​Weir Minerals acquires crushing company

Global engineering group Weir Minerals has acquired Chinese
crushing and separation equipment manufacturer Trio Engineered Products.

The acquisition, valued at US$220 million, is part of Weir
recent strategy to expand in the comminution segment of the mill circuit,
building upon its base in the pumping equipment sector.

This acquisition will “provide a more complete product and service offering to existing mining
customers [and allow Weir to] leverage Trio’s cost effective manufacturing
platform,” the company said.

It will also allow
Weir to “capture a greater proportion of the aftermarket opportunity from the
installed base of Trio equipment”.

“This agreement will allow Weir Minerals to build upon its successful
comminution strategy,” Weir Group CEO Keith Cochrane said.

“We’ll use our Group’s unrivalled global capability to promote
Trio’s range of complementary products, extending our addressable market and
offering our mining customers a wider range of highly engineered equipment and
services. Trio’s established manufacturing capability and its scale and
presence in aggregates markets also provides a further platform for growth.”

Weir acquired the group from
Navis Capital.

​WA DMP release new series of safety videos

The West Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum have
launched a safety series focused on helping identify hazards on site.

The DMP’s Resources safety Division has developed the ‘Know
Your Hazards’ video series to help workers identify potential hazards and to
reduce the severity and frequency of workplace accidents.

“If hazards are not recognised or understood, supervisors
and workers will not be taking appropriate precautions to eliminate them or
reduce the risks,” DMP Resources Safety executive director Simon Ridge said.

“This is why we have produced a series of short educational
videos to assist workers to understand the concepts behind some common hazards
encountered in the resources industry.”

The first video in the series, titled ‘Raising the Issues’
focuses on improving lifting and rigging practices.

“These are issues have that
have caused a number of fatalities, serious accidents and near misses in recent
years,” Ridge said

The series was launched
yesterday by WA mining minister Bill Marmion at WA’s underground mine training
centre The Cut.

“To protect yourself from
harm you must know what can harm you, and these videos provide key pointers on
the basics of friction, tensile strength and centre of gravity,” Marmion said.

The videos will be shown as
part of the WA DMP’s annual Mines Safety Roadshow, and will be available
online.

To watch the first video in the series, click here.

Sedgman wins Baralaba coal mine rail facility contract

Segdman has won a $36.7 million contract for Cockatoo Coal’s Baralaba mine expansion.

The expansion will see Cockatoo increase Baralaba’s capacity to stack, reclaim, and rail product from one mtpa to more than three mtpa.

Sedgman’s contract will see it provide the detail design, supply, fabrication, construction, and commissioning of the train load out and stockyard facilities at Moura.

The project is split in to two parts, with the design and procurement portion valued at $19.4 million and the construction section valued at $17.3 million.

Sedgman is already finalising the design and procurement portion, with final approvals of the construction component slated for November, and total completion of the upgraded facilities scheduled for August next year.

The site’s expansion, including the rail load out facility, was approved in late August, and is predicted to cost the miner around $313 million.

DuPont demonstrates increased mining conveyor belt life from Kevlar

The use of DuPont Kevlar in mining conveyor belts has demonstrated
increased productivity and reduced annual maintenance costs. According to DuPont
Protection Technologies, data collected in a field trial with one of the
world’s leading copper mining company, Codelco (National Copper Corporation of
Chile) through Plants Management of the Andina Division, demonstrated a
capacity increase of over 18 percent with a 60 percent reduction in annual
maintenance costs.

William F. Weber, vice-president, Kevlar, DuPont Protection Technologies
explains that the lightweight strength, durability and performance of this
advanced material in extreme conditions make it an ideal choice in this
application. With the ability of the belts to run faster with less wear and
tear, mining companies can ‘Dare Bigger’ to target higher capacities.

