Mining & metals
Mammoet’s heavy lifting and transport expertise, experience and range of state-of-the-art equipment help to optimize timelines, improve efficiency and enhance safety in the mining and metals sector.
Mammoet’s heavy lifting and transport expertise, experience and range of state-of-the-art equipment help to optimize timelines, improve efficiency and enhance safety in the mining and metals sector.
The practice of mining – extracting minerals from the earth for our use – goes back deep into prehistory. The use of certain types of stone by early humans is considered to be one of the evolutionary advantages of our species, and it’s the earliest evidence of mining. Around 10,000 years ago, metalworking began in what is now northern Iraq, and since then mining and metals have been important drivers of civilization. We even signify historical eras in these terms. The Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Steel Age and Nuclear Age – each has profoundly relied on substances mined from the earth. From Marco Polo’s visit to China to the California gold rush and on to using the biggest land vehicles ever made to excavate coal fields, meeting the demand for precious metals, building materials and energy has led to the development of a huge and intricate industry.
For two centuries Mammoet has worked extensively across heavy industries, with a large focus on mining and metals. Our drive to innovate and engineer better heavy lifting and transport solutions has chimed with our clients’ desire to find safer and more efficient ways of constructing and operating their mines – often at a larger scale and with increasing pressure to reduce timelines. From the introduction of our first heavy-duty barge in 1807 right up to the development of the Focus crane, Mammoet has pushed the boundaries of engineered heavy lifting and transport.
Mining and metals companies are continuously looking for ways of optimizing efficiency, minimizing downtime and reducing time to market. Mammoet has a long history of successfully executing a range of mining projects. We move deadlines forward and optimize construction time by drawing on our operational expertise and utilizing a large and diverse fleet of equipment.
Facilitating the use of modular construction techniques is just one of the ways Mammoet helps mining companies meet these objectives. The pioneering Red Dog Mine in Alaska was a game changer for the industry. Modular construction on this scale had never been attempted before. It was built in giant units in the Philippines, where work could be carried out safely, all year round, in controlled conditions and by a skilled and plentiful labor force. Mammoet transported the units to the current site inside the Arctic Circle. To this day, Red Dog remains one of the biggest nickel producers globally.
The relocation of draglines and other heavy equipment is another area where mine operators and their equipment suppliers can realize efficiencies and increase uptime. Moving heavy machinery in one piece presents a huge challenge but brings enormous benefits. When moving pieces of equipment weighing 8,000 tons or more, extensive preparation, attention to safety and a detailed route plan are essential. The advantages of this approach for mine operators and owners are in production time saved by the operation. Dismantling, moving and rebuilding such machines could take them out of production for months. With Mammoet’s help this can be significantly reduced.
Mammoet can optimize construction, expansion, maintenance and equipment moves while improving efficiency and reducing timelines. On each project, our professionals combine a can-do attitude with the highest regard for safety requirements. Our engineering expertise, long standing experience in mining and metals, and our state-of-the-art equipment come together to deliver a safe, high-quality execution that meets – and beats – deadlines for our clients.
Whenever a new mine or metal plant is built, heavy lifting and transport are key factors to the project's total schedule. By working with a specialized heavy lifting partner from the planning and design phase, various construction techniques can be reviewed and ways can be found to shorten the critical path. Often, the fabrication of a new facility’s components — including the building units themselves and large-scale processing machinery — can be achieved more efficiently off-site. When heavy lifting and transport engineers assist in the design of these structures, they are able to suggest features that make it possible, or more efficient, to prefabricate and transport them, rather than stick-building them on-site.
Building in a controlled environment means that weather conditions, workforce availability and safety issues are less likely to delay the work. This is particularly relevant as more and more mines and metal processing facilities are established in increasingly remote locations such as the Arctic, in deserts or in jungles, where all these factors come into play. Time and money can be saved on the construction, and the facility can come into production sooner to turn investment into profit.
Mammoet offers an integrated approach to the engineered heavy lifting and transport requirements of our mining and metals clients. While we are always happy to contribute to a project as a subcontractor, by working in close partnership with Mammoet from the earliest planning stages, we are able to find ways of saving time, improving efficiency, reducing downtime and enhancing safety whenever heavy lifting and transport are on a project’s critical path.
When commissioned to move a single large piece of mining or metal processing equipment, Mammoet's planning expertise is vital for optimizing schedules. Road quality and inclines, power lines, interchanges at ports, transport permits, bridge reinforcement – all obstacles along the route, handovers between modes of transport and regulatory requirements are carefully assessed and planned by our experienced logistics teams. Our oversize load experts know how long it takes to put all the planning of a major move into place and can prepare everything so that the move goes like clockwork and the machinery arrives as planned, ready to be put into production as soon as possible.
