May 17, 2020

Anglo Platinum Group Incorporates Cisco Ethernet to Reduce Costs

Theo van Staden
Anglo Platinum Group
Cisco Ethernet-to-the
2 min
Anglo Platinum Group Incorporates Cisco Ethernet to Reduce Costs
As the largest producers of platinum metals in the world, Anglo Platinum Group requires a complex web of technological programs. The company has over 65...

As the largest producers of platinum metals in the world, Anglo Platinum Group requires a complex web of technological programs. The company has over 65,000 employees and is engaged in a variety of underground and open-pit mining operations, including concentrators, smelters, and refineries. To successfully launch and maintain these services, the company utilizes a rapid adoption of technology to facilitate the analysis and management of its operations while maintaining the security of the control solutions. To achieve its business objectives and exercise control over data traffic, Anglo Platinum needed to streamline this process as well as reduce the costs and network downtime.

The complexity was a challenge, according to Theo van Staden, Anglo Platinum's head of infrastructure for the process environment (IT). He adds, “the current reality in our operational environment is that systems/process engineers do an excellent job of keeping sites running but are under increasing pressure to ensure network availability, which is not their core function.”

The company developed a strategy to integrate the process control networks and the corporate data network into a secure platform for enterprise-wide dash-boarding and decision making at all levels of the operation. Anglo Platinum also incorporated the Cisco Ethernet-to-the-Factory (EttF) solution to provide an end-to-end infrastructure. As part of Cisco Smart+ Connected Manufacturing solutions, EttF is designed to help manufacturing companies successfully connect plant and business systems as well as provide real-time visibility into production systems. Cisco’s solutions enable lean, efficient, collaborative, safe, and highly secure operations, resulting in a fully connected and converged pit-to-port network.

The result of implementing Cisco EttF has been paramount. Anglo Platinum’s cost of ownership fell to one-half the industry average as well as device response time being reduced from seconds to milliseconds. The Cisco solution has also enabled stakeholders to have a “secured and authorized” top-down view on production from any location, reducing turnaround times on decision making and helping ensure availability and continuity of all critical systems in Anglo Platinum Process plants.

According to van Staden, “We are now in a position to deliver support to all operations from a central location, this puts management in a situation to make educated decisions and ensure availability which will ultimately benefit production.”

Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, Anglo American Platinum is a wholly owned South African mining company. Founded in 1917, Anglo American is the world’s largest producer of Platinum with around 40 percent of the world output.

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Jun 30, 2021

Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech

Rio Tinto
3 min
Rio Tinto and Alcoa’s JV project ELYSIS has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint

Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.

ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production

ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.

The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.

The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).

The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.

The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.

ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.

ELYSIS technology at a glance:

  • The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
  • The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
  • In Canada alone, the ELYSIS technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
  • ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.

Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.

ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.

Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS process. The Rio Tinto technology team in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.


Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”

Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”

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