Tag Archives: Westgold Resources

CEEC Medal recipients recognised for pushing lower footprint mineral processing

Two standout research and field work contributions that have the potential to improve environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance across industry have been awarded the highly respected CEEC Medal for 2020.

Attracting a record 23 high-quality nominations from across the globe, the shortlisted Operations and Technical Research papers showcased exciting site improvements and innovative ideas for future technologies, according to the Coalition for Energy Efficient Comminution (CEEC).

Now in its ninth year, the CEEC Medal recognises the best published papers that raise awareness of comminution research findings, alternative comminution strategies and installed outcomes.

CEEC Director and Medal Evaluation Committee Chair, Dr Zeljka Pokrajcic, said this year’s nominations reflected industry trends to install renewables, consider embodied energy and emissions, and the continued embracing of technologies such as pre-concentration and coarse flotation.

“It’s rewarding to see how industry leaders and experts are collaborating to forge improvements that make good business sense and proactively improve efficiency,” Dr Pokrajcic said.

The 2020 recipients are:

Operations

Peter Lind and Kevin Murray of Newmont and Alan Boylston and Isaias Arce of Metso Outotec, (formerly Metso), for their paper titled, ‘Reducing Energy and Water Consumption through Alternative Comminution Circuits’. This was presented at the 7th SAG Conference in Vancouver, Canada, in 2019.

Technical Research

Dr Grant Ballantyne (pictured), for his paper titled, ‘Quantifying the Additional Energy Consumed by Ancillary Equipment and Embodied in Grinding Media in Comminution Circuits’. This was also presented at the 7th SAG Conference in Vancouver.

Dr Pokrajcic said the winning Operations paper from Newmont/Metso Outotec documents a successful miner/vendor collaboration on how to assess the comminution circuit options in a low energy and water environment.

The paper considers a typical case of a low grade, bulk tonnage copper-gold orebody in an arid climate (Chile, South America) with significant energy costs. It brings together important solutions – including energy-efficient comminution, ancillary equipment, preconcentration and flotation – and presents compelling economic comparisons.

CEEC CEO, Alison Keogh, said of the paper: “This global knowledge sharing offers real value for decision-making across the globe. The paper’s practical, systematic technology approach, which incorporates all-important financial analysis, has the potential to accelerate industry’s progress to deliver lower footprint minerals.”

The paper’s co-authors, Lind and Boylston, explained that the work was the result of collaboration between many innovative thinkers, with ideas and approaches built over many years.

“We wanted to make a difference, to bring technologies together to show that you can save energy, save water and save money as well. This was a group effort, not only by our extended teams at Newmont and Metso Outotec, but also involving Steinert and Scantech in working through how to apply technologies,” they said.

The CEEC Medal Evaluation Committee praised the winning Technical Research paper from Dr Ballantyne as being “an impressive approach to capturing and quantifying energy consumption of ancillary equipment and energy used to manufacture and transport grinding media”.

The paper shares insights on embodied energy using data collected from sites and presents results on the CEEC Energy Curves.

“The research presents a broader approach that considers the impacts of not just energy used in particle breakage but also embodied energy in the manufacture and transport of grinding media, and energy used in the operation of ancillary equipment such as conveyors and pumps,” Dr Pokrajcic said.

“Bringing this spotlight to embodied energy has strategic value. Many companies are including investigation of supply chain in their procurement decisions.”

Dr Ballantyne, previously a Senior Research Fellow at the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC), and now with Ausenco, noted that his work started in 2012, building on earlier concepts shared by industry at a CEEC workshop in Australia. These concepts were developed further following industry input at the 2015 SAG Conference in Canada.

“I also acknowledge the inspiration and collaboration of Chris Greet (Magotteaux), Evert Lessing (formerly Weir, now Metso Outotec), Malcolm Powell (formerly The University of Queensland) and Greg Lane (Ausenco) for contributing expert input and data to the work,” Dr Ballantyne said.

“New research ideas and collaboration with industry are key to industry innovation,” he said. “Support and mentoring from these suppliers as well as experts from Ausenco and The University of Queensland ensured these new ideas could be published for industry to progress thinking.”