Mines and metal foundries that are already in operation require the regular renewal of equipment. Equally, turnarounds to install higher-capacity production machinery can improve the overall productivity of a facility. In either case, early involvement can help ensure downtime is kept to a minimum while old components are removed and new ones installed. With input into how the new components are designed and manufactured, and knowing the specifics of their size and weight, Mammoet can help make their transport and installation feasible and find tailored engineering solutions to facilitate this. As a result, productivity can be significantly increased in the most cost-effective way.
Whatever the nature of the project, involving Mammoet's expertise during the planning phase makes it possible to identify different ways of achieving the project’s goals. Our smart engineering, combined with a fleet of state-of-the-art equipment, unlocks operational efficiencies. The goal is to optimize the heavy lifting and heavy transport needs of every project - whether it’s a new mine, a turnaround or moving a piece of specialized equipment. We ensure the maximum utilization of heavy lifting equipment, coordinating activities with other contractors, applying the highest safety standards and getting the components installed on time and on budget. This frees up the management time of our clients so that they can focus on their business of mining and metal production.
Modular construction approaches began decades ago in offshore, before spreading to refineries and energy plants. Subsequently, these techniques have been delivering efficiency gains and bringing forward uptime for the mining industry as well. Offsite fabrication of processing buildings removes the need for stick-built mining structures - bringing safety and efficiency gains while limiting the impact of environmental conditions and skilled labor scarcity.
Mammoet led the way by unlocking methods to enable the modularization of mining projects almost 30 years ago with the Red Dog Mine in Alaska. The project was groundbreaking at the time. Due to the remote location and a short weather window, the facility needed to be built within just three months. So modular construction was the ideal solution. The modular approach enabled the mine to be constructed and brought into production in a safer, faster, more efficient way.
Mammoet's involvement at the planning stages, and subsequent, of modular mining construction projects enables mine owners and operators to benefit from the productivity gains from a modular approach. If we are involved at the early stages of a construction project it enables us to optimize the whole project timeline and prepare a fully integrated plan that fits to the mine's production schedule, guaranteeing output. The mine will be up and running on time, in the most efficient way to maximize production time for the owners.
This need for detailed planning also exists when lifting and moving equipment for existing mining facilities. The processing flow in a mine is all based on equipment, so if equipment is out of order, or needs relocating from another site, the downtime needs to be minimized to ensure maximum productivity for the mine. Attention to detail and a full assessment of potential risks is necessary to ensure the thorough planning required when moving essential operational resources, such as a crusher facility. It is essential that all safety and environmental risks are carefully managed while also minimizing disruption to production in other parts of the mine.
Our aim is always to approach projects in a way that considers the complete critical path of a project. We can then work with clients to plan things so that disruption and other risks are identified and can be carefully managed. An example of this is the construction of a nickel processing plant in a remote location in Newfoundland for Vale. The Long Harbour project required extensive upfront planning to ensure 600 parts were delivered in a predetermined order from numerous locations to a remote site. Here the complete supply chain was optimized by extensive consultation between Mammoet and Vale at the initial stages of the project.
We are also always on the look-out for ways to increase the efficiency of our approaches and find innovative ways to improve an operation. Sometimes that means our own scope is reduced; but sometimes efficiency gains for the customer can be realized if our scope is extended. We discuss these matters with our clients and work closely with them to maximize productivity. If we identify a way of doing something that reduces our scope but helps our client in terms of cost-effectiveness, then that’s what we’ll recommend. This builds trust and strengthens relationships in the long term.
Pieter Jacobs is the Global Sales Director for Mammoet and has worked for the company since 1999, helping mining clients to plan safe and efficient lifting and transport operations.
The profitability of a mining and metals operation is sensitive to mineral prices on the global commodity markets. New construction and facility expansion operations are dependent on whether the revenue that can be generated by extracting and processing gold, copper, iron ore or other minerals will outweigh the capital requirement and ongoing production costs. Therefore, to capitalize on commodity prices, time to market becomes the critical factor – if a mining installation or metal plant can be brought online quickly enough to benefit from the higher market price of the mineral in question, it may make all the difference in making a project viable.
Choosing the right heavy lifting and transport partner can therefore make or break a project. From planning the construction options through to managing the logistics chain and the construction phase itself, mine and metal plant operators need a contractor that can optimize the overall critical path, reduce risks and respond to mitigating factors so that the project stays on track.
