Atrum Coal invests in anthracite mine in Canada
As was reported by our sister site Business Review Australia, Atrum’s Groundhog anthracite project has resources of over 1.5 billion tonnes of ultra-high grade anthracite, which is used in making steel, ferro-alloys and specialty industrial markets.
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The project includes a 5.4 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) run –of-mine (ROM) underground operation, and is believed to have a mine life of 38 years. Site preparation work began in July 2014 with the goal of clearing the site to allow movement of the heavy equipment. Commercial production is anticipated to begin in the second half of 2016.
Atrum Coal signed a binding equipment finance agreement with China Coal Technology & Engineering for the supply and finance of mining equipment for the project. Under the agreement, CCTE will provide $100 million for the first stage of production finances in addition to supplying the mining equipment.
It is also proposed to provide $250 million to expand the underground mine to 5.4Mtpa steady state production beyond 2017 production rates, and finance further mine expansions in the Groundhog North zone.
While the majority of metallurgical coal is first turned into coke before being used in making steel, Anthracite is the highest grade coal in the world because it doesn’t need to be transformed into coke first. Unlike regular metallurgical coal, anthracite coal prices have remained twice the price of regular met coal through the struggles of the industry.
Anthracite sells for US$175 a tonne in Europe, while the met coal price of US$90 per tonne is less than a third of what the price was four years ago.
Atrum vice president of marketing and business development Peter Doyle believes the deposit in and around the Groundhog mine is the largest undeveloped anthracite deposit in the world, and has the potential to become multiple underground mines.
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In addition, B.C.’s investment climate for mining is admittedly better than it is in Australia.
“Why do we as Australians believe Canada has the advantage? Basically, there is great coal here, there is great infrastructure here, but moreover, the government supports us here,” said Doyle.
Atrum has long-term plans of developing several underground anthracite coal mines, and intends to complete the process by transporting the coal through the Port of Stewart. The company has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Stewart World Port to move five million tonnes of shipping capacity each year.
Stewart is located just 150 kilometres frm the mining site, but there is a plan in place to build a railway link to allow the coal to be transported by rail to an existing road before being moved by truck since there is no direct connection between the two.
Ericsson Private 5G to transform secure on-site connectivity
Ericsson has launched Ericsson Private 5G. It offers secure and simple 4G LTE and 5G Standalone (SA) connectivity primarily targeting manufacturing, mining and process industries, offshore and power utilities, as well as ports and airports.
Ericsson Private 5G optimizes and simplifies business operations with cloud-based network management, keeps sensitive data on-premise, has zero downtime upgrades and guarantees high performance through Service-Level Agreements (SLAs).
It is easily installed within hours at any facility and can be scaled to support larger coverage areas, more devices and higher capacity when needed. The product is designed to be flexible and will support a range of deployment sizes, depending on requirements, to suit varied needs. Businesses can manage their networks and integrate with IT/OT systems via an open API.
Ericsson Private 5G builds upon Ericsson’s 4G/5G radio and dual mode core technology, enabling a wide variety of use cases for both indoor and outdoor environments while integrating well with business operations, devices and applications. As a result, companies can improve productivity, give their customers more value and provide better working environments for employees.
Innovative use cases include tracking assets and real-time automation to improve productivity in warehouses, and a digital twin that can help to optimize manufacturing operations. Efficient quality inspections can also be performed via augmented reality or smart surveillance drones to increase worker safety, particularly in potentially hazardous environments such as ports and mines.
Ericsson already has a significant track record of operational 4G and 5G private network deployments with customers worldwide. Ericsson Private 5G builds on the success of that solution portfolio and deployment insights, as well as insights from projects such as 5G-Industry Campus Europe.
Peter Burman, Program Manager Mine Automation, at Swedish mining company Boliden, commented: “Automation, and safety through automation in our mining operations is an absolute must for us. Ericsson Private 5G is exactly what Boliden needs to bring high quality, fast and secure connectivity into potentially hazardous environments allowing us to mobilize efficiency and safety improving use cases.
Niels König, Coordinator 5G-Industry Campus Europe, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT added: “Private 5G networks are highly attractive for producing companies because of the uncompromised performance that 5G can bring, allowing them to tackle the challenges of production. Efficiently deploying and using network solutions in enterprises requires simplicity in installation, flexibility in connecting to existing production IT and lean operations while at the same time being able to scale the network to meet future challenges. Ericsson Private 5G delivers exactly these capabilities.”
Leo Gergs, Senior Analyst, ABI Research, noted: “With this new offering, Ericsson will be able to address key trends in the enterprise cellular market. The value proposition will appeal to operators and service providers as the solution hides technology complexity and therefore reduces the barrier of entry to deployment for many different flavors of enterprise networks.”
Thomas Noren, Head of Dedicated Networks, Business Area Technologies and New Businesses, Ericsson, revealed: “With Ericsson Private 5G, we take the best of Ericsson’s current portfolio and top it up with the best of our new technology. We do this to give businesses what they need to improve productivity, enable new offerings and give employees a better working environment. With Ericsson Private 5G, we also give operators a better way to serve business customers and leverage their assets - in short, to grow beyond mobile broadband.”
Ericsson recently joined a three-year initiative to develop autonomous, carbon-neutral mining processes supported by 5G connectivity. Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the $16mn Next-Generation Carbon-Neutral Pilots for Smart Intelligent Mining Systems (NEXGEN SIMS) project is being coordinated by Swedish mining and infrastructure equipment manufacturer, Epiroc, in cooperation with a range of industry-diverse partners, including: Ericsson, K+S, Boliden, Agnico Eagle Finland, KGHM Polska and Luleå University of Technology.