Tag Archives: contract mining

PT Freeport Indonesia, Redpath achieve drawbell milestone at Grasberg Block Cave

Freeport Indonesia’s (PTFI) Grasberg Block Cave (GBC) operations in Indonesia, together with strong Redpath support, have successfully attained the milestone of constructing and blasting the 300th drawbell.

The milestone, which occurred on June 30, 2021, came in a record time of only 2.5 years from the production start date, according to Redpath.

The same production crews also surpassed the 100,000 t/d mark, by reaching a record of 107,000 t/d on June 26, 2021. This record surpassed the previous site record of 101,000 t/d.

In Redpath’s Advance magazine, I Made Pasek, General Superintendent, GBC Operations, said COVID-19 had not prevented the GBC project from becoming the world’s largest block cave mine.

“In addition to delivering safe and effective development meters, the GBC1 development team has reached the significant milestone of completing the excavation of the GVD 9 Fan Chamber (Grasberg Ventilation Decline), the fifth such chamber of the GBC ventilation system,” Pasek said when reviewing progress during the June quarter. Each of these chambers is equipped with a 5,500 kW fan able to produce 1.7 million cu.ft (48,139 cu.m) of air per minute.

The underground production levels of the GBC mine requires not two, but three crusher chambers to be excavated and constructed to deliver the targeted quantity of 160,000 t/d of ore. PT Redpath Indonesia’s GBC 2 crew are leading with the development of the #603 crusher chamber while concurrently initiating access to the #604 conveyor drives, according to Pasek.

GBC’s construction, MRC and MCM teams were challenged with the realignment of a key section of rail installation for the #602 unloading arrival station during the June quarter. This particular section of rail needed to be disassembled and raised in order to enable ore trains of 11 rail cars to enter the #602 unloading station as per design.

“Working seamlessly with the client’s engineering, planning and rail teams, the undertaking was safely and effectively accomplished ahead of schedule,” Pasek said. “The work itself consisted of drilling 1,000-plus holes for track support, epoxying track bolts into the existing concrete base, followed by meticulous forming works under each track base plate. The work required a high level of accuracy with tight tolerances to ensure rail alignment and smooth travel, in order to meet the established productivity rates.”

Pasek added: “These significant achievements would not be possible without a strong and deeply rooted safety culture in the GBC operations, paving the way for even greater successes in the future.”

Nouveau Monde Graphite turns to Metso Outotec for key Matawinie processing equipment

Nouveau Monde Graphite has launched civil construction works at its flagship Matawinie graphite mining project in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, Québec, having steadily advanced detailed engineering and engaged in the procurement of key service providers, long-lead equipment and contractors to deliver the project, billed as a “zero-emission mine”, in Québec by the end of 2023.

One of these service providers has been confirmed as Metso Outotec, which has been engaged to supply key mineral processing equipment required for the Matawinie concentrator plant for high-purity graphite flake production.

The agreement with the OEM will support the development of design and integration efficiencies through process equipment chain optimisation objectives, NMG said. It also seeks to promote planning efforts, optimisation of the project cost curve and support the company during the construction, commissioning and operation phases.

“This agreement complements Nouveau Monde’s de-risking strategy and helps ensure a rapid progression of final design elements and construction of the ore processing facility,” the company added.

Following the governmental authorisation of the project in February, Nouveau Monde executed its phased program to initiate preliminary works in March. For the site preparation of the mine industrial platform and the access road connecting the project to the local highway, tree clearing was completed before the nesting season to limit impacts to avifauna.

To protect the environment and the community’s well-being, Nouveau Monde has developed an environmental surveillance and monitoring program to oversee the construction, operation and closure activities of the Matawinie project. Nouveau Monde has hired an environmental coordinator to support construction and environmental monitoring activities on-site and enlisted third-party biologists to conduct inspections for the presence of vulnerable species.

Nouveau Monde is also delivering on its commitment to maximise local opportunities and support service providers by engaging with Atikamekw, local and regional contractors and service providers via dedicated activities related to its construction procurement strategy, the associated business opportunities, as well as health, environment and safety requirements for bidding.

The company has retained mining contractor L Fournier & Fils to build the access road connecting the main Highway 131 to Matawinie’s industrial platform. Works for the 7.8-km access road began in July as part of the company’s 30-month construction and commissioning timeline. Construction of the access road is scheduled to be completed in September 2021 to facilitate subsequent civil works and on-site activities.

