Weir to acquire Artificial Intelligence and Machine Vision technology leader Motion Metrics
by Philippine Resources - November 08, 2021
Photo credit: Weir Group
The Weir Group has agreed to acquire Motion Metrics, a leading Canada-based global mining technology business, for an initial consideration of £89m1 payable in cash upon completion, subject to customary net debt and working capital adjustments.
Motion Metrics is the market leading developer of innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 3D rugged Machine Vision Technology used in mines worldwide. Its technology helps miners increase safety, efficiency and sustainability of their operations. As part of the agreement, Motion Metrics Vancouver headquarters will become Weir’s global centre for excellence in AI and Machine Vision technology.
Motion Metrics applications are highly complementary to Weir’s product portfolio. It will join the ESCO division reflecting the early adoption of its technology in ground engaging tools (GET) where ESCO is an established global leader. Motion Metrics AI and Machine Vision capabilities are expected to be leveraged across the whole mining value chain served by the Weir Group.
- Strengthens Weir’s industry leadership in making mining more sustainable and efficient
- Significantly increases the Group’s capability in critical AI and Machine Vision Technologies
- Fully aligned to ESCO’s ambitious growth strategy through further digitisation of its portfolio
- Enables rapid globalisation of Motion Metrics technology through Weir’s global network
- Highly complementary to Weir’s aftermarket-focused business model
In 2021, Motion Metrics generated revenues of £9m1 and was modestly profitable. Initial integration efforts will focus on leveraging Weir’s global sales network and the ESCO division’s large installed base to rapidly expand adoption of this value enhancing technology by our mining customers thereby driving significant revenue growth. Motion Metrics is expected to be accretive to ESCO’s margins by 2023 with returns expected to exceed the Group’s cost of capital by 2024 in line with Weir’s capital allocation policy. Up to a further £59m1 will be payable in cash by Weir at the end of 2024, depending on revenue and profit performance. The transaction will be funded through cash and existing banking facilities. Over the next two years integration costs are expected to total £3m.
Jon Stanton, Weir Group CEO said:
“The combination of Weir and Motion Metrics will be extremely powerful and reflects our ambition to play a leading role in mining’s technology transformation. Motion Metrics not only provides access to innovative and highly relevant technology that will accelerate growth in our ESCO division, but it also brings world-class expertise in AI, rugged 3D Machine Vision technology and data science that is applicable across the Group. This acquisition is fully aligned with our strategy and our commitment to grow ahead of our markets, expand our margins and significantly reduce our customers’ environmental footprint.”
A leading mining technology business specialising in AI and Machine Vision applications
Miners are increasingly focused on improving the safety, efficiency and sustainability of their operations. Motion Metrics has developed proprietary products and solutions that supports these critical ambitions leveraging innovative Machine Vision, distributed AI and machine learning.
Motion Metrics produces smart, rugged cameras that monitor and provide valuable and timely data on equipment performance, faults, payloads and rock fragmentation. This data is then analysed using embedded and cloud-based machine learning to provide real-time feedback to the mining operation. This enables immediate identification of potential issues that could impact safety and cause expensive unplanned downtime. This includes boulder and foreign body detection to dislodged ground engaging tools that can critically damage crushing equipment if undetected. It also provides information that can be used to optimise asset efficiency, supporting better decision making as miners seek to increase productivity while reducing energy consumption, particularly in areas such as comminution (crushing, screening and grinding), one of the most energy-intensive processes in mining.
These technologies were initially developed for GET applications but have recently been extended into a suite of products and solutions that can be applied from drill and blast through to primary processing. Motion Metrics technology is currently used on more than 80 mine sites and its customers include some of the world’s largest mining companies. Its revenues are generated from the initial sale of equipment and subsequent recurring aftermarket revenues including subscriptions to its cloud computing platform, services and spare parts; a model that is highly complementary to Weir’s aftermarket-based business model.
Motion Metrics was founded in 1999 by Dr. Shahram Tafazoli. In addition to its headquarters in Vancouver, Canada, Motion Metrics has offices in Chile, Australia, Brazil, Russia and South Africa. The business employs c.125 people focused largely on research and development, alongside sales and field support. Dr. Tafazoli will continue to lead the business when it joins the Weir Group, overseeing the new Weir centre for excellence in AI and Machine Vision technology. Weir’s existing Canadian operations employ c.600 people and include manufacturing facilities as well as sales and service centres.
