Tag Archives: New South Wales

Evolution Mining taps AGL Energy Ltd for new power supply at Cowal

Evolution Mining Limited says it has secured a competitive, long-term power supply agreement for its Cowal gold operation, in New South Wales, Australia, under a new eight year partnership with AGL Energy Limited, commencing in January 2023.

Power costs represent approximately 7% of Evolution’s total costs. This agreement provides ongoing long-term security of power supply to Cowal at competitive pricing which is consistent with Evolution’s previously reported financial year 2023 guidance and financial year 2024 outlook, it said.

This long-term agreement also includes a renewable energy component.

Under the terms of the partnership with AGL, a growing portion of the power will be from renewable sources and provides Evolution a clear pathway to meeting its commitment to reduce energy (Scope 1 and Scope 2) emissions by 30% by 2030, the miner said.

Evolution’s Executive Chair, Jake Klein, said: “This is a very important milestone for Evolution. In a very challenging energy market, we have been able to secure both a long-term, competitively priced power contract for Cowal and a growing renewable component that provides us a clear pathway to reducing our energy emissions by 30% by 2030.

“We will continue to look for new ways to further reduce emissions from our fixed plant and mobile equipment to deliver on our net-zero commitment by 2050.”

AGL General Manager, Commercial and Industrial Customers, Ryan Warburton, said: “AGL has been working with Evolution Mining for a tailored solution for their Cowal Gold Mine to help lower their energy costs, provide ongoing long-term security of power supply and assist in reducing their carbon emissions.

“From leading food, agri-business and now to gold mines, AGL is working with our customers to develop bespoke renewable energy solutions to meet their changing needs. This announcement with Evolution Mining is another great example of how AGL is partnering with industry to help them reduce their carbon emissions and lower their energy costs. Through innovative partnerships like this, we are delivering on a low-carbon future with our customers and communities as we transition towards net zero.”

The Cowal mine produced 227,105 oz of gold in Evolution’s 2022 financial year. The company has a plan to expand production to 350,000 oz/y as the mine goes underground.

Barminco extends relationship with Evolution Mining at Cowal gold mine

Perenti Group’s underground mining business Barminco is to further strengthen its relationship with Evolution Mining, having been awarded a new A$60 million ($42 million) contract to carry out diamond drill work at Cowal Gold Mine operations in New South Wales, Australia.

The four-year contract will see Barminco use state-of-the-art drill rig technology to improve safety, performance and productivity, it says.

It’s the second contract to be secured by Barminco at the Cowal operations in two months, after recently winning a A$520 million underground and development contract.

This latter contract will see Barminco carry out all underground development and production works at the underground mine where it is currently developing an exploration decline.

Last year, the Evolution board and regulators approved the development of the Cowal Underground Mine, which is set to provide a higher-grade ore source that will be blended with the current E42 open pit and stockpile ore. The development is part of the group’s goal of Cowal producing 350,000 oz/y of low-cost gold and extending the operation’s mine life.

RSK Group increases mining sector exposure with Projence acquisition

RSK Group Limited, a sustainable solutions company, says it has added New South Wales-based integrated project management firm, Projence, to its rapidly growing Australian business.

The third acquisition in the last eight months and fourth overall in Australia, Projence joins three Australian companies – civil engineering company, Western Project Services; environmental and occupational hygiene business, EDP Consultants; and advisory and project delivery services firm, SJA.

Joining the RSK Group, Projence will further grow the group’s project management and commercial services capabilities within the region and expand its global portfolio of environmental, engineering and technical solutions businesses, the company says.

“As we continue to build on the good work RSK has accomplished in the last three decades, strategic acquisitions such as Projence will bring enhanced value to the table for our stakeholders and businesses and further expand our offerings,” Alan Ryder, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of RSK Group, said. “With the comprehensive end-to-end solutions synergised and backed by the expertise of our group of over 150 businesses, I am confident that RSK will continue to secure our position as a global leader in the delivery of sustainable solutions, bringing clients the best value with minimum negative environmental and social impact.”

