Tag Archives: Bluff

Queensland’s first Cat MD6250 drill delivered to Bluff coal mine

In what Hastings Deering says is a first for Queensland, a Caterpillar MD6250 rotary blasthole drill has been delivered to contractor Mining and Civil Australia (MACA).

The delivery to Bluff coal mine, east of Blackwater, is the first drill of its kind to enter the territory for works in the open-pit coking coal operation and was done with precise logistical planning, according to the Cat dealer.

Commencing its journey in Caterpillar’s Denison factory in Texas, US, the MD6250 was transported in components to Brisbane where it launched a 615-km journey by road to Rockhampton.

The transportation of the machine was done across three trucks, including two large prime movers to haul the chassis and mast, as well as a smaller truck to transport the smaller accessories and parts.

In Queensland, heavy vehicles and road trains are restricted to 80 km/h speed due to safety regulations, with the journey from Brisbane to Rockhampton taking two days to complete.

“The MD6250 doesn’t have the size of footprint of an off-highway haul truck, for example, but it is still big enough that we required a pilot vehicle and police escort to make the journey safely,” Adam Davis, Product Manager for Drills and Large Motor Graders at Hastings Deering, said.

Once the components were delivered, Hastings Deering’s team of engineers set aside a week to assemble the drill before delivery to the Bluff mine site to the west of the city.

Thanks to a 10-year contract with Carabella Resources (now owned by Wealth Mining), MACA manages both the drill-and-blast and load-and-haul operations at the Bluff mine, in what was a A$700 million ($487 million) deal for the company.

The advanced features on the crawler-mounted Cat MD6250 drill are set to maximise fuel efficiency and improve drilling for the contractor, Hastings Deering says. Its features include a Cat C27 engine, variable compressor output controls, drill depth indicators and virtual head stops for operators.

The drill is likely to offer far more than just the expected productivity benefits at Bluff, though.

Davis explained: “It’s an interesting site as there are restrictions around noise. MACA had experience with the MD6250’s predecessor model and believed they could get the same value and production out of the new model.

“The MD6250 has proportional hydraulics, which means the machine makes less noise during operation and the fan circuit only operates when it needs to. The machine only creates horsepower when needed, which cuts down on heat, noise and energy.”

Davis says the mine’s purchase of the MD6250 drill is in line with an industry trend towards using high-tech, mid-size drills suited to drilling holes smaller than the 270 mm sizes.

The MD6250 is equipped with a hole diameter range of between 152–250 mm.

“In places like the Hunter Valley, in New South Wales, it’s the norm to go for mid-size machines with this kind of technology, and it’s possible that this could also happen in Queensland in the future,” Davis said. “Once the larger coal seams begin to shrink in size and the work moves to higher-grade coal seams, smaller machines are used as they are better suited to such applications.”

MACA set for open-pit mining and process plant work at Echo’s Yandal gold project

Two of MACA Limited’s subsidiaries look set to carry out open-pit mining and refurbish the mill at Echo Resources’ Yandal gold project in Western Australia.

MACA said a letter of intent (LoI) had been signed that could see MACA Mining awarded an open-pit mining services contract and MACA Interquip receive a mill refurbishment contract.

These two contracts hinge on the Echo Board of Directors proceeding with an investment to develop Yandal and the project receiving all statutory approvals.

The scope of work to be undertaken under the mining contract will include load and haul, and drill and blast, with the pricing of the agreement to be updated (using the same inputs as tendered, adjusted for rise and fall) based on the final Yandal mine plans from a bankable feasibility study (BFS).

The mill contract is to include refurbishment and commissioning. MACA said: “While final pricing is to be determined under the aforementioned methodology, the previously released BFS for Stage 1 estimated mining costs at A$172 million ($124 million).”

Yandal, located 83 km northeast of Leinster in Western Australia, will treat ore through the 2 Mt/y Bronzewing processing plant (pictured), which is currently on care and maintenance. The project has existing mineral resources of 1.7 Moz of gold and ore reserves of 856,000 oz. The previously released BFS for Stage 1 envisaged the development of an 1.8 Mt/y operation able to produce 746,000 oz of gold over an eight-and-a-half-year life.

In addition to this LoI, MACA said, following mobilisation and early site establishment activities at the Bluff coal project in Queensland, Australia, mining of overburden would commence on or around December 10. MACA was previously awarded a A$700 million life of mine contract at Bluff from Wealth Mining.