Tag Archives: New South Wales

Austin expands service offering with Mader Group strategic support alliance

Austin Engineering Ltd has executed a strategic support alliance with Mader Group Ltd that will see Mader provide assistance as required on a flexible ‘tap-on tap-off’ basis, using its mine-based personnel and workshop facilities to bolster Austin’s existing support services.

The initial focus of the alliance will be Western Australia’s Pilbara and Goldfields regions, in addition to sites in Queensland and New South Wales.

Mader, Austin says, is the largest independent provider of equipment maintenance services in Australia and has a growing global presence. Its workforce is based in and around Australia’s key mining regions, allowing for faster deployment to site and overall response time.

Austin will continue to use its own service teams, which travel to site from Perth, Brisbane and Mackay, but will augment these as necessary to improve turnaround times and service efficiency when commercially appropriate.

Mader Group provides services for the inspection, maintenance and repair of heavy mobile equipment. Its technicians offer mechanical and electrical maintenance including fabrication and welding services.

Austin CEO and Managing Director, David Singleton, said: “Austin’s leading engineering and design capabilities see it produce mining truck bodies and buckets for customers across all commodities and global geographies. The agreement with Mader will support our existing services, initially in Australia, to ensure our customers are given the best quality support for our products.”

Redpath Australia wins cut and flit contract at Whitehaven’s Narrabri operations

Redpath Australia says it has been awarded the Cut and Flit Development Contract for Whitehaven Coal at its Narrabri operations in New South Wales, Australia.

Situated around 28 km southeast of Narrabri on the North West Slopes in New South Wales, the Narrabri operations mine site is one of Australia’s most productive underground coal mines. Whitehaven is the majority owner – with a 77.5% interest – and the operation has approval to extract up to 11 Mt/y of coal from the longwall operations.

Mark Donghi, General Manager – Mechanical Excavation for Redpath, says the project will employ around 55 personnel and the aim is to start recruiting immediately.

Redpath Australia’s Managing Director, Gavin Ramage, said the company is looking forward to working closely with Narrabri operations in delivering the project safely and efficiently.

The company said: “As a market leader in providing advanced development solutions to mine owners across Australia and around the globe, Redpath is well placed to deliver this project for Narrabri Coal Operations.”

NSW regulator recognises Thiess and MACH Energy’s Mount Pleasant mine rehab work

Thiess’ Mount Pleasant Operations (MPO) team has been recognised by the New South Wales Resources Regulator for its industry-leading rehabilitation practices, it says.

Recently publishing an information release about the operation’s rehabilitation controls, the regulator recognised how the team enables long-term landform design stability and manages surface water drainage networks through strong quality assurance measures, according to Thiess.

Thiess, in collaboration with MACH Energy Australia (MACH Energy), has introduced quality assurance controls including the sign-off of inspection and test plans across each construction phase – design, bulk shaping, topsoil placement, ripping and seeding and drain construction, to support progressive rehabilitation and reduce ongoing liabilities.

Thiess Environment & Civil Manager, James Anderson, said these controls provide an unmatched foundation for sustainability, maximising rehabilitation outcomes and managing compliance with confidence.

“The implementation of these controls is an example of how we channel our global experience and insight to create advantages for our projects,” Anderson said. “Our proven systems and processes help deliver immediate efficiencies, reduce rework time and lower life of mine costs for our clients.”

Some 2.5 km from Muswellbrook in the Upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales, the Mount Pleasant Operation’s complex landform design aims to meet end land use objectives while minimising impacts and delivering a more visually appealing landscape for the local community, Thiess explains.

Since 2017, Thiess has provided construction services to MACH Energy including bulk profiling and shaping of mine spoil, construction of drainage networks, erosion and sediment control structures, final surface preparation, installation of habitat features, topsoil ripping, seeding and planting.

This includes delivering the operation’s first rehabilitation two months before first coal was mined.

Thiess Environment Superintendent, Peter York, says the team’s robust processes and strict quality controls are critical to ensuring rehabilitation is delivered on time and to design specifications.

“Our rehabilitation is not just about quantity,” York said. “The final outcomes have to be quality as well, capable of meeting an agreed end land use. To help facilitate this, we work with MACH Energy to identify improvement opportunities to proactively manage environmental risks and adapt to changing regulatory conditions and evolving community expectations.

“Our systematic approach is helping us achieve industry firsts for rehabilitation while restoring self-sustaining native woodland ecosystems.”

