Engineering & Mining Journal

AUG 2018

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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88 E&MJ • AUGUST 2018 MINING IN PERU services for construction and non-production activities, and leverag- ing its brand-new initiation systems plant in Peru: "This is the only new plant built in the region for more than 20 years, so the gulf in technology is vast. We will reduce our environmental footprint, as the plant will not use lead and is far more efficient. We are specializing in non-electric detonators, detonating cords, boosters, shock tubes, PETN and we are in the process of manufacturing end products as well," he said. Innovation is also a key pillar for global blasting players like Maxam and Orica. Orica participates in Peru's mining industry through both blasting solutions and the provision of cyanide for gold mines. The company is introducing a wireless detonation system called Webgen that consists of a wireless primer and supporting equipment. Webgen is already being used in underground mines in Canada and Australia, and it should be tested in Peru this year. Gustavo Costa, general man- ager of Orica in Peru, provided more details: "As there is no need for wiring, Webgen allows our customer to have fewer people exposed to risks and for less time. Moreover, we are capable of significantly re- ducing the blasting time cycle [...] For example, in mines that usually have thunderstorms, the wireless process will allow work to carry on for longer and will reduce the stoppage time." Finally, Spanish-based multinational Maxam is targeting growth in Peru through its Rioflex hydrogel technology, already in operation in Chile's large open-pit mining segment. According to Maxam's gen- eral manager in Peru, José Luis Alonso, the Rioflex technology offers 25% more energy than equivalent emulsion blends through a wider range of available densities. Asked about how much the final price weighs on mining compa- nies' tenders for blasting solutions, Alonso said: "In Peru we see that our customers are requesting value-added propositions to optimize the total cost of their operations beyond the cost of drill and blast. This holistic view is what has enabled us to be successful around the world, and we see the industry in Peru moving towards this more sophisticated and smarter approach." Cyanide control Peru's mining industry uses large amounts of cyanide, which is one of the main cost drivers for gold producers. In this context, making sure companies use the right amount is key from both an efficiency and from an environmental perspective. CyanoGuard, a Swiss company with a new technology for instant cyanide detection, has entered the Peruvian market with the idea of changing the way mining operators manage their cyanide usage. "If you do not use enough cyanide you lose gold, but if you use too much you incur in high costs to eliminate the excess cyanide, on top of what you already paid for cyanide you did not need," explained Benedikt Kirchgässler, CEO of CyanoGuard, who also affirmed that the cyanide elimination costs can be three times as high as the price of cyanide. CyanoGuard offers a solution that allows cyanide detection in just 90 seconds, foregoing the need to take a sample to a laboratory, while all the information compiled can be sent to the cloud in real time. Mathias Cherbuin, CTO of CyanoGuard, provided more details: "Our solution provides mobile lab-grade cyanide measurements stored in the CyanoChain blockchain. This is easily integrated in al- ready existing process management software and aims to become the gold standard for cyanide monitoring in the 21st century." With modern mine closure plans becoming more common in the years to come, and with an increasing push for more transparency in environmental monitoring, the company expects to achieve sig- nificant growth in the precious metals industry in the years to come. Chemical supplies Quimtia, a chemicals provider, has seen specialties increasingly overshadowing the more traditional business of commodity trades, where the company provides copper sulfate, sodium cyanide and activated carbon. It was on the environmental front that Quimtia started its diversifi- cation: "Due to the numerous gold and silver mines that have to deal with cyanide contamination in discharge streams, there was a strong opportunity to implement related solutions in the Peruvian market," said Eduardo Galdo, sales manager of mining at Quimtia. Today, advanced oxidation technology, like the hydrogen peroxide used for cyanide destruction, contributes to 30% of Quimtia's business, while other niche products used to improve recoveries in both leaching and flotation processes already make up 20% of revenue. Ixom, a company created from the divestment of Orica's chemicals division in 2015, is also increasingly focusing on regular supply rela- tionships for mining clients rather than spot commodity trades. The company's mining business grew by 30% last year, triggered by con- tracts in water treatment and flotation with large copper producers. Claudia Marchini, country manager of Ixom, declared: "Our chem- icals business was mainly based on commodities, which allowed us to start relationships with large customers and increase our volumes in the past. After that, the fall of copper and other mineral prices rep- resented an opportunity for us to offer specialty chemicals for mineral processing." Ixom develops emulsifiers for explosives and has a plant in Chile where it produces flotation agents. Marchini gave more details: "We have specific products and applications to improve productivity in ox- ides or sulfides of copper, zinc, lead and precious metals. In copper concentration, we develop customized collectors according to each specific ore mineralogy," she concluded. Miners keep incorporating new solutions for higher efficiency. Photo courtesy of Minsur. Claudia Marchini, country manager, Ixom.

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