RPM Increases Mining Capabilities with Mine2-4D Acquisition
Mining solution provider RungePincockMinarco (RPM) has acquired the rights to the Mine2-4D software design product from MineRP.
The deal, which gives RPM non-exclusive right to the code, will allow the company to improve upon its own mine design products as well as increase capability of design integration for simulation and scheduling.
“The Mine2-4D product is well known in the industry and by utilizing this existing foundation we have a low risk, fast track approach to getting mine design on our software roadmap and delivering a more holistic offering to our customers,” said Richard Mathews, CEO and Managing Director of RPM.
He added that it “accelerates our plans to expand our capability across the mining value chain.”
Under the acquisition, RPM has the rights to rebrand and commercialize the software code, including any successor products developed by RPM.
“Having our own design tool will mean we can provide our customers with a complete planning solution; with design functionality, geological reserving, and operational scheduling,” said Mathews.
“The Mine2-4D design product has recently undergone a massive rewrite using next generation development tools to allow for greater processing capability.”
According to Mathews, the acquired software is based on leading visualization technologies and the company will be “embedding these new technologies across our existing products to greatly enhance the user experience and take this visualization capability to the enterprise level.”
He added, “A fully integrated offering will enable customers to immediately evaluate the impact of changes in the physical environment on scheduled activities.”
RPM has provided advisory consulting, technology and profession solutions to the mining industry since 1968. The company operates in offices in 18 locations across 12 countries.
Rio Tinto partners with ARENA for green hydrogen research
Rio Tinto has partnered with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to study whether hydrogen can replace natural gas in alumina refineries to reduce emissions.
Rio Tinto and ARENA partnering for green energy push
Rio Tinto will conduct a $1.2mn feasibility study, equally funded with ARENA through a $580,000 grant, into using clean hydrogen to replace natural gas in the calcination process of refining at the Yarwun alumina refinery in Gladstone.
The study program includes work to be done at Rio Tinto’s Bundoora Technical Development Centre in Melbourne, where Rio Tinto’s in-house development capability has now been extended to hydrogen.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller commented: “If we can replace fossil fuels with clean hydrogen in the refining process for alumina, this will reduce emissions in the energy and emissions intensive refining stage of the aluminium supply chain. Exploring these new clean energy technologies and methods is a crucial step towards producing green aluminium.
“This study will investigate a potential technology that can contribute to the decarbonisation of the Australian alumina industry. If successful, the technical and commercial lessons from Rio Tinto’s study could lead to the implementation of hydrogen calcination technology, not only in Australia, but also internationally.”
Rio Tinto Aluminium Pacific Operations acting managing director Daniel van der Westhuizen added: “We see the ARENA and Rio Tinto-funded study as a step towards reducing refinery emissions and one that has the potential to play an important part in Rio Tinto’s commitment to decarbonisation.
“We’re investing in work that needs to be done, not only to decarbonise one of our sites, but also to help provide a lower-emissions pathway for Rio Tinto and the global aluminium industry.
“We recognise we are on a long road towards reducing emissions across our operations and there is clearly more work to be done. But projects such as this are an important part of helping us get there.”
Can hydrogen replace natural gas in alumina refineries?
The study comprises two distinct work packages:
- Preliminary engineering and design study conducted to understand the construction and operational requirements of a potential demonstration project at the Yarwun alumina refinery.
- Simulating the calcination process using a lab scale reactor at the Bundoora Technical Development Centre.
Once complete, the study will inform the viability of a potential demonstration project. Rio Tinto has lodged patents for the hydrogen calcination process.
Rio Tinto aiming for net zero by 2050
Rio Tinto is aiming to reach net zero emissions across its operations by 2050. Across the company, it is targeting a 15% reduction in absolute emissions and a 30% reduction in emissions intensity by 2030, from a 2018 baseline.
Aluminium is found in everything from cars to phones. But one of the challenges of producing this essential material responsibly is finding ways to decarbonise the process.
Part of the reason is creating alumina – the main ingredient in aluminium – takes a lot of energy, which in turn creates greenhouse gas emissions. New technologies will be essential to helping reduce emissions, but many haven’t been proven. And some not yet even discovered. Rio Tinto's transformation is being driven by innovation and its partnership with ARENA is a positive step towards these goals.