The acquisition of Projence strengthens the capabilities of the group in the rail and port sectors, enables greater exposure for RSK into the mining sector, and comes shortly after a move by EDP Consultants to expand into the Hunter region of New South Wales. The Hunter region and the wider northern New South Wales area are key parts of the RSK Group’s expansion strategy, it says.

Established in 2011, Projence has provided clients in Australia with practical and results-focused engineering and commercial greenfield and brownfield solutions across a range of industries, including mining, property, rail, power generation and port. It has worked on over 250 projects amounting to over A$1 billion ($709 million) in capital value, including the Coal Export Terminal 3 a

Gavin Heydon, Director of Projence, said: “This acquisition adds value to our business in the region and helps us lay out a clear path to long-term sustainable growth. With RSK’s support and guidance, we look forward to becoming an integral part of a larger global company and laying down a stronger foundation for services that we provide.”

Pictured is Mitchell Purvis (left) and Gavin Heydon (right), Projence Directors

Newcrest grads underline automation possibilities with SmartHog development

The use of an all-terrain unmanned ground vehicle, incorporation of military spec hardware and sensors, a bank of lead/acid batteries, and the ingenuity of three mechatronics graduates have brought Newcrest Mining closer to its goal of automating the PC1 extraction level at its Cadia East gold-copper underground mine in New South Wales, Australia.

The company has progressively been rolling out automation-focused technologies at this mine steered by its Mining Innovation and Automation (MIA) Team.

Last year, this team, with the help of Epiroc, successfully implemented the first semi-autonomous integrated production level at the mine, with, at the time, an autonomous Scooptram ST18 capable of full 24/7 production across seven drives of a whole panel cave at the operation.

It is a slightly smaller machine that is helping the company progress from the automation of production and support equipment at the mine to autonomously completing a range of inspection tasks on the fully-autonomous PC1 extraction level.

The seeds for the SmartHog vehicle – a WartHog all-terrain unmanned ground vehicle with ‘smarts’ – were sewn back in early 2021, when Cadia’s first mechatronics graduate arrived to join the MIA team.

“A challenge was set to build an automated underground inspection robot utilising a WartHog chassis,” Aaron Brannigan, Cadia General Manager, told IM, explaining that the challenge provided a hands-on task for the graduate that would result in a solution that was beneficial in realising the team’s key focus of improving safety through technology and innovation.

The new graduate began to design this robot with the WartHog chassis as the base and, over time, was joined by two more mechatronics graduates – one with a dual computer science degree – where the conceptual work behind the robot really started to accelerate.

In early 2022, the three started to build the robot from a range of hardware, all based on military specifications to withstand the underground environment.

Brannigan explained: “To achieve this, the graduates made every cable themselves, crimped every connector, assembled all the components and sensors and wrote the software code for various aspects of the sensor outputs.”

Since the inspection robot was designed to replicate tasks typically performed by people on the level, it had to be fitted with a range of sensors including LiDAR, Radar, a PTZ camera, stereoscopic camera, LED spotlights and a weather station for wet bulb temperatures and measuring wind velocity for ventilation purposes, the company explained. Powered by a bank of lead/acid batteries, the SmartHog was commissioned on surface and, in June 2022, completed trials underground, including being ‘checked in’ to the autonomous system.

“With some further testing and improvements, the SmartHog will soon live permanently underground in the autonomous zone and will be able to complete a range of inspection tasks,” Brannigan said. “This moves us closer to our goal of automation at the extraction level and is a key focus of improving operational safety and sustainability through technology.”

IM put some questions to Brannigan to find out more.

IM: How are you leveraging technology from the automotive sector in the SmartHog? What kind of adaptations are required for this to work underground?

