All posts by Daniel Gleeson

Macmahon Holdings to bolster civil infrastructure business with Decmil buy

Macmahon Holdings Limited has entered into a Scheme Implementation Deed (SID) under which it will acquire 100% of the issued share capital of Decmil Group Limited for an implied enterprise value for Decmil of A$127 million ($81 million).

Decmil provides multi-disciplinary project delivery across the infrastructure, resources and renewable energy sectors, and has been in operation for over 40 years. It also provides an established and scalable foundation to accelerate growth in Macmahon’s civil infrastructure business, diversify earnings and improve overall returns on invested capital through its lower capital intensit, the company says.

On completion, Macmahon intends to operate Decmil as a wholly owned subsidiary and to maintain the Decmil branding, with the existing Macmahon civil business to integrate into the subsidiary. Decmil will continue to be led by its current Chief Executive Officer, Rod Heale.

Michael Finnegan, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Macmahon, said: “The acquisition of Decmil is a significant milestone in Macmahon delivering on its long stated strategy to diversify its earnings and deliver a more resilient, scalable business enabling greater returns to shareholders.

“Decmil provides an established, well credentialed platform to allow Macmahon to better pursue the large opportunity pipeline of resource civil infrastructure and rehabilitation opportunities while diversifying earnings towards renewables and infrastructure, which are both expected to have an increased level of spending in the next decade.

“I look forward to the transaction successfully completing and welcoming Decmil into the Macmahon team.”

The acquisition of Decmil is consistent with Macmahon’s strategic focus of achieving continued earnings growth while diversifying earnings into the less capital intensive civil infrastructure business, it says. The transaction offers a strategic fit, enhances and accelerates earnings diversification, with financial metrics that are compelling for Macmahon shareholders.

It added: “Decmil has a complementary service offering to Macmahon, providing integrated civil construction and infrastructure solutions to the resources, infrastructure and renewable industries across Australia. Its core operations add increased exposure for Macmahon to both the renewable and government infrastructure sectors which have a steady growth trajectory. The Decmil business has established robust processes and operating systems, including holding the licences to carry out a full range of road and bridge projects throughout Australia. Macmahon will leverage these to accelerate growth towards its long-term civil infrastructure
revenue target of $1 billion per annum, or one third of group revenue.”

The acquisition adds circa-A$6 billion to Macmahon’s existing civil pipeline of A$4 billion, and contributes an order book of circa $450 million (as at 31 December, 2023). This creates a more resilient business with less concentrated resource commodity exposure and provides a natural hedge to the cyclicality of contract mining.

This gives access to non-mining civil construction, including renewables and government infrastructure projects, broadening our east coast presence in Victoria and Queensland with an opportunity to expand into including New South Wales and South Australia.

It is anticipated that Decmil shareholders will be given the opportunity to vote on the schemes at the scheme meeting which is currently anticipated to be held in early August 2024.

Vale hits renewable power milestone ahead of 2025 deadline

Vale has announced that all the electricity used in its operations in Brazil in 2023 came from renewable sources, such as hydroelectric, wind and solar power plants. Thus, the company has achieved its goal of having 100% renewable electricity consumption in Brazil two years ahead of its original 2025 schedule.

The information is highlighted in the 2023 edition of the Vale Integrated Report.

Having reached the target, Vale has zeroed its indirect CO2 emissions in Brazil, which correspond to Scope 2 emissions. The company still has the challenge of achieving 100% renewable energy consumption in its global operations by 2030. At the moment, this indicator stands at 88.5%.

Vale Director of Energy and Decarbonization, Ludmila Nascimento, said: “We are announcing an important milestone in Vale’s decarbonisation strategy, which aims to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions (direct and indirect) by 33% by 2030 and to become net-zero by 2050. As we are progressing on our targets, we are helping to make Brazil’s energy matrix even cleaner, contributing to society’s fight against climate change.”