In addition to the two CEEC Medals awarded in 2020, three publications received High Commendations.

High Commendations – Operations

Ben Adair, Luke Keeney, and Michael Scott from CRC ORE, and David King from Minera San Cristóbal operations, for their paper titled ‘Gangue rejection in practice – the implementation of Grade Engineering® at the Minera San Cristóbal Site’. This was presented at Physical Separation 2019, in Cornwall, United Kingdom.

This paper shares the prediction and outcomes of a Grade Engineering pilot at Sumitomo’s Minera San Cristóbal operations in Bolivia. The work identifies ore amenability and levers to optimise up-front rejection of gangue before processing.

Keogh said: “This approach highlights the scale of the opportunity for mining leaders to invest in unlocking hidden value for shareholders through productivity step-change while significantly reducing impact on the environment.”

High Commendations – Operations (continued)

Malcolm Powell, Ceren Bozbay, Sarma Kanchibotla, Benjamin Bonfils, Anand Musunuri, Vladimir Jokovic, Marko Hilden, Jace Young and Emrah Yalcin, for their article titled ‘Advanced Mine-to-Mill Used to Unlock SABC Capacity at the Barrick Cortez Mine’. This was presented at the 7th SAG Conference in Vancouver.

This work was a collaboration between three organisations: JKMRC at The University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute, Barrick’s Cortez mine and JK Tech. It shares an advanced mine-to-mill approach that unlocks improved SABC production capacity at Barrick’s Cortez mine in Nevada, USA.

Dr Pokrajcic said the article was an excellent review of the dynamic between SAG and ball mills, illustrating how mine-to-mill, with the consideration of blast movement as well as fragmentation, and operation-wide optimisation could empower sites to identify and sustain long-term improvements.

“It highlights the opportunity of operationalising cooperative ore blend control to balance energy use across the milling circuit, reducing specific energy consumption while benefitting from increased production,” she said.

High Commendation – Technical Research

Paul Shelley and Ignacio Molina (Molycop) and Dimitrios Patsikatheodorou (Westgold Resources), for their paper titled ‘SAG mill optimisation insights by measuring inside the mill’. This was presented at the Procemin-Geomet Conference in Santiago, Chile, in 2019.

In a first for industry, this innovative approach aims to collect data from sensors inside the grinding balls within grinding mills, CEEC said. It brings potential application for high frequency measurement of temperature and impacts inside the mill.

Dr Pokrajcic said: “If this early work can be successfully commercialised and scaled up, it could bring new insights that link to operational and energy efficiency improvements.”

Keogh said nominations for the 2021 CEEC Medal were now open, and she encouraged the submission of relevant, ground-breaking articles from online events and industry presentations.

“Because of disruptions to physical events, we have extended the closing date for submissions to October 30, 2021.”

Details of the application process for the 2021 CEEC Medal can be found here.

Westgold helps Australian Vanadium with water, road access in WA

Australian Vanadium Ltd and Westgold Resources have signed a co-operation agreement that could see surplus water from operations at the Meekatharra asset used at the Australian Vanadium project in Western Australia.

Westgold’s Meekatharra operations comprise several active and inactive mines south of Meekatharra, 25 km to the west of the Australian Vanadium project, with continuous inflows into a number of these active and inactive pits and underground mines leading to the generation of significant amounts of surplus water. This water can be utilised in processing Australian Vanadium’s vanadium ore, the Australian Vanadium said.

In addition to the water access, the agreement provides a platform for “friendly collaboration” over access and the use of new and existing roads to move ore, materials and products within the companies’ tenements, Australian Vanadium added.

The Australian Vanadium project is currently one of the highest-grade vanadium projects being advanced globally, according to the company, with 208.2 Mt at 0.74% V₂O₅, containing a high-grade zone of 87.9 Mt at 1.06% V₂O₅ reported in compliance with the JORC Code 2012.

A December 2018 prefeasibility study laid out plans for an open-pit operation, with a crushing, milling and beneficiation plant, and refining plant for final conversion and sale of high-quality vanadium pentoxide.

