Tag Archives: ventilation

Mastermyne to take on ‘Whole of Mine Operations’ at Sojitz’s Gregory Crinum

Mastermyne Group says it has been awarded the Mining Services Contract to operate the Gregory Crinum underground mine in Queensland, Australia, owned by Sojitz Blue Pty Ltd.

The contract term is seven years, including re-establishment, with the value coming in at A$600-660 million ($464-510 million), the company reported.

During 2020, Sojitz appointed Mastermyne to undertake a feasibility study focusing on the development of a high productivity bord and pillar mining operation. In parallel, Mastermyne was also engaged as the Mine Operator to undertake the re-entry process. The underground mining area was successfully re-entered in late October 2020, with no issues encountered, according to the contractor. Mastermyne continued as the Mine Operator while Sojitz finalised internal approvals.

The re-establishment project scope includes the re-establishment of the underground infrastructure including conveyor systems, ventilation, associated mine services, remediation works and surface infrastructure, all of which is expected to take around six months. Following these works, the mine will immediately transition into production with a staged ramp up to three bord and pillar mining units.

The underground mine is expected to produce around 11 Mt run of mine over the life of the project, with mining production planned to commence later this year.

At full production, the underground mine is expected to employ 180 full-time personnel. Mastermyne will provide underground mining equipment from its current fleet, including three bord & pillar miners, multi bolters and shuttle cars along with a range of ancillary production equipment to support the operation. The contract is expected to deliver on average A$80-100 million of revenue per year once in full production, Mastermyne says.

“Initial funding for the project establishment will be a combination of Sojitz capital and Mastermyne capital with the company drawing on its strong cash position and available funding lines to finance the project,” Mastermyne said. “The company’s capital contribution will primarily fund the overhaul of the mining fleet and ancillary mining equipment, which will be recovered over the term of the contract.”

Mastermyne intends to retain ownership of its mining equipment throughout the project.

Mastermyne CEO, Tony Caruso, said: “The execution of our first Whole of Mine Operations contract is a major milestone for Mastermyne and is significant in transitioning the business into a commercial model that is not only complimentary to the existing contracting model, but will provide an even greater level of earnings certainty over the long term.”

Sojitz CEO, Cameron Vorias, said: “We are delighted to have Mastermyne as our highly regarded partner for this development and it will support our strategic plans for the growth of high quality hard coking coal from the area.”

Howden causes a fanfare with launch of Jetsteam AX

Howden is looking to re-enter the Australian secondary ventilation market with a bang, coming out with a new product that offers the energy efficiency, durability and smarts to help ‘future proof’ underground mines.

Its Jetstream AX secondary fans were launched across the globe this month, with service centres on the east and west coast of Australia having already received units.

Phil Durham, Global Mining Applications Engineer, said the Jetstream AX secondary fan is the missing piece to complete the full Howden ventilation puzzle.

“Howden, in the past, was heavily involved in the secondary market in Australia, but some years after exiting this space, the new Jetstream AX is filling the gap in our lineup, helping complete our total mine ventilation solution approach,” he told IM. “Howden has the Ventsim™ DESIGN software, the Ventsim CONTROL ventilation on demand software, plus all the required equipment including a comprehensive primary fan offering, mine cooling options and mine heating options.

“A global secondary fan was needed to complete the set, meaning we can now be considered a one-stop shop for miners wanting to go down the full Howden route for ventilation.”

While the Jetsteam AX will be available in all markets – bar USA where Howden already has a secondary fan offering – Howden sees it being particularly relevant for the Australian market where evolving diesel particulate emission regulations are making effective ventilation operations a must.

“These regulations will definitely affect how those mines manage, monitor and control their ventilation network,” Durham said. “The smart move would be to use their secondary fans more efficiently in terms of how and where they are locating them, which ones are operating and tightening up on where the working areas, vehicles and personnel are.

“In this respect, the Australia region is a key one in terms of the secondary fan product rollout.”

Just some of the attributes the region’s miners could benefit from, according to Howden, include:

  • The highest fan output at low power consumption, providing high efficiencies across a broad operating range;
  • A range of fans from 762-1,600 mm in diameter, with flow rates from 6.5-108 cu.m/sec;
  • Single-stage or twin-stage configuration;
  • A flexible modular design providing commonality of parts;
  • Adjustable pitch aerofoil blades to maximise operational envelope and provide reliable high-efficiency aerodynamic performance across a wide range;
  • An anti-stall chamber for continued safe operation during transient high-pressure events, offering a “risk-free process” in parallel fan arrangements; and
  • Downstream guide vanes with full inner fairing tube and tail cone in each fan to ensure maximum static pressure regain.