The start-up of the Sol do Cerrado solar complex in November 2022 was key to achieving the target two years ahead of schedule. Located in Minas Gerais, Brazil, the solar complex represented an investment of $590 million by Vale. It is one of the largest solar energy parks in Latin America, with an installed capacity of 766 MW (peak), equivalent to the consumption of a city of 800,000 inhabitants. In July 2023, the complex reached its maximum capacity. It has the potential of contributing to around 16% of all the electricity consumed by Vale in Brazil.

The path towards 100% renewable consumption began to be traced by Vale back in the 1990s, when the company acquired its first hydroelectric plants. Today, Vale is supplied by a renewable energy portfolio of 2.6 GW of installed capacity, equivalent to the consumption of more than 3 million inhabitants. There are 14 assets held through direct and indirect participation in consortia and companies (ten hydroelectric plants, three wind farms and Sol do Cerrado). If it were a power generator, Vale would be the 15th largest in the country.

In its global operations, Vale is also moving towards 100% renewable energy consumption by 2030. The company invests in joint venture partnerships, renewable generation certificates in contracts and innovation initiatives for better efficiency in the use of batteries.

Vale is also working to reduce its direct Scope 1 emissions. In the mines and railroads, where diesel is currently intensively consumed, the company is studying the adoption of alternative fuels, such as ethanol for trucks and green ammonia for locomotives. In the pelletising furnaces, the strategy is to replace anthracite with zero-emission biocarbon, made from the carbonisation of biomass.

Last year, Vale signed an agreement with Wabtec for the supply of three electric locomotives and the start of studies into the development of a green ammonia-powered locomotive engine. The company also produced pellets with 100% biocarbon for the first time in an industrial test.

FLSmidth wins multi-year contract to service HPGRs at Chile mines

A leading Chile-based iron ore miner has awarded FLSmidth with a multiple year contract to service its five high pressure grinding rolls (HPGRs) across three of its mines in Chile, with the key focus for the customer to enhance productivity and extend the lifetime of its HPGRs.

HPGRs are subject to significant wear and tear. Consequently, keeping them in operation is key to securing a mine’s productivity and throughput as well as reducing customers’ operational costs. To facilitate to this, having a strong service setup around HPGRs is paramount.

The new service order on these five HPGRs, which originally have been installed by another equipment provider, proves that FLSmidth’s HPGR service offerings are among the most attractive in the market, the company says. All assembly works as well as repairs on shafts are included in the contract.

The service contract will be managed and executed by FLSmidth’s Chilean service centre, which is in close proximity to the three mines, thereby reducing logistic costs to customer and providing best in class services, it added. FLSmidth’s service centre is fully equipped to manufacture large HPGR parts and allows all work to be performed in a clean environment and using best in class tools.

Prior to winning this new service contract, FLSmidth has previously delivered HPGR roll tyres to the customer, which have proven to last more than three times as long as the originally installed roll tyres as well as increased operational availability and significantly reduced recirculation, the company says.

Joshua Meyer, Service Business Line President at FLSmidth, says: “For long our HPGR solution has been regarded among the best in the industry. The fact that we can win a large service contract on a non-FLSmidth HPGR platform proves that we have the service concept to back up the technology, securing enhanced productivity and extended lifetime.”

Ioneer Ltd heads towards Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project milestone

Ioneer Ltd says it has moved one step closer toward construction at its Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron site, following the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) planned issuance of the project’s draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The planned issuance – referenced in the BLM’s statement on April 12, 2024 – is the first to be issued from the Biden Administration as part of its efforts to accelerate domestic lithium production. It is the result of years of effective collaboration between Ioneer and federal, state and local agencies and Tribal Nations, the company says. It marks a key milestone in the environmental permitting review process for the proposed greenfield project in Esmeralda County, Nevada, set to inject a critical supply of integral transition materials into the US EV battery production supply chain.

