Tag Archives: New Zealand

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.”

OceanaGold and Beca come up with decarbonisation pathway for Macraes

OceanaGold has enlisted the help of independent advisory, design and engineering consultancy Beca to reduce emissions at its Macraes gold mine in Central Otago, New Zealand.

Beca developed an Energy Transition Acceleration (ETA) study to provides a pathway to a greener future at the mine, which produced over 172,000 oz/y of gold and employs more than 600 people. Macraes is New Zealand’s largest mine.

“As participants in the New Zealand government’s ETA program, OceanaGold are focused on reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at their Macraes site to not only improve the sustainability of their product, but also reduce their energy costs,” Beca said.

“That’s where Beca entered the picture. As program partners with the ETA, our industrial sustainability and engineering teams worked closely with OceanaGold management to develop an Energy Transition Accelerator study that identified a practical emissions reduction pathway for their business.”

The Macraes operation consists of a large-scale surface mine, an underground mine, and an adjacent process plant inclusive of an autoclave for pressure oxidation of the ore. Its annualised gold production is split approximately 75% to open-pit production and about 25% underground production.

Key opportunities for reducing the GHG emissions include harnessing waste heat recovery; fuel switching; solar lighting towers; electric elution hot water heating; battery-powered electric haulage trucks; and electrification of excavators.

“Taken together, these practical abatement measures can reduce emissions from the Macraes gold mine by a substantial 37%, whilst additional measures – such as the use of renewable energy sources on site – could increase this figure to 59%,” Beca said.

With the study now complete, Beca says it is ready to support OceanaGold in implementing the identified recommendations over coming years – with some of these options also applicable to its Waihi mine on the North Island of New Zealand.

Sandvik equipment starts to arrive for OceanaGold’s Macraes expansion

OceanaGold Corp has received the first of three new Sandvik machines at its Macraes gold mining operation on the South Island of New Zealand.

The company has taken delivery of a 17-t payload Sandvik LH517i underground loader (pictured), Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions confirmed.

A Sandvik TH551i truck and DD421 development drill will also be delivered this year as Macraes prepares to extend its mine life to 2028, the mining OEM said.

The LH517i is a matching pair with the Sandvik TH551i truck. It features the Sandvik Intelligent Control System and My Sandvik Digital Services Knowledge Box™ on-board hardware as standard.

In December, OceanaGold received approval to extend the mine life of the Macraes operation to 2028. This is expected to involve the development of the Golden Point Underground Mine, the Deepdell North Stage III open-pit extension, and the Frasers West expansion.

These projects are forecasted to produce 1.1 Moz of gold over an eight-year mine life, with open-pit and underground operations expected to produce, on average, 150,000-170,000 oz/y of gold.

Electricity agreement sparks new life into Tiwai Point aluminum smelter

Rio Tinto has reached agreement on a new electricity contract with Meridian Energy that allows New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) to continue operating the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter until December 31, 2024.

The extension provides certainty to employees, the local community and customers while providing more time for all stakeholders to plan for the future, Rio said.

While discussions with the New Zealand government are progressing in relation to its commitment to address the smelter’s high transmission costs, a new agreement has been reached with Meridian Energy in relation to power prices, making the smelter economically viable and competitive over the next four years, according to the miner.

The extension also provides time for detailed closure studies to be completed and for NZAS to support the government and Southland community in planning for the future.

“Plans for eventual closure of the Tiwai Point smelter will include extensive stakeholder consultation, including within the Southland community, and reflect the company’s robust closure and remediation standards,” the company said.

Rio Tinto Aluminium Chief Executive, Alf Barrios, said: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Meridian Energy that will enable the Tiwai Point smelter to continue producing some of the lowest carbon aluminium in the world. This agreement improves Tiwai Point’s competitive position and secures the extension of operation to December 2024. It also provides Rio Tinto, the New Zealand government, Meridian, and the Southland community more time to plan for the future and importantly gives our hard-working team at Tiwai and our customers the certainty they deserve.”