Durham expanded on some of these.

“That main inner fairing tube serves a couple of purposes, with one of the main ones being a reduction in shock losses,” he said. “That same design helps from a maintenance perspective, too, providing protection for the motor. In other ventilation fan designs, the motors are exposed to the dusty mine air. The inner tube provides a good level of protection, without being a totally sealed environment. Some air gets through for motor cooling purposes, but it is much less than your typical exposed fan.”

The option of a dual-speed fan could also be important for gaining sales in Australia given there are limited variable speed drive options in this market than others, according to Durham.

“In Australia, specifically, variable speed control is not a very common option due to the required 1,000 V supply,” he said. “Currently there are no proven reliable variable speed drives at such voltages.”

This dual-speed fan offering provides the mines with high and low speed settings – with high typically employed to, for example, clear blasting gases and low employed when a vehicle leaves the airway, and the ventilation demand reduces.

To get the best out of dual-speed fans, mines will most likely require remote access to easily switch from one setting to the next, according to Durham.

Miners that understand the benefits of using dual-speed fans – reducing energy consumption and costs – will also, most likely, be potential customers for Howden’s ventilation on demand and smart ventilation solutions, namely Ventsim CONTROL.

“We are definitely seeing an increase with the number of mines looking to adopt these new technologies and smarter ventilation control methods,” Durham said. “As they are moving towards digitalisation and automation of mining methods, ventilation is also coming into that equation. This is especially so when you consider that the energy cost coming from ventilation and cooling can be around 50% of the mine’s total expense.”

The use of effective secondary fans is part of that exercise, according to Durham, who said efficiencies of over 85% are possible with these units when used optimally.

“Although the primary fans are generally a much higher kilowatt rating, these mines usually have quite a number of secondary fans in operation,” he said. “Being able to use them in a smarter way on a day-to-day basis means they will be able to make some large savings there.”

Minetek breathes new life into Saracen’s Thunderbox gold mine

Minetek has been chosen to install an interim primary ventilation solution at Saracen Mineral Holdings’ Thunderbox operations in the northern Goldfields region of Western Australia.

Saracen was looking for an innovative ventilation solution to replace the traditional axial fans that were not supplying the required ventilation to increase production at the site, Minetek said.

The METS company said it was able to cater to the client’s needs and offer a custom solution that was installed with minimal disruption.

“We were able to customise a solution that was the same size in diameter to their existing fans but delivered a substantial increase to performance at the same time,” Minetek General Manager for Ventilation, Jeremy Sutherland, said.

Minetek’s POD (Pressure On Demand) technology allows the client to incrementally increase ventilation levels underground when required and give the client control over their energy consumption, the company said.

Saracen Thunderbox Underground Manager, Des Koh, said Minetek fans were selected to upgrade the site’s primary ventilation network, in preparation for a production ramp up, due to their ability to produce almost double the ventilation flow of the previous setup while only taking up slightly more room.

“The relatively small fans allowed us to utilise our existing bulkhead, where we were severely limited by space, which allowed us to use our existing infrastructure and dramatically reduce downtime in the mine during the change out,” Koh said.

“The installation was completed safely by our own personnel with technical support from Minetek and allows us to scale our ventilation flow with their pressure on demand system to suit our production profile.”

MCE sets new underground mining rules with Event Automation platform

Mobilaris Mining & Civil Engineering (MCE) is putting the power back in mining engineers’ hands with its new Event Automation platform, according to Hans Wahlquist, VP Business Development & Strategic Product Management for Mobilaris MCE.

Having previously provided advanced software that optimises underground operations through its Mobilaris Mining Intelligence product family, the company is now going one step further with its new automation platform.

Wahlquist describes Mobilaris Event Automation as a tool to enable mine engineers to make full use of the information that comes from: location data of machines, equipment, materials and personnel; the status of work tasks in the shift plan; sensory data from various monitoring systems; machine data from a mixed fleet; and much more.

IM put some questions to Wahlquist to find out more.

IM: In a recently published piece, you mentioned your new solution will “unlock the next level of control room capabilities in its innovative Mobilaris Event Automation platform”. Can you expand on this? What capabilities are being addressed with this update? Why are you addressing these now?

HW: For a long time, Mobilaris has made underground mines transparent with cutting-edge situational awareness, including 3D visualisation and technology-agnostic tracking using a large spectrum of positioning technologies from various vendors. With the new Event Automation platform, we take this further, allowing mining engineers to create advance automation features themselves.

Earlier on with the product development, we made mining personnel aware of vehicles, people, etc. Now, we allow them to create automatic actions based on rules involving the location of assets, the status of assets and sensors, etc.

