Tag Archives: Bowen Basin

NRW Holdings’ Action Drill & Blast wins South Walker Creek contract

NRW Holdings Limited says its wholly-owned subsidiary, Action Drill & Blast Pty Ltd, has been awarded a five-year drilling contract by Stanmore Resources SMC Limited at its South Walker Creek mine.

The contract, valued at circa A$65 million ($41 million) over the five years, is due to commence in November 2022 and will leverage a workforce of some 35 personnel.

South Walker Creek is an open-pit mine, some 35 km west of Nebo in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. The mine has been operating since 1996 and adopts a multi-bench, open-pit mining method using a dragline, and truck and hydraulic excavators.

With a mine life of 25-plus years, South Walker Creek produced 4.9 Mt of high-quality low volatile PCI coal in the 2021 financial year.

Stanmore Resources acquired BHP’s 80% interest in BMC in May 2022, becoming the operator of South Walker Creek.

RCT helps major miner move to Level 9 CAS at Bowen Basin coal mines

A global mining giant has implemented Level 9 machine intervention control technology on its mixed haul truck fleet in what RCT says is a large-scale mining fleet first for Australia.

RCT rolled out its highly interoperable Muirhead® technology across the mining company’s 128-strong equipment surface fleet, which includes multiple models of Cat, Komatsu and Liebherr trucks.

The Muirhead Machine Interface Controller (MIC) was selected because of RCT’s comprehensive and extensive engineering and quality management capability, RCT says.

This expertise has evolved over RCT’s 50-year history and enabled the company to deliver a MIC system that provides a cost effective, multi-generational solution which offers a level of standardisation across its diverse fleet.

The machine intervention technology interfaces directly with a truck’s systems (eg braking, hydraulic and electrical) and, when directed, can affect control of certain areas of the machine (eg engine throttle, transmission and hoist) if obstacles are detected in the truck’s path.

RCT’s MIC is designed to integrate with industry-leading collision avoidance solution (CAS) technologies, giving clients the flexibility to select a preferred vendor across their fleet or operations, RCT explained.

RCT’s Field Service Team commissioned the MIC across two of the mining company’s open-pit operations in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

RCT Global Business Development Manager – Mining, Ryan Noden, said this is the first deployment of a Level 9 machine intervention technology (technologies that actually intervene in terms of automated machine control to prevent or mitigate an unsafe interaction) across a large-scale mining fleet in Australia.

“The global mining company selected RCT for this project due to our proven history of delivering standardised interoperable technology across any make and model of mobile equipment,” Noden said. “Our technology interfaced directly with a market-leading supplier of CAS and, as a result, the mining company is experiencing improved operations across their mixed fleet including Cat 793Ds, 785Ds, 777Ds; and Komatsu 830Es; and Liebherr T264s.

“This solution ensures the safety of site personnel in proximity to the haulage fleet and eliminates damage to the fleet.

“In addition to developing cutting-edge technology, we pride ourselves on delivering comprehensive service and technical support to our mining clients which empowers them to maximise mining operations at all times.”

Anglo American, QMRS commission industry-first Shaft Rescue System at Aquila

Queensland Mines Rescue Service (QMRS), in partnership with Anglo American, has commissioned a critical new piece of mine rescue equipment for use across underground mines in the Queensland mining industry.

A funding commitment, in excess of A$2.3 million ($1.6 million) from Anglo American, enabled QMRS to purchase the Queensland mining industry-first Shaft Rescue System (SRS), a mobile truck-mounted emergency system to assist in underground rescues.

The commissioning at the Aquila mine followed a 2019 commitment from Anglo American Australia then-CEO, Tyler Mitchelson, to wholly fund the equipment for the QMRS.

Chief Executive Officer of QMRS, David Carey, acknowledged Anglo American for funding the equipment and supporting QMRS in its design and engineering.

“While we hope we never need to use it, the SRS will form part of the emergency response plan for every underground mine site in Queensland and we’re grateful for Anglo American’s support in delivering it,” Carey said. “The SRS lowers interchangeable cages into mine shafts to rescue trapped miners and is equipped with a world-first intrinsically safe directional Wi-Fi communications system that can be used safely underground.”

The Wi-Fi enables radio communications from the rescue cage to the surface, captures and shares real-time video and sends data from a gas monitoring system, according to Carey.

QMRS says the SRS has interchangeable cage options and over 1,200 m of rope on the drum for use in deep shafts. It is engineered with multiple fail-safe braking systems, hydraulically powered from the Volvo FMX 10*4 truck engine, which also has a back-up power system.

