Barrick Gold has completed its acquisition of the additional 40% interest in the Cortez property in the USA from Kennecott Explorations (Australia), a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, for a total cash consideration of $1.695 billion. The transaction was previously announced on February 21, 2008 when the parties entered into a definitive purchase and sale agreement. Barrick has been entitled to the production and economic benefit of 100% of the property from March 1, 2008.The acquisition will increase Barrick’s share of Proven and Probable reserves by 4.6 Moz to 11.5 Moz (100% basis) and Measured and Indicated mineral resources by 1.4 Moz to 3.5 Moz (100% basis). The Cortez mine is already a significant contributor to Barrick’s quality Nevada production base. When the Cortez Hills project is commissioned, production from the Cortez property is expected to increase to 950,000 – 1,000,000 oz/y of gold (100% basis) at total cash costs of $280-$290/oz in the first full five years of production.Rio Tinto notes that this sale is parft of its planned program to divest at least $15 billion of assets. “Rio Tinto has also announced the sale of Greens Creek silver, gold, zinc and lead mine in Alaska for $750 million, meaning the Group is on track to achieve almost one quarter of its target of realising asset sales of $10 billion in 2008.”In November 2007, Rio announced the results of its overall strategic review of the asset portfolio following its acquisition of Alcan. Options are also being explored to divest Rio Tinto Energy America (coal), Rio Tinto Minerals’ talc business and borates business, Rio Tinto Alcan Packaging, Rio Tinto Alcan Engineered Products, Rio Tinto’s interest in the Northparkes copper mine in Australia and Rio Tinto’s Sweetwater (USA) and Kintyre (Australia) uranium assets.
ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel company, has signed an agreement to acquire 49% of the share capital in Mineração Pirâmide Participações Ltda (MPP). MPP is a mining company located in Corumbá in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil and its activities are focused on the exploration and development of iron ore and manganese reserves in the region. The price to be paid by ArcelorMittal will be calculated based on the amount of iron ore and manganese reserves in situ assessed according to the JORC Code.Commenting, Sudhir Maheshwari, Member of ArcelorMittal’s Group Management Board with responsibility for M&A, Project and Business Development, said: “This investment represents a continuing development in our strategy of upstream integration. Securing supplies of iron ore is an important part of that strategy and will contribute to the future sustainability of our business.”ArcelorMittal also plans to make additional investments to increase MPP’s iron ore production capacity in the short term. The transaction is subject to receipt of relevant regulatory approvals.
95,000 70,000 Mine 2009 Forecast 274,000 At $10 silver, $1.75 copper, $0.50 zinc and $0.50 lead, by-product cash costs are expected to trend below $300/oz over the five-year plan, positioning Goldcorp for strong sustained margins and cash flows over the long term. 214,000 245,000 Red Lake 270,000 235,000 YearForecast Gold Production 61,000 2,324,000 290,000 620,000 95,000 12,000 2,300,000 55,000 96,000 2008 Production In Canada, an emphasis on underground mine development and enhanced underground exploration at Red Lake will result in similar 2009 gold production levels compared to 2008. The completion in 2009 of a major multi-year infrastructure investment will restore shorter-term operational flexibility and provide the platform for longer-term production increases. Opportunities to enhance Red Lake’s core production, including an open pit and redevelopment of the Cochenour mine, will be studied and advanced according to the company’s capital spending program.At Musselwhite, exploration success over the last several years has identified higher grade ore in the PQ Deeps area, which will begin to be reflected in increased gold production and decreased total cash costs in 2009 and beyond. Engineering work has commenced on underground infrastructure upgrades to support increased ventilation and higher underground mining rates, resulting in expected performance improvement at the mine in future years.Total cash costs at Porcupine mine are also expected to decline as Goldcorp has taken several steps to optimise operations. Stripping of waste rock for the next phase of the Pamour pit has been deferred, and the surface operations will move to mining of ore stockpiles by mid-2009, resulting in lower operating costs during the year.On December 8, 2008, Goldcorp provided a detailed update of its Peñasquito project in Zacatecas state, Mexico. As reported, the project remains on schedule for mid-year mechanical completion of the sulphide mill (SAG Line 1) and production of