Author Archives: Andrei Dmitriev

Mine Site Visits in South Africa

On November 18-24 2023 a delegation of ERG mining engineers from Kazakhstan visited two underground highly automated mines in South Africa – South Deep mine operated by Gold Fields and Cullinan mine operated by Petra Diamonds formerly owned by De Beers.

The South Deep mine is one of the world’s largest gold mines and the seventh deepest. The Kazakh delegation descended to the working level at 2995 m. to see the ore mining production. The mine management briefed the visitors on the ongoing restructuring program aimed at reducing the unit cost of production by introducing new technologies and automation. The use of waste chamber backfill technology and a complete re-engineering of the ventilation system implemented at the mine was also discussed. Dr Kym L Morton PhD (Imperial) MBA (Imperial) C Geol FGS FSAIMM Pr Sci Nat DIC, Water Strategist and Consulting Mining Hydrologist, KLM Consulting Services Pty Ltd accompanied the delegation to South Deep mine.

As part of the visit to South Africa the delegation also visited JAE and Epiroc, manufacturers of mining equipment, the innovative company AVA Solutions and MSP Testing Facility in Vereeniging.

Photo: ERG delegation at the 2995 m production level at South Deep mine.

Site Visits to Mines in Brasil

For the first time in its history, Transeuropean Centre Limited, in collaboration with its partners, organized a programme of mine site visits to Brazil, the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, in December 2023.
As part of the site visits, a group of geotechnical and mine engineers visited advanced geotechnical monitoring centers at mining sites operated by Samarco Mineração S.A. and Vale. The delegation learned about the practices of integrated management of the condition of tailings dams and quarry slopes, as well as the latest methods for analysing geotechnical data.
It is planned to repeat this programme of visits in April 2024 to incorporate meetings within the framework of the Slope Stability 2024 international event to be held being held in Nova Lima.

The photo shows the delegation during their visit to the Geotechnical monitoring centre at Samarco Mineração S.A. company in Belo Horizonte, Brasil.

Underground Mining in Long Life Mines in South Africa. Review of Best Practices and Implementation of Mine Automation Projects

We are pleased to report that mine site visits are back. On June 13-19 2022 a delegation of miners, engineers and managers of Kumtor Gold, ERG, Kazchrom, Kazakhmys and other companies visited mines and South African companies in Johannesburg, Cullinam and Cape Town. It was the first business visit organized after a two-year pause due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

More than 30 representatives of mining companies from Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan visited South Africa to study projects in mine automation, use of advanced mining methods, including block caving, implementation of anti-collision systems, optimization of drilling and blasting, remote control of equipment and many other topical issues.

The group held meetings with representatives of South African innovative companies such as Mining Excellence, AVA Solutions, A&R Engineering, Sight-Power inc., Ramjack Technology Solutions and AECI Mining Explosives. The visit programme featured a discussion of the modernization of the Finch and Cullinam mines, Petra Diamonds, visited the workshops and technology centers of Epiroc, MasterDrilling near Johannesburg and Reutech in Cape Town.

Of particular interest was a visit to Ramjack Technology Solutions remote control centre with its real-time monitoring systems for several mines in South Africa and Ghana. In the centre the company analyzes trends and optimizes the use of equipment or other production indicators, which has resulted in real cost and time savings.

In addition to the reports of specialists, viewing samples of drilling equipment and studying the automation of drilling rigs, loaders and dump trucks, the delegation was able to visit the main attractions of South Africa: a safari, Cape of Good Hope and Table Mountain. According to the participating engineers, such trips enable to study international best practices and to establish useful business contacts and discuss informally the problems of modern mining production and ways to solve them.

The delegation visit to MasterDrilling Group Ltd
Meeting with colleagues from AVA Solutions
The delegation on a visit to Kusasalethu Mine
During the visit to a Mining technology centre in Johannesburg
Visit to Epiroc
Meeting with colleagues from MineExcellence
Excursion to Cape of Good Hope
Excursion to Cape of Good Hope

Automation and Digitalization of Mining Operations in Kazakhstan, Scandinavian Countries and Chile

The online conference on automation of underground mining, IT solutions implementation and digitalization of mining operations in Kazakhstan, Scandinavian countries and Chile was held via Zoom on 9th and 10th December. More than a hundred technical directors, heads of automation, chief engineers and directors of production at leading mining companies from Russia and Kazakhstan attended this webinar. Among them were ALROSA, Apatit, Norilsk Nickel, Polyus, Eurochem, Baikal Mining Company, Altynalmas, Evrazruda, ERG and many others.