Project logistics are dependent on a range of factors. One of the first is the method of construction. A stick-built facility may present fewer logistical challenges and therefore the upfront cost of heavy transport and lifting requirements might be lower. However, this approach often means higher construction costs and increases exposure to factors such as the weather and labor markets. Consequently, modular construction is frequently the preferred option.
Modular construction allows the main components of a mine or foundry to be built in a controlled environment, which is safer and limits the impacts of bad weather or other environmental factors. It can also take place where the right labor and skills are available. Additionally, modules can be fabricated in parallel, shortening the construction timeline. There may be higher logistical costs because numerous large and heavy components will need to be shipped to the location of the facility, but these are usually offset by the construction efficiencies gained. This is particularly the case when using one logistic contractor for the entire logistics operation – a factory-to-foundation approach.
Another major factor affecting the logistics of mining and metals operations is the plant’s location. Whether a stick-built or modular approach is taken, transporting the materials and/or components needs to take place in a safe, timely and efficient way - whether over road, rail or water.
Whatever the construction approach, location or type of plant, our professionals help you decide on the best modes of transport, equipment and routes to use. We can also make design suggestions so that all the components and equipment have the structural strength, necessary lifting and fastening points and movement support points for safe lifting and transport operations. Safety is the top priority.
For an integrated approach to a project's logistics we offer a factory-to-foundation approach, which enables our engineers to work with clients to consider various options for the entire logistics chain. This service streamlines the logistics, managing the complexities with specialist skill to optimize the critical path and reduce risks.
Once the route, modes of transport and loads have been defined, a detailed timeline can be planned. This will take into account all the external factors, including permitting, infrastructure, climate and the interfaces between modes of transport such as ports and rail yards. Efficient planning will avoid unnecessary demurrage fees, but more importantly it will include contingency plans. Mammoet’s experienced project managers will produce a complete risk analysis for the project that accounts for any variables. By asking ‘What if…?’ we can prepare by developing plan B and plan C.
Whether the project involves the construction or expansion of a mine or metals plant, or moving large and heavy equipment to aid productivity, Mammoet’s logistical expertise offers the opportunity to improve efficiency and optimize the timeline. The time to market can be reduced meaning new capacity comes online in time to capitalize on improving commodity prices. Meanwhile, downtime of major equipment can be minimized in order to maximize output, boost revenue and improve the bottom line.
Logistics for mining and metals clients requires three elements from an engineered heavy lifting and transport provider: smart engineering, specialized equipment and experienced operators. Mammoet’s extensive expertise with logistics projects for the mining and metals industries ensures these three areas are fully covered - whether we are moving a 4,000-ton dragline or delivering multiple furnace components to a steelworks.
Mammoet supports our clients with all their engineering needs, particularly helping them at the design phase to ensure components have the necessary features and strength for safe transport and handling during construction. Our extensive global fleet of specialized equipment offers a broad range of highly maintained and reliable machinery, with the highly skilled personnel to operate it. And the extensive experience we have gained executing logistical solutions for some of the most challenging projects enables us to draw on our in-house pool of knowledge to find the most effective solution for each transport project.
Whether we are moving prefabricated construction units and processing components for a nickel mine in northern Canada or improving uptime of massive mining equipment by delivering them in one piece, we combine our equipment with engineering know-how to find the most efficient way to deliver complex heavy lifting and transport operations.
We have multi-disciplinary project managers, supported by our creative engineers. Operationally, Mammoet has teams that specialize in each mode of transport. To manage shipping, we have a chartering office and a worldwide network of partners operating seagoing vessels. This expertise and hands-on experience is used to ensure all transition points and changes in modes of transport run seamlessly.
Once the logistical chain has been defined, the project manager will oversee each step. No two transports are ever the same, and we are always prepared to adapt to changes that occur. During our logistics planning, we aim to cover all the variables the operation could face, from dust storms in the desert to an early freeze-over at an Arctic port. Our integrated approach effectively and safely delivers a highly efficient logistics operation, reducing disruption to production and bringing forward uptime for our customers.
Chuck Thompson has been with Mammoet since 2011, working across Northern America on a variety of mining logistics projects as Regional Account Manager, Pacific NorthWest.
Major industries around the world rely on minerals excavated and processed by open-cast mining operations. Coal and oil sands mining drive the energy industry, phosphate is core to the fertilizer industry and iron ore mines feed the construction industry with a key building material. Global commodity prices, regulatory requirements and operating in remote locations challenge players in the industry to maximize productivity, manage costs and optimize efficiency.
