Tag Archives: Christmas Creek

Fortescue employs SRG Global for maintenance and shutdown services

SRG Global has been awarded a five-year term contract from Fortescue Metals Group to initially provide rope access and electrical maintenance requirements across the company’s mine, rail and port locations throughout Western Australia.

The A$150 million ($117 million) term contract, which has already commenced, is a Master Agreement for Maintenance and Shutdown Services, the company said.

Locations for SRG’s work include the Christmas Creek (pictured), Cloudbreak, Firetail, Kings Valley and Eliwana mine sites, along with its supporting rail and port infrastructure.

SRG Global Managing Director, David Macgeorge, said: “We are delighted to be selected as a key partner to FMG and to provide critical maintenance and shutdown services across their Pilbara operations for the next five years. This is another significant step forward in our strategy to build a portfolio of annuity earnings, with quality clients, to deliver long-term sustainable growth.”

Primero completes WHIMS project at Fortescue’s Christmas Creek iron ore op

Primero Group says it has completed the construction of a Wet High Intensity Magnetic Separation (WHIMS) processing plant at Fortescue Metals Group’s Christmas Creek iron ore mine in Western Australia.

The plant is expected to improve product grade and mass recovery from the desands unit at the Christmas Creek Ore Process Facility #2.

The flowsheet is based on a simple and robust configuration, where wet screen undersize at a nominal -1 mm is treated in open circuit through a low intensity magnetic stage, followed by a vertical WHIMS stage to produce a concentrate stream and a tailings stream, which can be integrated with the existing process and auxiliary equipment. The vertical WHIMS project entails the redirection of the wet screen undersize stream from the existing scrubbing circuit to feed the brownfield magnetic separation plant.

“We can proudly say that despite the impacts of COVID-19 and the fast-tracked nature of the project, the plant was successfully delivered and commissioned in less than 12 months – meeting all safety and project key performance indicators,” the company said.

Primero put the project’s success down partly to the “enhanced opportunity for collaboration early contractor involvement (ECI) provides”.

It added: “A flexible approach to project development that ensures the needs of all project stakeholders can be met prior to detailed design and implementation in a lump sum engineering procurement and construction (EPC) environment. This constructive, relationship-based contracting continued throughout construction, commissioning and now operation – demonstrating the power of the ECI contracting model when coupled with Primero’s unique, vertically integrated EPC capability.”

Fortescue expands automation focus to light vehicles at Chichester Hub

Fortescue Metals Group says the future of mining mobility is being advanced at its mines, with the successful operational deployment of autonomous light vehicles (ALVs) at the company’s iron ore mining operations in the Chichester Hub of Western Australia.

Developed by Fortescue’s Technology and Autonomy team as a solution to improve the efficiency of the Christmas Creek mobile maintenance team, ALVs remove the need for fitters to make around 12,000 28-km round trips annually to collect equipment and parts, the company estimates.

With the assistance of Ford Australia, four Ford Rangers have been retrofitted with an on-board vehicle automation system to support the driverless equipment transfer service, which will improve efficiency and safety by enabling team members to spend more time on maintaining assets.

The system features an integrated LiDAR/Radar perception system that facilitates obstacle detection and dynamic obstacle avoidance, a comprehensive independent safety management, and fail safe braking system and extensive built-in system monitoring and fault response capability.

The successful deployment of ALVs at Christmas Creek will provide the opportunity to implement a similar system at other operational sites to improve safety, productivity and efficiency, Fortescue says.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Since the outset, Fortescue has been at the forefront of innovation in the mining industry, underpinned by our value of generating ideas. It is this focus on technology and innovation that has driven our industry-leading operational performance and cost position.

“The autonomous light vehicle project is a significant advancement of our in-house automation capability, building on our leading autonomous haulage system program which has already delivered significant productivity and efficiency improvements for the business.

“With the flexibility to introduce similar systems into other mobile assets, this project is fundamental to our future mobile equipment automation projects.”

Ford Australia President and Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Birkic, said: “We’re very proud that our award-winning Ford Rangers have been used as part of the Fortescue Metals Group autonomous light vehicle project.

“Ford, globally, is at the forefront of research into autonomous vehicles, and working with companies like Fortescue is critical to gaining an insight into specific user applications.”

BOC and Linde recruited for hydrogen coach project at FMG’s Christmas Creek

Leading gas and engineering company, BOC, a subsidiary of Linde plc, has announced a project to provide hydrogen production and refuelling infrastructure for the first fleet of hydrogen coaches at Fortescue Metals Group’s Christmas Creek iron ore operation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The A$32 million ($23 million) renewable hydrogen supply project will enable Fortescue’s 10 coaches to be fuelled with renewable hydrogen and will transport workers from its base camp to the mine site.

Christmas Creek will be the first mine in Australia to deploy hydrogen for transport and transition from diesel engines, according to BOC.

