.

She said: “We are proud that the WEF has chosen IMARC to host this important initiative on the energy transition in Australia. Over its 10 years, IMARC has become the leading forum in Australia to connect industry leaders, politicians, and the broader business community to facilitate conversations to address existential issues facing society.”

Jörgen Sandström, Head, Transforming Industrial Ecosystems at the WEF, will lead the discussion with the hope of better aligning the resource and energy sector across public and private sectors.

Sandström said: “The current paradigm, which we hope to change, is that the energy sector and resource sector, particularly from a government level, operate independently from one another, which results in less effective policy. The transition to renewable energy is a complex challenge that requires a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors and we believe that Australia can lead the world given it’s resource wealth, strong governance systems and highly trained workforce.”

The keynote panel discussion to follow, titled ‘Unlocking Australia’s Energy Transition: From a Global to a Country Perspective’ will feature Sandström and executives from leading mining, energy and finance companies:

  • Gillian Cagney: President, Australia and New Zealand (incl. PNG & Mongolia), Worley;
  • Andrew Hinchcliff: Group Executive Institutional Banking and Markets, Commonwealth Bank of Australia;
  • Sam Crafter: Chief Executive Officer, Office of Hydrogen Power South Australia; and
  • Mark Cutifani: Non-Executive Director, TotalEnergies; Senior Independent Director, Laing O’Rourke; and Chair, Base Metals, Vale.

The panel will explore the global trends and challenges of the energy transition, and how Australia can leverage its natural resources, innovation and collaboration to achieve its net-zero emissions target and become a global leader in the green economy.

International Mining is a media sponsor of IMARC 2023 and will be in Sydney to report on the event

Samarco sets monthly iron ore pellet production record with Metso unit

Samarco Mineração S.A. has set a monthly production record during August 2023 of 824,829 t of high-grade pellets in a single pelletising line with its 816 sq.m Metso Pelletizing Plant Indurating Machine #4 at its Ubu site in Brazil.

On an annalised basis, the production is equivalent to approximately 8.8- 9 Mt/y of pellets from a single machine. Samarco has installed three additional Metso Pelletizing Plants at its Ubu site.

Pedro Sousa, Sales Manager, Ferrous & Heat Transfer, South America, said: “We’re very excited to see Samarco breaking their monthly iron ore pellet production record and would like to congratulate the whole team for this great achievement. It makes us proud to see how our solutions are helping our customers improve their pelletising operations while simultaneously supporting the journey toward decarbonisation.”

Currently, only the Plant #4 is in operation, with Samarco and Metso discussing the revamp of the three other plants to continue increasing pellet production and decarbonising the steel industry processes using sustainable technologies, according to Samarco’s gradual production revamp plan. Related test work and studies are currently being performed at Metso’s R&D facility in Frankfurt, Germany.

Metso’s traveling grate pelletising process produces uniform pellets, ensuring high performance and quality with low investment and operating costs, as well as decreased energy consumption and emissions, according to the OEM.

Samarco is a joint venture owned by Vale and BHP. Samarco’s principal place of business is in Belo Horizonte, with units operating in Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. The company’s main product is iron ore pellets, the raw material for steel production.

Vale introduces Agera, the Sustainable Sand business

Vale has announced the introduction of Agera – a company created to develop and expand its Sustainable Sand business.

Based in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, Agera receives the sand produced from the treatment of tailings generated by Vale’s iron ore operations in the state and promotes its commercialisation and distribution. The new company also invests in research and development (R&D) of new solutions for the product.

Sustainable Sand began to be produced by Vale in 2021 after seven years of research, as a substitute for sand extracted from the environment. Since then, around 900,000 t of the product have already been sent to the construction sector and road paving projects. The expectation is to sell 1 Mt this year and 2.1 Mt by 2024.

Fabiano Carvalho Filho, Vale’s Business Development Director, said: “We created Agera with the aim of scaling a business that is helping us to reduce the use of dams and piles in Minas Gerais, as well as helping to replace natural sand, which is often extracted predatorily from river beds. The creation of Agera is strongly linked to our strategy of promoting circular mining, which means strengthening the concepts of the circular economy in mining, associating economic development with better use of natural resources.”