Efficiency is critical when assembling, relocating or dismantling large pieces of equipment for maintenance and overhauls. Mammoet is able to plan all the logistics for complex moves and find innovative solutions for loading and moving oversized machinery that maximize uptime and productivity. Our expertise in logistics and haulage using conventional trailers enables the safe, swift and efficient relocation of smaller digging machines such as backhoe excavators and bulldozers. Mammoet was the first to offer additional specialized competencies in engineered heavy lifting for larger equipment including haul trucks, shovels, draglines and bucketwheel excavators on mines, as well as stackers and reclaimers at portside operations.
Haul trucks, shovels and draglines are the three main types of large-scale machinery that make open-cast mining feasible, cost-effective and profitable for mining corporations on every continent. Draglines remove overburden, exposing minerals like coal and iron ore, which can then be excavated and removed using shovels and haul trucks. Each machine represents significant capital investment, but thanks to their large capacity the cost per cubic meter excavated can be minimized.
To store and load coal and iron ore, large and expensive material handling equipment such as stackers and reclaimers are used at mine sites and portside facilities. Newly purchased stackers and reclaimers must be delivered and installed onto their rail systems. However, with the increased focus on efficiency within the industry, mining companies also aim to maximize equipment utilization by relocating such equipment. Either way, having the equipment in place and operational is crucial to productivity.
Downtime for any equipment reduces productivity, eating into the bottom line. It can occur whenever maintenance is required, or when the time comes to relocate. For instance, when a mineral deposit has been mined out, mine operators face tough choices: To dismantle a 7,000-ton dragline and write it off as a capital loss or to walk it to a new location. The latter is an extremely slow and costly process due to its internal power requirements, not to mention the risk of damage en route. However, to dismantle it for relocation may also lead to excessive downtime, wear and tear on its parts, hydraulic and lubricant spillages, and on-site safety issues.
Mammoet offers a cost-effective alternative: moving the equipment whole, or in a few large pieces. Our team will explore the engineering and equipment solutions available; plan the lifting, loading and haulage in fine detail; run through logistics troubleshooting; cover all the safety precautions; work with local transport agencies for permits; and execute the move as part of a single, project-focused service. Moving a dragline or a stacker/reclaimer using traditional methods can take months. Moving it in one piece significantly reduces this time and makes the process more cost-effective.
A significant advantage of moving a haul truck, shovel, dragline or stacker whole is that the machinery will be ready to contribute to productivity soon after arrival. It will not be compromised by the complex reassembly process, which often involves wear and tear on parts, replacing hydraulic fluids, resealing some of its systems, resolving mechanical issues and testing. Mines and ports receiving equipment in one piece do not have to set aside an area for assembly, which can be disruptive to the mine’s workflow and result in safety issues.
By moving the biggest types of digging and material handling equipment quickly and efficiently Mammoet creates new opportunities and greater flexibility for mining companies and their owners. Larger digging equipment can be brought to smaller mineral deposits so they can be excavated more cost-effectively. Safety at mines is not compromised by dismantling and rebuilding work, and the working life of major items like draglines and stackers is extended, reducing capital wastage. With downtime substantially reduced and improved productivity, there is a healthier bottom line.
Mammoet's extensive experience developing safe, efficient and cost-effective transport solutions has been helping the mining sector for decades. For example, moving shovels in one piece, over 60 kilometers or more. In 2013, we moved our first dragline over a 35-kilometer distance in New Mexico for Peabody Energy. Never before had a machine of this size and weight been moved in one piece along narrow roads.
Using a dragline rather than a shovel for production is significantly more efficient. It can halve costs per cubic meter over a three or four-year period. The relative cost of moving these big pieces of equipment is very low in comparison to the cost benefits of using a bigger machine to excavate more product. Mine operators and owners benefit from increased production while costs per unit decrease at the same time. On top of that there is greater flexibility to move the machines to different sites when needed.
Sometimes flexibility with available equipment can help to improve the quality of the product. Coal of a certain grade might be required by customers, but at older mines the better-quality coal has been mined out. If mine operators are able to excavate a smaller deposit of high-quality coal nearby, they can create a mixed product with the right quality requirement for the end client.
Mammoet transports draglines using self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) and other standard equipment in our fleet. We have developed specially engineered solutions for jacking them up, loading and securing them. In 2015, we moved a 4,000 ton dragline over a bridge, pushing the boundaries of engineered heavy transport at the time. Our solution reduced bending and distributed the weight more evenly over the piers and uprights as we crossed the bridge. Creative engineering enabled the customer to move their equipment in a more direct and efficient way, reducing downtime.
