Tag Archives: Australia mining

Sandvik to show off newest battery-electric loader next week

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology is set to announce details of its new battery-electric LHD at its Innovation in Mining Virtual Event next week, Brian Huff, has confirmed.

Speaking on ‘The Next Generation of Battery-Electric Vehicles’ event on Tuesday, Huff, Vice President of Technology at Artisan Vehicle Systems, a Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology Business Unit, said a new machine would be announced on September 29 at the virtual event. He later confirmed the loader in question would be on show.

Not too many details were given away about this new BEV, but Huff confirmed it would be “another machine to fill out our weight class” and host, Martina Lundgren, said the loader represented the first joint project between Artisan and Sandvik since Sandvik acquired Artisan in 2019.

In addition to announcing this news, Huff also confirmed that “there will be a larger class…haul truck intended mainly for the Australian market” coming from the company in later years.

As it stands, the company’s largest payload battery-electric haul truck is the Z50 50 t machine (pictured), which has been trialled at the Barrick Gold-owned Turquoise Ridge gold mine, in Nevada, USA.

Dafo Vehicle fired up by Australia mobile equipment certification

Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection has made significant progress in its attempts to break into the Australia mobile equipment market with its SV-K fire suppression system after being awarded the AS 5062 certification by regulators in the country.

The company said it has fulfilled the requirements of the Australian Standard AS 5062:2016 – Fire protection for mobile and transportable equipment for the system and it has been granted with a Certificate of Approval by the Certification Body Global-Mark.

At this stage, the certificate has been issued under the name of Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection’s Australian partner, BFI Fire Pty Ltd/Dafo Australia.

Dafo has sold more than 100,000 fire suppression systems to manufacturers such as Volvo, Atlas Copco, Caterpillar, Scania, Sandvik, Komatsu, MAN, John Deere and Ponsse, but has so far struggled to break into the Australia mobile equipment sector.

Holger Pfriem, Business Manager, Asia and Australasia, Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection AB, said: “This is a big step for us to make more impact on the Australian Heavy-Duty Mobile Equipment market mainly within the areas of mining, cargo, construction, forestry, waste and agricultural handling equipment in a broader and more comprehensive perspective.”

David Thurn, Managing Director of Dafo Australia, meanwhile, said the company was confident the AS 5062 certification will facilitate the expansion of its business in Australia. “As a second step we will soon launch a fluorine-free agent,” he added.

Innovators and disruptors heading to AIMEX 2019

Technological advancements, workforce changes, community collaborations and environmental challenges are just some of the concepts that will be discussed at Asia-Pacific’s International Mining Exhibition (AIMEX) 2019 edition, in August.

Focused on the future of Australia’s mining industry, AIMEX is the country’s largest and longest running mining exhibition and conference, according to organisers.

Speakers and key topics of the free-to-attend conference have been announced, with the line-up for the three-day event set to provide visitors with a “unique opportunity to hear from mining innovators and disruptors at the same venue where the technology is on show”, the organisers said.

Sponsored by Davey Bickford Enaex, the AIMEX conference has been developed with direct input and consultation from key mining personnel, industry associations as well as key mining companies.

On the opening day, a panel of speakers from across the mining spectrum will dissect the industry’s image and discuss ways that the mining sector and the community can work more collaboratively together in the future. Mach Energy’s Ngaire Baker, Mark Jacobs from Yancoal, Dr Kieren Moffat from the CSIRO and Anna Littleboy from the University of Queensland will lead the discussion.

Ngaire Baker, External Relations Manager for MACH Energy, said it is crucial the mining sector demonstrates the value it can offer communities, especially in regional and rural areas.

“I’ve worked and lived in some of Australia’s most remote mines and mining towns, combined with towns such as Orange, Parkes and Singleton, in New South Wales; I have experienced first-hand just how vital it is for the mining industry to look after these communities and to do our jobs to the best of our ability so that both parties reap the benefits,” Baker said.