The draft document will include Ioneer’s efforts to redesign and relocate proposed project activity away from Tiehm’s buckwheat, an endangered species classified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in December 2022. The draft EIS will also detail Ioneer’s investments as part of a formal protection plan and propagation strategy for the Nevada plant.

The draft EIS will be available for public comment beginning April 19, with the company saying reaching this stage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) permitting process reflecting federal inter-agency collaboration and agreement that the draft document is ready for public input. Following the prescribed 45-day comment period, which will include BLM-organised public meetings, the BLM will incorporate feedback into a final draft and issue a final EIS and a Record of Decision (ROD), expected in October 2024. Upon issuance of a positive ROD, construction at Rhyolite Ridge can begin following a Final Investment Decision (FID). Based on that timeline, Ioneer anticipates production to begin in 2027.

Rhyolite Ridge is expected to be the first greenfield operation in North America to use AHS and will mark the expansion of Command for hauling automation technology to the 140 t class Cat 785 next generation mining truck. As stated in an October 2020 news release, the equipment, technology and services for the first five years of operation is valued at approximately $100 million and may be financed through Caterpillar Financial Services.

James Calaway, Ioneer’s Executive Chairman, said: “The forthcoming release of the draft EIS represents six years of hard work to help build America’s critical minerals supply chain and reaffirms the viability of our investment in Nevada. Rhyolite Ridge will help accelerate the electric vehicle transition and secure a cleaner future for our children and grandchildren. As we move through the final steps in the federal permitting process, Ioneer will keep working to ensure this world-class project will operate efficiently and sustainably.”

Bernard Rowe, Ioneer’s Managing Director, added: “This news sets a clear path forward to construction and brings us one step closer to making Rhyolite Ridge a reality. Rhyolite Ridge will be a significant, reliable and sustainable source of critical minerals for the United States. Ioneer is committed to working with the local community, Tribal Nations and state and federal agencies to help the U.S. secure a domestic supply of the critical minerals vital to the clean energy transition.”

Once operational, Ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project will be a leading example of responsible and sustainable mining. In July 2022, Ioneer submitted a revised plan of operations for federal permitting review, to avoid any direct impact to Tiehm’s buckwheat. After listing and designation of critical habitat, which the company supported, Ioneer worked closely with the agencies and stakeholders to develop a third iteration to detail plans to further reduce indirect impacts to the plant and reduce activity within designated critical habitat.

At the request of the BLM and FWS to further minimise impacts to the plant and its critical habitat, Ioneer’s revised design, set to be released on Friday, additionally changed the location of the quarry and overburden storage facilities to avoid any direct impacts to nearby subpopulations of Tiehm’s buckwheat and mitigate any potential indirect impacts.

To date, Ioneer has voluntarily invested $2.5 million in conservation efforts and committed an additional $1 million annually to ensure the plant and its surrounding habitat are protected. Ioneer will work to ensure the plant and its habitat for pollinators are protected as it works to transplant seedlings grown at its dedicated greenhouse.

Ioneer’s approach to water management also differs from other current and proposed domestic producers. Rhyolite Ridge will recycle half of all water used. The project will not have evaporation ponds or tailings dams and large parts of the quarry will be backfilled with overburden as mining progresses and ultimately concludes.

Ausenco

Canada Nickel instructs Ausenco to kick off FEED stage at Crawford nickel project

Canada Nickel Company announced today that it has commenced Front End Engineering Design (FEED) at its Crawford Nickel Sulphide project, in Ontario, led by its long-term engineering partner Ausenco Engineering Canada ULC and supported by a number of engineering firms from the project’s feasibility study.

Mark Selby, CEO of Canada Nickel, said: “As we continue to successfully advance Crawford financing and permitting activities, we are confidently moving into this next phase of project development which maintains our targets of a mid-2025 construction decision and first production by year-end 2027 by sufficiently advancing engineering on a number of fronts.”