Carey added: “This equipment will make a meaningful difference to our emergency response capabilities in Queensland and will be housed at our Dysart headquarters in the heart of the Bowen Basin, so it’s close by if ever required.”

Head of Safety and Health at Anglo American’s Steelmaking Coal Business, Marc Kirsten, said the company was pleased to support QMRS in delivering the SRS for all those who work underground in the mining industry in Queensland.

“QMRS supports our industry with leading edge emergency response capability and support, and we are pleased to have been able to support them in turn, by providing this vital and potentially life-saving equipment,” Kirsten said.

“The SRS will improve emergency response capabilities across all underground mines in the Queensland mining industry, and it was important to us to make this investment in industry safety.”

Anglo American operates five steelmaking coal mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, three of which are underground.

Monadelphous banks Australia work with FMG, Rio Tinto, Roy Hill and BMA

Engineering company Monadelphous Group Limited says it has secured new contracts and contract extensions in the resources and infrastructure sectors totalling approximately A$220 million ($150 million).

Within this is a number of contracts for work in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, including:

  • A five-year contract to provide maintenance, repairs, general shutdown services and minor projects across Fortescue Metals Group’s Pilbara operations;
  • A multi-disciplinary contract with Rio Tinto for the construction of a new conveyor at the Tom Price iron ore mine, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2023; and
  • A contract associated with the construction of a pipeline and access road at the Roy Hill Mine site. The work is expected to be completed towards the end of 2022.

In Queensland, Monadelphous has also secured a 12-month extension to its existing contract with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance for the provision of dragline shutdown and maintenance services to its operations in the Bowen Basin.

MES dual- and tri-fuel tech to equip miners with decarbonisation tools

Leading mining contractor Thiess is looking at diesel abatement options across its fleet of haul trucks, which is where the company’s recent agreement with Australia-based Mine Energy Solutions comes into play.

This tie-up will see the use of locally sourced methane gas to displace significant proportions of diesel in large mining trucks using MES’ “currently available and proven” dual-fuel technology.

The agreement to bring lower emission, dual-fuel technology to Thiess’ mining fleet represents a first for a mining services provider in the industry, according to the company.

The partnership has commenced with the planned conversion of a fleet of six 240-t class mining trucks and seeks to source coal seam gas from coal seams on site in the Bowen Basin of Queensland to allow the removal of the equivalent B Double diesel deliveries from local highways. Thiess said that, longer term, it and MES will seek to expand to full fleet conversion before exploring further opportunities both within Australia and Internationally.

MES’ CEO, Adrian Abbott, said in the announcement last year: “We’re proud to partner with Thiess and apply this technology in the Bowen Basin. Our focus is to use locally-sourced gas through the capture and use of fugitive methane contained in the coal resource to enable the average mine site to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint by more than 550,000 t of CO2-e per annum.”

MES’ High Density Compressed Natural Gas (HDCNG®) technology was previously trialled at the New Acland coal mine in Queensland, Australia, with help from New Hope Group and well-known heavy equipment specialists, Hastings Deering Group. This saw a Cat 789C haul truck converted from diesel use to dual-fuel operation using natural gas as the dominant fuel through sequential gas injection.

Graham Box, Business Development and Project Facilitation Lead at MES, says the project at New Acland enabled the company to develop an “industry-ready product” that was safe, reliable and delivered equivalent performance to full diesel operations while also driving reductions in the carbon footprint of the truck.

“There are a number of process and procedures taken from almost two years of the New Acland work related to safe and efficient operations as well as regulatory compliance that have formed the basis for establishing an execution plan for this Thiess project,” he told IM.

“The equipment we are using has evolved to a further level of sophistication resulting in a most efficient and robust solution.”

While the truck and engine models might have changed compared with the work carried out at New Acland – Thiess and MES are installing the dual-fuel technology on Cat 793F trucks with C175-16 engines, while the New Acland trial involved Cat 789s and Cat 3516B haul trucks and engines, respectively – the objectives remains the same.

“We’re continuing to demonstrate the pathway to decarbonisation and the steps that can be achieved with current technology,” Box said.

The plan with the Thiess project is to have a “familiarisation truck” up and running in August to allow all site personnel to get trained on the new system, with the five follow-on trucks coming online before the end of the year.

At the same time as Thiess and the mine site owner are familiarising themselves with this technology, MES will be running haul truck engine simulations with tri-fuel technology.

This solution – which incorporates diesel, methane and hydrogen – will see the “green” hydrogen blended into the methane, providing a “zero emission component” of the gas blend, Box said. With both tri- and dual-fuel, more than 70% of energy will be derived from non-diesel sources.

