Tag Archives: contract mining

Lynas Rare Earths to switch to continuous mining mode at Mt Weld with help of Carey Group

Lynas Rare Earths Ltd has awarded Western Australia-based company Carey Group Holdings a five-year contract for mining services at Lynas’ Mt Weld rare earths mine near Laverton.

The contract will draw on Carey’s nearly 30 years of experience as an open-pit mining contractor and leading 100% First Nations-owned business, including as a service provider to neighbouring mines near Laverton.

Carey will commence on site at the high-grade Mt Weld mine in April 2024. On commencement of the contract, Lynas will transition from campaign mining to continuous mining over the five-year period to supply ores to the expanded Mt Weld process plant.

Under the contract, Carey will mobilise a mining fleet comprising production drilling, excavation, hauling and auxiliary equipment. Carey will provide new haul trucks as part of the contract, with a focus on technologies designed to improve efficiency, productivity and precision for extracting ores, Lynas says.

A signing ceremony for the contract with Carey was held in Perth today and Amanda Lacaze, CEO & Managing Director, Lynas Rare Earths (pictured on the left), said: “Lynas is delighted to award the Mt Weld mining contract to Carey. Carey has almost 30 years of experience working with open-pit mine environments and is a leading contractor in its field. Significantly for Lynas, Carey’s founder and Managing Director, Daniel Tucker AM, grew up in the Laverton area. Daniel and his team have a strong connection to country and this is evident in their approach to sustainability and to providing opportunities for First Nations people to build and develop skills and expertise.

“We share Carey’s values and commitment to providing career opportunities and skills development for First Nations people. We look forward to working with Carey as we continue to enhance our operations, safety and sustainability through this contract.”

Tucker (pictured on the right) said: “We are immensely pleased for the opportunity to work with a global leader such as Lynas, and grateful to receive this contract award which continues to build on our history of the delivery of contract mining services in the Goldfields.

“As a leader of First Nations business in Australia, this long-term contract will allow us to deliver value for Lynas, Carey, other First Nations businesses and local supply chain partners. I look forward to a successful
partnership with Lynas.”

Tapojärvi kicks off open-pit mining contract at Kaunis Iron

Tapojärvi Sverige Ab recently began a new contract mining gig at the Kaunis Iron mine in Pajala, Sweden, at the same time as the temperatures in that region plummeted to around -40°C.

The service contract with Kaunis Iron covers machine work in ore production as well as production support work, which includes all open-pit production activities other than rock transportation, drilling and charging.

Miika Miettinen, Production Manager at Tapojärvi, said the contract began as agreed on January 1, with the company compiling a service package in only six weeks.

The start of a new service contract requires new personnel and equipment to carry out production in line with the contract. Additionally, production control systems, infrastructure, offices and production facilities, as well as maintenance services, are needed. A mining contractor must also consider safety at every step of production.

Approximately 60 new employees were recruited, and additional personnel were borrowed from other Tapojärvi sites, to bring this contract in within the six-week timeframe.

Miettinen highlights the professional mindset of his employer, skilled and committed personnel and new equipment as Tapojärvi’s strengths. These factors enable Tapojärvi to respond quickly to the client’s needs.

“We were forced to let the production stand idle when the temperature dropped low in early January,” Miettinen said. “There were also some struggles involving the machinery. Despite everything, our operations have been launched successfully and the client has been happy with our performance.”

To support its operations, Tapojärvi has developed processes and systems that are constantly collecting online production data. Data and analytics help enhance Tapojärvi’s performance, safety and maintenance processes.

“We are able to provide the client with comprehensive and complex production data, which allows us to influence the mine’s operations and performance together with the client,” Miettinen said. “I am glad that our cooperation with Kaunis Iron has gone smoothly from the very beginning and that we are already involved in developing the operations.”

The service contract with Kaunis Iron is Tapojärvi Sverige’s first major open-pit mine contract in Sweden. The company has previously worked in underground mines on the sites of LKAB and Zinkgruvan, for example.

