US engineering software developer Bentley Systems has released a version of its asset performance management (APM) software said to allow users to take full advantage of ‘immersive APM’, where hyper-modelling spatially enables operations and maintenance for interactive inspection of critical assets.
Bentley said AssetWise APM V7.2 also allowed users to view infrastructure items in the context of engineering information conveyed by its i-models, and could initiate actions directly from 2D or 3D representations of an asset.
“What differentiates Bentley’s AssetWise APM V7.2 is the unique capability to interact with the virtual plant and connect asset health data to 2D and 3D models of the plant,” said Alan Kiraly, Bentley senior vice president, server products.
“Bentley users can walk an inspection prior to going to the asset and make better decisions faster.”
AssetWise APM V7.2’s immersive approach to visual operations helped converge the engineer’s mental model of the plant, network, or other asset with its performance and representation in IT systems. The hypermodels in this visual environment could directly link to asset condition indicators, enabling inspection indicator readings to be associated with the visual model, Kiraly said.
The ability to view assets via i-models – conveyors of architectural, engineering, construction, and operations deliverables – provided expanded engineering context in a variety of formats, from design files to specification sheets to corrosion loops, Kiraly said.
Inspection photographs could also be included with assets, indicators, indicator readings, and checksheets. The visual workflow supported both greenfield and brownfield operations, bridging the gap between capex and opex and enabling a sustainable business strategy for operational excellence and safety.
Heavyweight Australian engineering and maintenance services group Monadelphous has secured more new work in a generally flat domestic market, winning a construction contract with Chinese-owned Sino Iron worth A$160 million (US$150 million) at Cape Preston, near Karratha in Western Australia.
Monadelphous will complete structural, mechanical and piping installation and commissioning works associated with primary and secondary magnetic separation and ball mill facilities in several concentrator lines at the Sino Iron site, with work to start immediately.
Technical problems with huge SAG mills at the site have been the focus of much angst for Sino Iron in recent years during the protracted commissioning of its $8 billion magnetite iron venture.
Monadelphous (ASX: MND), which had a market capitalisation this week of about A$1.47 billion (US$1.38 billion), recently announced contract wins and extensions with BHP Billiton at Nickel West in WA and Olympic Dam in South Australia, and a new one-year mobile mining equipment maintenance contract with Rio Tinto Coal in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales.
Chilean state-owned copper producer Codelco is facing delays at its newest operation after problems emerged at a copper roaster built to process high arsenic ores from its Ministro Hales mine in Chile.
The operation, which started up in December, is working at 90% capacity, according to a Reuters report. It is expected to produce 183,000t/y of copper at full tilt.
Ministro Hales is an integral part of the company’s US$22.5 billion, five-year investment plan aimed at retaining Codelco’s position as the world’s biggest copper miner, while reducing its operating costs. The company told the news agency that some auxiliary equipment for the roaster was being modified in order to ensure continuous operation. It is thought Codelco had to cancel some copper shipments to Chinese customers as a result of these problems.
In a speech to the Committee of the Mining Chamber of Deputies, Codelco president Oscar Landerretche said this week the operation was in the “start-up phase” and it would “open soon.”
On Thursday the copper miner submitted changes to its US$6.8 billion Andina expansion project in Chile to the country’s environmental authorities after facing criticism from some groups over the potential environmental impact of the project, which could boost production capacity to 600,000t/y of copper when it comes on stream, compared with 236,715t in 2013.
Acting projects head, Gerhard von Borries said the changes would reduce the impact on rock glaciers in the area, and the amount of water used. He pledged to recycle on average 65% of water used in the project.
On the investment programme, Landerretche said: “Codelco has the obligation to make the largest investment in its history. This is the only way to maintain its production capacity, leadership and, thus, continue to contribute to the country [Chile].”
Landerretche told the chamber the company planned to boost output to more than 2Mt/y of copper by 2025 (it produced 1.62Mt in 2013), while reducing costs and becoming more efficient.
Production costs would fall in 2014 after a 0.3% drop in direct cash costs last year, he said.
No results were found
A steady decline in exploration since 2012 is proving to be a dual-edged sword for the mining industry as the availability of investment capital contracts and becomes increasingly concentrated in efforts to develop higher-quality assets.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showed exploration expenditure had declined by more than A$500 million (US$470 million), representing a drop of more than 50%, in the two years since March 2012.
A survey by resource consulting firm CSA Global showed mineral resource estimate (MRE) releases to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) showed a corresponding decline between November 2012, when 40 MREs were released, to May 2014 when just 15 estimates were presented to the market.
A survey by accounting firm BDO reported 10% of companies that made up Australia’s 800-strong junior-exploration sector had stopped drilling in the March quarter of 2014, up from 7% in the June quarter of 2013.
CSA Global director of Australian operations, Aaron Green said the trend was primarily the result of a lack of funding available at the junior end of the market and, as a result, some companies had started to focus on alternative market sectors such as technology and agriculture. However, while many exploration entities would continue to face challenges in the near term, the BDO survey revealed continued investment support for explorers with high-quality assets and the capabilities to develop and realise the potential of those assets.
Green said the decline in exploration activity had also resulted in a significant number of experienced and talented resource geologists entering the consultancy market or becoming available to replace consultants as full-time employees within junior mining companies.
“We’ve seen many of our competitors’ resource and geological teams drop by 50-to-75% … and in some cases they don’t exist anymore,” Green said. But CSA Global saw opportunity where others were seeing only gloom. “We’ve taken the position that we want to up-skill during this period because there are some really good people available and we have to maintain a critical mass so we’re able to provide the best service when opportunities do come along.
