Tag Archives: IGO

Zero Automotive overcoming barriers with BEV conversion offering

Zero Automotive is one of several Australia-based companies looking to supply the clean and green light utility vehicles the domestic hard-rock sector requires over the next decades to achieve crucial sustainability goals while retaining high productivity levels.

Thanks to the support of a significant copper-gold miner in Australia, its membership of the Electric Mine Consortium (EMC) and METS Ignited backing, the company finds itself in a strong position to deliver these machines against a backdrop of supply chain issues and ever-evolving safety and regulatory requirements.

“We’ve got commitments for six machines altogether and are in the process of offering our production version to the market,” Dan Taylor, Business Development Manager for Zero Automotive, says.

The first and second units are already running at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia – Zero Automotive’s home state.

The first machine – a ZED70 Ti™ battery-electric light vehicle – was originally delivered to the mine at the back end of 2020 for testing. After successful trials, the company acquired this unit outright and, in early-2022, added a second Zero Automotive ZED70 Ti to enable its workforce to familiarise themselves with the capabilities and charging methodology that come with electric light utility vehicles.

Since then, the company has delivered a third ZED70 Ti conversion to Barminco, which is now on site at its client IGO Ltd’s Nova nickel-copper-cobalt operation in Western Australia. This vehicle is the first single cab conversion developed by Zero Automotive and will be deployed to site foremen to allow the mining contractor to gain a good understanding of its capabilities.

All three of these machines – and the three to follow – are based off battery-electric conversions of the Toyota LandCruiser 79 Series, a vehicle that has been part of the Australian mining landscape for many years.

The modular nature of the Zero Automotive platform enables its long-life battery energy system to be reused in multiple chassis, lowering the total lifecycle cost of the fleet as well as the cost of Scope 1 emissions, according to the company.

They also include dual AC-DC charging with the CCS Combo2 connection, which is becoming increasingly standardised in the mining space.

Data and feedback from the second OZ Minerals machine and the initial Barminco vehicle will be fed back into the EMC ecosystem under the Light and Auxiliary Equipment Working Group as part of the consortium’s continual improvement and knowledge sharing remit.

The EMC said of the consortium’s ongoing light and auxiliary equipment electrification ambitions: “Converting light and auxiliary vehicles as rapidly as possible to electric is key to the industry building the broader understanding and familiarity with electric equipment and infrastructure that will accelerate adoption across all aspects of operations.”

The EMC is a growing group of over 20 mining and service companies driven by the imperative to produce zero-emission products for their customers and meet mounting investor expectations. The objective of the EMC, backed by METS Ignited, is to accelerate progress toward the zero-carbon and zero-particulate mine.

The following three machines are also expected to be deployed to EMC members, with METS Ignited agreeing to provide some A$400,000 ($297,938) of funding towards the diesel-to-battery conversion projects outside of the vehicles already delivered to OZ Minerals.

“The key thing with all of these vehicle deployments is the ZED70 Ti being able to do the job the miners need to perform safely and reliably, getting the associated charging infrastructure right and working with key stakeholders on the change management process,” Dave Mitchell, founder and CEO of Zero Automotive, says. “Operators also need to get used to the power under the hood and how to maximise the battery re-charging capabilities when going down ramp.

“As a matter of course, we train up and educate the sites about the best way to utilise these vehicles,” he said.

To this point, the two prototype vehicles already operating out at Carrapateena have shown that they can work for a typical shift without requiring a re-charge and can then utilise the battery’s AC/DC-DC fast-charge option during shift changeover to enable another user to run the machine for the following shift.

The use of LTO (Lithium Titanate Oxide) battery chemistry and a 60-kWh battery capacity has been behind this performance. This electric motor can generate continuous power of 75 kW and peak power of 134 kW, plus 358 Nm of continuous torque. These values will be increased to 100 kW, 200 kW and 520 Nm (1,200 Nm peak) for the production version.

To this point, the power dimension has often been the main metric quoted with any battery-electric machine, but Taylor pointed out that safety and regulatory considerations were often the biggest barriers to overcome in terms of getting machines operating at underground mines – a hurdle that Zero Automotive has cleared.

“We were able to successfully commission our second ZED70 Ti for OZ Minerals within two days of the machine arriving on site,” he said. “A lot of people are putting out offerings for light utility vehicles, but the required risk analysis in terms of deploying a vehicle underground has not been successfully worked through. This is rightfully a high bar to clear.

