Tag Archives: Mark McGowan

Austin’s milestone ULTIMA truck body delivered to Rio Tinto Iron Ore

Austin Engineering has announced the delivery of its 1,000th truck body to Rio Tinto Iron Ore in Western Australia.

The milestone was marked with a ceremony at Austin’s Kewdale-based manufacturing facility, attended by Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan (right), Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Officer, Simon Trott (centre), along with Austin’s Chairman, Jim Walker, and Chief Executive Officer, David Singleton (left).

The ULITMA truck body in question was unveiled on site today.

Over the past 30 years, Austin has supplied approximately A$300 million ($214 million) of its designed and engineered equipment to Rio Tinto’s iron ore operations. Austin also supplies equipment to Rio Tinto’s global operations from its manufacturing sites spread across four continents.

Austin and Rio Tinto’s partnership commenced in 1988 with Western Australia-based John’s Engineering and Cranes (JEC), which is now part of the Austin business, providing truck body components to Robe River, a Rio Tinto Group Company.

Austin’s Kewdale facility is one of two of the company’s major manufacturing sites in the Asia Pacific region. Austin is investing A$6.5 million to implement advanced manufacturing processes and capabilities at its Perth and Batam (Indonesia) sites, including increased automation and the use of custom jigs, fixtures, workstations and a standardised manufacturing approach to building products.

The Kewdale facility is currently receiving the first manufacturing upgrade, which will benefit major customers, such as Rio Tinto, and enhance the company’s supply of Western Australian-made dump truck bodies and other hauling and loading products, Austin said.

Singleton said: “In the dynamic and constantly evolving mining industry, it is becoming an increasing rarity to see a long-standing partnership, particularly one deeply rooted in the local community, going from strength-to-strength. This makes today’s milestone all the more extraordinary, and like the other 999 truck bodies we’ve made for Rio Tinto Iron Ore in Western Australia, it will be manufactured locally.

“Austin is proud of its role in helping Rio Tinto successfully deliver the iron ore that is the economic lynchpin of our great state.”

McGowan said: “Austin Engineering is one of WA’s key local manufacturers. It is providing mining companies like Rio Tinto with locally designed and manufactured equipment, but it is also creating an increasing number of local job opportunities here at its Kewdale facility.

“Rio Tinto’s commitment to purchasing Western Australian made truck bodies, that will be used right here in the state, reflects the WA State Government’s commitment to boost local manufacturing, local content, and local jobs, enabling our State to become more self-sufficient and prosperous into the future.”

Rio’s Trott said: “The manufacture of the 1,000th truck body for our iron ore operations here in Western Australia is a testament to the Austin-Rio Tinto relationship that spans three decades and covers the globe.

“The partnership is an example of our commitment to working with local business to create ongoing employment and to develop world-class products. We are committed to sourcing local content wherever possible to support our suppliers, our business and the communities in which we operate. I look forward to our longstanding partnership continuing to support the Western Australian economy.”

Rio Tinto makes Western Australia Pilbara rail car pledge

Rio Tinto says it is supporting iron ore rail car manufacturing in Western Australia with a commitment to use local suppliers to build ore rail cars for its Pilbara mining operations.

A tender will soon be released to the local market for an initial purchase of 50 ore rail cars, followed by an ongoing commitment of 10 ore cars a year for the next five years.

The tender will be released through the Rio Tinto Buy Local portal, a resource dedicated to making local suppliers aware of opportunities to partner with Rio Tinto and be part of our supply chain, the miner says.

“Western Australia has been an important part of Rio Tinto’s history for more than 50 years as the company built a world-class iron ore business,” it says. “In 2020, the company spent A$7.5 billion ($5.4 billion) with more than 2,000 local businesses based in Western Australia.”

Rio Tinto is also part of the Western Australia Government’s iron ore rail car action group, launched as part of the Western Australia Recovery Plan to develop a competitive iron ore rail car manufacturing industry in Western Australia.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott, says: “Building Rio Tinto’s ore rail cars here in Western Australia will support local manufacturing and create jobs for West Australians. Rio Tinto is proud to lead the way in building iron ore rail cars in Western Australia, in line with the vision of state government’s iron ore rail car action group. I look forward to partnering with local businesses to support and grow the local manufacturing industry in Western Australia.

“Ore cars are a critical part of our mining operations and building capacity to manufacture ore cars locally in Western Australia will deliver significant benefits for Rio Tinto and the Western Australian economy.”

Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan, says: “This is a pleasing outcome and I commend Rio Tinto for taking the first step and committing to our local steel manufacturing industry which will support more jobs for Western Australians. Rio Tinto’s commitment is a positive result off the back of the state government’s independent prefeasibility study, which identified initiatives for the manufacture, refurbishment and maintenance of iron ore railcar wagons.

“This was about securing an ongoing pipeline of work for the long-term manufacture of iron ore wagons and critical rail wagon parts, which will deliver jobs and economic benefit for the state into the future. Rio Tinto’s purchase of Western Australian made railcars that will be used right here in our state is something I encourage other iron ore companies operating in Western Australia to get on board with and increase local content and local jobs.”

WesTrac’s Collie technology training centre to welcome new trainees next month

The WesTrac Technology Training Centre in Collie, Western Australia, is close to completion and due to accept its first trainees within weeks, the Cat dealer says.

The facility, which is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, will deliver training courses to technicians and operators of autonomous equipment such as haul trucks used in the mining industry, according to WesTrac.

Announced in January this year and partially funded through the Western Australia Government’s Collie Futures Fund, the site near Bluewaters power station includes dedicated training facilities and an extensive “calibration pad” used for trialling and fine-tuning autonomous equipment, it said.

Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan, was onsite today (June 29, 2020) to inspect progress, along with Regional Development Minister, Alannah MacTiernan, Collie-Preston MLA, Mick Murray, and WesTrac CEO, Jarvas Croome.

McGowan said the training centre was one of a range of new initiatives designed to secure the future of the town.

“It’s great to be here in Collie to view first-hand the progress on this facility, which is going to put Collie on the map for training technicians and operators of autonomous equipment,” he said.

“The WesTrac Technology Training Centre will result in new jobs and training opportunities for local people. At the same time, it will meet demand from around Australia and overseas from resource companies that need specialised technicians and operators of autonomous equipment to support the growth in this technology.”

Croome said earthworks and construction at the site had progressed rapidly since it was announced in January and WesTrac was preparing to accept its first intake of trainees in the coming weeks.

“We are in the final testing phase at present and plan to commence the first official eight-day training course with internal WesTrac team members in early July, followed by courses for a range of mining operators later in the month,” Croome said.

“As the only such facility outside the USA that can provide dedicated training for autonomous operations of Caterpillar equipment, we anticipate strong demand for training over the next three years as resources companies transition their fleets.”

Initially, the focus will be on conversion of existing haul trucks to operate autonomously, with additional courses to be rolled out in line with industry demand, Croome said.

Trainees will be accommodated at the nearby Collie Hills Village while undertaking courses and are expected to boost opportunities for local businesses during their time in the town.

Croome said WesTrac had been working with local businesses to supply goods and services, and expected job opportunities to grow in the future.

WesTrac building Caterpillar autonomous training facility in Western Australia

Caterpillar dealer WesTrac has announced it will build a technology training facility in Collie, Western Australia, focused on providing courses in autonomous operations.

The centre will be the only Caterpillar Autonomous Training Facility in the world apart from Cat’s own testing and training ground in Arizona, USA. The facility will be developed on land owned by Bluewaters Farm Holdings in Collie’s Coolangatta Industrial Estate.

The project is supported by a grant through the Collie Futures Fund, awarded to WesTrac by the State Government’s Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.

The announcement was made at a ground-turning event in Collie attended by Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan; Minister for Regional Development, Alannah MacTiernan; Collie-Preston MLA, Mick Murray; and WesTrac CEO, Jarvas Croome.

Croome said the investment includes a new fully autonomous Cat 789D off-highway truck, construction of an autonomous operations zone and training room facilities. The construction is scheduled to commence this month at the greenfield site near Collie’s Bluewaters Power Station.

Local contractor Piacentini & Son will carry out the earthworks and installation of key infrastructure, with training scheduled to commence in May.

“The initial focus will be to provide training in fit-out and maintenance requirements for the conversion and operation of existing Caterpillar haulage vehicles,” Croome said.

“Over time, we anticipate expanding the range of courses on offer to ensure the facility caters for the recognised skills of the future that will be in demand as the resource sector evolves.

“It’s an opportunity to position Collie and Western Australia as a world leader in advanced technology and skills development in automation and autonomous operations.”

McGowan said: “People will come from all over the world to utilise this facility – the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere and the second worldwide for Caterpillar.”

While WesTrac had evaluated several potential locations, Collie was the ideal centre for the training facility, according to Croome.

“The town has a long mining history and an experienced workforce with the potential to help run and develop the training facility over time,” he said.

“There’s also a vibrant community and plenty of supporting business infrastructure, plus a unique range of natural attractions and easy access to the wider South West region, which adds appeal for Australian and international training participants.”

Croome said WesTrac and Caterpillar clients across the Asia Pacific region had shown significant interest in having access to such training and strong demand was expected when the facility commenced operations.

WA government, EPA approves BHP’s strategic 50- to 100-year Pilbara mining plan

The Western Australia Government has approved a 50- to 100-year strategic mining proposal for the Pilbara by BHP, which outlines bold plans for new and existing mines, the state said.

BHP’s Pilbara Expansion Strategic Proposal details a cumulative picture of the miner’s planned and potential operations across the Pilbara, including mining operations, rail, storage areas, dams and associated mine infrastructure.

It mentioned new potential mining operations at Caramulla, Coondiner, Gurinbiddy, Jinidi, Marillana, Mindy, Ministers North, Mudlark, Munjina/Upper Marillana, Ophthalmia/Prairie Down, Rocklea, Roy Hill and Tandanya; alongside future expansions of existing mining operations at Jimblebar, Mining Area C, Newman and Yandi (pictured).

This type of “strategic proposal”, which the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved with conditions, “helps reduce red and green tape, allowing the EPA to consider the cumulative impacts of future proposals, rather than assessing impacts on a case-by-case basis, as individual mines or developments are proposed”, according to the government.

The EPA assessed the impacts to flora and vegetation, fauna, water quality and quantity, air quality as well as social surrounds, with the ministerial statement for BHP’s strategic proposal including conditions that may be applied to each development, including environmental management plans, a cultural heritage management plan, a mine closure plan and offsets through contributions to the Pilbara Environmental Offsets Fund where significant residual impacts remain.

“BHP is required to refer future individual proposals outlined in the ministerial statement to the EPA to determine if they meet the high environmental standards set by the strategic assessment,” the government said.

WA Premier, Mark McGowan, said BHP’s plan has the potential to deliver tens of thousands of jobs for Western Australians.

“We expect this Australian-first plan will reduce environmental approval times by up to 50%, while maintaining the highest environmental standards,” he said.

“Industry has been crying out for this type of plan. It recognises the need to reduce unnecessary ‘green tape’ to increase investor confidence, and pave the way for more jobs. It is another sign our economy is improving with the major miner taking a long-term view of its proposals in the state.”

Environment Minister, Stephen Dawson, meanwhile, said: “The Pilbara region holds immense environmental value and a key focus of the EPA assessment was to ensure the proposal did not significantly impact on important regional environmental values, including Karijini National Park and Fortescue Marsh.

“Strategic proposals allow the EPA to take a bigger picture view of the potential environmental impacts the proposals may have, considering the cumulative impacts rather than on a case-by-case basis, as individual mines or developments are proposed.”

Fortescue breaks ground at $1.275 billion Eliwana iron ore development

Fortescue Metals Group says it has officially broken ground on the Eliwana iron ore mine and rail project in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

FMG Founder and Chairman, Andrew Forrest, was today joined by Mark McGowan, Premier of Western Australia, FMG CEO, Elizabeth Gaines, and the company’s core leadership team, for the official sod turning.

The $1.275 billion project includes the construction of 143 km of rail, a new 30 Mt/y dry ore processing facility (OPF) and infrastructure. First ore on train is expected in December 2020, the company says.

FMG says contracts to the value of A$330 million ($232 million) to date have been awarded to more than 250 Australian business entities as part of the Eliwana development, of which 80% are Western Australia-owned businesses. As further approvals are progressed, it is expected over A$500 million in additional contracts will be awarded by the end of 2019, FMG said.

Contract recipients include BGC Contracting for bulk earthworks and roads, NRW Holdings, also for bulk earthworks, and SIMPEC for electrical, communications and dry fire systems testing.

“Eliwana underpins the sustainable production of West Pilbara Fines and provides the flexibility for Fortescue to deliver products at greater than 60% Fe grade,” FMG said. “The development will utilise the latest technology, autonomous trucks and design efficiency, further cementing Fortescue’s world leading use of innovation across its mining operations.”

Forrest said: “This is a proud day for Fortescue as we celebrate the largest project since the Kings Valley mine in 2014.

“Since Fortescue was founded 16 years ago, we have held community and family at our core and continued to deliver on our commitment to be the safest, lowest cost company. Eliwana is the next great step into the Western Hub, enhancing our profitability and extending our mine life.”

The project will generate up to 1,900 jobs during construction and 500 full-time site positions once operational, according to Forrest.

Gaines said: “The Eliwana project will build on Fortescue’s unparalleled track record and capability in safely developing and operating major iron ore projects in the Pilbara. Eliwana is core to the next phase of development in Fortescue’s world class, innovative operations. The project will see us maintain our low-cost status, provide us with greater flexibility to deliver on our integrated operations and marketing strategy and, when combined with the Iron Bridge Magnetite development, it will increase Fortescue’s average product grade and provide the ability to deliver the majority of our products at greater than 60% Fe, consistent with our long term goal.”