Thiess will continue to deliver a full suite of mining services at the Mount Pleasant Operation, including rehabilitation, under a new 4.5-year contract extension commencing in April 2022.

Aggreko ups the mine cooling ante with modular BAC10000s

Twenty years after establishing modular mine cooling solutions in Australia, Aggreko has released an offering for mines going deeper with its latest modular bulk air coolers (BACs).

These 40 ft (12.19 m) mobile BAC10000s coolers are “unique” and relatively new to the mine cooling market, according to Aggreko Australia-Pacific Managing Director, George Whyte.

“They are scalable, portable and boast three times the cooling capacity of our previous largest offering – the 20 ft long (about 6.09 m) containers,” he said.

Aggreko has delivered more than 50 mine cooling projects globally, and always draws on the experience of its engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance teams to stay at the forefront of technology, according to Whyte.

“Aggreko’s mining services pioneered mine cooling as a rental service 20 years ago as a result of mines looking for alternatives to capital refrigeration plants,” he said. “Previously mining companies would need to use capital to install built-in cooling systems which were not scalable, modular or as effective.

“In the past two decades we have witnessed mines becoming deeper and this has resulted in the need for larger cooling capacities and innovation. The need for deeper mines in increasingly remote locations, coupled with rising global temperatures, is forcing operation managers to seek affordable alternatives to cooling and ventilation systems.”

Aggreko Underground Cooling Sector Manager, Mitch Bevan, said the BAC10000s were used at a Western Australia mine last year and will soon arrive at a mine in New South Wales, Australia.

Bevan said part of the new modular BACs appeal were their simplicity and convenience when compared with purpose-built on-site cooling plants. The new BACs used a simple design involving pipes, chilled water and three axial fans – all comprised in a modular shipping container. He expected more mines globally would become interested in the company’s new product offering, particularly in regions such as Africa, Latin America and North America.

“The unit is more suited for larger installations and offers improved efficiency rather than using a large number of smaller BACs,” Bevan said.

“Capital refrigeration plants take a long time for mines to prepare for financially, as well as to install, whereas we can mobilise on relatively short notice. A rental option also provides a great deal of flexibility, which is often crucial for underground vent systems where it is difficult to predict the requirement year on year.”

Bevan said Aggreko re-engineered their cooling towers to come up with the 40 ft modular BAC10000s after anticipating there would be global demand for such an offering.

“Long running mines have continued to grow and their refrigeration requirement grows with the mine, so BACs are appealing as they can be scaled up or easily moved on-site,” he said.

“While mines are expanding, our clients are also focused on energy efficiency, and safer operation – such as more environmentally friendly refrigerants – and we are constantly working on new developments in these areas.

“The water-cooled BACs have less of an environmental impact seeing as the modular container sits on the ground’s surface and requires no serious ground modifications, such as concrete.

“The units only require water and power and, while some mines use diesel-generated power, as time goes on, that will shift to renewable energy. Our company has made major commitments to greener energy to help miners achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. That is why we are constantly exploring and investing in new technologies. Currently, our water-cooled chillers use half as much power as air-cooled options, which is part of their appeal, and we are the only rental company to provide such modular and scalable products.”

The BAC10000s have been successfully used at 29Metals’ Golden Grove mine – a high grade copper, zinc and precious metals mine, about 450 km northeast of Perth, which mills about 1.44 Mt/y.

When the mine underwent an expansion, which required almost two years to up-scale its permanent cooling plant, a quick and effective solution was needed in time for the 2020-21 summer, according to Aggreko. The power specialist was able to quickly supply the BAC10000s to install a 4.5 MWr water-cooled plant.

As well as water cooled refrigeration plants such as Aggreko’s 20 ft and 40 ft BACs, Aggreko also offers air cooled refrigeration plants (with power provided, if required) and underground spot cooling solutions.

“Newer mines are also continuing to come online in Australia and around the world,” Bevan said. “We are supplying modular cooling solutions throughout the entire mining lifecycle.

“We are constantly looking for opportunities to improve on our strengths to assist our clients further into the future. We provide flexible energy solutions and services to the mining sector and provide high standards regardless of a mine’s location in the world.”

Thiess extends relationship with MACH Energy Australia at Mount Pleasant

Thiess has been awarded a contract extension by MACH Energy Australia to continue providing mining services at the Mount Pleasant Operation in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia.

