Tag Archives: Karara Mining

NRW in line for A$702 million Karara Mining iron ore gig

NRW has received a letter of intent from Karara Mining Ltd to carry out mining services works at the Karara iron ore mine in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia.

Subject to reaching agreement with Karara, the anticipated value of the contract is around A$702 million ($529 million) over a five-year duration with a project workforce averaging circa-250 personnel.

MACA, through its recently acquired Mining West business, currently holds the contract mining agreement at Karara.

The works to be performed include load and haul, drill and blast, and run of mine re-handling. The drill and blast component will be undertaken by NRW’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Action Drill & Blast Pty Ltd. In addition, the work includes train loading and re-handling of the product stockpiles together with “miscellaneous day works” at the mine site, camp and access roads.

Karara is the largest mining operation and the first major magnetite mine in the Mid West region. It produces a premium, high-grade concentrate that it exports to steelmakers.

“With an expected mine life of 30-plus years, Karara’s operation includes a large open-pit mine, complex ore processing and beneficiation plant and significant infrastructure and logistics networks,” NRW said.

NRW estimates an equipment capital expenditure of around A$170 million to be progressively spent over the term, which will include the purchase of three 600 t face shovel excavators and a fleet of 220 t trucks.

NRW CEO, Jules Pemberton, said: “With a strong local presence in the area through our Geraldton-based DIAB Engineering business and our mining contract with Gascoyne Resources at the Dalgaranga mine site, we look forward to continuing to support the existing and highly experienced workforce on site through this transition, as well as creating employment opportunities for the Gascoyne region community.”

Karara CEO, Changjiang Zhu, said: “NRW is an established Western Australia-based mining and civil contractor with extensive open-cut mining experience gained through a number of successful mining operations in the state. Offering new prime equipment, NRW has the capability to undertake the entire Karara scope of work comprising a broad range of mining, construction and engineering services.

“We look forward to negotiation of an agreement with NRW and commencement of mining services early next year.”

Karara Mining to stack tailings high to keep costs, water use and footprint low

Bis, FLSmidth and Karara Mining have developed a “unique mobile stacking conveyor” solution that has cut water use, costs and the environmental footprint at the iron ore miner’s operation in Western Australia.

If Karara’s iron ore mine had chosen a wet tailings storage facility, the tailings pond would have been roughly 8 sq.km based on its 30-year mine life, according to FLSmidth.

The operation is also in the Mid-West region of Western Australia, an area with scarce water reserves, so losing so much water to wet tailings would have been costly to both the environment and Karara’s bottom line.

With these factors in mind, Karara looked at implementing a dry-stacked/filtered tailings system to allow for significant water recovery and reuse. As well as reducing costs, dry stack technology would reduce the tailings footprint to around 4 sq.km, according to FLSmidth.

Bis worked with Karara and FLSmidth to develop a solution to build, own, operate and maintain a “unique mobile stacking conveyor”, FLSmidth said. This fixed infrastructure solution was developed by the three companies to integrate a walking conveyor and stacking technology normally used in large-scale copper mining operations.

Aside from the significant reduction of the physical footprint compared with the wet tailings alternative, Karara was looking for cost efficiencies in other areas, FLSmidth said. “For instance, the planning of a wet tailings storage facility needs to factor in an ongoing maintenance strategy. This comes with a perpetual cost that can only be guessed at while the decades pass,” the company said. “With dry-stack tailings, the total cost of ownership over the mine’s lifetime is easier to estimate and Karara were confident the dry stack solution would be cost competitive.”

Water usage was another key consideration for Karara. With environmental and cost factors in mind, Karara wanted to look at ways to have greater control over water assets on site. The ability to reuse and recycle water in the mining process would lead to substantial cost efficiencies by minimising the amount of makeup water needed for the mining operation, FLSmidth said.

The technology implemented into Karara’s tailings storage facility was also an important factor as Karara wanted the flexibility to continually update the equipment with the view of running it more efficiently as new technology became available. It engaged Bis to operate the facility machinery based on its deep industry experience with materials handling and bulk logistics, FLSmidth said.

FLSmidth, meanwhile, was identified by Karara as being able to meet the project’s requirements and mine-specific needs.

The mining OEM said: “A primary demand was the ability to supply a cost-effective dry stacking technology ideal for dry climate mining operations that reduced water requirements. With FLSmidth’s advanced stacking capability (machinery working off stacked pile) and ability to stack tailings at 15% moisture content, this meant tangible water savings for Karara.

“At Karara, the dry tailings will be stacked in four lifts to the maximum height approved by the Western Australia Government. The solution proposed by FLSmidth also created a smaller tailings storage footprint, which also meant improved site rehabilitation potential.”

Karara worked closely with Bis and FLSmidth to get the project off the ground and make Karara the first mine in Australia to take full advantage of this dry-stack technology, FLSmidth said.

The tailings storage facility is fast approaching the completion of Lift 1 and, together with Karara, Bis and FLSmidth are already in the planning stage to lift the equipment to the second level.