With each move we add to our experience, seeing where time can be saved and engineering processes can be improved. We always consider modifications to make the operation safer and more cost-effective. Every solution is developed specifically for the size, weight and design of the machine. Our teams seek to find the safest and most efficient transport method alongside the optimal route.
Piet Nooren has worked for Mammoet since the early 1980s and today is VP Technical Director based at Mammoet USA South. He helps mining companies achieve their goals in the southern United States and around the world.
Mining companies around the world rely on processing equipment on their sites to bring ore and other extracted minerals down to a useable, easily transportable product. For iron mines this often means reducing raw ore down to iron pellets for shipping to foundries, while coal facilities process extracts on site into a form ready to fuel power stations. Meanwhile, oil sands mines situate primary processing equipment at open pit mining sites to separate bituminous fluids from extracted soil, ready for further stages of processing.
Whether the product is iron, coal, tar sand or other minerals, the location of processing equipment can be key to a mine’s operating efficiency. For instance, its occasional relocation is a good way to reduce the fuel requirement of the haul trucks that feed raw extracted material into loading stations or slurry prep buildings. Moving processing equipment can also shorten the conveyor, rail or trucking systems that shift the processed materials.
However, moving a loading station, slurry prep building or the elements of an ore processing train can be a complex, costly and time-consuming operation. A mine’s productivity and profitability can be seriously diminished if relocation means a lengthy period of downtime. Bringing on board a specialized engineered heavy lifting and transport partner will optimize all aspects of the lifting and transport of processing equipment.
Mammoet’s global experience in the mining sector means we are able to help our clients optimize the use of their equipment in the most efficient way. This includes our ability to move loading stations and slurry prep facilities in one piece, and ore processing trains in the fewest possible separate loads. While lifting and transporting such large units is challenging, the time saved by avoiding complete dismantling and rebuilding of these structures is significant, not to mention cost-effective.
Each piece of equipment in an ore processing train will have its own specific lifting requirements. Our engineers are able to offer tailored solutions to meet the needs of each lifting or transporting operation. They will calculate the total weight, and identify the correct lifting points for each item. Considering the limitations and challenges of the load, and the planned route, they work with our clients to find the safest and most efficient lifting and transportation equipment and optimal method for the job.
Moving loading stations with crusher equipment inside poses complex engineering challenges. They are tall structures, with a high center of gravity and uneven distribution of weight. The thorough preparation we undertake for any move will include detailed engineering drawings that take into account all the dynamics that will affect your equipment. Mammoet has developed our own specialized jacking solution for such lifts.
From cranes and jacking systems to trailers and self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs), the range of high capacity options in Mammoet’s fleet means we are able to explore a variety of approaches to each move. That, and our expert understanding of the specific challenges involved in moving processing equipment allows us to avoid over- or under-dimensioning the solution. This means the direct costs will be controlled, while the safety, speed and smooth operation of the relocation won’t be compromised.
In the end, the real benefit is that we can optimize the schedule. By cutting the time it takes to relocate large and heavy processing equipment, Mammoet will help you ensure downtime is kept to a minimum. The machinery can go back into production as quickly as possible, keeping your mine running optimally, your customers supplied, and your bottom line in the black.
Our customers are continually looking for ways to reduce downtime. Safe, efficient transport of processing facilities, such as crushers and loading stations, ensures our customer can return to productivity as soon as possible. Our project managers and operators constantly seek new ways to safely optimize our methods and help our clients increase utilization of their equipment.
For example, in Texas we relocate crushers for coal mining operations. Loading stations with crushers inside are crucial to these mines. The crushers break coal down in size making it into a useable product. Then it is transported on a conveyor to the mine or to another loading station. The coal is then delivered directly to power plants, which are in the same area.
These processing units run around the clock, so any downtime has significant productivity implications. Mine operators often choose to move these facilities in one piece as it is more efficient to move a crusher in one piece than take it apart and rebuild it. The operations to safely and efficiently transport these large and heavy facilities require specialized equipment, skills and experience. Mammoet has extensive experience with these types of transport projects. Working closely with the client, we will streamline the operation, ensuring all risks are managed and disruption to the mine is minimized.
We moved a complete crusher loading station weighing 2,000 tons for Peabody Energy in Wyoming. The operation was completed within a matter of a week using climbing jacks, blocks and steel mats, and SPMTs. This safe swift execution was possible due to our highly efficient jacking system, along with the large quantity of SPMTs available in-house, and our ability to mobilize and demobilize quickly. During the operation our focus was primarily on safety and efficiency to ensure our customers can maximize the mine's productivity.
