19Aug/16

Crane Hire During Mining Projects

There’s no question that certain pieces of heavy equipment are better for some jobs than others. When it comes to mining, the type of mine makes a huge difference, and if you are going to look at the type of cranes that are effectively used for mining then it’s important to make sure you look at some of the specialty pieces of equipment out there to get the most realistic look about what can actually get the job done.

Working On the Site

One of the best ways to know about what mining cranes are currently in favor is to look at some of the major mining projects going on around the world and what cranes they are actually using. For example, the Atacama Desert in Chile is home to some major mining projects and when you see what type of cranes they are using to get the job done in some of the hardest conditions in the world then you get an idea of what is in vogue.

At those particular sites there are five different 40 and 50 tonne versions of the Liebherr 1250 HC. These tower cranes have some of the best lift weights of any cranes that can be found at any mining site anywhere in South America.

mining-crane

Other Tower Cranes For Copper Mining

While there’s no denying the power that the Liebherr versions of these cranes have, there are other models that have proven themselves in some of the most adverse conditions out there. A the Minera Escondida the 1250 HC tower cranes from Litronic are making a name for themselves, enough so that there is more than one operating at the site. These cranes help during the initial phase and they can handle massive loads of weight to help quickly clear out an area that can then be properly set up for long term extraction. Keep this in mind when hire cranes Sydney as the specifications of the the project will always fine what type of crane you hire.

Specialty To General Maintenance

While it takes very specific types of mining cranes in order to handle the early job of clearing an area and moving tons upon tons of dirt and stone to excavate what will become the base of the mine, a variety of mining cranes can then be used for maintenance, including all of the cranes that have already been mentioned.

A major reason for this is these tower cranes have the ability to carry effective loads that are in the tons, move in heavy equipment for construction, and take care of a variety of issues that would otherwise be extremely difficult to handle.

Look For High Quality Engineering

When you are talking about tools that handle this level of work and harsh environments, it is important to make sure the quality of construction is undeniable. This is why certain company names tend to come up repeatedly, including many German names like Liebherr. That level of engineering allows them to hold up to harsh climates and conditions – an absolute must considering that most new deposits are going to be found in less than developed and less than hospitable conditions. Quality engineering for mining cranes matters!

31Jul/16

Removal of Asbestos in the Mining Town of Witenoom

Wittenoom was a small mining town located 1400 kilometers northeast of Perth. At one time, this was the only area in Australia where blue asbestos was produced.

The presence of blue asbestos was first recorded in 1917 by the Mines Department. Located in the Hamersley Ranges, Wittenoom Gorge on the Mulga Downs property was discovered by Langley Hancock in the early 30s.

witenoom asbestos mining

In 1944, dust issues at Wittenoom were reported by Inspector Adams. He discussed the need to reduces the dust levels in the mine. In addition to this, the Assistant State Mining Engineer reported that the dust generated in Wittenoom was dangerous. It wasn’t until 1946 that the first case of asbestosis occurred. However, asbestosis was not conclusively diagnosed until several years later.

The mining operation shut down in 1966 as health concerns over the dangers of asbestos began to emerge and the demand for asbestos began to decline.

It took another 10 years until health authorities realized that the blue asbestos dust that had swept through the town was hazardous to the residents’ health.

Additionally, it was another three years before the WA government declared Wittenoom as a contaminated area.

At the height of production, the population in Wittenoom was approximately 20,000.

The population consisted of 7,000 mill and mine workers and 13,000 family members and workers who worked int he town.

Blue asbestos was used in the production of a number of products, including ceiling insulation, pipes, fire resistant spray coating, and concrete.

Blue asbestos is a hundred times more dangerous than white asbestos due to the small size of the fibers.

Wittenoom’s sporting fields, roads, car parks, and playgrounds were built using mine tailings from the area.

More that 150,000 tons of blue asbestos was extracted in Wittenoom while the mine was in operation.

So far more than 2,000 residents and workers have died due to asbestos-related deaths. Dozens more have sought legal action against the mining company that was founded by Lang Hancock and then purchased by CSR.