The FEED step in this next phase of project development is expected to be completed by August 2024. FEED activities will be supported by data collected during the 2024 winter geotechnical program, which is currently nearing completion. This program was focused on continuing to de-risk the project and acquiring sufficient data to allow a construction start once a decision has been made. This year’s activities were focused in the process plant, primary crushing, mine stockpile and tailings management areas.

These activities also included the driving of 24 test bearing-piles in the process plant and primary crusher areas which will be used for refining structural foundation designs.

The bankable feasibility study on Crawford outlined conventional open-pit mining techniques to mine 1,715 Mt ore and 3,992 Mt waste over a 33.5 year life, including 2.5 years of pre-stripping. Open-pit mining operations at Crawford will be performed by a mixed fleet of mining equipment. Areas where the footwall is in clay will be mined with 120-t-class backhoe excavators loading 40 t articulated trucks. Areas where the footwall is in sand and till will be mined with 300 t electric face shovels loading 90 t trucks. This will include clay contained in mixed clay/sand and till benches.

A bench height of 7.5 m will be employed to RL180 (approximately 90 m below the mean surface elevation), which is below the lowest horizon where overburden will be encountered. The 1,037 Mt of rock contained within these benches (63% of all 7.5 m bench material) will be mined predominantly with 700 t face shovels (Cat 6060 and Komatsu PC7000 cited). A lesser tonnage of rock will be loaded by 50 t payload wheel loaders (Komatsu WE1850) and 100 t payload rope shovels (Cat 7495 and Komatsu P&H 4100 cited). All three loading units will load 290 t trucks (the report cites the Caterpillar 794 or Komatsu 930E as examples) equipped with AHS and trolley assist.

The 4,047 Mt rock that will be mined below RL180 will be predominantly loaded by the rope shovels, supported by face shovels and front-end loaders. Over the life of mine, 2% of total rock will be loaded by wheel loaders, 30% by face shovels and the remaining 68% by rope shovels.

Peak production will be in year 11 when the 290 t fleet will total 56, loaded by three large rope shovels. Interestingly, to take full advantage of AHS haul trucks, which will not be delayed for operator delays, the 700 t face shovels and rope shovels will be operated tele-remotely. Additionally, an additional operator will be provided for each fleet per shift, to facilitate operator breaks. For example, at peak production there will be two 700 t face shovels and three rope shovels operational. These will be operated by a team of three face shovel operators and four shovel operators on each shift.

No drilling and blasting of overburden will be required. For pioneer operations on the initial bench of rock mining, small diesel powered and conventionally operated drills will be used to drill 127 mm blast holes. Below this initial bench, larger electrically powered units equipped with an autonomous drilling system (ADS) will be used for drilling 229 mm blast holes on 7.5 m benches and 271 mm blast holes on 15 m benches. Final walls will be pre-split. Pre-split holes will be drilled using the same machine as for pioneering.

Production equipment will be supported by various units of support equipment, including tracked dozers, wheel dozers, wheel loaders, graders, water tankers and utility excavators. A mining contractor will be used to expedite the start-up, with particular focus on sourcing aggregate from off-site and establishing the initial benches in clay. Thereafter, all mining fleet will be owner-operated.

Surface haul roads for the 290-t-class trucks will be 35 m wide. Where trolley assist is used on in-pit ramps, the width will be 50 m, which allows for trolley infrastructure and an extra lane to pass any vehicle (including service vehicles) that may be stopped under the trolley line. Other roads will measure 15 m wide.

Electrical demand in the pit will peak at 70 MW (operating load) in year 13 and average 30 MW over the life of mine. The main customer will be the trolley assist system, consuming 62% of the total kilowatt-hours. The in-pit dewatering system will consume a further 9%, while workshops and the blasting plant require 1%. The remaining 28% will be consumed by mobile electric equipment, including blast hole drills, face shovels and rope shovels. Extending power to the various units of electric equipment will require a network of overhead lines that progressively extends, with a total of 68.7 km installed over the life of mine. This total includes 19 km of lines that will have been previously removed and reinstalled. Mobile electrical equipment (shovels and drills) and pumps will be supplied from mobile substations that are mounted on skids or wheels and can be towed by a wheel dozer.