Gabrielle Iwanow to head up Perenti’s Contract Mining Division

Gabrielle Iwanow has been appointed President of Perenti’s Contract Mining Division, replacing Paul Muller, who will be taking up a new role within the Perenti Group Executive Committee, following a short period of study leave between January and May 2024.

Iwanow is, Perenti says, one of Australia’s leading mining executives with extensive experience working at senior operational and executive levels within the resources sector.

She was also named as one of the Top-100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining in 2020. Her career includes time in senior management positions at ASX 100 listed mining companies OZ Minerals and Rio Tinto, and most recently she was the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Mincor Resources.

Mark Norwell, Perenti Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, said: “A key strategic focus for the group is managing and developing our senior talent across the organisation, ensuring we have robust succession plans in place and continue building capability and capacity within our senior leader cohort, including within the Group Executive Committee.

“Gabrielle’s addition to our Group Executive Committee provides the business with additional depth in talent as we continue to build on our record finanicial year 2023 financial results, transformative acquisition of DDH1, ongoing execution of our 2025 strategy and development of our 2030 strategy.

“I would like to welcome Gabrielle to Perenti and thank Paul for his ongoing contribution to Perenti. This is an exciting time for the business as we continue to deliver on our purpose of creating enduring value and certainty for our clients, investors, our people and the communities in which we operate.”

Perenti books exploration, development and production work with Australian miners

Perenti says it has secured new work and contract extensions with the likes of Regis Resources, BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) and Catalyst Metal in Australia representing nearly A$150 million ($97 million) of revenue across its 2024 and 2025 financial years.

It has booked a A$70 million, six-month contract for the continuation of underground development and production works at the Regis Resources Garden Well and Rosemont underground gold mines. Barminco and Regis continue to progress collaboratively towards further and material contract extensions at these two mines, it says.

It has also sealed a A$27 million, 24-month contract for exploration surface drilling services at the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance in Queensland, while a A$14 million, 24-month contract has been awarded for underground diamond drilling works at Catalyst Metal’s Plutonic underground gold mine in Western Australia, subject to finalisation of contract terms.

Furthermore, AUMS (through UMA, a joint venture with Rocksure International) received a limited notice to proceed related to the initial underground development works at the Newmont Akyem underground gold mine in Ghana. The finalisation of contractual negotiations continues, however, once finalised it is forecast that the contract could represent circa-A$32 million of revenue over an initial term of 11 months, with a capital structure that is likely to be similar to that adopted for Newmont’s Subika project.

Mark Norwell, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Perenti, said: “The award of these contracts and the limited notice to proceed across both our underground and surface mining businesses demonstrates the diversity of our service offering and the strength of the relationships we share with our clients. Collectively these three contracts and the limited notice to proceed represent nearly A$150 million of revenue across FY2024 and into FY2025 and come after the recent announcement in which Perenti secured circa-A$360 million of revenue at the Sandfire Resources A4 project in Botswana.”

Barminco wins extension at Regis Resources’ Rosemont, Garden Well operations

Barminco says it is further extending its relationship with Regis Resources Ltd, securing a A$70 million ($45 million), six-month extension at the gold miner’s Rosemont and Garden Well operations in Western Australia.

With both gold mines in close proximity, it allows Barminco to continue to be agile with resourcing and equipment to provide comprehensive underground mining services to our client, it says.

Regis recently opened the Balkau Decline at its Garden Well South underground mine, which is an underground extension of the Garden Well open-pit mine: a key production source at Regis’ Duketon gold project, located in the Goldfields region.

Rosemont, meanwhile, includes the Rosemont open pit and underground mine, as well as Baneygo open pit. The Rosemont and associated surface deposits are mined using conventional open-pit mining truck and shovel methods. The Rosemont underground produces approximately 600,000 t/y and is mined using mechanised open stoping.

North American Construction to increase Australia contract mining exposure with MacKellar buy

North American Construction Group says it has entered into a definitive purchase and sale agreement to acquire MacKellar Group for an estimated C$395 million ($300 million).

MacKellar Group, with its heavy construction equipment fleet, is an Australia-based provider of heavy earthworks solutions to the mining and civil sectors, with a reputation derived from decades of reliable performance, NACG says. The transaction will significantly expand NACG’s capability and allow the company to serve a highly valuable and diversified base of customers globally, it added.