initial concentrates in the fourth quarter of 2009, with commencement of commercial production scheduled for January 1, 2010. Construction of the second SAG line will continue throughout the year.Improved operations at Los Filos are expected to lead to increased gold production in 2009. A substantial production decrease is forecast at El Sauzal as the mine nears the end of its life. The priority at El Sauzal over its remaining four-year mine life will focus on maintaining low costs and optimizing operations for eventual mine closure.In Central and South America, another solid year is expected at Marlin in Guatemala. Improvements in underground mining experienced in 2008 are expected to contribute to continued production strength in 2009. At the company’s 37.5%-owned Alumbrera mine in Argentina, expected decreases in copper and gold production in 2009 are consistent with a general downward trend in metals production over the mine’s remaining nine-year life. Capital expenditures for 2009 are forecast at approximately $1.4 billion, including $530 million for Peñasquito and $430 million for Pueblo Viejo. Exploration expenditures in 2009 are expected to amount to approximately $95 million, of which approximately one-third will be expensed, with efforts focused on replacing reserves mined throughout the year. General and administrative expense is forecast at $74 million for the year. Depreciation, depletion and amortization expense is expected to be approximately $205 per ounce of gold produced, and the company expects an overall effective tax rate of 40% for 2009.Peñasquito remains the primary driver of the company’s 50% gold production growth expected in the next five years, with significant contributions from Red Lake and Pueblo Viejo. Year-by-year gold production is forecast as follows: Alumbrera (37.5%) — Porcupine 20,000 El Sauzal San Dimas 87,000 Marlin Goldcorp produced a record fourth quarter gold output of 692,000 oz in 2008 and production for the year exceeded 2.3 Moz, meeting previously issued guidance. Its year-end unaudited financial statements are expected to be released on February 19, 2009. The calculation of operating costs for 2008 has not yet been completed, but total cash costs are expected to meet previous 2008 guidance of some $300/oz of gold on a by-product basis.“Goldcorp completed 2008 with production momentum, financial strength and a strong, well-funded growth pipeline in safe jurisdictions,” said Chuck Jeannes, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our top priorities in the year ahead are meeting or exceeding operational targets, preserving our strong balance sheet amid a challenging metals price environment and continuing the development of an asset portfolio that is expected to deliver 50% growth in gold production over the next five years. We are particularly focused on start-up of the Peñasquito mill during 2009, as the expected commencement of commercial production at year-end will be the primary driver of our gold production growth in 2010 and beyond.”Goldcorp also provided production and cash cost guidance for the 2009 year. The company expects to produce approximately 2.3 Moz of gold at a total cash cost of approximately $365/oz on a by-product basis and $400/oz on a co-product basis. Forecast production increases at most of Goldcorp’s mines are expected to be offset by significant planned declines at Alumbrera and El Sauzal.Strong cash flows, debt-free balance sheet and an undrawn $1.5 billion credit facility will fund key near-term growth projects including start-up of the first sulphide mill circuit at Peñasquito, construction of the large Pueblo Viejo project and completion of the Red Lake underground development program. Spending at certain longer-term growth projects will be temporarily deferred while these key projects are developed, including shaft construction projects at Éléonore in Quebec and Cochenour at Red Lake. At Porcupine, plans for an open pit and potential underground operation at Hollinger will also be deferred. Sufficient resources have been allocated to these projects in 2009 to maintain continuity of exploration, engineering and permitting programs, while maintaining the ability to accelerate development when market conditions improve. Assumptions used to forecast total cash costs for 2009 include a by-product silver price of $10/oz; a by-product copper price of $1.75/lb; an oil price of $65/barrel and the Canadian dollar and Mexican peso at $1.20 and $12.50 respectively to the US dollar. The company is currently evaluating opportunities to contain input costs and minimize foreign exchange risk through the hedging of both oil and currencies. Gold production levels on a quarterly basis are expected to be generally consistent throughout 2009. Mine-by-mine actual 2008 gold production statistics and estimated 2009 gold production are as follows: Marigold (66.7%) 20112.9 million Wharf 241,000 Total 20102.6 Million Peñasquito 165,000 Los Filos 189,000 Musselwhite 20092.3 Million 629,000 San Martin 291,000 160,000 20123.2 Million 20133.5 Million 210,000
Canada’s Yukon Mine Training Association (YMTA) has taken its training initiative to the next level with the introduction of two new ThoroughTec Cybermine surface and underground mining simulator systems. Recognising the value of simulators for safety (a theme of IM’s June issue), the YMTA has purchased four ‘plug-and-play’ interchangeable simulator cabs to cover four critical mining processes; hauling, drilling, digging and loading. The cabs chosen by YMTA to provide a complete training solution include the:Komatsu PC1250 ExcavatorCaterpillar 773F Haul TruckSandvik DD420 Drill RigSandvik EJC115LP Load Haul DumperThe YMTA is a partnership between the Yukon’s mining- and resource-related industries and the First Nations. YMTA is committed to working together to maximise employment opportunities emerging from the growth of mining and related resource sectors in the North for First Nations and other Yukoners. The YMTA also ensures that safety training is developed and delivered, meeting industry standards.Tracy Thomas, Executive Director at the YMTA said, “… the key criterion that allowed the YMTA to make its decision was the availability of cabs from ThoroughTec for equipment used in the Yukon and Northern BC. ThoroughTec had the advantage in terms of specific kits for the Yukon market, having both underground and surface simulators.”The two surface simulator cabs will operate on a six degree-of-freedom motion platform whilst the two underground simulator cabs operate on a three degree-of-freedom motion platform. Both platforms are based on latest generation electric actuators which impart accurate self motion perception cues such as acceleration, braking and suspension effects.Cybermine simulators offer a feature rich instructor station giving the instructor the ability to set up and modify a set of standard exercises, inject faults randomly or on command, view historical and real-time graphs of sub-system states, view the students’ operating violations as they occur and then replay exercises for after-action review and student debriefing.In training mode, for in stance, the drill rig simulator shows students the correct drill placement position and drilling path. The student is then scored and assessed according to correct operational procedures. Historical reports can then be compared to assess a student’s progression.The entire simulator system is housed in a well-appointed, self-contained ISO container that includes the motion platform and simulated cab, surrounded by a wide-angle projection display system and surround sound audio. The instructor station is situated next to the simulated cab for one-on-one student/instructor interaction.According to Chris Magistrale, North American Business Development Manager at ThoroughTec (Canada), “Cybermine simulators perform a crucial function in training students efficiently and cost effectively. The simulators allow students to apply the theory learned in the classroom to practice, without endangering lives and increasing unnecessary wear and tear on the real machinery.”Due to the continuous demand for increased production, operators are often forced to operate heavy machinery without sufficient training in extracting the optimum performance out of the equipment being operated. Although this brings short term revenue gains, the consequential losses in the long term are enormous, yet often unseen and misunderstood by production management teams. Simulators bridge the gap between theory and optimal operation of the actual equipment, without the reduced efficiencies (and therefore loss of production) in training on the real thing. Not only that, but simulators offer the unique capability of training the operator to react safely and efficiently to emergency situations such as brake failure or engine fire, with no safety hazard – impossible to execute in any other manner.The YMTA has big plans for simulators according to Tracy Thomas, “The simulators are going to be integrated into other programs, such as the Heavy Equipment Operator training program, in order to facilitate complete learning for the students. Students will be able to graduate with classroom, simulator and then hands on training, which will increase their employability to the Yukon industry. There will be an open house arranged with the simulators on show, inviting industry, students and the media in to visit and experience the simulators and broadcast their arrival.”ThoroughTec has been designing and manufacturing simulators for over 20 years and is the number one simulator systems supplier to the South African military and claims to be “the largest supplier of both surface and underground simulators to the mining and construction industries globally, with over 490 simulator units deployed worldwide.”
This MINExpo is the first time that Manitou group has presented its full range of dedicated mining solutions (from skid-loaders through telescopic rotating handlers to high capacity telehandlers) on US soil. This is an opportunity for the “New Business” team (mines, environment, defence, etc.) to prove its expertise in dealing with the specific needs of mining, a high-growth segment for the Manitou Group across a full range of applications.“The expertise which the New Business team has built up over the past 20 years means that we can offer innovative solutions to mining professionals. The versatility of the solutions proposed by the Group contributes directly to a reduction in ‘service costs’ throughout the life of a mining site, be it in terms of machinery maintenance, construction of infrastructure or day-to-day operational tasks, while at the same time improving safety and profitability”, says François Piffard, VP New Business.The machine/attachements/services combination provided by the Manitou, Mustang and Gehl brands confirms the Manitou Group’s leadership in the provision of solutions that combine maximum safety and outstanding versatility in the highly demanding mining sector. A full range of of fully certified dedicated attachments (such as cages, winches, jibs, forks, clamps, buckets, etc.) has been developped.The new MHT 10225 (the high capacity telescopic handler) has a capacity of 22.5 t and is ideally suitable for the requirements of mining companies. It was shown equipped with a new tyre clamp capable of changinga 12-t tyre and a cylinder handler capable of handling cylinders from 152 to 572 mm.Equipment to displayed at the show included:MRT 2150 – Rotating Telescopic HandlerMHT10225 – Telescopic handler including live demonstrations of the CylinderHandler & Tire HandlerM50-4 masted fork liftMT732 telescopic handlerMLT625 telescopic handlerMustang 2056 skid loader
VIASPACE partner Selectra and Harmony Gold Mining Co recently formally announced Harmony’s implementation of the first bioenergy project on mining property in South Africa. The goal of the project is to grow energy crops—sugar beets and Giant King Grass–on contaminated mine affected lands in order to restore and rehabilitate the land.Harmony is the third largest gold mining company in South Africa, and the fifth largest gold producer in the world.So, a small biogas company in South Africa has teamed up with one of the largest mining companies in the country to seriously tackle the issue of land rehabilitation and energy security all in one go.What began as an idea and then an enormously successful trial to grow sugarbeet—the temperate kind, not the tropical variety—has now been extended to include Giant King Grass too. The crops are grown on the super-fine mine tailings, bringing value back to the land.The plan is to use the beet and the king grass as feedstock for on-site biogas production at Harmony Gold’s mine near Welkom in South Africa’s Free State that will then be piped into the Harmony 1 metallurgical plant where it will be burnt in the place of ‘Polyfuel’—an HFO type fuel—in the thermal oil heaters.The project envisioned by Selectra, the growing biogas company that developed and eventually sold the idea to Harmony Gold, is not only good for the land and good for the region, but it also inherently replicable. Any mine in the world could implement this project, at the appropriate scale with the appropriate feedstocks, to take control of not only environmental impact but also energy costs.Dwight Rosslee from Selectra commented on how rewarding it is to develop a project that carries only proven positive impacts: “The Harmony Bioenergy project is surely the gold standard in the production of renewable energy – no negative impacts on the environment, only positive benefits, no question of food versus fuel as the land cannot sustain food crops due to the presence of heavy metals. The land is remediated by cultivation and harvesting of bioenergy crops and local employment in farming activities is expanded on previously unused lands. Simultaneously, carbon emissions are reduced through substituting fossil fuels. All this, and more, while saving on production costs.”VIASPACE CEO, Dr Carl Kukkonen, stated, “This project is a major milestone. We applaud and congratulate Selectra and Harmony for their successful demonstration. We first delivered Giant King Grass to Selectra in January 2013 and it was planted on Harmony land. We were very apprehensive about the project because the worst mine affected lands were so poor in quality, we didn’t even know if Giant King Grass would grow. Selectra and Harmony have proven that Giant King Grass can grow well. The grass mitigates erosion and contaminated dust from the slimes dams, and Selectra has shown that it is a good feedstock for anaerobic digestion to produce biogas. We believe that Giant King Grass can be used to remediate a wide range of contaminated soil and to make it productive.Rosslee concluded, “Giant King Grass should have a bright future in South Africa and other African countries as it plays a critical role in a number of our programs including off grid power solutions.”
THEnergy reports that more external investors examine rental and PPA models for solar-diesel-hybrid power plants. “Remote mines are often perfectly suited for solar-diesel-hybrid power plants, because they possess the necessary land, have a high load during the day and are challenged by high electricity prices from diesel generators. Regularly solar is up to 70% less expensive than electricity from diesel generators. Given that many mining companies have faced financial issues for the last years, the main bottleneck is financing. The investment for solar plants has to be made when the plant is built, that means before the first MWh of electricity is produced. Existing diesel generators often are rented with the fuel being the main cost driver. The fuel has to be paid when it is consumed, i.e., the expenses are spread over the lifetime of the mine.”External investors that are already familiar with renewable energy can play an important role in closing this gap. Various types of external investors have already entered the renewable energy business. The development is mainly driven by the low risk of the investment as solar energy is technically mature and generates predictable income, especially if the market risks are covered by feed-in-tariffs or long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) to a large extent. This is the main difference for solar-diesel-systems at remote mining sites. Even if there is a long-term PPA in place, the counterparty risk is substantial due to the fact that normally the mine is the only possible off-taker of the electricity in remote locations. If the mine does not fulfill the contract, e.g., if it has to file for insolvency, the generated electricity cannot be sold easily.The THEnergy study Solar-diesel-hybrid power plants at mines: Opportunities for external investors shows several solutions to mitigate the risk for external investors. A trend to mobilize solar solutions is observed. Solar panels are mounted to sub-structures of the mounting-system and containerized in a next step. The costs for dismantling the solar plant and reinstalling it in different locations are decreased. From the financial perspective risk can be mitigated by a higher rental rate or electricity price during the first years of operation.One solution is that the mine pays during the first years a price that is equivalent to the price of electricity from the diesel generators. After the pay-off period of the solar plant the power price or rental rate is lowered substantially and the mining company and the investor share the additional cost savings of the project. In any case the rental company or power provider has to perform a resource-based and market-based due diligence of the mining operations.In another scenario the mining company co-invests in the solar power plant and assumes more liability for the market risks. Finally, the external investor tries to close contracts in which the parent company is the contract partner or guarantees for the fulfillment of the rental or power purchase agreementFirst rental and PPA solutions are already available in the market. A growing number of solar companies and investors see the mining industry as a reliable partner for rental or PPA models. “This development is considerably likely to accelerate the extension of solar applications at mines”, expects Dr. Thomas Hillig, founder of THEnergy.Picture source: CRONIMET Mining Power Solutions GmbH
EPC-UK, a market leader in the manufacture, storage and distribution of commercial explosives, will be “bringing the blast to life” at this year’s Hillhead, thanks to the latest Augmented Reality technology. A combination of Virtual Reality and the real world, Augmented Reality (AR) takes the form of live video imagery, which is enhanced with computer generated graphics, immersing the user in a specific environment – for example in a quarry whilst a blast is being conducted. The state-of-the-art technology also adds labels, captions and other helpful overlays to the user’s view, making it an ideal teaching tool.“Augmented Reality is a way of placing a person in a situation they would not normally be able to experience. By bringing it to Hillhead, we hope to engage visitors within the quarrying environment and get a true feel for what we do,” explains Ben Williams, Managing Director of EPC-UK.“However, AR is not just for entertainment. It has a number of practical applications, the most important of which is training. Within our industry it is extremely difficult to realistically recreate certain scenarios, from both an economical and safety standpoint. However, AR is changing this. It is enabling us to take learning out of the classroom and into the quarry – virtually.“There are limitations, but AR will allow students to learn at their own pace, giving them the ability to rewind training videos to help aid the retention of information,” adds Williams. Alongside the AR demonstrations, EPC-UK will also be showcasing its innovative EPC-Metrics service. Launched last year, the service, developed in partnership with Datum Monitoring Services, aims to facilitate the immediate access of event data, via state-of-the-art fixed monitoring stations, removing the need to travel to and from a monitoring location, and the time-consuming manual download of results in the field.The advanced monitoring stations incorporate a GSM modem for wireless data transmission, together with the option for solar power, enabling the service to be used even in the most remote of locations. “We have been successfully providing traditional blast monitoring services for a while, but EPC-Metrics takes this offering to another level,” continues Williams. “A fixed monitoring location provides a consistent point of reference for reliable results, whilst the real-time transmission of data saves our customers both time and resources as they no longer have to produce this information on site.“The service offers users a more efficient way of monitoring blast vibration and air over-pressure, aiding the tracking of compliance and providing a greater understanding of site characteristics.”EPC-UK will also be announcing a series of new training programmes, from ‘Environmental Management in Blasting’ and ‘Geology for Blasting’ to ‘Managing the Blast Site’ and ‘Explosives Legislations for Senior Managers’. These industry leading courses have been specifically designed for the industry, encouraging continuous professional development within the sector and attracting new talent.“Our industry is constantly evolving and, as such, so are we. We have already moved away from playing a purely manufacturing role to becoming a full-service provider and our investment in innovative technology, such as AR, is a demonstration of this.“We are excited to be showcasing this technology at the industry’s foremost event and look forward to bringing the blast to life for our visitors,” concludes Williams.
