Tag Archives: coal

BUMA Australia extends relationship with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s Goonyella mine

BUMA Australia has won its third contract in 2022, with the mining service provider extending its relationship with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Goonyella Riverside mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin for up to another five years.

This award covers delivering mining services at the operation and extends the company’s existing delivery scope at the mine.

BUMA Australia is a subsidiary of Bukit Makmur Mandiri Utama (BUMA), which, itself, is a subsidiary of PT Delta Dunia Makmur Tbk. The company’s Australia presence was expanded in 2021 with the acquisition of Downer EDI Limited’s Open Cut Mining East business.

The contract extension from BMA is valued at A$400 million ($268 million) over a three-year term, with the option to extend for another two years. Production is expected to average 36 million bank cubic metres per year.

On February 22, 2022, BUMA Australia announced it had secured a new A$550 million contract extension at BMA’s Blackwater mine and, on May 10, it announced a new A$320 million, three-year contract with Bowen Coking Coal’s Broadmeadow East coking coal project, with the option to extend for a further year.

Anglo American’s longwall automation milestone recognised in awards ceremony

Anglo American’s innovation-led approach to sustainable mining, FutureSmart Mining™, and a willingness to collaborate with industry parties, has enabled it to achieve a major milestone in longwall operation: 100% machine automation.

This work was recently recognised at the Queensland Mining Awards where team members received the METS Ignited Collaboration Award.

Billed as delivering a significant step change in the safety and efficiency of underground mining, the ability to remove people from hazardous situations at the face and, instead, relocate them to a purpose-built Remote Operations Centre (ROC), has enabled the company to deliver a breakthrough in performance being recognised across the underground coal mining industry.

Anglo American says the development of industry-first systems and technology for this project were completed through working collaboratively with partners including Restech, Aurecon, Komatsu, Eickhoff, Marco and GTick systems.

The miner achieved its first longwall shear fully controlled from surface in late 2018 at its Grosvenor mine in Queensland, Australia, with this milestone achieved on its Komatsu Mining longwall equipment.

Yet, it was the Moranbah North mine that became the first of the company’s three operating longwalls to achieve the 100% automation mark (pictured above).

This mine uses SL 900 shearers from Eickhoff, with a team of operational and engineering experts monitoring the longwall mining process from start to finish. These operators, located in the ROC above-ground, are able to analyse the data and drive safer operations, better decisions and achieve mining excellence, the company says.

Head of Transformation for Anglo American’s Steelmaking Coal business in Australia, Dan Reynolds, said Moranbah North has now become Australia’s most capable remotely-operated underground steelmaking coal mine, with the company’s other mines – Grosvenor and the recently-commissioned Aquila – following close behind.

“All three underground mines are now fully remote-capable, allowing operators to work from state-of-the-art ROCs on the surface of the mine,” he said.

Aquila, Anglo American’s most recently commissioned mine, is also remote-capable, allowing workers to work from a Remote Operations Centre above ground

Step change

The key drivers behind automating longwall operations were to improve safety by reducing personnel exposure to underground hazards; reduce operational variability, to deliver more stable operations and improve efficiency; and improve sustainability of operations, through ensuring automation resilience in various operating conditions.

Much of the technology required to achieve these improvements did not yet exist when Anglo American was considering such a move, and previous industry attempts at achieving sustainable autonomous and remote operations had fallen down, Anglo American said, due to:

  • Enablers not being defined to the level required;
  • Key operational systems being unavailable;
  • OEM operating logic not providing the required operational solutions;
  • The technology enablers not being available; and/or
  • The workforce not being suitably prepared.

Anglo American saw collaboration as a key tool able to overcome these issues, recognising that significant leaps forward in technology were required, including the development of various automation-enabling applications.

“Working with operational teams, the Underground Technology and Automation team developed a leading practice target operating model for integrated remote operations and automation and technology enablers after extensive workforce collaboration,” Reynolds said.