Mike Hamic is Senior Account Manager at Mammoet USA South. He has been with the company for 26 years, starting off in the field before moving into project management and sales.
Mining and metals companies are continually seeking to maximize project efficiency. In an industry dependent on global commodity prices, where project over-runs are costly and common, streamlining the critical path and effectively managing project risks are vital. This is particularly the case when constructing new facilities or extending existing capacity, where the cost-effectiveness of the building method may be the key difference that makes a project economically viable.
Large facilities that significantly ramp up capacity but also require heavy capital outlays are becoming rarer in today’s industry. With continuing pressure to reduce time to market and increase cost-effectiveness, mining and metal companies are building smaller mines, and using more efficient construction techniques. The industry is also becoming more agile. Instead of building new mines, production is often increased gradually through expansions, or by relocating facilities to exploit existing deposits more efficiently within a geographical region.
Where new mines are constructed, more integrated approaches are being taken. In the past, the mine itself would be built as one project and the processing facilities might be undertaken separately. By building smaller mines that encompass both extraction and production assets, the financial exposure can be reduced.
Modular construction techniques make it more efficient to construct the main components of a facility in factories and then ship them whole or in a small number of main segments for assembly and installation.
Based on the location of the proposed mine or plant and the transport logistics involved, Mammoet’s engineers can advise on the construction of its components so that they can be optimized for safe and efficient shipping. By bringing in engineered heavy lifting and transport experts early in the project planning phase, components and modules can be designed to take into account the forces that the units will endure when travelling by sea, road and rail. Working closely with the client, component design can be refined so that it includes elements needed to make lifting and transport operations as efficient as possible at each stage along the logistics chain.
Beyond the planning phase, Mammoet has the operational skills and specialized equipment to provide a safe and efficient transport and installation service. Our optimized site wide construction approach for modular construction projects streamlines the building process. In many markets, it is typical for the construction contractor to split the operation into four separate areas – transport, heavy transport, installation and heavy lifting. Mammoet’s comprehensive service delivers oversight across all the haulage and crane requirements, helping mining companies reduce time to market, and optimize efficiency and safety.
With four contractors, each with a different scope, the interfaces between transport, lifting and installation activities are where time and money are lost. Mammoet’s appointment as the sole contractor covering these scopes of work will ensure the coordination of operations, protecting the timeline and managing the risks.
Mines, metal processing plants and construction sites are all hazardous environments. Mammoet has a stringent approach to safety and a safe execution is always our number one priority. We know that mining customers and construction contractors feel the same way we do about safety.
Mammoet’s skilled teams all have up-to-date training that meets or exceeds local regulations. From the first engineering drawings right through the logistics and on to the execution of the project, our focus is on ensuring a safe and efficient operation. This aligns perfectly with the needs of mining clients who want to get their facilities into production quickly and without incident.
Smarter ways of working are helping mining companies reduce time to market and save costs during construction projects. Mammoet has worked closely with mine owners for decades to help them capitalize on the advantages and added value from applying a modular construction approach. As a result we have unrivalled experience in heavy lifting and transport for modular approaches for mine construction. We offer an integrated, site-wide approach to construction projects which enables us to optimize all transport and lifting work for a project, maximizing equipment utilization and streamlining the critical path.
For example, in Alberta, Canada, we engineered a new way of working for oil sands operations, where smaller modules are brought to a laydown area near the proposed mine for assembly into a super module. When the component modules have been combined into the end-design, we then move the complete structure using self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) to the final location and set it down on its foundations. This kind of creative engineering is realizing new efficiencies for our clients.
We can unlock the greatest advantages for our clients when we get involved with projects during the pre-FEED and FEED stages. Taking an integrated approach, our engineers work side-by-side with the client in order to advise them on the optimal solutions for the logistics and lifting of the modules.
Lifting and transport constitutes about 6% of the total investment value on a mining project, but because it is on the critical path the risk factor can be between 60 and 70%. As we have the capacity and experience to work as the single contractor, managing all heavy lifting and transport operations on a mine construction project, we optimize the critical path, ensuring it is kept on track at all times.
In addition to project optimization, our expertise ensures a safe, efficient and high quality construction operation where risks are carefully managed. Our experienced professionals continually search for opportunities for improvement during a project, adjusting lifting plans and equipment use to increase efficiency wherever possible. We strive for operational excellence in every project we undertake.
For all our clients reliability is a key factor. At Mammoet we invest a great deal in our fleet, ensuring maximum reliability. All our machinery is modern and maintained to the highest standard. We understand our client’s need to bring forward deadlines and get mines into production as soon as possible. We therefore carefully manage risks, such as broken equipment, environmental spills or safety incidents, to ensure a swift, smooth execution. This brings our client’s facilities safely and efficiently online according to, or ahead of, schedule.
