Superior to unveil new model cone crusher

Superior Industries, a US-based manufacturer and supplier of bulk material processing and handling systems, will add a new model to its line of Patriot Cone Crushers at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 in March. It’s one of a dozen new products the company will introduce during the Las Vegas trade show.

The P500 model Patriot Cone Crusher is engineered to operate most effectively at 500 hp. (350 kW). Other specifications unique to the P500 include a head diameter of 59 in. (1,500 milimetres), maximum feed opening of 13.5 in. (343 milimetres) and closed side settings of 3/8 in. to 2 in. (10 milimetres to 50 milimetres).

Notable features of the P500 model cone crusher include:

  • Inverted or reverse design of tramp relief cylinders which ensures that the hydraulic seals are not exposed to contamination during operation.
  • Tramp relief system with fewer accumulators for less maintenance. An automatic pressure relief valve means additional protection.
  • Universal crushing chamber design requires no major, time-consuming change-outs when transitioning from secondary to tertiary applications.
  • If loss of clamping pressure occurs, counterclockwise countershaft rotation causes the crusher to open rather than turn down.

Superior manufactures its full line of Patriot Cone Crushers in 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600 hp. models. Each purchase comes with a lifetime warranty to protect the cone’s major components including the adjustment ring, bowl, eccentric, head, mainframe and main shaft.

Superior Industries at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020

Superior will launch a dozen new products for crushing, screening, washing and conveying applications. Displayed equipment will include the brand new Sentry Horizontal Shaft Impact crusher, Fusion Modular Platform, belt drive Valor Vertical Shaft Impact crusher, bolted model Liberty Jaw Crusher, Alliance Low Water Washer and Portable Spirit Wash Plant. Additionally, aftermarket solutions will be displayed alongside a multimedia experience showcasing several turnkey projects completed by the company’s construction management division.

Superior engineers and manufactures bulk material processing and handling equipment and components. The manufacturer supplies bulk crushing, screening, washing and conveying systems and related parts for the aggregates, mining, bulk terminals, agriculture, power and biomass industries.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

Germany wants Bolivia’s new government to revise scrapped lithium deal

Germany is hoping to engage Bolivia’s next government in talks over a scrapped joint venture deal to develop the South American country’s massive lithium reserves, as members of its car sector struggle to meet electric vehicles (EVs) production targets due to a supply shortage of battery cells.

Both nations signed a lithium partnership in 2018 following three years of intense lobbying from Berlin, which said a small privately-owned company from Germany was a better bet than its Chinese rivals.

Bolivia’s state-owned lithium company YLB and Germany’s ACI System planned to install four lithium plants in the Salar de Uyuni salt flats, which hold the world’s second-largest lithium deposit.

The joint venture was also going to build a factory for EV batteries in the country, which is sitting on about nine million tonnes of lithium, or around 25% of the world’s known reserves.

The deal, however, was cancelled in November following locals’ protests and a change of leadership at YLB following president Evo Morales resignation.

Morales had fled Bolivia earlier in the month after losing the support of the military and police amid widespread protests over a disputed election. His supporters say he was the victim of an orchestrated coup. Opponents argue he was forced from power after manipulating the constitution to run for a fourth term in office then seeking to win that vote with electoral fraud.

Bolivians will choose a new president May 3 and Berlin is closely following related developments as the cancelled venture is considered vital for the German auto industry’s plans to develop electric batteries.

The new head of YLB, Juan Carlos Zuleta, said last week the deal would not be revived, adding that the state-owned company planned to apply strict limits to foreign investment in the extraction and processing of the key element for the production of the batteries that power EVs and smart phones.

Zuleta, however, doesn’t seem fully opposed to letting foreign companies as he noted that a similar deal with China’s Xinjiang TBEA was being reassessed. He also hinted recently that Tesla should be considering building a plant in Bolivia.

Demand for the white mineral is expected to more than double by 2025. The soft, light commodity is mined mainly in Australia, Chile and Argentina.

