Tag Archives: Byrnecut

Byrnecut wins five-year contract extension at 29Metals’ Golden Grove mine

29Metals Limited says it has renewed the underground mining services agreement with Byrnecut Australia for the Golden Grove mine, in Western Australia, for a further five years, commencing from October 1, 2022.

The renewed contract extends the long-standing relationship with Byrnecut at Golden Grove, with the existing contract entered in 2017, providing continuity of operations.

The renewed contract is on substantially the same terms as the existing contract and covers development and production in the Gossan Hill and Scuddles mines at Golden Grove.

Under the renewed contract, 29Metals has formalised a commitment to identify and evaluate opportunities to collaborate on sustainability and ESG matters, reflecting 29Metals’ commitment to performance in these two areas, it said.

Golden Grove is a copper, zinc and precious metals mining operation, with the first mining discovery in the area dating back to 1971. Mining operations commenced in 1989 with the development of the Scuddles underground mine, followed by the commencement of mining at the Gossan Hill underground mine in 1996 and the Gossan Hill open-pit mine in 2012. In 2020, the mining rate at the operation was 1.44 Mt.

29Metals Managing Director & CEO, Peter Albert (pictured third from the left, shaking hands with Byrnecut Executive Chairman, Steve Coughlan), said: “After assessing a number of options, including owner mining, we are delighted to renew the agreement with Byrnecut and extend our relationship at Golden Grove. Byrnecut is a leading mining contractor in Australia and globally, and has been a key business partner at Golden Grove both before and since the 29Metals IPO.

“There is a strong alignment between our two companies from an operations, performance, and values perspective. With the new contract, we are extending that alignment to include a commitment to collaborate on sustainability and ESG matters where 29Metals will benefit from Byrnecut’s reach and experience globally.”

Byrnecut and Sandvik collaborate on new MAKO ground engaging tool

Sandvik, with the help of Australia-based mining contractor, Byrnecut, has developed a new and improved Ground Engaging Tool (GET) that, the OEM says, reduces downtime and cost-per-tonne mined.

Over a four-year period, Byrnecut has been instrumental in the development of this new system, MAKO™.

In underground mining, wear and tear is unavoidable, and nowhere is it sharper than for the buckets and the shrouds fitted to loaders.

In the most abrasive conditions, the shrouds can wear out in just a few hundred hours of work. Replacing them – especially when they are welded on – can take multiple shifts: valuable hours where the machine is out of action and productivity dented.

To speed up this process, in 2001, Sandvik introduced its Shark™ range of Blue Pointer™ ground engaging tools (GET) – becoming the first retensionable shroud system for the underground market. Blue Pointer can be summarised as shrouds using mechanical fixings that are significantly faster to replace, Sandvik says.

Even though Sandvik says the system was the market leader in underground mining, it still looked to improve upon the Blue Pointer.

With that in mind, in 2018, Sandvik set about developing a replacement, MAKO, collaborating with internationally renowned specialist mining contractor, Byrnecut.

MAKO continues the shark theme – with a Mako being a shortfin predator – and brings with it several advantages: an innovative patented locking mechanism, hammerless removal system, cast corners improvement (patented) and additional wear indicator, to mention a few.

By far the biggest improvement in terms of reducing downtime and cost-per-tonne mined can be found in the MAKO corner shrouds. Normally, corners – which have a much harder life – tend to wear out and need changing at the mid-life point, compared with the rest of the shrouds. In extreme conditions an additional two ‘half corners’ can be needed for every set of normal shrouds. But thanks to improved material and design, with MAKO there is no need for part-life replacement corners, according to Sandvik.

These improvements have been put to the test in the field, with Byrnecut instrumental in putting prototypes through their paces. The contractor trialled the concept at one of its most abrasive sites – the Capricorn copper mine near Mount Isa in Queensland, Australia.

“Sandvik came along with a team of engineers and said: ‘Right, are you willing to help us develop MAKO?”, Gary Boswell, Byrnecut’s Chief Maintenance Supervisor at the mine, said. “So, we got on board and had a good working relationship with Sandvik. Right from the start we were looking for the same outcome – to lower total-cost-of-ownership and achieve a 1:1 [corner:shroud] ratio, so that we only changed corners when we changed all the other shrouds.”