“The mining industry can bring so many benefits to regional areas and to have the opportunity to discuss these very important issues with experts from all sides of the spectrum at the AIMEX conference is invaluable.

“I have been attending AIMEX since the mid ’90s and I make every effort to connect with suppliers and learn about new technologies that will benefit the operation I am working in. To be able to attend the conference as part of AIMEX is invaluable, we are all time poor and this conference is a key part of the three days of AIMEX, it provides me with a rare opportunity to hear from visionaries, engage with my peers and challenge the current mindset.”

A highlight of day two, organisers say, will be the panel discussion on how the mining community can reinvent its approach to talent acquisition and retention for today’s agile, digital, mobile, analytical, and technologically-driven workforce.

Mining Leaders Group Founder, Brett Cunningham, CEO of Weld Australia, Geoff Crittenden, and Jamie Frankcombe, Whitehaven Coal’s Chief Operating Officer, will lead the thought-provoking discussion that will exchange ideas and share current thinking to prepare for tomorrow’s demands in areas such as recruiting, educating schools, upskilling and diversity.

The organisers said: “Other highlights of the conference include Dr John Cronin’s presentation on using telepresence technologies for the safe deployment of wireless mesh networks and underground inspection robots in mines, cross-industry learnings from the oil & gas industry that define and mitigate HMI risk with technology and analytics, and the final day panel which looks at adapting to climate change, emissions and what does this look like for the mining sector?”

More than 6,000 mining industry professionals and over 500 exhibitors are expected to take over Sydney’s Showgrounds across three days from August 27-29 .

Embedded within the exhibition and conference, five of Australia’s biggest mining companies, Centennial Coal, Glencore, Mach Energy, Whitehaven Coal and Yancoal will for the first time, come together to create the AIMEX Mining Pavilion.

AIMEX Exhibition Director, Brandon Ward, said no other mining event gives you access to this volume of suppliers and this calibre of speakers for free.

“AIMEX is about pushing boundaries and challenging operations and business to innovate not just through technology but through workforce practices, social engagement and policy reform,” Ward said.

“This year’s AIMEX Conference is our most extensive yet which means mining professionals have a forum for open and transparent dialogue that will drive the sector forward.”

Attendance to AIMEX is free for both the exhibition and conference with registrations now open. For a full overview on the AIMEX Conference including session topics and speakers, plus a complete list of exhibitors, visit the event website aimex.com.au.

International Mining is a media partner of AIMEX.

National Group’s NMX to manage sales of CAT surplus parts

One of Australia’s leading original equipment manufacturers (OEM) has engaged National Machinery Xchange (NMX), part of the National Group, as the exclusive agency and preferred supplier to manage the sale of Caterpillar (CAT) surplus parts.

This open market tender from Caterpillar received a high level of applications from some of the biggest names in the industry, according to NMX, with the company securing the tender amid very strong competition.

NMX calls itself is a leading valuation and auction house for the mining, energy, construction, transport and agricultural industries. It regularly holds auctions that caters for buyer and sellers, offering valuation services and finance options such as monthly instalments.

Simon Brown, NMX General Manager, said: “We are very happy to have won this tender, it is a testament to the flexibility of our approach – we don’t just offer services, we work with our clients to devise dynamic and appropriate solutions.”

He added: “NMX developed an appropriate sales and remarketing strategy that included traditional and digital marketing approaches. After evaluating our clients’ needs, we recommended the sale of assets on an ‘as is where is’ basis with the utilisation of the National Group’s wider industry network and communication vehicles. With NMX being part of the National Group of companies, we were also able to offer various benefits, efficiencies and therefore cost savings through complementary entities such as National Heavy Haulage”.

NMX formally opened the tender campaign for the sale of CAT parts on March 8, with the call for offers ending on April 5. Around 3,500 CAT parts are currently for sale on an ‘as is where is’ basis, with offers being facilitated through the NMX website.