BOC will supply two 700 kW ITM electrolysers to produce renewable hydrogen through electrolysis. The electrolysers will have capacity to produce enough renewable hydrogen to power 10 hydrogen fuel cell coaches that carry around 3,000 workers to and from the mine site every day. A state-of-the-art Linde hydrogen refuelling station will also be supplied by BOC at a site in the Pilbara.

The 10 full-sized hydrogen coaches, custom built by HYZON Motors, will replace the existing fleet of diesel coaches at Christmas Creek.

The project is expected to be completed by early 2022.

Linde is at the forefront in the transition to clean hydrogen and has installed over 190 hydrogen fuelling stations and 80 hydrogen electrolysis plants worldwide, according to BOC.

John Evans, Managing Director, BOC South Pacific, said the project will demonstrate BOC’s expertise in customised hydrogen solutions to suit the most challenging environments.

“BOC is proud to be the chosen partner in this exciting project that will demonstrate how renewable hydrogen can be used as a fuel for heavy vehicles in remote environments.

“Mining is a 24/7 operation which, together with the remoteness of the site, means that reliability is essential. BOC provided a solution that recognised the criticality of the application and we collaborated with Fortescue to design an application to protect the electrolyser and refueller from the environment in the Pilbara region.”

He concluded: “We look forward to working with Fortescue and our other partners to expand the use of hydrogen in heavy transport and remote applications – which are key priorities outlined in the Western Australian Renewable Hydrogen Strategy.”

FMG enlists Pentium Hydro for more boring at Pilbara iron ore ops

Vysarn’s wholly owned subsidiary, Pentium Hydro, has won further work with Fortescue Metals Group following an initial order for the iron ore miner’s Chichester operations in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The two companies have entered into an agreement for hydrogeological borefield drilling and construction services for both the Chichester and Solomon operations.

The contract will see Pentium pocket estimated revenue, based on the initial scope of work, of A$13.3 million ($9 million) for a two-year fixed scope contract with a one-year extension option.

The scope of work as defined under the contract is to provide the drilling and installation of production, injection and monitoring bores to support mining and exploration activities across multiple locations, within the Pilbara region. As defined in the contract these sites are inclusive of Cloudbreak, Christmas Creek, Solomon and Eliwana.

Pentium completed the mobilisation of the first Dual Rotary (DR) drill rig and associated auxiliary plant at Chichester in October 2019 under a previously agreed initial purchase order from FMG.

Pentium anticipates the mobilisation of the second DR rig under the new contract during the month of January.

It said: “Revenue from these works is based on contract key performance indicators for the number of production and monitoring bores and is also subject to metres drilled and drill rates.”

In addition to this work with FMG, Pentium Hydro also has rigs and equipment out at BHP’s Olympic Dam mine, Roy Hill’s iron ore operation and AngloGold Ashanti/Independence Group’s Tropicana gold mine.

FMG to lead from the front in Pilbara renewable energy pursuit

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) has signed an agreement with Alinta Energy that will see up to 100% of daytime stationary energy requirements at its Chichester Hub iron ore operations, in the Pilbara of Western Australia, powered by renewable energy.

The Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid project will see the construction of a 60 MW solar photovoltaic generation facility at the Chichester Hub, comprising Fortescue’s Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak iron ore mining operations.

In addition, an approximately 60-km transmission line linking the Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mining operations with Alinta Energy’s Newman gas-fired power station and a 35 MW battery facility will be constructed, with completion due mid-2021.

FMG said: “Once completed, up to 100% of daytime stationary energy requirements at the Chichester Hub will be provided by solar generation, with the remaining power requirements to be met through the integrated battery storage and gas power station facilities.”

The project is expected to displace around 100 million litres annually of diesel used in the existing Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak power stations, according to FMG.

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Reliable and competitive energy generation remains an important consideration for the mining sector in Western Australia and as a significant consumer of energy, we continue to identify opportunities that have the potential to lower our costs while also improving our carbon footprint.

“This landmark project is a first on this scale for the Pilbara and will reduce carbon emissions from stationary generation by around 40% at Fortescue’s Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mining operations, while driving long-term sustainable cost reductions to maintain Fortescue’s global cost leadership position.”

Gaines added that the agreement with Alinta Energy represented a further step in the creation of Fortescue’s Pilbara Energy Connect project, which builds on the company’s previous energy initiatives, including the construction of the Fortescue River Gas Pipeline, the conversion of the Solomon Power Station from diesel to gas generation, as well as a partnership agreement with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation to develop and commercialise hydrogen technologies.

As part of the agreement, FMG will invest an estimated $250 million in energy transmission infrastructure to complete the integration of Fortescue’s iron ore operations in the Pilbara into an efficient energy network.