The company plans to start running simulations with this technology on its 3,500 hp (2,610 kW) dynamometer fitted to a large-format engine in the September quarter.

Image capture of an operating dyno simulating mine circuit operations using a circuit data file provided by one MES client

Box expanded on this: “We have a state-of-the-art dyno facility where we are able to operate the engine to its full rated power as if someone is physically operating the truck. We oversee that from a control room and run simulations based on actual circuit data that our mining clients provide us. This includes the haulage cycles their trucks are running, the grades and declines experienced, load profiles and many other operating parameters and conditions.

“All of our development work is carried out with this circuit simulation capable dyno and we then put it into a field-operations environment as we are about to do with Thiess.”

MES intends to field test its tri-fuel program in the first half of 2023.

Bis to provide tailored equipment solution for Anglo American Capcoal contract

Australia-based Bis has secured a new multi-year contract for Anglo American’s Capcoal operations near Middlemount, in the Bowen Basin of Queensland.

The off-road haulage, materials handling and site services contract is the latest in an ongoing relationship between Anglo and Bis that spans more than 20 years.

The contract will see Bis supply a tailored high payload equipment solution for the operation’s rejects haulage. Additionally, the company will deliver site services including road maintenance, dust mitigation and run of mine equipment feed, as well as haulage of topsoil, rock and run of mine coal as required.

Bis Chief Executive Officer, Brad Rogers, said the company’s ability to provide a tailored haulage and logistics solution, specific to this operation, was a key factor in securing the new contract.

“We have a long history of integrating customisable OEM innovations and existing solutions to deliver against specific customer objectives. This competency continues to drive operational efficiencies and reduce costs for our customers. It’s a formula that works.

“For instance, the specific higher payload capacity solution put forward for this project delivers significant advantages for Anglo American. It means a reduction in the total equipment required, vehicle movements and fuel consumption; all three of which directly contribute towards improved safety, sustainability and productivity outcomes for the customer.”

The range of tailored equipment incorporated to deliver the project includes double trailer configuration haulers, wheel loaders, graders, water trucks and a compaction roller.

The fleet is fitted with the latest Bis safety and productivity management systems, including Trifecta, which is a new in-cabin artificial intelligence driver and vehicle monitoring software developed with EDGE3 Technologies. The system collects and analyses data in real time to improve both safety and productivity. The system collects, analyses and reports driver behaviours such as drowsiness, mobile phone use, smartwatch use, smoking, seatbelt and other violations. Trifecta then ‘learns’ over time to pre-empt high risk incidents in real-time through alerts to drivers and supervisors. Bis says it has exclusive rights to use and sell the system across a range of markets.

On site mobilisation for this new contract is expected to commence from August.

Blue Energy investigates potential to power Isaac Plains fleet on hydrogen

Blue Energy Ltd says it has executed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Stanmore Resources Ltd that could see mine gas converted to hydrogen to power Stanmore’s Isaac Plains Complex equipment fleet.

The latest MoU relates to future pilot production activities at Stanmore’s ATP 814 tenement in the Bowen Basin of Queensland, Australia, but it builds on a previously announced non-binding MoU for the commercialisation of mine gas from Stanmore’s proposed underground operation adjacent to ATP814.

The gas used by Blue for conversion to hydrogen will be pilot gas which would otherwise be flared, and this trial project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Blue’s activities and also reduce diesel fuel usage by Stanmore which, in turn, reduces the CO2 produced by the combustion cycle of their fleet of vehicles, Blue said. The company is currently investigating off-the-shelf modular hydrogen generation equipment that is portable and able to be installed either centrally or at the well head, with the hydrogen generated transported in purpose-built cylinders to Stanmore’s Isaac Plains Complex site for use in their vehicle fleet.

Blue Energy’s Managing Director, John Phillips, said: “Being able to avoid flaring of pilot gas production by converting it to hydrogen is a step forward in reducing emissions prior to gas developments, and, in this case, has the added bonus of also lowering emissions from neighbouring mining operations.”

Blue is in the process of establishing technology partners for this hydrogen trial and, now with a foundation hydrogen offtaker secured, is confident the use of blue hydrogen from its pre-development activities is a positive step toward lowering the greenhouse gas emission footprint of the Bowen Basin coal mining precinct.

Macmahon banks coal mining work with Foxleigh joint venture

Macmahon Holdings confirms it has been selected as the preferred tenderer to provide equipment hire and maintenance services at the Foxleigh joint venture operation in Queensland, Australia, from March 1, 2021.

The Foxleigh mine is an open pit, truck and excavator operation in the Bowen Basin, which produces low volatile PCI coal for Asia steel mill customers.