Piet Kraaijeveld is currently Sales Director of Mammoet Middle-East. Previously he has worked as Sales Director for Mammoet Canada, working closely with mining companies across North America including in the oil sands projects of Alberta. He has been with Mammoet since 2001.
Mining and metals companies worldwide have invested heavily in expansions and new facilities over the last few decades. And while there is always a requirement for heavy lifting and transport expertise during plant expansions and turnaround projects, today there is a growing understanding that heavy lifting partners can help optimize a mine's ongoing maintenance requirements through maintenance service agreements (MSAs). By bringing in a specialized service provider, mining and metals facility operators benefit from having a contractor with a close familiarity with their site or plant.
A heavy lifting and transport partner with site-specific experience ensures less disruption to plant activities and minimizes downtime. They provide an on-demand, swift response to maintenance requirements alongside knowledge of site restrictions and permitting requirements. They can also work closely with plant owners and operators to make continual improvements to processes, benefitting safety, plant performance and cost-effectiveness.
For all planned shutdown, turnaround and maintenance operations preparation is key. Addressing all the engineering issues during the planning stages of an operation helps manage out many of the risks and realize efficiencies. During scope meetings with the client’s team prior to a shutdown, Mammoet can provide all the information needed to prepare for the operation, ensuring clarity of roles and responsibilities between all contractors. We ensure all supply-chain contingencies are in place down to the smallest detail and provide engineered drawings of all critical lifts.
The heavy lifting, loading, transportation and installation services we offer are nearly always on the critical path of any maintenance program or turnaround operation. Equipment failures or mechanical problems can disrupt the critical path, leading to a negative impact on the schedule, and potential loss of production.
Mammoet operates a reliable, state-of-the-art fleet of equipment. Cranes are never more than 10 years old, and we couple that with a very strict maintenance regime. Not only do we exceed manufacturer requirements, but we have fluids analyzed for wear and tear to identify any issues to prevent future mechanical failure. And all our highly skilled operators recognize the value of uptime to our clients in the metals and mining industries.
Our fleet of equipment is highly maintained and contains the most diverse array of machinery available. Alongside hydraulic cranes we use gantry cranes, self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs), jacking and skidding equipment, and more. Combining this range of tools with industry-leading engineering capabilities, Mammoet is usually able to find more than one way of lifting and transporting a heavy object. Thus we can explore different options to reduce the up-front cost of the shutdown, make projects safer and shorten the critical path so that any loss of production is minimized.
After a maintenance or turnaround project, we carry out a post-shutdown review, analyzing our working methods and using client feedback to identify areas where we can improve. The aim is that when the next shutdown occurs, we have captured all the data and documented every task. We then have an outline to work from and are able to optimize future maintenance activities, produce the engineering drawings and eliminate any unplanned work or surprises on the critical path.
Safety is our top priority on any project, and our clients appreciate this because they can rely on Mammoet to meet and exceed safety requirements in the mining and metals industries. We have our own programs to develop the skills and training of all our professionals, ensuring they are continually improving and benefitting from the latest in safety and operational best practice.
Nearly every component in a mining or metals plant is subject to wear and tear, and so in addition to daily maintenance tasks, plants have scheduled shutdown periods. On a mine site, maintenance or replacement activities are regularly needed for chutes, crusher screens, conveyor systems or other large items of equipment specific to the mineral being processed. Any component with moving parts has a finite lifespan. In metal plants, everything right up to the blast furnaces needs to be changed when its working lifecycle ends.
We have extensive experience working alongside mining and metals clients to proactively manage the maintenance and replacement cycles of parts and machinery. Our teams regularly carry out a complete series of lifts, or transport large components through congested sites, to support these projects. Decades of regular maintenance support for a range of mining and metalwork facilities has enabled us to continually improve maintenance processes in these industries.
Our operators and engineers understand that safely carrying out a turnaround in the shortest time possible, with minimal impact to ongoing production, brings valuable productivity gains for our customers. Ongoing support, through long term contracts or maintenance service agreements, has enabled us to develop long-standing relationships with many of our clients. This brings the additional value of a maintenance partner with extensive site and procedure-specific knowledge.
In addition to planned shutdowns and turnarounds, emergency repairs or replacements are sometimes necessary. For those events we can swiftly mobilize expertize and equipment from our global pool, designing solutions for a safe, fast recovery to ensure production resumes as quickly as possible.