AB: The SmartHog utilises automotive industry radars as a way of localising its position underground. LiDAR is vulnerable to interference from dust and moisture in the air, whereas radar can ‘see’ through these, allowing the SmartHog to continue to navigate and know its position underground when these are present. We believe the use of radar in this context is industry-leading and our intent with this is twofold: first, it demonstrates the advantages and reduced downtime of radar over LiDAR and, second, it encourages original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to move from LiDAR to radar for their autonomous equipment so they can take advantage of the benefits it offers.

IM: What existing underground communications infrastructure is in place at PC1 to help facilitate the real-time transmission of data from the SmartHog?

AB: Our underground PC1 level has Wi-Fi throughout which forms the basis of the autonomous system, and this is connected to the surface via fibre optic cables.

IM: How are you using the new data you are collecting with the SmartHog at Cadia? What tasks is it allowing you to do that you couldn’t previously carry out (or conducted differently)?

AB: The primary purpose of the SmartHog is to undertake a range of tasks that a person has usually performed in the past, improving both safety and efficiency. One example is geotechnical inspections of draw points and extraction drives. In the past when it was necessary for a Geotechnical Technician to undertake an inspection, the autonomous level would need to be deactivated and the autonomous equipment removed to ensure there was no risk of vehicle on person interaction. This is a time-consuming process and means production is stopped for the duration, not to mention the potential risk to the person entering the level on foot.

With the various sensors fitted to the SmartHog, it can scan and photograph the draw point (using the conventional digital camera and stereoscopic camera) and send this information to the surface where a Geotechnical Engineer can review it, all while autonomous loading operations continue.

As the SmartHog is ‘checked in’ to the autonomous system and is ‘seen’ by the other equipment, it can operate independently but also become part of the autonomous traffic management system. Should the Geotechnical Engineer require further information about the draw point, the SmartHog can return and drive up to the limit of the draw point and capture further data from the range of sensors.

IM: Are there other projects outside of the PC1 where you could use the SmartHog?

AB: We anticipate in the future that each panel cave could have their own SmartHog, so that a range of tasks can be completed as previously outlined.

IM: Are there plans to make more SmartHogs? Could they be adapted to carry out other tasks?

AB: The way we have developed the first SmartHog may look very different to how any future SmartHogs may look. The value the graduates gained from solving a current problem using a hands-on approach is priceless and helps demonstrate the value of the graduate program. We believe the graduate program at Newcrest is industry-leading given the types of challenges our graduates can address and solve using the skills recently acquired at university on real-world challenges.

Given the SmartHog is battery powered, as battery technology improves, the next generation of SmartHogs will be able to carry lighter and higher capacity batteries allowing for larger payloads and longer run times. This could allow the inclusion of other sensors and different types of cameras, such as infrared and thermal, which are traditionally heavy items and would limit the range of the current battery performance. The options available are endless once battery technology improves to the point where runtimes are increased and recharge times are reduced. This is not far off given the speed at which battery technology and design is improving.

National Group’s contract mining arm awarded Yancoal Moolarben work

National Group says its contract mining operation, National Mining Services, is to supply services to Yancoal’s Moolarben mine in the Western Coalfields of New South Wales, Australia.

As part of a three-year mining services contract, with an option to extend for a further two years, National Mining Services will provide works that include the safe pre-stripping of a minimum of 15 million bank cubic metres (Mbcm) of overburden each year at Moolarben.

National Mining Services will use National Group’s ultra-class mining equipment on the contract, including Liebherr R9800 excavators, Liebherr T282 dump trucks and other ancillary equipment.

“This is a significant contract in National Group’s history,” National Group founder and Managing Director, Mark Ackroyd, said. “We are grateful for Yancoal’s ongoing support for National Group and for the opportunity to contribute to the world-class Moolarben open-cut coal mine. National Group looks forward to helping Yancoal achieve its goals at Moolarben.”

The Moolarben contract continues a strong period of growth for National Group in the coal industry. In January 2022, National Group extended an equipment contract for Anglo American Australia on its two expanding open-pit coal mines at Capcoal in the Bowen Basin in Central Queensland (Lake Lindsay and Oak Park).