Anglo American says its Steelmaking Coal business has delivered a breakthrough performance in the development and implementation of autonomous longwall technology and remote operations for the underground coal mining industry

“It was identified early in the project that a step change in the supply of systems and technology would be required to achieve project goals. This was reached through working with the OEM and third-party technology providers, which ensured the technology and the software systems provided the solutions that met our mining requirements.”

This work required the team to work collaboratively across its underground operations and corporate partners to develop a series of industry-first safety and production systems that were required to “unlock” autonomous longwall operations, the company said.

The list of innovative, industry-leading processes and systems that the partners have developed, include:

  • A longwall remote operations framework
  • Autonomous shearer:
    • Auto duck – system solution
    • Auto gate road entry – system solution
    • Anglo Seam Steering – system/technology solution
  • Integrated remote powered roof support (PRS) control:
    • Integrated face controller – system/technology solution
    • Remote strata control – system solution
    • Enhanced logic solutions – system solutions
  • A Remote Operating Centre longwall system manager:
    • Integrated central interface solution for longwall remote management comprising:
      • Auto gate road entry
      • Anglo Seam Steering
      • Auto alerts
      • ROC reporting
      • Auto blockage detection
      • Longwall positional control
      • Creep management.

The high levels of collaboration between internal teams and third-party providers enabled these systems to be developed, according to Anglo American.

“The outcomes of this work are significant,” Reynolds said. “It is delivering a significant step change in the safety, stability and sustainability of underground mining.”

The company shed a bit more light on these innovations – many of which have been spoken of by suppliers and mining companies as the missing pieces of the fully-autonomous longwall mining puzzle – in its Queensland Mining Awards application.

“Auto duck”, for instance, allows the shearer to automatically cut under roof supports in challenging strata conditions.

“Auto gate road entry” involves the longwall shearer becoming more “intelligent”, using existing data from scanned files, PRS height data or manual measurements to determine the next cut height for the gate road.

“Seam steering” identifies whether the longwall is in or out of the coal seam by automatically detecting the tonstein band position. This, Anglo American says, is a valuable stratigraphic measure.

“Blockage detection” is conducted using eight cameras across the longwall face, which automatically detect if a face blockage is seen, alerting a ROC operator as necessary.

Similarly, “longwall alerting” sees a ROC operator alerted of potential events or issues. “Tailgate lag control” automatically identifies if the tailgate drive is lagging the face line, while “strata management logic” enables automation of shields.

The company says its Steelmaking Coal business has delivered a breakthrough performance in the development and implementation of autonomous longwall technology and remote operations for the underground coal mining industry.

PT. Putra Perkasa Abadi starts training operators with Immersive PRO5 simulator

PT. Putra Perkasa Abadi (PT. PPA) has became the first company in Indonesia to incorporate Immersive Technologies’ PRO5 Advanced Equipment Simulator technology, with the first two of four units commissioned in the PPA office at the PT Multi Harapan Utama mine site.

Launched at MINExpo 2021, the PRO5 Advanced Equipment Simulator set a new benchmark in realism, reliability and training value for operator training technology, according to Immersive.

A commissioning celebration and handover was carried out by Edwin Trisnohadi, Regional Vice President Immersive Technologies Asia & Indonesia region, and Director of PT. PPA, R. Teguh Sapto Subroto. Also present at the event were Sunaryo, Head of PPA Academy, and Teddy Ramdani, Customer Support Manager of PT. United Tractors, Tbk.

Equipped with a professional-grade visual system, the PRO5 is the first mining simulator to combine stereoscopic 3D, a one-piece curved display, photo-realistic graphics and RealView™ head tracking technology, according to Immersive. It delivers realism at a level not previously seen by the mining industry, according to the company, with these advancements helping new and experienced mining equipment operators develop competencies at a rapid pace, while maintaining high levels of learning retention.

Previously, in order to improve the competence of newly graduated workers, PPA’s only option was on-iron training. This takes extra time and also has safety risks. Now, these novice “green” workers can develop psychomotor skills and learn critical behaviors in a safe, simulated environment, while also reducing fuel consumption, according to the company.