Eric Desaulniers, President and CEO of Nouveau Monde, said: “This first milestone kick starts the construction of the Matawinie mine, as we strive to build the high-quality, ethical and sustainable project that can cater to the growing electric vehicle and energy storage markets. We have spent the past months refining our execution plan to carry out engineering, procurement and construction activities safely and with a focus on cost and timeline efficiency. I am confident in the expertise of the technical team that we have assembled, coupled with the support of Tier 1 service providers such as Metso Outotec, L Fournier & Fils and many local contractors, to deliver on our commitments of safety, responsible practices and excellence.”

In the 2018 definitive feasibility study on Matawinie, the mine, scheduled to produce 100,000 t/y of graphite concentrate, was expected to use an electric in-pit mobile crusher and overland conveyor system to feed crushed material to the plant.

GHH India’s contract mining arm wins plaudits for work with Hindustan Zinc

GHH India’s recently established contract mining arm, GHH Bumi Mining Service, has notched up its first significant award, being recognised by Vedanta Group/Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL) for the work it is doing at the Zawar Mala zinc-lead underground mine in Rajasthan, India.

In a recent online event, GHH Bumi Mining Service, established late last year, was named as the recipient of the Best Performing Business Partner by the companies.

The award winner was chosen out of all business partners and recognised a job well done, GHH said.

Over the last six months, GHH Bumi has been carrying out contract mining at Zawar Mala, and was presented the award, GHH says, based on excellent performance involving all contract mining activities, including those related to safety, production and asset optimisation.

Since January, GHH BUMI has been responsible for production and mine development with more than 350 employees at Zawar Mala. For this purpose, the company has access to more than 20 LHDs, dump trucks and drilling rigs from the GHH Group.

Dr Jan Petzold, CEO of GHH Group, said: “With this award, we as GHH Group see ourselves confirmed in our efforts as a reliable business partner for HZL – a cooperation that started almost four years ago with the supply of mining machinery and has resulted in being awarded as mining contractor and OEM.

“This is a special incentive to be able to conclude the second mine developer and operator contract with HZL, which is currently in preparation.”

The latest generation of GHH mining equipment, with its new dump truck MK-42, LF-14 and LF-10 LHDs as well as two FM 2.3 boom drill rigs from GHH group company, Mine Master, are on their way to India and are expected to be on site beginning of August, GHH said.

GHH says GHH Bumi is also currently working on preparing for the expansion of the Mochia Balaria Decline project, where a rapid development proposal is under way.

Macmahon defies labour tightness to bolster contract mining order book

Macmahon Holdings Ltd has added around A$1.35 billion ($988 million) of work to its order book with the signing of three previously flagged contract mining gigs, plus announced the addition of surface mining work at Northern Star Resources’ Julius gold project in Western Australia.

The three projects making up the A$1.35 billion of contract mining works are the 5-year agreement with St Barbara Ltd at the Gwalia gold mine, a three-year pact with Anglo American at Dawson South and a five-year contract with Red 5 Ltd at King of the Hills.

The contract with Northern Star Resources at Julius is expected to deliver revenue of A$25 million over the next 12 months. Production from the Julius deposit is expected to complement output from NSR’s Jundee operations.

In addition to these projects, Macmahon says it is well progressed in finalising the commercial arrangements for Phase 8 of its Batu Hijau copper-gold project in Indonesia, an operation owned by PT Amman Mineral Nusa Tenggara.

Macmahon commented: “While Macmahon has observed a tightening of the labour market in Australia over the past year, it can confirm that the Gwalia, Dawson South and Julius projects have commenced operations by the times required in those contracts.

“Macmahon has existing strategies for responding to challenges in the availability of labour, and believes it is well placed to continue to manage this operational issue into the foreseeable future, and to continue to deliver value for its clients.”

Commenting on today’s announcement, Macmahon CEO and Managing Director, Michael Finnegan, said: “Macmahon is continuing to build on its track record for delivery and to advance its growth strategy.

“It is very satisfying to have secured significant new work during financial year 2021, which provides us with a strong order book and excellent earnings visibility for FY22 and FY23. The underground work at Gwalia and King of the Hills also adds scale to our underground business, which is an important step in our strategy to diversify Macmahon.”

AMS to continue servicing AngloGold’s Iduapriem with help of MAXMASS

AMAX, a joint venture between Perenti Global’s surface mining business in Africa, African Mining Services (AMS), and Ghana-based mining services company MAXMASS Ltd, has been awarded a new circa-A$470 million ($346 million), five-year contract at AngloGold Ashanti’s Iduapriem gold mine in the Western Region of Ghana.

Perenti’s work in hand will increase by circa-A$280 million over the term of the contract, which is expected to commence immediately.

The new contract is structured as a 60:40 joint venture agreement between AMS and MAXMASS and represents AMS’ significant and ongoing commitment to developing and expanding the capacity and capability of local partners, Perenti explained.