Bolivia wants to strengthen local know-how and become a producer, but its lithium is found at higher altitude and contain more magnesium (Mg) and potassium than in neighbouring Chile and Argentina, making the extraction process much more complicated and costly.

Uyuni’s higher rainfall and cooler climate mean that its evaporation rate is not even half that of Chile’s Salar de Atacama, where brine ponds evaporate quickly.

Germany’s push comes as some of its key auto industry actors are beginning to show signs of distress. Manager Magazin reported on Thursday that Daimler has been forced to reduce its 2020 production targets for the Mercedes-Benz EQC EV to 30,000 from about 60,000 due to a supply shortage of battery cells from LG Chem.

Daimler expected to sell around 25,000 EQC vehicles last year, but was only able to build around 7,000, the article said. 

German Economy Minister, Peter Altmaier, has urged local industries to secure raw materials for electric batteries to reduce dependence on Asian suppliers.

Safe Day Everyday Gold Award recipients honored at AME roundup

The Association for Mineral Exploration’s (AME) annual Roundup conference is in full swing this week in Vancouver and is drawing crowds at the Convention Centre.  On Wednesday, Anglo American hosted an Environment, Health and Safety Awards breakfast, honoring Safe Day Everyday Gold Award recipients, with a keynote address from Anglo American’s Regional Head of Discovery, Americas, Stuart McCraken.  

Gabrielle Herle, safety coordinator, Chinook Scaffold Systems was on hand to present on diversity, equity and inclusion, and how they contribute to a safe and healthy work environment.  

The Safe Day Every Day Gold winners were announced, congratulations to Major Drilling for achieving the third consecutive year of having the highest number of hours without a lost-time incident — at 1,200,066 hours. Rio Tinto Exploration Canada is also a recipient, for achieving 206,411 hours without a reportable injury.  

Louis Vuitton is turning the world’s second-biggest diamond into jewellery

Luxury retailer Louis Vuitton has unveiled its recently acquired 1,758-carat rough diamond, the second-largest ever discovered, to a select audience in Paris, France, before its turns it into a fine jewellery collection.

The 166-year-old fashion house, which announced last week it was the new owner of the Sewelô diamond, meaning “rare find” in Southern Africa’s Setswana language, will now leave it in the hands of Belgium’s HB.

The Antwerp-based diamond manufacturer will cut and polish the blackened, tennis-ball sized stone, found last year by Canada’s Lucara Diamond (TSX:LUC).

While the mining company has not revealed how much it sold the diamond for, it said it would be cut into smaller pieces, part of a fine jewellery collection.

According to HB, Louis Vuitton paid 50%  up front for the diamond, with Lucara keeping an interest in the other half. Both player have also agreed to direct 5% of the proceeds from the retail sales to community-based initiatives in Botswana.

Before Lucara found Sewelô, the previous holder of the world’s second-largest diamond was held by the 1,111-carat “Lesedi La Rona”, also dug up by the Vancouver-based miner, in 2015. The rock sold for $53 million to luxury jeweler Graff Diamonds in 2017.

The only larger diamond ever unearthed was the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond, discovered in South Africa in 1905. The Cullinan was later cut into smaller stones, some of which now form part of British royal family’s crown jewels.

What makes Sewelô special, according to Melissa Smet, director of the Syndicate of the Belgian Diamond Industry (SBD), is its “mysterious” nature.

“The stone is covered in black carbon, and the quality of the diamond under that layer remains a mystery,” she told The Brussels Times. “There is no guarantee that the diamond will produce precious stones of high quality, which means a great risk.”

Karowe, which began commercial operations in 2012, yielded last year more than 20 diamonds larger than 100 carats, eight of them exceeding 200 carats. 

Lucara, which has focused efforts on the prolific Botswana mine as of late, is close to completing a feasibility study into potential underground production and extension of the mine’s productive life.

Louis Vuitton’s purchase is just the latest move its parent company, LVMH, has taken into the luxury jewellery market. The conglomerate also owns Italian jewellery brand Bulgari and watchmakers TAG Heuer and Hublot, and in November, it acquired the iconic New York jeweller Tiffany & Co. for more than $16 billion.

RCT launches specialized underground WiFi network

Autonomous solutions specialist RCT has released RCT Connect, the first digital WiFi communications network designed specifically for machine automation and control in underground mining operations.

The product is designed to be user friendly and portable and can be installed into a production area and commissioned with minimal time and expertise.

RCT Connect has been designed to withstand the harsh conditions common in underground mining environments. The platform uses a coaxial cable which is able to transfer power and information to access points for up to 1.5 km before additional power insertion is required along the length of a drive.

This feature offers several major benefits over traditional WiFi deployments; these include reduced configuration requirements and a simple installation with only two connections.

RCT Connect provides a connection to a ControlMaster area access control at strategic locations which then link into the mine-wide backbone to transfer information to a machine operator located in a ControlMaster automation centre on surface.

The platform operates at 2.4GHz and is capable of carrying out remote diagnostics, live machine tracking and delivering live health and production data from the machine.

RCT product manager, automation and control, Brendon Cullen says RCT Connect offers several distinct advantages over commercially available digital communication networks: “RCT Connect is specifically designed to ensure uninterrupted communication between the machine and the operator regardless of location,” he said. “The platform has very stable performance with low, consistent latency and so ensures reliable communications between command inputs from the surface station and subsequent machine activities.”

The network has been tested at a mine site in Western Australia and was recently deployed in an underground mining operation.

RCT Connect can be sold as a standalone package or in conjunction with RCT’s ControlMaster automation products.

RCT is an innovative smart technology company with the expertise to evolve entire industries. It designs, manufactures and delivers technology and service solutions to support clients around the world in multiple sectors. RCT is a global leader in smart guidance, teleremote and remote control automation solutions for the mining industry.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

Siemens to go ahead with Aussie coal mine contract despite pressure

German engineering giant Siemens will honor a controversial contract to supply signalling systems to Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in Australia, despite being under fire for the project’s alleged climate implications.

“We have just finished our special meeting … We have evaluated all the options and have concluded that we must fulfil our contractual obligations,” chief executive, Joe Kaeser, tweeted late on Sunday.

Chief executive, Joe Kaeser, said Adani's Carmichael mine would go ahead with or without Siemens, adding he had to balance stakeholder interests.

He also vowed that Siemens, which supports the Paris climate agreement to curb carbon emissions, would create a body to better “manage in the future the questions of protecting the environment.”

The decision on the contract, reportedly worth 20 million euros ($22m), comes as Australia is dealing with an unprecedented fire crisis that has claimed at least 27 lives, destroyed more than 2,000 homes, burnt millions of hectares of unique habitat and killed more than a billion animals.

“Siemens’ announcement that it will continue working on Adani’s coal mine while bushfires rage in Australia is nothing short of shameful,” environmental lobby group Australian Conservation Foundation said in a statement. “The company has shown its true colours with this decision. It has a climate change policy, but it is hollow and empty.”

Carmichael coal project, which has been scaled down since it was first announced, was approved by the government of Queensland in June 2019.

Kaeser met last week with German activist Luisa Neubauer, offering the 23-year-old a seat on the supervisory board of Siemens Energy, which she turned down. Siemens Energy creates gas turbines and wind turbines, while the Adani contract will be supplied by Siemens Mobility, a different division.

The executive noted there were competitors to the railway signalling contract the company signed in December, which meant “whether or not Siemens provides the signalling, the project will still go ahead”.

Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, said last week that Siemens had “the power to stop, delay or at least interrupt the building of the huge Adani coalmine in Australia” and people should push the company “to make the only right decision”.

The controversial project, which has been scaled down since it was first announced, was approved by the state government in June 2019 after a near decade-long struggle with regulators and environmental protesters.

Carmichael has battled a string of lawsuits from environmental groups and scientists, who argue it will contribute to global warming and damage Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

According to official estimations, Carmichael will contribute $2.97 billion each year to Queensland’s economy and will create 1,500 direct and 6,750 indirect jobs during ramp up and construction.

Thermal coal is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. If burnt, output from Carmichael would release 700m tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year for more than 50 years.

Another six coal projects in the Galilee are awaiting approval and are seen following Carmichael if Adani builds infrastructure to connect it to the state’s rail network.

Australia, the world’s biggest exporter of coal, continues to be engulfed in flames with the worst wildfires seen in decades and large swathes of the country devastated.

Climate scientists and environmentalist have pointed to higher weather patterns and emissions as factors making natural disasters go from bad to worse.

Siemens under pressure over next week’s decision on coal mine contract

German engineering giant Siemens will decide by Monday on its involvement in the controversial Carmichael coal mine being built in Australia by India’s Adani, chief executive, Joe Kaeser, said on Friday.

Climate activists and mine opponents are asking the company not to provide a key piece of rail infrastructure to transport coal from the mine, in Queensland, to ports.

“While we understand why people focus on this one project, we follow a broader approach in order to fight climate change and supply people around the world with affordable and reliable electricity,” Siemens said in a statement announcing the deal on Dec. 11.

Source: @JoeKaeser.

The firm, however, yielded to pressure, delaying a final decision on its part on the 20 million euros ($22m) contract to provide a rail signalling system for the project to next week.

Speaking after meeting climate activist Luisa Neubauer in Berlin, Kaeser told journalists he had offered her a seat on the supervisory board of the group’s new Siemens Energy division, Reuters reported. Neubauer did not join the news conference.

Organized groups have called for demonstrations at Siemens sites across Germany on Friday, arguing that while Siemens “promises in Germany to take responsibility for the climate and become carbon-neutral by 2030, [it supports] a backward-looking project in Australia, as well as the destruction of our planet and our future.” 

The Carmichael mine, expected to produce 8-10 million tonnes of thermal coal a year, was approved by the state government in June 2019 after a near decade-long struggle with regulators and environmental protesters.

According to official estimations, Carmichael will contribute $2.97 billion each year to Queensland’s economy and will create 1,500 direct and 6,750 indirect jobs during ramp up and construction.

Thermal coal is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. If burnt, output from Carmichael would release 700m tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year for more than 50 years.

Several projects are seen following in the Galilee if Adani builds infrastructure to connect it to the state’s rail network.

More to come…

Sibanye-Stillwater becomes DRDGOLD’s majority owner

South Africa’s Sibanye-Stillwater (JSE:SGL) (NYSE:SBGL) has exercised an option to acquire an additional 12% interest in DRDGOLD (JSE, NYSE:DRD), bringing the total stake in the gold tailings retreatment company to 50.1%.

The deal is the single largest investment ever made by an individual shareholder in DRDGOLD, chief executive Niël Pretorius said in a separate statement.

DRDGOLD acquired the gold assets of Sibanye-Stillwater’s West Rand Tailings Retreatment Project — now known as Far West Gold Recoveries (FWGR) — in early 2018. In return, Sibanye grabbed a 38.1% stake in the company and was given two years to buy an additional 12%.

Transaction is the single largest investment ever made by an individual shareholder in DRDGOLD.

Pretorius said the proceeds of Sibanye’s stake purchase would be used to funding the early-stage development of phase 2 of its large-scale, long-life surface tailings retreatment project, expected to handle about 1.2 million tonnes of material a month.

FWGR’s first phase, launched in Dec. 2018, has reached a processing rate of 500,000 tonnes per month.

Sibanye-Stillwater chief executive, Neal Froneman, said that securing the majority holding in DRDGOLD was part of the miner’s strategy to create value for all stakeholders.

“We are thrilled that the value of our initial shareholding has already increased by 147% over 17 months,” Froneman said. “We look forward to further value creation as DRDGOLD completes its detailed planning and possible implementation of Phase 2.”