PPA is a mining contractor, which, in recent years, has recorded significant growth to become the third largest contractor in the Indonesian mining industry.

The speed of growth requires an investment in the workforce and training tools to become more effective and efficient and to prepare personnel to become mine-ready. This year, PPA is targeting an additional 100 million bank cubic metres (BCM) above last year’s 267 million BCM. In order to achieve this target, an additional 3,200-3,500 operators are needed. The company also needs an additional 1,500-2,000 mechanics. PPA targets an addition of 150 million BCM next year, with another circa-6,000 mechanics and operators needed to support this.

To onboard 6,000 workers, PPA can no longer rely on outdated training techniques.

R. Teguh Sapto Subroto said: “Simulators will help us to develop personnel at a safe and steady pace, independently of disruptions such as weather conditions. We need this technology.”

Before arriving at the decision to buy four PRO5 platforms, PPA had made an in-depth study of simulation vendors and related solutions, according to Subroto. This involved proof of concept product testing from Immersive Technologies.

“The biggest challenge in workforce development is to rapidly develop quality talent with the skills to be safe and productive,” Subroto said. “If you recruit well, you will compete with others, but skill levels may remain 30% below ideal. To produce a quality workforce, you need the right tool that make humans more efficient and effective.”

The simulators will later be managed by the PPA Academy.

Ramdani said that this latest PRO5 simulator has only been available to the market for a short period of time and PPA incorporated it rapidly because of the value it could bring. “Hopefully it can help PT. PPA in building worker competencies, especially for operators,” he said. “PPA recorded the highest growth in the industry which must be balanced with the quality of qualified workforce.”

Trisnohadi explained: “This level of realism and reliability will help companies produce quality workforces and significant return on investment. Our goal is to help PPA in obtaining a world-class workforce, which ultimately would result in greater operational efficiency.

“This PRO5 simulator is the cutting-edge product from Immersive Technologies with the latest evolution of display systems. It is a combination of seamless curve screen with stereoscopic 3D technology which provides unmatched training value and highest levels of learning.”

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.

National Group’s contract mining arm awarded Yancoal Moolarben work

National Group says its contract mining operation, National Mining Services, is to supply services to Yancoal’s Moolarben mine in the Western Coalfields of New South Wales, Australia.

As part of a three-year mining services contract, with an option to extend for a further two years, National Mining Services will provide works that include the safe pre-stripping of a minimum of 15 million bank cubic metres (Mbcm) of overburden each year at Moolarben.

National Mining Services will use National Group’s ultra-class mining equipment on the contract, including Liebherr R9800 excavators, Liebherr T282 dump trucks and other ancillary equipment.

“This is a significant contract in National Group’s history,” National Group founder and Managing Director, Mark Ackroyd, said. “We are grateful for Yancoal’s ongoing support for National Group and for the opportunity to contribute to the world-class Moolarben open-cut coal mine. National Group looks forward to helping Yancoal achieve its goals at Moolarben.”

The Moolarben contract continues a strong period of growth for National Group in the coal industry. In January 2022, National Group extended an equipment contract for Anglo American Australia on its two expanding open-pit coal mines at Capcoal in the Bowen Basin in Central Queensland (Lake Lindsay and Oak Park).

“National Group is proud to be part of the Australian coal industry,” Ackroyd said. “We intend to expand our long-term presence in the coal sector, help more companies export high-quality Australian coal, and create jobs for regional communities.”

The Moolarben contract expands National Group’s footprint in NSW. In 2021, Newcrest awarded National Group a surface-mining contract at its Cadia gold mine in central NSW, where it is supplying Caterpillar 994K and 988K large wheel loaders, Caterpillar 793 dump trucks and the Hitachi ZX890 excavator.

“National Group continues to grow and diversify its NSW operations,” Ackroyd said. “We have significant long-term contracts in coal and gold, and a strong pipeline of opportunities for sustained growth in NSW. National Group has created well over 100 regional jobs in NSW in the past two years. We intend to create plenty more.”

Ackroyd says the Moolarben contract diversifies National Group in others ways.

