Tag Archives: Australia

Macmahon’s GBF wins contract extension at Silver Lake’s Mount Monger ops

Macmahon Holdings’ acquisition of underground contracting business, GBF Group, is already paying off, with GBF receiving a conditional letter of intent from Silver Lake Resources for further work at the Mount Monger gold operations in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

GBF has been operating at Mount Monger since 2014 and currently provides mining services to the Daisy Complex, Cock-eyed Bob and Maxwells mines, which form part of this operation, expected to produce 120,000-130,000 oz of gold-equivalent in Silver Lake’s 2020 financial year.

Under the new letter of intent, GBF’s tenure at these sites will be extended for three years from March 1, 2020, and GBF will also develop Silver Lake’s new Santa mine, due to commence next month.

GBF estimates the value of the new work with Silver Lake will add around A$200 million ($134 million) to its order book. The two companies will now negotiate the formal mining services agreement, with finalisation expected in March, Macmahon said.

Macmahon CEO and MD, Michael Finnegan, said: “The new work is an important milestone in our strategy to further expand in the underground market, and demonstrates the value in our GBF acquisition. We are looking forward to working closely with Silver Lake on this project and building on our relationship with this key client.”

SCEE on board Gove alumina refinery rehabilitation project

Southern Cross Electrical Engineering Ltd is to help Rio Tinto with rehabilitation works at its mothballed Gove alumina refinery, in the Northern Territory of Australia.

The works, part of a contract valued at more than A$18 million ($12 million), include the isolation and re-routing of electrical and hydraulic services to the refinery. Mobilisation is expected to commence in the March quarter with completion by March 2021.

The refinery, on the Gove Peninsula in North East Arnhem Land, was put on care and maintenance in 2013 with Rio since making the decision to permanently close the refinery.

SCEE Managing Director, Graeme Dunn, said: “We are pleased to secure another significant award in the resources sector, following closely on from our announcements of a number of new resources projects in December 2019.” These projects include a contract to work on the Kemerton lithium hydroxide processing plant near Bunbury, Western Australia.

De.mem to put the BOOT in at Metro Mining’s Bauxite Hills mine

Water and wastewater treatment company, De.mem, says it has received new orders worth a minimum A$470,000 ($317,202) of revenue from Metro Mining for work at its Bauxite Hills mine in Queensland, Australia.

The orders include the delivery of wastewater treatment equipment, plus a contract award to supply equipment in combination with the provision of operations & maintenance services under a build, own, operate, transfer (BOOT) agreement.

Bauxite Hills, which produced 3.5 Mt (wet) of bauxite in 2019, is currently carrying out detailed engineering and design work related to a stage two expansion at the mine, which could see annual operating capacity reach 6 Mt (wet) by 2021.

De.mem CEO, Andreas Kroell, said: “We are pleased to provide our customers with a complete water treatment solutions offering, which includes the flexibility of either purchasing or leasing equipment from De.mem. Our build, own, operate/BOOT solutions are a key part of our services business, whereby we are engaged by leading players from mining and other industries under long-term agreements for the provision of water treatment equipment and ongoing operations and maintenance services.”

This is not the only Queensland bauxite mine De.mem is currently working on. Back in February 2019, the company secured a 12-month A$780,000 operations and maintenance contract to manage potable water and sewage treatment plants at Rio Tinto’s Amrun bauxite mine in the state.

Emeco to go underground with Pit N Portal acquisition

Emeco Holdings looks to have found an entry into the underground contract mining and equipment rental space after having signed an agreement to acquire Pit N Portal in a deal that comes with an enterprise value of A$72 million ($49 million).

The binding agreement would see Emeco acquire Pit N Portal Mining Services and Pit N Portal Equipment Hire, two entities that come with over 100 pieces of specialised underground mining equipment, over 500 pieces of infrastructure equipment and employs more than 300 people across strategic locations in Perth and Kalgoorlie and customer sites across Australia.

Emeco made this announcement on the same day it issued its 2020 financial half year results, which saw the company post revenue of A$246 million (up 10% year-on-year), operating EBITDA of A$119 million (up 16%) and operating EBIT of A$67 million (up 12%). The company has, in the last few years, acquired Force Equipment and Matilda Equipment as it looked to strengthen its equipment rental business in surface mining.

The consideration for the acquisition consists of A$62 million in cash and A$10 million in Emeco shares to the vendors, with the buy expected to be earnings per share accretive on a financial year 2019 pro-forma basis, post transaction.