The transaction emerged through continued dialogue with MacKellar over the past two years, following NACG’s entry into Australia through the acquisition of DGI Trading Pty Limited in 2021. The acquisition of MacKellar is highly complementary to, and a natural strategic fit with, NACG given shared cultural alignment, focus on safety and operational similarities, NACG says. MacKellar will continue to operate and execute on its growth strategy, while delivering on its commitment of service to all its customers and partners.

MacKellar clients include Anglo American Australia at Dawson in Queensland and Bravus Mining and Resources, also in Queensland.

Joe Lambert, Chief Executive Officer of NACG, said: “NACG has built a strong relationship with MacKellar over the past two-plus years. Given the operational and cultural similarities that our companies share, this acquisition is a rare and attractive opportunity. Over the years, we have worked extremely hard to be part of the solution to help lower the operating costs of our customers through safe, efficient operation and maintenance of our equipment fleet. We are excited about partnering with MacKellar to serve our expanded customer base with the same innovations at a time when commodity producers are striving to maximise production and efficiency.”

Duncan MacKellar, Chairman of MacKellar Group, said: “Joining NACG offers a significant opportunity for both companies to share best practices and execute on our growth strategy. Our shared culture, highly skilled maintenance and operations teams, and now global operations will position us as a leader in heavy equipment fleet, allowing us to better serve customers across Australia.”

MacKellar Group adds approximately 450 mobile heavy equipment assets; 1,000 employees, including over 375 maintenance personnel; and 15 operating projects across a variety of service offerings including contract mining, civil earthworks, dry and maintained equipment rentals and component rebuilds to NACG. Its asset base is comprised of a well-maintained fleet operating at effective utilisation levels, it added.

NACG says MacKellar has strong growth prospects and a strong backlog, with operations in Western Australia and Queensland serving as a growth pillar given the large and diverse resource markets combined with a mining friendly jurisdiction. The combined company is expected to have over C$4 billion in contractual backlog by December 31, 2023, which will be the foundation to drive significant growth.

Leo Lithium awards Corica Mali Goulamina open-pit mining contract

Corica Mali, a subsidiary of Corica Mining Services, has been awarded the open-pit mining services contract at Leo Lithium’s Goulamina project in Mali, a contract valued at approximately $348 million.

The contract, awarded following the completion of a competitive tender process and extensive due diligence, encompasses six months of pre-production activities at Goulamina followed by a fixed five-year term.

The scope of the contract comprises grade control, drill and blast, load and haul, and plant ore feed services. The planned material movement target is 18-20 Mt/y over the term. Corica has already mobilised to site under an early works contract and is currently undertaking the pre-strip and direct shipped ore (DSO) mining and crushing services.

Corica has a successful track record operating in the West African region for over 20 years, and has over 2,000 employees, according to Leo Lithium. It is currently providing large-scale mining services to a number of leading ASX and TSX listed mining companies across seven mining operations in Mali and neighbouring countries of Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. This includes the Syama open-pit operation (operated by Resolute Mining), the Waghnion mine (majority owned by Endeavour Mining) and the Tongon mine (majority owned by Barrick Gold).

Goulamina is a spodumene project with development underway, located 50 km west of Bougouni in Mali with all approvals and key permits received to bring the project into production. An updated definitive feasibility study was completed in December 2021, which outlined conventional open-pit mining methods involving drilling, blasting, loading and hauling. High-quality concentrate has been validated by test work, including production of concentrate grade of 6% Li2O and low mica. Leo Lithium and Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium Co. Ltd own the project through a 50:50 joint venture, with the Government of Mali having the option to take up a 10% free carried interest in the project.

Leo Lithium Managing Director, Simon Hay, said: “We are delighted to appoint Corica as our mining services contractor following an intensive tender process. Corica has a long history and strong presence in Mali and will bring substantial local employment and supplier opportunities to the region.

