Tag Archives: First Nations

WesTrac holds Cat D10T2 dozer handover ceremony with a difference

An equipment handover ceremony of a Cat® D10T2 dozer at WesTrac’s South Guildford facility, in Western Australia, this week held special meaning for the stakeholders involved, the Cat dealer says.

Indigenous contracting business Civil Road & Rail SX5, part of the broader SX5 Group of companies, will use the new dozer for mine rehabilitation services at Rio Tinto’s mine sites in the Pilbara.

According to SX5 Directors, Ralph Keller and Cherie Keller, and Co-Director and Eastern Guruma Senior Elder, Kenzie Smith, the act of rehabilitating the land has grown in significance over recent years.

“We’re making things green again, making Country feel better,” Ralph Keller said. “In repairing Country, we’re helping repair the trust and relationships with the region’s Traditional Owners.”

As well as being among the Traditional Owners of the land, Smith’s family have a long history of helping modern enterprises use and rehabilitate the land. The family once helped break horses and muster cattle on the stations in the region and was permitted to gather any stock left behind to sell themselves. SX5 was the brand applied to those stray cattle before they were taken to market. That set the family on an entrepreneurial path that resulted in Smith helping to establish and run SX5’s contracting business, according to WesTrac.

WesTrac General Manager, Cameron Callaway, said miners, as well as their suppliers and service providers, understand the vital importance of engaging with the Traditional Owners on whose country they operate to ensure continual improvement in environmental, social and governance outcomes.

“The world needs miners to supply the mineral resources required for a more sustainable future, and that means we need to support sustainable mining initiatives,” Callaway said. “Drawing on the knowledge of Traditional Owners and the expertise of knowledgeable, experienced Indigenous organisations such as SX5 is a key aspect of that, and it’s especially rewarding for WesTrac to be involved in projects such as this.”

The Cat D10T2, itself, comes with onboard technologies to drive greater efficiency, productivity and fuel economy, as well as improved operator safety and comfort. It is also equipped with the building blocks to enable remote and semi-autonomous operations.

Ralph Keller says technology has been key to SX5’s success, and support from Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) has made it possible for the group to continue to purchase equipment with the latest machine control technologies.

“What makes us different is that SX5 continues to reinvent itself every day,” he said. “It’s all about technology. That’s how you achieve excellence and how you mitigate risk.”

IBA, a commercially-focused Federal Government organisation, supports First Nations businesses with cashflow and performance bond guarantees to enable business growth.

Kirsty Moore, IBA’s Chief Executive Officer, says: “Putting the regeneration of Country back in the hands of First Nations companies like SX5 is smart business and we’re so glad to support their efforts.

“IBA provides leasing opportunities to First Nations businesses so they can acquire critical capital equipment without tying up large amounts of cash that is needed to cover the operating costs of the business. The new equipment has stepped up the production and quality of work that the business has been able to achieve by using equipment that is purpose-built for the task.

“SX5 is a great example of a First Nations business transforming its opportunities to work with big business – all while restoring Country and being trained in new technology.”

Martin Roedhammer, Rio Tinto Manager Rehabilitation and Closure, said: “We work hard to leave a lasting, positive legacy everywhere we work. As part of this, we strive to generate opportunities for businesses to be part of our supply chain and deliver local economic benefits.

“Rio Tinto has worked with SX5 for more than seven years to support and develop the group’s capacity and understanding of our requirements and facilitate introductions across our Pilbara operations.

“A credit to SX5 is the business’ ability to think of ways to increase efficiency and get the best quality outcomes, trialling the use of chains to improve final surface finishes and modifying equipment to achieve improved vegetation establishment.

“We look forward to a continued successful relationship with SX5 and witnessing them grow even more in the future.”

BHP greenlights Jansen Stage 1 potash project

BHP has approved $5.7 billion in capital expenditure for the Jansen Stage 1 (Jansen S1) potash project in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Jansen S1 is expected to produce approximately 4.35 Mt/y of potash, and has a basin position with the potential for further expansions (subject to studies and approvals), according to BHP. First ore is targeted in 2027, with construction expected to take approximately six years, followed by a ramp-up period of two years.