“We address any safety or regulatory considerations during our design process – not when the machine is on site – to make sure that operators can start using them quickly.”

Mitchell adds: “The user case is what we are focused on. That has allowed us to scale our offering quickly and ensure our clients can start running the machine underground as soon as they have it on site.”

Zero Automotive is expecting to deploy the other three machines on its books to the same companies (OZ Minerals and Barminco), but the final two machines of the six to be delivered will be under a revised platform to the original ZED70 Ti.

“It will be a platform that is designed from the ground up that incorporates the desired features and learnings from the first conversions, but we will simplify it to reduce complexity, weight and cost,” Mitchell said. “We’re sticking with the same battery configuration – which has proven itself in terms of power, safety and longevity – but we’re adding some auxiliary power outputs and ensuring the machine is multi-purpose.”

The latter element is tied to the company’s medium-to-long-term ambitions, which include the potential to supply battery-electric machines specific to the extended range space too.

For now, Zero Automotive is focused on getting its machines underground at hard-rock operations, ensuring operators and mining companies start realising the productivity and emission benefits that come with these zero-emission conversions.

Electric Mine Consortium partners with AWS on world-first mine decarbonisation platform

Australia’s Electric Mine Consortium (EMC), made up of some of the world’s leading mining and service companies, has announced it is working with Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company, to accelerate the electrification of mine sites globally.

Announced at AWS Summit 2022, EMC is using AWS’s depth and breadth of services, including machine learning, business intelligence and storage, to build the world’s first mining data platform, to capture real-time information on mine decarbonisation from sites globally.

To drive decarbonisation, mining companies can use the platform to measure energy storage levels and electrical infrastructure use from global mine sites to accelerate the creation of a cleaner, more electrified future in mining, EMC said.

Co-founder of the EMC, Graeme Stanway, says the platform can help enable EMC members to share sustainability insights and analyse the outcomes of adopting electrified mining infrastructure and sustainable operations.

“The way we generate, store and harness energy around the globe is changing drastically,” Stanway said. “EMC’s collaboration with AWS will help see us at the forefront of this change, driving the mining industry’s electrification at scale.”

Stanway said the industry is crying out for tools to decarbonise due to tightening government emission reduction targets, increasing environmental, social and governance pressure, and the industry being responsible for 7% of the greenhouse gas emissions globally.

“Like the electric vehicle industry, electric mines are the future” Stanway said. “Not only can they be safer through the eradication of diesel particulates, pollution, noise and vibrations, they can also be more targeted, precise and effective when it comes to mining, and yield stronger results than traditional mines with minimal ground disturbance.”

As part of the initiative, EMC created a “data lake” using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), a cloud object storage service, that can securely store thousands of datasets from the consortium’s mines, including data on energy consumption and renewable energy infrastructure output.

EMC can then clean the data and run data pipelines using AWS Step Functions, a low-code, visual workflow service; AWS Glue, a serverless data integration service; and AWS Lambda, a serverless, event-driven compute service. AWS Glue can provide EMC with data catalogue functionality, and AWS Lake Formation, a service that makes it easy to set up a secure data lake in days, can deliver security and access control.

Amazon QuickSight, a business intelligence service (screenshot pictured), can allow everyone in the consortium to explore and understand mining data through user-friendly interactive dashboards that identify efficiency practices that may reduce emissions, according to EMC.

Also, using Amazon SageMaker, a fully managed service to build, train, and deploy machine learning models, EMC can train machine-learning models to predict energy usage spikes at mines and track the carbon efficiency of deploying sustainable energy infrastructure.

Sarah Bassett, Head of Mining and Energy, Australia at AWS, said: “Data capture and analysis is essential to mining operations, and AWS is helping consortium members to share their critical datasets and collective insights to drive the digitisation and evolution of the industry. I am excited to be collaborating with the EMC and its consortium members to improve the design of mines globally and accelerate the industry’s journey to decarbonisation on the global scale.”

The EMC is a growing group of over 20 mining and service companies. These companies are driven by the imperative to produce zero-emission products for their customers and meet mounting investor expectations. Thus, the objective of the EMC is to accelerate progress toward the zero-carbon and zero-particulate mine through:

  • Resolving key technology choices;
  • Shaping the supplier ecosystem;
  • Influencing policy; and
  • Communicating the business case

The EMC is emerging as a key vehicle for the decarbonisation of the mining industry, particularly for underground operations, and will remain responsive to the rapidly changing external environment.