Dare Bigger is the new brand platform for DuPont Kevlar, representing inspiration
for those who rely on the safety and performance of Kevlar brand fibre. From
athletes to astronauts, first responders to industrial workers, Kevlar enables
anyone with an imagination and a job to do to Dare Bigger.

Patricio Porta, Analyst Specialist-Operations, Management of Plants,
Codelco Andina Division comments that conveyor belts used in mining
applications are exposed to harsh conditions as they are not only required to go
deep down into the bowels of the earth, but also have to carry copper ore, which
is sharp and hard on equipment used to extract it. The belts made using DuPont
Kevlar fibre are durable and strong, and are positively impacting their
production.

DuPont Kevlar fibre enables conveyor belt manufacturers to offer
lighter, more flexible and longer life solutions to mining companies,
increasing throughput and reducing operational costs associated with
installation, maintenance, replacement and energy consumption.

Key advantages of Kevlar fibre conveyor belts include ease of
installation with belts integrating easily into an existing setup without reconfiguration;
productivity improvements through the belt’s ability to run at higher
speeds, offer increased strength and reduce maintenance downtime, with the
higher flexibility allowing a greater trough angle to prevent materials from
sliding off, even at higher speeds; energy savings from decreased power
consumption; and reduced maintenance with the tough Kevlar belts exhibiting
very low creep despite their flexibility, and rarely requiring time-consuming
re-splicing since they hardly stretch once installed.

Codelco Andina Division derived major gains from replacing a 48m
conveyor belt containing a 5-ply conventional nylon/polyester (EP) cord carcass
with a comparable belt containing a single-layer DuPont Kevlar Advanced
Performance (AP) fibre, including throughput increasing to 3,000 tons per day,
and maintenance reduced to a third of the usual frequency, with yearly
maintenance cost dropping from 14 cents to 5½ cents per ton.

The breadth and versatility of the
Kevlar technology platform help customers design products for performance
and safety. Best known for its use in ballistic and stab-resistant body armour,
Kevlar has helped to save the lives of thousands of people around the
world with a wide application range from firefighting and industrial protective
clothing to vehicles, fibre optic cables, commercial aircraft and city
roads. Kevlar fibre is also used in many consumer products such as
mobile phones, tyres, and high-performance sporting apparel and equipment.

​China lifts ban on Valemax carriers

In another blow for Australian iron ore, China has lifted
its ban on Valemax iron ore bulk carriers.

Valemax are very large or carriers (VLOC) owned by Brazilian
mining giant Vale, and are designed to carry iron ore from Brazil to around the
world.

They have capacities ranging from 380 000 to 400 000 short
tons deadweight, and are the largest bulk carriers ever built, with draughts of
between 22 and 32 metres, due to Brazil’s need to freight more in a single
journey due to its distance from many of the main iron ore customers.

China initially banned the carriers over concerns regarding
the impact on supply and prices the large cargoes could have, using the ships
own deep draught and size as impetus to revoke vessels of this size from docking
at mainland Chinese ports in 2012.

Ship owners previously lobbied against Vale’s vessels,
fearing they would give the company a monopoly over the iron ore and shipping
industries.

According to The Financial Review a first Vale
ship, carrying 410,000 tonnes, was refused entry to Chinese ports in December 2011 after it breached the 380,000 tonne restriction.

Because of this ongoing ban Vale had used transit centres in Africa and the Philippines to bring ore to China, and is
also building a facility in Malaysia to service the region.

However increasing Chinese
demand for Brazilian iron ore may be behind the lifting of the ban.

China Cosco has signed a 25
year deal with Vale that involves 14 of the massive Valemax ships, according to the South China Morning Post.

“The current regulation
actually already legitimises these vessels to berth at Chinese ports. If you
look at how the ban was initiated in the first place, it will be unlikely for
the government to make an official announcement with much fanfare that says the
ban is loosened,” an unnamed executive from state-owned port company told
the SCMP.