This has, until now, pretty much only been possible with the help of quite costly integrations with external automation frameworks and using experts. Now, this can be done by the miners themselves in a cost-efficient way.

IM: Where will Mobilaris Event Automation provide the most value in underground mining? Will the value come in energy savings or mine site productivity?

HW: The possibilities are virtually endless. Energy saving functions like Ventilation on Demand (VoD) is, of course, a given example on functions that can be implemented using the Event Automation framework. Additionally, there are numerous productivity possibilities that are unveiled with the advent of Event Automation. One example is the opportunities to easily create valuable key performance indicators and tailored dashboards.

IM: How does the solution differ from, in ventilation applications, numerous VoD solutions already on the market? Is it the ability to tailor these actions that is the unique selling point?

HW: Traditional VoD solutions involve costly experts and costly integrations. As an underground mine is an ever-growing operation, these solutions need constant maintenance. With Event Automation, this can be made by mining engineers themselves which makes an Event Automation-based solution less costly, more tailored for the mine’s unique requirements, etc.

IM: Among the numerous systems Event Automation can integrate with, what is the most revolutionary for the mining sector?

HW: As Event Automation is based on the Node-Red framework from IBM with more than 2,500 existing integrations, the probability of the devices/sensors the mine already has already being integrated into Event Automation is high. Examples could be various gas sensors, smart rock bolts, etc.

Just imagine when you, as a mine engineer, can create an automation rule that involves the location of people or machines with the status of various sensors, which triggers actions such as sending a warning message or triggering an alarm.

IM: What mine site has Event Automation already been deployed at?

HW: Event Automation has so far been deployed in large mines in Canada.

Sandvik trialling Stage V engine technology at Boliden’s Tara mine

Sandvik is continuing its sustainability drive, announcing that it is trialling its first Stage V compliant underground truck at the Boliden-owned Tara zinc mine in Ireland.

The company, in December 2019, launched its first Stage V compliant underground LHDs for hard-rock mining applications following extensive testing. Back then, it said its newest intelligent loaders, the Sandvik LH517i and Sandvik LH621i, would receive the Stage V treatment in early 2020.

Now, Sandvik’s flagship truck, the TH663i, equipped with brand new Stage V Volvo Penta engine technology, is undergoing an extensive field trial period at Tara, allowing the company to obtain first-hand customer feedback on its technical and operational performance. Sandvik said this was “an integral part of Sandvik’s way of working and customer-focused mindset”.

The Stage V engine in the 63 t truck is expected to deliver lower emissions, contributing to reduced mine ventilation rates.

“Designed to fit seamlessly together with the truck and to perform specifically in underground use, the engine system includes built-in fire prevention solutions, increased wiring protection with shrink mesh wiring harness and electric hardware that is specifically designed for demanding conditions, with corrosion, heat and water resistance,” it said. “The new Stage V, requiring ultra-low sulphur fuel and low-ash engine oil to operate, will be an optional engine for the TH663i.”

To reduce particle emissions in the lower Stages/Tiers, standard engines on both the TH663i and TH551i trucks can be equipped with a diesel particulate filter (DPF), according to Sandvik. The company explained: “Based on studies conducted, the optional sintered metal DPF reduces particle mass by approximately 99%. From a reliability and maintenance viewpoint, the DPF is well protected but still designed for easy cleaning to reduce downtime and operating costs. The DPF is also available as retrofit kit.”

Pia Sundberg, Product Line Manager for Trucks at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, says thorough field tests are valuable to both the OEM and customer: “We want to allow enough time for sufficient testing of new technology, since it is of benefit to both sides.

“Possible hiccups that can often occur when developing something new are identified prior to the product being fully commercialised, which enables us to serve our customers better in the long run.

“Based on the feedback that we receive, we are still able to do some modifications if necessary and thereby make sure that the TH663i meets expectations when it is released to the market with the latest engine technology at a later stage. Of course, there is also some additional new technology on the test truck that we are testing at the same time.”

The TH663i also benefits from the recent improvements in Sandvik’s AutoMine® offering, as AutoMine for Trucks now enables autonomous truck haulage not only underground but also on the surface.

Sandvik said interesting glimpses into the company’s future truck offering have also been seen in Australia, where the Artisan Z50 battery truck from Sandvik carried out an extensive tour in early 2020 and gathered customer feedback for the new upcoming battery generation.

The company has also recently deployed a Z50 into Barrick Gold’s Turquoise Ridge underground gold mine, in Nevada.