“Our company is best known as a leading supplier of heavy-earthmoving equipment,” he said. “The Moolarben contract expands our work in mining services and further strengthens National Group’s unique end-to-end offering and its operational diversification.”

National Mining Services is well-positioned to take on more work in mining services by providing mining and infrastructure services to National Group’s major open-pit mining clients, it said. “The business has extensive capabilities in large-scale mining projects, meeting production requirements in excess of three Mbcm per month of waste and coal.”

Ackroyd says National Mining Services’ position within the National Group is a competitive advantage.

“Through National Group, National Mining Services has access to one of the country’s most advanced mining fleets, a large supply of experienced labour and access to capital,” he said. “Most of all, National Mining Services has a great team.”

Weba Chute Systems wins retrofit design work at Mpumalanga coal mine

When a coal mine in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province needed to replace its high maintenance conventional transfer chutes, it looked to Weba Chute Systems for the best custom-engineered design, the manufacturer says.

Weba Chute Systems is currently busy with designs that will pave the way for the retrofitting of over a dozen chutes at the mine. Eight of the units are silo discharge chutes, transferring coal from the operation’s run-of-mine feed to its coal processing plant. Another four chutes are to be replaced in the plant itself, while there is another chute located between two related feed conveyors.

“The main objective of the new bespoke chutes is to ensure stable supply to the plant, and from there to the nearby power station,” Dewald Tintinger, Weba Chute Systems’ Technical Manager and Designer, says. “The existing equipment is demanding too much maintenance, leading to unacceptable levels of downtime.”

The key to improved uptime and extended chute lifespan is the company’s flow control principles in its designs. The chutes in the plant, for example, must deal with oversize material of between 150 mm and 500 mm in size.

“Handling these large particles, chutes are exposed to high levels of impact and wear,” Tintinger says.“With the controlled flow philosophy of our Weba ‘cascade’ chute system, we control both the velocity and the impact.”

Commenting on other aspects of the custom designs, Tintinger says the transfer points will include features such as dead-boxes to create a lining from the mined material itself. This reduces the wear on the chute’s metal surfaces, extending the maintenance intervals and delivering more uptime. He highlights that the processing plant feeds the power station directly through two overland conveyors.

“This is a highly efficient model for delivering coal, but it demands that all elements of the materials handling system are working together,” he says. “Any disruption of coal flow caused by a transfer chute can cause costly delays, and render coal delivery unreliable.”

He notes that the mine has had good experience from the many other Weba chutes already installed at this operation, and is now standardising on this internationally accepted transfer point design for better results.

Designs and engineering are conducted in-house by Weba Chute Systems’ experienced team, using the latest software and finite element analysis tools for testing.

The design work is expected to be completed around the middle of 2022. Thereafter the mine will be in a position to contract the fabrication and installation work.

NRW Holdings companies win work from Wonbindi Coal, Lynas Rare Earths, Rio Tinto

NRW Holdings Limited companies Golding Contractors and DIAB Engineering have banked some significant contracts in the mining space, the biggest of which is a Mining Service Agreement with Wonbindi Coal Pty Ltd at the Baralaba North Mine in Queensland.

The Baralaba North award is valued at around A$800 million ($546 million) and continues the strong relationship between Golding and Wonbindi where Golding has provided the contract mining services at the Baralaba North Mine over the last four years.

The scope of work remains the same and includes maintaining and operating a client-owned fleet of equipment, producing an ultra-low volatile pulverised coal injection product. The pact commenced on July 1 and follows on from a Binding Letter of Intent the two companies signed earlier in the year.

DIAB Engineering, meanwhile, has been awarded two contracts with a value of circa-A$78 million.

At the Lynas Rare Earths Processing Facility in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, DIAB has been awarded a contract for a key component of the facility, being the construction of the Filter Building used to process and further concentrate the rare earth. The works to be performed include the supply, fabrication and erection of the Filter Building, the installation of associated equipment and piping, and electrical and instrumentation installation.

DIAB will carry out all the circa-1,500 tonne fabrication works for the Filter Building at its facilities in Geraldton using around 80 local Midwest team members. A construction workforce of 60-80 will then be mobilised to site progressively over the coming months.