Emeco Managing Director and CEO, Ian Testrow, said: “Pit N Portal allows Emeco to leverage its current core capabilities and expand into a new market. The underground mining sector is undoubtedly growing, and this represents an attractive adjacency for Emeco, providing Emeco with a solid platform for growth. Pit N Portal also provides us with significant commodity diversification by immediately more than doubling our gold exposure with strong opportunities for further growth in hard-rock projects.”

Established in 2002, Pit N Portal specialises in the provision of hard-rock underground mining equipment and services to the Australia underground mining sector. Core operations include equipment rental as well as mining services and maintenance solutions for underground mines. It operates the largest underground equipment rental fleet in Australia, according to Emeco.

Continued growth in Pit N Portal is expected post-completion driven by new project and scope expansion opportunities, with major projects’ earnings realised in the 2021 financial year.

“Pit N Portal’s key services add to the core of Emeco’s existing business, including equipment hire and maintenance solutions,” the company said. “Pit N Portal also adds a vast array of additional value-added services to its customers, providing a complete mining services offering.”

Steve Versteegen, Co-Founder and CEO of Pit N Portal, said: “I truly believe the combination of the two companies will help accelerate the growth of Pit N Portal and am excited by the opportunity to extend the application of what we do to the broader Emeco business.”

Emeco said the transaction provides a strong platform for Emeco to grow as a provider of underground mining services with a solid tender pipeline, particularly in Western Australia-based gold, nickel and base metals projects. There are also potential operational advantages through Pit N Portal’s strategically located workshops in Perth and Kalgoorlie, it added.

It would also significantly diversify Emeco’s commodity exposure, with gold more than doubling immediately to from 12% to 27% of Emeco’s revenue and becoming the number two exposure.

Pit N Portal is also focused on innovation and technology, with tele-remote and autonomous equipment and delivers a wide range of specialised services, the company said.

NextOre’s ore sorting tech shows potential at Magnetite Mines’ Razorback project

Magnetite Mines Ltd says a study looking at applying NextOre’s on-belt magnetic resonance ore sorting solution at its Razorback Iron project, in South Australia, has shown the potential for a significant increase in plant throughput at the asset.

The ASX-listed company said results to date indicated that Razorback ores are especially well suited to bulk ore sorting with substantial improvements to ore mass recovery demonstrated in the study, completed by NextOre (a partnership between CSIRO and industry players Advisian and RFC Ambrian).

NextOre’s solution uses an on-conveyor magnetic resonance sensor to continually sense the grade of the material on the belt. This information is used to control a diverter gate that separates material above the selected cutoff grade (accepted material) from material below that grade (rejected material).

Magnetite Mines and NextOre, in October, signed an agreement that allows the development company exclusivity over any magnetite processing applications, Australia-wide, and all iron ore applications in the Braemar (including New South Wales) for a period of four years.

NextOre’s Razorback report demonstrates that the heterogeneity of the Razorback and Iron Peak resources allows for the potential for significant upgrading from ore sorting, Magnetite Mines said.

“For example, at a 50% rejection level (corresponding to a cutoff grade of approximately 16% Fe at Iron Peak and 14% Fe at Razorback), the grade of the accepted material would be increased by a factor of about 1.4,” the company said.

Were this to be implemented as part of a development of the project, by increasing mining rates, and pre-concentrating the plant feed, the throughput of a given plant capacity could be increased by some 40%, the company said. This would create significant savings in capital and operating costs per tonne of concentrate product, it added.

In order to assess the potential for bulk ore sorting at Razorback, NextOre used data drawn from the overall geological model for the Razorback and Iron Peak resources (the two resources that make up the Razorback project). The Razorback project currently has an inferred and indicated resource of 2,732 Mt at a grade of 18.2% Fe, but Magnetite Mines intends to produce a 68.8% Fe concentrate from the project.

NextOre then applied a fractal model, applying a mixing model to assess the predicted grade variation or heterogeneity of ‘pods’ of ore as they would present to an on-conveyor bulk ore sorting implementation, Magnetite Mines explained. Various sorting cutoff grades were selected to demonstrate a range of grade improvement scenarios, the company noted.

Magnetite Mines said: “Following the recently completed scoping study for a low capital cost, staged development of the Razorback project resources, this study highlights the applicability of NextOre’s magnetic resonance bulk ore sorting technology to the processing of the Razorback ores.