In July 2020, Rio announced the conclusion of a strategic review of the smelter and a decision to wind down operations by August 2021 due to high energy and transmission costs.

NZAS is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (79.36%) and Sumitomo Chemical Company Ltd (20.64%). It employs around 1,000 people directly and creates a further 1,600 indirect jobs in Southland, according to Rio.

Komatsu to boost Australia East Coast supply chain with new Wacol distribution centre

A major new distribution centre that, Komatsu says, will significantly increase customer satisfaction by improving parts and components availability, further reduce order turnaround times and streamline ordering efficiency, will be opened by the OEM in the June quarter of 2021.

Komatsu’s new Wacol distribution centre – which will also include elements of its Brisbane parts and components Reman operation – will consolidate four existing distribution and storage centres into a single facility.

Construction of the new Wacol centre, which is currently underway, is scheduled to be completed by May 2021, in time for Komatsu’s global centenary celebrations.

According to Russell Hodson, Komatsu’s General Manager, Supply Chain, the key driver of the new facility is to improve customer satisfaction across its Queensland, New Zealand and New Caledonia operations.

“Customers in these regions – which includes large mining customers – are currently serviced from our various Brisbane facilities, and by consolidating them into a single operation, we anticipate a marked improvement in customer satisfaction,” he said.

“The new facility will also be much safer for Komatsu employees and service providers, making use of the latest warehousing technology and systems, including anti-collision systems and full worker/machine separation throughout.

“In addition, we’ll see improvements in quality by bringing storage of all parts and components under cover, while a one-part/one-location approach will eliminate the chances of binning and picking errors – further contributing to improved customer satisfaction.”

Komatsu will also see some significant efficiency and cost benefits through consolidation to a single facility, maximised space utilisation, and lower transport costs, it said.

“We’re also going to in-source our warehousing operations so all staff will be Komatsu employees, which will better enable us to continue our ongoing program of continuous improvement,” Hodson said.

“At this new facility, we’ll employing 50 new people into Komatsu; we see this as a great opportunity to build a fantastic team that can deliver extraordinary results for our customers in a new and exciting facility.”

The development of this new facility was part of Komatsu’s broader East Coast supply chain strategy, according to Hodson.

“This strategy aims to improve the flow of our goods and information to our customers,” he said. “And there’s much more to come as we strive to continuously improve our operations for the benefit of our customers.”

Being constructed on a 3.8 ha site adjacent to its existing Queensland head office, service, training and customer support facility, the new centre covers nearly 17,000 sq.m, with an order picking storage area of just under 14,500 sq.m, and an extra large parts/components storage area of over 2,000 sq.m, it said.

“When it opens, our new Wacol DC will also fully integrate our mining and construction operations for Queensland, NZ and New Caledonia,” Hodson said.

GHH and STE team up to take on eastern Australia mining market

GHH, a specialist in civil engineering and mining machinery, has set its sights on the Australasian region after signing a partnership agreement with Sydney-based Specialist Tunnel Excavation (STE).

With its loaders, dump trucks and utility vehicles for rock logistics above and below ground, GHH has long been represented on many continents. Now the manufacturer, part of the Schmidt Kranz Group, is adding to its sales office in Brisbane, Australia, by joining up with STE.

“We want to shorten the distance to our customers in Australia,” GHH Global Sales Manager, Ken Stapylton, said on the agreement. “Contact before, during and after the purchase is important to us – after all, we are happy to supply tailor-made solutions”.

STE will help GHH cover eastern Australia. With 25 years’ experience on the Australasian continent, STE, like GHH, supplies turnkey solutions: for bulk and detail rock excavation using surface mining, tracked trenchers and specialist excavators for applications across tunnelling, road, rail, civil, mining and pipeline projects throughout Australia and New Zealand, GHH says.

Lee McCourt, Director of STE, said: “GHH completes our range of high-quality machines for almost everything in the field of rock logistics that drives on wheels.”

