Industry NEWS

17 June 2019

Komatsu to acquire global mining technology firm Immersive

Komatsu has signed an agreement through its wholly owned subsidiary in Australia to acquire global mining technology firm Immersive Technologies for an undisclosed sum.

Immersive Technologies optimises the safety and productivity of equipment operators to increase mine profitability.

Following the deal, the company will retain its headquarters in Perth, Western Australia, and continue to deploy its solution, which aligns people, process, and technology to reduce risk, quantify training impact and manage the training process properly.

Komatsu Mining Business Division president Masayuki Moriyama said: “We are very pleased to welcome Immersive Technologies into the Komatsu group. We look forward to working together with Immersive Technologies to enhance Komatsu’s mining business and continue the success in its multiple-OEM simulator strategy.”

Operating as an independently managed, wholly owned subsidiary of Komatsu and under its existing name and branding, Immersive Technologies will have the resources of Komatsu at its disposal.

The company will also continue to collaborate with all equipment manufacturers to address the performance improvement challenges of mixed equipment fleets.

Immersive Technologies CEO and co-founder Peter Salfinger said: “This acquisition represents the start of the next phase of Immersive Technologies’ evolution.

“We now have the opportunity to contribute to the realisation of Komatsu’s strategy for mining, whilst also leveraging Komatsu’s vast support network and advanced technology portfolio. This includes closer collaboration with other well-known mining technology companies owned by Komatsu.”

The acquisition is expected to support both companies in offering improved service and products to their customers.

It is subject to completion of all necessary procedures and is expected to close on 1 July 2019.

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13 June 19

Sigma Lithium secures environmental licences for production plant

Canadian mining company Sigma Lithium Resources (Sigma) has obtained environmental licences from the Council of Environmental Policy (COPAM), the Brazilian environmental authority of the State of Minas Gerais, for the construction (LP) and installation (LI) of a lithium commercial production plant in Brazil.

The Dual LP and LI Certificate is valid until 31 May 2025.

The plant is expected to have the capacity to process 1.5Mtpa of spodumene ore from its Grota do Cirilo property.

The proprietary lithium process design includes DMS technology. The plant is expected to produce 220,000t of battery-grade 6% lithium oxide concentrate per annum.

The company is in the final stages of the feasibility study for the Xuxa deposit. Sigma has the option to double the capacity to process 3Mtpa of spodumene ore at a later stage.

Under the LP, the company will initiate construction after the conclusion of the feasibility study. The LI will enable the company to take up transport, trial mining and testing of the DMS beneficiation process of spodumene ore from the Xuxa deposit into battery-grade lithium concentrate.

Sigma CEO Calvyn Gardner said: “We are very fortunate to be based in the business and the mining-friendly state of Minas Gerais where Sigma underwent a very rigorous environmental licensing process by SUPRAM, the Regional Superintendence of the Environment.

“The plant will use dry stacking technology to manage tailings and recycle more than 90% of its water used in the processing and beneficiation of the battery grade lithium concentrate.”

During the licensing process, Sigma presented several sustainability programmes, including environmental supervision and management, rainwater draining implementation and management, reuse of waste and reforestation.

SUPRAM has also examined the impact of the Xuxa mine on water, air, fauna and flora, as well as Sigma’s plans to benefit the local community, including generating jobs, providing health and safety programmes, attracting new companies, and boosting local business and societal development.

Earlier this year, Sigma received a water licence from the National Water Agency of Brazil for the construction of the plant.

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13 June 2019

Normet demonstrates electric emulsion charging at Pyhäsalmi mine

Underground mining and tunnelling company Normet has demonstrated battery electric emulsion charging in the production environment at First Quantum Minerals’ Pyhäsalmi underground mine in Finland.

The company used its Charmec MC 605 VE SD explosives-charging machine for the demonstration.

According to Normet, battery-based charging makes the explosives charging process safer as there is no need to plug into the mine’s electric grid.

Charmec MC 605 VE SD is based on the company’s Charmec MC charger, which is part of the SmartDrive battery-electric vehicle range.

Normet SmartDrive is a fully electric product for mining and tunnelling construction and its design is a fully engineered battery electric architecture, which offers emission-free underground operations while reducing costs.

Normet said in a statement: “Charmec MC 605 VE SD presents the new era of charging in underground mines.

“Normet SmartDrive (SD) battery electric vehicle technology, integrated to the state-of-the-art emulsion charging technology, offers the highest value to the customer in terms of safety, health, ergonomics and productivity, with zero local emissions.”

Charmec MC 605 VE SD has a full range of optional accessories to fulfil various customer needs and to improve modern underground development and production charging operations.

The company has designed its charging equipment with safety and mechanisation in mind to fulfil the most demanding customer needs worldwide.

The Pyhäsalmi mine is one of the oldest and deepest underground mines in Europe and produces copper, zinc and pyrite. It was initially developed in 1962 as an open pit mine by Outokumpu, followed by the first underground development.

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13 June 2019

Adani Enterprise to begin work on Queensland mine

Adani Enterprise has received the final environmental approval to commence work on its Carmichael mine in Central Queensland, Australia, following years of protests and court battles.

