The Asia Miner

JUL-SEP 2019

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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the asia miner • volume 16 • issue 3 12 LEADING DEVELOPMENTS Whether fabricated steel is manufactured in Australia or overseas, it is criঞcal that the work is undertaken according to Australian Standards. As such, Weld Australia is calling on both sides of the Australian Government to amend the necessary regulaঞons to mandate compliance to Australian Standards or wear the consequenঞal loss of life. According to Weld Australia, without regulaঞons that mandate compliance to Australian Standards for the manufacture, fabricaঞon and erecঞon of steel, procurement decisions will conঞnue to focus on the lowest common denominator: cost. "The problem is that, if structures and components are not fabricated in accordance to Australian Standards, there is simply no way to guarantee that they will not fail," says weld Australia. Geoff Crienden Chief Execuঞve Officer Weld Australia, says it does not maer where the steel infrastructure is made, as long as the fabricator is cerঞfied to AS/NZS ISO 3834, and the steel is manufactured and welded to all specified Australian or internaঞonal standards. "Our raঞonale is, that given a level playing field, Australian welding is internaঞonally price compeঞঞve and can deliver world class quality. We have developed this view a[er acঞng as advising welding engineers on many large-scale projects fabricated in Australia and overseas. However, it appears that this is not immediately obvious to those charged with procuring mulঞ-million-dollar projects," said Mr Crienden. As reported in The West Australian newspaper, in a recent speech to the West Australian Mining Club, Orica Chief Execuঞve, Alberto Calderon, explained their billion dollar-plus Pilbara explosives plant was shut down a[er a "terminal cancer of leaks" caused by faulty welding done in China. Mr Calderon said the 330,000 tonnes-a-year plant, which began operaঞng in 2016, made quality technical ammonium nitrate, "but a[er producing about 70,000 tonnes the leaks became unsustainable". He went on to explain that components operaঞng at very high temperatures, including the heat exchangers, "become absolutely useless". Orica marked down the value of its 45 per cent share of the plant by US$155 million in April 2019, indicaঞng a total direct cost of the defecঞve equipment of about US$340 million. In 2012, the plant was expected to cost US$800 million and start producঞon in 2015. According to Mr Calderon, the delay is cosঞng millions of dollars every month. "From an outsider's perspecঞve, it appears that clients are taking a very narrow view of project costs, allowing 'cost to buy' to dominate the procurement process rather than whole of life. If this is the case, then they are not demonstraঞng value for their shareholders or tax payers—merely concealing the true cost of the project," said Mr Crienden. "Since the beginning of the last mining boom, the Australian steel fabricaঞon industry has shrunk by 30 per cent because of exactly this type of short-sighted procurement decision. Not surprisingly, a huge number of Australian fabricaঞon companies have gone broke and closed their doors, resulঞng in thousands of welders leaving the trade," said Crienden. Weld Australia calls on Government to mandate compliance to Australian Standards how and technology of flotaঞon cell manufacturers comes in. The researchers want to exploit insights into interface interacঞons to improve the adhesion of ultrafine valuable parঞcles to the gas bubbles by opঞmising reagents. The newly developed technologies will then be tested and opঞmised in simulated environments, in the laboratory and in pilot plants. In addiঞon to leading European research insঞtuঞons, seven companies from the areas of mining, the materials processing industry, and machinery and plant engineering are involved in FineFuture, including the Polish corporaঞon KGHM – one of the world's largest mining groups and copper mine operators – and three other raw materials companies. Besides aspiring to achieve higher recovery rates, these companies hope to develop processes that are more sustainable and that generate fewer flotaঞon residues. Moreover, many heaps sঞll contain valuable fine parঞcles, which they wish to exploit. This development could decrease the size of landfill sites, resulঞng in a reducঞon of land consumpঞon and of environmental dangers. Being a manufacturer of flotaঞon chemicals, BASF is also a member of the project. The company wants to develop opঞmised reagents that are more economical, effecঞve and therefore more environmentally friendly.

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