Canada Nickel retained the technology consultant Peck Tech to assist with the design and implementation of ADS and AHS. It also retained the global technology company ABB to assist with the design and implementation of trolley-assisted truck haulage. It says, collectively, these technologies will achieve a reduction in the unit mining operating cost of 26%, with attendant impact on the economic limits of open-pit mining; plus a reduction in the open-pit labour component of 33%. The jobs being eliminated are lower skilled equipment operator positions that peer operations are having difficulty filling. These positions will be partially replaced by higher skilled positions associated with the implementation and maintenance of technology.

At Crawford, ADS machines would be supervised remotely in an office control room, or locally (ie in the pit) via a tablet. The nominal span of control will be one supervisor for every three operating ADS units. The report estimates that there are approximately 100 ADS equipped machines operating globally, with 80% supplied by Epiroc. Epiroc’s PV271 is cited as a blasthole drill option along with the Sandvik DR412i.

As at other autonomous haulage mines, at Crawford, AHS machines would be supervised by a team of engineers, technicians, coders, ‘runners’ (who monitor the status of equipment in the pit), and dispatchers. As some positions require a fixed number of personnel, irrespective of the number of operational units, and other positions require additional personnel if the total fleet exceeds a certain number, the overall span of control varies. For Crawford’s mine plan, the life of mine average is seven trucks per person, per shift.

With the energy prices that have been forecast for Crawford, the energy savings through use of trolley is estimated at C$31/km travelled. Productivity savings result from the increased speed of haul trucks traveling uphill on trolley. For the class of truck planned at Crawford, a doubling of speed on trolley is possible. This would lead to an overall reduction in average cycle time over the life of mine of 14%. This allows the mine plan to be achieved with fewer trucks, with the additional benefit of reducing congestion associated with ‘bunching’ of units. Maintenance wise, with the lower diesel consumption rate for a truck travelling on trolley, the interval between overhauls and replacements can be extended.

In addition to the cost benefits listed above, trolley assist also has significantly environmental benefits, resulting from the reduction in particulate matter and greenhouse gases associated with generating energy from hydrocarbons. In the event trolley assist were not used at Crawford, diesel consumption by the fleet of 290 t trucks would approximately double leading to a 53% increase in CO2 emissions.

Eight of the 10 mining stages would include trolley-assist infrastructure, with just the small East Zone starter phases EZ1 and EZ2 not having sufficient travel on the ramps to justify the technology. Trolley assist will also be provided to each of the stockpiles and to the waste rock impoundment.

The report adds: “A key assumption in the design, based on operating experience at Palabora and Sishen, is that steady-state utilization of each trolley equipped ramp (measured in percentage of potential tonnes x equipped kilometres) would be 90%. It was also assumed each new in-pit segment would take 18 months to reach this utilisation, with a key constraint being the time required to open a bench sufficiently that fly rock from blasting would not damage the system. For the dump, where no blasting would take place, the time required to reach steady-state was assumed to be 12 months. Over the life of mine, 73% of total uphill tonnes x kilometres travelled by the 290 t trucks would be on trolley-assist. The smaller 90 t and articulated trucks will not be equipped for trolley assist.”

Ausdrill presents One Touch drilling

Ausdrill is bringing One Touch drilling to its Rock Commander blasthole fleet, in the process creating a future where drilling can be optimised for efficiency and precision with minimal manual intervention.

The company, part of Perenti, said the innovative technology is set to transform the way it drills, and the way its operators work.

With just a single touch of a button, a driller can pre-select the hole depth and the machine takes care of the rest. It will touch ground, collar the hole, and then drill down to the required depth, including changing rods and flushing the hole. This means there is no need for manual intervention except for potential finetuning, Ausdrill says.