The proposed scope of work for Macmahon involves the hire and maintenance of 21 large capacity dump trucks and other ancillary equipment over a five-year term, together with the maintenance of client-owned equipment.

Macmahon estimates this work will generate around A$250 million ($177 million) in revenue and require capital expenditure of circa-A$50 million. Most of this capital expenditure will be to acquire 220 t dump trucks, which are expected to have a useful life of 10 years, Macmahon says.

Michael Finnegan, CEO and Managing Director of Macmahon, said: “We are very pleased to be selected as the preferred equipment and maintenance provider for the Foxleigh project, and we are looking forward to delivering for a new client in Queensland. This selection highlights our expertise in sourcing and maintaining large scale mining equipment and our ability to offer a range of service models to our clients.”

Foxleigh is jointly owned by QMetco, POSCO Australia and Nippon Steel Australia.

Queensland set to welcome Olive Downs project to coking coal ranks

Queensland looks like adding a new coking coal mine to its ranks after the state government approved mining leases for Pembroke Resources’ Olive Downs project.

The granting of the leases follows approvals from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act in early 2020, and the grant of the Environmental Authority by the Queensland Government in 2019.

Pembroke Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Barry Tudor, thanked Minister Anthony Lynham for the mining lease approvals, saying they were the final approval hurdle to commence the first 6 Mt/y stage of the project.

Olive Downs is expected to create over 1,000 new jobs in the region as the project is developed to produce up to a forecast 15 Mt/y of saleable coal over its 79-year mine life.

CIMIC Group companies Sedgman and CPB Contractors will carry out the design, procurement, construction and commissioning of the operation’s coal handling and preparation plant, which will have sufficient capacity to process the first phase of annual production of up to 6 Mt of run of mine coal from Olive Downs, according to Pembroke.

“We are extremely pleased to have been granted the mining leases, having consulted extensively with the local community over the past four years,” Tudor said. “In addition to our commitment to the environment, we have focused on creating local jobs and proactively engaged with all stakeholders, including establishing a strong relationship with Barada Barna as the traditional owners of the land, with whom we have an Indigenous Land Use Agreement and Cultural Heritage Management Plan in place.”

With some 838 Mt of JORC resources and 514 Mt of open-cut JORC reserves of coking coal, Olive Downs is widely acknowledged as a potential Tier One steelmaking coal project, Pembroke says. Strategically positioned in the Bowen Basin and with access to infrastructure, the project will supply steelmaking coal to markets globally and continues to attract strong interest within the industry across Asia, including Japan, Korea and China.

Olive Downs has already assembled the key elements required to commence construction following the grant of the mining leases, including securing access to power, water, rail and port, even as finance and offtake partners are finalised.

Olive Downs is 100% owned by Pembroke, an Australia-based specialist steelmaking coal company and is backed by its major shareholder, Denham Capital, a leading global energy and resources private equity firm.

Macmahon extends stay at expanding Byerwen coking coal mine

Macmahon Holdings is to help increase production at the Byerwen mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin after securing an expansion and three-year extension of its work at the coking coal operation.

Macmahon has been providing open-pit mining services at Byerwen since the establishment of the mine in November 2017 and employs more than 430 people on site. The mine is owned by Byerwen Coal Pty Ltd, a joint venture between QCoal Group and Japanese steel manufacturer, JFE Steel.

The new contract significantly expands production to 10 Mt/y of hard coking coal, and applies from June 1, 2020, until November 1, 2023. The expected revenue over the contract period will be A$700 million ($483 million), with full capacity expected from July 2020, Macmahon said.

There is also an option to extend the contract for a further two years after this period. If this option is exercised, revenue from the contract could exceed A$1 billion, according to the company.

The expansion will involve capital expenditure by Macmahon of A$16 million on ancillary equipment. The contractor has also procured two additional 800 t hydraulic excavators for the project worth A$37 million, it said.

Macmahon CEO and MD, Michael Finnegan, said: “We are very pleased to have secured this expansion and extension at Byerwen, which is one of our cornerstone projects in Australia. Byerwen Coal is an excellent partner and the project has been very successful since its inception. We look forward to continuing to work with our client on the development of this premium asset.”

QCoal Group Managing Director, Christopher Wallin, said the production increase at Byerwen was testament to the favourable economics of the project and the work of the QCoal staff and contract partners involved in developing the mine over several years.

“The development of the Byerwen project is a great success story for the industry, with the mine now emerging as a very low-cost producer of hard coking coal,” he said. “I am very proud that this expansion will enable us to further contribute to the Queensland economy with additional local employment and opportunities for regional communities.”