Lynas Kalgoorlie Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lynas Rare Earths, is the only scale producer of separated rare earths outside of China. It mines and processes rare earth ore at Mt Weld, in the north-eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia. Lynas’ new processing facility in Kalgoorlie will treat rare earth concentrate from Mt Weld to produce a rare earth carbonate.

At Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s Tom Price mine in Western Australia, DIAB Engineering, has secured the supply, fabrication and installation of multiple dust suppression systems to be utilised on the Tom Price and Western Turner crusher and conveyor systems. These systems will assist in improved control and suppression of dust generated from processing activities, reducing the impacts on personnel and plant operations, it says. The project will run for approximately 12 months, employing 60 people at its peak.

Field Solutions Holdings extends communications connection with Kestrel Coal

Australia-based Field Solutions Holdings Limited says it has been selected as exclusive preferred supplier for enterprise Managed Desktop, Network and general IT services for Kestrel Coal on a five-year contract term.

Coming with revenue of circa-A$25 million ($17 million), the contract extends Field Solutions’ existing connectivity provision relationship with Kestrel Coal, while leveraging its Regional Australia Network telecommunications infrastructure.

“The award of this enterprise contract to FSG validates and reinforces our strategy to build infrastructure and deploy full-time resources into rural, regional and remote Australia,” Andrew Roberts, FSG CEO, said.

FSG has been operating and building infrastructure across central Queensland for the past five years, providing residential, business and enterprise telecommunication services from its Emerald regional headquarters.

This win consolidates FSG as the largest Managed Services organisation in Emerald and surrounding areas and will see FSG expand its local operations at its Emerald Regional headquarters, the company said.

“Field Solutions’ Regional Australia Network services the mining regions northeast and west of Emerald and FSG has provided connectivity services to Kestrel Coal for three years, together with other mining and agribusiness customers,” Roberts said.

Kestrel Coal ran a competitive process to select FSG as its preferred IT partner, FSG says. Its mine is 51 km northeast of Emerald and was managed by Rio Tinto until 2018. It is one of the largest coking coal mines in the world, with an estimated 158 Mt of reserves.

Roberts added: “Last year, FSG acquired Infrastructure as a Service, cloud and ISP provider TasmaNet, which bolstered FSG’s existing capability to deliver enterprise grade managed and cloud services. This contract win highlights the value of our recent TasmaNet acquisition.”

FSG says it is currently finalising commercial terms for the Managed Network and Managed Services contracts and expects the transition to be completed by the end of July. Additional IT and procurement services will be sourced on an as-needs-basis over the course of the five-year term.

The company is continuing to pursue several key mining services contracts in central Queensland, according to Roberts.

“Mining and agribusiness areas across Australia will continue to be key focus areas for FSG to deploy its own infrastructure and services,” he said.

These areas will be serviced by FSG’s 4G and 5G Regional Australia Network, which is currently under construction.

Thiess receives A$450 million contract extension from QCoal

Thiess says it has been awarded a A$450 million ($310 million) contract extension by QCoal to continue operations at the QCoal Northern Hub, which comprises Sonoma, Cows, Drake and Jax mines, located near Collinsville, Queensland, Australia.

Commencing in July 2022, the three-year contract will see Thiess continue to provide full mining services including statutory control of the site, all mining activities, maintenance and asset management, and rehabilitation works.

Thiess Executive Chair and CEO, Michael Wright, said: “We are proud of our long association with QCoal which has included a joint focus on mining efficiency, sustainability and ongoing rehabilitation works. This extension reflects our team’s track record of safe and consistent delivery of mining services for QCoal. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with QCoal for the next three years and beyond.”

Thiess Executive General Manager for Australia, Shaun Newberry, said: “We’re excited to continue our work at the QCoal Northern Hub where we have consistently provided innovative and low-cost mining solutions. Thiess has been part of the Collinsville community since 1995 and we are delighted to remain a significant regional employer and contributor to the local economy.”