“Eventually, the ban
will be lifted in a quiet manner. You may see a Valemax ship granted approval
by a local maritime authority to dock, and that will be it. Officials realised
the ban has hurt China’s economic interests, pushing up the costs for iron ore
imports,” the executive said.

The news comes as Australia’s government predicts more pain ahead for the nation’s iron ore sector.

In its September quarter report, The Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) said global commodity supply had grown significantly over recent years, placing pressure on prices in the medium term.

It said producers will need to continue to focus on managing costs and improving their competitiveness in order to survive downturn in the price cycle.

“A rapid increase in iron ore supply combined with moderating growth in China’s steel production have pushed iron ore prices lower in 2014. Prices have fallen nearly 40 per cent down from around US$130 a tonne (CFR China) in January to US$82 a tonne in September,” BREE said.

While the group said iron ore price volatility is not uncommon, oversupply is now flooding the market.

In Australia alone over 200 million tonnes of new ore has begun export at the same time as China stopped stockingpiling the commodity

Honeywell Users Group 2014 wraps up

More than 200 people attended the event, held on the Gold Coast, with the majority of attendees made up of users of Honeywell technology from across Australia.

Today was used by customers to hold sessions demonstrating their use of Honeywell technology on their sites, and how they implemented it.

Productivity and efficiency gains were the main focus for the presentations.

The company itself used the event as a launchpad for a number of new releases, such as the oil and gas productivity and safety software suites and the Experion Orion console released on the first day of the event, officially launching its universal cabinets for its universal input/output (I/O) modules today.

According to the company the “universal I/O modules allow operators to quickly and remotely configure channels as analog or digital I/O using Honeywell’s proprietary Universal Channel Technology software”.

“The Universal Cabinets incorporate Universal I/O modules and make the entire cabinet a standard part which can play a key role in on-time start-ups by removing I/O from the critical path. This can help project managers to reduce the impact of changes on automation project schedules, especially late in a project cycle.”

Honeywell’s Lean Execution of Automation Projects (LEAP) processes were also highlighted during the show.

LEAP is “a new methodology and philosophy in project execution,” the company stated.

It uses cloud engineering and virtualisation methods to aid companies in implementing process solutions into their projects.

By using a cloud approach to engineering design “it decouples the software and the hardware, so they can be produced in parallel with one another, as opposed to sequentially, shifting formerly backend processes to the frontend,” Honeywell said today.

In spite of the current market conditions in mining, the mood was overall positive at the event.

“Despite the market being down, people have all been very positive here,” Honeywell director sales – Pacific, Neil Wold, told Australian Mining.

“In fact the turn out was even better than last year,” he said.

Regarding the customer sessions held earlier in the day, Wold stated that it was one of his favourite parts of HUG, as “it’s always exciting to see how our technology is being used”.

HUG will be held in Perth next year

PACE attended HUG as a guest of Honeywell.

Komatsu launches KOMTRAX Plus for mining

Komatsu has released its new KOMTRAX remote monitoring system designed specifically for mining equipment.

The equipment manufacturer has provided KOMTRAX remote monitoring on its range of equipment for a number of years, and is now focused on rolling out its latest version for the mining industry.

KOMTRAX Plus combines the benefits of
Komatsu’s long-standing VHMS (Vehicle Health Monitoring System) with remote
monitoring capabilities.

“The system allows mine management,
asset managers and maintenance crews to view specific machine performance data
remotely via any computer with an internet connection,” Rick Augur, Komatsu
Australia’s Telemetry Specialist – KOMTRAX Plus, stated.

“KOMTRAX Plus provides a means to remotely
monitor the health of major components using Komatsu’s satellite technology on
selected mining and production class machines, enabling constant evaluation of
a machine’s condition and operations.

“This system has been designed to
reduce repair costs and maintain optimal machine availability by helping
prevent unscheduled downtime, through the combination of Komatsu’s proven VHMS
and KOMTRAX offerings.”

