Tag Archives: Whyalla

RCT ControlMaster solution boosts safety at Whyalla Port

RCT says it has finalised an automation project with port, logistics and infrastructure specialist Qube Bulk at the Whyalla Port in South Australia.

In 2019 RCT installed and commissioned its ControlMaster® Line of Sight automation solution as well as a single camera teleremote solution onto a Liebherr R920 excavator working at the port.

RCT says Qube Bulk approached it to develop a safer and more productive way to remove bulk cargoes – such as coal, dolomite and limestone – from bulk vessels to support the Whyalla steelworks operation.

“Now machine operators stand at a safe distance and use the automation technology to carry out the full range of functions that would normally be available to them when sitting in the cab of the machine,” the company said.

RCT Account Manager, Phill Dean, said: “Our ControlMaster solution interfaced seamlessly with the excavator’s systems and offers operators the exact same functionality available to them under the original equipment manufacturers’ guidelines,” he said.

“Now operators have a much safer and productive way of carrying out their work and ensuring operations at the Whyalla Port run smoothly.”

Weir GEHO pumps keep up the pressure at SIMEC’s Whyalla steelworks

Weir Minerals’ GEHO® positive displacement pumps are helping SIMEC Mining keep up its production goals at the Whyalla steelworks in South Australia.

SIMEC produces iron ore concentrate for the steelworks from a 10 Mt/y iron ore mine in the Middleback Ranges of South Australia, with the GEHO pump’s responsible for transporting the slurry 67 km from the plant to Whyalla, where it is then dewatered and converted to pellets for the steelmaking process. SIMEC has two GEHO PD pumps on site, which, through high pressure pumping, ensure the material stays suspended in the pipeline throughout the journey.

“The GEHO pumps transport the slurry about 250 cubic metres an hour, 300 tonnes an hour into town,” Chris Stanton, Senior Process Engineer, SIMEC Mining, said. “They run every day, all day and are very powerful pumps. They have defined maintenance intervals that allow us to run each pump for the nominal amount of time without any risk of breakdown.”

As the pumps are critical for both the plant and steelworks, it’s crucial they are well maintained to continue to perform year after year. This is made possible through the close partnership between Weir Minerals and SIMEC Mining, according to Weir.

Anthony Sheely, Concentrator Operations Coordinator, SIMEC Mining, said: “If the GEHO pumps didn’t operate properly then the pipeline would be at risk, and that would be a major issue as the pipeline is the lifeblood for both our operation and the entire township of Whyalla.”

Pumping long distance is a critical requirement at many mines around the world, but often comes with challenges and key design considerations that operators must be mindful of.

Peter Thissen, Global Product Manager for GEHO pumps at Weir Minerals, said: “The biggest challenge of long-distance pumping is generating slurry with a suitable particle size distribution for the application. Operators must concentrate the particle size distribution to make it a pumpable slurry whilst trying to minimise the amount of water used in the process.”

He added: “We deal predominantly with high solids concentrations, which is becoming more important in both a water constrained and environmentally sensitive industry. Our depth of experience and knowledge together with the delivery of innovative designs has provided effective solutions to meet our customers’ needs around the world.”

Designing a pipeline like the one for Whyalla is a complex balancing act between the rate of flow, the concentration of slurry and the size of particles, according to Weir. For solids in slurry to remain in suspension, they need to be moved by the liquid at a minimum velocity.

Another challenge operators are faced with is the pipeline route. This must be the most economic means of transportation and suitable for the flow behaviour of the material.

Thissen says: “It’s much easier to build a pipeline on flat land as it stays horizontal and the operational condition for the materials is constant, as long as we can keep the particles in suspension. However, if we have to cross rivers, mountains or valleys then the pipeline will be built on an angle and great consideration must be given to the design of the pipeline, transport velocities and starting and stopping the pipeline.”

Weir Minerals’ GEHO crankshaft driven pumps are among the world’s most advanced positive displacement pumps, according to Weir. They are designed to transport slurry over long distances, reaching up to 550 km and more than 2,000 m uphill.

Thissen says: “Our GEHO pumps are designed to handle high-density slurry with solids up to 85%. With extremely high availability, low energy consumption and operating costs they ensure uninterrupted, trouble-free operation.”

