Engineering & Mining Journal

DEC 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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STOCKPILE MANAGEMENT DECEMBER 2018 • E&MJ 59 www.e-mj.com Stacking It Safely At the Roy Hill iron ore mine, also locat- ed in Western Australia's Pilbara region, guidance and control specialist RCT re- ported it played a major role in implanting the mine's dynamic multiple Geofence package, which is interfaced to fixed and mobile asset elements within the bound- aries of the Coarse Ore Stockpile (COS). The Geofence technology was interfaced with two D11T Cat dozers and the radial stacker infrastructure, including the boom that can maneuver in multiple directions. Both dozers were equipped with RCT's ControlMaster Teleremote solutions, which enables the operators to control the ma- chines from a remote station. Cameras are installed on the dozers, along with other cameras on the COS stacker, tertia- ry crusher infrastructure, and two mobile communications trailers to give operators greater spatial awareness during operation. The virtual perimeter around the doz- ers' stockpile area is designed to safe- guard operators, ensuring that multiple machines can seamlessly operate in the same area without risk of collision with the fixed stacker infrastructure, or the dozers falling into vaults or driving off the stockpile boundary. RCT said interfacing of the dynamic elements on the site was achieved in partnership with Collision De- tection technology from Sitech, Trimble's global site-solutions dealership network. According to RCT, a number of factors had to be addressed for the Geofence to work effectively. Multiple workshops and risk assessments were conducted to de- fine the Geofence boundaries or virtual perimeters within each element, including the dozers, stacker boom and five vaults. Boundaries were designed to be config- urable with proper access authorization, allowing flexibility for the operators. Sitech's SiTrack software was de- signed to provide the Geofence boundar- ies, monitor all interactions and provide alerts within the boundaries, allowing the RCT system's semiautonomous control over the two dozers. This was achieved by using High Precision (HP) GNSS equip- ment to measure and detect the proximi- ty of the moving assets in the potentially hazardous stockpile to an absolute accu- racy of around the +/-25-mm range. RCT's Custom group worked with Si- tech and Roy Hill to develop and deploy the dynamic Geofence system to interface with the ControlMaster Teleremote solu- tions to ensure machine functionality is inhibited by the ControlMaster system at different levels of detection on the Si- TRACK system. The integration resulted in the creation of a variety of configurable Geofence boundaries within the site. Each boundary has different zones to alert dozer operators of potential danger. With such a high volume of visual data being delivered to the operators from nu- merous cameras, along with the dozer pitch/roll machine dashboard information and the Trimble tablet display, Roy Hill de- cided bigger control-room screens were re- quired. The operator station was upgraded from the original two 24-inch (in.) screens and a 17-in. Trimble tablet to two 40-in. curved screens and a 32-in. display for the Trimble screen. A Trimble tablet was also relocated to the side of the operator chair. According to the project partners, conducting dozer functions via remote control from the operating stations elim- inates the risks operators are exposed to at the COS and processing plant, reduces operator fatigue and increases productiv- ity. RCT's Teleremote solution allows for multiple views from the dozer, which in- creases operator efficiency while helping to minimize machine damage and overall general wear and tear. Downtime associ- ated with shift changes also is reduced, boosting productivity even more. Taking It Indoors Environmental considerations are in- creasingly influencing stockpile design and construction. For example, Siemens announced it is supplying an autonomous stockyard management system to be used in a new plant for HBIS Laoting Steel Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of China's HBIS Group, one of the world's biggest iron and steel producers. The stockyard management system comprises a material tracking and management system (MAQ), an autono- mous stockyard operating system (MOM), a Simatic PCS 7 process control system, consulting, engineering, project manage- ment and commissioning. Recent environmental regulations insti- tuted by the Chinese government prompt- ed HBIS Laoting to look at using an auton- omous stockyard management system, ac- cording to Siemens. The latest regulations require all newly constructed stockyards to be enclosed. The consequent high tem- peratures and dust levels present in these facilities create hazardous conditions for human workers, and autonomous storage and retrieval machinery is necessary for this type of environment. The installation, said Siemens, will allow all machines and conveyors to be controlled from a single system. This is achieved using a 3D model of the existing inventory, which provides information on the volume and quality of stocked mate- rial, enabling autonomous operation of all the plant's storage and retrieval machines. Siemens claims the system will enable HBIS Laoting Steel to not only reduce its operating costs, but also to achieve a 5%- 10% improvement in system efficiency, along with 3-7% higher production capac- ity and improved worker and asset safety. Geometrica, a Texas, USA-based sup- plier of domes and space-frame struc- tures, has built a number of freeform and dome bulk storage structures providing dust control and protection from the ele- ments for mining companies in 35 coun- tries. Some of the benefits that accrue from using their structures, according to the company, include the ability to be erected by local crews without welding requirements or heavy equipment, suit- ability for location on slopes or irregular terrain, no requirement for interrupting production during construction, and vari- ous design capabilities such as resistance to high loads on the structure apex or en- capsulation of the discharge point. Geo- metrica said its structures' foundations can be fitted to the terrain and can ac- commodate changes in elevation of more than 140 m. Domes can be designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 150 k/h and an ice load of 110 kg/m 2 . Sorting It Out Australian producer Northern Minerals re- ported recently it is evaluating the use of ore sorting on five stockpiles at its Browns Range rare earths project in Western Aus- tralia to improve beneficiation and feed to the processing facility, which, it said, will result in an increase in the amount of rare earth oxides that can be produced by a re- cently commissioned pilot plant. Northern Minerals' Managing Director and CEO George Bauk said the ore sorting technology has demonstrated the potential for the mine to double the mill feed grade, and the company believes the estimated A$4 million up-front capital cost of in- stalling ore sorting technology ahead of the existing Brown Range Pilot Plant circuit is

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