Mining company Rio Tinto and the University of Sydney have announced a five-year extension to their autonomous mining research partnership.

 

The two groups have been operating the Rio Tinto Centre for Mine Automation (RTCMA) based at the University's Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies since 2007.

 

The centre's primary focus is to develop and deploy technologies for fully autonomous and remotely operated mining processes.

 

The partnership extension is expected to support the next phase of the centre's research into step-change improvements in safety, predictability and precision of typical surface mining operations through automation.

 

RTCMA director Dr Steve Scheding said: "The range of programmes underway at RTCMA crosses areas such as sensing, machine learning, data fusion and systems engineering.

 

"The centre's work so far has resulted in a number of major research advancements targeted at improving the safety and productivity of autonomous operated mining sites."

 

As part of a project, mining drill rigs have been created that can bore holes into the ore body reliably and also allow the rig operator to be located in a safer area of the mine site.

 

The rigs will also allow for the continuation of training programmes for automation engineers and technicians.

 

Rio Tinto innovation head John McGagh said: "Our technology professionals have worked alongside top-notch research minds to achieve our goals.

 

"With mining increasingly taking place in remote parts of the world, tomorrow's mines are likely to rely on remote monitoring and control, with employees running the mines from cities thousands of kilometres away."

New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is investigating the state-owned Cobbora Holding Company (CHC) over improper asbestos storage at four sites in the state's central-west area.

 

Following the demolition of houses on land near Dunedoo owned by CHC, potentially deadly asbestos was found at three out of four of the sites.

 

CHC was issued a notice by the EPA requiring it to stop moving the material and secure the site where it was being stored. The agency is working with CHC to ensure all asbestos is disposed of safely and appropriately managed.

 

EPA regional manager Simon Smith said the agency was notified about the breach at the Spring Ridge Road site following a complaint.

 

The site was investigated and a clean-up notice was issued to the company on 31 October, ordering it to stop work onsite and immediately undertake safe and secure remediation of the asbestos contaminated waste.

 

EPA officers inspected the area on 18 and 19 November as a follow-up to the notice and discovered additional asbestos material at sites where the mining company had demolished the buildings.

 

Upon discovering the deadly material, the agency directed the company to cease all clean-up work at the Spring Ridge Road site as well as the demolition sites until appropriate controls and procedures are put in place.

 

CHC CEO Richard Outridge said that the company has disposed of the building waste and demolished various derelict buildings for safety reasons.

BHP Billiton has proposed to name its demerged company as South32, which will hold its non-core assets worth about $15bn.

 

The company plans to bring its aluminium, nickel, silver and coal divisions into a separate entity to improve the operations of individual units, Reuters reported.

 

According to BHP, South32's majority of selected assets are located in the southern hemisphere with its two regional centres Australia and South Africa said to be linked by the thirty-second parallel south line of latitude.

 

South32 CEO elect Graham Kerr said: "The naming of South32 is a major step in the set-up of our company.

 

"While South32 is grounded in the southern hemisphere, we will retain our global reach and ambition as we seek to exceed the expectations of a global shareholder base. The diversity of our employees, commodities, customers and communities will give the new company great strength, which is represented by the woven pattern of our logo.

 

BHP Billiton has considered a wide range of options while selecting a name for South32, including suggestions from employees across the company.

 

"As we continue to build South32 we are keen to ensure the views of our people are woven through the foundations of the company," Kerr added.

 

"I am proud to say that a suggestion from one of the new company's employees was the basis for the name we have selected as our identity."

 

The demerger is expected to be completed in the first half of the 2015 calendar year.

 

The head office for South32 will be in Perth, Australia, and its regional head office and global shared services centre will be in Johannesburg, South Africa.

 

Upon receiving all necessary third party approvals, BHP plans to make a final board decision on the proposed demerger.

An underground gas explosion at the Xingyun Colliery in China has killed at least ten mine workers.

 

According to reports from state-run Xinhua news agency, the explosion occurred at the mine in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province and the bodies of the workers who had been trapped were recovered by the rescuers.

 

Reports said that the cause of the explosion has yet to be known and investigations are ongoing to find out the cause of explosion.

 

China is claimed to be the world's largest consumer of coal, and used it to supply two-thirds of its energy needs 2013.