Below are some testimonials by the companies attending this online meeting:

“The topics of the webinar were fully covered and well presented. It was very interesting to listen to the presenters. We took away some interesting ideas on automation and received additional knowledge in this field.” «Eurasian Group» ERG

“Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to attend such an interesting and useful event for the mining industry!” «Coal production company Colmar»

Online meetings and virtual tours of mines and processing facilities are essential in the current conditions of travel restrictions due to the pandemic. Webinar attendees find these events very effective for exchanging technical knowledge, information and learning the best practices as implemented by the advanced mining companies. Russian and Kazakhstan mining engineers have received a lot of useful information about mining operations automation, the use of robots, autonomous equipment and trucks, the digitalisation of production and planning at mines in Kazakhstan, Chile and the Nordic countries.

All online sessions and presentations were based on case studies and success stories. There were a few virtual underground mine tours to see real-life operations.

A number of cases discussed triggered many questions including: digitalisation and automated planning at Beskempir and Akbakai mines operated by Altynalmas in Kazakhstan (discussed in a presentation by Altynalmas and Sight Power Inc); ventilation on demand at Kiruna mine by LKAB (presentation by EOL Vent and LKAB); autonomous trucks operation at Gabriella Mistral mine by Codelco (presentation by SRK Chile and Komatsu). These Q&A sessions are extremely valuable. They give the Russian and Kazakhstan miners based in the remote areas of Magadan, Siberia, Norilsk, Krasnoyarsk, Karaganda and other regions a unique opportunity to ask questions directly to their colleagues from SRK, Epiroc, Codelco, LKAB, Sandvik, Redco, BHP and other companies located all over the world.

The organisers would like to thank all participants and presenters for supporting the event and wish them be healthy and safe during these difficult times.

“Rosmorport” visits Europe’s largest ports of Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg.

On February 3-8, a delegation of 21 senior managers of the “Rosmorport” visited the ports of Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg in order to familiarize themselves with the efficient operation and development projects at those largest port complexes in Europe. The program of the Rosmorport visit was extremely busy and included discussion of tariff policy and port charges, development and modernization of ports, ensuring maritime safety, environmental management, construction of new terminal complexes, modelling and calculation of cargo flows.

In the photo: the Rosmorport group on the captain’s yacht views the water area of ​​the port of Hamburg and unloading of the largest container ship in the world, with a deadweight of 192 tons. This ship can transport 21,410 TEU at a time.

During meetings with colleagues from European ports special attention was paid to digitalization, in particular the development of an integrated digital system for all participants in the transportation process, simplification of cargo declaration and customs procedures.

In the photo: During the visit at the Port Authority of Antwerp.

The delegation was introduced to the activities of pilotage services and the management of the safe movement of ships in the port, the design and undertaking of dredging operations and advanced methods of port locks and jetties. In particular, they discussed the Maasvlakte 2 project to expand the port area of ​​Rotterdam.

In the photo: During the visit to “Boskalis” company and its training facilities for dredging.

Visits to Canadian mining companies in Toronto and Sadbury

The Transeuropean Centre successfully held a seminar and a series of technical visits for mining companies in Canada on September 9-14, 2019. Mining engineers from more than 15 Russian and Kazakhstan companies including Alrosa, Nordgold, SPB Mining, Uralkali, Arctic Palladium, Severstal and many others visited the Porcupine gold mine operated by the Canadian company GOLDCORP in Timmins and several technology companies and centres in Sudbury, Ontario. A large mining cluster is situated in Sudbury where nickel, molybdenum and other polymetallic ores have been mined for over 100 years.

A series of meetings on innovations in the mining industry took place in Toronto and Sudbury.

In the photo – A visit to Norcat Centre in Sudbury.
In the photo – A visit to Vale mining company in Sudbury.
In the photo – A discussion on technologies and a demonstration of ventilation equipment.

At a warm welcome reception organized by Canadian colleagues and Sudbury City Hall Mayor Brian Bigger  met the group of Kazakh and Russian miners and shared his experience of restoring ecology in the region, spoke about sustainable development initiatives by mining companies operating in the Sudbury region and support for mining industry and close cooperation with regional authorities. The visitors were greatly impressed by how the environment was successfully restored in a region that saw acid rains 50 years ago due to nickel production and emissions. The outskirts of this mining town, formerly reminiscent of “Lunar landscape” were used by NASA to test equipment for the Moon landing. Now the ecology of Sudbury can be admired and the city and its surroundings are green.

In the photo: The delegation during a cruise on the lake in Sudbury meeting with the mayor and representatives of local mining companies.

Part of the group visited the Porcupine mine and familiarized themselves with underground gold mining.

In the photo – the visit of the Russian-Kazakh delegation to Porcupine.

Porcupine Mine is a unique enterprise where mining operations are carried out both in open pits and underground. GOLDCORP implements a 5-year strategy 20/20/20, which comprises a comprehensive programme of cost reduction: in the period from 2017 to 2021 the mine has plans was to annually reduce costs by $250 million and this target was successfully met in 2017 and 2018. The main success factors are improving energy efficiency, reducing costs, introducing autonomous drilling rigs (manufactured by Epiroc), reducing accident frequency, improving operational safety, and introducing the most advanced search and rescue equipment in an emergency.

In the photo: A visit to the Porcupine min by the delegation.

February 25 – March 2, 2019. The Efficient Organization of Coal Logistics – Bulk Cargo Terminals of the Ports of Ghent and Hamburg. Digitization of Warehouse Complexes. Containing Coal Dust.

The program of the seminar was very intense and included a series of technical visits to the ports of Belgium, Holland, Germany, and to the coal mine and the fully automated coal depot Boksberg.

The seminar participants were extremely impressed by the achieved level of digitalization and reduction of human labor, used during the transshipment of iron ore and coal in the ports, high operational efficiency, which the operators of Hansaport in Hamburg were able to achieve. Hansaport is the largest port for transshipment of coal and iron ore in Germany, where it processes up to 110,000 tons of iron ore and 70,000 tons of coal per day. The storage area for 2 million tons of iron ore and 1 million tons of coal is 350,000 square meters. On the territory there are 4 unmanned locomotives, located 14 km of railway tracks and 10 km of conveyor belts. There are 5 combined stackers and reclaimers working at the same time, and a unique automatic dust suppression system is located throughout the territory. All loading and unloading operations at the port are fully automated.

In the photo: Participants during the inspection of the Hansaport Dispatch Office.

In the photo: Loading of river barges and small-tonnage vessels.

In the photo: Participants get acquainted with the unloading of coal from the Panamax class bulk carrier in the port of Hamburg. The operation must be accurate and synchronized by all participants in the process by the minute due to ebbs and flows to avoid vessel downtime – and most importantly, the dry cargo ship of this class should not be stranded.

In the photo: Automated dust suppression system in action. The diameter of the spread of the jet reaches a diameter of 90 m, effectively covering all areas of the storage of coal and ore.

In the photo: All work is controlled by one operator.

In the photo: The participants of the seminar, accompanied by the leadership of the North Sea Port on the captain’s yacht, inspect the water area of ​​the port of Ghent and the main moorings.

Recently, the two Dutch ports of Wisingen and the Belgian port of Ghent merged into a single commercial structure. The participants familiarized themselves with the work of stevedoring companies and visited the sea terminal for the storage of coal of the company Sea-Invest, on the territory of which 350 plugs of different grades and coal mixtures of various shippers are stored at one time.

In the photo: inspection of the dust suppression system at the Sea-Invest terminal.

In Boxberg, the trip participants visited the largest coal warehouse in Germany, owned by LEAG, which is part of the energy concern Vattenfalle. Over the past 20 years, together with Siemens, the energy concern LEAG has been automating and dispatching transportation from coal mines, storing, mixing different grades and the subsequent shipment of coal, making Boksberg one of the most advanced enterprises in the industry. Here a fantastically high level of automation has been achieved, in particular, a 3D model of warehouses with data on quantity and qualitative composition is used, and simple technology for 8 years of operation amounted to less than 1 percent.

In the photo: During a visit to the control room.

In the photo: During the inspection of the warehouse.

The German specialists were open to discussion with their Russian colleagues, which made the seminar extremely informative. Indeed, it is one thing to listen to presentations from equipment suppliers and consultants, and another to see firsthand how a fully digitized warehouse of bulk cargo works.

Automation of Underground Operations at Garpenberg and Zinkgruvan Mines by Boliden. Stockholm – Orebro 8-12 October 2018

In October 2018, Russian and Kazakhstani mining companies visited the highly automated underground mines of the Garpenberg company Boliden and Zinkgruvan of Lundin, as well as the production and engineering center of Epiroc in Orebro, Sweden. The topic of dispatching and digitalization remains extremely relevant. The participants of the technical visit had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the activities of dispatching centers both on the surface and at the level of 1,100 meters underground, with the software used, to ask questions to the operators, to visit the working complex, to have a look at the equipment in action and to see the digitized mine.
The Russian and Kazakh participants of the seminar had the opportunity to ask a lot of questions to their Swedish colleagues, followed by a discussion on the practical aspects of digitalization, the activities of unmanned vehicles, posting WIFI on working horizons, planning shift work, industrial safety and labor protection, etc.
Representatives of Polymetal, Norilsk Nickel, AltynAlmas, VIST Asia, Vorkutaugol, Uralkali, GSK-Shakhtproekt, RUSAL, Uralmekhanobr (UGMK) and others took part.

Photo. During a visit to the dispatch control company Boliden at the mine Garpenberg.

Photo. Visit the working space and familiarize yourself with the drilling operations.

Photo. Demonstration of remote control of the “Mine of the future” equipment and software testing while managing a digitized mine at Epiroc.

Photo. Workshop participants during speeches.

30 July – 3 August 2018. Higher Profitability of Coal Companies through Coal Enrichment and Deep Processing Drawing from the Experience of RWE

A week-long industry seminar program was held July 30 – Aug 3, 2018 in Germany on improving the profitability of coal enterprises through enrichment and deep processing of coal drawing from the experience of the German coal company RWE.

The participants of the technical seminar met with specialists of German companies including DMT, RWE, Kuettner, Schenck Process, Loesche, Siebtechnik and Schauenburg MAB, visiting these companies in Dusseldorf, Essen, Darmstadt and Frankfurt am Main. The visit program was intensive.

The main topics of the seminar are related to the development of coal enterprises in the context of stricter requirements for coal specifications, deep coal processing, use of new coking technologies, including in the new generation furnaces.

Representatives of Russian coal-mining and coke-chemical companies, including Stroiservice, Altaykoks, Sibugol, SUEK, Raspadskaya Coal Company visited factories and research centers for the development and production of coal-conditioning equipment: screens, mills, centrifuges, hydrocyclones, crushers, equipment for sorting, classification and sorting of coal.

Within the framework of the seminar and question and answer sessions, the participants studied in detail the latest technologies and innovations in coke chemical production.

Photo: The Russian visiting the company Kuettner.

August 20-24, 2018 Design and construction of wind power plants, technical regulation system – Germany’s experience

Leaders and leading specialists of wind energy programs of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus representing the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus, PJSC “Sberbank”, “Vista International” LLP, wind energy design organizations, visited a large wind farm “Brake” near Bremen, taking part in the program of technical visits on wind energy.

Participants of the seminar thoroughly acquainted themselves with the latest technological solutions of the equipment manufacturers for wind farms Enercon GmbH and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy GmbH Gerhard Bookjans, member of the board of IFE Eriksen AG, shared the financial and economic calculations and payback calculations for wind energy projects in Germany, Canada, the United States and the Baltic States, proven in 30 years of practice, and demonstrated the company’s solutions implemented at the Brake wind farm.
Sabine Schmedding, representative of Bundesverband WindEnergie e.V. (German Wind Energy Association) shared detailed information about the laws and regulations governing the design and construction of wind farms and the system of technical regulation in Germany.
The seminar was also attended by a group of specialists from German companies Fichtner and Messer involved in the design, construction and maintenance of wind farms in Germany and other countries.

Photo: participants of the seminar visit the wind farm “Brake” near Bremen