Jansen S1 includes the design, engineering and construction of an underground potash mine and surface infrastructure including a processing facility, a product storage building and a continuous automated rail loading system. Jansen S1 product will be shipped to export markets through Westshore, in Delta, British Columbia, and the project includes funding for the required port infrastructure. This infrastructure will be constructed by Westshore Terminals Investment Corporation as part of an agreement with BHP.

BHP Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry, said Jansen is aligned with BHP’s strategy of growing the company’s exposure to future-facing commodities in world-class assets, which are large, low cost and expandable.

“This is an important milestone for BHP and an investment in a new commodity that we believe will create value for shareholders for generations,” Henry said.

“In addition to its merits as a stand-alone project, Jansen also brings with it a series of high returning growth options in an attractive investment jurisdiction. In developing the Jansen project, BHP has had ongoing positive engagement and collaboration with First Nations and local communities, and with the provincial and federal governments. Jansen is designed with a focus on sustainability, including being designed for low greenhouse gas emissions and low water consumption.

“We anticipate that demand growth will progressively absorb the excess capacity currently present in the industry, with opportunity for new supply expected by the late 2020s or early 2030s. That is broadly aligned with the expected timing of first production from Jansen.”

BHP said: “Beyond the 2020s, the industry’s long run trend prices are expected to be determined by Canadian greenfield solution mines. In addition to consuming more energy and water than conventional mines like Jansen, solution mines tend to have higher operating costs and higher sustaining capital requirements.”

At consensus prices, the go-forward investment on Jansen is expected to generate an internal rate of return of 12-14%, an expected payback period of seven years from first production and an underlying EBITDA margin of around 70% given its expected first quartile cost position, according to BHP.

BHP says the $4.5 billion (pre-tax) of capital invested to date has resulted in a significant initial outlay. The investment to date includes construction of the shafts and associated infrastructure ($2.97 billion scope of work), as well as engineering and procurement activities and preparation works related to Jansen S1 underground infrastructure. Approximately $220 million of the $2.97 billion approved for the current scope of work, expected to be completed in 2022, is not yet spent.

The construction of two shafts and associated infrastructure at the site is 93% complete and expected to be completed in 2022, with Cementation Canada set to carry out the post liner excavation, steel and equipping of the shafts.

The sinking of the shafts was carried out by DMC Mining Services using Herrenknecht’s Shaft Boring Roadheader.

To date about 50% of all engineering required for Jansen S1 has been completed, significantly de-risking the project, BHP says.

IMARC welcomes IWIMRA as First Nations partner

In what it says is an Australian first, the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) has welcomed the Indigenous Women in Mining and Resources Australia (IWIMRA) as its First Nations Partner.

The partnership will foster stronger connections between First Nations communities and the minerals and resources sector, as well as continue to raise the profile of First Nations people working in the industry globally, IMARC says.

IMARC, which is due to take place in Melbourne, both in-person and online from October 25-27, is partnering with IWIMRA to promote the importance of inclusiveness of First Nation women and men in the industry and the IMARC program, it said.

IWIMRA was founded in 2017 to create a stronger connection amongst Indigenous women in Australia’s mining and resource sector. Through lived experiences, and the narrative of Indigenous intersectionality, it is its priority to ensure the visibility, voice, and quality participation across the spectrum of the mining and minerals sector, the IWIMRA says.

IMARC takes place on the lands of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin nations. IMARC says it wishes to acknowledge them as the traditional owners of the lands and waterways and pay their respects to their elders, past and present, and emerging.

As the first resources event in Australia to have a First Nations Partner, IMARC Managing Director, Anita Richards, said that IMARC is committed to improving Indigenous presence at the event and across broader industry.

“This partnership enhances our commitment to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion across all areas of the mining and resources industry as part of our Balance for Better Program where diversity and inclusion are a key focus of the conference and associated events,” Richards said.

She said that IMARC will also highlight the impact and achievements of women in mining while reflecting the strides being made industry-wide to be more gender balanced and showcase the industry-wide benefits of diversity and inclusion.