BGC considering sale of contract mining business

The BGC Pty Ltd Board has advised it is exploring options for the group’s national contract mining, maintenance and civil construction business, BGC Contracting.

BGC Chairman Neil Hamilton said the process will be led by its corporate advisor, Macquarie Capital, which, in conjunction with the group’s management, has commenced exploring several strategic options for BGC Contracting including a possible sale, divestment of parts of the business and/or alternate operating models or structures.

Hamilton said: “While this review is ongoing, it will be business as usual for our customers and our staff, and the focus of BGC Contracting will continue to be on delivering excellent services for our customers.”

Plans to divest BGC’s core building materials and construction businesses have been deferred for the foreseeable future, BGC said.

As part of this strategic review process, the BGC board has decided to introduce an independent executive structure for BGC, with the appointment of a CEO to manage the ongoing operations of the group, according to Hamilton.

This will see, with immediate effect, Alan Tate, Group CFO, assume the role of acting CEO, with Sam and Andrew Buckeridge and Julian Ambrose relinquishing their respective day-to-day executive responsibilities.

The board has also initiated a search for a permanent CEO and will announce this appointment in due course.

Just a week before this announcement, BGC Contracting announced it had recently been awarded the earthworks construction contract for Albemarle Group’s Kemerton lithium project.

Newcrest looks to University of Queensland to help achieve sustainable mining goals

The University of Queensland (UQ) and leading gold miner Newcrest Mining have agreed a new initiative providing funding for eight new PhD research projects at the institution.

The aim is to develop interconnected and systems-based solutions to transform the sustainability performance of mining operations, UQ said.

The opportunities will be targeted at high-calibre graduates from a range of disciplines including mining, chemical and civil engineering, as well as business and social science areas.

UQ Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research Partnerships, Professor Mohan Krishnamoorthy (pictured on the left), said: “The alliance with Newcrest represents a strategic opportunity to co-develop the cutting-edge innovation necessary for a sustainable mining future.”

Newcrest Mining Head of Technology and Innovation, and UQ alumnus, Andrew Logan, said research into complex mining challenges was essential to sustainably produce the minerals needed for modern living.

“Newcrest relies on innovation to unlock complex orebodies and academic research, with practical outcomes, provides industry with the necessary understanding for sustainable and safe mineral development,” he said.

The students will be supported for four years by both organisations and work on inter-related projects focused on specifically identified mining challenges.

UQ staff from the Sustainable Minerals Institute and other faculties will work with Newcrest to support the group through additional development activities. As part of the funding arrangements Newcrest will offer competitive top-up scholarships and provide opportunities for on-the-ground experience in Newcrest operations and corporate offices.

This funding announcement is part of a five-year partnership agreement signed between UQ and Newcrest Mining in August.

Ausdrill receives investor cash to complete Barminco takeover

Ausdrill has been given strong investor backing for its proposed takeover of leading underground hard-rock mining contractor Barminco, with its retail shareholders providing it with A$77 million ($55 million) of cash as part of a planned A$250 million equity raise.

This amount, on top of a similar institutional investor share offer that raised A$175 million, means the company now has the money in its coffers to complete the deal.

When the proposed deal was announced on August 15, Ausdrill Executive Chairman Ian Cochrane said adding Barminco to the fold would “broaden our strategic footprint to be Australia’s clear #2 mining services company and set in place a balance sheet with the capacity to achieve sustainable and profitable growth”.

The bid valued Barminco’s equity at A$271.5 million, together with $425.5 million of net debt, implying an enterprise value of A$697 million. The two companies know each other well being joint venture partner in the African Underground Mining Services company.

Shareholders will get to officially sign off on the deal at Ausdrill’s AGM on October 25.

Australia coal mine automation could increase post-2025, says WoodMac

While autonomy has started to catch on in Western Australia’s iron ore sector, coal miners on the eastern side of the country have been slow to adopt such technologies. Research firm Wood Mackenzie thinks that could change with a number of new, large projects starting to come online after 2025.