“With the mining contractor now in place, Leo Lithium has taken another major step towards realising its target of first spodumene concentrate production in the first half of 2024. We look forward to working with Corica over the long term, commencing with DSO activities this quarter.”

Procon laying the change management groundwork for mining tech adoption

Canada-based Procon has been implementing tried and tested technology for its employees and end customers for decades, resulting in improved operational safety and productivity outcomes.

It is now looking to make the leap and adopt new solutions from the mining technology sector, according to CEO John McVey, with the contract miner already into “phase three” of an “Industrial Supervisor training program”, focused on Procon’s front-line supervision and incorporating change management associated with this adoption.

Speaking to IM on the side lines of the HxGN LIVE Global 2023 event, in Las Vegas, and ahead of his panel appearance on Wednesday (in a panel titled ‘Down Under: Standing Up to the Challenges of Underground Mining’), McVey said the established contract mining model needed to change to accelerate the uptake of new technology in the market.

“Inherently when we bid for work it has to be competitively tendered in order to try and win a new contract,” he said. “You aren’t typically able to add many bells and whistles on if you want to win the work.

“This likely has to change at some point, with mining companies understanding the benefits that come with rolling out and applying these new technology ‘bells and whistles’.”

Procon has seen glimpses of an evolution – McVey references the introduction of battery-electric trucks at the Brucejack mine in British Columbia, Canada, where Procon is working, plus the use of autonomous load and haul equipment at the Kittilä operation in Finland (where Procon previously carried out shaft work) – but he said that today these were the exception, not the rule.

“Where we may also see more mining technology being adopted in the future is with these junior developers striving for higher ESG (environmental, social and governance) goals,” McVey said. “These clean, green metal developers – due to these ESG aims – are often backed by different types of investors that are less risk averse, or less tainted by the project capital and schedule blowouts experienced in previous commodity cycles.”

McVey’s appearance at HxGN LIVE Global 2023 this week is centred around finding out how the mining technology provider can help Procon’s workers and its clients underground, with safety- and productivity-led solutions coming high up the contract miner’s agenda.

“There is very rarely opposition to bringing in any initiatives that will enhance safety underground,” McVey said. “As a result, it is obvious to start here.”

When it comes to productivity, the company is interested in finding out how it could potentially deploy the Production Optimiser™ solution at certain sites. This advanced mining technology, developed by Minnovare, which Hexagon’s Mining division acquired last year, improves drill and blast efficiency and productivity in underground hard-rock mines by reducing collar deviation and, as a result, delivering superior setup accuracy at the collar. This increases the number of holes drilled to within tolerance at the toe, achieving optimum blasts and reducing dilution, according to Minnovare.

Production Optimiser has been deployed across the mining world, including at sites operated by contract miners Pit N Portal (owned by Emeco Group) and Barminco (part of Perenti).

In addition to productivity and safety, McVey is conscious the graduates coming through the pipeline that may enter the mining sector want to interact with the ‘new technology’ they have become accustomed to.

“They are used to playing computer games, interacting with apps and using technology on a daily basis,” he said. “If we are to encourage them to join the mining sector, we need to adopt some of this to increase our appeal.”

Here McVey mentioned the in-house development of an app, PSAFE, to log all incidents underground. This allows Procon employees to upload photos and reports in close to real time, to enhance reporting and analysis of these incidents.

“While a worker may be somewhat reluctant to write up a report after a long shift underground,” McVey said. “The app – which we are in the process of rolling out across all our sites – is enabling them to capture important information almost immediately, particularly ‘near-miss’ reporting which is critical in avoiding potential hazards and incidents.”

Again, this comes back to the change management piece that is so important to any new technology being adopted and used successfully.

McVey is hoping to learn from other mining companies and contractors at HxGN LIVE Global 2023 about how they are achieving ‘buy in’ from their employees for this new technology, to enhance Procon’s own change management processes and reduce the risk associated with applying new solutions at their sites.

Capital to carry out earthmoving and crushing services for FMG-tied Ivindo Iron in Gabon

Capital has announced the award of a new mining services contract with Ivindo Iron SA, majority-owned by Fortescue, at its namesake project in Gabon.