“One Touch ensures every step is meticulously executed, prolonging component life and reducing wear and tear, making it a safe, highly efficient and cost-saving solution,” it added.

In a video promoting the launch, Luke Phillips, Area Manager, Drill & Blast Operations, said One Touch drilling sets Ausdrill apart from its competition: “We are bringing this technology that is essentially already existing in the marketplace to the world-class Rock Commander fleet.”

The move coincides with the recently awarded five-year contract at the Northern Star Resources-owned Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) Fimiston open-pit gold mine in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

The circa-A$160 million ($104 million), 60-month contract – the largest ever Australia surface mining contract Perenti has received – incorporates activities that commenced March 1, 2022, and will continue to March 2027. It includes the provision for up to 14 production blasthole drill rigs to support ongoing operations.

Phillips said One Touch drilling and the KCGM contract form an integral part of the Ausdrill technology roadmap.

“The stages thereafter will be a semi-autonomous approach to how we work, and mine and drill in and around underground work,” he said.

Ian Chisholm, a Driller at the Fimiston Open Pit, referred to the technology as “cruise control” for a drill rig.

“You just push the button and everything is done for you,” he said, adding that the rest of the process is made up of monitoring tasks.

Phillips added: “One Touch drilling benefits the client because it has the potential to remove human error in regards to rework or redrilling holes. [It also] reduces or removes damage because it is a semi-autonomous product, and it’s something that our trainees can engage with at an early grassroots stage.”

Related to this, SITECH WA, a provider of innovative technology solutions for mining operations in Western Australia, recently announced a strategic partnership with Ausdrill to introduce Trimble Groundworks machine guidance technology across Ausdrill’s Rock Commander fleet.

The integration was referred to as a milestone achievement for both companies, with the successful implementation of Groundworks on Rock Commanders at BHP WAIO laying the foundation for this partnership. The synergy between Rock Commander and Groundworks has solidified this decision, further influencing its adoption at KCGM’s Fimiston gold open pit (the Super Pit).

Trimble Groundworks boasts a user-friendly interface that enhances job site safety, accuracy and operational efficiency, according to the company. Operators of all skill levels can quickly adapt to and leverage the system’s capabilities, making it a powerful tool for mining professionals. Real-time spatial information provided by Groundworks also significantly enhances safety by alerting operators to exclusion zones and potential hazards.

One of the notable benefits of this integration is the elimination of the need for manual marking of drill patterns, resulting in substantial labour cost savings, the companies said.

Rio Tinto to partner with Founders Factory on commercialising breakthrough mining tech

Rio Tinto is teaming up with a leading global venture studio and start-up investor to back the development and commercialisation of breakthrough technologies in the mining industry, supporting the company’s efforts to find better ways to provide the materials the world needs.

The company will partner with Founders Factory and invest A$14.4 million ($9.5 million) in global pre-seed and seed stage start-ups over the next three years. The focus will be on technologies in the fields of safe mine operations, decarbonisation, exploration processing and automation.

Each start-up will receive a cash investment and participate in a four-month accelerator program run by Founders Factory to support product development and commercialisation.

The Western Australian Government has also partnered with Founders Factory to invest in nature-tech start-ups that preserve and restore nature and biodiversity.

The partnerships with Rio Tinto and the Western Australian Government will support the first Australian hub of Founders Factory in Perth, Western Australia, boosting the state’s innovation credentials. Founders Factory successfully operates in London, Johannesburg, Milan, Berlin, Bratislava, New York and Singapore.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, said, “Technology has always been at the forefront of our industry and Western Australia can be the Silicon Valley of the global mining industry.

“Our iron ore operations in the Pilbara are among the most technologically advanced in the world. This exciting new partnership gives us the opportunity to build on our innovative legacy to unlock new technologies and help our business find better ways to provide the materials the world needs.

