OceanaGold’s Haile drill and blast team gets remote tech
The drill and blast team at the Haile Gold Mine is set to use innovative remote technology to aid its blast hole drilling techniques.
The Haile Gold Mine, which is owned by OceanaGold, is set to be the first in the United States to utilise Epiroc’s new remote control drilling technology, known as BenchREMOTE.
Being based in South Carolina, which is subject to extreme weather conditions including heat wind and rain, Haile workers can be exposed to very harsh conditions at times.
Epiroc’s technology is set to provide operators with numerous benefits. It will enhance health & safety as it will require operators to work from safer distances in a better environment, it also has the ability to handle three rigs in parallel. The technology also allows the operator station to be placed up to 100 metres away from the drills.
New drills have also been purchased by Haile, including two Epiroc D65 drills, BD7 and BD8, in 2019, which are all fully compatible with the firm’s technology.
Aaron Kash, Haile Drill and Blast General Supervisor, said: “When we bought the equipment from Epiroc, I reached out to our local ATC trailer dealer and had them bring up the specs of a similar trailer, we made a few changes – making it a little longer, equipping it with a bigger A/C unit to withstand the heat, and upgraded the generator”, he explained.
Although health and safety, and improved working conditions are the main obvious benefits of the technology, Epiroc’s BenchREMOTE is also set to boost productivity within the Haile Gold Mine, as one driller is now able to operate a total of three machines simultaneously.
Kash went on to say: “With the development of the new Haile Pit, we are encountering historic workings. We may want to drill into an area with little cover to see what’s there, but we don’t want to risk putting somebody physically in the drill”.
Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech
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.”