Howden’s Eleonore ventilation on demand solution wins award

Newmont Goldcorp’s Eleonore gold mine was recently awarded the “Eureka Prize” from Écotech Québec, for a ventilation on demand solution that reflects the Quebec mine’s strive towards leveraging clean technologies.

Nearly 250 stakeholders in the cleantech ecosystem were present at the event.

Éléonore produced some 360,000 oz of gold in 2018 from the underground Roberto deposit. Ore is mined from four horizons using sill and stope techniques, then processed onsite using a conventional circuit that includes crushing, grinding, gravity, flotation and cyanidation.

The award received was for the Ventilation on Demand (VOD) system from Howden VentSimTM CONTROL implemented in the Newmont Goldcorp – Eleonore mine. The benefits of this solution are the energy efficiency and air treatment, according to Howden.

“Newmont Goldcorp – Eleonore is proud to recognise the teamwork that has enabled a project such as VOD to continually improve our energy efficiency performance, while maintaining the health and safety of our workers,” Sophie Bergeron, Executive Director Newmont Goldcorp – Eleonore, says.

To date, there has been a 43% reduction in mine heating costs, a drop of 56% in underground ventilation electricity costs and a remarkable 73% decrease in the cost of surface ventilation electricity, as detailed in the full case study, Howden said.

”While these figures are impressive, the full potential savings will grow even greater when the mine reaches full capacity,” Howden added.

TLT-Turbo breathes new life into ventilation fans

TLT-Turbo GmbH has launched a new range of mechanical vapor recompression (MVR) fans with ceramic hybrid bearings that, it says, provide an exceptionally long operational lifespan.

Integrating the latest ventilation technologies, this fan offers numerous advantages regarding performance efficiency, maintenance and reliability, according to the ventilation fans and systems manufacturer.

The TLT-Turbo fan for MVR has been in development since 2012 since the first case studies were carried out, the company says.

“Following intensive discussions with clients, TLT-Turbo established that a need existed for low maintenance MVR fans,” TLT-Turbo says. “This was followed by four years of intensive research, product testing and consultations with clients. The first MVR fans were rolled out in 2016 while continual product improvement has remained a focus area for TLT-Turbo.”

Mario Schmidt, Head of TLT-Turbo Global Vapor Fans business segment, said: “MVR fans have been available on the market for some time but instead of just following the trend, TLT-Turbo took time to ensure that we came to the market with a completely new, state of the art MVR solution. And we continue to have ongoing discussions and feedback exchanges with our clients worldwide in order to continuously adapt and improve our MVR offering to their requirements.”

According to Schmidt, the features of TLT-Turbo’s MVR fan, such as the lower maintenance requirements and the introduction of hybrid ceramic bearings, underscores the company’s commitment to developing products in close alignment with clients. “It also speaks to TLT-Turbo’s key objective for continual innovation,” the company said.

The hybrid ceramic bearings are one of the key differentiators of the TLT-Turbo MVR fan, according to Schmidt.

“Our clients are amazed by the possibility of a hybrid bearing operating at high speed without circulating oil,” he said. “Conventional roller bearings do not provide the required support for operating the fan in a broad operational speed range without running into harmful resonance frequencies (under critical operation).

“Thanks to continuous enhancement in recent years, especially through the use of ceramic materials, more effective roller bearings are available today. The use of hybrid bearings with steel rings combined with ceramic rollers has been established in many industrial applications and, in the case of the TLT-Turbo MVR fan, hybrid ceramic bearings mean significantly lower maintenance requirements and better operational performance.”

The hybrid ceramic bearings used in TLT-Turbo MVR fans are lifetime greased and can be operated for up to 10 years without requiring maintenance, according to the company. “To enhance this benefit for clients, TLT-Turbo introduced an additional device to the fan’s design that allows for the bearing to be re-greased from the outside in order to further simplify maintenance and to increase the fans’ service life.”

High motor speeds, a wide range of optimised impellers and the ability to work under high temperature are some of the other traits of the MVR fans. “These factors allow for operation of the fan below critical speed which ensures both reliability and safe operation,” the company said.

Schmidt added: “Reliability and safety are key concerns for our clients and TLT-Turbo has addressed this in the MVR fan by using high-quality components. Thanks to the use of the hybrid bearings, no oil supply or oil pump is necessary which means that no oil can contaminate the product. In addition to this, the fan also features temperature and vibration monitoring and remote monitoring of the bearing is possible as well. Our entire manufacturing process is carried out according to all major quality standards, including DIN ISO 9001.”

The TLT-Turbo MVR fan is suited to numerous applications in the chemical, pharmaceutical, waste water treatment, and the organic natural product production industries as well as in the food and beverage process and manufacturing sectors.