Vincent Algar, Australian Vanadium’s Managing Director, said securing access to sufficient quality water resources to use in the mining and beneficiation process was one of the company’s highest priorities. “Access to excess water flowing into Westgold’s pits allows us to progress the project with increasing confidence,” he added.

“Western Australia has limited high-quality water resources, so innovative collaborations such as this agreement with Westgold can assist both the EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) and DWER (Department of Water and Environmental Regulation) with their water management and environmental custodianship, whilst allowing this critical project to progress.”

The key terms of the agreement are:

  • Westgold will not object to AVL’s proposed Miscellaneous Licence applications to enable Australian Vanadium to access, extract and establish infrastructure for pumping and relocation of water from one of the Reedy’s location open pits to the company’s desired location;
  • Any works will be undertaken at AVL’s cost and risk;
  • Access to Westgold and Australian Vanadium’s access roads will be permitted on a reciprocal basis;
  • Co-operation will be undertaken in good faith and in a timely manner;
  • A formal access agreement to secure Australian Vanadium’s Miscellaneous Licences and associated pumping infrastructure can be established, if required; and
  • The letter of agreement is set to progress to a formal agreement within three years, otherwise the agreement expires.

Westgold and K2fly to collaborate on Infoscape software developments

K2fly says Westgold Resources has agreed to a new long-term contract to use its existing Infoscope software and partner with K2fly to develop additional enhancements to the software with a view to integrating its tenement and title’s management applications.

Additional overlays of the software include royalties, contracts, permits, licensing, and environmental and stakeholder management to provide a consolidated management tool.

InfoScope provides a single, spatially integrated solution to manage information relating to land access and compliance across multiple industries, according to K2fly. It delivers effective stakeholder, tenement, cultural heritage, native title and environmental management along with a full life-cycle ground disturbance process.

Westgold operates three gold production hubs in the Murchison Region of Western Australia, according to K2fly.

“Known as one of the largest regional consolidations within the gold sector, the group manages over 350 titles and a complex web of resources, road and infrastructure networks, licences, permits, service contracts and stakeholder engagements,” the company added.

Westgold’s Executive Chairman, Peter Cook, said: “We have long been looking for a land management system that expands beyond the traditional mining title area and enables us to integrate the multitude of layers associated and attached to our titles to an interactive and linked solution. Our industry needs a solution that enables us to operate faster and more efficiently in these areas.”

Nic Pollock, K2fly Chief Commercial Officer, said Westgold was “more than a customer”.

“They are actively partnering with K2fly and contributing to the further development of our land management solutions in a very meaningful way, assisting us to improve and expand our market offering.”

Westgold Resources gets uses to village life with Sodexo

Sodexo is set to deliver more services for Westgold Resources after the two companies agreed to broaden their contract to include a fourth mine site in Western Australia.

This contract amendment, which will see the company start work on the Big Bell site, increases the value of Sodexo’s current contract with the Australia-based gold miner to A$40 million ($27.2 million).

Under this contract, Sodexo is scoped to deliver all village, transportation, catering, cleaning, building maintenance and landscaping services at the site.

The Big Bell site, located 24 km northwest of Cue in Western Australia, was launched on June 1, 2019, to support operations at the Big Bell underground mine, as part of the larger Cue gold operations. This would see daily commute times reduced, while ensuring worker facilities are readily available.

Westgold hit first ore at the Big Bell underground mine late last year. It had been dewatering and refurbishing the Big Bell underground mine for over two years. The base load for the Cue 10-year development plan is based around the Big Bell underground mine – which is expected to provide 10.1 Mt at 3 g/t Au from the company’s 2020 financial year.

Sodexo’s existing work with Westgold to provide services to the Cue, Fortnum and Bluebird mining sites is part of a three-year contract that commenced in June 2018. The Big Bell contract will conclude in 2021 in alignment with the contract for these sites.