KOMTRAX Plus, which is free for any Komatsu equipment already equipped with KOMTRAX, is available via the company’s Equipment Care website.

“Our Equipment Care portal allows
customers to view every machine in their KOMTRAX Plus fleet via a single
platform, accessible to any computer with an internet connection,” Augur said.

“This portal provides users access to
critical information about each machine, including machine performance, machine
health, fault analysis, fuel data, payload data and idle time summaries.”

The new system also uses the data collected for Komatsu’s ongoing Continuous Improvement program, he added.

It can be fitted to HD465, HD605, HD785, HD985, HD1500,
730E, 830E, 860E, 930E and 960E haul trucks; PC1250-7, PC1800-6, PC2000, PC3000,
PC4000, PC5500 and PC8000 excavators and shovels; WA600, WA800, WA900 and WA1200 wheel loaders; and D375A and D475A dozers.

ABB wins massive truckless mine automation contract

ABB has won a contract to make the world’s largest iron truckless.

The $103 million contract will see it install electrical and automation systems at Vale’s S11D iron ore mine in Brazil.

This latest contract follows on from an earlier $140 million contract to complete the first phase of the mine’s automation project which saw it begin to install shiftable conveyor belts instead of off-highway dump trucks to move the ore from the mine to the processing plant.

“This is the first time a ‘truckless’ solution will be used on a large scale at an iron ore mine,” according to the company.

It stated that using “a truckless system significantly reduces operating costs and produces lower carbon emissions.

“If the S11D mine were to be operated using trucks it would need around 100 trucks and consume 77% more diesel per year.”

This new contract will see ABB supply a 230 kilovolt in-feed substation to connect the mine to the grid, as well as 42 secondary substations.

These secondary substations will be self-contained in ABB’s e-houses, prefabricated, walk-in, modular, outdoor enclosures.

ABB will also supply the motors driving the mine’s conveyor belts.

According to ABB’s head of process automation division, Velo-Matti Reinikkala “this project will also allow Vale to increase production by approximately 90 million tonnes, while reducing emissions and improving operational efficiency and process safety”.

Looking at the future through graphene goggles

Graphene – an atom-thick sheet of carbon – has been touted as a new wonder material: it is stronger than steel and conducts electricity better than copper.

In the journal Nature Nanotechnology today, my colleagues and I show how graphene can be used to build a detector of long wavelength (far infrared or terahertz) light that is as sensitive as any existing detector, but far smaller and more than a million times faster. The detector could improve night-vision goggles, chemical analysis tools and airport body scanners.

But before I go into the research, I’d like to talk about how we get from the discovery of a new wonder material such as graphene to new technologies that are useful.

As a researcher working on new materials, I am constantly asked “what is it good for?” To answer this, the first thing we researchers often try is to imagine the new material as a replacement for an existing one in an existing technology.

The problem with that approach is that any existing technology has a lot of momentum. For example, consider computer processors. The electrons in graphene move about 70 times faster than those in silicon (used in most computer processors today) under the same conditions, so graphene could arguably be used to make faster computer chips.

But it’s not that simple. There are many reasons we use silicon besides the speed at which electrons travel – it readily forms a strong oxide coating and it is easy to dope, to name a couple. And changing to a radically different material would mean throwing away all the infrastructure used to make silicon chips that was developed at enormous expense over the past several decades.

So a better question — though much more difficult to answer — is to ask what a new material might enable us to do that no other material has before. The answers to that question don’t always come immediately, and sometimes they come serendipitously.

A walk-through of some of the research in the Fuhrer laboratory: created by Anna Grieve, Big Stories Co.

Two layers are better than one

One property of graphene that interested me was that bilayer graphene (two layers stacked one on another) has a bandgap — the basic property of a semiconductor — that can be tuned by applying an electric field to the material.

I teamed up with researchers at the University of Maryland to try to measure this bandgap using infrared light, since infrared photons have energies which are similar to bilayer graphene’s bandgap. When we measured the conductance of our bilayer graphene under infrared illumination, we found that it changed much more than we expected.