“Since 2018, we have received 35 orders for MVR fans across the globe with one installation completed. Thus far, the feedback from clients has been very positive. We have received reports that the bearing temperature is considerable lower than that of other comparable MVR fans and that our fan runs with less vibration than other MVR fans,” Schmidt said.

“Overall, TLT-Turbo’s objective was to offer our clients a MVR solution that would outperform what was currently available on the market. We have delivered a fan that requires less maintenance while providing high efficiency and reliability. This is exactly what clients would expect from TLT-Turbo as a world class fan manufacturer and global service organisation.”

Strata enhances North America roof support, ventilation offering with Burrell Mining pact

Strata Worldwide says it has signed a distribution agreement with Burrell Mining International for the promotion and distribution of the Burrell CAN® and Burrell Omega Block coal mining products to the North America mining market.

These products will be added to Strata’s line of secondary roof supports and ventilation product offerings, available immediately, the company said.

The CAN is a “yieldable secondary roof support” made from a confined core of cementitious composite encased in a cylindrical steel canister, Strata said. “When installed correctly, the CAN has never failed. Its flexible design can be engineered to meet mine-specific load conditions regardless of adverse roof or floor conditions, while the smooth steel skin of the CAN also improves ventilation by reducing air resistance in the mine entry,” the company added.

Omega Blocks for ventilation are specifically formulated building block, three times the size of regular concrete blocks, but significantly lighter in weight to help reduce labour and the installation process, according to Strata. The Omega Blocks are composed of non-toxic, incombustible materials that are fire resistant and impermeable to air. The blocks are fully MSHA approved and ideal for quick construction of underground ventilation stoppings, Strata said.

Bob Weil, President & CEO of Burrell Mining International, said: “Burrell’s reputation as an industry innovator with a history of quality products and excellent customer service makes our partnership with Strata Worldwide a great strategic fit. Working together, we can provide customers throughout North America with efficient and safer secondary roof support products for the mining industry.”

Mike Berube, President and CEO at Strata Worldwide, said: “We are very excited to enter this agreement with Burrell Mining. They are a premier supplier of secondary roof support for coal mining and have an excellent reputation in the industry. The CAN will be a strong addition to Strata’s line of roof support systems and with this agreement we will offer the most complete portfolio of roof support products on the market.”

Strata Worldwide has grown from a company focused on roof supports in underground coal operations, to service mines of all types, all sizes, all commodities and all locations. It says it develops advanced safety solutions for mines all over the world.

Burrell Mining International, meanwhile, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Burrell Group Inc, a family-owned company with business interests in mining products, insurance, real estate and technology. Burrell Mining International operates three plants in the US and two in Australia.

CHRYSO Vent Block Sealer helps coal miners close the gap

Developed to assist coal mines to seal their ventilation walls and air-crossings, the CHRYSO® Vent Block Sealer can, in fact, seal any porous substrate quickly and cost-effectively, the company says.

The styrene acrylic copolymer sealer efficiently addresses the challenge of hollow blocks and joints in the walls, according to CHRYSO.

With its continuous product development of value-added solutions, CHRYSO responded to the coal mining industry’s need to address ventilation wall leakage, according to the company’s new Business Manager, Frans Bakselerowicz.

“The conventional use of a bitumen emulsion paint-on application product had proved to be very labour-intensive and costly,” Bakselerowicz said. “By contrast, the CHRYSO Vent Block Sealer is an easy spray-on product, using a knapsack pump which does not need any compressed air to spray. This allows its application even in back areas of a mine, where there are no electrical and compressed air services available.”

The ventilation walls in a mine are usually made of concrete hollow blocks, clay bricks and corrugated iron sheets. However, he emphasised any porous substrate can be sealed, as it can bridge gaps of up to 1 mm in magnitude.

Any larger crack or hole can be repaired with a.b.e. paintable flashing tape and then sprayed over, according to the company. In high-leakage areas, a second coat can be applied if required.

“Among the advantages of CHRYSO Vent Block Sealer is that it is easy to use, and does not require specialist skills,” Bakselerowicz said. “As a non-flammable product – in other words it does not sustain flames – it is ideal for use in coal mines and other potentially hazardous areas.”

The sealer is non-toxic, requiring only minimal PPE – goggles, gloves and overalls. Adhesion properties are excellent, according to the company, and it dries quickly in 30-45 minutes, above ground, and two hours, underground.

“Being water soluble makes for easy cleaning of equipment, and its cream colour allows users to immediately identify which areas of the grey ventilation walls have been treated,” the company concluded.