McCourt’s business was established to provide target industries with a more efficient and safer method of excavation of rock geology, through use of the latest equipment and technology available anywhere in the world, according to GHH.

“The German machine technology fits in perfectly as it is characterised by a driver-friendly, ergonomic design, robust and safe construction and high economic efficiency,” it said. “And, when it comes to ‘going green’, most of the GHH equipment is available in Tier 3, Tier 4 Final and Stage V engine emission packages. Only recently, GHH won an international prize for its product design.

A first joint project is already being planned between the two companies, but GHH says a whole range of vehicles from other co-operations are being put into position for eastern Australia.

REVYRE recycling JV looks to tackle mining tyre problem in Australia, New Zealand

A new joint venture in Australia and New Zealand could see thousands of tonnes of large off-the-road (OTR) tyres used in the two country’s mining sectors recycled thanks to the use of two “revolutionary” technologies.

The Energy Estate and InfraCo partnership, REVYRE, has been established to develop and build innovative tyre recycling plants in Australia and New Zealand, using Vertech/RubberJet Valley tyre disintegration and Tyromer rubber devulcanisation.

Currently Australia disposes of over 60,000 t of end of life tyres (ELTs) by exporting them, with some 100,000 t stockpiled in landfills or stockpiled onsite (predominantly within the mining and agricultural sectors), according to the companies.

“With the COAG agreed ban on used tyre exportation from December 2021, the annual growth in Australia’s tyre stockpile will be even greater,” they said.

New Zealand, meanwhile, currently generates 5-6 million ELTs annually, which equates to close to 70,000 t of tyres. These units are either shredded locally for domestic burning in cement kilns as tyre derived fuel (TDF) or are baled and exported for use as TDF in Asia, according to the companies.

“REVYRE seeks to solve this waste problem through the rollout of its innovative combined recycling technology,” the Energy Estate and InfraCo said. “Its projects are modular, scalable and mobile – a total tyre recycling process that will destruct and re-purpose any constituent parts of a tyre, turning it into a high value polymer product for export and clean high tensile scrap steel. The overall process has near zero waste, emissions or by-products and does not use or produce toxic chemicals.”

The tyre derived polymer, or TDP, will be exported for direct re-use in the tyre manufacturing process, according to the companies.

The process uses no chemicals or solvents, is commercially viable on an industrial scale and is the only known environmentally friendly devulcansation technology, they claim. And, while REVYRE’s solution can address all tyre sizes, it is particularly suited to larger OTR tyres, such as those used in mining and agricultural operations in Australia and New Zealand, the companies said.

“REVYRE’s solution can play a critical part in sustainably managing current and future tyre stockpiles,” they said. “It is a financially attractive and environmentally superior solution relative to alternative tyre disposal options. The REVYRE solution will also support the development of a circular economy for ELTs.”

The plants will seek to procure renewable energy for operations as part of a dedication to maintaining a low carbon footprint and lessening the environmental impact of the tyre production cycle, the companies said.

“Energy Estate and InfraCo are committed to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and implementing the REVYRE solution will help achieve eight of the 17 SDGs,” they said. “Production of TDP will save approximately 94% of the energy required to produce the virgin compounds it replaces, as well as significant savings in oil used and avoided deforestation.”

Given the scale and locations of Australia’s mining industry, in particular, there is a sufficient tyre disposal requirement to justify at least two to three REVYRE plants in each of the mainland states, the companies said.

Luke Panchal, Director of Energy Estate, said: “Following the tyre export ban from 2021, Australia will have annually 160,000 t of tyres stockpiling that it needs to address. This means the need for environmentally and socially responsible and cost-effective solutions for managing used tyre disposal in Australia is critical – especially for heavy OTR tyres.

“To date, sustainable, environmentally responsible, economic and easy-to-implement recycling options have not been present in Australia. REVYRE delivers this option and is a solution that addresses tyre disposal in a truly circular process with no emissions and without the use of toxic chemicals. It is a solution that makes economic and environmental sense.”