The Capricorn mine has five Sandvik loaders (LH621s) fitted with 10.7 cu.m buckets. Boswell expects to get 7,500 hours out of a bucket and, because of the aggressive nature of the rock, replaces the GET every 500-550 hours, on average. That is roughly 14 sets of MAKO per bucket life. So, making them last longer and easier to change in one go can make a significant difference to downtime and cost over that lifetime.

MAKO has not achieved its durability performance by simply adding more metal; it’s put metal where it matters. The overall MAKO system also has a very favourable weight/performance ratio, according to Sandvik.

The first MAKO GET was fitted at Byrnecut’s Capricorn site in January 2019. Despite the remote location, the buckets were monitored by Sandvik experts on a weekly basis. It soon became clear that the new range was especially durable – lasting, on average, 12% longer than the best of the rest, as well as avoiding the need for half-life corner shrouds, according to the OEM.

The first MAKO GET was fitted at Byrnecut’s Capricorn site in January 2019

“The first prototype we thought was okay, but there is still room for improvement,” Michael McCormick, the Shark Loadmaster who was hands-on with the development of MAKO, said. “The feedback we got from Gary [Boswell] and the team at Capricorn really helped us understand the issues they were having. When something cropped up, we could quickly develop a short-term ‘hotfix’, before developing a longer-term solution. For instance, we found an opportunity to improve the locking system and had to adapt the pin assembly to ensure the push-off feature was truly hammerless.

“As is natural, we had some performance issues with earlier prototypes, and it took us a couple of goes to get it right. But the ability to work in real time with Gary’s team was the key to enabling us to respond rapidly with quick fixes and validating their effectiveness.”

Boswell concluded: “Safety is paramount, and we did not want our guys hammering or using oxyacetylene to get the shrouds off. But Sandvik fixed that with the push-off feature that can handle worn-out GETs; even those with lifting lugs eroded through use. The issue of transporting heavy shrouds has also been resolved by a new lifting device, which is very effective.”

Sandvik added: “When, like Byrnecut at the Capricorn mine, you are using several hundred [GET] sets each year, the MAKO’s collective benefits add up to significant productivity, cost, time and safety enhancements. The cleve design of MAKO, perfected in the field, helps keep buckets meet their availability and productivity targets.”

Byrnecut to use six Sandvik 18-t-payload BEVs at OZ Minerals mines

Leading Australia-based contract miner Byrnecut is embracing the many benefits of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) by purchasing six Sandvik battery-powered loaders with AutoMine® for use at OZ Minerals’ operations in South Australia.

Under a deal with Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, Byrnecut will take delivery of the LHDs in 2023 and 2024 for use at the Prominent Hill copper, gold and silver mine, south-west of Coober Pedy, and the Carrapateena copper and gold mine, north of Port Augusta. Byrnecut has been engaged by OZ Minerals to provide underground mining services at the mines and currently has a fleet of Sandvik LH621i loaders equipped with autonomous solutions operating on both sites.

We’re excited to be leading the way with battery-electric vehicles in Australia by putting these six Sandvik loaders into service over the next two years,” Max Woods, Asset Manager for Byrnecut, said. “Not only will the use of electric vehicles significantly improve the working environment underground, but it will also help our customers to work toward their emissions reduction goals – something that is increasingly important in the mining sector.”

Woods says the purchase of the electric loaders is part of Byrnecut’s commitment to explore and embrace new technologies that make its operations safer, more efficient and more sustainable.

“Eliminating emissions from loaders from the underground environment helps us create a better workplace, as does AutoMine technology that enables operators to work from comfortable remote control rooms,” he said.

Another major benefit to Byrnecut is the anticipated increased performance the new loaders could provide, Sandvik says.

The company worked closely with Sandvik prior to purchase to model various application scenarios, including both manual and automated operation.

“We’re expecting the loaders to provide greater throughput in both manual and automated modes while delivering a similar total cost of ownership per tonne delivered to their predecessors,” Woods says.

The new Sandvik loaders are also expected to bring major cost savings across their entire lifecycles, according to Woods. They are likely to require fewer replacement parts than their predecessors, and servicing is also more efficient and simpler.

Sandvik 18-t battery loaders are the most compact on the market, according to the OEM. The powerful electric motors, innovative electric driveline and the smaller tyres on the rear compared with the front, result in a small machine size, high payload with good visibility and unmatched speeds.

Battery machines produce no underground exhaust emissions and significantly less heat than traditional diesel engines, supporting the mines to reach sustainability targets, through reduced CO2 emissions.

Andrew Dawson, Business Line Manager for Load & Haul at Sandvik, praised Byrnecut for helping to pioneer the use of BEVs in Australia.

“The first Sandvik battery-electric loaders only began arriving in the country about a year ago, and the interest has been extremely strong,” he says. “We’re very pleased that Byrnecut and Oz Minerals see the benefits of this technology and is demonstrating it to the rest of the industry. We have always had an excellent working relationship with Byrnecut and look forward to cooperating with them throughout the roll-out and beyond.”

Byrnecut progressing to ore production targets at B2Gold’s Wolfshag Underground mine

The on-boarding of Byrnecut Offshore at B2Gold’s Otjikoto Mine has resulted in development rates in the Wolfshag Underground mine recovering, the Canada-based company said in its recently-released June quarter results.

Otjikoto produced 31,417 oz of gold in this quarter of 2022, 2,027 oz below budget, with the lower-than-budgeted gold production due to a slower than planned ramp-up in development of Wolfshag.

The company recently appointed Byrnecut as its new underground mining contractor as part of a $112 million contract. The agreement consists of both development and production, including a total of 10 km of development and a total material movement of 3.2 Mt.

The underground fleet at Wolfshag is mainly from Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions and currently consists of one DD422i DC jumbo, one DD422i jumbo, two LH517i loaders, three TH551 trucks and a DL432i production drill rig.

B2Gold said development rates in the Wolfshag Underground mine recovered in the recent three-month period, with development ore now expected in the September quarter and stope ore production commencing in the December quarter.

“As a result of this change in ore production timing, the 2022 annual production guidance range for Otjikoto has been revised to between 165,000 and 175,000 oz of gold (original guidance range was between 175,000 and 185,000 oz of gold),” the company said.

As expected, compared with the June quarter of 2021, gold production was 17% higher due to significant waste stripping operations at both the Wolfshag and Otjikoto pits in the first half of 2021.

The initial underground mineral reserve estimate for the down-plunge extension of the Wolfshag deposit includes 210,000 oz of gold in 1.2 Mt of ore at 5.57 g/t Au.

OZ Minerals, Titeline investigate hydrogen-powered surface diamond drilling opportunities

OZ Minerals, in partnership with Titeline Drilling, has commenced a trial to test a hydrogen direct injection system to improve engine combustion efficiency for surface diamond drill rigs.

The system has the potential to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and particulates, as well as improve fuel consumption, according to the company.

The news came out with the release of the company’s June quarter results, which saw a 22% quarter-on-quarter uplift in copper production following a strong performance from the company’s South Australian operations (Prominent Hill and Carrapateena).

In addition to the trial of hydrogen-powered surface drill rigs, OZ Minerals said the mining tri-alliance it has in place with Byrnecut and Sandvik – designed to identify and introduce smart and innovative ideas – had progressed during the quarter, with in-roads made on several associated projects.

Significant work was undertaken towards trialling the use of tele-remote loading of trucks, which has now been implemented in a key stope in July, it said.

OZ Minerals previously said it was working with Byrnecut and Sandvik to roll out Sandvik’s AutoMine® platform at its Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia. This followed a project between the two to implement an automation upgrade for a Sandvik DD422i development drill at the operation.

OZ Minerals, Byrnecut, Sandvik working on remote LHD operation at Prominent Hill

OZ Minerals says it is working with Byrnecut and Sandvik to roll out Sandvik’s AutoMine® platform at its Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia.

As part of these efforts, a new system has been installed in the company’s Adelaide office that allows an operator to remotely to control a Sandvik LHD underground at Prominent Hill – over 600 km away – as if they were directly onsite.

Back in April when announcing the delivery of its 100th loader connected to AutoMine in the Asia Pacific region, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions said it had recently demonstrated the capability to simultaneously control or monitor multiple machines from the comfort and safety of a remote control room in a successful trial of a LH621i LHD at Prominent Hill.

“The LH621i was successfully operated from the Remote Operating Centre in OZ Mineral’s Adelaide office, taking OZ Minerals a step closer to realising its goal of remote operations from home,” it said.

The three companies, in 2020, successfully navigated COVID-19 challenges to implement an automation upgrade for a Sandvik DD422i development drill  at Prominent Hill. This saw Byrnecut Australia become the first underground operator in the world to successfully use a new automation and tele-remote package for Sandvik development drills.

Sandvik delivers 100th automated loader in APAC region

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it has delivered its 100th loader connected to the AutoMine® platform in the Asia Pacific region.

A Sandvik LH621i loader was delivered to Byrnecut Australia in March, making it Sandvik’s 100th automated load and haul unit to be delivered in APAC.

Sandvik has 30 AutoMine systems installed across Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, with customers including Barminco, OceanaGold, Redpath, and Byrnecut, who now have 11 sites in Australia connected to AutoMine. The first AutoMine system in the region was delivered and commissioned in 2008 for Mount Isa Copper Operations, now owned by Glencore.

AutoMine is Sandvik’s automation system for autonomous and tele-remote operation for a wide range of Sandvik and non-Sandvik underground and surface equipment. It provides a safe and controlled process to increase mine productivity and profitability, as well as protect operators and other mine personnel in underground and surface operations.

AutoMine can be scaled from tele-remote or autonomous operation of a single machine to multi-machine control and full fleet automation with automatic mission and traffic control capability. Operators can simultaneously control or monitor multiple machines from the comfort and safety of a remote control room, Sandvik says.

Sandvik recently demonstrated this capability with the successful trial remote operation of a LH621i loader at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine in South Australia. The LH621i was successfully operated from the Remote Operating Centre in OZ Mineral’s Adelaide office, taking OZ Minerals a step closer to realising its goal of remote operations from home.

“The digitalisation field has developed significantly over the years and we have adapted to meet the industry needs along the way,” Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions Technical Support Manager – Mine Automation, Ty Osborne, said.

“We have seen our customers change their mindset from ‘this technology is nice but won’t work in our mine’, to, ‘what do have to do to make this work in our mine?’. Our customers are now seeing the value of including digitalisation in their mine planning and recognise the tangible benefits an automated fleet can bring to their operation.”

Byrnecut partners with AusIMM to support, mentor and up-skill workforce

AusIMM says it has officially launched a three-year major partnership with renowned underground mining contractor Byrnecut.

Introduced as part of AusIMM’s Underground Operators Conference in Perth, Western Australia, which hosts an audience of 1,200 mining representatives and professionals, the partnership will focus on supporting, mentoring and up-skilling Byrnecut professionals, as well as engaging in prominent diversity and inclusion initiatives for the industry, AusIMM said.

Byrnecut Mining, established in 1987, has developed a reputation for professionalism and reliability, growing to employ thousands of people and operate a multimillion-dollar fleet of specialised underground mining equipment, it said.

AusIMM CEO, Stephen Durkin (left), welcomed the opportunity to combine efforts with Byrnecut to better support mining professionals as their careers grow.

“In taking a consolidated approach through our partnership with Byrnecut, we are excited to rollout a well-planned and strategic series of initiatives to provide greater advantage, impact and value for professionals at Byrnecut and the wider industry,” Durkin said.

Byrnecut Group Executive Chairman, Steve Coughlan (right), said that the organisation was looking forward to using their extensive experience and knowledge of the sector to work with AusIMM in supporting, mentoring and up-skilling their workforce.

“We’re pleased to be partnering with Australia’s peak body for the resources sector,” Coughlan said. “Building long lasting relationships with our employees and our partners is a key part of our culture and Byrnecut are looking forward to working with AusIMM over the next three years.”

Byrnecut and Wiluna Mining strengthen ties with five-year alliance

Wiluna Mining says it has formally agreed to enter a five-year alliance with contractor Byrnecut Australia Limited for the performance of underground development and production mining services at the Wiluna Mining Complex in Western Australia.

Wiluna Mining has commenced a three-year, staged development plan that will see it capable of treating all ore types at Wiluna through four processes including an existing 2.1 Mt/y carbon-in-leach process plant; a 750,000 t/y flotation and concentrator, commencing construction this month with commissioning due in October, scaling up to 1.5 Mt/y capacity by the 2024 financial year; gravity circuit; and tailings retreatment plant.

On conclusion of the staged development plan, which is being developed to match the rate of the underground mining development, Wiluna Mining says it will be capable of processing all its ore at the Wiluna Mining Operations and will be producing some 250,000 oz/y. Most of the gold at this stage will be produced as a concentrate, however gold doré produced on site in parallel to concentrate sales will be continued to improve and optimise operating margins.

Wiluna said back in October that Murray Engineering had been contracted to supply and maintain mine fleet for current production, associated development and stoping at the operation, while Byrnecut would provide equipment and personnel for existing development rehabilitation and new development for resource-reserve drill out programs and production from new mine areas.

Byrnecut, following the most recent agreement, will be responsible for development and eventually the mining of the underground mine at the Wiluna Mining Centre, Wiluna Mining said.

The Byrnecut pact will also allow Wiluna Mining to amortise significant agreed mine capital and establishment costs over the five-year alliance period and provides the framework and certainty to a long-term seamless integrated approach to both mine planning and mining services execution to ensure the best outcomes and risk mitigation, it said.

Milan Jerkovic, Wiluna Mining’s Executive Chair, said: “We are pleased to enter into the five-year alliance with a world-class mining contractor in Byrnecut. We see great synergies and efficiencies as well as cost and capital benefits through the alliance. It provides, with a great degree of confidence, that the underground development and ongoing mining will be executed with the highest standard of efficiency, safety, timeliness, and profitability.

“We look forward to working with Byrnecut to transitioning the Wiluna Mine, once again, into one of Australia’s biggest and most profitable gold mines.”

This agreement is conditional on the completion of the final contract documentation, which is underway, and respective board approvals.

Full speed ahead for Wiluna Mining sulphide gold project

Wiluna Mining’s board has approved the staged development of its sulphide project at the Wiluna gold operation in Western Australia, enlisting GR Engineering Services to build the 750,000 t/y concentrator required to process the ore.

The development will see the company transition from its current production profile of producing 62,000 oz/y from mining free milling ore through the current 2.1 Mt/y carbon-in-leach processing facility, initially producing 100,000-120,000 oz/y of gold and gold in concentrate.

This will be implemented using the current, recently refurbished crushing circuit, the previously expanded mill circuit and a new 750,000 t/y concentrator by October 2021, the company said. This forms Stage 1 of the project. Wiluna then intends to increase production of gold and gold in concentrate by, at a minimum, doubling the mining rate and the concentrator to produce circa-250,000 oz/y by the end of 2023/early 2024. This is Stage 2.

Of the A$81 million ($58 million) capital cost estimate of the sulphide project, of which around A$20 million has already been committed, the concentrator is expected to cost A$26 million, pre-production underground mine activities/infrastructure development is estimated at A$37 million, drilling comes in at A$9 million and the feasibility study had a A$2 million price tag. A 10% contingency of A$7 million was also calculated.

Wiluna said Murray Engineering has been contracted to supply and maintain mine fleet for current production associated development and stoping, while Byrnecut Contractors have been engaged to provide equipment and personnel for existing development rehabilitation and new development for resource-reserve drill out programs and production from new mine areas.

To complement the current equipment and development work, the first development crew from Byrnecut is expected to be mobilised in the December quarter with further development crews to be mobilised during June 2021 to maintain the required work program, the company said.

GR Engineering has been appointed as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor by Wiluna for Stage 1 works relating to the concentrator development, the engineering firm said, adding that it expects to commence work in early December with commissioning scheduled for October 2021.