“When applied to a large, heterogeneous, low strip ratio deposit, such as Razorback, bulk ore sorting represents a pre-concentration technology ahead of the concentrator that can enhance throughput, improve economic efficiency and reduce tailings and water use.”

Magnetite Mines Chairman, Peter Schubert, said: “While our scoping study results for a low capital, staged development have been highly encouraging, we are now confident that the use of leading edge ore sorting technology can further enhance results, providing the company with a sustainable competitive advantage.”

Primero Group to take on EPC contract at Rio’s Koodaideri iron ore mine

Primero Group has secured a A$115 million ($79 million) contract with Rio Tinto’s iron ore division that will see it design, fabricate, supply, deliver, construct, install, test and commission the Mine Infrastructure Area and associated facilities at the Koodaideri iron ore project in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The scope includes the complete engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract of the facilities for this project, which will commence immediately and is scheduled to be completed in mid-2021.

Primero says it expects to employ a workforce of over 150 personnel at its peak.

Koodaideri, billed by Rio as an “intelligent mine”, will deliver a new production hub for Rio’s iron ore business in the Pilbara, incorporating a processing plant and infrastructure including a 166 km rail line connecting the mine to the existing network.

Construction on Koodaideri Phase 1 started this year with first production expected in late 2021. Once complete, the mine will have an annual capacity of 43 Mt, underpinning production of the company’s flagship iron ore product, Pilbara Blend.

In addition to mine infrastructure and the accommodation camp, an airport and mine support facilities will be built. Throughout the construction period, Rio expects to employ over 2,000 people with 600 permanent roles created once the mine is operational.

In addition to the Koodaideri work, Primero said it had been awarded Phase 2 of the proposed processing upgrade, on an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) basis, for Northern Star Resources’ Pogo gold mine, in Alaska, USA.

The works will be conducted predominantly from Primero’s Americas Montreal (Canada) office with works progressively executed this winter to ensure construction windows are met in the summer period, it said.

The upgrade works will increase throughput of the current processing facility from 1 Mt/y to 1.3 Mt/y by January 2021, with the potential to move to a Phase 3 (1.5 Mt/y) over the coming years.

Primero said: “Works are set to progress over the next 12 months including detailed design and equipment procurement with the planning for on-site works commencing over the winter period to be executed in the warmer months, post winter.”

The award of the project is the first major contract with Northern Star Resources, Primero added.

Northern Star acquired Pogo, the company’s first mine outside of Australia, from Sumitomo Metal Mining late last year for $260 million.

Heron starts processing underground ore at Woodlawn zinc-copper mine

Heron Resources says it has started crushing and processing the first underground ore from the high-grade G2 lens at its Woodlawn zinc-copper mine in New South Wales, Australia.

The ore from the G2 lens was mined 135 m below surface and was discovered during Heron’s on-mine exploration drilling programs during 2017.

Since the commencement of the underground campaign, around 10,000 t of G2 stoped ore was delivered to the plant at 3.9% Zn, 1.3% Pb, 0.3% Cu, 31 g/t Ag and 0.6 g/t Au. This was in addition to 6,000 t of G “hangingwall” ore at 4.7% Zn, 2.6% Pb, 0.7% Cu, 268 g/t Ag, 2 g/t Au; plus 2,000 t of high-grade development ore at 7.3% Zn, 3.7% Pb, 4.9% Cu, 30 g/t Ag and 0.9 g/t Au.

The first stages of commissioning were completed using tailings reclaim feed material, with some preliminary commissioning of the crushing and ball mill plant during August and September.

Heron says the plant is now receiving run of mine underground ore and will complete a campaign solely on this feed source. This will facilitate the next phase of commissioning for the crusher and ball mill and marks the start of the ramp-up phase for this part of the circuit.

In steady state, the plant will alternate between campaigns of tailings reclaim feed and underground ore.

With stope ore now being mined and processed, paste fill activities have also been progressed, with the final commissioning of the paste plant and a number of placements underground of paste fill now complete.

Heron’s Chairman, Stephen Dennis, said: “The first ore mined and now processed from the G2 lens is a significant achievement for the operations at Woodlawn. The high-grade G2 lens was planned to be the first underground ore through the plant and will generate early revenue in these first stages of underground mining.”