The contract extension, which will commence in April 2022, will generate revenue of approximately A$920 million ($678 million) to Thiess over four-and-a-half years.

Having commenced operations when Mount Pleasant was a greenfield coal mine in 2017, Thiess is to continue providing full-scope mining services including drill and blast, overburden removal, coal mining services and rehabilitation.

Thiess Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman, Michael Wright, said: “Since 2017, Thiess has provided expert planning and optimum mine sequencing to deliver exceptional outcomes for our client. This contract extension builds on our strong five-year relationship with MACH Energy at Mount Pleasant. We’re pleased to continue to drive long-term social, environmental and economic value for the Upper Hunter region.”

Thiess Executive General Manager Australia & Pacific, Shaun Newberry, said: “We’re proud to continue our work at Mount Pleasant where we have a proven track record of delivering industry-leading environmental practices. We also look forward to continuing our strong relationship with the Muswellbrook community to ensure we deliver mutually beneficial outcomes.”

Thiess says it has a strong presence in the Hunter Valley where it provides mining services at three mines.

Remote Energy, Haynes Group to expand Eco-Drive anti-idle haul truck solution reach

Remote Energy has established a formal distributor partnership with Haynes Group, a Sime Darby Industrial Company, to deliver and deploy its Eco-Drive anti-idle solution for haul trucks to Australian mining companies.

Remote Energy’s Eco-Drive, when combined with a DC HVAC unit, provides a robust and reliable solution that enables the truck’s main engine to shut off at idle, while maintaining sufficient power to keep the air conditioning and other critical operating systems running – without fail, the company says.

With haul truck idle times ranging anywhere from 10-40% of total operating time, there are significant advantages to deploying a reliable anti-idle solution. Most notably significant reductions to fuel consumption, resulting in an overall reduction in carbon emissions.

“The Eco-Drive also offers mining companies the opportunity to extend asset life, whilst reducing maintenance and fuel costs,” Remote Energy added.

The partnership will see Haynes Group market, install and support the Eco-Drive to mining clients in Queensland, New South Wales and Canada.

The Haynes Group is, Remote Energy says, uniquely positioned to service mining clients in these regions, employing more than 700 people across a national footprint as a major service provider to some of the world’s largest industrial organisations in BHP Mitsubishi Alliance, Rio Tinto, Glencore, Anglo American Metallurgical Coal, Thiess, Downer Group, NRW and Ergon Energy.

Nathan Mitchell, Chairman of Remote Energy, said: “We have long held the belief that decreasing mobile mining fleet emissions is a significant challenge facing the sector. While there are several emerging technologies in development that will help solve these issues, we believe it will take time for those technologies to mature before they can be used to replace or repurpose existing mining fleets. As a result, there is still a global mining fleet that must discover more efficient ways to operate.

“We see the Eco-Drive as one of these bridge efficiency technologies that can provide significant advantages to existing haul truck fleets. The solution has specifically been designed to be non-intrusive to the OEM design, and provides immediate economic, environmental and operational benefits to end users. We are delighted to be partnering with Haynes; their industry position, as well as their strong ties to the Caterpillar brand and large network, make them a perfect partner to assist in bringing change to a changing mining industry.”

Remote Energy Technical lead, Wayne Panther, said over 500 power systems were currently in operation around the world, showing the company had established a reputation and track record for deploying reliable and efficient, low voltage power solutions.

“The Eco-Drive not only provides an independent power source for the haul truck but has a built-in air compressor for filling the truck’s air receiver tanks on demand,” he said. “This is driving significant efficiency gains, eliminating the need for a service truck to be deployed to refill truck receiver tanks after a rain event.”

Tony Liddelow, VP Commercial operations of Haynes Global, said: “With our extensive network of workshops, field service, and component repair facilities we are uniquely positioned to deliver a seamless supply from installation through to after sales support to our clients. We see the Eco-Drive as the key to delivering a reliable and effective anti-idle solution to our clients.”

Mining fleet changes hands at Boggabri coal operation

Most of the major mining equipment used at the Boggabri coal mine in New South Wales, Australia, is to be sold to Boggabri Coal Operations (BCO), part of the Idemitsu Group, following the exercise of an option between BCO and Golding Contractors, a subsidiary of NRW Holdings.

The transaction for the fleet, which includes 38 major mobile mining assets, has a target completion date of the end of July 2021.