The earthmoving and crushing services contract has been announced at the same time as the company has extended its revolving credit facility.

Ivindo is in the northeast of Gabon and is one of the world’s largest undeveloped, high-grade haematite iron ore deposits with the potential to become a globally significant iron ore mine, according to Ivindo Iron, which is the operating entity for the Belinga project and a company that Fortescue has a 72% indirect interest in.

Earlier this year, Fortescue, through Ivindo Iron SA, signed the Mining Convention for the Belinga iron ore project in Gabon with the Gabonese Republic, paving the way for first mining to begin in the second half of 2023. Belinga is part of the wider Ivindo project.

The Capital contract has a term of up to five years and will generate approximately $30 million of revenue per year once fully operational, the London-listed company says. It involves both earthmoving and crushing services. Capital says it will use existing equipment and is in the process of purchasing circa-$15 million of additional equipment to service the contract.

Capital has already begun mobilising equipment to the site. This mining and crushing services contract is in addition to the three-year reverse circulation and diamond drilling services contract with Ivindo, announced earlier this year, where drilling recently commenced.

Peter Stokes, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded the mining and crushing services contract at Ivindo. This is our second significant mining services contract and continues our strategy to diversify our revenue stream through an expanded service offering. We look forward to working closely with Ivindo Iron to expand our relationship from drilling services to mining and crushing services and ensure a rapid ramp up on this world-class deposit.”

Bellevue Gold appoints NRW Holdings Limited as open-pit mining contractor

Bellevue Gold says it has awarded the open-pit mining and tailings facility construction contract for its namesake mine in Western Australia to a subsidiary of NRW Holdings Limited.

The contract has a total value of circa-A$24 million ($16 million), which Bellevue says is in line with the pre-production capital expenditure forecast.

Mining at the Vanguard open pit is set to commence in late March-early April 2023 and will offer Bellevue the opportunity to generate early cashflow via a toll treating arrangement, it says. Once mined, waste material from Vanguard will form the basis of the tailings facility.

Vanguard is scheduled to provide approximately 10,000 oz of gold, which will be available for processing in mid-2023, well in advance of the completion of the Bellevue processing facility. The company is exploring toll treatment options with mining companies in the region and discussions remain ongoing.

As part of the company’s plan to accelerate underground development and bring on additional ore sources, commencement of the Tribune boxcut will also be brought forward to open up the Tribune mining front.

The addition of the Tribune ore source will increase the number of active working fronts to five in the first year of production, further de-risking the production outlook by providing another independent mining area. Strategically, this will also provide options for drilling the southern extensions of the orebody from underground and allow for a top-down mining method, which will provide the most efficient method of accessing the orebody, according to Bellevue Gold.

The Tribune boxcut is scheduled to commence immediately after completion of the Vanguard open pit. This will create a considerable saving on de-mobilisation and mobilisation costs of the open pit mining fleet.

Construction of the 1 Mt/y nameplate processing facility, being built by GR Engineering, continues to advance on schedule and budget, meanwhile. Bulk and detailed earthworks for the processing plant site have all been fully completed, structural concrete on all critical infrastructure foundations has also been completed with only very minor concrete works remaining. The erection of structural steel for the crushing circuit is well advanced, while both secondary and tertiary crushers are on site and ready for installation. Work is continuing on critical path carbon-in-leach tanks, with five now at full height and well ahead of schedule.

The first two delivery lots of the three for the ball mill and components have landed in Perth ready for transport to site with a third due to land this quarter, well ahead of critical path requirements.

Underground development remains on track with full ramp up of the third jumbo achieved during January 2023. All three jumbos maintained full shift production, achieving >300m per jumbo per month on mostly capital development. Ore development is underway at the Armand work area, while capital development continues to advance towards the Bellevue South/Viago, Deacon Main and Marceline production areas.

Grade control drilling activities are ongoing with two underground diamond rigs operating at the Armand, Marceline and Bellevue South areas. Recent drilling has continued to reinforce the geological model and further de-risk the resources ahead of mining. A third underground rig has commenced targeting resource/reserve growth mainly at the Deacon Lode.