“With the backing of industry and the State Government, local and international start-ups will receive investment opportunities and access to real-world testing and scaling support, helping Western Australia’s innovation economy to grow.”

Western Australian Premier, Roger Cook, said, “Securing the internationally renowned Founders Factory for Perth is a major coup for our state.

“This is the first time the tech accelerator has operated in Australia, providing a springboard for innovative local businesses to reach an international audience and maximise their chances of success.

“My government is committed to decarbonising our economy by 2050 and it’s vital that we support local startups developing the technology to reach this goal.

“This three-year partnership will further cement WA’s position as a global leader in research and the development, helping to diversify the economy and create the jobs of the future.”

Founders Factory CEO, Henry Lane, said: “We are excited to be partnering with Rio Tinto and launching operations in Western Australia. Startups can drive further productivity, safety and automation in the mining sector, whilst accelerating the industry’s transition to net zero.

“This program can help international and local founders test their technologies with the global leader in the sector and find pathways to commercial scale and impact.”

MCi Carbon progresses carbon capture and utilisation plant at Orica Kooragang Island site

Australian clean technology developer MCi Carbon has, today, held a foundation ceremony for its carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) plant ‘Myrtle’, currently under construction at Orica’s Kooragang Island site.

Funded by a A$14.6 million ($9.7 million) federal government grant, the plant is aimed at scaling up the development and demonstration of an engineering process called mineral carbonation, which transforms captured carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into building products and other valuable materials.

The technology has the potential to provide a cost-competitive solution for decarbonising hard-to-abate industries globally and contributing to the circular economy, according to MCi Carbon.

Orica Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sanjeev Gandhi, said the project, which is expected to be operational by 2025, aligns with Orica’s sustainability and commercial goals.

“The energy transition requires careful planning and policy coordination between governments, regulators, energy suppliers, consumers and the broader private sector,” he said. “This ceremony today is a great example of business and government working together to drive innovation for a better tomorrow, as we transition towards a lower carbon future, together.

“We are proud to partner with MCi Carbon, industry, academia and the government as they scale this important technology.”

The CCU plant will source its CO2 directly from Orica’s ammonia manufacturing facility, capturing around 1,000 t of the greenhouse gas annually. In addition to supplying the feedstock, Orica has supported the project by providing land, access to utilities and significant technical expertise.

Partnering with MCi Carbon is the latest example of Orica’s commitment to decarbonising its operations. Recently, the company completed a A$37 million project to install tertiary abatement technology on the Kooragang Island site’s three nitric acid plants, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 50%. That equates to 11% of all chemical process across Australia.

The tertiary abatement project will continue to eliminate 567,000 t of CO2 equivalent from the site each year, which is equal to the emissions from 50,000 homes.

WesTrac celebrates 20 years of service and support in New South Wales and the ACT

Leading Cat® dealer WesTrac is marking a major milestone today, celebrating 20 years of providing equipment, service and support across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

More than 16,000 Cat machines have been delivered by WesTrac in the region during that time, supporting customers in the mining and construction industries.

Chief Executive NSW/ACT, Adrian Howard, says: “Over the past two decades, WesTrac has been at the forefront of delivering Cat machines and products to meet rising demand, especially within the construction and mining industries.”

When WesTrac became the official Cat dealer for NSW and the ACT, work immediately began on fitting out the first purpose-built branch in Bathurst. The WesTrac team of 50 rapidly grew to more than 500 in just over two months.

Today, WesTrac NSW/ACT has 18 branches, six Click and Collect lockers and more than 1,500 dedicated team members, providing support and service to more than 6,500 customers each year. WesTrac continues to grow its workforce and develop its people and has nationally trained over 2,400 apprentices through the WesTrac Institute.

Howard says over the past 20 years, customer needs have changed and demands on business operations have increased with the rapid uptake of technology and rise in 24/7 working environments.