The Queensland Environment Department approved the mine’s groundwater management plan after a rigorous assessment.

During the last 18 months, the firm created around a dozen versions of the groundwater management plan. However, these version could not meet the core environmental requirements, including a plan to avoid destruction of the Doongmabulla Springs Complex, which is claimed to be an unspoiled desert oases.

The Environment Department ordered the company to find the source of the springs. Adani Enterprise identified Clematis Sandstone as the main source aquifer. The company was also ordered to investigate further and install a new bore in order to rule out possibilities of the Permian aquifers (Colinlea) being a source.

Adani will also have to undertake additional work over the next two years to identify any further potential source.

It will use hydrogeochemical analysis of groundwater from different springs, isotopic analysis, and examine samples from new bores.

According to the Environment Department, the miner can begin box cut mining at the site; however, further testing needs to be completed to carry out underground mining.

The department said it sought advice from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia before granting approval.

The Queensland Environment Department stated: “CSIRO and Geoscience Australia also confirmed that some level of uncertainty in geological and groundwater conceptual models always exists.”

Adani acquired this project in 2010. This project, which was embroiled in court battles, is expected to generate between eight and ten million tonnes of thermal coal a year.

The firm now expects to ship first coal from this mine in two years.

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12 June 2019

Barrick Gold plans further investment in Midas Gold

Barrick Gold has announced its plans for further investment with the acquisition of 7.2 million common shares of mining exploration company Midas Gold.

It currently owns 46.5 million common shares of Midas Gold, representing approximately 19.6% of the latter’s outstanding common shares.

The offering is expected to close on or before 19 June. After the offering, Barrick will own 19.9% of Midas Gold’s outstanding common shares on a non-diluted basis.

Barrick will acquire additional common shares of Midas Gold for C$4.4m ($3.3m), with each share priced at C$0.6 ($0.45).

According to Barrick, it is purchasing the common shares for investment purposes.

Based on market conditions and other factors such as the business and financial conditions of Midas Gold, Barrick may purchase additional common shares or other securities of Midas Gold or divest some or all of the common shares or other securities of Midas Gold.

The purchase or divestment is subject to the terms of the investor rights agreement earlier entered by Barrick and Midas Gold.

The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Barrick is a mining company headquartered in Toronto, Canada. It has operations in countries such as Australia, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, the US, and Zambia.

Through its fully owned subsidiaries, Midas Gold focuses on the exploration, site restoration and redevelopment of gold-antimony-silver deposits in the Stibnite-Yellow Pine district of central Idaho.

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12 June 2019

Vutomi to sell diamonds recovered from South Africa project

Botswana Diamonds associate Vutomi has received approval to sell diamonds recovered during a bulk sampling programme at the Thorny River project in South Africa.

The Thorny River bulk sampling project is a joint venture (JV) between SouthernEra, Palaeo and Vutomi.

SouthernEra holds a 40% interest in the project and provides processing services while Palaeo holds a 40% stake and serves as the mining contractor. The remaining 20% interest is owned by Vutomi, which provides the ground.

Until 10 June, 256ct of rough diamonds were recovered. Sale of these diamonds from the bulk sampling will fund further development by Vutomi, in which Botswana holds a 40% stake.

The trenching programme has identified a hotspot at the project site with a thick, 4m-wide kimberlite intersection, indicating a kimberlite blow.

According to Botswana Diamonds, the bulk sampling programme is expected to generate short-term cash flow while developing the mineral resource.

Botswana Diamonds’ partner, SouthernEra Diamonds, has included its coarse tailings dumps produced from the mining of the Marsfontein and Klipspringer diamond mines into the same revenue share partnership agreement.

Vutomi has obtained a Section 27 mining permit for a portion of the contiguous Marsfontein farm.

Part of this farm hosts rich M8 kimberlite dyke, bordering the Marsfontein diamond mine.

Botswana Diamonds is a diamond exploration and project development company with exploration licences in Botswana and South Africa.

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11 June 2019

Velocity Minerals to acquire 70% of Bulgaria’s Obichnik gold project

Velocity Minerals has signed an option agreement with Gorubso Kardzhali to acquire a 70% interest in the 388ha Momchil property in south-east Bulgaria.

This property also includes the Obichnik gold deposit, which is a geological resource located in southeast Bulgaria. It is approximately 25km by road from Gorubso’s modern CIL processing plant.

Under the option agreement, Velocity needs to submit a NI 43-101 resource estimate to earn its stake.

Registered with the Ministry of Energy in Bulgaria, the resource is based on historical exploration, which includes 32 drill holes (4,800m) and 137 trenches. The exploration was completed by Geoengineering and Gorubso.

According to Velocity, the deposit is open for expansion and requires systematic exploration to understand its full potential for open-pit resources.

The company is currently awaiting results from a ground magnetic survey and surface soil geochemistry. It has collected 525 soil samples and 29-line kilometres of magnetic surveying for the tests.

The company also plans to assess the reliability of historical drill results from Momchil property. The results will be assessed by conducting angled heel-to-toe drilling across mineralised zones and isolated exploration drill tests.

The drilling campaign aims to verify the continuity of mineralisation, geotechnical, and hydrogeological features of the deposit.

Last month, Velocity signed another option agreement with Gorubso Kardzhali, thereby enabling the latter to earn a 70% stake in the 194ha Nadezhda property in southeast Bulgaria, which includes the Makedontsi gold project.

Velocity Minerals is a Canadian gold exploration and development company while Gorubso Kardzhali is a Bulgarian metal ore mining company.

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11 June 2019

First Ore-Mining and ZYFRA sign MoU to deploy AI at Pavlovskoe deposit

First Ore-Mining and ZYFRA have signed a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for mining and processing operations at the Pavlovskoe deposit in Russia.

The lead-zinc deposit is located on Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.

The project was included in the ‘Social and Economic Development of the Arctic Area of the Russian Federation’ programme.

First-Ore is a division of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp while ZYFRA is a digital solutions provider for heavy industries.

Once the partners move ahead with the development, the Pavlovskoe deposit is set to become the most northerly mine in Russia.

ZYFRA chief executive officer Igor Bogachev said: “It is more difficult for companies to operate in extreme climatic conditions because of factors such as the high cost of resources and special work safety regulations.

“The robotised systems offered by our subsidiary VIST Group, including Intelligent Mine, will reduce equipment downtime by 10%-20% and maintenance costs by 15-18%, thereby cutting production costs by 2%-3%.”

Intelligent Mine is a set of digital technologies for the production processes management of open-pit mining operations.

Its optimisation is based on artificial intelligence, which allows distributing robotic dump trucks along routes in an open cycle in accordance with the multi-criteria optimisation approach.

The system enables mineral extraction in hard-to-reach and remote regions with severe climatic and subsurface conditions.

The two companies aim to explore a possible project to implement robotics and remote control of quarry equipment at the Pavlovskoe deposit of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago.

First Ore-Mining Company executive director Igor Semenov said: “Rosatom State Corporation and First Ore-Mining Company have a strong focus on occupational safety. We are beginning this work in advance so that the very first ore will be produced using advanced technologies in the safest possible conditions.”

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11 June 2019

Global tailings review moves into research phase

ICMM has put an independent committee of experts to develop an international standard for the safe management of tailings storage facilities (TSFs), which comes in response to the tailings dam collapse at Vale’s Corrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho, Brazil this year.

Supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the ICMM is performing a global tailings review to establish guidelines that will form the basis of the standard.

The international standard for TSFs safe management can be applied to all tailings dams irrespective of the location and the company that operates them.

Global Tailings Review chair Dr Bruno Oberle said: “Engaging with people from civil society, academia, business and multilateral institutions has helped me to set out an ambitious work plan for the independent Global Tailings Review.

“After this, I will prepare a draft report and standard which will be published by the end of the summer. There will be widespread consultation on these draft findings in September and October. The responses from this will inform and strengthen the final standard and report before their publication early next year.”

The review is divided into three phases consisting of a research phase, consultation phase and development of a report.

The research phase consists of engagement with communities living and working near TSFs and evaluation of the best practices.

The consultation phase will focus on the standard draft documents published at the end of phase one. The research phase will include regional meetings and an online consultation.

In the final phase, Dr Oberle will look at the consultation responses and develop the international standard and submit a report by the end of this year.

The report will outline the broader recommendations to support the implementation of the standard and be published in early next year.

For the next two months, Oberle will visit tailings storage sites around the world, collecting feedback from local communities and workers.

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10 June 2019

W Resources awards mining contract for La Parrilla tungsten project

UK-based copper and tungsten mining company W Resources has awarded a mining contract for its La Parrilla tungsten project in Spain to General de Maquinaria y Excavación (GME).

With JORC-compliant resources of 49Mt at a grade of 998ppm tungsten trioxide (WO3), the project is a large tungsten deposit and is being developed in three stages.

The tungsten mine is located approximately 3km from main Seville / Madrid Highway, and is located in close proximity to both Atlantic and Mediterranean ports.

The mining fleet is currently in, with three 60t haul trucks, along with a Liebherr excavator and other auxiliary equipment.

According to W Resources, the operation will be gradually scaled-up in response to the demand as the ramp-up progresses.

The GME team will be locally managed by a mining engineer, a production foreman and a safety manager responsible for the fleet operating team.

W Resources stated that the construction and installation work is progressing well at the mine, and the concentrator plant is scheduled to be completed in this month and commissioned the next month.

Other smaller modular plants are expected to be delivered and installed in early July.

W Resources chairman Michael Masterman said: “Following detailed negotiations, we are delighted to have awarded the mining contract for La Parrilla to GME who bring extensive experience in mining and processing.

“Importantly, the contract is in line with our final investment decision report, which further underpins our confidence of achieving the low operating costs we have outlined. The project remains within budget and we look forward to ramp-up to T2 of the project, which will deliver significant earnings starting in 2019.”

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