Whatever the circumstances, we will always seek to find the optimal solution for every maintenance or shutdown operation. For example, we might have a project using two 100-ton cranes, located at two different points on the facility, to carry out a number of lifts. During the turnaround project we may identify that it would be possible to use a single 300-ton crane to carry out all the required lifts from one point, leading to greater efficiencies. Having half the crew and one piece of equipment in one location can be more cost-effective for the client. If it’s proven to be a better solution, it’s what we’ll implement for the next shutdown.
Improvements come from continually challenging existing processes and operational methods. By carefully evaluating each shutdown we can improve processes and optimize equipment utilization to reduce the cost burden and, more importantly, downtime of the plant. These are the kind of productivity improvements Mammoet brings to the table.
Wouter Mink is Managing Director of Mammoet Australia. He’s been in the role for the last six years and works closely with our mining clients to provide them with the on-site services they need.
When new mines are constructed, today’s technology means that geological surveys can often provide an accurate picture of the extent of the mineral deposit. Mine buildings and equipment can even be designed with expansion in mind, and the deposit can be exploited along a schedule lasting several decades, which might be helped or hampered by commodity prices.
However, where older mines are in operation and the full extent of a deposit is still being discovered, expansion plans may be limited by new or existing development in the area. Equipment and even entire mine buildings might need to be relocated to make expansion easier and more efficient. Working with a heavy lifting and transport partner will help ensure that such operations take place safely, on time and on budget.
The expansion of a mine that has been operating for a long period of time can have an impact beyond its direct physical premises. In many places, towns have grown up around a mining facility, and are dependent on it, thanks to the economic activity a mine can bring. Sometimes homes, businesses and cultural buildings have been built above valuable mineral deposits.
A specialist heavy lifting and transport company can offer solutions to enable mine expansion without requiring the demolition or undermining of local buildings and infrastructure. With careful planning, entire buildings and structures can be lifted in one piece, transported to a new location and set down again. This means that the community can continue to thrive alongside the mine, which is able to remain profitable.
In other places, old mines and past mining activities continue to have an impact on local communities for other reasons. Tailings heaps surround many former mines and in some cases, newer and more efficient processing techniques now make it viable to recover good quality ore that remains in old mine dumps.
Operations by mining companies to remove these missed deposits not only add to their bottom line, but can help revitalize the landscape for local communities if the dumps are removed in the process. A heavy lifting and haulage specialist can help a mining operation by transporting, installing and later on removing the processing equipment for any tailings recovery operation.
With possibilities like these available, mining companies can work with local communities and government bodies to everyone's benefit. Prosperous mining activities can continue thanks to clean-ups and mine expansions, while local people get to keep their homes, businesses and buildings of cultural importance.
In some regions of the world, mining has been going on for a very long time. When some of the iron mines in northern Sweden were established over a century ago, they did not have the technology to measure the full extent of the iron deposit. Towns grew up around the mines, fueled by the economic impact of these vital sources of employment. But now mining companies are discovering that there is a valuable resource buried right underneath people’s houses.
The decision to excavate deposits like these is a difficult one for both the mining company and the local authorities. On the one hand, the prosperity of the town relies almost entirely on the mining operation. On the other, relocating a whole section of the community is not only costly, it can be traumatic for the people living there and could mean the destruction of buildings of historic or cultural value.
When we moved 31 houses and 17 storage buildings in Malmberget for the state mining company LKAB, Mammoet showed that there is a third way. By working closely with the mining company, the construction company (NYAB) and subcontractor (Nylundh), we were able to carefully plan and engineer the move, and then move the buildings in three phases.
Moving one house on its own would be costly, but by coming up with a technique for moving each of the buildings in one piece, we were able to make the process a lot more cost-effective for our client. Instead of 47 different mobilizations and demobilizations of equipment, there were just three, bringing the cost per house down significantly. Moving the structures whole made the project quicker and safer. It probably also helped the houses maintain their structural integrity.
The homes we moved in Malmberget were all solid timber structures, which reacted in their own specific ways to the forces they faced when moved, but Mammoet has also moved a stone church in Germany and a concrete mosque in Saudi Arabia. In each case we have been able to lift the buildings securely and build frames to reinforce and stabilize them during the move.
With the capability to move buildings whole, Mammoet offers a unique solution to our customers in the mining sector that will enable them to expand their facilities, while supporting and contributing to their local communities at the same time.
Roy Högberg is Sales Manager in Mammoet Europe’s Sweden office. He has worked for over a decade helping clients with heavy lifting projects in mining and a range of other industries.