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Air cannons prevent clogging



Martin Engineering has been an innovator of air cannon technology since the 1970s, designing a number of advancements that have improved its commercial viability.

The common practice followed in cement plants and concrete block production facilities to clear the build-ups in hoppers is by mechanical means. This is time consuming and unsafe practice. The clogging seriously affects the production rate.

Clogging and solution
CRH Road Stone is one of the oldest producers of cement and concrete products in Ireland. They had a problem at storage bins with shallow base slopes and sharp corners in the pyramid hopper and a tendency to accumulate damp material. Over a period of time, the material use to get hardened, adding to the problem, as the weight can compromise the balance and structural integrity of the hopper, becoming a potential hazard to the work area. The problem used to aggravate with seasonal fluctuations in climatic conditions. In order to find a long lasting solution, CRH approached a distributor of Martin Engineering products. They came up with an innovative approach that set two 100-ltr Martin? XHV air cannons at the back of the bin. These work in tandem with a single, larger 150-ltr XHV air cannon fitted to a split blowpipe manifold, which is connected to fan jet nozzles on the front sloping side of the bin. All three units are fitted with a 4-inch (102 mm) quick exhaust valve (QEV) connected to the on-site compressor system 35 ft away. Plimley, a distributor for Martin Engineering, also supplied and installed a new airline to feed the air cannons.

The right solution
"This is the first application of the split manifold system on heavy, sticky material that I know of," observes Dave Harasym, UK Sales Manager for Martin Engineering. "Generally, this technology is used on light material such as fly ash. "Proper flow from a square bin typically requires four cannons, one on each side firing simultaneously," Harasym adds. "We were losing one side to a retaining wall, so figuring out how to do it with three cannons was a challenge."The XHV features a rugged 5/8-inch (16-mm) stroke piston with a high-temperature polymer seal for long life. Working from one side of the tank, the complete valve assembly can be removed in one easy step and replaced within minutes, eliminating the need to ever remove the tank from the vessel for service. Each unit is activated with a new type of 110 V, negative-firing solenoid, which provides the power, efficiency and easy maintenance of an advanced internal valve with the single-line plumbing of a traditional valve design. Installers also devised a mechanism by which the discharge volume from the bin determines the firing sequence for the system.

"On the block side outlet, the flow of material is controlled by a swinging door that drops the material into a weigh hopper," explains Hugh McGee, Plant Operations Manager, CRH Roadstone. He further adds, "When the door opens, the air cannon discharges the compressed air into the bin. This happens every time the door opens and keeps the material flowing."

Martin Engineering has been an innovator of air cannon technology since the 1970s, designing a number of advancements that have improved its commercial viability, many of them protected by patents in the US and elsewhere. The company?s contributions have included faster-acting valves to improve performance, retractable nozzles to facilitate longer service life, quick-change nozzles to reduce maintenance time and components to enhance safety. Using proprietary software to design and predict the performance of new nozzle configurations, the firm continues to develop new solutions that deliver greater efficiency and safety.

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Sustainable Mining for the Future




ICR presents a case for responsible reporting across the mining supply chain.

The importance of mining, in times of sustainability reporting, is rising in stature. The rise of mining output is not waning but growing and the share of construction mineral ore in all of this still remains close to 50% of the entire extractive output. 

It is estimated that the global combined extractive output in mining is going to grow to 167gt in 2060, from the 2019 statistics of 92 gt. Out of this 27% is biomass, 15% is fossil fuel, 9% is metal ores and the balance is non-metallic minerals, bulk of which goes to the construction industry. While sustainability considerations would be driving most of the future growth, most notably, metals will be needed for electric storage batteries (eg. for electric cars), which require aluminium, cobalt, iron, lead, lithium, manganese and nickel but also for other relevant technologies, including those used for the production of wind turbines and solar panels; far greater amounts of metals are needed for clean energy production than the traditional energy production from fossil fuels. Thus the growth in metals for sustainability will offset the drop in extraction that would stem from growth in recycling. 

An overview of the mining sector

Mining for non-metallic minerals, from where the construction industry sources all its inputs, perhaps falls under the ASM (artisanal and small-scale mining), which has still remained labour intensive and suffers from safety issues all across, the developed world and developing, all have the similar challenges to grapple with. Efforts to increase automation, mechanisation and digitisation also come with the fair share of demands from the local community, which can hardly be neglected. While Large Scale Mining (LSM) is moving towards mechanisation and automation with minimum labour resources, the focus is increasingly shifting towards partnerships on supply chains that connect local procurement partners and the community at large to the external markets. 

One of the significant developments has been the shift towards battery-electrification of mobile equipment in the mines to the complete automation of all mining equipment with Net zero targets in focus. There are man-less mines in existence already where underground operations are being orchestrated through battery-electric equipment remotely connected through control systems. The partnerships between mining companies and the mining equipment OEMs is ensuring a smooth transition in this area that will take the use of fossil fuels in mines to a negligible proportion (mostly as consumables) in the near future. This however calls for a skills inventory crossover, that would need larger hand holding with the local government and other institutions as well as the local communities.

Sustainability in mining

The goals of sustainable development in mining would include transparency as a key theme between a large pool of actors that constitute and connect the upstream to the downstream supply chain partners (supplier, trader, smelter refiner, component producer, contract manufacturer, end user, intermediaries, agents and transporters). This would also entail collaboration with governments and across the supply chain to support a circular economy to minimise inputs to waste from the mining process and to increase the reuse, recycling and repurposing of raw materials and products to improve sustainable consumption. The traceability systems also ensure that the level of information that is shared and disclosed along the value chain. They illustrate the chain of custody, which is the sequence of stages and custodians the product is transferred to through the supply chain.

The transparency of reporting across the entire supply chain is at the core of this and this has two parts:

  • Minimise resource use and waste (use of water, energy, land and chemicals and minimise production of effluent, waste and chemicals) and also purpose waste rock
  • Incorporate life cycle thinking (extend responsible sourcing to all suppliers and collaborate to connect the consumer with sustainable raw materials).

India-centric big picture

India as a country has progressed well in SDG Reporting and Sustainable Development in the mining sector that accounts for 2.5% of the country’s GDP. Many of the key companies of the sector are SOEs. India is abundant in natural mineral resources and the country is one of the world’s main producers of iron ore and bauxite. India is the third largest producer of coal, behind the US and China. In construction related extractive minerals, India is the world’s second largest producer. Section 135 of India’s Companies Act on CSR and Regulation for large public companies to produce Business Responsibility Reports, makes it imperative for Large Mining companies (both metallic and non-metallic extractive ones) to be part of the SDG reporting, that cover diverse range of sustainability areas including GHG gas emissions, energy use, stakeholder engagement and labour and human rights. 

In 2011, the Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs issued the National Voluntary Guidelines on the Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business (NVGs). Building on the NVGs, a new guidance entitled the National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC) was released in 2018. The new guidance integrates the ‘Respect’ pillar of the United Nations Guiding Principles and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Following other countries, India is also on the path of developing sustainability guidelines for the end-to-end supply chains in the mining sector. This will only ensure stakeholder participation for safety and sustainability in all four stages: profiling, reservation, exploration and departure. For future growth in mining, that will entail coal, iron-ore, bauxite and limestone extraction as the top four mining categories, it is an absolute necessity that focus on SDG reporting is carried through beyond the voluntary reporting mandate to encompass the aspirations of the communities and investors who would be the major beneficiaries of such initiatives. Without their blessings, the growth in these sectors would be mired by distrust and lack of transparency, which remains to be one of the dampeners for sustainable growth in mining. 

Procyon Mukherjee

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Mumbai to get is first Waste To Energy plant




Mumbai’s first and upcoming Waste To Energy (WTE) plant at Deonar in Govandi area has received Environment Clearance (EC) from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

The BMC has now approached the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) for its final consent. The BMC has proposed to build the plant, with 600 metric tonne per day capacity, at the city’s oldest dumping ground on 12.19 hectares area and at a cost of Rs 504 crore. Apart from incineration of waste in the dumping ground, the plant will also generate 4 megawatt electricity. he project got the mandatory EC on December 7 2021. However, its copy was recently uploaded on the BMC website.

Images Source: Google Images

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Product development

ACC awarded five-star rating for sustainable mining




ACC has been awarded a five-star rating for sustainable mining by the Ministry of Mines.

Pralhad Joshiand, the Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs of India, and Raosaheb Patil Danve, the Honourable Minister of State for Ministry of Mines, Coal and Railways, presented ACC with the award at the fifth National Conclave on Mines and Minerals held in Delhi.
The award is a recognition of the company’s efforts towards sustainable mining at the Govari Limestone Mine, the Wadi Limestone Mine, the Gagal Limestone Mine, the Jamul Limestone Mines and the Kymore Limestone Mines from amongst 1029 mines in all over India. The mines were rated from one star to five-star on the criteria including: mining methodology; resettlement and rehabilitation issues; community engagement; use of green energy sources; digitisation; and data reporting.
Rajat Prusty, the Chief Manufacturing Officer of ACC, said, “Sustainability is deeply embedded in ACC’s business model. It’s a proud moment for the company to be recognised for its efforts in sustainable mining.

Source:Google Images

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