Motion Metrics Founder, Dr. Tafazoli said:
“Motion Metrics was established to harness the power of AI and Machine Vision to help the global mining industry make its essential transition to safer, more productive and sustainable operations. Having proven our technology and grown rapidly over recent years, the time is right for us to accelerate our development as part of the Weir Group, which brings access to every major mining region in the world, from pit to plant. I am also excited to establish in Canada a global centre of excellence for AI and Machine Vision for mining applications, reflecting Canada's domain expertise in both mining and machine intelligence.”
Motion Metrics will become part of Weir’s ESCO division, with its extensive team of researchers, data scientists and engineers also supporting the increased digitisation of the broader Weir product portfolio.
Accelerating ESCO’s growth strategy following its successful integration into the Group
ESCO was acquired in July 2018 and the business has been successfully integrated into the Weir Group over the past 3-years. Cost synergies in excess of US$30m were realised ahead of schedule and the business is on track to surpass its acquisition margin targets. Despite the impact of the COVID pandemic on market conditions over the past 18-months, returns on capital employed will exceed the Group’s cost of capital in 2021, in line with the Group’s capital allocation policy.
Moving forward, ESCO’s focus is on accelerating growth through geographic expansion and the continued extension of its market leading front-of-shovel offering, creating new solutions to support customers’ safety, efficiency and sustainability goals. Motion Metrics is fully aligned to this strategy, including the early realisation of the digitally instrumented smart bucket concept which provides information on bucket and GET health alongside payload and ore fragmentation analysis. Combining ESCO’s deep knowledge of mining operations with the data-led insights from Motion Metrics’ AI capabilities will enable the business to create new solutions that integrate and extend the technological differentiation of its best-in-class offerings across the mine.
Andrew Neilson, Division President of Weir ESCO commented:
“This is a perfect partnership. Our customers want more digital solutions to help them improve safety, efficiency and sustainability and providing these is a key part of our growth strategy. Motion Metrics brings patent-protected technology that reduces expensive downtime in GET applications, helping improve ESCO’s differentiated technology offering even further. The additional capability in AI and Machine Vision will also accelerate our expansion into adjacent markets including developing smart eco-system offerings encompassing the load and haul operations of our customers.”
The acquisition is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Philippine Resources - May 11, 2021
New Report Identifies Major Carbon Reduction Opportunities in Global Mining
New analysis lays out the scale of the mining industry’s energy use and identifies ways it can be reduced using currently available technologies Materials such as copper, lithium and nickel play an essential role in the technologies like electric vehicles and renewables that will help the world meet its decarbonisation targets As demand for these metals increases, the mining industry must itself become more efficient and environmentally sustainable The global mining industry must move away from legacy systems and processes if it is to meet the challenge of decarbonisation, according to a new report released today which calculates mining’s share of global energy consumption and identifies ways the industry can aid the transition to net zero emissions needed to limit temperatures in line with the Paris Agreement. The report, commissioned by the Weir Group plc, analyses mine energy data from over 40 published studies to give a comprehensive understanding of where energy is consumed in mining and minerals processing. It shows that the total amount of power used by the mining industry – which plays an essential role providing the metals used at the heart of the modern economy – is equal to c.3.5% of global energy use. The metals produced by mining are critical for enabling the global transition to low-carbon infrastructure. But without action, energy use in mining itself is set to trend higher in the coming years as demand increases for metals like copper, nickel and zinc. The report suggests there are technologies available today that could make a significant difference to this trend. For example, it highlights that comminution – i.e. crushing and grinding processes – is the single biggest user of energy at mine sites, typically accounting for 25% of mining’s final energy consumption. This is equivalent to the power used by 221 million typical UK homes, or c.1% of total consumption globally. Comminution is therefore a natural target for the most impactful energy savings opportunities. Small improvements in comminution technologies can lead to relatively large savings in both energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. For example, a 5% incremental improvement in energy efficiency across comminution could result in greenhouse gas emissions reductions of more than 30m tonnes of CO2-e. The replacement of traditional comminution equipment with new grinding technology also reduces indirect emissions in the mining value chain, for example by removing the need for the manufacture of emission-intensive steel grinding balls. Of the remaining energy consumption by the mining industry, diesel in varied forms of mobile equipment accounts for 46%, electricity in mining (ventilation) 15% and “other electricity” 14%. Other significant opportunities identified by the report for reducing mining’s energy consumption include optimisation, big data and artificial intelligence. In addition, if zero emissions energy sources are deployed for mining equipment – e.g., renewable energy, energy storage and alternative fuels – then the industry may well be able to achieve zero emissions, leaving a relatively small role for offsets and carbon credits to play. The report comes as the mining industry is under ever-greater pressure to produce essential minerals that support some of the biggest global structural trends, from population growth to urbanisation and decarbonisation. Copper, nickel, steel and lithium are core components of electricity transmission and storage, electric vehicles and renewable energy infrastructure. The move to a decarbonised economy will result in increased primary consumption of these mined commodities, even after factoring for recycling, so it is important that mining itself becomes more sustainable. Download the independent Mining Energy Consumption 2021 report here: www.energysavingsinmining.com Commenting, Weir Group Chief Executive Jon Stanton said: “The mining industry is central to economic development globally, with critical minerals enabling the low-carbon transition required in the rest of the economy. But the environment in which it will operate in future will be very different from the past, requiring comprehensive change and investment. In short: mining needs to become more sustainable and efficient if it is to provide essential resources the world needs for decarbonisation while reducing its own environmental impact.This report is an important contribution to that debate which we hope will spark thoughtful conversations around the world on the way forward.” Alison Keogh, Chief Executive of the Coalition for Energy Efficient Comminution, said: “This report highlights both a challenge and an opportunity to revitalize cross-industry discussion and actions on decarbonisation and ESG solutions. We invite industry leaders to actively contribute and collaborate through mining-vendor-research partnerships and share knowledge. Together, we can accelerate improved energy, emissions and water footprint across industry faster.” Ricardo Garib, Weir Minerals Divisional President commented: “Weir Minerals is focused on making mining more efficient and sustainable by leading technology change in the industry. Our Enduron HPGRs are increasingly replacing conventional milling systems in comminution (crushing, screening and grinding) circuits because of their substantially lower energy consumption, finer rock reduction requiring less water downstream and potential for significant total cost of ownership reductions.” Stuart Hayton, Managing Director of Weir Minerals Netherlands, where the Enduron® HPGRs are designed and manufactured, added: “Not only do Enduron HPGRs require as much as 40% less energy than traditional alternatives, their wearable components last much longer and the maintenance time required to replace worn out parts is significantly lower. The estimated carbon saving of each Enduron HPGR in operation is equivalent to taking more than 3,600 petrol fuelled cars off the roads each year.” Notes: The report quantifies energy use in five commodities: copper, gold, iron ore, nickel and lithium. Bringing together mine energy use data from more than 40 published studies (each of which references dozens more studies) from 2007 to 2020 into a single narrative, the report aims to build a more comprehensive understanding of energy use in the mining industry. Using the current production rates of the commodities in question, and the energy intensities for each of the commodities, a total of 1,68 EJ/a (1,680,000,000,000,000,000 joules per year) has been calculated. This is approximately 0.5% of total final energy consumption globally. Published information indicates that the entire mining industry consumes approximately 12 EJ per year – or 3.5% of total final energy consumption globally. Assuming that present trends continue, there will be 250m electric vehicles on the road by 2030. To meet this demand, production of cobalt, lithium, graphite and nickel will need to be scaled up significantly. Current projections show that the current rate of decarbonisation globally is far below what is required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. A sustained decarbonisation rate of up to 7% per year, year on year should be sufficient to achieve the goal of a temperature increase of well below 2°C by 2100. For the mining industry, there are multiple ways to achieve decarbonisation including energy efficiency and fuel/energy switching. Many of these opportunities are starting to be explored by both the mining companies and the mining services providers, who see decarbonisation and energy reduction as a key way to reduce exposure to the risks of climate change.
Philippine Resources - May 24, 2021
Weir Minerals announces major order of Enduron® HPGR with IAMGOLD
Weir Minerals is proud to announce another major order of Enduron® HPGR in Gold application with our valued Customer IAMGOLD. An Enduron® HPGR with rolls measuring 2.4 m x 2.4 m (length : diameter) will be installed at IAMGOLD's Côté Gold Project. This will be the largest HPGR in Canada and the largest in the world in a gold hard rock application. Weir Minerals’ Enduron® HPGR unique design is perfectly suited to IAMGOLD’s Côté Gold operations to achieve industry-leading particle size reduction and with the lowest total operating costs. Enduron® HPGR is the market proven HPGR with the mechanical design to support efficient and durable skewing thanks to its unique bearing arrangement and control philosophy Enduron® HPGR has a unique roll diameter-width ratio which maximizes throughput at the desired product grind Enduron® HPGR self-adjusting cheek plates provide equal sealing distance as flanges at minimum costs Enduron® HPGR is the market leader in large format, high tonnage hard rock HPGR Tim Lundquist, HPGR Regional Sales Manager North America: “Our Enduron® HPGR design will create energy savings of up to 40% compared to an equivalent SABC comminution circuit, while also significantly reducing the need for downstream grinding media. This power and grinding media savings will optimize total ownership cost and also account for a significant reduction in carbon emissions”. Weir Minerals prides itself in being close to its customers at all times. Our Weir Minerals Canada team and purpose-built facilities will be providing full HPGR service for the Côté Gold operations. For more information about Enduron® HPGR please visit enduronhpgr.weir
Philippine Resources - July 01, 2021
Weir Minerals Launches Multiflo® Mudflorm Submersible Pump for Large Particle Handling
Weir Minerals, global leader in the provision of mill circuit technology, dewatering solutions and services, has launched the new Multiflo® MudfloTM hydraulic submersible slurry pump. Engineered for abrasive applications and large particle handling, the Multiflo® MudfloTM pump features a hydraulically driven wet-end specifically designed to efficiently and safely reprocess and relocate tailings ponds, maintain water retention dams and manage slimes and sludge ponds. The innovative solution combines the Warman® MGS pump-end, Multiflo® CB32 hydraulic cutters and ESCO® excavation teeth to provide efficient pumping of highly charged and abrasive slurries. Weir Minerals' unique Ultrachrome® A05 chrome alloy impeller ensures high wear resistance and the specially engineered suction strainer minimises the risk of clogging by preventing large solids & debris from entering the pump. Drawing on decades of Warman® pump design experience, the Multiflo® Mudflo™ pump is capable of pumping between 150 and 1,200m3/h, up to 82m head. The Multiflo® CB32 hydraulic cutters feature market-leading ESCO® Ultralok® tooth system to prevent premature breakage, avoid tooth loss and protect the integral locking system to ensure the continuous operation of the pump. Engineered by the Weir Minerals dewatering pump experts in Australia, it is available for global customers from July 2021. “The Multiflo brand is synonymous with high quality and long-lasting equipment. In designing the Mudflo pump, our dewatering experts drew from the very best Multiflo, Warman and ESCO technology and used advanced hydraulics to create an innovative and cost-effective new solution for mine dredging applications,” Cameron Murphy, Director of Dewatering Weir Minerals APAC said. Weir Minerals understands that success is built from enduring partnerships based on close collaboration and a mutual commitment to safety and technical excellence. “It is not uncommon for sites to use a combination of pumps, shovels, excavators and trucks for dredging applications. When one of our long-time partners in Indonesia contacted us about developing a custom solution for the slurry build-up in their sumps, we knew we could provide a better solution,” Geoff Way, Weir Minerals Dewatering Specialist said. “We’re problem solvers. We considered our customer’s pain points and engineered a new solution to efficiently and safely manage their site processes,” he said. The Multiflo® MudfloTM pump can also be retrofitted to competitor OEM equipment; the quick-hitch plate attachment ensures convenient installation and removal from hydraulic excavators. The Multiflo® Mudflo™ pump can be assembled on land, eliminating the safety risks associated with assembling pumps over water. Furthermore, the new hydraulic hose management system reduces the risk of hose entanglement and trip hazards, all the while providing a reliable hose bend radius to ensure smooth oil flow. The Multiflo® MudfloTM pump will be available globally from July 2021. Discover more at https://info.global.weir/mudflo
Philippine Resources - December 01, 2021
A grand slam in responsible mining
Photo credit: Hinatuan Mining A grand slam win for a mining company simply means being the best in class in its responsible conduct of business; in its forest management and environment enhancement and protection; its social responsibility programs and in providing safety in the workplace and the communities. Hinatuan Mining Corp. (HMC), a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC) sweeps major honors this year from the country’s most prestigious award-giving body in the mining industry – the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award (PMIEA). “It’s our first time and it’s a grand slam! We still can’t believe it but that these awards were accorded to us during this most difficult time of the pandemic, makes this moment doubly exulting, everyone was emotional when the news first broke, this is the reason for our existence, says Engr. Francis Arañes, HMC’s Resident Mine Manager. HMC, with operations in Hinatuan Island, Tagana-an, Surigao del Norte, takes home the Presidential award for surface mining operations; the Best Mining Forest in the Metallic category; the winner of the Safest