Members include OZ Minerals, Newcrest Mining, Gold Fields, IGO, South32, Blackstone Minerals, Evolution Mining, Barminco and Iluka Resources.

Zenith Energy to roll out 5B Maverick solar system across Australian mine sites

Renewable energy penetration is set to increase on major mine sites in the Goldfields and Pilbara regions of Australia, after Zenith Energy and 5B signed a deployment agreement that could see the 5B Maverick™ system rolled out.

Zenith, one of Australia’s leading independent power producers, and 5B, a clean energy technology provider, signed an Ecosystem Framework Agreement-Deployment, permitting Zenith to be a deployment partner of the 5B Maverick system within Australia.

The 5B Maverick system solar array is prefabricated, allowing rapid deployment while increasing the ability of Zenith to expand renewable assets across existing and future sites, Zenith said. Each 5B Maverick array consists of up to 90 solar panels, mounted on specially designed racks, and optimised for the 540-550 W module class of the utility scale solar industry.

Zenith Managing Director, Hamish Moffat, said the partnership represents the next step in reducing emissions across Zenith’s legacy portfolio.

“We’ve been looking to increase renewable assets across multiple sites for some time; the question has always been around how we can achieve that in such a way that is economically viable,” he said. “The 5B Maverick system is re-deployable, meaning it can be integrated on mines with shorter tenure, and moved at the end of operations at those sites.”

He added: “It offers Zenith greater ability to leverage value from our initial capital expenditure, making it more cost effective to offer expanded renewable energy solutions for our clients.”

5B Co-Founder and CEO, Chris McGrath, said the strategic partnership is an important validation of 5B Maverick’s ability to reduce deployment complexity.

“This has been a major barrier for solar installations on mine sites worldwide,” he said. “The agreement also shows that our cost reduction efforts over the past two years have worked – we’ve hit the price point where 5B Mavericks can be viably packed up and redeployed elsewhere, substantially reducing the risk of stranded assets in mining, agricultural and industrial operations.”

Moffat said Zenith is looking to integrate the 5B Maverick system across three sites initially. These include:

  • Nova: The 5B Maverick will play a major role in Zenith’s industry first ‘engine-off’ project at IGO’s Nova nickel mine, allowing the site to operate on up to nine consecutive hours of renewable energy through the installation of an extra 10 MW of solar, and a 10 MW battery energy storage system;
  • Warrawoona: Zenith recently committed to the supply, installation, and commissioning of a 4 MW DC Solar Farm, using the 5B Maverick, as well as a 3 MW/3 MWh AC battery energy storage system at Warrawoona, owned by Calidus Resources. The hybrid power station configuration will reduce gas use, which in turn results in a reduction in emissions; and
  • King of The Hills: Work is currently underway to install 2 MW of 5B Maverick on the Red 5 site, also supported by a battery energy storage system.

Moffat said the 5B agreement is another key milestone on the company’s journey toward ‘net zero’.

“Our 2035 ‘net zero’ target strikes a balance between ambition and ability to achieve, with the 5B partnership a clear demonstration of our progress and commitment to this goal,” he said.

McGrath said 5B was keen to partner with Zenith, given the independent power producer’s strong reputation and credibility in providing renewable energy solutions to the mining and resources industry.

“We’re keen to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with like-minded companies, and Zenith definitely fits the bill,” he said. “It is great to see Zenith leveraging the ability of the 5B Maverick solar arrays to deploy up to 10 times faster, more safely than single axis tracker and fixed tilt solar systems, to deliver a full solution for their customers.”

Moffat said the partnership offers both Zenith and 5B the opportunity to continue to lead the industry, demonstrating the ability and capacity to effectively integrate renewable energy solutions.

“We have continually said we want to be part of the renewable solution, not just by developing the concepts needed, but by also actively deploying and proving the technology,” he said. “The partnership with 5B allows us to do this and continue to bring our clients on the glide path to ‘net zero’.”

IGO to trial VSUN Energy’s VRFP energy storage tech at Nova nickel operation

IGO Limited looks set to test VSUN Energy’s vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) energy storage technology in a standalone power system (SPS) application at its Nova nickel operation in Western Australia.

An SPS supplies power independently to the electricity grid and typically comprises a combination of solar, wind, battery and backup generation from diesel or gas. The SPS at Nova, supplied by Australian Vanadium Ltd subsidiary VSUN, will power a bore pump with a target of 100% renewable energy use.