 

On 27 November, at least 11 workers were killed in a coal mine explosion in south-western Guizhou Province.

 

Every year, hundreds of mine workers reportedly die in China.

 

The country is planning to close more than 2,000 small-scale coal mines by 2015, in an attempt to improve safety conditions through abolishing old operations.

 

According to Greenpeace energy analysts in China, the country produces and consumes an amount of coal equal to that produced by the rest of the world combined.

 

The level of coal burned in China during the first three quarters of this year increased by around 2%, compared with the same period of 2013.

Mining major Glencore has announced plans to sell some of its nickel and cobalt projects due to lower prices.

 

 

The company's decision comes soon after it announced its aim to focus on returning cash to shareholders.

 

The potential project sales as reported by Reuters include the Araguaiai and Sipilou nickel and cobalt projects in Brazil, and the Cosmos nickel mine in Western Australia.

 

Cosmos nickel mine was placed on care and maintenance in 2012 when it was still under the ownership of Xstrata, prior to coming into Glencore ownership.

 

Glencore global nickel assets head Peter Johnston told investors that the company was continuing the divestment of its noncore nickel assets.

 

Assets include the Stargate asset in the Philippines, the Agmet operation in the US, and the Sinclair mine in Western Australia.

 

The company is now said to be on look out for a buyer for the Cosmos mine and expects to divest it within the next year.

 

Cosmos had been in production since 2000, and produced more than 2.9mt of ore prior to its closure.

 

In 2012, the mine delivered 127,000t of nickel in concentrate, including an estimated 4,200t.

 

Following the sale of Cosmos mine, Glencore will be left with the Murrin Murrin mine as its only nickel source in WA.

 

During 2015, the company also plans to divest the Araguaia nickel asset in Brazil and the Sipilou nickel asset in Cote d'Ivoire.

Mining major Glencore has announced plans to sell some of its nickel and cobalt projects due to lower prices.

 

 

The company's decision comes soon after it announced its aim to focus on returning cash to shareholders.

 

The potential project sales as reported by Reuters include the Araguaiai and Sipilou nickel and cobalt projects in Brazil, and the Cosmos nickel mine in Western Australia.

 

Cosmos nickel mine was placed on care and maintenance in 2012 when it was still under the ownership of Xstrata, prior to coming into Glencore ownership.

 

Glencore global nickel assets head Peter Johnston told investors that the company was continuing the divestment of its noncore nickel assets.

 

Assets include the Stargate asset in the Philippines, the Agmet operation in the US, and the Sinclair mine in Western Australia.

 

The company is now said to be on look out for a buyer for the Cosmos mine and expects to divest it within the next year.

 

Cosmos had been in production since 2000, and produced more than 2.9mt of ore prior to its closure.

 

In 2012, the mine delivered 127,000t of nickel in concentrate, including an estimated 4,200t.

 

Following the sale of Cosmos mine, Glencore will be left with the Murrin Murrin mine as its only nickel source in WA.

 

During 2015, the company also plans to divest the Araguaia nickel asset in Brazil and the Sipilou nickel asset in Cote d'Ivoire.

Harmony Gold Mining and Newcrest Mining are set to invest $2.3bn in developing their Golpu deposit in Papua New Guinea.

 

Harmony and Newcrest each own 50% of the Golpu project through the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture (WGJV).

 

The companies will advance the project to feasibility study stage, which covers the first stage of Golpu's development.

 

Targeting the upper higher value portion of the ore-body, work during stage one will continue on optimising a second stage mine development (stage two), which will encompass the rest of the ore reserves.

 

The feasibility study for the first stage, as well as the updated pre-feasibility study (PFS) for the second stage of the project, is slated for completion by the end of calendar year 2015.

 

Harmony Gold Mining CEO Graham Briggs said: "The updated pre-feasibility study supports our view that Golpu is a spectacular ore body with a large copper component, affordable and mineable.

 

"The conclusion of the updated PFS is a major project milestone and has demonstrated the significant potential of this world-class orebody, which contains mineral resources of 20 million ounces of gold and 9.4 million tonnes (Mt) of copper."

 

With the assistance of WorleyParsons as project consultant, the Golpu project team has incorporated a total of 52,000 new drill core samples into the updated study.

 

The two proposed block caves in stage one have been designed to access about 40% of the contained metal (gold and copper) of the Golpu reserve with the remaining 60% of reserve being extracted by a future deeper block cave (stage two).

 

Later, the mining and processing infrastructure of stage one will be used to support development of the second part.

 

Stage one extracts 146Mt at an average grade of 1.02g/t gold and 1.6% copper, and the proposed start-up production rate is 3Mt as year mined from Block Cave 1 (BC1) and 6Mt a year from the deeper Block Cave 2 (BC2).

 

BC2 is situated about 1,050m below surface whereas BC1 is only around 425m below surface and will produce 12Mt of cave ore over a five year period.

Hitachi Construction Machinery is set to use Nissan Motor's around view monitor (AVM) and moving object detection (MOD) technology for its trucks, following a licencing agreement.

 

The agreement will enable Hitachi to provide AVM and MOD technology to its massive haul trucks and hydraulic excavators working at large open pit mines.

 

The technologies jointly developed by Nissan and Clarion form the building blocks of autonomous driving technology that will operate commercially viable Nissan Autonomous Drive vehicles by 2020.

 

In real-time, the AVM-MOD technology detects any movement or workers in the area when drivers start operating the vehicle, drop cargo, back up to load cargo, or when a hydraulic shovel is used in close proximity to the vehicle.

 

This enables the driver to work with situational awareness leading to safety improvement.

 

The parking support system AVM offers the driver a bird's eye view of the vehicle's surroundings in real-time using four exterior cameras.

 

According to Nissan, the driving assistance technology MOD, evaluates the images from the AVM cameras and warns the driver with visual and audio alerts when it detects moving objects around the vehicle.

 

AVM and MOD technologies were launched on the market in 2007 and 2010, respectively.

 

The company plans to use the profit generated through these initiatives in new technology development, further contributing to its technological competence.

 

Autonomous Drive was developed to lower human error during driving, contributing to a reduction in the number of accidents and injuries related to automobiles, the company said.

Hitachi Construction Machinery is set to use Nissan Motor's around view monitor (AVM) and moving object detection (MOD) technology for its trucks, following a licencing agreement.

 

The agreement will enable Hitachi to provide AVM and MOD technology to its massive haul trucks and hydraulic excavators working at large open pit mines.

 

The technologies jointly developed by Nissan and Clarion form the building blocks of autonomous driving technology that will operate commercially viable Nissan Autonomous Drive vehicles by 2020.

 

In real-time, the AVM-MOD technology detects any movement or workers in the area when drivers start operating the vehicle, drop cargo, back up to load cargo, or when a hydraulic shovel is used in close proximity to the vehicle.

 

This enables the driver to work with situational awareness leading to safety improvement.

 

The parking support system AVM offers the driver a bird's eye view of the vehicle's surroundings in real-time using four exterior cameras.

 

According to Nissan, the driving assistance technology MOD, evaluates the images from the AVM cameras and warns the driver with visual and audio alerts when it detects moving objects around the vehicle.

 

AVM and MOD technologies were launched on the market in 2007 and 2010, respectively.

 

The company plans to use the profit generated through these initiatives in new technology development, further contributing to its technological competence.

 

Autonomous Drive was developed to lower human error during driving, contributing to a reduction in the number of accidents and injuries related to automobiles, the company said.

China is to cut export tariffs on coal from 1 January 2015, as part of the country's efforts to re-order trade and foster economic growth.

 

Said to be the world's largest consumer of coal, China will also adjust the export tariffs for a range of other commodities.

 

According to the Ministry of Finance, for all unprocessed coal, export tariffs will be cut to 3% from the existing 10%, reports Reuters.

 

The existing 1% import tax will be scrapped for both ferro-nickel and ferro-chrome.

 

The country's decision to slash coal export tariffs follows intense lobbying by the China National Coal Association, as falling coal prices have put pressure on nearly 70% of mining companies with more than half of them owing wages to staff.

 

Analysts have noted that some sectors such as coal and rubber face deep structural issues and the tariff adjustments will provide very limited support.

 

There was little risk of Chinese supplies flooding the Asian Pacific seaborne market despite the sharp drop in coal export taxes, industry experts said.

 

This is due to higher domestic prices compared with those from countries, including Australia and Indonesia, which are said to be the top exporters.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Security Q:How many eyes has a typical person? (ex: 1)
Name:
Email: