Tag Archives: Carrapateena

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 wades into uncharted renewables territory at West Musgrave

You do not get much more remote than OZ Minerals’ West Musgrave copper-nickel project. Located in the Ngaanyatjarra Aboriginal Lands of central Western Australia, it is some 1,300 km northeast of Perth and 1,400 km northwest of Adelaide; near the intersection of the borders between Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. The nearest towns include the Indigenous Communities of Jameson (Mantamaru), 26 km north; Blackstone (Papulankutja), 50 km east; and Warburton (Milyirrtjarra), 110 km west.

This makes the company’s ambition of developing a mine able to produce circa-32,000 t/y of copper and around 26,000 t/y of nickel in concentrates that leverages 100% renewable generation and can conduct ‘zero carbon mining’ even bolder.

OZ Minerals is not taking this challenge on by itself. In addition to multiple consultants and engineering companies engaged in a feasibility study, the company has enlisted the help of ENGIE Impact, the consulting arm of multinational electric utility company ENGIE, to come up with a roadmap that could see it employ renewable technologies to reach its zero ambitions.

“We’re providing an understanding of how they could decarbonise the mine to achieve a net zero end game,” Joshua Martin, Senior Director, Sustainability Solutions APAC, told IM.

While ENGIE Impact is focused solely on the energy requirements side of the equation at West Musgrave, its input will prove crucial to the ultimate sustainability success at West Musgrave.

Having worked with others in the mining space such as Vale’s New Caledonia operations (recently sold to the Prony Resources New Caledonia consortium), Martin says OZ Minerals is being “pretty ambitious” when it comes to decarbonisation.

“Our job is to assess if the renewable base case stacks up for West Musgrave, create multiple decarbonisation pathways for their consideration and look at what technology should be adopted to achieve their overall aims,” he said.

This latter element is particularly important for an off-grid project like West Musgrave, which is unlikely to start producing until around mid-2025 should a positive investment decision follow the upcoming feasibility study.

While solar, wind and battery back-up are all likely to play a role in the power plans at West Musgrave – technologies that are frequently factored into hybrid projects looking to wean themselves off diesel or heavy fuel oil use – more emerging technologies are likely to be factored into a roadmap towards 100% renewable adoption.

“We are developing a series of roadmaps that factor in where we think technologies will be in the future,” Martin said. “These roadmaps come with a series of decision gates where the company will need to take one option at that point in time if they are to pursue that particular decarbonisation pathway.”

These roadmaps utilise ENGIE Impact’s consulting and engineering nous, as well as the consultancy’s PROSUMER software (screenshot below) that is used on any asset-level decarbonisation project roadmap, according to Martin.

“This software was specifically built for that purpose,” Martin said. “There is nothing on the market like this.”

Progress at PFS level

OZ Minerals’ December 2020 prefeasibility study update went some way to mapping out its decarbonisation ambition for West Musgrave, with a 50 MW Power Purchase Agreement that involved hybrid renewables (wind, solar, battery, plus diesel or gas).

The company said in this study: “Modelling has demonstrated that circa 70-80% renewables penetration can be achieved for the site, with the current modelled to be an optimised mix of wind, solar and diesel supported by a battery installation.”

OZ Minerals said there was considerable upside in power cost through matching plant power demand with the availability of renewable supply (load scheduling), haulage electrification to maximise the proportion of renewable energy used, and the continued improvement in the efficiency of renewable energy solutions.

ENGIE Impact’s view on hydrogen and electric haulage in the pit may be considered here, complemented by the preliminary results coming out of the Electric Mine Consortium, a collaborative mine electrification project OZ Minerals is taking part in with other miners such as Evolution Mining, South32, Gold Fields and IGO. And, on the non-electric pathway, ENGIE Impact’s opinion is being informed by a study it is undertaking in collaboration with Anglo American on developing a “hydrogen valley” in South Africa.

If OZ Minerals’ early technology views are anything to go by, it is willing to take some risk when it comes to adopting new technology.

The preliminary flowsheet in the prefeasibility study factored in a significant reduction in carbon emissions and power demand through the adoption of vertical roller mills (VRMs) as the grinding mill solution, and a flotation component that achieves metal recovery at a much coarser grind size than was previously considered in the design.

Loesche is working with OZ Minerals on the VRM side, and Woodgrove’s Direct Flotation Reactors got a shout out in the process flowsheet.

While mining at West Musgrave is modelled to be conventional drill, blast, load and haul, the haulage fleet will comprise up to 25, 220 t haul trucks, with optionality being maintained to allow for these trucks to be fully autonomous in the future, OZ Minerals said.

‘True’ zero miners

OZ Minerals is aware of the statement it would make to industry if it were to power all this technology from renewable sources.

“With a future focus on developing a roadmap to 100% renewable generation, and reducing dependency upon fossil fuels over time, West Musgrave will become one of the largest fully off-grid, renewable powered mines in the world,” it said in the updated PFS. “The solution would result in the avoidance of in excess of 220,000 tonnes per annum of carbon dioxide emissions compared to a fully diesel-powered operation.”

The company’s Hybrid Energy Plant at Carrapateena in South Australia, whose initial setup includes solar PV, battery storage, diesel generation and a micro-grid controller, will provide a test case for this. This is a “unique facility designed to host experiments on how various equipment and energy technologies interact on an operating mine site”, the company says.

Martin and ENGIE Impact agree OZ Minerals is one of many forward-thinking mining companies striving for zero operations with a serious decarbonisation plan.

“The mining projects we are working on are all looking to achieve ‘true’ net zero operations, factoring in no offsets,” he said. “Having said that, I wouldn’t say the use of offsets is an ‘easy out’ for these companies. They can form part of the decarbonisation equation when they have a specific purpose, for instance, in trying to support indigenous communities.”

These industry leaders would do well to communicate with each other on their renewable ambitions, according to Martin. Such collaboration can help them all achieve their goals collectively, as opposed to individually. The coming together of BHP, Rio Tinto, Vale, Roy Hill, Teck, Boliden and Thiess for the ‘Charge on Innovation Challenge’ is a good example of this, where the patrons are pooling resources to come up with workable solutions for faster charging of large surface electric mining trucks.

“In the Pilbara, for example, there is a real opportunity to create a decarbonisation masterplan that seeks to capitalise on economies of scale,” he said. “If all the companies work towards that end goal collaboratively, they could achieve it much faster and at a much lower cost than if they go it alone.”

When it comes to OZ Minerals, the miner is clearly open to collaboration, whether it be with ENGIE Impact on decarbonisation, The Electric Mine Consortium with its fellow miners, the recently opened Hybrid Energy Plant at Carrapateena, the EU-funded NEXGEN SIMS project to develop autonomous, carbon-neutral mining processes, or through its various crowd sourcing challenges.

ZED70 Ti battery-electric vehicle takes trip underground at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena

The Zero Automotive ZED70 Ti has become one of the first Australia-made street legal light electric vehicles to enter an underground mine after making a trip into the Tjati Decline at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold operation in South Australia.

The vehicle made the trip in January and, according to OZ Minerals, managed over four complete round trips ‒ from the surface to the bottom of the mine and back ‒ without requiring a plug-in charge.

OZ Minerals said: “A big shout out to Zero Automotive for their hard work in developing such a great vehicle and commissioning it for underground use within two days!”

The Zero Automotive ZED70 Ti uses LTO chemistry and comes equipped with a specially selected battery housing, control systems and charging capability to endure the “hyper saline underground environment” at Carrapateena, OZ Minerals previously said.

OZ Minerals previously tested a Zero Automotive ZED70 battery-electric light vehicle on site at Carrapateena.

In June 2020, it also outlined a prefeasibility study on an expansion of Carrapateena that included a trial of electric light vehicles and establishment of a renewable energy hub.

Byrnecut adds Carrapateena to OZ Minerals underground contract mining portfolio

OZ Minerals Ltd has changed underground mining contractor at its Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia following Downer EDI’s move to divest its mining services businesses to MACA.

The company has now signed an agreement with Byrnecut Australia for the delivery of underground mining and associated mining services at Carrapateena. The two companies know each other well, with Byrnecut already carrying out underground mining services at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill for the past 10 years.

The five-year alliance-style contract with Byrnecut is valued at circa-A$130 million/y ($101 million/y), OZ Minerals said. Byrnecut has already commenced a seven-week mobilisation to the Carrapateena site and will assume full responsibility for mining services delivery from March 4, 2021.

“OZ Minerals, Byrnecut and Downer will work together during the transition period to ensure continuity of operational performance and development, and employee support and opportunities, with the objective of providing roles for the majority of the incumbent underground workforce,” the company said. “This transition will include the transfer of equipment from Downer to Byrnecut.”

Byrnecut will now provide underground mining services to both the Carrapateena and Prominent Hill mines.

“Byrnecut is a proven top-tier underground mining contractor who has been providing underground mining services to Prominent Hill for the past 10 years, with their Prominent Hill contract having been renewed in 2020,” OZ Minerals said.

The scope of work comprises all underground mining activity for the duration of the contract including production and development mining and associated mining services; and bedding in steady-state operations at nameplate site capacity.

OZ Minerals on the road to electrifying Carrapateena mine

OZ Minerals’ electrification transformation at its Carrapateena copper-gold operation in South Australia has kicked into another gear with a Zero Automotive ZED70 battery-electric light vehicle arriving on site.

The company has made its electrification and sustainability aspirations clear to stakeholders, confirming it is working towards emitting zero Scope 1 emissions and striving to systemically reduce Scope 2 & 3 emissions across its value chain. It also wants to consume and produce in a way that generates zero net waste and creates value for its stakeholders.

In June, a prefeasibility study on an expansion of Carrapateena included a trial of electric light vehicles and establishment of a renewable energy hub.

The precursor to the ZED70 Ti electric light vehicle developed in partnership with Zero Automotive, the ZED70 (pictured) is based on a Toyota Landcruiser 79 Series and uses either NCM (Nickel Cobalt Manganese) or LTO (Lithium Titanate Oxide) battery chemistry.

The vehicle comes with continuous power of 75 kW and peak power of 134 kW, plus 358 Nm of continuous torque. Depending on the selected battery chemistry, the battery capacity comes in at 88 kWh (NCM) or 60 kWh (LTO).

The ZED70 Ti electric light vehicle to be delivered to Carrapateena following the trial of the ZED70 will use LTO chemistry and come equipped with a specially selected battery housing, control systems and charging capability to endure the “hyper saline underground environment” at Carrapateena.

“Working in partnership with Zero Automotive, we recently welcomed the first electric light vehicles onto site, and have the ZED70 Ti model in use underground,” Oliver Glockner, the OZ Minerals lead in developing the ZED70 Ti with Zero Automotive, said. “This is has been well received on site as a significant step in our electrification roadmap towards no diesel particulates underground and no scope 1 emissions on site.”

Dan Taylor, Business Development Manager at Zero Automotive, told IM that OZ Minerals has worked closely with the company in finalising the vehicle requirements and the change management process for implementing a battery-electric vehicle at the mine site.

“Some of the things I am talking about here include:

  • “Regular communications with their team on the progress with the project;
  • “Establishing charging points at the mine;
  • “Organising trial test drive bookings with those employees interested, and collecting performance data and feedback from them;
  • “Testing charging of the vehicle from one of their generators;
  • “Reviews by the emergency services and maintenance teams; and
  • “Planning the site acceptance testing when the OZ Minerals vehicle is delivered.”

Taylor said the LTO batteries the ZED70 Ti is fitted with can travel around 3 million km or endure 20,000 recharges before the battery re-charge ability reduces by 20%. This compares favourably with the 475,000 km, or 1,200 charges, it would take for the NCM battery’s re-charging ability to drop by the same amount.

At the same time as this, the LTO battery system will charge to a 95% charge in three hours on 415 V three-phase power, compared with four-and-a-half hours for the NCM equivalent.

“With DC-DC fast charging you will need 30 mins on the LTO (two hrs for NCM),” Taylor added.