The SPS heading to IGO’s nickel operation will be based around a 300 kWh VRFB from Spanish manufacturer E22. The system has been designed to provide a 100% renewable energy supply for much of the year, with periods of long cloud cover being supported by a diesel genset, Australian Vanadium said.

Total renewable penetration of 85-90% is being targeted for the trial of the VRFB-based SPS system.

The SPS is redeployable for use on multiple mines sites and locations over its 20-plus year service life, Australian Vanadium said. The target of long periods with “diesel-off” will not only significantly reduce the carbon emissions of diesel generator powered bore fields, but also offer substantial reductions in operating hours for service personnel, according to the company.

“These two significant benefits indicate a potentially rapid growth market segment for this robust technology,” the company said.

Australian Vanadium Managing Director, Vincent Algar, said: “Working with IGO on this project will accelerate the objectives of the companies and broader mining industry towards carbon neutrality. The robustness of VRFB energy storage makes it perfectly suited to the tough environments found on many Australian mine sites.”

He added: “The installation of an SPS based on vanadium technology for pumping applications enables diesel to be almost entirely eliminated, helping reduce overall carbon emissions and providing reliable green power. We look forward to trialling and then duplicating this system based on an Australian invention and with Australian-made vanadium electrolyte from AVL in Western Australia.”

IGO’s Chief Operating Officer, Matt Dusci, said: “IGO’s strategic focus is on those products that are critical to enabling clean energy solutions, to create a better planet. As part of our strategy to deliver those products, we aspire to be carbon neutral across our business and to do this, in part, by leveraging renewable energy solutions and innovation to reduce emissions at our remote exploration and mining operations. We are excited to be collaborating with AVL on this pilot at our Nova operation.”

In July 2021, AVL was awarded a A$3.69 million ($2.69 million) Federal Government manufacturing grant under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative Resources Technology and Critical Minerals Processing National Manufacturing Priority roadmap. Part of the matched funding is allocated to development of the SPS that will be installed at IGO’s Nova nickel operation.

The remainder of the grant will be used to finalise the high purity processing circuit for the Australian Vanadium Project; build and operate a commercial vanadium electrolyte manufacturing plant producing 33 MWh/y and manufacture a prototype of a residential VRFB.

The agreement with IGO will end 12 months from the date of system commissioning and first power production, unless extended or terminated in accordance with the agreement. The SPS is being provided to IGO at no charge, with the option to purchase or rent the system at the end of the trial period. The project will enable IGO to analyse the performance of the SPS for potential use in its dewatering and bore pumps systems.

AngloGold, IGO eye Tropicana production flexibility as Boston Shaker goes commercial

AngloGold Ashanti, in conjunction with its joint venture partner IGO Ltd, has declared commercial production at the Boston Shaker underground mine at its Tropicana gold operation in Western Australia.

Situated some 330 km east-northeast of Kalgoorlie, the operation is managed by AngloGold Ashanti Australia (AGAA) with a 70% interest, while IGO holds the remaining 30% interest.

Development of the Boston Shaker mine was approved in March 2019, and the mine transitioned into commercial production this month on schedule, below the A$105.7 million ($77 million) budget and, importantly, with no recordable safety incidents, AngloGold said.

Boston Shaker will deliver around 1.1 Mt/y of ore at an estimated grade of 3.5 g/t, contributing some 100,000 oz/y to gold production over a seven-year mine life.

“Underground mining at Boston Shaker will leverage further value from this high performing operation, achieving payback in just over three years with upside potential as the deposit remains open at depth,” AngloGold Ashanti SVP Australia, Michael Erickson, said. “The underground mine will contribute higher-grade mill feed from the current quarter onwards, improving the gold production profile and enhancing cash flow during calendar 2021-2023 when the mine plan includes periods of higher waste stripping in the Havana open pit.”

AngloGold has previously said operational excellence work at the underground mine is focused on remote bogging, the mechanical operator-controlled digging of ore from surface, and on optimising level spacing and extraction ratios.

The first production stope was fired in June 2020 and underground ore production has now reached an annualised production rate of 700,000 t/y with the design production rate expected to be achieved in March 2021.The commercial production milestone at Boston Shaker comes after Tropicana produced its 3 millionth ounce of gold in March this year, just seven years after pouring first gold in September 2013.

AngloGold explained: “From commencement of the operation at Tropicana the mining strategy has been designed to optimise cash flow, net present value and the delivery of ore. The Tropicana, Havana, Havana South and Boston Shaker open pits have been mined as a series of cutbacks, sequenced and scheduled to maximise value at a mining rate that delivers the best mining unit cost for the scale of the operation.”

Up until June 2020, ore production from the open pits exceeded the plant capacity, allowing higher-grade ore to be preferentially treated, while lower grade ore was accumulated on stockpiles. Over the course of the second half of 2019 and first half of 2020, the Tropicana pit and Havana pit were completed, in line with the mine plan. As a result, grade streaming came to an end and stockpiled ore is currently being used to supplement the mill feed from the Havana South and Boston Shaker pits.

A decision was made in the June 2020 quarter to invest in the next cutback of the Havana pit (Stage 2) which will allow access to the deeper Havana open-pit ore from 2022 onwards. While this cutback is being completed, mill feed will be sourced from the Boston Shaker open pit, supplemented by some 4 Mt/y of low grade (0.85-1.05 g/t) stockpiled ore, resulting in a lower milled grade over the period. The lower grade will be partially offset by the Boston Shaker underground mine, which is ramping up and will be contributing at full capacity by the second half of 2021.

The plan remains for gold production (at 100%) in 2020 and 2021 to be between 400,000-450,000 oz, compared with 513,785 oz last year. From 2022 onwards, annual gold production will normalise between 450,000-500,000 oz as the low-grade stockpile ore in the mill feed is displaced by a larger proportion of Boston Shaker underground ore and an increasing contribution of higher-grade ore from the Havana pit, as the cutback progresses.

AngloGold says significant potential remains to unlock known extensions of mineralisation beneath the Tropicana and Havana open pits and the extensions at depth of the Boston Shaker Underground. Development of an underground drill drive from the Boston Shaker Decline is well advanced with a total of 240 m completed to date. The drill drive is well positioned to also provide production access to the Tropicana underground reserve should the drilling prove successful. Underground diamond drilling is scheduled for the December 2020 quarter with a decision to mine expected during 2021.

Final trade-off studies are currently being completed on the Havana Stage 3 open pit cut-back and Havana underground to determine the optimal open pit – underground interface. A decision on the way forward for Havana Stage 3 is expected to be made during 2021.

(photo credit: Macmahon)

MICROMINE mobilises a new mine optimisation plan

Upgrading from a voice-based fleet management system to an automated mobile solution enables mine managers to gain critical efficiencies across their site, resulting in a positive effect on their operations’ bottom line, according to MICROMINE.

Nickel-copper-cobalt miner, Independence Group (IGO), recently upgraded to Pitram Mobile at its Nova operation in Western Australia. Nova is one of a growing number of sites across the globe choosing to upgrade from Pitram Voice to the Pitram Mobile solution, MICROMINE says. IGO deployed the mobile software following the successful installation of Pitram Voice in 2018.

Touchscreen tablets were installed in vehicle cabs and integrated with the Pitram software to facilitate data transfer between on-board computers and the Pitram control room, which provides full fleet management insights and analytics functionality.

IGO implemented Pitram Mobile to capture data and insights electronically from its underground mining fleet at Nova, according to MICROMINE. Upgrading to Pitram mobile has assisted the mine to more effectively:

  • Manage safety – by controlling access to dangerous areas and replaying locations and states for incident analysis;
  • Integrate its fleet management system – providing a better picture of situational awareness and vehicle positioning;
  • Decrease mine radio traffic – enhancing safety and operational activities through automatically transmitting critical data from equipment;
  • Apply automated business rules engines;
  • Execute its shift plan – sending tasks to workers from the plan, receiving notifications of completed tasks and facilitating plan compliance;
  • Identify areas of improvement;
  • Increase productivity;
  • Reduce manual data entry and paperwork; and
  • Optimise fleet and personnel.

MICROMINE’s Pitram Account Manager, Tyler Raleigh, said the upgrade was completed in early March 2019, with Pitram specialists spending time on site to assist the IGO Nova team with technical support.

“The mine control and dispatch facilities are designed to provide an increased level of shift data accuracy, which will improve operational efficiencies through effective management of mining operations based on high-quality data,” Raleigh said. “The system provides improved response to emergency situations and greater control in hazard management, as well streamlines administrative tasks through real-time data capture and validation.”

IGO’s Nova Mine Manager, Peter Christen, said improvements are already starting to be seen across the Nova site since the implementation.

“We’re pleased with the results achieved so far since upgrading to Pitram Mobile at Nova,” he said. “The implementation was well managed by the MICROMINE team, with quick uptake and acceptance by our IGO and Barminco site personnel.