Established about a year ago under the provisional name of Co-Log, Agera projects annual sales revenue of BRL18 million ($3.6 million) by 2023. Today, it has seven customer service points and stocks material in the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. The company has contracts with seven road hauliers and three rail freight providers. The company currently serves more than 80 manufacturing units in seven segments (concrete, precast, mortar, artifacts, cement, textured paints and pavement) and is investing in research to expand its operations in other applications, such as red ceramics.

Fábio Cerqueira, Agera’s CEO, said: “We are structured to accelerate the development of sustainable products and materials, meeting the specific requirements of the market. In addition, our logistical solutions enable end-to-end efficiency to guarantee agility in the supply of sustainable sand.”

In terms of the production of Sustainable Sand, the wet processing of iron ore, which is currently used for less than 30% of Vale’s production, generates tailings, which can be disposed of in dams or piles. These tailings are basically composed of silica, the main component of sand, and iron oxides. It is a non-toxic material, which is only processed physically.

Since 2014, Vale has been investing in research to find solutions for the reuse of sand from iron ore processing, with the aim of reducing the generation of tailings. In 2021, Vale began marketing Sustainable Sand, a product intended for civil construction with 100% legal origin, high silica content and low iron content, as well as high chemical and granulometric uniformity.

The sand has been produced at the Brucutu mine in Minas Gerais since 2021. Last year, the company began small-scale production at the Viga mine and in the coming months it plans to start production at the Cauê mine, in Itabira.

In Brazil, around 330 Mt of sand are used every year in construction and industrial processes. The extraction of natural sand from riverbeds often exceeds the rate of natural replenishment and can cause irreversible environmental impacts. With the production of Sustainable Sand, it is possible to carry out 100% circular extraction, transforming a material that would otherwise be discarded into various products for the benefit of society, without compromising biodiversity, Vale says.

In addition, Sustainable Sand generates greater profitability for the construction market and industries, since the process guarantees greater control and quality of the final product, avoiding material waste and reworking during construction, the company added. Also in concrete production, Sustainable Sand helps to reduce cement consumption and CO2 emissions.

Resourcing Tomorrow

Major miners join Resourcing Tomorrow lineup

Representatives from the world’s largest mining companies Anglo American, BHP, Glencore, Rio Tinto and Vale have confirmed their attendance for this year’s Resourcing Tomorrow event, in London, event organisers say.

These attendees will join other leading mining companies including AngloGold Ashanti, Antofagasta Minerals, Barrick, B2 Gold, Eldorado Gold, Endeavour Mining, Freeport-McMoRan, Newmont, Sibanye-Stillwater and Teck Resources.

As Europe’s largest mining event, Resourcing Tomorrow: Accelerating the Energy Transition takes place in London on November 28-30 and is poised to be yet another agenda-setting edition for the industry, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange among professionals in the field, event organisers say.

Resourcing Tomorrow unites all stakeholders in the mining industry, including global mining and energy companies, investors, government delegations, researchers, educators, regulators, suppliers and operators. The conference program will provide 100-plus sessions in which all of the aforementioned miners will participate, giving attendees the opportunity to engage and network with leaders and industry specialists from around the world.

The event will draw participants from more than 100 countries, including Australia, USA, UK, Canada, India, Brazil, South Africa, Ghana, Chile, Nigeria, Peru and Germany, demonstrating its international appeal and the global significance of the mining industry, organisers say.

With the increasing pace of change and emerging technologies in the mining industry, Resourcing Tomorrow will focus on the future of our industry and presents a unique opportunity for international representatives of the world’s leading resource economies to meet, find new partners, discuss current challenges, and share the latest research, technology and best practice.

International Mining is a media sponsor of Resourcing Tomorrow.

Vale and Petrobras to jointly investigate sustainable fuel use and CO2 capture, storage tech

Vale has signed a “protocol of intent” with one of the largest oil and gas producers in the world, Petrobras, to develop low carbon solutions that could see the two assess joint decarbonisation opportunities, including the development of sustainable fuels – such as hydrogen, green methanol, biobunkers, green ammonia and renewable diesel – and C02 capture and storage technologies.