Such benefits outweigh the lower energy density and upfront expense that come with using these LTO batteries, according to Taylor.

In October, OZ Minerals became the first miner in Australia to take delivery of a battery-powered Normet Charmec MC 605 VE SmartDrive (SD) at Carrapateena.

PYBAR takes the load off raisebore reamer removal underground

PYBAR, an equipment manufacturer and the team at Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia have developed a safe work methodology to remove large diameter raisebore reamers in an underground environment.

As the contractor says, the removal of raisebore reamers has traditionally been a hazardous, complex, costly and time-consuming process. Because of this, PYBAR saw a need to develop a safe work methodology to remove large diameter reamers in an underground environment.

Working with Carrapateena Mine and an equipment manufacturer, the SL100 Reamer Lifting Gantry system was developed.

The SL100 unit, based on the Enerpac SL100 lift and shift technology, is a track-mounted gantry system with hydraulic lifting units capable of lifting up to 80 t. The unit is operated remotely, removing employees from the shaft area during reamer lifts. When the reamer is lifted out of the shaft, the reamer is trammed away from the open shaft, which is then covered with a hole cover to create a safe working area.

PYBAR’s Raise Bore and Shaft Lining Manager, Phillip Viljoen, said: “PYBAR’s underground raisebore reamer removal system is a safety win for the raisebore industry, and we would be happy to share the methodology with anyone interested in a safer and more efficient way of removing large diameter reamers in an underground environment.”

The PYBAR underground reamer lifting gantry methodology has now been accepted as industry best practice, according to PYBAR, and sets the standard for removing large diameter reamers safely in an underground environment.

Normet battery-powered Charmec arrives at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena mine

OZ Minerals has become the first miner in Australia to take delivery of a battery-powered Normet Charmec MC 605 VE SmartDrive (SD), with the unit arriving at its Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia last month.

In a post on LinkedIn, the company said of the machine: “It is Australia’s first battery-powered vehicle for underground explosive charging and emits zero local emissions.”

Back in June 2019, Normet made history by, for the first time in Europe, demonstrating battery-electric emulsion charging in a production environment underground at the Pyhäsalmi mine, in Finland, with its Charmec MC 605 VE SD.

This followed the launch of its SmartDrive battery-electric vehicle architecture at Bauma in Munich, back in April 2019.

According to Normet, battery-based charging makes the explosives charging process safer and more efficient, as there is no need to plug in to the mine’s electric grid.

The company says the Charmec MC 605 VE SD presents the new era of charging in underground mines.

“Normet SmartDrive battery-electric vehicle technology, integrated to the state-of-art emulsion charging technology, offers the highest value to customer in terms of safety, health, ergonomics and productivity, with zero local emissions,” it said.

A prefeasibility study on an expansion of Carrapateena, released in June, included a trial of electric light vehicles and establishment of a renewable energy hub.

Data science competition unearths potential of South Australia’s Gawler region

Unearthed Solutions says scores of multi-billion-dollar mining projects could be ignited following the results of an international challenge to unlock the potential of South Australia’s resource-rich Gawler region.

ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge, run by the South Australian Government and innovation specialists Unearthed Solutions, had a total prize pool of A$250,000 ($183,249) and attracted broad domestic and international interest.

Using the Geological Survey of South Australia’s (GSSA) historical records, primary data and research, the competition combines geological expertise with new mathematical, machine learning and artificial intelligence to increase the number of potential drill targets across central South Australia, Unearthed says.

Buoyed by its success, the South Australia Government has allocated an additional A$5 million from the Economic and Business Growth Fund to the GSSA to flesh out the winning concepts into prospects for exploration companies to make the next big discovery, Unearthed said.

Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said he was pleased to congratulate the first prize winner, Per-OZ, for its innovative entry which brings together traditional geology, machine learning, advancing modelling, and precision drilling.

“Team Per-OZ, short for Peru/Australia, is a collaborative effort by Dr Paul Pearson from Latin Global and Dr John McLellan from GMEX who both specialise in structural geology, prospectivity analysis, data science, machine learning and modelling,” van Holst Pellekaan said.

