Tag Archives: Independence Group

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.”

Micromine Pitram takes control at Independence Group’s Nova operation

Micromine has signed a contract with Independence Group (IGO) to help drive productivity and cost efficiencies at the Nova nickel-copper-cobalt operation in the Fraser Range of Western Australia.

As part of the agreement, Micromine will implement at Nova its fleet management and mine control software solution, Pitram.

This implementation of Pitram, a mine control and management reporting system aimed at delivering mining production efficiencies, comes on the back of a resurgence in Western Australia’s nickel sector, which increased in value by 26% in 2017–18 to $2.6 billion, after several years of decline, Micromine said.

Nova began commercial operation in July 2017 and produced 22,258 t of nickel, 9,545 t of copper and 740 t of cobalt at a payable cash cost of A$2.78/lb ($2.01/Ib) of nickel in the 2018 financial year. Production is expected to increase some 20% in FY19 to 27,000-30,000 t of nickel, 11,000-12,500 t of copper, and 850-950 t of cobalt.

Micromine’s Pitram Operations Manager, Daren Hinchliffe, said Pitram would be used by operations personnel, to capture insights and data from mobile equipment and underground mining activities, in real time.

“Using Pitram’s voice-based mine control system, underground operators can call in their activities, locations and status to mine control, and performance results can be monitored constantly, allowing for continuous improvement,” he said.

Pitram’s automated technology allows shift supervisors to keep track of what is going on throughout the mine, while allowing constantly monitoring of results and performance, he added.

“This will provide IGO with critical data as to how the mine is performing and, help identify bottlenecks, enabling the company to respond quickly to opportunities to implement process improvements,” he said.

IGO’s Chief Operating Officer, Matt Dusci, believes this will drive significant value through productivity efficiencies and cost savings at Nova and, ultimately, serve as a platform for future integration with automation at the mine.

Micromine’s roll-out of Pitram at Nova commenced in December and is expected to be completed in early 2019.

Barminco and Independence Group establish Technology Development Committee

Barminco Holdings and Independence Group have established a Technology Development Committee at the same time as the two agreed to extend the services contract at the Australian miner’s Nova nickel-copper-cobalt operation in Western Australia.

The committee’s aim is to identify and implement innovative methods and technologies to advance safety and productivity in underground mining. According to Barminco Chief Executive Officer, Paul Muller, this will initially target projects such as the early stage development of electric vehicles, enhanced mine control systems, machine vision and proximity detection.

In the meantime, a four-year contract extension for underground mining services at Nova will see Barminco pocket some A$240 million ($170 million). There is an option for a two-year extension within the contract.

Muller said Nova was an important project for the company, with Barminco delivering 29 km of development and extracting 2.4 Mt of ore since development started in 2015.

“Barminco has supported the Nova project’s transition from development, starting with excavation of the box-cut on Australia Day 2015, to production, delivering a successful first year of commercial production in the 2018 financial year.” The 2018 financial year saw the operation produce 22,258 t of nickel and 9,545 t of copper.

Muller added: “We now look forward to working closely with IGO under a formal arrangement to drive further productivity and safety improvements at Nova.”

Peter Bradford, IGO’s Managing Director and CEO, said: “Barminco has been an important partner in the development of Nova. With the majority of the capital development completed at Nova there is a focus on incremental operational and productivity improvements associated with stope mining activities.

“The four-year term, with the option to extend by two years, allows us to work together to unlock this value.”

He added that both companies are committed to mapping and implementing these productivity improvements through new technologies, with the establishment of the technology committee representing an important step towards this objective.

Just last week, Barminco, which is in the middle of being taken over by Ausdrill, was awarded two four-year contracts at Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine in Western Australia.

On the same day the Nova contract extension was announced, Ausdrill confirmed its shareholders had signed off the deal for Barminco. The offer values Barminco’s equity at A$271.5 million. The deal is now expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Zenith Energy helps Independence go solar at Nova nickel-copper operation

Independence Group’s Nova nickel operation is set to play host to Australia’s first fully-integrated commercial hybrid diesel/solar photovoltaic (PV) facility after the company signed a contract amendment with remote power generation specialist Zenith Energy.

The changes to the existing power purchase agreement, signed by Zenith and Independence back in 2015, will incorporate a solar PV facility with a forecast 12.5 GWh/y.

Zenith’s subsidiary, Zenith Pacific, will now build, own and operate a hybrid diesel/solar PV power station of around 26 MW in installed capacity to “reliably and efficiently service the power needs of the Nova operation”, the company said.

Zenith has made huge strides since becoming a public entity via the ASX in May, sealing contracts with the likes of Gascoyne Resources, for its Dalgaranga gold project, and Dacian Gold, for its recently opened Mt Morgans gold mine.

Managing Director of Zenith Energy, Hamish Moffat said: “This development represents the first fully integrated and commercial hybrid diesel/solar PV facility in Australia and is a step forward in future renewable energy solutions.”

The solar PV will include “state-of-the-art PV modules, single axis tracking, inverters, communications and control system technology”, Zenith said.

The hybrid power station will incorporate high efficiency diesel-fuelled generators and solar PV generation.

The integrated facility is expected to be completed within the first quarter of Zenith’s 2020 financial year (to end-June, 2020). The initial supply period is for six years with an option for Zenith to extend for a further two years.

Independence Group’s Managing Director, Peter Bradford said: “The development of this innovative hybrid energy solution will…improve our cost structure with targeted renewable power insertion of up to 50% of demand via the solar PV facility.”

Nova is in the Fraser Range of Western Australia, some 160 km east-northeast of Norseman. It produced 22,258 t of nickel and 9,545 t of copper in its first full year of operation in the 2018 financial year.