The forecast development includes access to the G3 (north) area that contains stopes that are in an independent sequence from the current G2, G3 (south) and GH stoping area.

Processing of reclaimed tailings is ongoing and underground ore campaigns are being scheduled in line with the current production plan. Ramp-up of the processing plant continues and the plant is scheduled to achieve rated capacity on a sustainable basis from mid-2020.

H-E Parts to work on mobile equipment fleets at Glencore coal mines

H-E Parts says it has been awarded a one-year supply agreement from Glencore that will see the company supply and overhaul new and service exchange radiators on mobile equipment fleets across 24 coal mines in Australia.

The contract with Glencore Coal Assets Australia has the provision for a further 12-month extension based on performance and includes all ancillary mining equipment, as well as prime production mining truck, excavator and drill rig fleets.

The contract will be managed by H-E Parts’ Mining Solutions Cooling Division branches and incorporates various styles of independent radiators and complete modular nose cones, including the radiator, fan and motor and charge air cooler as a complete assembly, according to the company.

H-E Parts says: “The complete range of COR Cooling™ products are designed to provide extended service intervals, improved performance and increased productivity, whilst reducing equipment downtime and associated life cycle costs.”

Ashley Hams, Mining Solutions Vice President, said: “Through historic and ongoing service delivery as well as continuous product engineering innovation, our COR Cooling product and service lines have advanced to be a market leader.”

Hams added: “The ability to supply application specific cooling systems to our mining and industrial customers working in some of the toughest conditions in the world has demonstrated the engineering and quality prowess that H-E Parts has become synonymous with.”

H-E Parts said it believes that the partnership of the proven COR Cooling product line, combined with in-house engineering and service support, will provide a flexible, cost-effective, long-term solution for Glencore.

Earlier this week, H-E Parts announced it had acquired Allgo Engineering (Allgo). Although occurring in late 2018, H-E Parts had deferred announcement to facilitate the completion of a new 100 t facility and the upgrading of equipment and machining capabilities that will allow Allgo to handle some of the largest mining, marine and oil & gas components required by the Western Australia market, it said.

Costerfield gold-antimony mine firing on all cylinders thanks to RCT solution

Removing personnel from underground loading operations at Mandalay Resources’ Costerfield gold-antimony mine in Victoria, Australia, through RCT’s ControlMaster® Teleremote and Guidance Automation, has led to time and cost savings, as well as maintenance and safety benefits, according to a recent case study from the automation specialist.

Costerfield produces ore via a single portal underground mine with narrow vein mining carried out to extract vertical veins of ore. The mine produces up to 80,000 gold-antimony-equivalent ounces per year in a concentrate comprising around 54% antimony and 60 g/t gold.

The nature of narrow vein mining dictates that ore drives are quite thin to reduce the amount of waste material that is captured, with Costerfield’s drilling and blasting program designed to maximise ore recovery by throwing the ore towards the draw point. Historically, however, the site could only recover 75% of the ore, according to RCT, due to the remaining ore sitting in the stope void out of reach of the underground LHD as manually operated loaders could not exceed the stope brow.

Looking to increase productivity, Mandalay investigated implementing a loader that could be managed remotely to extract additional ore and to safeguard equipment operators from hazardous situations at the mine face. This led to it, in 2015, engaging RCT to implement its ControlMaster Teleremote and Guidance Automation product on a Sandvik LH203 LHD.

The automated loader enabled Mandalay Resources to retrieve significant amounts of ore that were previously unreachable, RCT said.

In recent years RCT has increased the autonomous fleet at Costerfield by commissioning ControlMaster Teleremote and Guidance Automation on a second Sandvik LH203 as well as a Sandvik LH151D.

The machines are managed from Fibre Optic Control Stations at secure locations in the underground mine protected by Laser Guard Containment Units as well as stations on the mine’s surface.

Jayson Guzzo, Major Projects and Innovation Manager – Costerfield, Mandalay Resources, said removing operators from the machine is the “best outcome” as it eliminates their exposure from one of the highest risk jobs, which is working at a stope brow.

“The small loaders we use are very rigid which has the potential for repetitive strain injuries,” he said. “They also have open cabs and, in this environment, dust, machine exhaust and debris can be an added safety concern.”

In mid-2019, Mandalay made the decision to implement a digital mine communications network to accommodate future technological growth.