“It’s a very difficult balancing act right now,” he said.
Green said the trend on the ASX over the past few years was mirrored on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and he expected an upcoming survey of the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) exchange to show a similar trend.
However, unlike the ASX or AIM, the bulk of the MREs on the TSX were completed by an independent qualified person. In contrast to this, 22% of the MRE releases to the ASX and AIM were reported ‘internally’ by resource companies while fewer than 30% were signed off by an independent consultancy such as CSA Global.
“We’re very proud of our position as the one of the leading providers of independent competent-person sign-off on both of those markets but we have to continue to develop our capabilities to remain competitive in this market,” Green said.
Nationally in Australia, expenditure on minerals exploration fell by a seasonally-adjusted A$48.9 million (-9.2%) over the March quarter. The median spend on exploration activity has fallen 27% from $245,000 in the December quarter to $178,000 in the March quarter. This represents the largest decrease in exploration expenditure since BDO started examining these trends.
Gold, at 28%, was the commodity for which exploration was most reported, followed by coal and iron (including magnetite), each at 15% and copper-plus-other, 11% and uranium at 5%.
Raw data, unadjusted for seasonal variations, showed iron ore exploration expenditure fell by $69 million (-38%), gold exploration expenditure fell by $35 million (-30%), and selected base metals exploration expenditure fell by $12 million (-16%). “All others” fell by $19 million (-29%), and coal by $5 million (-4%).
Today, Mining News Networking, Aspermont’s LinkedIn group dedicated to the mining industry, reached a landmark with the arrival of its 10,000th member.
Established in February 2013, the group provides a digital hub for mining professionals looking to make new contacts and drive excellence in their operations. The phenomenal growth seen in both membership and member interaction in less than 18 months confirms the group’s status as the premier place for mining professionals looking to stay abreast of current issues affecting the global mining sector.
Aspermont is the world’s leading publisher and conference provider for the resource and construction sectors. It publishes 15 key print titles for the mining sector, including: Mining Magazine, Mining Journal, Australia’s Mining Monthly, Resource Stocks and International Coal News, and has offices on five continents.
Mining News Networking fosters debate and thought leadership on key industry topics through discussions hosted by Aspermont’s journalists associated with the above print brands, as well as its digital products, MiningNewsPremium and MiningNews.net, and its renowned Mines and Money conference series. New discussions are posted on a daily basis.
Some of the discussions that have generated the most interest so far:
• Does FIFO need reconsideration? (posted March 5)
• What security issues does artisanal mining present? (posted April 10)
• Should more be done to promote women in mining? (posted June 4)
Join the group to share your opinions on these important topics and create discussions of your own.
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Major global accounting firm KPMG has bought Western Australia-based, mining-focused management consultancy firm Momentum Partners in a deal reportedly worth about A$5 million (US$4.7 million) and expected to close next month.
Momentum Partners’ founder and managing partner Carl Adams is joining KPMG as a partner and head of mining (Australia), based in Perth. Most of the firm’s 28 staff in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne are expected to join and integrate with KPMG.
KPMG also said it completed the acquisition of Classic Slee, based in Karratha in WA’s north, said to provide remote location services to mining, multinational oil and gas, and indigenous clients, as well as accounting and business services to high income earners and local businesses.
“These acquisitions continue KPMG’s investment-led growth agenda,” KPMG Australia CEO Gary Wingrove said. “We are aiming to significantly grow our advisory presence in the mining sector over the next three years, supporting growing demand as the industry adjusts to the changes in its operating environment.”
“Carl [Adams] and his team have built a mining consulting business that marries industry experience with a robust methodology which has proven resilient, and will integrate neatly with KPMG’s business model.”
Adams said Australia’s mining industry was adjusting to a changing global environment.
“Our main focus will be helping clients identify and realise sustainable productivity and efficiency improvements. Strategy and portfolio optimisation are also top of mind for most senior mining executives,” he said.
“We have a positive outlook for the industry given our faith in mining leaders’ ability to optimise their businesses as well as the potential for improving commodity prices. In this environment, we believe clients with new projects will be looking to set up their operations for best practice through sound operational design.”
Momentum’s client base has included BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group, Northern Star Resources and Gindalbie Metals.
AuRico Gold Inc has announced an eighth consecutive quarter of record gold production at its Young-Davidson mine in Ontario as it made a full transition to underground mining.
As planned the short-life openpit mine was fully depleted in early June, it said, bringing openpit mining activities to a halt and eliminating mining costs of about US$3 million/month.
“Approximately 3.2Mt of openpit ore, at an average grade of approximately 0.8g/t, is stockpiled ahead of the mill facility for future processing. The openpit stockpile will supplement underground ore feed to the mill processing facility as the underground mine ramps up to targeted levels,” AuRico said.
Young-Davidson produced 40,166oz of gold in the June quarter, a 14% improvement on the previous quarter. Underground cash costs for the quarter were US$804/oz of gold and are “expected to decline throughout the year, corresponding with planned quarter-over-quarter increases in underground productivity”, the company said.
Total cash costs for the quarter, which includes the openpit mine and open pit stockpile, were US$871/oz.
Scott Perry, AuRico president and chief executive officer, said: “With production levels ahead of plan and the related cost efficiencies being realised, we are increasingly confident that Young-Davidson will be generating positive free cash flow by the end of this year.”