Tahoe Resources has reported what appears to be attempted theft at its La Arena gold mine after discovering five “significant” holes cut into the top of the pregnant solution pipeline at the operation in La Libertad, Peru.The cuts on the pipeline that transfers solution from leach pad 4B to the pregnant solution pond caused discharge of solution from the pipeline into a storm water collection pond designed to discharge clean water into the nearby Sayapampa Creek, which runs through part of the property.Tahoe said: “Based on a preliminary internal investigation, the company believes that in an apparent theft attempt, holes were cut into the top of the pipeline in order to place bags of carbon inside of the pipeline to absorb gold from the solution. One of the bags of carbon blocked the pipeline and the solution sprayed from the hole onto the top of the raincoat sitting above the pipeline.”Subsequently, the solution flowed across the raincoat into the storm water collection pond.The company’s initial investigation estimates around 600 cu.m of pregnant solution may have flowed into the Sayapampa Creek via the storm water management system.“Upon identification of the discharge, the company immediately initiated our emergency response protocols including conducting extensive inspections of the surrounding areas from the operation and assessing the potential impacts to the communities and environment downstream,” Tahoe said.Tahoe reported the incident to the Agency for Environmental Assessment and Control (OEFA), the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the police, the public prosecutor and surrounding communities. The police and OEFA were both expected on site on August 29 to conduct investigations.“Given that the impacted pipeline is a gravity-flow line and the holes are at the top of the pipeline, the company is able to safely maintain solution flow from pad 4B without leakage into the storm water management system now that the obstruction has been removed,” Tahoe said.“The company expects that the damage to the raincoat and pipeline will be repaired over the next several days, once all relevant authorities have conducted their initial investigations. Equally important, the company is already in the process of addressing the contamination to the storm water management system. As a result, the company does not anticipate a material impact to production at this time.”A full internal investigation and review of security procedures will be conducted in order to avoid and prevent future incidents, Tahoe said.The La Arena heap leach operation was previously slated to produce 160,000-185,000 oz of gold in 2018 at all-in sustaining costs of $950-1,050/oz.
Northern Vertex Mining has declared commercial production at the Moss open pit and heap leach gold and silver mine in Arizona, USA, effective September 1, 2018. Expected fiscal 2019 production guidance has now increased to a range of 36,000-40,000 oz gold equivalent and fiscal 2020 production guidance has increased to 59,000-65,000 oz gold equivalent.Ken Berry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Northern Vertex announced: “Commercial production is a significant milestone for our team of approximately 100 men and women operating the Moss Gold Mine. In less than two years we were successful in obtaining financing, completing construction and achieving commercial rates of production.”As a result of the exceptional performance of the crushing plant, the operational team and the mining contractor NA Degerstrom, mine production is expected to be significantly higher than previously stated in the feasibility study. For example, the crushing team delivered a record day of 13,000 t throughput versus the 5,000 t/d envisioned in the study. Key equipment suppliers include Superior Industries for the overland conveyor, 17 grasshopper conveyors and radial stacker; as well as Westpro Machinery with an AG930CD agglomerator, SI100 cement silo and feed system.Bill Martinich, General Manager, stated: “We’ve built a great operations team over the past 12 months and being able to push through commissioning to achieve commercial production is proof-positive of it. Continued performance of the team at this level will enable us to exceed the gold production forecast in the feasibility study over the next two years. “