“The judging panel chose the solution presented by Per-OZ as the best overall submission due to their unique methodology which could help geologists in the field find that needle in the haystack. Their unique approach may put us one step closer to uncovering new economic mineral deposits in one of the most significant iron oxide copper-gold regions in the world.”

He added: “By looking at traditional geology with techniques from other disciplines, we can peer into the depths of the earth in a new way, and might just uncover the next Olympic Dam or Carrapateena.”

The Minister for Energy and Mining added that the competition drew around 2,200 data specialists from more than 100 countries to interrogate massive holdings of new and historical data held by the GSSA across the Gawler Craton.

“Globally, it’s becoming harder to find new mineral deposits, and the next generation of discoveries will need to go beyond traditional geology,” he said.

“The analysis of this information treasure trove by data and geoscientists in just five months is an amazing leap forward in the use of artificial intelligence, machine-learning algorithms and alternative mathematical data analysis for the mining sector.

“The GSSA will use this new funding to develop, validate, and deliver publicly available Next Generation Mineral Systems maps for explorers.”

Unearthed Solutions Director, Justin Strharsky (pictured), said “ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge is a clear demonstration of the South Australian industry’s commitment to harnessing the power of data.

“The world is more interconnected than ever, and the Gawler Challenge has shown that the future will be shaped by those who embrace innovation and collaboration. South Australia is set to reap huge economic benefits and is sending a positive, forward-thinking message to students and international investors that this is where the future lays.

“All mineral targets, models and data will be made publicly available to encourage companies to explore for new deposits in the Gawler region, reinforcing South Australia’s reputation as the centre of mining excellence and innovation in Australia,” he said.

The category winners for ExploreSA: The Gawler Challenge are:
• Overall Winning Submission Per-OZ (A$100,000 prize);
• Runner Up Caldera Analytics (A$50,000 prize);
• Undercover Award DeMIST (A$15,000 prize);
• Rock Licker Award Jack Maughan (A$15,000 prize);
• Future Data Award Sam Bost (A$15,000 prize);
• Breaking New Ground Award Avant Data Solutions (A$15,000 prize); and
• Student Prize Sparveon (A$20,000 prize)

Unearthed Solutions has compiled all targets generated by the challenge into an interactive map, which can be found on the Unearthed website from 16 September 2020.

OZ Minerals eyes up block cave opportunities at Carrapateena underground mine

A prefeasibility study on an expansion of OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold underground mine, in South Australia, has indicated a block cave conversion in the lower portion of the Carrapateena resource has the potential to almost double average production from 2026.

It is these results, plus the potential Block Cave 1 and Block Cave 2 expansion net present value of circa-A$770 million ($534 million) at final investment decision in 2023, that has seen the company confirm it will progress the plan to feasibility study stage, with the Carrapateena Block Cave Expansion Feasibility Study Stage 1 report expected before the end of 2021.

The PFS plan includes the potential to transition to dry-stacked tailings to reduce reliance on groundwater resources and a trial of electric light vehicles and establishment of a renewable energy hub – both of which are aligned with OZ Minerals’ strategy and aspirations, OZ Minerals Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Cole, said.

Carrapateena produced first concentrate in December 2019 following a three-year construction period and is targeting a 12-month ramp-up period to achieve a production rate of 4.25 Mt/y by the end of this year.

Currently an underground sub-level cave operation with an estimated mine life of 20 years, the latest study, which comes with a A$1.2-1.3 billion capital expenditure bill shows the potential for a future expansion of the bottom half of the operation into a series of block caves.

Cole said: “The prefeasibility study analysed the whole Carrapateena Province and determined that replacing the lower half of the current sub-level cave with a block cave and expanding the expected annual throughput rate from 4.7-5 Mt/y (currently planned from 2023) to 12 Mt/y, has the potential to create significantly more value than the sub-level cave alone.”

He said the block cave would leverage existing underground infrastructure, supported by expanded surface processing capability.

OZ Minerals added: “The proposed block cave is different from previous Carrapateena block cave studies as it targets a smaller, higher-grade footprint in BC1 (block cave one) with 600 m height of draw, followed by a lower-grade BC2 (block cave 2) with 400 m height of draw. The Carrapateena block cave builds on modern block caving experience, and aims to deliver an automated, electrified, data-driven mine with technology embedded in the design.”