Golding will continue to perform maintenance services on site across these, and another 50 (approximately) pieces of major mining equipment, engaging a workforce of over 150 personnel on site, NRW said.

The equipment will be sold for circa-A$81 million ($61 million) of which circa-A$64 million will pay down asset financing debt, NRW said.

NRW’s CEO and Managing Director, Jules Pemberton, said: “The option for BCO to acquire all or part of the associated mining fleet was identified at the time of the acquisition of BGC Contracting. This transaction will reduce debt and increase return on capital employed.

“We look forward to continuing to support BCO to ensure we are best placed to continue to provide our services beyond the current contract completion date of December 2022.”

AECI Australia cements Thiess relationship with five-year contract extension

AECI Australia has been awarded a five-year contract extension by contract miner Thiess for the supply of bulk emulsion explosives, initiating systems and related services for mines in Queensland and New South Wales.

This contract consolidates AECI’s base business in Australia and further strengthens the relationship between the two companies, which began in 2014 when AECI entered Australia to support this major mining customer, AECI said. The two also have long-standing partnerships in Indonesia and in several countries in Africa.

The Australian contract, using AECI’s existing in-country capabilities and infrastructure, includes supply of bulk emulsion explosives formulations produced at AECI’s site in Bajool, Queensland, as well as gassing technology for down-the-hole delivery by Thiess; supply of ammonium nitrate; and supply of the Intellishot® electronic initiating system and booster.

Mark Dytor, AECI Chief Executive, said: “AECI Australia is celebrating the achievement of seven years worked without a lost-time injury. We are proud to deliver a safer, innovative and cost-effective product offering that enables ‘One AECI, for a better world’. Better Mining is one of our sustainability goals because we recognise the importance of making global mining safer and more circular. Significant opportunities exist and we look forward to realising more of these in collaboration with customers such as Thiess.”

NextOre’s magnetic resonance tech up and running at First Quantum’s Kansanshi

Australia-based NextOre is onto another ore sorting assignment with its magnetic resonance (MR) sensing technology, this time in Zambia at First Quantum Minerals’ Kansanshi copper mine.

NextOre was originally formed in 2017 as a joint venture between CSIRO, RFC Ambrian and Worley, with its MR technology representing a leap forward in mineral sensing that provides accurate, whole-of-sample grade measurements, it says.

Demonstrated at mining rates of 4,300 t/h, per conveyor belt, the technology comes with no material preparation requirement and provides grade estimates in seconds, NextOre claims. This helps deliver run of mine grade readings in seconds, providing “complete transparency” for tracking downstream processing and allowing operations to selectively reject waste material.

Having initially successfully tested its magnetic resonance analysers (MRAs) at Newcrest’s Cadia East mine in New South Wales, Australia, the company has gone onto test and trial the innovation across the Americas and Asia.

More recently, it set up camp in Africa at First Quantum Minerals’ Kansanshi copper mine where it is hoping to show off the benefits of the technology in a trial.

The MRA in question was installed in January on the sulphide circuit’s 2,800 t/h primary crushed conveyor at Kansanshi, with the installation carried out with remote assistance due to COVID-19 restrictions on site.

Anthony Mukutuma, General Manager at First Quantum’s Kansanshi Mine in the Northwestern Province of Zambia, said the operation was exploring the use of MRAs for online ore grade analysis and subsequent possible sorting to mitigate the impacts of mining a complex vein-type orebody with highly variating grades.

“The installation on the 2,800 t/h conveyor is a trial to test the efficacy of the technology and consider engineering options for physical sorting of ore prior to milling,” he told IM.

Chris Beal, NextOre CEO, echoed Mukutuma’s words on grade variation, saying daily average grades at Kansanshi were on par with what the company might see in a bulk underground mine, but when NextOre looked at each individual measurement – with each four seconds representing about 2.5 t – it was seeing some “higher grades worthy of further investigation”.

“The local geology gives it excellent characteristics for the application of very fast measurements for bulk ore sorting,” he told IM.

Mukutuma said the initial aim of the trial – to validate the accuracy and precision of the MRA scanner – was progressing to plan.

“The next phase of the project is to determine options for the MRA scanner to add value to the overall front end of processing,” he said.

Beal was keen to point out that the MRA scanner setup at Kansanshi was not that much different to the others NextOre had operating – with the analyser still measuring copper in the chalcopyrite mineral phase – but the remote installation process was very different.