Surface Mining Operations; and the winner of the Safest Mining Operation; plus, the individual awards of Best Surface Safety Inspector and Best Surface Miner accorded to HMC’s employees, Aldrin L. Resullar and Jennifer Q. Inting, respectively. The PMIEA is the highest accolade awarded to a mining company. The evaluation and assessment for this year’s awardees encountered extra challenges with the threats of COVID-19 in the backdrop where movements were limited, the economy threatened, operations delayed, and bringing services to the communities were among the biggest challenge to the company’s community workers. HMC had set its eyes on these awards for years. The company remains steadfast, focusing on specific goals that the award giving body monitors and measures, such as the actual number of hectares to be rehabilitated as mandated by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), even going outside of their areas of responsibility in supporting the Philippine National Greening Program (NGP); building a robust forest within the mine site, highlighting eco-tourism programs; setting up its host and neighboring communities to sustainable economic development programs; among other things. And to ensure that compliance is above and beyond its mandate, HMC underscores the efficiency of reporting, of transparency, giving importance to its Information, Education and Communication (IEC) programs. “The bar in honoring mining companies has been set even higher, what with the added focus on the principles of ESG – Environment, Social and Governance – in the midst of ongoing debates about climate change,” says Engr. Aloysius C. Diaz, NAC SVP and Head of Production. Diaz says the miners, HMC in particular, are now even more cognizant of peer reviews because the world has become more critical in holding the industry accountable for a greener, healthier, and safer future. PMIEA evaluates all facets of a mining company’s responsible and sustainable business practices, keenly focusing on environmental protection and management; and ensuring the health and safety of employees and the total wellbeing of the people in the communities that they serve. The Hinatuan mine site, also known as the “Tagana-an Nickel Project”, is located in Hinatuan Island, Barangay Talavera, municipality of Tagana-an, province of Surigao del Norte. Its area of operations is within the Surigao Mineral Reservation.
Philippine Resources - December 01, 2021
Nuclear, solar eyed as alternatives to PH energy mix
Photo: Bataan nuclear power plant Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is considering nuclear and solar energy as a possible alternative or additional sources of energy in the country. Gatchalian, Senate energy committee chairman, said he favors “in principle” smaller nuclear reactors instead of the bigger ones for flexibility and safety. “Small ones are more flexible and safer. Safer in the sense that it is smaller, deployable, and has the technology that can use nuclear wastes. Of course, it is still in the development stage,” he said in a radio interview on Monday. He said small nuclear reactors can produce energy from 10 to 150 megawatts. Gatchalian, however, does not consider reviving the Bataan nuclear power plant as it will be too risky and too costly to rehabilitate the facility. He said many are also using solar energy with some big companies putting up solar power plants. “I believe it could be part of the energy transition because nuclear is emission-free but the risk is where to put the wastes and if it encounters a problem, the cost is too high. Solar deployment is still a challenge because it is still quite expensive,” he added. Gatchalian said he will file a bill on energy transition following the Department of Energy’s (DOE) move last year banning new coal power plants to accelerate the country’s shift to cleaner energy. “We cannot hasten the energy transition because we will have no source of energy… The energy transition can be 10 years or longer but the important thing is it’s a scientific process to determine how we can transition out of fossil fuel into renewable safely, reliably, and securely,” he said. He added that right now, the country’s energy needs are still good with fossil fuel but it is imperative to jumpstart the transition due to the increasing population and industries. Gatchalian was here on Sunday to turn over his donation of 5,000 sets of personal protective equipment and 50 sacks of slippers to the Region 1 Medical Center. By Hilda Austria Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
Philippine Resources - December 01, 2021
Gas drilling in Recto Bank should push through: Pimentel
Photo credit: Inkl The chair of the House Strategic Intelligence Committee on Tuesday said oil drilling activities in Recto Bank must proceed as scheduled amid rising tensions with China. Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said the Sampaguita gas field could yield up to USD18.2 billion, or around PHP910 billion, in future royalties for the government, based on a 60 percent net share. “We have no choice but to carry on with the drilling activities because the Sampaguita gas discovery in Recto Bank has the potential to energize the entire national grid – not just Luzon – for the next 20 to 30 years,” Pimentel said. Pimentel said Sampaguita is “an untapped value-changing asset” that would be valuable to the country’s future energy security with up to 4.6 trillion cubic feet of gas, while Malampaya, which has been producing gas for the last 20 years, has only 1.6 trillion cubic feet of residual gas at best. “There is even one study suggesting that the entire Recto Bank has up to 20 trillion cubic feet of potential gas in place,” Pimentel said. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in July 2016 that Recto Bank is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, as defined under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea. By virtue of the ruling, Pimentel said the Philippines enjoys absolute rights to exploit all resources in the seamount. Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency