Duketon, Australia. When Regis Resources reached out to Sandvik Mining to supply a crushing and screening plant, the gold production and exploration company recognized it was investing in its own sustainability and productivity.
A focus on environment, health and safety (EHS) design considerations and ease of assembly, operation and maintenance are key to all products that Sandvik Mining manufactures, and just some of the reasons that Regis Resources wanted its new crushing and screening plant to be delivered by Sandvik.
“Sandvik equipment fits in very well with Regis’ philosophies,” says Mick Evans, production manager, Regis Resources. “There are easy maintenance accesses and there’s a significant amount of guarding, which is always good to see. Overall I’m quite happy with the thought that has gone into the safety and the maintenance aspects of the plant.”
A 24/7 solution
The crushing and screening plant has an important role in maintaining efficiency for Rosemont, and is an integral part of the mine’s operation. The plant needs to be running virtually every hour of the day, every day of the year. When any unscheduled stops occur productivity falls.
“The crushing plant Sandvik has delivered is the first stage of the gold processing plant,” Evans says. “As such, it’s very important for the whole mine that it is reliable with excellent performance standards. The main reason we chose the Sandvik solution is that it’s a tested design. We’ve been using Sandvik equipment in our other operations in the past. It’s good robust equipment.”
Sandvik is constantly finding ways to improve the safety of its products and lessen their impact on the environment. That is something Regis included in its decision to procure the crushing and screening plant from Sandvik.
“One of the things I like, from an environmental standpoint, is that the plant can be fixed within a very small footprint, which means less disturbance in the environment around it,” Evans says.
About Rosemont gold mine
Rosemont was discovered in the 1980s and was partially mined as a shallow oxide open pit. Regis took ownership in 2006, and the updated ore reserve at Rosemont stands at 19 tonnes (664,000 ounces) of contained gold. Regis Resources Limited is a Perth-based gold production and exploration company. The company is a purely Australian gold miner, with operations at the Duketon Gold Project in the North Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia and the McPhillamys Gold Project in the Central West region of New South Wales.
To keep up with the environmental standards required to start a mining operation in Australia, Regis Resources needed a plant that was easy to maintain and keep tidy. Chris Miller, process chief supervisor, Regis Resources, says the Sandvik solution works nicely.
“It’s a very clean plant,” he says. “We have an exceptional maintenance and processing crew here.”
Having everything running smoothly means that all personnel involved know their roles and take responsibility for them.
“Everyone’s very friendly, and everyone knows what their roles and responsibilities are, so it works really well around this place,” Miller says.
Bernie Cleary, general manager, Regis Resources, agrees. He says the best thing about the Rosemont workplace is the people.
“We have an excellent community here at Regis where people assist each other and look after each other, which helps to keep their minds focused on their jobs in terms of safety,” Cleary says. “The process and maintenance teams do a terrific job at keeping the process plant very tidy and orderly, and that makes it easy to recognize if any issues should be developing at the plant.”
The whole crushing and screening plant at Rosemont is operated from a control room. The Sandvik automation and control systems give the operator a complete overview of the process out of harm’s way.
“Workers at the mine need to manage their fatigue closely,” Cleary says. “They’re away from home for long periods at a time, and they need to keep their minds focused on the job. The safety performance is excellent. There have been no serious incidents since commissioning of the process plant.”
Sandvik has paid a lot of attention to making the crushers as easy to operate and maintain as possible. All service and inspection is carried out from above, which makes the equipment easier to work with and reduces maintenance costs. To improve the working environment even further, Sandvik CH660 and Sandvik CH420 cone crushers are equipped with Sandvik lightweight polymer linings for wear protection, providing fewer vibrations and less noise. EHS is always in play to achieve the best result possible for the product design.
“The availability of the equipment is good,” says Mick Wilson, maintenance superintendent, Regis Resources. He has been in the mining business since 1994 and first went underground at age 16.
“I’m a third-generation coal miner from Lithgow,” he says. “I’ve been involved in the business of surface mining for the last 10 years as a maintenance superintendent.”
Wilson has extensive experience in the mining industry and he’s pleased with the safety aspects of the Sandvik equipment at the Rosemont plant.
“The access platforms around the gear are good,” he says. “Clear instructions come with the equipment, and the manual that’s provided is easy to understand. The material on how to conduct maintenance and work on the equipment is also clear and concise. Generally, instructions on safe handling of the components are very clear, such as when dismantling and reassembling takes place.”
The process plant team and maintenance team commissioned the Sandvik crushing and screening circuit over a period of about a week. After that, the circuit was at full capacity, and it has been running without any interruptions since then. Marcus Benn, business line manager at Sandvik, is very pleased with how the project has developed.
“It’s been a very pleasant experience for both Sandvik and Regis,” he says. “The project has run very, very smoothly. We’re very happy with the results, and so is the customer.”