Mining & Minerals Processing Finalists: 2014 PACE Zenith Awards

Profiles of the nine finalists in the Mining and Minerals Processing category that is sponsored by Emerson Process Management.

Bonfiglioli Transmission Australia

Clever coal conveyor touches lightly on the environment

A 2km coal conveyor system that combines engineering innovation and efficiency with built-in safety and environmental excellence has been completed by the Ellton Group for Rio Tinto Coal Australia’s Coal and Allied Hunter Valley Operations.

The 1400 mm belt conveyor system rated at 2400 TH – driven by Bonfiglioli Power Pack drives – includes an overland conveyor and a skyline stacker conveyor system that eliminates the previous need for heavy trucks to transfer coal from another load out facility during peak production.

Eagle Alternatives

Blast Suppressor (JK Jigger)

As an electrician working in the mining industry notices a reoccurring problem.

He saw that solid shafts were the main cause, and could be modified, to prevent this common problem in underground mines, where 1000V isolator handles can be damaged on re-locatable power and control boxes used in an underground mining environment due to blasting pressures.

By fitting, the Blast suppressor in the underground box, with its unique function it will prevent the handle from being damage.

Rheology Solutions

The OnLine Rheometer for enhanced process monitoring and control

The project was to commercialise, in two years, novel technologies for an online process control instrument that delivers real-time data to afford better quality control for production processes, initially in the food, personal care and, later, mining and other sectors.

The instrument is an OnLine Rheometer, which measures and delivers a characteristic flow curve for a liquid in a pipe in real time.

The market need for this instrument is acute, and there are no direct competitors. Across key sectors, product quality is verified by measuring flow properties of liquids.

Currently, these measurements are either through laboratory analysis which is highly accurate but adds significantly to process time, or real-time, through in- or on-line viscometers.

Tahmoor Coal (Glencore)

Tahmoor Coal Recycled Water Treatment Plant

Glencore and SKM have developed a fully automated Air Quality Control System believed to be a first for the Hunter Region's mining sector.

The AQCS is enabling Glencore's open cut sites across the Upper Hunter and Ulan to better manage air quality and noise issues through increased awareness of environmental management.

The key component of the AQCS is an environmental forecast summary emailed daily to more than 120 Glencore representatives, who provide this information to their respective sites.

The email includes general five-day weather forecasts, wind conditions for the next two days, predictions of daily dust risk and predicted noise risks at specific locations. 

Leussink / Soto Consulting Group joint project

SWIFTA (Safe Wheel Installation Fitting Transportation Apparatus)

With SWIFTA, the challenge was not just to create, manufacture and patent a unit for safe tyre changing in-situ on underground mining vehicles; the market differentiator is SWIFTA gives complete control and unobstructed vision for the operator, something with which all similar predecessor technologies globally had lacked.

The SWIFTA has been designed, developed and manufactured by a strategic alliance between two innovative and successful SMEs based in the industrial Illawarra region of NSW.

Having been working close to BlueScope for many years, both Leussink and Soto Consulting have developed strong brands respectively in the mines and resources sector and general engineering.


Process Fouling Detection Using WirelessHART Instrumentation

On the Cristal Kemerton Titanium Dioxide site, four process vessels in the condensate plant are monitored for differential pressure as a means of detecting process fouling.

Plant operators are required to regularly enter the plant and make manual recordings from pressure gauges fitted to vessel inlet and outlet piping.

This activity was inefficient and the recorded data was inaccurate. A project to replace the gauges with wired pressure transmitters was considered, but given the diverse geography of the condensate plant the cost of installing the instrument cabling was prohibitive.

By using WirelessHART self-powered pressure transmitters, the requirement to run cables into the condensate plant was eliminated, with pressure measurements now wireless transmitted to a Rosemount gateway installed adjacent to the condensate plant.

Orontide Group Limited

Orepass Installation System

During FY2013, Orontide was engaged by a prominent Australian mining company to design, supply and install a new underground orepass system for their Leinster underground operation.

The underground orepass system is used to break nickel ore into smaller sizes through a rock breaker, filter it through grizzly panels and into a 20 metre deep orepass.

The orepass was comprised of a series of 40 tonne liner cans made from quenched/tempered Hardox steel.

The new method of installation not only achieved excellent safety results with no injuries recorded during the installation, but it also halved the time required to shut down that section of the underground mine.

Machinery Safety Systems

Machinery Inspection Operating Control System MiOCS

Machinery Safety Systems has developed an electronic pre-start system to replace hard copy log books traditionally used to record checks on components and the use of machinery.

The company expects that the MiOCS device will become essential tools for industry to improve pre-start checks and better manage the use of machinery.

The three key advantages are: (1) Identification of the Pre-Start person; (2) The RFID tags in their respective positions ensure the operator goes to each checkpoint; and (3) Users of the plant/machinery are recorded via the MCU.

The reporting via the PDA also captures real date/time usage of the plant/machinery.


Isaac Plains CHPP sustainable cost saving project

Ausenco reviewed the existing Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) Operations and Maintenance Service Agreement for the Isaac Plains CHPP and identify and implement a sustainable cost saving of 20% across the CHPP, without impacting its reliability and availability.

Ausenco designed the maintenance strategy which enabled them to better plan and schedule maintenance activities.

The net result was a reduction in the number of regular shutdowns per year from 17 to 10 and a reduced reliance on sub-contracted labour required for the maintenance of the plant.

Despite reduced maintenance spend, plant availability increased from 91% in 2012 to 95.1% in 2013. Unplanned maintenance decreased from 33.1 hours/month to 23.8 hours/month over the same period.

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