ABB Gearless Mill Drive Users Meet in Peru

ABB reported that it held the most recent of its Gearless Mill Drive (GMD) User Meetings in Lima, Peru, during October 23–24. The conference, a cooperative event between ABB Switzerland and ABB Peru, was the fourth meeting of its type, following a global event held in Switzerland in 2007 and after two regional events in Santiago de Chile and Sydney, Australia, both held in 2006. The 2009 GMD User Meeting will be held in Switzerland next October. 

ABB said that, to date, it has installed or received orders for over 80 gearless mill drive units in 21 countries on five continents. Most recently, it reported that it had received a follow-up order for the Salobo copper mine project which is being developed by Salobo Metais S.A., a subsidiary of Vale. ABB had previously won a contract in late 2007 for delivery of two GMD systems at Salobo. In June 2008, ABB was given an additional order from Polysius, which had been awarded the grinding circuit package by Vale. ABB said Polysius chose it for the follow-on order because of ABB’s experience with High Pressure Grinding Rolls (HGPRs). ABB’s scope of supply for the additional order comprises two MV ACS1000 variable speed drive systems, including motors and transformers, for two HPGRs, each powered by two 1,800-kW motors.

ABB said the purpose of the GMD User Meetings is to create an interactive platform where all parties including end users and suppliers, can present their experiences and learn from each other. According to ABB, GMD end users from 33 different operations scattered across five continents, along with representatives from major mill suppliers, attended the conference.

Hanspeter Erb, Vice President of ABB Drives Applications, said: “Certainly the ABB GMD User Meeting is a beneficial event for all involved parties. It helps us to strengthen the bonds and trust by giving our customers their say. Our team could profit a lot by learning directly from the end users about what concerns and experiences they have and in particular by having the chance to learn about interesting proposals for future collaboration.”

Veolia Subsidiary Starts Work on

Chinalco Peru Water Treatment Plant

N.A. Water Systems, a subsidiary of Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies, recently broke ground for a $25-million project to design and build a water treatment plant at the Minera Chinalco Peru S.A. Kingsmill Tunnel water treatment plant site east of Lima, near the border of Junin Province. N.A. Water Systems is partnered with Cosapi S.A. Ingenieria Y Construccion, a Peruvian engineering and construction company.

Historical mining sites in the area fill the 11.2-km Kingsmill Tunnel continuously

with acidic mine drainage containing metal contaminants that discharges directly into the Yauli

River. Minera Chinalco Peru S.A. is cleaning up the historic pollution prior to initiating operations in the area because “it’s the right thing to do,” according to a Chinalco spokesman.

HDS (High Density Sludge) technology is being employed, applying a sludge recirculation process to create a crystalline sludge that is claimed to minimize waste volume, lower disposal costs, and reduce environmental impacts.

N.A. Water Systems’ role includes basic engineering, detailed design for electrical and I&C/SCADA systems, major equipment procurement, start-up, commissioning, training, and performance testing, plus a performance guarantee for the treatment facility. The scope of work also included a four-week bench-scale testing program and evaluation of various potential value-added approaches for the design. Start-up of the water treatment system is scheduled for September 2009. 

XRF Equipment Supplier Innov-X Systems Acquires JBS Tech

Innov-X Systems, based in Woburn, Massachusetts, USA, said it recently increased its presence in the expanding XRF market for various applications within the mining sector by acquiring the staffing and technical expertise of JBS Technologies.

JBS Technologies is the former Australian distributor and global mining strategy arm for Niton XRF products. All of the employees of JBST, including founder Jason Bawden-Smith, have transferred to Innov-X and now make up a new Innov-X entity called the International Mining Group. According to the company, the new group represents “much more than a sales channel,” as it is includes personnel with a total of 50 years experience in mining applications with a proven track record of applying XRF to mining exploration in new and innovative ways. According to the company, the group has already achieved results by improving and updating its Omega Series equipment.

Jason Bawden Smith, now Innov-X’s head of mining strategy said, “We have been advising sales, marketing and technical people on this sector and are now ready to take our new product to market. The Omega Series will bring the Innov-X offering closer to a point where the robustness of the information it generates can be compared with laboratory results. These new units have been designed to greatly assist the exploration geologists integrate instant geochemistry with differential GPS and other field data and at the same time allow managers to advance projects by several months.”

“Pinpoint” Laser Heat-Treating Process Now Available

Laser Cladding Services, of Houston, Texas, USA has introduced LaserHeat, a laser pinpoint heat-treating process, to their array of laser treatment services designed to extend the lifecycle of critical parts.

According to the company, LaserHeat dramatically enhances the metallurgical properties of a part within a specific critical wear area by providing surface hardening to the area without altering the chemistry of the entire part. The process offers advantages over typical flame and induction hardening methods that require the entire part to be heated, such as low thermal input, minimal distortion, higher part processing speeds and highly accurate case depths.

The LaserHeat service can be applied to many high-wear components such as spindles, transmission shafts, pump shafts, sleeves, locomotive engine cylinders, hydraulic cylinder rams, mixing paddles, and many other components that are continually exposed to volatile or stressful environments.

“Our new LaserHeat system is perfect for pinpoint protection on parts used in high-stress, high-heat environments that cause advanced wear on critical components,” said Jim Kowske, president of Laser Cladding Services. “For example, we can take a normal spindle of 4140 steel and increase the surface hardness to 55 HRC with 0.020 inch of case depth and very minimal distortion. The process offers unparalleled surface hardening improvements.”

Parsons Brinckerhoff to Lead Program Management for Iluka Mineral Sands Project

Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) has been awarded a contract by Iluka Resources to provide program management services for the development of a mineral sands mining project in South Australia.

Located north of the Great Australian Bight, the Jacinth-Ambrosia deposit contains high-quality zircon-rich mineral sands commercially mined for use in ceramics, casting and insulation applications. PB was named Iluka’s alliance partner in August 2007 and contributed to the environmental permitting process as well as preparation of the mine’s definitive feasibility study, which was approved in May 2008.

Because of the remote location, infrastructure such as power, water and roads are virtually nonexistent. PB will provide planning and detailed design to establish services for the mining operation. The $420-million effort is scheduled for completion by mid-2010 when mining operations are expected to commence.

Wärtsilä Opens New Facility in PNG to Support Regional Mining Customers

Wärtsilä has opened a new office and workshop in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. This facility will service power plant installations in the region’s mining industries, as well as applications in other industrial sectors.

The new facility was expected to be fully functional by the end of November 2008, and will provide a wide range of services including fuel injection service, engine and component overhauling, automation services, propulsion systems, seals and bearings services, operational and maintenance contracts, and a service exchange program.

Steve Jones, Wärtsilä’s general manager in Papua New Guinea, explained that the new office and workshop will offer competitive advantages in the area. “Being on the ground to provide a full scope of services gives our customers a significant cost advantage. We now have a trained local presence, which means that we can efficiently dispatch goods and carry out our services from Papua New Guinea across this rapidly developing region. This will enable us to increase our market share, and expand our services into new power plant and ship power projects. Our plan is to grow the services capabilities to make Wärtsilä in Papua New Guinea self-dependent,” he said.

Fit to Print: Thermal Printer Meets Mining Customer’s Explosives Accounting Needs

In the current global business environment, governmental security policies can require mining companies to account for all transactions affecting their explosives inventory—down to how much explosive is used in each particular shot at each specific location. To accomplish this level of recordkeeping, mining companies may have to turn to information technology companies such as Logical Control Concepts of for assistance. A system integrator specializing in the design of automation and control systems, New Jersey, USA-based Logical Control Concepts recently delivered such a control system for a customer with mining operations in southern Ukraine.

Company president Scott Jones said, “We put together a control system that would function from trucks at each mining site used to mix and load [explosive] materials. We had specified that the system would incorporate a Sauer-Danfoss PLUS 1 control and monitoring network. Our next step was to find the best mobile printer—one that could solve the mining company’s need for complete accountability, as it had to be able to automatically provide a document detailing how much ammonium nitrate, emulsion, fuel oil and nitric acid has been loaded in each blasthole. We eventually determined that the Extech printer had the capabilities we were looking for.”

The Extech S3750THS is a battery-operated thermal printer designed to withstand the rigors of mobile computing applications. The printer provides multiple interface options, offering high flexibility for a job based in the Ukraine with operators speaking a non-English language. 

“One of the main advantages of the Extech printer is that we were able to load it with a Cyrillic font,” Jones said. “Extech provided me with software that allowed me to easily load the font. It’s really seamless— the printer interfaces with simple ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) commands and doesn’t rely on a Windows driver. And all the information can be printed in whatever font you need.”

Connected by a six-foot cable to the system control panel, the S3750THS serves as the end cap on a mobile information station in the company truck cabs. After each of about 100–150 blastholes per day is filled, the printer automatically picks up all the essential data from the system computer and provides print-outs of the work done at each hole.

“There were a couple of unique types of information that this Ukrainian customer wanted to track, in addition to the type and quantity of product used,” Jones said. “They wanted to assign the mines a number, because the trucks would service four or five different mines in the area. They also wanted the date and time of each load. Even in a different language and font, the Extech printer could be set up to accommodate these needs.”

Jones continued, “All of this data is kept on file for two reasons. Of course, they needed the data to be readily available for presentation to the Ukrainian regulatory body. But also, the printouts were used to maintain complete and accurate billing records. The company’s accounting department would always know exactly what materials were used and how much so they could accurately bill their customer.”