Tag Archives: Moranbah North

Mastermyne’s Aquila coking coal contract extended by Anglo

Anglo American has extended the stay of Mastermyne Group at its Aquila coking coal project in Queensland, Australia, with the ASX-listed contractor set to continue development of the underground mine for at least the next 12 months.

Mastermyne has been engaged since August 2019 to undertake roadway development in the mains and gate roads, and all outbye related services for the establishment of the new longwall operation at Aquila.

The contract variation will extend the current contract to March 2022 and includes the operation of an additional roadway development unit.

Mastermyne currently employs 178 full-time personnel under the contract, with a further increase of around 60 full-time personnel required for the operation of the additional roadway development unit. Up to half of the personnel for this third development unit at Aquila mine will be relocated from Anglo’s Moranbah North coal mine (currently suspended), following the completion of planned activities. Mobilisation of the additional workforce at Aquila will be completed by March 2021.

The contractor says it continues to supply development equipment from its fleet, including a continuous miner and ancillary development equipment for the project.

Total revenue generated from the variation and extension to the mining contract is expected to be approximately A$60 million ($47 million).

Mastermyne CEO, Tony Caruso, said “We have been working to deliver major underground infrastructure and roadways safely and efficiently, and we look forward to continuing our work with Anglo American to deliver their new longwall project, producing premium high-quality hard coking coal.”

Anglo’s 70%-owned Aquila project will extend the life of its existing Capcoal underground operations by six years and continue to use the associated infrastructure at the Capcoal complex as its nearby Grasstree mine approaches end of life, Anglo says. The project is scheduled for first longwall production of coking coal in early 2022.

Anglo American to test pressure sensor tech following Grosvenor methane ignition incident

A trial of pressure sensors to remove power from the longwall face and the expedition of longwall automation are two of the areas Anglo American is hoping will improve safety at its underground coal mines in Australia, following a methane ignition incident that occurred at its Grosvenor mine, in Queensland, on May 6.

The company began to brief its Queensland-based workforce on the progress of its expert investigation into the methane ignition last week, with Tyler Mitchelson, CEO of Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal business, saying the company’s focus continues to be on providing ongoing support for the five personnel injured during the incident, four of whom have now been released from hospital, while the fifth remains in a stable condition.

While investigations were progressing and may take some time to formally conclude, Mitchelson said the company would continue to review controls in place across its underground mines as any technical or other findings become available from the investigations.

“We know from our expert analysis that there was a significant and unusual overpressure event on May 6, where a large amount of methane was released into the longwall area, and, seconds later, a brief ignition occurred,” he said. “At this stage, the ignition source has not been conclusively determined and testing continues.

“We also know that in the hours leading up to the incident, there were no non-compliant methane readings in the longwall area.”

Since 2016, the company has invested around A$230 million ($161 million) on gas drainage and gas management activities at the Grosvenor Mine, according to Mitchelson.

“Despite this investment, and extensive controls in place to prevent an underground ignition of methane, we need to further improve our controls to respond to the specific combination of factors of an unusual and large overpressure event in the vicinity of the longwall with a potential ignition source,” he said.

“By drawing on technical learnings and information as it becomes available from the investigations, we have begun a review of our site methane management controls, which includes assessing additional technology options and applying any further improvements across our underground mines.”

As a first step, the company is beginning a pilot study at its Moranbah North mine to assess the use of pressure sensors to remove power from the longwall face as an additional control if a significant overpressure event occurs, he said.

“Whilst pressure sensors are already in use today, across the industry they have not been integrated for this particular purpose,” Mitchelson explained. “Learnings from the pilot will be incorporated across our underground mines and shared with industry.”

Mitchelson said the company has already invested “considerably” in progressing the automation of its longwall equipment, and “expediting this work will also be part of the solution to reducing risks in underground mining”.

Among more recent elements of longwall automation the company has pursued is the ability to operate its longwall shear from an above-ground remote operating centre at the Grosvenor mine.

The company added: “As the largest underground coal miner in Queensland, Anglo American has been at the forefront of technical innovation and has invested significantly in technology to improve safety in its mines, including additional methane detection equipment above and beyond regulatory requirements, digitisation to improve underground communication, and automation of equipment.

“We will continue to prioritise this work.”

Mitchelson said it was unacceptable five personnel were seriously injured on May 6 and that the company would ensure all relevant learnings from investigations underway and the Board of Inquiry are incorporated across its business.

“We continue to support our injured colleagues and their families as they continue their recovery,” he said.

He reiterated that safety comes first, and mining would not resume until it was safe to do so.

While mining activities have been suspended, the Grosvenor workforce has continued to be supported on full pay since the incident to enable the company to work through its future plans, step by step.

Mastermyne gets three more years at Moranbah North, Grosvenor

Mastermyne Group has had its Moranbah Region Umbrella contract with Anglo American’s Metallurgical Coal division renewed for a three-year term, it said.

The contract extends the existing contract at Moranbah North and Grosvenor mines, in Queensland, Australia, and commences from November 15.

Mastermyne said the pact includes an option to extend for an additional two years at Anglo American’s discretion, with work under this contract estimated to contribute revenues of around A$250-$300 million ($170-204 million) over the three-year term.

The scope of work includes design, supply and installation, recovery and maintenance of ventilation structures and devices; installation of secondary support; outbye support and maintenance activities; conveyor belt installations and recovery; and development services.

Moranbah North is an underground longwall coking coal mine that began operating in 1998, while Grosvenor, also a longwall coking coal mine, produced its first longwall coal in May 2016.
Mastermyne said the revenue and earnings from the contract extension have been included in the company’s current 2020 financial year guidance.

Mastermyne CEO, Tony Caruso, said: “The company is very pleased to see the continuation of this long-term relationship, built with Anglo American over the past 17 years. Moranbah North and Grosvenor mines supply high-grade metallurgical coal to the international market for steel production, and we are pleased to support their successful operation.”

Mitchell’s UIS drilling contract extended by Anglo American

Mitchell Services has won a contract extension from Anglo American that will see it continue underground coal drilling and gas drainage services at the miner’s Grosvenor and Moranbah North coal mines, in Queensland, Australia.

The variation to the ASX-listed company’s Underground In-Seam (UIS) drilling contract with Anglo American will see Mitchell provide up to six UIS rigs and provide specialist underground services at the sites.

It also resulted in the extension of the contract expiry date to December 31, 2021 with a further two-year extension option available.

Mitchell said: “Whilst the company anticipates a significant long term revenue and EBITDA benefit as a result of this extension and scope increase, the company notes that, given the timing of the variation, the expected start date of the additional rigs and the anticipated level of associated ramp up, the variation is not likely to have a material impact on the recently provided financial year 2019 revenue and EBITDA guidance numbers of A$110-$120 million ($77-84 million) and A$21-$23 million, respectively.”

Brain Industries devises versatile self-filling tanker for sludge, slurry clean up

An underground coal mine in Australia is piloting the use of a self-filling tank to help clean up sludge and slurries.

The mine in question is Anglo American’s Moranbah North coal operation in Queensland and the product is a new hydraulics-fitted version of Brain Industries’ self-filling tanker, Brain said.

Brain’s Managing Director, Gillian Summers, said the tanker is an advancement on Brain’s air-driven model which enables vacuum recovery, haulage and dumping of heavily solids laden slurries and sludges containing lumps up to 150 mm in size.

Summers said the new 6 cu m tanker has been produced in response to calls from the underground mining industry for more versatility and can be run from any LHD.

She said powerful jet pumps mean Brain’s self-filling tankers vacuum-load continuously to achieve high loading rates. Also, it is constructed aluminium free to comply with mining regulations.

“While the new hydraulics version was produced for underground mines, our self-filling tankers are also suited to applications in hard-rock mining, tunnelling and contract cleaning services,” she said.

“With no moving parts in contact with the material, continuous loading of large lump solids, including waxy, fibrous and abrasive materials, is possible without detriment to the pump.”

Loading stops automatically at a high level when handling wet materials, according to Brain. Excess water can be drained from the tailgate valves to allow top-up of load, maximising hauled solids.

Summers said the tanker is not only easy to use but easy to empty, with the use of a 250-mm diameter dump hatch or full-sized rear door.

Existing customers can also benefit from this new technology, with the company’s line of air driven self-filling tankers able to be retrofitted with hydraulics.

Brain’s self-filling tankers can be skid-mounted or trailer-mounted. The skid-mounted unit is made to be transported on a flatbed trailer or truck using the side-accessed forklift sockets, with the multi-purpose vehicle unit also able to be transported above ground in this way. The trailer-mounted self-filling tanker has a rocker arm, load sharing wheels with oil-filled hubs and solid tyres, Brain added.