“It’s enabled our people to be more in control of the data generated and that means we are seeing greater ownership and uptake of the system. It also allows our mine control operators to validate information quickly and they spend less time on the radio.

“Overall, our experience at Nova has been a positive one and we would definitely recommend Pitram Mobile to other mining companies.”

What is the difference between Pitram Voice and Pitram Mobile?

For those already using Pitram Voice, upgrading to Pitram Mobile offers the following benefits, according to MICROMINE:

  • Automatic detection of load-haul-dump events;
  • Integration of autonomous mining fleet with the rest of the Pitram solution;
  • Integration between Pitram and other on-board payload management systems;
  • Summaries of manually and automatically captured production data to aid in generating draw plans;
  • Increased accuracy of time sensitive data, providing greater visibility of availability bottlenecks; and
  • Removal of reliance on radio communications.

A Pitram automatic upgrade from voice data capture requires a simple upgrade process, MICROMINE says. Pitram uses the same production and reporting database for Pitram Voice as it does for Pitram’s automated solution, so all the work invested in implementing Pitram is retained when upgrading to the more advanced Pitram solution.

Pitram Mobile tablets

Optimise operational performance

As Pitram Mobile allows equipment operators to capture production data through automated on-board systems, or via touchscreens in cabs. Rather than calling in through radios, the solution frees up personnel time and effort, radio airspace and alleviates potential data entry errors.

The tablets or onboard systems capture equipment data, like location, pre-start, status and activities, which is automatically uploaded to servers as soon as vehicles are in range of a wireless (or LTE) network. Pitram Mobile’s automatic data transfer then allows that data to be passed to the Pitram Control Room where analysts and operators can monitor results and refine mine operations.

Utilising the latest technology, automated data capture minimises disruption to primary activities, provides near 100% data accuracy, automated task management, integrated shift planning and can provide live information short interval control for in-shift decision-making.

“By using integrations across communication platforms, Pitram greatly reduces call volumes across the radio network,” MICROMINE says. “Through automatically transmitting key data from equipment, personal and operations, the automated solution revolutionises the mine control room, providing an adaptable user interface for low-level data entry roles as well as for higher-level administrators and in-shift mine managers.”

Pitram Mobile being utilised at IGO Nova

Other key features and benefits include:

  • Ruggedised touchscreen tablets, with various models available to best meet the requirements of individual mines, including dust and water protection;
  • No requirement for additional proprietary hardware, so companies save costs and time in installation if they have existing tablets and network infrastructure;
  • Run using Windows operating systems;
  • Compatible with various underground data collection technologies, including Wi-Fi and Ethernet over leaky feeder;
  • GPS tracking capabilities for surface mines;
  • Speed warning and alarms;
  • Material mis-dump alarms;
  • Payload indicator to minimise overloading or underloading, plus integration with third-party payload monitoring systems;
  • Task allocation and real-time tracking of tasks;
  • Portable data for managers & shift boss – finger on the pulse;
  • Improved accuracy;
  • Reduced two-way traffic to Mine Control; and
  • Operator accountability.

Macmahon to go underground with AngloGold, IGO at Tropicana gold mine

ASX-listed Macmahon Holdings says it has been issued a Notice of Award by AngloGold Ashanti, its client at the Tropicana gold mine in Western Australia, for the development of the new Boston Shaker underground mine.

Tropicana, a joint venture between AngloGold (70% and manager) and Independence Group (IGO, 30%), is already Macmahon’s largest mining contract in Australia.

The addition of the Boston Shaker underground work is worth approximately A$170 million ($121 million) over five years, according to Macmahon, which said it expected to commence work in May with contract documentation finalised by the parties in the coming weeks.

Capital expenditure for the underground works is estimated to be approximately A$30 million, and will be primarily spread across the first three years, Macmahon said.

The development of the Boston Shaker underground mine will enable Tropicana gold production to be maintained at between 450,000-500,000 oz/y of gold over the five years to and including the 2023 financial year, AngloGold and Independence Group said. It is expected to contribute 100,000 oz/y to the operation, with first gold expected during the September 2020 quarter. The feasibility study estimated a capital cost for the project of A$105 million.

Macmahon’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Finnegan, said: “We are excited that our long-term alliance partnership with AngloGold Ashanti and Independence Group has grown to also include its new underground development at Tropicana, where we have been operating the surface mining since 2012.

“This contract win is a major step towards our strategic goal of growing our underground business and capitalising on the increased level of underground opportunities with existing and potential new clients.”