“Despite being carried out remotely, this installation went smoother than even some where we had a significant on-site presence,” he said. “A great deal of that smoothness can be attributed to the high competency of the Kansanshi team. Of course, our own team, including the sensing and sorting team at CSIRO, put in a huge effort to quickly pivot from the standard installation process, and also deserve a great deal of credit.”

Beal said the Kansanshi team were supplied with all the conventional technical details one would expect – mechanical drawings, assembly drawings, comprehensive commissioning instructions and animations showing assembly.

To complement that, the NextOre team made use of both the in-built remote diagnostic systems standard in each MRA and several remote scientific instruments, plus a Trimble XR10 HoloLens “mixed-reality solution” that, according to Trimble, helps workers visualise 3D data on project sites.

“The NextOre and CSIRO teams were on-line on video calls with the Kansanshi teams each day supervising the installation, monitoring the outputs of the analyser and providing supervision in real time,” Beal said. He said the Kansanshi team had the unit installed comfortably within the planned 12-hour shutdown window.

By the second week of February the analyser had more than 90% availability, Beal said in early April.

He concluded on the Kansanshi installation: “There is no question that we will use the remote systems developed during this project in each project going ahead, but, when it is at all possible, we will always have NextOre representatives on site during the installation process. This installation went very smoothly but we cannot always count on that being the case. And there are other benefits to having someone on site that you just cannot get without being there.

“That said, in the future, we expect that a relatively higher proportion of support and supervision can be done through these remote systems. More than anything, this will allow us to more quickly respond to events on site and to keep the equipment working reliably.”

Evolution Mining studying open-pit, underground expansion options at Cowal

Evolution Mining says it is embarking on a prefeasibility study to further expand its Cowal open-pit mine as part of a plan to build towards 350,000 oz/y of sustainable, reliable, low-cost gold production from the New South Wales operation.

Currently on the E42 stage H cutback, Evolution said during a recent site visit that there is potential to further the life of the open pit by accessing feed from the E41 and E46 satellite pits. The study looking into a possible expansion is due later this year, with the company saying it could provide long-term base load ore feed for the operation.

The mine produced 262,000 ounces in Evolution’s 2020 financial year.

The Stage H cutback the company is currently pursuing is expected to see increased ore volumes and grade mined in the first six months of this year, with the strip ratio to fall below 1:1 in its 2023 financial year, Evolution said. It also says an equipment strategy review is underway, with opportunities to “rationalise fleet” with reduced re-handling.

The haulage and loading fleet at Cowal currently consists of 20 Cat 789C dump trucks, three Cat 785C trucks, four excavators (one Liebherr 9400, one Liebherr 994B, one Liebherr 9200 and one Hitachi EX1200), plus three Cat 992G wheel loaders. It also has six hired Epiroc SmartROC surface drills at the operation, one Drill Rigs Australia GC600 drill rig, five Cat D10T tracked dozers and one Cat 834H wheel dozer.

The open-pit expansion is only part of the expansion story at Cowal, with a feasibility study underway on an underground operation. This is factoring in 3 Moz of resources and 1 Moz of reserves, with high-grade orebodies open at depth, the company says.

A second decline (Galway) is due to be developed at Cowal this year, with diamond drilling set to commence next month. The 14,300 m of planned drilling will, the company says, help confirm optimal grade control parameters and convert resources to reserves.

Evolution Mining also has a permit to increase processing capacity at Cowal to 9.8 Mt/y, with near-term incremental improvements targeting a circa-9 Mt/y rate.

The process flowsheet at Cowal includes primary crushing with a Metso Outotec 54-75 Superior MK-II gyratory, grinding with an FLSmidth 36 ft (11 m) x 20.5 ft (6.2 m) SAG mill and FLSmidth 22 ft x 36.5 ft ball mill, and screening with Schenck and Delkor screens. Sandvik H6800 hydroconecone crushers, Metso Outotec flotation cells, a Metso Outotec Vertimill, and Metso Outotec stirred media detritors also feature.

Evolution also said it is testing technology that uses glycine and cyanide during the cyanidation process of gold ore at Cowal for potential significant cost savings and environmental benefits.

Lab trials with the GlyCat™ technology from Australia-based Mining and Process Solutions have been completed successfully, it said, with the next phase being pilot plant trials to assess variability tests and long-term environmental impacts.