Engineering & Mining Journal

JUL 2019

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Page 58 of 67

JULY 2019 • E&MJ 57 PROCESSING SOLUTIONS ounce of production dramatically. Final- ly, limestone was in short supply locally. Bioleaching uses a lot of limestone to neutralize the acidic nature of the liquids in the tanks. The closest source to Snow Lake was 400 km away and the cost of delivery was unacceptable. The combi- nation of these three factors led to the company's departure from the project. Referring to the new effort, Ross Orr, CEO of BacTech, said, "Our return to Snow Lake is predicated on Dundee Sus- tainable Technologies providing a solu- tion to the unstable arsenic product we generated in our earlier work that killed the project. The stockpile has a defi - ciency in iron, leading an unstable ferric arsenate product after bioleaching. By passing this unstable material to be vit- rifi ed the arsenic can be safely disposed. We look forward to re-engaging in the Snow Lake project." The concentrate stockpile is currently the responsibility of the government of Manitoba. The aim of the project is to develop a "no cost to the taxpayer" solu- tion for remediation of the stockpile. DST said its GlassLock Process is a method for permanent stabilization of arsenic from numerous sources such as arsenopyrite, cobaltite, enargite and fl ue dusts. This novel technology, ac- cording to the company, allows for the sequestration and stabilization of arse- nic by incorporating it into a stable and insoluble glass matrix that can contain up to 20% arsenic. Kazakhstan Advances AI-powered Mill Digitization, an Industrial AI company based in Cambridge, U.K., announced in mid-June that Kazakhstan's fi rst "digital plant" was operational at Aktogay, run- ning its AI-powered platform for the plant's grinding circuit to predict ball charge, liner wear and prevent over- loads resulting in improved process trans- parency and reduction of mill stoppages. The company said the Aktogay gold plant operated by JSC AK Altynalmas is one of seven model plants sanctioned by the government to demonstrate the benefi ts of digital technologies for the wider industry. "This breakthrough use of AI as part of is set to act as a benchmark for our operations and allows our staff to make the work of the factory transparent, predictable and reduce downtime, which should lead to the maximum benefi t from the Akotgay production site," said Zhanar Amanzholova, vice president of IT and corporate development of JSC AK Altynal- mas and head of the Digital Mine project. "We are currently piloting and in the fu- ture, in accordance with the results we plan to introduce the technology in other operational processes in order to optimize the production at our Aktogay site." said its team was tasked with fi nding a solution for reduc- ing mill shutdowns and the frequency of mill overloading, and predicting the tim- ing of liner replacements. "Thanks to the AI's ability to perform predictive analysis based on operating data, we expect to receive real-time information of the ball charge and liner condition, which should lead to a reduction in emergency down- time. As a result, we estimate that the overall economic effect of the system im- plementation should generate a payback on the investment in this project in a short time frame'' said Daryn Munsyzba- yev, head of the Altynalmas project. "The Grinding Circuit Optimization Application provides a digital twin of the SAG mill and grinding circuit that serves as a modeling environment to optimize the mill process without inter- rupting operations. The soft- ware powered by Artifi cial Intelligence predicts mill performance in the range of 10 minutes, identifying possible overload events," said Andrei Tyan, di- rector of the Intellisense-LAB Technolo- gy Development Center. Equipment Failure Shutters Quebec Alumina Plant Orbite Technologies announced on June 21 the immediate shutdown of opera- tions at its High Purity Alumina (HPA) plant in Cap-Chat, Québec, Canada, due to technical problems with the plant's calcination equipment. According to Orbite, the startup bed of amorphous HPA was injected into the decomposer and it was fi lled to its operational level. The upstream hydro- metallurgical section was also in full operation and ACH (aluminum chloride hexahydrate, the precursor to high purity alumina) crystal transfer into the decom- poser had commenced. The calciner was almost fi lled to operating levels and Or- bite was starting to discharge HPA from the calciner when operators observed ab- normal variations with the material fl uid- ization in the calciner bed, leading to the breakage of four ceramic heating tubes in the calciner and one ceramic heating tube in the decomposer. After analyzing available data with Ou- totec's on-site representative, Orbite said it had determined that despite numerous modifi cations made to the calcination system over the past several months, the electrical heating system, as designed and supplied by Outotec, is "not robust enough to reliably achieve the production of HPA without experiencing breakages and production slowdowns." Following discussions with its legal advisors and court-appointed Monitor, the company said it had determined that it had insuffi cient time and fi nancial re- sources to attempt another effort to ad- dress the technical issues while remain- ing under CCAA (Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act) protection. Orbite said the failure would push it toward a sale or liquidation process and that it would immediately apply cost re- duction measures such as shutting down operations at the HPA plant, implement- ing a care and maintenance plan for it and proceeding with temporary lay-off of all non-essential employees. In reply to a request for comment, an Outotec spokesman told E&MJ that Ou- totec "delivered equipment to Orbite's project, a new process that was designed by the customer. The customer has been responsible for ramp up and operation of the plant. Outotec has no liability for lost production. The potential fi nancial im- pact to Outotec is related to receivables which in total are about EUR 3 million ($3.9 million)." Orbite says it had successfully operated the HPA plant's decomposer for several weeks before encountering equipment problems.

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