DRDGOLD focuses on the recovery of lower-risk, higher-margin ounces, primarily from its flagship Ergo metallurgical plant, located about 50km east of Johannesburg in Brakpan. The company has established itself as one of South Africa’s top gold tailings retreatment operator.

Sibanye-Stillwater is South Africa’s largest gold producer and the world’s third largest producer of palladium and platinum.

Tomra’s ore sorting technology improves productivity at San Rafael

Minsur, a Peruvian mining company, operates the San Rafael underground tin mine in Peru. In 2015, the mine contributed an estimated 6% of the world’s total tin production. That year, Minsur initiated activities to safeguard the future value of its asset, addressing challenges such as declining head grades and tackling operating costs.

It undertook an ore sorting project aimed at improving productivity and extending the life of the operation.

The ore sorting project was conducted in collaboration with Tomra and was aimed at rejecting low grade, coarse material. By separating the sub-economic material before it enters more cost-intensive wet processing, it focused on increasing the feed grades and increasing the mine life.

Three factors indicated that sensor-based particle sorting for waste rejection would be effective at San Rafael. Firstly, the tin is contained in cassiterite which allows for high absorption of transmitting x-rays, secondly, the structures in this mineral are large enough to be detected by x-ray transmission (XRT) technology. Thirdly, the waste material was liberated to a significant degree on the particle level that would be subject to sensor-based sorting.

In order to assess the feasibility of this project, Tomra conducted metallurgical tests on rock samples from San Rafael as well as performance test work. The tests showed the deposit would be well suited for XRT technology due to the substantial presence of uneconomic particles which could be rejected over a wide size range.

The project was completed in 14 months with Tomra and Peruvian partner supplying and installing the XRT sorting system. The companies worked closely with Minsur over the six-month ramp up period.

The ore sorting plant delivered a fast payback with a number of positive impacts to the operation.

Minsur’s capital outlay was paid back in just four months.

The XRT system has reduced costs at San Rafael by increasing plant throughputs and recoveries and has also extended the life of the mine life as it allows Minsur to mine low-grade ore which would have previously been excluded from the mine plan.

It has also decreased the amount of material headed to the tailings disposal system as the sensor-based ore sorting system reduces the amount of waste headed for processing.

Due to the success of this project, Minsur plans to include XRT sensor-based ore sorting in future projects.

Tomra provides technology-led solutions that enable the circular economy with collection and sorting systems that optimize resource recovery and minimize waste in the food, recycling and mining industries. Tomra’s Mining Sorting division designs and manufactures sensor-based sorting technologies for the mineral processing and mining industries.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

BMW becomes first carmaker to join responsible mining group

German luxury vehicle maker BMW has joined a global group that promotes ecologically and socially responsible mining in large-scale operations, becoming the first car company to be part of the certification program.

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is one of many growing efforts to support the development of innovative and sustainable technologies in lithium-ion batteries, from mining and processing the raw materials to production and recycling.

Luxury vehicle maker plans to ethically source the raw materials needed for its electric cars.

IRMA measures the performance of mine sites against its Standard for Responsible Mining, which seeks to emulate for industrial-scale mine sites what has been done with certification programmes in organic agriculture, responsible forestry and sustainable fisheries.

“Sustainability is an important aspect of our corporate strategy and we are fully aware of our responsibility in mineral value chains,” BMW board member, Andreas Wendt, said in a statement.

“For the BMW Group and its stakeholders, it is of the utmost importance that environmental and social standards are adhered to throughout the entire value chain. Raw materials form the basis for every industrial production process and our need will continue to grow accordingly,” added Wendt, who is responsible for purchasing and supplier networks.

BMW joined in November a pilot project also supported by chemicals giant BASF, battery maker Samsung SDI and a development agency, which seeks to improve working conditions for cobalt miners in Congo.

The company expects demand for battery metals to grow 10-fold by 2025, which may trigger an upcoming global shortage of those minerals

Other carmakers, including Ford and Volkswagen, recently joined a separate initiative, the Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network (RSBN). The scheme also aims to encourage responsible sourcing in the minerals supply chain and is due to launch in spring this year.