The diaphragm in the pump separates the abrasive slurry from the operating components, with the exception of the valves, protecting them from wear and ultimately prolonging the life of the pump, according to Weir.

“What this means for the operator is significant savings for wear parts, resulting in a very economic and extremely reliable product for pipeline transportation,” Weir said. “If maintained properly the GEHO pumps continue to run year after year, 24 hours a day; with references of GEHO pumps in operation for 30+ years.”

Thissen concluded: “As long as the make-up of the slurry doesn’t change and pumping conditions remain the same, our GEHO pumps will continue to operate indefinitely. Combined with long maintenance intervals and highly dedicated service engineers, they keep processing plants operating at peak performance while delivering a low total cost of ownership.”

Bis gets firm handle on GFG Alliance Whyalla contract

Bis says it will become the single materials handling contractor for GFG Alliance in Whyalla, South Australia, as of October 1.

As part of GFG Alliance’s strategy to maximise efficiency at its Whyalla-based operations ¬– incorporating its Liberty Primary Steel and SIMEC Mining businesses (which includes a 10 Mt iron ore mine in the Middleback Ranges of South Australia) – several materials-handling work packages were consolidated into a single contract to be operated by a single contractor partner.

The contract will see Bis deliver a range of site services to Whyalla including steel services, scrap processing and handling, slag processing and handling, and bulk materials handling.

The award comes as Bis celebrates 60 years in Whyalla this year, where it currently employs 170 people. Bis will bring on another 80 employees as part of the expanded scope of works.

Liberty Primary Steel Acting Executive Managing Director, Jason Schell, said: “GFG Alliance is looking forward to partnering with Bis to help drive our continuous-improvement culture and turn our business around for a sustainable, long-term future.

“This consolidated contract will result in significant cost savings for our business, while providing greater opportunities to optimise Bis’ assets and workforce across multiple work-fronts.”

Bis Chief Executive Officer, Brad Rogers, said the announcement showed the strength of the company’s relationship with GFG Alliance, as well as Bis’ track record of safely and reliably delivering flexible, efficient solutions for its customers.

Hadyn Shepherd, Bis General Manager Mining Services South East, meanwhile, said the win was great recognition for Bis and the team in Whyalla.

GFG and Shanghai Electric to power up Cultana Solar Farm project

GFG Alliance’s SIMEC Energy Australia (SEA) has signed a strategic partnership with Shanghai Electric for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) for the Cultana Solar Farm project, in South Australia.

The agreement was signed by GFG Alliance Executive Chairman and CEO, Sanjeev Gupta (pictured, right), and President of Shanghai Electric, Huang Ou (pictured, left), in the presence of representatives from key supporting financial institutions.

Cultana is the first project of SIMEC Energy Australia’s $1 billion, 1 GW dispatchable renewable energy program in South Australia.

“With capacity of 280 MW, Cultana is expected to produce around 600 GWh/y of energy, powering GFG’s Whyalla Steelworks and a range of key government and commercial customers,” the company said.

“Set to be one of Australia’s largest solar farms, Cultana will deliver a range of benefits to the local community, increasing reliability and security of the state’s electricity supply and environmental benefits. The project is set to boost local employment, with circa-350 positions during construction,” GFG Alliance said.

Sanjeev Gupta, GFG Alliance Executive Chairman and CEO, said: “Cultana Solar Farm is an ambitious project that will deliver globally-competitive renewable energy on a large scale to power heavy industry. It is a great step forward in our vision to revitalise industry and we look forward to working with our partners to bring our renewables projects to life.”

GFG previously announced its ambition to invest in up to 10 GW of large-scale solar and other renewables projects across Australia.

Shanghai Electric, which has global expertise in such projects, including completion of the world’s largest concentrated solar power project in Dubai, will provide EPC for the Cultana project.

The Cultana project will play a key role in the development of the visionary 10 Mt/y Whyalla Next-Gen steel plant project and industry revitalisation strategy championed by GFG, GFG said.

Gupta said: “Our planned Next-Gen project will ignite a new industrial revolution in Australia. These projects are shining examples of GFG’s commitment to create a sustainable future for industry and build stronger local communities.”