Westgold Director of Operations, Steve Norregaard, said: “Sodexo continues to demonstrate its commitment to maintaining safety and quality operations for our mining workforce. The Big Bell mine is accelerating fast to become the cornerstone asset in the Cue operations. Sodexo’s facilities management services to the Big Bell mine site give us peace of mind that workers will be provided access to high-quality facilities and a home-away-from-home experience.”

Sodexo CEO Mining APAC, Paul Cooper, said: “Australian mining is a sector where Sodexo continues to excel. The company successfully demonstrated its dedication to service excellence by improving village life across three of Westgold’s existing sites and this supported our proposal for Big Bell. Being awarded the Big Bell contract is testament to a strong working relationship with Westgold, after acquiring Morris Corporation that had previously held the contract for three years.”

RCT deploys ControlMaster at Westgold mine sites

RCT says it is finalising a major automation project for Westgold Resources at five of its gold mine sites in Western Australia’s Murchison region.

The package of works involved the autonomous solutions provider installing and commissioning its ControlMaster® Guidance Automation technology to 10 of Westgold’s underground loader fleet across its mining operations, including CAT R2900Gs and Sandvik LH517 LHDs.

RCT will also deliver its latest surface-based ControlMaster Automation Centres equipped with Multiple Machine Selection and Multiple Machine Control options aimed at driving further mining production efficiencies at each site.

Guidance Automation encompasses a fully automated tramming cycle between production level locations, which includes proportional braking and automated steering and speed control, RCT says.

“The technology also includes features such as G-Dash which empowers operators by presenting a graphical dashboard of the machine telemetry and diagnostic features to ensure optimal loader performance,” the company said.

Implementing the ControlMaster Guidance Automation solution across Westgold’s Big Bell, Paddy’s Flat, Comet, South Emu and Starlight operations standardised the company’s production technology and will deliver significant efficiencies and synergies, according to RCT.

RCT Business Development Manager Mining – APAC, Ryan Noden, said each delivery is being tailored to site-specific requirements.

“Over the past few months, RCT has been working in a staged approach to upgrade Westgold’s existing systems and consolidate the operating system across all operations to ControlMaster,” he said.

“The introduction of RCT’s technology will offer Westgold a proven and successful pathway to mine digitalisation, with the ability to adopt the latest technology offerings as and when required and applying shared learnings across its operations.”

He continued: “RCT is excited to be working closely with Westgold as a technology provider to achieve operational excellence.”

David Noort, Executive General Manager – ACM at Westgold Resources, said he was delighted to be working with RCT.

“We made the decision to implement the ControlMaster Guidance Automation solution due to RCT’s proven productivity and technological reliability and proactive support services,” he said.

“Being able to implement Multiple Machine Selection/Multiple Machine Control is an added advantage as it will support staged growth and specialised applications where geotechnical constraints require a period of standoff before re-entry after blasting.”

RCT has been upskilling Westgold site personnel by implementing operator and maintenance training courses and will carry out after sales support and field servicing on an ongoing basis, it said.

Westgold loses HBJ mining contract as it hits first ore at Big Bell

Westgold Resources’ wholly-owned mining contractor, Australian Contract Mining (ACM), has had its mine development and production services contract at the HBJ operation in Western Australia cancelled.

The ASX-listed company was advised by HBJ owner Northern Star Resources (NST) that it will terminate the contract on a “without cause basis” effective December 23.

ACM continued to provide complete mine development and production services to NST at HBJ following the A$80 million ($58 million) sale of the South Kalgoorlie operations by Westgold to NST earlier this year.

Westgold was under the impression most of the equipment currently employed at HBJ could be placed into immediate use at project expansions within Westgold’s existing operations. It hopes to continue to offer employment to the majority of both fly-in, fly-out and residential personnel employed at the mine.

Related to this, Westgold announced it had just hit first ore at its Big Bell underground mine (pictured), which is a milestone for the ramp up in its Cue gold operations in the Murchison Region of WA. Westgold has been dewatering and refurbishing the Big Bell underground mine for over two years.

The base load for the Cue 10-year development plan is based around the Big Bell underground mine – which is expected to provide 10.1 Mt at 3 g/t Au from the company’s 2020 financial year.