In practical terms, the partnership between IMARC and IWIMRA will see additional Indigenous speakers and dedicated sessions across the conference program, additional Indigenous women delegates in attendance at the event as well as including an “exciting welcome” to country at the start of the conference, IMARC said.

“This is just the first of what we see as many opportunities to partner with IWIMRA as our values and objectives are very much aligned,” Richards said.

IWIMRA Co-Founder and CEO, Florence Drummond (pictured), said that the partnership with IMARC is a great fit, as IWIMRA aspires to lead with clarity and purpose and to work with industry to build solutions-driven, cross-culture influential relationships that will continue to contribute towards our sustainable future.

“We are so excited to be formalising this partnership with IMARC and it’s only now that we are starting to recognise how truly impactful it will be,” Drummond said. “There are the obvious benefits of participating at IMARC, such as IWIMRA having a physical presence with an exhibition booth, hosting panel sessions and speaking as part of the conference, however there is so much more to be gained beyond the transaction.

“This partnership, which has been progressing over the past three years, is truly transformational for IWIMRA. It means that we have action and commitment from a major global resources conference and that we have recognition, reconciliation and a real seat at the table.”

IWIMRA will be bringing 30 women from mining operations across Australia to IMARC to provide them with the kind of global mining exposure that will enable them to return to their own sites and continue to influence meaningful changes.

“From our history of compounded disadvantage and continued systemic challenges, it is understandable that many of our people are fatigued and frustrated at yet another mechanism for change,” Drummond said. “However, we have worked hard to agree on what shared value is in this context and to deliver this significant opportunity for all stakeholders. Based on trust, we plan for our 30 delegates to be a part of the conversation and to ask the hard questions so that they can be the spark or the catalyst for change back in their home communities. It is our priority to ensure this is a safe space for this.”

Drummond will further discuss this First Nations Partnership on Day 2 of IMARC, as part of the plenary conference program, before later interviewing the Development Partner Institute’s Executive Director, Wendy Tyrrell, about Indigenous engagement and how the industry can better attune with indigenous participation across the supply chain.

The day will conclude with an all IWIMRA line up within the METS Arena for a panel discussion on ‘The intersectionality of Indigenous women in the mining and resources sector, further explore our perspective of where we fit in a decarbonising industry’ before the AusIMM Diversity & Inclusion Networking Reception, where all 30 women will be in attendance to meet with attendees at the event.

International Mining is a media partner of IMARC

Minerals Council of Australia members to adopt Canada’s TSM sustainability system

Australia’s minerals industry is to introduce the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) system to, the Minerals Council of Australia says, further improve site-level performance through regular and transparent reporting on safety, environmental and social indicators, including partnerships with First Nations landholders and communities.

Adopting TSM – implemented worldwide among key mining nations – will support companies in demonstrating site-level safety, sustainability and environmental, social and governance performance through better measurement and accountability, the MCA said. TSM will also show how operations engage with Traditional Owners while supporting social and economic aspirations and heritage protection.

MCA CEO, Tania Constable, said the phased introduction of TSM as an expectation of MCA membership will give industry stakeholders, including First Nations partners, local communities and groups, investors and customers, additional assurance and visibility on the sector’s site-level sustainability performance across a range of important practical measures.

TSM builds on existing commitments to Enduring Value – the Australian minerals industry’s corporate-level sustainable development framework – by providing a consistent and independently verified approach to assess and communicate site level performance, supporting trust and enhancing confidence in the industry’s sustainability credentials, the MCA said.

Constable added: “Australian mining is a global leader in sustainability performance, and it’s time to take another step forward to enhance community, investor and customer trust and confidence in the industry.”

Mining Association of Canada CEO, Pierre Gratton, said: “TSM has led to better outcomes for mining communities in Canada and around the world, and it’s great that Australia has chosen TSM as the vehicle to demonstrate environmental and social performance in its mining sector. We are very proud of TSM’s increasingly global reach and power to improve sustainability through measuring site-level performance.”

The system includes guiding principles and standardised protocols to be adapted for Australian implementation, including:

  • Communities and people: Indigenous and community relationships, safety and health, crisis management and communication planning, preventing child and forced labour;
  • Environmental stewardship: biodiversity conservation management, tailings management, water stewardship; and
  • Climate change: site-level targets and management.