The agreement, which takes advantage of the technical expertise of both companies and their synergies, also includes potential commercial agreements for the supply of low-carbon fuels produced by Petrobras to be used in Vale’s operations, which could contribute to the company’s commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.

Eduardo Bartolomeo, Vale’s CEO (on the right), said: “Brazil has all the necessary conditions to lead a large-scale development of low-carbon solutions and renewable fuels, such as green hydrogen and green methanol. Vale is firmly committed to reducing its carbon footprint and wants to be a protagonist in this journey, leveraging relevant actions for the energy transition in Brazil. This agreement with Petrobras fits perfectly into this context.”

Petrobras President, Jean Paul Prates (on the left), added: “Petrobras’ partnership with Vale will be strategic in driving the country’s energy transition. These are the two biggest Brazilian powers joining forces around a common purpose: to develop the most modern solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are going to leverage the production capacity, logistical structure and technological expertise of two national giants to boost the production and supply of more efficient and sustainable fuels. This is what we can call being a first mover to materialise our decarbonisation strategy, creating demand and scale for low-carbon solutions.”

This partnership, Vale says, can help it achieve its commitment to reduce its absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 33% by 2030 and achieve neutrality by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement.

E-Tech evaluating Novamera’s surgical mining technologies for Eureka project

E-Tech Resources Inc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Novamera Inc to evaluate the use of surgical mining and Novamera’s technologies as the extraction method for its Eureka project in Namibia.

The MoU sets out a series of milestones that include a conceptual surgical mining economic desktop evaluation (commencing immediately), Guidance Tool calibration activities and a bulk sample. The parties are planning to initiate these activities over the next 12 months.

The solution could provide a more cost-effective and faster path to production, while also radically reducing environmental and social impact, E-Tech says. It aligns well with E-Tech’s values of being a sustainable and responsible company with the goal of supporting the green energy transition.

The Eureka project focuses on two rare earth elements (REEs), neodymium and praseodymium. The project’s mineralogy, processability and favourable logistics have the potential to make it one of the simplest and most accessible sources of REE supply to the global market, according to the company.

Todd Burlingame, E-Tech CEO, said: “E-Tech is advancing the development of the Eureka deposit by utilising innovative and leading-edge technology. The minerals of the future will require techniques and approaches that are in line with the ESG principles of their end use. We believe that Novamera’s technologies are revolutionary and E-Tech is thrilled to be at the forefront of exploring new mining methods.

“We are committed to finding sustainable and cost-efficient ways to mine the materials essential for building a low carbon economy, while also protecting and preserving the environment.”

Dustin Angelo, Novamera CEO, said: “We are excited to be working with E-Tech and demonstrating the capabilities of our surgical mining technologies. Mining companies like E-Tech are looking for solutions to bring deposits into production with a smaller environmental footprint than that of conventional mining methods. The willingness to look at a different business model will open more strategic options to generate value for their shareholders and realise positive cash flow sooner for a project.”

Novamera’s proprietary hardware and software seamlessly combine with conventional drilling equipment, allowing mining companies to surgically extract deposits while minimising dilution, according to the company. Real-time data, machine learning and production analytics drive the ‘surgical mining cycle’ to make extraction of complex, narrow-vein deposits not only viable but highly profitable.

A low capital expenditure solution requiring minimal mine development, surgical mining presents miners with a flexible, scalable mining method that can help get into ore quickly with small-scale deposits, it says.

Working together with conventional drilling equipment and operations, the solution generates circa-95% less waste and less than half the greenhouse gas emissions of selective mining methods, according to Novamera. In addition, a closed-loop system is employed to minimise water discharge and real-time backfilling reduces environmental impact and tailings storage needs.

