Tag Archives: Weir Group

Weir ESCO takes advantage of expansion opportunities in Utah, Quebec

Weir ESCO’s growth trajectory has continued in 2021, with the ground engaging tool (GET) major capitalising on two fast-moving expansion opportunities in western USA and eastern Canada in the March quarter.

The acquisitions represent exciting new platforms for sales and brand recognition growth in the two regions, according to the Weir subsidiary.

With one of ESCO’s largest dealers, based in the Western US, set to retire last year, Weir ESCO decided to fill the void.

The company explained: “Without the dealer to represent us, our future with a significant mining operation in the region – a mine that generates approximately 11% of annual copper production in the US – was at stake.”

The mine’s cable shovels are outfitted exclusively with ESCO GET and multiple other pieces of equipment, including hydraulic machines and front-end loaders, are also fitted with ESCO products.

The company’s teams jumped into action to secure the business, with the new Salt Lake City branch becoming operational in early January. It got right to work establishing a direct service relationship with the key customer, Rio Tinto Kennecott, and expanding market share with other mining and infrastructure companies customers in the territory, the company said.

Up north in Canada, the launch of Weir ESCO’s Quebec branch resulted from seizing a timely, high-stakes opportunity, as well, the company said.

Quebec is home to Canada’s largest operating open-pit gold mine, Canadian Malartic. The mine employs more than 2,000 workers around the clock and many pieces of equipment are outfitted with ESCO GET, according to the company.

“When changes in the local distribution channel occurred, Weir ESCO began considering how to parlay the situation into market expansion opportunities,” it said.

Weir Minerals, a division of the Weir parent company, already had an established presence in the area, presenting additional synergy opportunities.

By the end of January, Weir ESCO’s new Quebec team was on board and sharing office space with the Minerals branch (office pictured).

As in Salt Lake City, the Quebec branch will focus on growth through a direct service approach with customers, it said.

Pete Huget, Managing Director for North America, said: “This is an energising time for us as we move with more speed and agility to take advantage of market opportunities to grow the business. We are looking forward to capitalising on these opportunities to service our own customers directly. No one can service a customer like an ESCO employee.”

Weir releases new gate valve as it advances Terraflowing, ToolTek solutions

Weir Minerals has released a new Isogate® WR knife gate valve to reduce cycling discharge while improving wear life.

The lightweight, long-lasting Isogate WR knife gate valve offers miners and aggregates operators alike a step change in valve performance, according to Weir Minerals.

The release came on the same week Weir Group announced its 2020 financial results, which saw the company report revenue and adjusted operating profit of £1.97 billion ($2.73 billion) and £305 million from continuing operations, respectively. These figures were down 4% and 3%, respectively, from 2019 totals.

On the new valve, Weir said: “Incorporating the latest advances in design and materials technology from Weir Minerals’ expert engineers, the range of Isogate WR knife gate valves are more reliable, while producing minimal fluid discharge and weighing considerably less than equivalent mining valves.”

John Abbott, Global Product Manager – Valves & Tailings, said: “Drawing on decades of wear analysis, we’ve optimised the Isogate WR knife gate valve’s body design, by reinforcing the areas subjected to the harshest wear and pressure. At the same time, we have reduced the weight elsewhere to produce a robust, long-lasting mining valve that’s significantly lighter than comparable products.

“The weight reduction can be especially significant in situations where a number of valves are used on a specific installation, such as in a hydrocyclone cluster, or where lightweight piping systems are used.”

The gate has also been redesigned, with stronger materials resulting in a thinner gate that can still withstand the pressure of mining slurries. This combines with the valve’s unique gate guide that, Weir says, reduces deflection by ensuring smooth gate movement and less strain on the sleeve elastomer during blade transition.

The Isogate WR knife gate valve uses Weir Minerals’ new Isogate WSL sleeve, which comes with proprietary Linard® HD 60 silica-reinforced natural rubber to solve the three most common problems with sleeved knife gate valves: leakage during cycling, tearing and load distribution ring (LDR) failure due to corrosion and erosion, the company explained.

Leveraging the Linard HD 60 rubber’s high resilience against cut, tear and abrasive wear to improve wear life, the new Isogate WSL sleeve fully encloses the LDR to prevent corrosion. By allowing the rubber to move with the blade cycles, the design reduces the chance of tearing while reducing slurry discharge by up to 75%, according to Weir.

The Isogate WSL sleeve can also be used in existing Isogate WS knife gate valves, improving wear life and decreasing discharge on cycling.

Abbott added: “When designing the Isogate WR knife gate valve, we focused on features that improve the everyday experience of working with our valves. This includes important things like improved grease distribution and improved body flushing when used on high solids concentration applications.

“In-depth finite element analysis enables us to ensure the product’s integrity, while making it lightweight. There are also a lot of smaller features to make life easier, such as a larger grease reservoir, ISO mount standardisation and an external visual indicator for the valve’s status.”

Other notable developments from Weir Group’s 2020 financial results included the first order for ESCO’s ToolTek™ system.

This collaborative effort with key mining customers provides enhanced safety for maintenance personnel during the replacement of worn Nemisys® points and adapters, according to ESCO. It features a hydraulic crane mounted tool that is remotely operated, well out of harm’s way during the replacement of worn components. New parts are pre-staged on racks  positioned on the flatbed truck outfitted with the hydraulic crane. The truck also features a recycle bin for safer disposal of worn parts.

Alongside this, Weir said in 2020 it installed the first pilot Terraflowing® plant at a customer’s mine site designed to cost-effectively reduce water in tailings, enabling this waste product to be safely stored or repurposed.