“National Group is proud to be part of the Australian coal industry,” Ackroyd said. “We intend to expand our long-term presence in the coal sector, help more companies export high-quality Australian coal, and create jobs for regional communities.”

The Moolarben contract expands National Group’s footprint in NSW. In 2021, Newcrest awarded National Group a surface-mining contract at its Cadia gold mine in central NSW, where it is supplying Caterpillar 994K and 988K large wheel loaders, Caterpillar 793 dump trucks and the Hitachi ZX890 excavator.

“National Group continues to grow and diversify its NSW operations,” Ackroyd said. “We have significant long-term contracts in coal and gold, and a strong pipeline of opportunities for sustained growth in NSW. National Group has created well over 100 regional jobs in NSW in the past two years. We intend to create plenty more.”

Ackroyd says the Moolarben contract diversifies National Group in others ways.

“Our company is best known as a leading supplier of heavy-earthmoving equipment,” he said. “The Moolarben contract expands our work in mining services and further strengthens National Group’s unique end-to-end offering and its operational diversification.”

National Mining Services is well-positioned to take on more work in mining services by providing mining and infrastructure services to National Group’s major open-pit mining clients, it said. “The business has extensive capabilities in large-scale mining projects, meeting production requirements in excess of three Mbcm per month of waste and coal.”

Ackroyd says National Mining Services’ position within the National Group is a competitive advantage.

“Through National Group, National Mining Services has access to one of the country’s most advanced mining fleets, a large supply of experienced labour and access to capital,” he said. “Most of all, National Mining Services has a great team.”

Barminco to help Evolution go underground at Cowal gold mine

Perenti’s Barminco underground mining business has been awarded the contract for all underground development and production works for Evolution Mining’s Cowal Underground project in New South Wales, Australia.

Barminco, a leading global underground mining services business, is currently developing an exploration decline and conducting diamond drilling services at Cowal.

Last year, the board and regulators approved the development of the Cowal Underground Mine, which is set to provide a higher-grade ore source that will be blended with the current E42 open pit and stockpile ore. The development is part of the group’s goal of Cowal producing 350,000 oz/y of low-cost gold and extending the operation’s mine life.

Perenti said the award of this new contract significantly expands Barminco’s scope at the site to include the development of a second portal, all underground development and production works, and associated underground mining services required to support the continued mill feed of underground ore.

Mark Norwell, Managing Director and CEO of Perenti, said the award of the Cowal contract aligns with Perenti’s strategy of increasing its earnings in top-tier regions and with top-tier clients.

“The Cowal contract represents one of the largest underground mining projects in Barminco’s history, generating revenue of nearly A$520 million ($373 million) with an initial term of four years, from a contract commencement date in early July 2022,” Norwell said.

“This contract award represents not only a significant expansion and continuation of our first underground contract in New South Wales but is also a fantastic opportunity for Perenti to build on our strong working relationship with Evolution, one of Australia’s premier gold mining companies.”

Norwell explained that, between now and the end of Perenti’s 2022 financial year, the company will commence investing the capital required for this project with revenues and earnings ramping up in the 2023 financial year and beyond.

“The project represents a significant improvement to our Australian underground earnings base and will generate strong project cash flows and returns in support of our capital allocation and investment,” he added.

Monadelphous Group banks work with Rio, Tronox and Newcrest

Monadelphous Group has announced several new contracts and contract extensions in the resources and energy sectors in Australia and Papua New Guinea, including work with Rio Tinto, Tronox Mining Australia and Newcrest Mining.

The awards totalled some A$230 million ($172 million).

One of the contracts the engineering firm has secured is with Rio Tinto for the provision of shutdown works at the Greater Tom Price operation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The work includes upgrades and modifications to existing process plant infrastructure at the Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 project (pictured), with work expected to be completed in the second half of 2022.