The conversion to block cave operations enables a series of future add-on block caves, all of which were considered in the Life of Province scoping study, Cole added.

The plan could see annual production double to around 110,000–120,000 t of copper and 110,000–120,000 oz of gold from 2026, with life of mine all-in sustaining costs of some $0.75-0.85 c/lb ($1,654-1,874/t), he said.

Key upgrades to underground infrastructure include faster conveying systems with improved utilisation and a larger crusher station three for the block cave with increased capacity over that required for the sub-level cave.

An additional primary ventilation fan and circuit will be required for the transition period from sub-level cave to block cave before a reduction in the mine’s ventilation requirements for the life of mine, the company added.

The prefeasibility study currently recommends the process plant upgrade to 12 Mt/y via a parallel processing circuit to minimise brownfield interfaces and introduce energy load scheduling via the vertical roller mill as the primary surface crushing option, OZ Minerals said.

“The parallel process plant approach also allows both plants to be run independently, and for mine production to continue during plant shutdown periods,” the company said.

However, pivoting back to a traditional SAG/ball grinding circuit in the parallel process plant or tertiary crushing, to increase sub-level cave process plant throughput, will remain as options until final detailed design, OZ Minerals explained. This will not have a material impact on project value and allow time for optimisation of the current sub-level cave process plant before a final decision, it added.

OZ Minerals to use SIMEC Mining’s Whyalla Port for Carrapateena concentrate exports

OZ Minerals has become the first company to sign a long-term port services contract with SIMEC Mining’s Whyalla Port, in South Australia.

The pact will see OZ ship copper concentrate from its new Carrapateena mine from the port.

The port in Whyalla currently serves SIMEC’s haematite and magnetite iron ore mines as well as the Liberty steelmaking facilities in the same location (all part of the GFG Alliance). The facility handles both the loading of vessels with export-bound ore, as well as the inbound handling of raw materials, storage and blending of iron ore, according to SIMEC Mining.

SIMEC Mining Executive Managing Director, Matt Reed, said the three-year contract was the first major deal the business had secured.

“We’ve stated for some time that our port is open for business, and the last few years have demonstrated that through the number and variety of trials we’ve undertaken,” he said. This includes wind farm transport and the current ship deconstruction, scrapping and recycling project utilising the old shipyard slipway, the company explained.

Reed continued: “To take that to the next level and secure an ongoing contract is testament to our increased capability; and an exciting step in the evolution of the Whyalla Port.”

The contract will see secure containers of copper concentrate trucked from the mine – located about 165 km north of Port Augusta – to the Whyalla Port for consolidation. The concentrate will then be shipped out in 5,000-10,000 t cargoes, with annual shipments gradually increasing in conjunction with the ramp up of the mine.

In its March quarter report, OZ Minerals said Carrapateena was expected to produce 20,000-25,000 t of copper and 35,000-45,000 oz of gold in the 2020 financial year to the end of the June. It added that the plant ramp-up was ahead of schedule with a five-day continuous period at 12,000 t/d nameplate capacity achieved in March.

According to SIMEC Mining, strict environmental controls are in place including sprays to manage dust – with the state government and EPA consulted and engaged prior to providing the necessary approvals.

OZ Minerals’ Chief Financial Officer, Warrick Ranson, said: “We were really excited to hear that SIMEC had opened its port to third parties, and it has made a significant difference for us in reducing transport times.

“We are impressed with the capability SIMEC has managed to develop through the facility in recent years and look forward to partnering with them to deliver our product to market.”

While initially a three‐year contract, Reed is hopeful the agreement can be extended to reflect the overall life of the mine.

“This contract justifies our investment in the port – particularly the installation of our state‐of‐the‐art mobile harbour crane – as this wouldn’t have been possible with our old facilities,” he said.

“We will be able to transport this material safely, efficiently and with a high standard of environmental care; and expect our performance to lead to further long-term contracts in the near future.”