“WesTrac is committed to investing in our people and our facilities to continue to deliver world-class service and support to our customers by ensuring owning and operating Cat equipment is safe, easy and profitable,” he said.

“A big part of this commitment is our ongoing investment in our facilities and cutting-edge technologies and, in the last year alone, we have opened the Tomago Technology Experience Centre, installed an AI-powered AutoStore parts warehousing solution and commissioned a world-first automated fluid analysis laboratory.

“We’ve come a long way since 2004 and change is only going to keep occurring faster – our goal is to stay at the forefront of technology and innovation to ensure our customers continue to succeed from owning and operating Cat equipment.”

When discussing what has changed during the period, Howard lists safety, sustainability and diversity of background and thought as three important parts of doing business that have significantly evolved and changed, for the better.

“WesTrac is committed to building a more sustainable future – internally at WesTrac, for our customers and for our local communities,” he said. “We are taking on a collaborative approach to achieve this – one that sets the standard for our industry and strives for meaningful change.

“Thank you to our customers, Caterpillar and our WesTrac team members who through their loyalty and dedication have helped WesTrac to become the world-class business we have today.”

Malvern Panalytical brings compact XRF spectrometer to elemental analysis sector

Malvern Panalytical has announced the launch of Revontium, a compact X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer that, the company says, opens new possibilities for elemental analysis across multiple industries, including mining.

This new instrument, the world’s first compact XRF unit, according to the company, delivers powerful elemental analysis with outstanding ease of use in a compact 0.4 sq.m footprint, for the optimal balance between precision and efficiency, Malvern Panalytical says. Revontium offers an alternative to 1-2 kW floor-standing systems, delivering high-quality, repeatable results at a reduced cost of ownership and environmental impact.

XRF is a well-established, non-destructive technology for elemental analysis, with a number of gains over techniques such as inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy (ICP) and atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), the company explains. However, large, floor-standing wavelength-dispersive (WDXRF) instruments
can be both energy- and cost-intensive. Revontium is the only XRF spectrometer on the market delivering comparable results and data quality to these larger instruments, at a significantly reduced footprint, the company claims.

Revontium’s cost of ownership is more than 25% lower than that of WDXRF, AAS, and ICP instruments, due to itsreduced need for consumables, and simpler maintenance and sample preparation requirements, according to Malvern Panalytical. Unlike ICP, Revontium needs fewer consumables such as acids and high-purity gases, requires no daily calibration and analyses samples in ambient conditions. Unlike high-powered WDXRF instruments, there are no external chiller requirements and associated costs, thanks to internal cooling in the Revontium system. Its power consumption is only 250 watts per hour, compared with 2,000 watts per hour for traditional WDXRF.

Together with its small footprint and lack of need for a helium or vacuum pump, Revontium is the most sustainable and practical yet powerful option for elemental analysis, Malvern Panalytical says.

The company says: “Revontium helps organisations across a variety of industries comply with increasingly stringent environmental regulations and remain compliant with test methods such as ASTM and ISO. This will be beneficial for users working in cement, mining & minerals and polymer plants. It also opens new possibilities for elemental analysis in the pharmaceutical sector, either as an alternative to ICP or AAS or as a complementary technique. In addition, after non-destructive XRF analysis using Revontium, the same sample can still be measured using ICP, AAS, XRD, or other methods if required.”

Lieven Kempenaers, Product Manager XRF – Malvern Panalytical, said: “Revontium provides our customers with powerful elemental analysis in a compact format. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how and where our customers will use Revontium. Its ease of use, analytical rigour and low cost of ownership will deliver benefits across the market.

Mark Fleiner, President – Malvern Panalytical, added: “Revontium expands our comprehensive offering in the XRF instrument market. Compared to the next best alternative, this instrument strikes the optimal balance of precision and efficiency, which means more added value for the user. With Revontium, Malvern Panalytical is opening up endless possibilities for elemental analysis, even in industries where XRF hasn’t traditionally been used.”