In New South Wales, Monadelphous has secured a multi-disciplinary construction services contract with Tronox Mining Australia in Broken Hill, where the mineral sands producer processes its heavy mineral concentrate from other operations in Australia. The work is expected to be completed in the second half of 2022.

Finally, in Papua New Guinea, Monadelphous has been awarded a contract with Newcrest to provide engineering, procurement and construction services on the CCD 3 & 4 Refurbishment Project at Lihir Island. The work, which includes the major overhaul of two tanks associated with the gold production facilities, is expected to commence onsite in July 2022 and be completed in mid-2023.

Austin Engineering ramps up APAC truck body expansion plans

Austin Engineering has announced what it says is a major expansion of its APAC truck body, final build and assembly locations with the establishment of six new partnerships located in Queensland, New South Wales and New Zealand.

In addition, Austin is to invest in additional sales and product support personnel in eastern Australia and New Zealand to support its expanded network.

Austin expects this new focus will give it a significant advantage in securing new customer orders and increase revenue in key locations across the Asia-Pacific region.

The company said it had successfully implemented the first stage of its global strategy to reduce operating costs across all operations, with this partnership expansion being the key next step to increase revenue through developing market share.

The partnerships are a continuation of the “hub-and-spoke” strategy being rolled out by Austin globally whereby Austin establishes a network of accredited “spokes” to support its major manufacturing centres, it explained. The partner firms are located close to key mining areas and will undertake the final assembly and customer delivery of truck bodies that are designed and partially built in Austin’s major APAC manufacturing facilities in either Perth, Australia, or Batam, Indonesia.

Austin has already established similar style partnerships and operations in North America, including a wholly-owned final assembly facility in Western Canada and a partnership with equipment manufacturer Melter in Mexico, to support its major US manufacturing centre in Casper, Wyoming.

In Austin’s 2021 financial year, truck bodies accounted for 63% of revenue in the APAC region. Under its Advanced Manufacturing strategy, Austin has completed significant design upgrades to its main line of truck bodies for its APAC markets to improve operational performance and improve shipping logistics, it said. The new hub-and-spoke partnerships will see overall shipping costs and supply chain complexities reduced, improving the performance and economics of Austin’s core offering, according to the company.

Austin CEO and Managing Director, David Singleton, said: “The reduction in operating expenses is already paying significant dividends and now our focus is moving to revenue enhancement.

“In this new phase of Austin – Austin 2.0 – we are looking at the world’s major mining regions to see how we better service our customers with market-leading products and enhanced customer support at commercially competitive rates. It is natural that we are now focusing on one of the largest truck fleets in the world, right on our doorstep in eastern Australia and New Zealand.

“Our newly established Canadian operation is already building its first seven truck bodies from kits built in Casper, whilst our partnership in Mexico was an essential element in securing new truck body orders in that region. We look forward to similarly rapid success in Australia and New Zealand.”

Schlam books Hercules dump truck body order from BHP

Mining products and services provider, Schlam, has been awarded a multi-million-dollar national contract to supply its Hercules dump body to BHP Minerals Australia.

The tender will see Schlam continue to supply dump bodies to BHP Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) sites and BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) sites in Queensland and New South Wales with its world-class trays.

The contract will generate revenue in excess of A$110 million ($79 million) for Schlam, it said.

The Hercules dump body was selected due to its lightweight design and durability, according to the Western Australia-based company.

“Our engineering team was challenged by their counterparts at BHP to push the limits of the Hercules’ design to lower its already light weight and increase payload further,” Schlam CEO, Matt Thomas, said. “This resulted in the development of a new Hercules design that is 20% lighter than other already class-leading Hercules models and is maintenance-free with up to six years of service life due to steel innovations.”

The contract gives Schlam confidence to push ahead with its national and international expansion plans in both the product and service side of the business, the company said.

Thomas said the award would see Schlam transform its manufacturing processes to use the latest technology and robotics, redefining the production methodology for the business.