The reasons East Coast coal miners have shied away from autonomous trucks, drills and trains now operating across the iron ore ranges of the Pilbara are mostly tied to mining complexity and high capital spend, according to WoodMac’s Brent Spalding.

Without labour reductions or output increases, autonomous retrofits produce minimal operating cost savings, he said.

But, that hasn’t stopped Whitehaven Coal from signing up to an Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) development at its Maules Creek operations in New South Wales.

Earlier this month, the company agreed to mobilise a fleet of six autonomous Hitachi EH5000AC3 haul trucks at one of the mine’s operating pits by 2019 as it looked to improve safety and efficiency. If proven successful, the technology could be rolled out across the mine.

The collaboration between the two companies will entail scoping the delivery and commissioning of phased AHS deployment for the fleet at Maules Creek and the establishment of the physical and technological infrastructure to support AHS capability.

But wider adoption among the Australia coal sector is some way off, Spalding said. This is despite numerous operating cost and safety benefits already seen in Western Australia iron ore operations.

“In iron ore, we have seen increased productivity levels of 15-20% mainly driven by higher output levels. Output levels have increased at autonomous mines because of improved equipment utilisation, less downtime due to fewer shift changes and breaks, and a drop in labour absenteeism,” he said.

“Safety has also proven to be a key driver of automation. To date, there have been no injuries attributed to autonomous vehicles within the Australian iron ore sector.”

Yet, these results require additional upfront capital not necessarily paid back with higher financial returns.

“For iron ore, we estimate no real change in net present value across automated and non-automated sites, because the operating cost savings are presently offset by the high capital spend,” he said.

Autonomous retrofits of haul trucks, which Fortescue Metal Group and Rio Tinto are in the process of carrying out, cost in the order of $500,000 per truck, according to Spalding.

He sees this capital outlay falling as access to autonomous technology improves and becomes more readily available, while added productivity improvements could lead to further cost savings.

Yet, at current costs, the return on investment in coal doesn’t make sense, according to Spalding’s numbers.

He applied the same 15-20% improvement in unit rates (excluding diesel) for truck haulage and the same increase in labour productivity seen in WA iron ore across Australia coal.

This analysis was based on an average surface coal mine operating at the mid-point of the Australia cost curve and assumed a surface coal mine with a strip ratio of 6.5 bank cubic metres per raw tonne, producing 10 million tonnes per year of raw coal with a productivity of 13,333 raw tonnes per employee.

“When adjusting at 15%, we estimate a decline in raw total cash costs of 10% (or $2.69 per tonne) to $25.44/t. At 20%, we estimate costs 12% lower at $24.66/t,” Spalding said, noting raw costs do not take into account processing yields.

“In this Australia coal scenario, the total labour component accounts for close to one-third of the total raw unit cost. However, for the 15% and 20% productivity improvement scenarios, we estimate the labour component will account for more than 60% of the total cost saving. So, it stresses that if labour is not reduced – or output increased – as part of the automation process, cost savings will be limited to approximately $1/t for both scenarios,” he said.

But, OEMs and autonomy specialists should not despair; a slate of new, large projects could be ripe for such solutions.

“Beyond 2025, there could be more opportunities for driverless trucks through the development of some larger projects in excess of 20 Mt/y, which include Glencore’s Wandoan coal project in the Surat basin and Adani’s Carmichael in the Galilee basin,” he said.

Wandoan is expected to produce 22 Mt/y of thermal coal at full tilt, while Carmichael is reported to have a 60 Mt/y capacity.

The reason these greenfield projects are more likely to adopt such technologies – aside from the obvious safety benefits – is because “they represent a clean slate, where the mine plan can be geared towards automation from the start, rather than be retrofitted or changed as the mine develops”, Spalding said.

“There could even be a further option for driverless trains given the rail infrastructure still needs to be developed for these Queensland coal basins.”