After the mine was closed, most residents left the area. However, a small number of residents remained in the town.

The government began phasing down activity in Wittenoom in 1978. The phase down policy was the most appropriate course of action that the government could take due to the widespread crocidolite contamination in the town.

The policy requested that the residents voluntarily relocate out of the Wittenoom area. The government purchased homes, businesses, and properties in the area and contributed to the relocation expenses of the residents. Many local residents, along with the Shire of Ashburton, opposed the closing of Wittenoom. They lobbied to have the town cleaned up and used as a tourist attraction.

Nowadays, when people even suspect asbestos is in there home they call a contractor that is licensed to complete asbestos removal in Melbourne to come in and assess the job and dispose of the asbestos safely.

In 2007, the government cut off the electricity and the mail service to the town.

Wittenoom is not longer part of the Shire of Ashburton; however, there is still three residents who pay rates.

The former town of Wittenoon is now a 470 square kilometer contamination zone.

witenoom-blue-asbestos

One of the highest contamination risk areas is the Wittenoom Gorge. The mouth of the gorge is more than one kilometer wide.

A number of feasibility studies on cleaning up the area have been done over the last decade. Additionally, a new study will take place next month.

The Department of Lands reported that contractors will travel to the Wittenoom in June to do a number of test pits to determine how to handle the contamination in the area.

Three high-risk areas have been identified. Geotechnical work will be done to see if they are suitable to help secure tailing from the Wittenoom Gorge.

Besides the health risks involved in the area, the government is facing the task of affording the cost of completing the clean-up efforts.

20Jun/16

Rare Mineral Used to Make Solar Panels

How Renewable Are Solar Panels?

It seems everyone is becoming more and more excited for the possibilities of renewable energy. Solar panels in particular seem especially popular. Corresponding systems have become the most common source of renewable energy in our society.

indium

While solar panel systems are admirable when viewed from the “eco-friendly” perspective, at least some scientific theory exists that states they may not be sufficiently renewable. Despite the environmentally conscious and low carbon footprint attributes, it’s important to consider how much weight these claims really have.

The crux of the argument lies in indium, a sole element found in most high powered solar cells. PV cells are manufactured similarly to other semiconducting devices with silicon frames, but cells comprised of silicon alone are fairly limited overall. As such, the silicon is often doped with several other elements to create multi-junction devices. The efficiency is then boosted upwards of 40 percent.

Indium is one of the go-to elements for achieving this. Though not often talked about in general conversation, it can be found in the likes of LCD screens, infrared detectors, and mini lasers. Even so, it is a very rare metal in the grand scheme. There are very few mineral ores with indium, especially compared to something more ubiquitous such as iron. It’s been suggested by researchers that the current usage of indium will likely result in only 10 more years of usage before the supply has been depleted.

So while droves of people continue to utilise solar energy in Sydney NSW and surrounding cities, this “renewable” energy might not be quite as renewable as we once thought.

Fuel cell technology presents a similar problem. Platinum is the catalyst for turning hydrogen into electricity within fuel cells. There’s a basic chemical reaction in place that allows power to be generated, making a cell greatly more efficient. Platinum is also a precious metal however, and while it’s commonly used in the likes of electronics, it’s literally a thousand times less common than indium is. It really all puts it into perspective.

So, there needs to be a radical restructuring of how the world views solar panels. They may not really be as renewable as people think. With that in mind, more sources of renewable energy still need to be found. There are many countries that are investing a large amount of capital in wind and hydro electricity generation, this only work well with certain environmental conditions, and so changing the way solar panels are made might be the best way to move forward into a truly renewable future.

20Jun/16

Mineral Exploration in Australia

Australia is one of the leading producers of minerals, worldwide, with over 400 mines producing 19 minerals. All of the Australian states, Christmas Island, and the Northern territories produces minerals. However, there is no mining in the Australian Capital Territory, although they do have quarries for mining construction materials, like aggregate.

pilbara

Minerals accounted for 10 percent of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2012-2013, making it an important part of the country’s economy. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the mining industry employed 260,000 people directly as of June 2012.