A 2021 proof of concept was designed to test the entire surgical mining system and process, which is made up of three steps. This includes drilling a hole with a standard NQ-sized diamond core rig and sending Novamera’s proprietary guidance tool down through the core barrel on wireline to image the orebody in high resolution and with close spacing; bringing in a large-diameter drill, coupled with the company’s course correction device and positioning control system, to drill to depth following the trajectory provided by the guidance tool and transporting the cuttings using reverse circulation air-lift assist; and backfilling the holes thereafter.

The latest in-field demonstration, completed in late 2022, took place in Baie Verte, Newfoundland, at the same Signal Gold-owned site (the Romeo and Juliet deposit). The trial highlighted the technical capabilities of the guidance tool, the operational impact of real-time data in a production setting and the economic potential of surgical mining, according to Novamera.

Carried out under the auspices of the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC), the demonstration highlighted to the sponsors – OZ Minerals, Vale and an unnamed global gold producer among them – that the guidance tool was integral to effective surgical mining.

In terms of the next steps for the technologies, Angelo told IM back in June that the company was keen to fabricate a “course correction device” able to compensate for the impacts of gravity on drilling such holes and the rock dynamics at play, equip the drill rig with a 2-m-diameter cutting head (as opposed to the 1-m-diameter head used in the proof of concept), prove out the guidance tool at a number of sites to build up a “geological database” and then get to a full production test at a chosen mine site.

Such a mine site test was confirmed around this time after the Government of Canada announced the 24 recipients of support selected through the Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA) Network’s second call for proposals. Novamera was named within this select pool, with the government granting it C$850,005 ($643,984) for a project to deploy its surgical mining technologies at the Hammerdown mine site, in Newfoundland, Canada, a site owned by Maritime Resources.

Vale and Port of Açu sign HBI Mega Hub MoU

Vale says it has signed a MoU with the Port of Açu to study the development of a Mega Hub at the port located in São João da Barra in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to produce HBI (hot briquetted iron) using the direct reduction route.

The Mega Hub will initially receive pellets from Vale and could, in the future, include an iron ore briquette plant at site to supply the direct reduction route at the industrial complex.

According to the agreement, both companies will seek to attract investors and clients to build and operate the direct reduction plant using natural gas which will be available at the port, with the possibility of eventually converting to green hydrogen, producing HBI with near-zero carbon emissions.

It is a pioneering initiative that considers a technical study coordinated by the Port of Açu and sectorial academics which proposes the use of HBI as partial burden in blast furnaces, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing steelmaking productivity without needing to substitute existing assets, such as the blast-furnaces and steelworks. Currently, HBI is mostly used in electric arc furnaces. Using HBI in this type of furnace will enable a smoother decarbonisation process for the Brazilian steelmaking industry.

The agreement with the Port of Açu marks another step in the development of Mega Hubs in Brazil. Mega Hubs are industrial complexes designed to produce low-carbon steel products and Vale has already begun implanting such hubs in three countries in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman).

Marcello Spinelli, Executive VP of Iron Ore Solutions, said: “We believe that Brazil has great potential to be a hub for low-carbon steelmaking. We have high-quality iron ore, abundant natural gas reserves and the potential to develop green hydrogen. As a Brazilian company, Vale seeks to partner with ventures that contribute in this direction. We want to be the driving force behind Brazil’s ‘neo-industrialisation’, which will be based on green industry.”

José Firmo, CEO of the Port of Açu, said: “The signing of this partnership demonstrates the full industrialisation potential of the Port of Açu, confirming its vocation as the port of energy transition in Brazil. We believe that the Port of Açu, with its unique port infrastructure in the country, strategic location and potential for the most competitive Brazilian natural gas prices, brings together unique characteristics to, together with Vale, contribute to the decarbonisation of the domestic and international steel industry.”

Albano Vieira, Consultant for steel and mining issues at Prumo, the holding company that develops the Port of Açu, said: “Brazil is one of the most important iron ore and steel producers in the world and Vale is a leading player in this market. The use of HBI in blast furnaces can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 25%, with even greater potential reductions along the chain, which would put the industry in line with the goals of reducing emissions by 2030. With the Port of Açu as the gateway to zero-carbon industrialisation projects, all the conditions and analyses point to the country becoming a major producer of HBI, supplying steel mills all over the world.”