Guzzo said: “Given that we are a narrow vein operation we may have to access ore a significant distance from the mine access point so we are looking at going to a digital platform so we can run a fibre backbone and autonomously operate machines over a vast distance.

“In a traditional mine, you might spend a whole week bogging a single stope before moving, but at Costerfield we might bog three or four headings in one shift, so the number of sites that we have to have set up at any one time are multiple, hence a digital system will significantly speed up the process of commissioning new drives.”

Mandalay has reported that ControlMaster Guidance Automation enabled them to carry out bogging and firing operations simultaneously, saving them substantial time which was previously spent clearing personnel to a safe distance, RCT said.

Guzzo said the solution has enabled the company to reduce shift changeover time by two thirds – which is a significant cost saving – and the site has also experienced less unplanned machine downtime.

“At Costerfield, the drives are roughly 2 m wide so Guidance Automation keeps the machines off the walls and stops them bouncing around the tunnels, so the damage to the machines is a lot less and results in significantly reduced unplanned maintenance time,” he said.

Guzzo concluded: “Relocating operators from the cab of our loaders to safer environments on the mine’s surface is essential and being able to continue bogging during firing as well as significantly reducing shift changeover time is critical to improving site productivity.

“Plant automation is definitely the way of the future in the mining industry and RCT are the leaders in that area, which is why they are our preferred supplier with this equipment.”

Novo heralds ore sorting developments as it lines up Steinert and TOMRA trials

Novo Resources Corp says it is planning mechanical sorting test work on multi-tonne samples of gold-bearing conglomerate from its Beatons Creek project (pictured) and gold-bearing gravels from its Egina project, both in Australia, with Steinert Global and TOMRA.

Mechanical sorting of small particles of gold is seen as a potentially important breakthrough for Novo and its various nuggety gold projects throughout its large land holdings across the Pilbara, the company said.

An approximate 5 t sample of Beatons Creek gold-bearing conglomerate and an a similar sized sample of Egina gold-bearing gravel have been shipped to Perth for sorting trials at Steinert Global’s test facility in December. Conglomerate from Beatons Creek is being crushed and screened, and gravel from Egina is being screened in preparation for test work.

Once mechanical sorting tests have been completed at Steinert Global, bulk test material will be shipped to TOMRA’s test facility in Sydney for testing during the March quarter of 2020, Novo said.

Novo, earlier this month, said recent tests of Steinert mechanical sorting equipment had demonstrated recovery of fine gold nuggets as small as 0.4 mm, which was a significant step toward a potentially cost-effective “dry and chemical free” means of gold recovery.

The test work is designed to assess the veracity of recent advances in scanning and sorting capabilities of both companies, while determining – on Egina material, at least – the gold recovery capabilities of this technology as a means of primary separation; the applicability of mechanical sorting as a tool to support field exploration activities; and which model of mechanical sorter is preferred for deployment for field trials.

“Owing to recent rapid advancements in mechanical sorting technology, Novo has conceptualised a potentially viable alternative ‘dry’ processing pathway for Beatons Creek,” it said.

While testing is required to better assess sorter manufacturer claims that fine gold particles can be detected and sorted, according to Novo, the company said it sees considerable merit in this ‘dry’ processing model for the following reasons:

  • Potential to significantly reduce capital and operating costs compared to conventional ‘wet’ processing schemes;
  • Potential to reduce construction timeframe compared to conventional ‘wet’ processing;
  • ‘Dry’ processing schemes might be amenable to modular design suited to cost-effective mobilisation and relocation;
  • Negates or minimises use of water and chemicals; and
  • ‘Dry’ processing could help unlock Novo’s other assets in the East Pilbara region.

Successful mechanical sorter trials of Beatons Creek material are anticipated to lead to a larger metallurgical test work program to fully assess means of crushing, screening and sorting to be incorporated to a process flowsheet, the company said, adding that it foresees using proven technologies given there is a spectrum of commercially available equipment for dry crushing, grinding and screening.

Rob Humphryson, CEO and director of Novo Resources Corp, said: “The pace of development of mechanical sorting technology continues to astound us. We are fortunate that our nuggety gold deposits appear to lend themselves to ‘dry’ processing pathways involving mechanical sorters, technology that may generate favourable economic and environmental outcomes.

“Considering we can readily access outcropping gold mineralisation on all of our properties, we have a unique opportunity to quickly collect bulk samples for testing mechanical sorting technology on a meaningful scale.”