Tag Archives: Leinster

BHP Nickel West eyes wind power potential as Northern Goldfields Solar Project kicks off

Construction is now underway on one of the world’s largest off-grid mining solar and battery energy storage systems being built by TransAlta to help power BHP Nickel West’s Mt Keith and Leinster operations.

The Northern Goldfields Solar Project, which was announced last year, includes a 27.4 MW solar farm at Mt Keith, a 10.7 MW solar farm and a 10.1 MW battery at Leinster, and will be integrated into TransAlta’s Northern Goldfields remote power grid.

The project, which will replace power currently supplied by diesel and gas, will help BHP Nickel West reduce Scope 2 emissions at its Mt Keith and Leinster operations by 12%, resulting in an estimated reduction of 54,000 t/y of CO2-e.

The construction phase of the project is set to create more than 100 direct and indirect jobs in the Goldfields and Perth regions, and is expected to produce its first solar power by November 2022.

The project aims to employ Traditional Owners from the Tijwarl Native Title Holders following TransAlta’s contractor, juwi, awarding Cundaline Resources with the primary civil contractor role on the project. Cundaline Resources is an Aboriginal business whose owners include members of the Tjiwarl Aboriginal Corporation.

BHP Nickel West Asset President, Jessica Farrell, said BHP was meeting its commitment to deliver sustainable low carbon nickel to its customers, a product that is in high demand to power batteries and electric vehicles.

“The Northern Goldfields Solar Project is BHP’s first off-grid large-scale renewable energy project across our global operations and, significantly, will remove the equivalent of up to 23,000 combustion engine cars from the road every year, supporting our greenhouse gas reduction targets,” Farrell said.

“It is also very exciting that following years of close engagement with the Tjiwarl Native Title Holders, our project has contracted the services of a local Aboriginal business, boosting opportunities for people in the local community and across the northern Goldfields generally.”

TransAlta also unveiled today it had entered into an agreement with BHP to identify potential wind sites for a 40-50 MW wind farm, which would connect to TransAlta’s northern grid and reduce Scope 2 emissions at BHP’s Mt Keith and Leinster operations by an estimated further 30 per cent.

Adding wind will increase renewable energy supply to support BHP’s growth and to further each company’s sustainability goals, BHP said.

TransAlta Australia Managing Director, Kelvin Koay, said the construction phase of the solar and battery farm was an exciting step for the project.

“The Northern Goldfields Solar Project is TransAlta’s first renewable energy project in Australia and is an important element of our Clean Electricity Growth plan. This project contributes to achieving TransAlta’s target of a 75% GHG emissions reduction over 2015 levels by 2026 and 2050 carbon neutrality goal. As a company, we have a strong decarbonisation track record having already achieved a 61% emissions reduction since 2005.

“We’ve had a long-standing partnership with BHP since the 1990s and we welcome the opportunity to support BHP in meeting its carbon emission targets and in enhancing its competitiveness as one of the lowest carbon nickel miners in the world.”

Macmahon contemplates underground shift to battery-electric utility vehicles

One of Australia’s leading contract miners, Macmahon, says it is considering the use of the battery-electric Bortana EV model for its greater underground operations in the future.

The company made the admission after announcing the arrival of two Agrale Marruá AM200 light utility vehicles for its underground mining contracts (pictured). One of these – the dual cab version – is already in use and on site at BHP’s Leinster nickel operation in Western Australia.

Originally built for the Brazilian army, Macmahon has previously trialled these Tier 4 diesel engine utility vehicles, saying they are equipped to deal with what the underground mining environment throws at them.

“With the body, doors and tray all made from galvanised steel, along with a heavy-duty chassis, these corrosion-resistant vehicles are built to withstand the harsh underground environment,” it said.

Macmahon’s previous vehicles had a lifespan of 3-5 years, and it is expecting an operating life of up to six years minimum with Marrua, predicting these AM200s could last 8-10 years.

“This means, over time, we will have reduced maintenance and run cost due to the heavy-duty driveline components,” it said.

The company added: “Looking to the future, we’re also considering the electric Bortana EV model for our greater underground operations.”

The Bortana EV, which has a chassis of a diesel-powered Agrale Marruá, electric technology from 3ME and Safescape’s design and engineering expertise, has been trialled all over Australia. This includes a stint at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville mine, in Victoria; a test at Mincor’s Long nickel mine, in Western Australia; and a try-out at IGO’s Nova operation, also in Western Australia.

BHP Nickel West to reduce emissions with Southern Cross Energy contract extension

BHP has executed a 15-year contract extension to its power purchase agreement (PPA) with energy provider Southern Cross Energy (SCE) for the supply of electricity to its Nickel West operations in the Goldfields of Western Australia.

The agreement extends the current arrangement to 2038, giving Nickel West access to all electricity produced by SCE.

Nickel West Asset President, Eduard Haegel, said the PPA also provided Nickel West with the additional ability to integrate renewable electricity generation, including solar and wind, with energy storage technologies to meet its emissions reduction targets and deliver lower carbon, sustainable nickel to its customers.

Study phases for renewable energy supply and carbon emissions reduction under the extended PPA are underway, including an 18.5 MW solar photovoltaic farm at Nickel West’s Leinster and Mount Keith operations, supported by a battery energy storage system. A 17 MW waste heat steam turbine system at the Kalgoorlie smelter is also being evaluated to provide low-emissions electricity from furnace heat recovery, BHP said.

The combined projects have the potential to reduce Nickel West’s Scope 2 electricity greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15% by 2023, based on 2020 levels.

“These projects contribute to the first phase of our emissions reduction strategy, as we continue to evaluate plans for additional renewable energy supply to decarbonise our nickel operations,” Haegel said.

“We are at the beginning of an energy revolution that will transform our world and materially increase demand for nickel. BHP Nickel West is well placed to provide our nickel units sustainably, and with one of the lowest carbon footprints.”

BHP has committed to a science-based target of a 30% reduction in carbon emissions from 2020 levels by 2030, with a long-term target of net zero operational emissions by 2050.

“Our integrated value chain and the sulphide nature of our nickel deposits makes Nickel West one of the lowest carbon emitters in the industry and gives BHP a global advantage in the sustainable production of nickel,” Haegel said.

Thiess receives A$190 million contract mining extension from BHP Nickel West

Thiess, part of the CIMIC Group, is to continue providing mining services at the Leinster underground mine in Western Australia after agreeing a new deal with BHP’s Nickel West division.

The contract, for a minimum of 24 months, is expected to generate some A$190 million ($135 million) in revenue. It will see Thiess provide a full range of underground mining services and equipment to support the mine’s lateral development and associated ore production including load and haul, shotcreting, cable bolting and full fleet maintenance services.

CIMIC Group Chief Executive Officer Michael Wright said the contract extension acknowledges the company’s ability to work “flexibly with BHP Nickel West to meet the mine’s growing development and production needs”.

The Leinster underground nickel mine is part of BHP Nickel West’s Leinster nickel operation, located in the northern goldfields of Western Australia.

Thiess began work at Leinster in 2016, when the team excavated around 610 m of horizontal development to access nearly 230,000 t of ore using sub-level open stoping mining methods.

Last month, BHP said at the Diggers & Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, that it was likely to become a nickel sulphate producer within the next year.