Mark Norwell, Managing Director and CEO of Perenti, said the continued transformation of AMS, including the winning of quality projects underpinned by robust financial and commercial disciplines, remains a key strategic initiative in Perenti’s 2025 Group Strategy.

“We’re delighted to be extending our relationship with our long-standing client, AngloGold Ashanti,” Norwell said. “AMS has a reputation for delivering excellence while generating enduring value and certainty for stakeholders and the award of this new contract at a site where AMS has previously operated for AngloGold Ashanti provides further support for that reputation.”

Perenti Mining Chief Executive Officer, Paul Muller, said AMS had a long history of delivering operational excellence and value to clients, having provided mining services in Ghana for 30 years.

“We have provided surface mining services at the Iduapriem gold mine since 2012, establishing a successful partnership with AngloGold Ashanti,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to strengthen this partnership and also welcome the opportunity to work with our newest joint venture partner, MAXMASS.

“We have a strong commitment to support and build local capability to generate social and economic value for the regions in which we operate. Under this contract, and through the AMAX joint venture, we expect to continue to support the many local businesses that have become important suppliers and contractors to our operations under previous contracts. The joint venture also expects to employ more than 475 Ghanaians with approximately 40% of the workforce employed from the surrounding local communities and the remaining 60% from other regions within Ghana.”

Iduapriem is an open-pit mine with two circuits each comprising two-stage milling – a gravity circuit and a carbon-in-leach (CIL) plant. The gravity circuit recovers about 30% of the gold and the remainder is recovered by the 418,000 t/mth capacity CIL plant, according to AngloGold.

Mining fleet changes hands at Boggabri coal operation

Most of the major mining equipment used at the Boggabri coal mine in New South Wales, Australia, is to be sold to Boggabri Coal Operations (BCO), part of the Idemitsu Group, following the exercise of an option between BCO and Golding Contractors, a subsidiary of NRW Holdings.

The transaction for the fleet, which includes 38 major mobile mining assets, has a target completion date of the end of July 2021.

Golding will continue to perform maintenance services on site across these, and another 50 (approximately) pieces of major mining equipment, engaging a workforce of over 150 personnel on site, NRW said.

The equipment will be sold for circa-A$81 million ($61 million) of which circa-A$64 million will pay down asset financing debt, NRW said.

NRW’s CEO and Managing Director, Jules Pemberton, said: “The option for BCO to acquire all or part of the associated mining fleet was identified at the time of the acquisition of BGC Contracting. This transaction will reduce debt and increase return on capital employed.

“We look forward to continuing to support BCO to ensure we are best placed to continue to provide our services beyond the current contract completion date of December 2022.”

Perenti’s Barminco seals Savannah nickel project contract

Perenti Global’s hard-rock underground mining subsidiary, Barminco, has finalised a contract with Panoramic Resources for development and production works at the Savannah nickel project in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The finalised contract represents a value of around A$280 million ($208 million) over a four-year contract term, Perenti said.

Under the terms of the initial letter of intent, announced on the April 6, 2021, Barminco commenced mobilisation and early mining works ahead of the schedule. With finalisation of the contract, Barminco expects development and production works will ramp-up over the coming six months to achieve full run rate of revenue early in the March quarter of 2022.

The contract will be serviced by new underground mining equipment including the use of tele-remote mining equipment, expected to deliver both safety and productivity benefits, Panoramic said.

Ore processing at Savannah is scheduled to begin in November with first concentrate shipment from Savannah targeted for the following month, Panoramic said. The building of an ore stockpile on the surface has already commenced and the company plans for this to reach 100,000 t prior to turning on the processing plant.

Perenti’s Managing Director and CEO, Mark Norwell, said: “We look forward to working together with the team at Panoramic to develop what we all expect will be Australia’s next long-life nickel producing mine. Despite the challenging labour market conditions in Western Australia, we have been successful in mobilising a labour force of approximately 110 highly skilled underground employees. We expect this to increase to 170 as the project ramps up. Securing this labour force has enabled us to commence early works ahead of schedule.”

Savannah has outlined a 12-year mine life with an average annual production target of 9,072 t of nickel, 4,683 t of copper and 676 t cobalt in concentrate. The mine is set to operate at average site all-in costs of A$6.36/lb of payable nickel, net of copper and cobalt by-product credits and royalty payments. This equates to roughly $4.86/Ib or $10,714/t.

