We assist our clients with means to effectively implement environmental strategies through environmental studies for mining, industrial and other projects. This work covers a broad range, from initial environmental evaluations for project feasibility, to environmental reclamation designs implemented at brownfields industrial sites. Our experience includes:
- Environmental Impact Assessments
- Due Diligence Evaluations
- Compliance Audits
- Planning and Permitting
- Engineering and Design
- Rehabilitation, Remediation and Reclamation
Development (Flow Sheets)
In-house, M3 creates, reviews, and revises flow sheets for material handling processes in industrial applications such as mining of metals and minerals, cement, power generation, fabrication plants, and food products. These flow sheets document all unit steps required in the creation and operation of process facilities, including flow rates, densities, and equipment. They are vital for all levels of projects – from feasibility studies through constructed plants to retrofitted plants.
When we design for metal process plant projects, those projects usually involve chemical reagents that are stored, mixed and applied throughout the process. M3 also designs for special metals process plants that involve atypical chemical processes. Our facility experience has included but is not limited to the following:
- SX-EW plants - designed, built and operated.
- Smelters - provided engineering services to most of the copper smelters in the American Southwest; M3 has been able to apply its locally-obtained experience to international work.
- Hot equipment in cement plants and dryers in metal process plants.
- New construction of truck loadouts for industrial plants, as well as inspection and repair of damaged loadouts. Our experience starts at the study level and often progresses to completed construction of truck scales, truck washes, and truck loadout buildings for various materials such as metal concentrates, cement, slag, soy beans, sand, acid, and tailings.
For metallurgical processes, our Process Engineers use METSIM to calculate material balances.
Metallurgical Test Plans
When asked to assist with metallurgical testing or analysis, we work with each client to determine their project’s needs and develop test plans to help better understand the appropriate process for the material at site. For example:
- If the client has an experienced metallurgical staff that analyzes the test work and provides us with design parameters, we will assist them with a review of the test work and process variables to be used for design.
- If the client does not have a metallurgical staff, we will identify the required test work, analyze the procedures of the test work, and determine the process variables to be used as the basis of design.
We then work with the client team to review available information and perform a gap analysis to recommend further test work that may be required for the current phase or the next phase of a project.
Once the process variables for design have been reviewed and agreed upon, we work with the client to develop the process design criteria to be used for the process flowsheets, which we develop based on the agreed-upon design criteria and our own experience.
M3 generates General Arrangement drawings using software such as AutoCAD for planning the complete design of a project site.
Building Information Modeling
As appropriate to each project, we use Building Information Modeling (or BIM) across our services and disciplines via parametric, visualization and 3D programs such as CADWorx, Inventor, Revit, Tekla and Navisworks.
Site and Infrastructure Planning and Development
M3 designs both for urban locations (such as university buildings and commercial sites) and rural sites (such as telescopes, hi-tech facilities, defense facilities, and process plants). Our expertise in developing such sites allows us to work with other disciplines to minimize earthwork and to provide optimized site planning through evaluating elevation, drainage, grading, and site access.
We utilize 3D modeling with AutoCAD Civil 3D, Infraworks and Revit, and are skilled with utility infrastructure coordination design, preparing plans and models to identify potential utility conflicts before the project is released into construction. Avoiding such conflicts has proven to be tremendously beneficial for the project owner, contractors and construction management field staff.
We can design access roads both onsite and offsite, while coordinating with local communities and agencies to comply with local needs, standards and regulations. We design these roads to have minimal impact on surrounding areas with attention to existing drainage areas and drainage crossings. Our road designs include:
- Vertical and horizontal curve analysis,
- Superelevation design,
- Stopping site distance, and
- Evaluation of maximum grades for vehicular access.
We also have the technical ability to conduct pavement evaluations and prepare projected pavement maintenance schedules.
Water Resources and Storm Water Management
M3 has extensive experience conducting surface hydrology and hydraulic calculations for both urban and rural sites, which include work on commercial project, mine and telescope sites. We utilize HydroCAD and US Army Corps of Engineers HEC-HMS programs in combination with the latest version of Autodesk Civil 3D in our calculations for surface runoff. Culvert and channel design calculations are conducted utilizing the FHWA HY-8 program, FHWA Hydraulic Toolbox and HEC-RAS. We have also conducted flood analysis and flood inundation maps as required for permitting.
For industrial properties, one of the major considerations has been the separate water controls required for contact (or potentially contaminated) and non-contact water. In the cases of contaminated industrial water, we are at the forefront of treatment methods, having treated heavy metals, radionuclides, arsenic, fluorides and others.
We have performed civil engineering analysis for industrial and institutional reservoirs, as well as leach pad design. Our experience with leach pads dates back to the original Round Mountain Leach Pad. We have experience designing stacking plans, evaluating slopes and height limitations, calculating estimated volumes for phasing or ultimate leach pad design, sizing diversion channels and containment ponds. We have found it key to provide a critical drainage analysis for all special containment projects. We work to understand a site’s historic flows, rainfall and climate in order to provide efficient designs for pads, ponds and dams.