In fact, the change in conductance in our graphene was greater than that of the commercial silicon photodetector we were using to measure the power of our infrared beam! For some reason, our graphene was an excellent photodetector.

We knew enough about graphene to figure out what was happening. When the electrons in graphene absorb light, they heat up. In most materials, the electrons quickly lose energy to vibrations of the atoms, which we sense as heat.

But in graphene this process of heat loss is very inefficient, which gives graphene its extraordinarily high electrical conductivity. What we realised is that bilayer graphene with a bandgap has a conductance that varies strongly with electron temperature, allowing us to read out the change in electron temperature caused by the light heating the electrons.

A graphene photothermoelectric detector. The active area of the device is a 0.5 mm by 0.5 mm square which consists of strips of graphene contacted by partially overlapping gold and chromium electrodes.
Michael Fuhrer, Author provided

Such a device is called a “hot electron bolometer” and bilayer graphene makes a very good one. We published our result in the journal Nature Nanotechnology in 2012, and several research groups are interested in developing graphene bolometers as exquisitely sensitive cryogenic detectors for use in radio astronomy.

Unfortunately, the bolometric effect only works well at low temperature, where bilayer graphene’s resistance changes strongly with temperature. But we knew from our measurements that hot electron effects should be important in graphene at room temperature.

Our team designed a device which could measure the hot electrons at room temperature, using an effect called thermoelectricity. Our first graphene photothermoelectric detectors were comparable in sensitivity to the best available room-temperature detectors of light in the far infrared, or terahertz, regime of the electromagnetic spectrum, and we saw room for orders of magnitude improvements in sensitivity with new designs.

Interestingly, our devices were more than a million times faster than those detectors, and it’s these results we publish today, once again in Nature Nanotechnology.

Graphene shows us the light


plushplex/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Detection of infrared and terahertz light has numerous uses, from chemical analysis to night-vision goggles to body scanners used in airport security.

But since an ultra-fast, sensitive terahertz detector had never been considered a possibility before, it’s hard to say where our devices might be applied.

Our detector could be used to speed up chemical analysis techniques such as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, or FTIR.

Because the graphene detector is easily microfabricated, we envision arrays of detector pixels suitable for imaging, which could lead to inexpensive infrared cameras or night-vision goggles.

Our calculations show that the hot electron photothermoelectric effect can be an efficient means of gathering energy from light. Perhaps our devices could be used to gather the infrared light escaping the Earth into the night sky, and turn it into electricity. Maybe they will be used for something that we haven’t even thought of yet.

But had we never set out to investigate a new material simply for the sake of understanding how it works, we never would have discovered these new answers to the question, “what is it good for?”

The Conversation

Michael Fuhrer receives funding from the Australian Research Council, U.S. National Science Foundation, U.S. Office of Naval Research, and U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Caltex to build new lubricants facility

Caltex is investing $5 million to expand its national bulk lubricants network, and build a new facility in WA.

It is building the new distribution centre and bulk storage facility in Welshpool, WA.

As part of this focus on lubricants Caltex has also finished its $2 million worth of upgrades to its Brisbane facility, which is the largest grease manufacturing and blending facility in the country.

Caltex’s Newport bulk storage facility in Melbourne is also receiving a $1.5 million upgrade to make finish product available in bulk to meet demand in Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia.

Phil Amos, Caltex’s national manager business to business sales, stated that “the Welshpool facility will mainly be supplied with products from out Lytton manufacturing plant and supplemented by imports from Thailand Singapore”.

“The site will be capable of loading the full range of trucks, from small rigids to B-Doubles, ensuring efficient logistics arrangements for out customers, including the Pilbara and Goldfields based mining industries,” he said.

“Caltex is also investing in its back-end systems to improve customer service, including aspects such as ordering and invoicing.”

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