Alinta Energy Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Dimery, said: “We’d like to thank Fortescue and our Chichester Hub project partners for helping to make the company’s long-held vision for a cleaner and more connected energy supply for the Pilbara a reality.

“There’s a lot to be proud of in this project. Working together, we are on the cusp of demonstrating that renewables can drive Australia’s economic powerhouses forward–even for remote and complex industrial applications.”

Alinta Energy will receive federal funding of A$24.2 million ($16.5 million) from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and A$90 million from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), upon satisfaction of standard conditions.

The NAIF loan remains subject to ratification from the Western Australian Government.

NAIF Chief Executive Officer, Laurie Walker said: “NAIF’s A$90 million loan for this project will help provide low emission renewable energy generation for large off-grid customers and paves the way towards the creation of a more interconnected regional energy grid in the Pilbara.

“The project innovatively combines solar and gas fired power to compensate for the variability of solar sourced energy. This investment by NAIF offers the opportunity to make a long-term difference to the Pilbara.”

ARENA Chief Executive Officer, Darren Miller, said: “The project could unlock further investment in renewable energy in the mining sector and other remote and energy intensive operations.

“Alinta’s project will demonstrate how renewable energy solutions can deliver critical energy requirements for major mining operations and help reduce emissions. This will also show how interconnection of loads and different generation and storage -including solar, gas and battery storage -can provide secure and reliable electricity.”

FMG sets up Future of Mobility Centre in WA, starts autonomous light vehicle trial

Fortescue Metals Group has announced the establishment of a research and development centre based in Karratha, Western Australia, to explore opportunities for the application of autonomous mobility technology in an urban environment.

On top of this, it said it had commenced an autonomous light vehicle trial at its Christmas Creek iron ore operation in the Pilbara of WA.

In partnership with the local community, City of Karratha and technology and research partners, the Fortescue Future of Mobility Centre will “leverage the company’s success in using autonomous technology across its operations”, FMG said.

Fortescue’s Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said that innovation and emerging technologies, like autonomy, present an opportunity to work closely with the community to bring about mutual benefits.

“We are at the forefront of this technology with our mine operations set to become the first in the world to be fully autonomous and our fleet having safely travelled over 26 million kilometres since the first autonomous truck was introduced in 2012,” Gaines said.

“We are now building on our autonomous capability with the commencement of an autonomous light vehicle trial, at our Christmas Creek mine.

“The emergence of autonomy is one aspect in which our world is changing rapidly, and we intend to be part of the opportunities that it will represent for the mining industry, local communities such as Karratha, and beyond.”

By establishing the Fortescue Future of Mobility Centre in Karratha, FMG will have the ability to develop, test and trial this technology, Gaines said. This will further contribute to “Western Australia’s position as a world leading autonomous hub”, she added.

“We’ll be exploring all facets of the future of mobility including software, hardware and various forms of mobility solutions, to see where the opportunities lie,” she said.

City of Karratha Mayor, Peter Long, said: “I am delighted that of all the potential locations around Australia, Fortescue has selected Karratha as its base to develop this exciting and innovative new technology.”

Dr Fang Chen, Executive Director Data Science at The University of Technology Sydney, which will be a leading research provider to Fortescue’s work in autonomous technology, said: “Research into new technology and infrastructure will accelerate innovative mobility solutions to accommodate growth and future demands.”

Fortescue on the lookout for more automation and AI opportunities

In Fortescue Metals Group’s half-year report to end-December, the company provided an update on its haul truck automation retrofit project at its Chichester Hub iron ore operations, while commenting on the performance of its innovative relocatable conveyor.

For the six months to December 31, FMG shipped 82.7 Mt (84.5 Mt a year ago) of iron ore from its Pilbara operations, generated a net profit after tax of $644 million ($693 million a year ago) and posted underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of $1.6 billion ($1.8 billion a year ago).

As of December 31, 2018, FMG said 44 trucks had been converted with autonomous haulage technology (AHS) at Chichester Hub as part of its automation rollout.

Once complete, the conversion of approximately 100 haul trucks at its Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak operations (which both make up the Chichester Hub) will see Fortescue become the first iron ore operation in the world to have a fully autonomous operating fleet, it said.

The company also provided some commentary around the relocatable conveyor it has been using to cut costs and improve productivity at its Cloudbreak mine.

The conveyor, commissioned in May 2018 by RCR Tomlinson, doubled its throughput in the September quarter, according to FMG.

Fortescue said: “The five-kilometre conveyor includes a mobile primary crushing station that feeds directly into the ore processing facility. The relocatable conveyor and mobile crushing facilities can be positioned in close proximity to pits and relocated once mining in that area is complete.”

FMG concluded on innovation: “The company continues to look for opportunities for automation and artificial intelligence to drive greater efficiency across the business, including the use of data to predict outcomes and optimise performance, the expansion of autonomous mining and the application of relocatable conveyor technology.”