Terraflowing incorporates a two-stage cyclone dewatering process followed by centrifugation of the final stage of cycloning overflow. In the process, three dewatered tailings streams are produced: a primary cyclone underflow, a secondary cyclone underflow and a centrifuge pulp. These three streams can be combined or used in different configurations depending on the end use of the tailings stream, according to Weir Minerals.

This three-stage system offers the flexibility to make provision for variations in mineralogy and particle size distribution as well as the opportunity to recover ‘tailings as a resource’, it added.

Weir adds aftermarket and service contract to Iron Bridge remit

The Weir Group says it has won a £95 million ($127 million) order to provide aftermarket components and service to the Iron Bridge magnetite project in Western Australia.

The aftermarket contract follows Weir’s success in winning a record £100 million order for original equipment for the Iron Bridge project in 2019, including its Enduron® High Pressure Grinding Rolls (HPGRs, pictured) that, it says, will enable dry processing of ore and use at least 30% less energy than traditional alternatives.

The Iron Bridge magnetite project is a $2.6 billion joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group’s subsidiary FMG Magnetite Pty Ltd and Formosa Steel IB Pty Ltd located in the Pilbara region, around 145 km south of Port Hedland.

Both the aftermarket order and revenues will be recognised over the seven-year period of the agreement, which starts in 2022, in line with the 22 Mt/y project’s initial production.

Ricardo Garib, President of Weir Minerals, said: “This is another landmark order for Weir. Having helped design an energy and water efficient magnetite processing plant, we are delighted to provide operational support for Iron Bridge from 2022. It is an excellent example of the value that Weir’s innovative engineering and close customer support can create for all our stakeholders and reflects the key role we have to play in making mining operations more sustainable and efficient.”

Weir’s Enduron HPGRs are increasingly replacing conventional mills in comminution circuits, Weir says. In addition to their energy and water savings, they also reduce grinding media consumption, while their wearable components last longer, reducing maintenance costs. Additionally, HPGRs contribute significantly to carbon dioxide emission savings.

Stuart Hayton, Managing Director of Weir Minerals Netherlands, where the Enduron HPGRs are designed and manufactured, said: “This is an important project for Weir and for the broader mining industry. We know comminution is one of the most energy intensive parts of the mineral process and, with our Enduron HPGRs, we have a unique ability to offer significant cost, energy and water savings to customers around the world. As the mining industry evolves, we are commited to continuing to innovate, reducing miners’ costs and environmental impact.”

This latest contract award means Weir now has more than £200 million of orders from the Iron Bridge project including its Enduron HPGRs, GEHO® and Warman® pumps, Cavex® hydrocyclones and Isogate® valves.

To support the project and future growth, Weir says it will build a new service centre in Port Hedland, Western Australia, thereby providing employment and training opportunities in the area, with a particular emphasis on supporting greater Aboriginal representation in the broader mining workforce.

Weir ESCO to automate GET changeouts

Weir Group says its ESCO division is working on an innovative solution that automates ground engaging tool (GET) changeouts, helping improve safety on mine sites.

In its annual report, released today, Weir said the GET Toolhead® would reduce the need for personnel to be in the pit, one of the most hazardous areas of a mine.

The new automated toolhead turns a hydraulic manipulator into a robot arm, according to Weir. It can securely grip and move GET, allowing it to replace parts weighing up to 500 kg.

“The movement of the toolhead is controlled remotely by a single operator, compared to teams of up to three people who would normally be required for a manual change out,” the company said.

Weir said in the report that it was continuing to commercialise this automated offering.

Weir secures largest-ever individual mining order from Fortescue

The Weir Group says it has been awarded a £100 million ($123 million) order to provide industry-leading energy saving solutions to the Iron Bridge magnetite project, a joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group and Formosa Steel IB.

The order, which includes a range of Weir crushing and pump equipment including Enduron® high pressure grinding rolls (HPGRs) and GEHO® pumps, will reduce energy consumption and wet tailings waste by more than 30% compared with traditional mining technologies, according to the equipment manufacturer.

The Iron Bridge project, 145 km south of Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, is a $2.6 billion investment in premium magnetite iron ore reserves with annual production, when the mine is fully operational, of 22 Mt/y of 67% Fe concentrate. Delivery of the first ore is expected in 2022.

When the mine build was approved back in April, Fortescue CEO, Elizabeth Gaines, said the innovative design for the project, which included the use of a dry crushing and grinding circuit, “will deliver an industry-leading energy efficient operation with globally competitive capital intensity and operating costs”.

A pilot project to verify the Iron Bridge project design involved processing 1 Mt of ore through a full scale HPGR and air classifier, according to Fortescue.

Weir Group Chief Executive Officer, Jon Stanton, said: “We are delighted to have secured this landmark contract, which is Weir’s largest-ever individual mining order.

“Fortescue challenged us to help create one of the most energy and cost-efficient magnetite ore processing facilities in the world. Our engineers have worked relentlessly to design a solution that is truly innovative – delivering significant energy, water and cost savings. This is a great example of working in close partnership with an ambitious customer who shares our passion for using innovative engineering to make mining more productive and sustainable.”

Ricardo Garib, President of the Weir Minerals division, added: “Our team are really enjoying working with Fortescue. Our engineers relish a challenge and it has been great to work on a project that demonstrates the substantial cost and environmental savings that our range of solutions can offer.

“As more mines look to increase productivity, we look forward to even more opportunities to leverage our combination of passionate people, innovative solutions and comprehensive global service capability.”

Weir’s Enduron HPGRs are increasingly replacing conventional mills in comminution (crushing, screening and grinding) circuits because of their substantially lower energy consumption and potential for significant total cost of ownership reduction, Weir says.

“Not only do they require as much as 40% less energy than traditional alternatives, but their wearable components last much longer and the maintenance time required to replace worn out parts is significantly lower.”

The company outlined the reasons why companies are turning to Enduron HPGRs in a blog post earlier this week.