The program was established in 2004 by the Mining Association of Canada to enable mining companies to demonstrate how they are meeting society’s needs for minerals, metals and energy products in the most socially, economically and environmentally responsible way, with its core strengths including:

  • Accountability: participation in TSM will be an expectation for all Mining Association of Canada members for their Australian operations, with assessments conducted at the facility level where the mining activity takes place;
  • Transparency: members will publicly report their performance in line with standardised protocols and indicators; and
  • Credibility: TSM includes ongoing consultation with a national Community of Interest Advisory Panel, an independent multi-stakeholder group, to oversee and shape the program for continual advancement.

Nunavut Government tables Mine Training Centre plan

Following a mid-term retreat in Arviat, Nunavut, last week, the territory’s cabinet has said it plans to establish a Nunavut Mine Training Centre in Rankin Inlet, with engagement from industry partners in the region.

Such a centre would come on top of the territory’s trades training centre, called Sanatuliqsarvik, which offers courses on maintenance operations and underground mining.

In the past decade or so as devolution has neared, Nunavut has risen in the mining investment rankings as the government has looked to attract more miners with exploration incentive schemes and, recently, government-funded infrastructure plans.

Only recently, the National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF) pledged investment towards the first phase of construction of the Grays Bay Road and Port project, which would support mineral development in the Nunavut portion of the Slave Geological Province where base and precious metal deposits are thought to lie.

Such moves have seen the likes of Agnico Eagle Mines (Meadowbank, Meliadine (pictured) and Amaruq), Baffinland Iron Mines (Mary River), MMG (Izok), Sabina Gold & Silver (Back River) and TMAC Resources (Hope Bay) retain and build on their strategic positions in this northerly part of Canada.

The proposed training centre from the government would potentially see more local First Nations take part in the future of these operations.

Reflecting on the mid-term retreat, Nunavut Premier, Joe Savikataaq, said: “We are a united Executive Council, with clear goals and strong ideas for Nunavut. We are now close to halfway through our mandate, and we remain committed to accountability and ensuring the Government of Nunavut achieves the goals of our mandate.

“After a productive two days, we have specific direction to move forward and accomplish our work to benefit all Nunavummiut.”

Northern Ontario set for Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Mineral Development

Manitoulin area residents, entrepreneurs, First Nations and communities are being encouraged to increase their participate in northern Ontario’s mining and minerals industry, as well as the aquaculture and business sectors, through a series of Government of Canada investments totalling more than C$3.4 million ($2.6 million).

The FedNor funding is aimed at supporting five initiatives that, among other things, will enable Waubetek Business Development Corporation to establish and operate a Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Mineral Development for four years. Other funding recipients include LaCloche and Manitoulin Business Assistance Corp, Sheshegwaning First Nation and March of Dimes Canada.

Paul Lefebvre, Member of Parliament for Sudbury, made the announcement this week on behalf of Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for FedNor.

“The goal of the Centre for Indigenous Mineral Development is to enhance the participation of the indigenous people in the mines industry, as well as to assist industry and government through information sharing and best practice protocols with Indigenous engagement,” the government said. “Access to information will help employers and prospective employees fill or secure jobs, and facilitate networking and business development opportunities.”

Martin Bayer, Chair, Waubetek Business Development Corporation, said: “In 2015, at the request of First Nation leaders throughout our region, Waubetek developed and launched a mining strategy that would help ensure meaningful engagement, build capacity and create much needed employment for our First Nation people and help foster more Indigenous businesses opportunities in the mining industry. The strategy was developed through engagement sessions with our community rights holders.

“Our First Nations’ primary interest is to ensure that we are adequately consulted when it comes to mining and exploration within our traditional territories and to ensure that we have more opportunities to participate in the benefits that might come from this development in a sustainable way, including meaningful jobs, business opportunities, joint management and care of the lands on which these projects operate.

“A Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Minerals Development would help our communities build capacity and advance our interests and build a clearinghouse of industry information about things like leading practices and processes that are needed by our First Nations. We are grateful that FedNor also sees the benefits of helping to establish a Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Minerals Development.”