We have experience with diverse wastewater systems, both for treating industrial wastewater as well as domestic wastewater. Examples of our work have included systems such as:
- Waste treatment plants for treating acid rock drainage from waste stockpiles (water would then be safe to return to the environment or be used as make-up water for the process)
- Wastewater treatment plants for domestic wastewater
- Septic systems and leach field design
- Reverse Osmosis for both potable and process
- Sulfate removal processes for treatment of mine water
- General water treatment plants
- Fresh water makeup in saline groundwater
- Reverse osmosis systems for electrolyte make-up water
- Cyanide destruction water treatment plants
In addition, we have extensive experience with thickeners, clarifiers, and brine concentrators in metal processing plants and water treatment plants. This equipment is important in allowing clients to either reduce water use by reusing it or by cleaning it for discharge to the natural environment.
An Integrated Service
We combine structural design, engineering, and detailing into an integrated service where all three facets are developed together. This allows us to improve schedules for new fast track projects and retrofits with a low percentage of structural steel field modifications due to misfits or interferences with other disciplines. We have detailed steel for many different steel shops in many different countries. The 3D models that have been developed for the steel detailing in these projects often are used in assisting M3’s Construction Management teams with reporting progress and contractor planning for steel installation.
Building Evaluation, Rehabilitation and Renovation
We have extensive experience performing studies, engineering and construction management in the reopening of closed industrial operations as well as reusing equipment from other facilities. We have also modified operating plants for new processes and equipment.
In aging facilities, existing drawings have not always been available or complete. Traditionally, this would require a team to spend time in the field documenting existing construction; moreover, due to geometries and possible interferences, the necessary field data may not always be safely attainable). For this reason, we may provide 3D laser scanning of existing facilities and/or use 3D scans produced by others to allow for accurate modeling of the space so that a reliable engineering model can be generated for creating accurate drawings.
Finite Element Analysis
We routinely employ finite element modeling, including thermal effects, fracture mechanics and vibration/fatigue analysis for our industrial facilities, manufacturing plants and telescope projects.
We have used a variety of finite element analysis programs over the years. Currently, we are using the following:
We have in-house capability to perform structural engineering analysis and design of industrial and electrical power transmission and distribution systems. We use the following software packages:
- PLS CAD for calculating conductor tensions and RISA 3D for structural analysis.
- Tekla for detailing structural steel shop fabrication drawings.
We have also designed numerous transformer foundations with containment and fire walls.
M3 is well-known in the industry for reliable heavy-duty conveyor study and detail design. Our mechanical, electrical and structural specialists design conveyors using C.E.M.A. standards and/or DIN standards and finite element analysis. We are often called upon to troubleshoot difficult conveying problems on a worldwide basis. We have designed numerous circuits using:
- Vibrating feeders
- Apron feeders
- Belt feeders
- In-plant conveyors
- Overland conveyors including regenerative downhill conveyers
- Radial stackers
- Grasshopper stacking systems
- Mobile stacking conveyors
- Magnet stations
We have considerable experience with stackers in material handling processes in industrial plants. This experience includes:
- General arrangement design by M3 with detail design by conveyor vendors,
- Complete design and detailing by M3, and
- Review and remediation by M3 of failed stackers that have been designed by others.
We have designed many Dust Control systems for new and existing plants. These systems have performed efficiently and contributed substantially to improved housekeeping and general plant maintenance. This work has included:
- Effective Dust Suppression/Collection systems in congested plants that presented challenges to ideal routing of duct.
- Greenfield plants with properly sized equipment and routing of collection ducts.
With our varied experience, we have the capability to handle the most challenging retrofit projects as well as greenfield plants of all sizes.
Fire Protection / Suppression
We have the knowledge and experience to specify and design site fire protection systems to meet the most rigorous demands of local fire codes and client selected risk insurers. We have experience with Fire Protection Systems on projects ranging from heavy industrial and mining facilities to commercial and institutional facilities. We have worked with:
- Wet and dry pipe sprinkler systems
- Preaction sprinkler systems
- High- and low-expansion foam systems
- Automatic dry chemical fire suppression systems
In addition to fire system design, we have a wealth of experience working with fire protection contractors to specify complete fire systems that meet project needs.
Whether your project is an office building, data storage center, aircraft hangar, mine site or anything in between, we can produce an in-house detailed design to safeguard your most important assets.
Fluid and Solid Systems
We have considerable experience with mining facility design in the western hemisphere. Most of these facilities have involved the engineering design and layout of process piping systems. To aid in the engineering design and layout of these systems, we utilize the latest versions of the following software packages:
- Fluid Modeling Software
- Pipe-Flo Professional
- Design Software
- AutoCAD Plant 3D
We provide solid piping designs based on centuries of collective experience, and we support that piping design with the creation of project specific P&IDs, generation of procurement documents such as RFQs, TBAs, and LORs, Material Take-offs during all phases of the project, as well as specifications for equipment, material, and installation.
Gas / Air Distribution
As a part of every heavy industrial and mining facility, compressed air systems operate, control and support the process and ancillary services relating to project. For this reason, efficient and reliable compressed air system design is paramount for project success.