Shaun Zukor, Director and Co-founder of InfraCo and REVYRE said: “We have developed a compelling New Zealand business case with our technology partners from Canada and Europe and we submitted a Provincial Growth Fund application with the New Zealand government in November 2019.

“Our plans are to start locally with our new partners and to expand into Africa and other territories thereby covering a large part of the globe where our presence will have major environmental, social and economic impacts.

“The technology allows a true circular economy and deals with a part of the mining tyre waste stream that has been extremely difficult to dispose of previously.”

Porter Group to sell Sandvik mobile crushers and screens in Australia

Construction and mining equipment supplier, Porter Group, says it has been appointed as the agent for Sandvik Mobile Crushers and Screens in Australia.

The announcement represents a continuation of Porter’s ongoing expansion across the region, with the relationship with Sandvik working to enhance customer experience, efficiency and profitability, the company said.

“The enduring relationship between Porter Group and Sandvik goes back 10 years to 2009 in New Zealand,” Porter Group said. “Both the brands have made great strides forward as positive responses from customers poured in. The advanced products and services have reshaped the industry standard and customer expectations.”

Porter Group owns more than 50 retail locations in four countries – New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and the US (California). It said it is now one of the largest privately-owned industry identities in Australasia.

Darren Ralph, General Manager of Porter Equipment Australasia, said: “The latest extension of the Sandvik relationship is an important progression for the brand in the region. Sandvik Mobiles are global leaders in technology and productivity and this development will ensure that the product is brought to the customer base efficiently. We aim to provide Sandvik Mobiles with a platform to propel the brand to new heights in Australia.”

Sandvik Mobile Crushers and Screens manufactures tracked, wheeled and portable plant for a large variety of applications worldwide, according to Porter Group. It has designed market leading technology featuring unique and advanced concepts such as the PrisecTM impact chamber, Hydrocone technology and the patented Doublescreen system.

Komatsu reacts to skills shortage issue with recruitment drive in Australasia

Komatsu has announced what is thought to be the most targeted recruit campaign in the industry as it looks to bolster its local employee base across Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.

The drive – its biggest to date – is intended to identify and provide opportunity for highly capable technicians who want to be part of the machinery sector and take advantage of global opportunities in the future, the company said.

“The campaign comes on the back of a rapid upturn in construction, utilities and mining after a period in which the industry had been left with a skills shortage, especially amongst the next generation of technicians,” Komatsu said.

Komatsu’s search is being conducted in regional areas to overcome industry negatives of family dislocation and concerns about job longevity traditionally associated with fly-in-fly-out operations.

“Suitably qualified recruits are being offered careers close to their homes in a purposeful drive to achieve a satisfying work-life balance,” the company said.

Komatsu has identified related industries such as the military, marine and aeronautic sectors as well as the passenger vehicle, and light and heavy commercial vehicle markets as catchment areas for potential candidates.

“We intend to create a truly inclusive and diverse workforce which will collectively work towards creating new and innovative ideas that sustains our Komatsu into the future. We know our industry needs to be more receptive of this and, in particular, increasing our female workforce is a key part of our diversity and business growth strategy,” Komatsu said.

Komatsu, which employs some 3,000 people, runs an in-house training academy spanning a multitude of applications, including new high-technology machinery and business programmes.

Its GPS based Komtrax system, SMARTCONSTRUCTION programmes and aspects of its information communications technology protocols have achieved industry-leading standards in technology-based solutions, it says.

Colin Shaw, Executive GM People and Strategy, said: “The days of a machinery technicians being reliant on a spanner and mechanical tools are passing us by for a more innovative technology future.

“Mobile technology is the new tool of choice for trouble shooting diagnosis and improving the productivity of our intelligent machines.”

Part of the recruitment drive is based on providing applicants with upskilling opportunities that can turn jobs into life-long careers, Shaw said.

“Skills gained in the Komatsu system are valued in the open market and are transferable to other occupations, although it is our intention not to lose people we’ve trained,” he said.