The operation, with more than A$100 million already invested, has been maintained since the suspension of operations in April 2020 with a view towards operational readiness and project optimisation. This includes the recent completion of the FAR#3 ventilation raise, underground capital development on four mining levels at Savannah North and ancillary capital works on surface and underground infrastructure, which are currently being completed, Panoramic says.

AECI Australia cements Thiess relationship with five-year contract extension

AECI Australia has been awarded a five-year contract extension by contract miner Thiess for the supply of bulk emulsion explosives, initiating systems and related services for mines in Queensland and New South Wales.

This contract consolidates AECI’s base business in Australia and further strengthens the relationship between the two companies, which began in 2014 when AECI entered Australia to support this major mining customer, AECI said. The two also have long-standing partnerships in Indonesia and in several countries in Africa.

The Australian contract, using AECI’s existing in-country capabilities and infrastructure, includes supply of bulk emulsion explosives formulations produced at AECI’s site in Bajool, Queensland, as well as gassing technology for down-the-hole delivery by Thiess; supply of ammonium nitrate; and supply of the Intellishot® electronic initiating system and booster.

Mark Dytor, AECI Chief Executive, said: “AECI Australia is celebrating the achievement of seven years worked without a lost-time injury. We are proud to deliver a safer, innovative and cost-effective product offering that enables ‘One AECI, for a better world’. Better Mining is one of our sustainability goals because we recognise the importance of making global mining safer and more circular. Significant opportunities exist and we look forward to realising more of these in collaboration with customers such as Thiess.”

Thiess in line for contract extension at Mach Energy’s Mount Pleasant

Thiess has been selected as the preferred mining services contractor for the Mount Pleasant thermal coal operation in New South Wales, Australia.

MACH Energy has notified Thiess of its intention to enter into exclusive negotiations to finalise the terms with the view to execute a mining services contract, it said.

Under the contract, Thiess will continue to provide full scope mining services including drill and blast, load and haul, mining and run of mine rehandling services, equipment maintenance and progressive rehabilitation.

Subject to contract finalisation, from April 2022, revenue to Thiess is expected to be around A$925 million ($690 million) over four-and-a-half years.

“Thiess began operating at Mount Pleasant in 2017 as a greenfield mine, applying industry best practice mining development and operations with uncompromising environmental and safety standards,” the company said. “This includes delivering the operation’s first rehabilitation two months before first coal was mined, demonstrating a true commitment to sustainable practices and to the community more broadly.”

Subject to execution, Thiess will continue to draw on local businesses for the provision of goods and services to support the mine and is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse, local workforce.

Equinox Gold and U&M start mining at Santa Luz in Brazil

Equinox Gold Corp says mining activities are underway at its new Santa Luz gold mine in Brazil, with commissioning on track for the December quarter ahead of first gold pour in the March quarter of 2022.

The company expects to produce 110,000 oz/y of gold for the first five years of operations.

The mining contractor, U&M Mineração e Construção S/A, mobilised to site in May and mining commenced in mid-June. Mining activities are currently focused on removing waste from two locations and developing access roads, ramps, dumps and ore storage areas in preparation for a pre-stripping campaign prior to mining ore in late 2021. To make room for mine expansion, U&M is also relocating an existing ore stockpile with an average grade of 0.9 g/t Au, which will be used for commissioning activities in the December quarter.

Construction is on schedule and on budget, with approximately $31 million of the $103 million construction budget spent and $70 million committed at the end of June 2021.

As a brownfield past-producing mine, the majority of site services and infrastructure is already in place at Santa Luz, Equinox said. Restart activities are focused on refurbishing existing infrastructure, retrofitting the plant to incorporate resin-in-leach processing, installation of additional grinding infrastructure and increasing the storage capacities of the existing tailings and water storage facilities. A significant construction milestone was achieved on June 25 with installation of the first segment of the ball mill.

Construction highlights include:

  • Overall project is 41% complete;
  • Engineering and procurement activities are 96% complete;
  • Plant construction and refurbishment is 46% complete;
  • Refurbishment of existing SAG mill is progressing well;
  • Primary grinding is 75% complete;
  • Secondary grinding is 52% complete: concrete foundations and pedestals for the new ball mill are 100% complete, ball mill installation is underway;
  • Pre-conditioning, leach and detoxification circuit is 46% complete: concrete bases are complete, steel structures are being pre-assembled and tank installation is underway, with four tanks out of 10 fully erected and four more partially erected;
  • Earthworks for primary crushing area are underway;
  • Electrical and substation upgrades are 90% complete;
  • Electrowinning cells have been installed in the gold room;
  • Completion of refurbishment of existing plant areas is scheduled for the September quarter; and
  • Tailings and water storage facility expansions are underway with completion targeted for the December quarter.