“We are delivering on our promise to make mining equipment more productive,” he said. “Supplying the highest quality buckets and bodies in parallel with the talent we provide through our mechanical and fabrication services division, the business is going from strength to strength. As we edge closer to the end of 2021, the outlook for Schlam has never looked better.”

Orica to install tertiary catalyst abatement tech at Kooragang Island ammonium nitrate plant

Orica has announced plans to install an Australia industry first tertiary catalyst abatement technology, EnviNOx®, at its Kooragang Island manufacturing plant in New South Wales.

The technology, provided by thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, is designed to deliver up to 95% abatement efficiency, reducing the site’s total greenhouse gas emissions by almost 50%, Orica said.

The A$37 million ($27 million) spent on the Kooragang Island Decarbonisation Project, which will help accelerate Orica’s progress towards achieving its 2030 emissions reduction target, will see proven nitrous oxide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions tertiary abatement technology installed at its Kooragang Island plant from 2022, with commissioning in 2023, Orica said.

To facilitate the project, the New South Wales Government’s Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program will co-invest A$13.06 million, together with Orica’s A$24 million, financed by a five-year debt facility provided by the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The Clean Energy Regulator has also approved the project as eligible to generate Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs).

Viewed as a long-term aid for emissions reduction in high-pressure nitric acid manufacturing plants, the tertiary catalyst abatement technology uses catalytic decomposition to destroy nitrous oxide emissions. Nitrous oxide, generated as a by-product of nitric acid production, is the primary source of GHG emissions at the Kooragang Island facility.

The technology will be installed across all three nitric acid manufacturing plants used in the production of ammonium nitrate at Kooragang Island. It is designed to eliminate at least 567,000 t/y of CO2e from the site’s operations, with expectations of reducing the site’s total emissions by 48%, while delivering a cumulative emissions reduction of at least 4.7 Mt of CO2e by 2030 based on forecast production.

Orica Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sanjeev Gandhi, said: “The Kooragang Island Decarbonisation Project is a powerful example of a public-private partnership towards decarbonisation and marks a critical step in achieving our medium-term 2030 emissions reduction targets and progress towards our net zero ambition. We’re committed to working with our stakeholders to forge a pathway towards a lower carbon future together.

“Thanks to the support of the New South Wales and Federal Governments we have been able to co-invest and move forward on implementing a significant decarbonisation project.”

New South Wales Treasurer, and Minister for Energy and Environment, Matt Kean, said: “This is a great example of what can be achieved by hard-to-abate industries transitioning towards net zero emissions, under our A$750 million Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program announced earlier this year.”

Gandhi added: “The project ensures our domestic manufacturing operations remain competitive in a low carbon economy, bringing with it significant environment and regional economic and social benefits. There are also benefits for our customers, by reducing the emissions intensity of our ammonium nitrate we are in a position to offer competitive and lower carbon-intensity ammonium nitrate products, helping them to achieve their sustainability goals.

“It also allows us to look at longer-term investments in technologies, including production of hydrogen from renewable energy.”

The Kooragang Island Decarbonisation Project was approved in March 2021 by the Clean Energy Regulator to participate in Australia’s carbon market. Orica is eligible to generate ACCUs and was awarded the first optional Carbon Abatement Contract under the Facility Method for the purchase of around 3.4 million ACCUs by the Australian Government. This approach has enabled investment confidence by managing ACCU price risk, it said.

The findings from the Kooragang Island Decarbonisation Project will serve as an important Australian industry case study, demonstrating the potential for tertiary catalyst abatement technology to be deployed more widely across the sector, Orica said.

Orica has also recently partnered with the Alberta Government in Canada to commission a similar tertiary catalyst abatement technology at its Carseland ammonium nitrate manufacturing, reducing emissions by approximately 83,000 t/y of CO2e. It has also assigned approximately A$45 million over the next five years in capital to deploy similar tertiary abatement technology across its Australian ammonium nitrate sites, including its Kooragang Island site.