Our experience in compressed air system design spans the globe, ranging from the high altitudes of Chile to the rainforests of Colombia, from the mountains of Armenia to the remote areas of Alaska. With this experience, we design compressed air systems with the goal of creating the most reliable systems with the possible lowest operating costs.
In addition to compressed air systems, M3 also has experience in the design and specification of other gas systems, including ones for pure oxygen, nitrogen, and so on.
We are experienced in design, energy management and plumbing for HVAC systems.
We have developed extensive indoor and outdoor lighting design for commercial and industrial projects in the United States, Mexico and South America using LED technology. We maintain compliance with international and local standards such as the Illuminating Energy Society (IES) Recommendations, National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements, International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and local codes such as the Pima County Outdoor Lighting Code. Our design includes lighting controls, occupancy sensors and daylight zone control.
We have in-house capability to perform lighting design photometric calculations through software such as LitePro and Visual Lighting Design.
We have a well-seasoned electrical engineering department. Regarding medium and high voltage systems, our senior licensed electrical engineers have years of experience in design and construction of electrical power transmission and distribution system facilities from 4.16 through 400 kV. Much of our experience has been obtained from working for and coordination with electric utility companies in the United States and in other countries, with the focus largely being on the interface between industrial projects and electrical utility companies.
We have in-house capability to perform electrical engineering analysis and design of industrial and commercial electrical power transmission and distribution systems using the latest edition of applicable software packages such as:
- PLS CAD for power line design,
- CYMCAP software for underground cable ampacity studies, and
- SKM Power Tools for Windows (PTW) software that includes the following modules:
- Dapper (load flow, voltage drop, and short circuit calculations),
- Arc Flash Evaluation (electrical equipment hazard evaluation and labeling),
- Captor (overcurrent protective device coordination study),
- Transient Motor Starting (TMS, motor starting study),
- Ground Mat (grounding electrode system design verification), and
- Hi Wave (harmonics study).
We have used SKM Power Tools and Electrical Analysis Software since 1987. Our power line design includes routing, plan and profile, staking, pole details and bill of materials, guying, and sag and tension calculations.
Our engineering personnel have experience including but not limited to the following:
- System redundancy and reliability
- Voltage and frequency stability and control
- Electrical load management and capacity analysis
- System Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)
- Overcurrent protective relaying and control
- Grounding and lightning protection systems
- Electrical cost estimating and scheduling
- Electrical engineering system analysis using computer software package
- Medium and high voltage substations through 400 kV
- Medium and high voltage power transmission and distribution lines through 400 kV
- Major electrical equipment procurement
- Electrical construction management and special inspections
- Electrical safety audits and code compliance
Grounding and Lightning Protection
We have in-house capability to perform grounding design. Our grounding and lightning protection design complies with international and local codes such as the IEEE 80 “Guide for Safety in AC Substation Grounding”, National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements and NFPA 780 “Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems”.
Software we utilize includes SKM Power Tools for Windows (PTW) software with the Ground Mat (grounding electrode system design verification) module.
A Diverse Skill Set
We have the experience and expertise to develop solutions for a wide variety of project types ranging from complicated dynamic structures to state of the art research laboratories. We routinely design computer rooms, and occasionally design computer centers. For example, we are a licensed systems integrator for Allen Bradley.
We provide complete engineering services for the selection, application and integration of measurement, control, analysis, and data management systems for a wide variety of applications. Some examples include:
- Materials Handling
- Chemical Storage, Batching and Dosage Control
- Manufacturing and Industrial Process Controls
- Industrial Machine Controls
- Metals Extraction, Refining and Processing
- Industrial Wastewater Treatment
- Groundwater Remediation and Recharge
- Fluidized Bed Combustor
- Potable Water Distribution
- EPA Compliance Monitoring of Fuel Storage Facilities
- Pumping and Conveyance
- Material Storage and Inventory Control
- Facility Security Systems
- Communication and Information Systems
- Control & Data/Voice Networks via copper, fiber, cellular and radio links over various industrial protocols
- Data Center Design
- Control Room Design
We routinely design communication links for remote process control and voice communications. Past work has included items such as:
- Communications infrastructure that supports multiple Ethernet based services to include Voice and Data, Fire Protection, Security Systems, and Control Systems.
- Plant Control Systems, Process CCTV Systems and Fire Alarm Systems networks for Processing Plants and all ancillary facilities using protocols such as Ethernet, EtherNet/IP, Modbus/TCP, Profibus, and open standard routing protocols.
- Structured cable, fiber optic networks between facilities at project sites.
- Control Systems and Business network design and implementation over shared fiber-optic media, with independent connectivity hardware.
In addition to design, we can provide setup, stress testing, and optimization services for networks.
Fire Alarm Systems
We have integrated fire alarm systems into projects, providing design and specifications for Fire Alarm Control Panels (FACP), Annunciators, Smoke Detectors, Pull Stations and all devices required for a complete fire alarm system per international and local codes.
We have an experienced Instrumentation and Controls staff capable of programming for a plant’s internal system controls, including programmable logic controllers (PLCs).