According to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE), the mineral industry, excluding gas and oil, exports are estimated to be worth $107 billion in 2012-2013, which makes it one of Australia’s largest exports. Minerals account for about 71 percent of merchandise exports and 59 percent of good and services exports. Mining companies trade on a global scale, exporting goods worldwide, with the principal markets being Japan, India, South Korea and China.

Australia has the world’s largest resources of certain minerals. It has the world’s largest resources of uranium, zircon, iron ore, zinc, rutile, nickel, lead and gold and the second largest in niobium, tantalum, ilmenite, silver, thorium, cobalt, copper and bauxite. Australia is ranked in the top five of the world for its resources in rare earth, brown coal, lithium, vanadium, manganese ore, magnesite, black coal, and tungsten.

Production and Resources

Every year, Geoscience Australia creates a report on the national inventory of minerals. The report compiles information from publically released documents from Australia’s Mineral Resource Assessment and Australia’s Identified Mineral Resources. Along with the report, a national scale map is released showing endowments and mineral deposits, by region, for a number of mineral commodities.

Australia’s Mineral Resource Assessment was compiled by Geoscience Australia and the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics. This report contained information on mineral exploration, identification of mineral resources, new mining projects, and mineral production.

Australia’s Identified Mineral Resources provides estimates of Australia’s mineral resources for all major and some minor commodities. This report is based on published company reports of mineral resources and oil reserves. This report seeks to provide a long-term view of the mining industry. The figures in this report are generated by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics and compiled by Geoscience Australia.

Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics reports each quarter on mineral productions and exports in the Resources and Energy Quarterly. This report also contains an outlook for consumption, trade and supply and commodity prices.

Mineral Usage

Many of the minerals produced are essential to modern lifestyles and have various applications. For example, coal can be used to generate electricity, but it also needed to produce steel. Mineral ores are needed to produce many metals and mineral products, including iron ore. Iron ore is used to produce steel which can then be used to create ships, machinery, motor vehicles or in construction projects. Bauxite is used to make aluminum. Copper is needed for electrical wiring, plumbing and in the creations of various alloys. Nickel is used for stainless steel. Many of the metals and minerals produced in Australia are used to create many of the items that you use in your everyday life. That is one reason the Australian mineral resources are essential to the international mineral commodities market.

Minerals Pipeline

There is a standard sequence used to extract minerals. It starts with the exploration of an area using geophysical, geochemical and/or geological tools. The area is then drilled in order to find and evaluate mineralization. If the area looks promising, more detailed testing is done to estimate the quantity and size of the mineral resource.

A pre-feasibility study is performed in order to assess the economic potential of the resource. All testing, evaluations, and studies must be complete before moving to the next step. If any of these findings are not favorable, it is unlikely that a mining project will begin, and exploration will begin again.

If the study if favorable, a feasibility study is undertaken to assess the resource’s commercial viability. This might include mine planning so that the commercially recoverable part of the deposit can be evaluated. This includes the value and market potential of the ore, the metallurgy, the cost of financing, mine closure and rehabilitation and the cost of mine development which includes mine milling, the recovery of the ore and infrastructure.

If the feasibility study is not favorable, then the project will not proceed. Though this is a long process it is necessary in order to ensure that the minerals being mined are commercially viable. Since mining is such as important part of the Australian economy, the process of determining when and where to start a new mining project is essential. A favorable feasibility is the first step in creating a new mining project.

International Trade

Japan, India, South Korea and China are the biggest importer of Australian minerals. The European Union is one of the largest consumers of non-ferrous metals. Generally, Australian coal and iron ore are traded between suppliers and consumers, based on contracted prices which are negotiated quarterly using various benchmarks.

International trade is important to the Australian mineral industry since a large percentage of its resources are exported. With over $107 billion in exports, in 2012-2013, it’s important for the Australian mining industry to maintain a good relationship with their international trading partners, while developing new relationships with other international commodity markets.