Angus & Ross reports on the progress of its 2006 exploration programme at its Black Angel zinc-lead property in West Greenland. A total of over 1,000 m has already been drilled with 15 holes completed in the first three weeks of the current programme. In particular 11 new holes have been drilled to test the continuity of mineralization in the area of the Ark Showing, an area where data from 12 holes drilled by previous operators already exists.At the beginning of July the rigs were moved to the South Lakes Glacier Showing where a large outcrop was discovered last year. Samples taken from the outcrop returned up to 30% zinc and 20% lead. The zinc and lead sulphide mineralization (sphalerite and galena) continues along the strike for almost 500 m and is open at both ends (disappearing under glacial moraine). The three holes drilled to date have established that mineralization is present to at least 95 m below the surface and is open at depth. Deeper holes are planned. Bands of mineralization between 0.2m and 2m of disseminated to massive sulphides are dipping at 70° to both north and south on both sides of the fold hinge. Mineralized zones are straightforward to identify due to the high contrast between the light coloured carbonate host rock and dark brown/black sulphides. Assay results from the current drilling programme are expected later this summer. Andrew Zemek, Chief Operating Officer of Angus & Ross, who recently returned from the drill sites commented, “The South Lakes Glacier Showing is the most promising outcrop of massive sulphides found since the original Black Angel discovery. The structure is open at depth and along strike and further drilling now underway will help to define its size. The crews have now settled into a routine operation and are achieving drilling rates of up to a 100 m/day, which gives us confidence that the 7,000 m drilling programme will be completed as planned. At the Ark Showing we are encouraged because mineralization intercepted in our drill holes correlates well with the locations of mineralization intercepted from the old Cominco holes.”www.angusandross.com
Macquarie hosted its 2008 China Commodities Conference last week and has provided a summary of some of the main presentations from the week. Most speakers highlighted the ongoing strong outlook for the Chinese economy both in the short and the medium term with little impact being felt from the US slowdown; in fact, domestic demand in construction appears to be slightly faster than last year. It was felt that the negative impact from the earthquake in Sichuan will be minimal and that it should be slightly positive for 2009 demand as a result of rebuilding.There was a variety of views on the impact of industrial closures for environmental and other reasons around the time of the Beijing Olympics (starting August 8). Despite all the speculation and conjecture, nothing firm has been issued by the government regarding actual closures. Some speakers opined that up to 100 Mt/y of steel capacity within a 300 km radius of Beijing could be closed for up to three months, losing 20 Mt of steel production. Others thought this was way too high and highlighted likely reductions in explosives supplies to Chinese mines (partly for terrorist reasons), which would create coal and iron ore shortages. On balance, Macquarie thinks the actual impacts will be minimal but more likely to be bullish (reducing supplies of materials more than demand) for commodity prices.Presentations on the whole were bullish for coal (coking and thermal) and steel prices and slightly negative for short-term iron ore spot prices. Speakers were bearish on short-term developments in the nickel market (due to stainless production cuts), but prices are below marginal costs of production of nickel pig iron so the downside is limited. Short-term aluminium, zinc and copper looked a little weaker but the medium-term prospects for aluminium (due to rising costs) and copper (due to a bounce in demand after de-stocking) remain strong.
Massey Energy’s Chairman and CEO Don Blankenship has requested that MSHA (Mine Safety & Health Administration) reverse the agency’s practice of requiring the coal industry to turn off dust scrubbers on continuous mining machines. “We have urged you to reverse this practice as soon as possible and allow our coal miners to enjoy the benefits of one of the truly significant technological advances of the past 30 years – the scrubber – a device able to physically remove from the atmosphere up to 98% of the harmful dust generated in the mining process,” he wrote in his letter to Joe Main, Assistant Secretary for MSHA. IM‘s June leader discusses the recent mining disaster in Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine and how MSHA is aiming to prevent future accidents.This letter comes after the agency required that many Massey and other Central Appalachia mines turn off their scrubbers. Massey has strenuously objected in multiple instances. However, MSHA has continued this practice.Continuous miner machines have been equipped with a device called a ‘scrubber’ for many years. This device, much like a vacuum cleaner, sucks in dirty air from the area of the machine cutting coal and passes it through a filter prior to the scrubber exhausting the filtered air. This filtering of dusty air greatly reduces the dust remaining in the air so that the equipment operator breathes in cleaner air.The federal government’s research arm in the area of mine health and safety, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), has conducted a study that shows a coal miner working on a section where the scrubber is turned off may inhale up to 12 times as much respirable dust as when the scrubber is on.“Currently, 62 of our 132 continuous mining machines are not permitted to run with their scrubbers operating,” writes Blankenship. “Our coal miners are also confused and, quite frankly, distressed by MSHA’s action. They cannot understand why the agency that has been created to protect their health and safety is doing the opposite.”
JKTech delivery of innovative products and services to the minerals industry has been recognised with the opportunity to win an iAward from the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA). The company’s flagship software product is JKSimMet, a program that has captured the research and development outcomes of the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC) in this field for more than 40 years. JKSimMet is now the industry standard for design and optimisation of communication and classification circuits with over 400 licences worldwide.The iAwards celebrate the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) industry’s accomplishments, contribution to strong and efficient business across the economy and the importance of technology innovation to Australia’s international competitiveness. On Thursday 1st July, JKTech was awarded the Queensland State Merit Award for JKSimMet in the Industrial Application category and will now go on to compete as a national finalist in Melbourne in August.
Stockton Alliance’s operator trainee program has produced its first “graduates” with four local people being offered permanent truck operator positions at the open-pit coal mine near Westport, New Zealand. At present there are 26 trainees at various stages of the program. It has been running since June, taking on two new trainees every fortnight. The program aims are to develop truck operators, provide jobs for local people, increase staff retention and other employees’ engagement in the project and achieve mining qualifications through EXITO. The next intake will be in February. After receiving their site and health and safety inductions, trainees spend the first two months working around the site, familiarising themselves with the operations and various roles. This work can include maintenance of roadside markings and signage, and time with the maintenance teams, both in the workshops and in the field, to understand the impact operators have on their equipment and what is involved in keeping a mining fleet in top order. Other elements of the traineeship cover Stockton Alliance’s standards, safety procedures and the skills needed to be a safe and efficient operator. They spend time alongside experienced operators in CAT 777 dump trucks before starting four to eight weeks of driver training, with some dayshift crew work. Weekly reviews by work area supervisors monitor trainees’ development in areas like skill development, work and safety performance and communication. Formal reviews are done after three months and as part of the final assessment. Stockton mine, operated by Stockton Alliance, is Solid Energy’s most valuable operational coal mining asset, delivering high-quality steelmaking coal for export.
Metso is launching a new slurry seal to meet the increased sealing demands from its mining customers. The focus has been “to offer a sealing solution that minimizes dilution of sealing water into product, eliminates leakage to atmosphere, increases life time of the seal by preventing slurry from entering the seal chamber and allows easy conversion from box packing solutions to mechanical seal solutions.”Metso’s says the new ESF design seals “satisfy the demand for advanced and reliable sealing solutions on even the heaviest of slurry applications typically found in mining applications.” Customers have requested mechanical seals for tougher and tougher applications due to environmental reasons; while satisfying the goal of reducing water consumption. Metsop states that to satisfy these requirements it was necessary to develop new seals. Metso’s says its slurry pump ranges are known for their long life, high operational performance with minimum power consumption and total ease of service.The main features and benefits of the mechanical slurry seal ESF are as follows:· The ESF seal is designed to fit into the standard Orion Series pump flushed gland housing. For the VASA HD a convenient seal adaptor is useCartridge design makes it easy to install· Retrofit installations are quick and easy when converting a packed seal pump. “Plug-and-play”· Tungsten Carbide seal faces are standard and provides longer life for the tougher applications· Flushed gland port along with the internal chamber creates a barrier of clean continuously replenished fluid to prevent incursion of slurry material to the seal faces which increases service life of the seal· Centering clips are self storing and are used to keep the seal faces in position when impeller to casing clearance is adjusted· Radial lip seal to ensure that the seal runs in a clean water environment· O-ring mounted seal faces that can be replaced in the field without special tools reduces repair cost
The West African gold industry continues to provide strong growth opportunities for Ausdrill, with the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, African Mining Services (AMS), appointed as preferred contractor by Toro Gold Ltd. AMS expects to enter into a contract with Petowal Mining Co SA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Toro Gold Limited, to provide a full suite of open pit mining services at the Mako project located in Senegal, West Africa.The contract is expected to generate approximately A$300 million in revenue over a term of 75 months, with mining expected to commence in January 2017.While some of the equipment required to perform the drilling, blasting, load and haul, and crusher feed services will be sourced from within the Group, the project will require capital expenditure of approximately A$25 million for the acquisition of new equipment.Ausdrill’s Managing Director, Ron Sayers: “We are delighted at being appointed preferred contractor at this new project, which will expand on our West African operations where AMS has been operating for over 25 years. Our deep expertise in the gold sector means our team is perfectly positioned to deliver a successful operation for Toro.”On July 22 Toro Gold announced the award of a Mining Concession in respect of its wholly owned Mako gold project, situated in the Kedougou region of Eastern Senegal. After constructive and successful negotiations with the Government of Senegal in respect of the technical, environmental and social and fiscal aspects of the project during late 2015 and the first half of 2016, a presidential decree was signed on 14th July 2016, awarding a 15 year mining concession to the project.Based on the award, Toro Gold started to finalise the raising of development funding through a combination of a $100 milion secured loan facility and a $77 million equity placement to leave the company fully funded to first gold production inclusive of construction cost contingency, development cost overrun support, working capital and corporate costs.Martin Horgan, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Toro Gold: “We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone in the development of the project after the successful conclusion of discussions and negotiations with our partners in the Government of Senegal. Since establishing the Company in 2009, Toro Gold has been active in Senegal and made the greenfields discovery at Mako in 2011. In spite of the difficulties faced by the junior mining sector over this period, Toro Gold has been able to progress the project based on its robust forecast returns and the attractiveness of Senegal as a stable and supportive jurisdiction for international investors. We would like to thank all our stakeholders in the project for their support which has enabled the company to arrive at the start of construction in this short space of time since the initial discovery only five years ago. We look forward to commencing construction activities in the immediate short term and updating you in due course.”The project is developing a + 1 Moz reserve, at an average grade of 2.25g/t Au, which is planned to be extracted over an eight-year operating life after an initial 18 month construction period. Extraction of reserves will be via an open pit mine employing a contract mining approach resulting in an average life of mine strip ratio of 5.1 t (waste) : 1.0 t (ore). The mining operations will provide mill feed for a 1.8 Mt/y CIL plant which utilises a primary crushing/SAG Mill circuit which averages ~90% recoveries over the life of mine. Other infrastructure includes a 14 MW diesel powered power station, an integrated waste rock dump and tailings management facility, a 130 man camp and a ~1 million m3 water storage dam.The project is forecast to produce an average of 137,000 oz/y of gold over the first six years of production at an average grade in excess of 2.5g/t. When combined with the moderate stripping ratio this leads to an AISC of below $750/oz for the same six-year period which places the project competitively on the operating cost curve.There remains excellent potential to extend the resource and reserve base of the project both from within the existing mining concession area and within a 25 km radius of the project where satellite deposits could form the basis of truckable mill feed.The project configuration has been completed with significant consideration of both the social and environmental setting of the project location. While noting that the project footprint lies outside the Niokola-Koba National Park (NKNP) and its associated buffer zone, the infrastructure design is seeking to minimise the footprint and utilises the local topography to ensure a sympathetic infrastructure layout that meets the needs of both local communities and the surrounding environmental conditions. The project has been designed to be constructed, operated and closed in line with both Senegalese and international regulatory requirements in respect of its environmental and social performance.Award of the mining concession has been underpinned by the development of a comprehensive environmental and social management plan that spans all stages of the project’s life and specifically recognises the environmental sensitivity of the project development area arising from its proximity to the NKNP and the Gambia River. To this end, a detailed Biodiversity Action Plan was developed by the company which outlines the strategy for mitigating project-related impacts and offsetting residual impacts to achieve at least a No Net Loss of biodiversity. The company has already commenced a biodiversity offset programme comprising landscape level conservation actions covering areas both within and outside the NKNP. The company has put in place an independent advisory panel comprised of eminent national and international conservationists to guide the development of the offset program.The project has been designed to avoid the need for physical displacement (resettlement), however there will be some unavoidable impacts on lands that will result in a partial loss of livelihood for some families. The company has worked closely with affected communities to understand the extent of the livelihood impacts and reach agreement on appropriate compensation and mitigation measures. A negotiated agreement for land acquisition and livelihood restoration was finalised in June 2016.An independent review of Toro Gold’s work conducted in March 2016 concluded: ‘Social License to operate is excellent, with community relationships built up through a multi-layered engagement process over several years, resulting in strong perceptions of transparent, collaborative working relationships in a partnership arrangement’.
Sandvik has announced that Lars Engström, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, will leave the company this year after the appointment of a successor.The news came on the same day the company announced the acquisition of battery-electric underground machine specialist Artisan Vehicles.Engström has been a member of the executive management of Sandvik since 2016, heading up the Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology business. He has, during this time, successfully improved the performance of the business area and its divisions in accordance with Sandvik’s strategy to ensure stability, profitability and growth, the company said.“During Lars Engström’s leadership, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s has grown from about SEK30 billion ($3.33 billion) to SEK44 billion in revenues and the operating margin has improved from 10% in the beginning of 2016 to 19% in the fourth (December) quarter of 2018,” Sandvik said.Björn Rosengren, Sandvik’s President and CEO, said he was very grateful for Engström’s contributions to the group.“He has built a successful decentralised organisation and significantly strengthened the results of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s divisions. However, we have now together reached the conclusion that it’s time for a new leadership.“We have a lot of good talent in Sandvik so I feel confident that we will have several interested and motivated candidates for the job. At the same time, I’m pleased that Lars will stay on-board to ensure a successful transition before leaving.”The recruitment process for a new president of Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology will now be initiated, Sandvik noted.