Tag Archives: Pilbara

Rio Tinto backs accelerated Scope 1 and 2 carbon emission cuts with $7.5 billion of investments

Rio Tinto has outlined a new target to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, more than tripling its previous target. To achieve this, it is setting aside around $7.5 billion of direct investments between 2022 and 2030.

Unveiled during an investor seminar this week, Rio said a 15% reduction in emissions is now targeted for 2025, five years earlier than previously stated, relative to its 2018 baseline of 32.6 Mt (CO2 equivalent – equity basis).

In recognition of the broader carbon footprint of the commodities it produces, Rio says it will accelerate its investment in R&D and development of technologies that enable its customers to decarbonise. Working in partnership with governments, suppliers, customers, academia and others, Rio intends to continue to develop technologies like ELYSIS™ for carbon-free aluminium and multiple pathways to produce green steel.

To meet additional demand created by the global drive to net zero emissions, Rio Tinto will prioritise growth capital in commodities vital for this transition with an ambition to double growth capital expenditure to about $3 billion a year from 2023, it said.

Rio Tinto can decarbonise, pursue growth and continue to deliver attractive returns to shareholders due to its strong balance sheet, world-class assets and focus on capital discipline, it explained.

Some key points from the presentation include:

  • Decarbonisation of the Pilbara will be accelerated by targeting the rapid deployment of 1 GW of wind and solar power. This would abate around 1 Mt of CO2, replace natural gas power for plant and infrastructure and support early electrification of mining equipment;
  • Full electrification of the Pilbara system, including all trucks, mobile equipment and rail operations, will require further gigawatt-scale renewable deployment and advances in fleet technologies
  • Options to provide a greener steelmaking pathway for Pilbara iron ore are being investigated, including with biomass and hydrogen;
  • Options are progressing to switch the Boyne Island and Tomago smelters in Australia to renewable energy, which will require an estimated circa-5 GW (equity basis) of solar and wind power, along with a robust “firming solution”;
  • Development of ELYSIS to eliminate carbon emissions from the smelting process is progressing, with commercial scale technology on track for 2024.

Rio Tinto to roll out K2fly’s Ground Disturbance solution across Pilbara ops

K2fly Ltd says Rio Tinto has signed a five-year contract for its Ground Disturbance solution, with the miner planning to roll it out across its iron ore operations in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The contract will generate annual recurring revenue of A$620,000 ($450,676) over the initial five-year term, the ASX-listed company says.

The addition of Ground Disturbance expands the number of K2fly solutions used by Rio Tinto to five out of K2fly’s nine existing solutions which already include: Resource Inventory & Reconciliation, Dams & Tailings, Community & Heritage and Mine Geology Data Management, K2fly says.

K2fly says its Ground Disturbance solution provides a single source for applying, approving, tracking, reporting and submitting closure of permits and rehabilitation commitments surrounding ground disturbance activities.

Nic Pollock, CEO of K2fly, says: “We are delighted to continue to expand our relationship with Rio Tinto into ground disturbance. Effective ground disturbance systems are the glue for operations that want to ensure technical assurance around land management, maintain licence to operate and ensure high environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards. We are pleased to be working closely with Rio Tinto across a number of key ESG solutions globally.”

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.”

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.”

CR and KBSS collaborate on conveyor system deployments in the Pilbara

CR has announced a new partnership with KBSS to bring CR’s custom-made conveyor systems to the Pilbara of Western Australia.

KBSS is now CR’s Pilbara-based partner for mining conveyor systems, a company fully ISO accredited to Quality Management Systems, with, CR says, a reputation for delivering safe, reliable and cost-effective outcomes.

As part of the partnership, CR will be providing engineering and technical support, including on-site support, while KBSS will be looking after installation and maintenance services.

CR Business Development Manager, Paul Shankley, said: “When CR was searching for partners to bring our mining conveyor systems to the Pilbara, KBSS was the obvious pick. We both continually strive for Zero Harm whilst taking pride in bringing high-quality solutions to the global mining industry. CR are excited to collaborate with KBSS.”

CR’s mining conveyor systems are designed to maximise performance, minimise maintenance requirements and reduce total cost of ownership. Its range of conveyor components and accessories includes belt cleaning systems; belt stabilising kits; conveyor pulley lagging; conveyor skirting systems; and conveyor belt trackers.

The company said: “Our conveyor systems are designed for mines. They decrease lost product, reduce carry back, and minimise dust and spillage.”

Wabtec FLXdrive battery-electric loco to work at Roy Hill rail network in the Pilbara

Roy Hill, in Western Australia, has announced the purchase of a Wabtec FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive, the world’s first 100% battery, heavy-haul locomotive for the region and the mining industry.

“We are committed to transforming the next generation of transportation by adopting advanced technologies that improve energy efficiency, lower operating costs and improve our rail and mining network,” Gerhard Veldsman, CEO of Roy Hill, says. “The FLXdrive locomotive will be the first for the region and the first for the mining industry and will improve our rail operations from the mine to Port Hedland.”

Roy Hill will receive the newest version of the FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive in 2023 with an energy capacity of 7 MWh. It is an upgrade from the 2.4 MWh prototype that was successfully tested in revenue service with a Class 1 railroad in the USA earlier this year.

Based on the route and Roy Hill’s rail operations, the FLXdrive is anticipated to reduce the company’s fuel costs and emissions in percentage by double digits per train. The ongoing use of the FLXdrive will also reduce ongoing operational costs through maintenance spend.

Simon Pascoe, General Manager of Engineering for Roy Hill, says: “Our analysis with Wabtec confirms the FLXdrive locomotive is ideally suited for our rail network. It has the horsepower to operate in a heavy haul train consist pulling loaded wagons with 35,000 t of iron ore, while at the same time reducing the entire train’s fuel consumption. The FLXdrive also is designed to function in the extreme heat of the Pilbara region.”

Today, Roy Hill uses four Wabtec ES44ACi “Evolution Series” diesel-electric locomotives in a consist to pull trains that are typically 2.7 km in length. The FLXdrive will replace one of the diesel locomotives to form a hybrid consist, and recharge during the trip through regenerative braking.

The FLXdrive manages the overall train energy flow and distribution through its Trip Optimizer system, an intelligent cruise control system programmed through artificial intelligence to respond to every curve and grade of the track in the most energy-efficient way possible, Wabtec says. It is also designed with a special liquid cooling system to withstand the Pilbara heat, where temperatures can reach 55°C.

Wendy McMillan, Regional Senior Vice President Australia and New Zealand for Wabtec, says: “This order demonstrates Roy Hill’s progressive and forward-thinking approach to the mining industry. By adopting this revolutionary technology in region, Roy Hill is pioneering new approaches to its operations that will benefit the company’s bottom line. The FLXdrive is a continuation of our growing partnership and shared vision to bring more efficient solutions to mining and rail industries.”

Wabtec’s goal is to develop the next generation of zero-emission locomotives. The company says it has a clear path to power new locomotives – and repower existing locomotives – with batteries, hydrogen internal combustion engines and hydrogen fuel cells. It is part of Wabtec’s vision for the rail industry to play a key role in building a clean energy economy and will enable the reduction of up to 300 Mt of global carbon emissions.

Rogerio Mendonca, President of Freight Equipment for Wabtec, says: “Controlling emissions is critical in the fight against climate change. The FLXdrive battery-electric locomotive is a bold step toward a low-to-zero-emission locomotive future. We continue working on solutions that cut the overall carbon footprint of the industries we serve through the development of low-emitting locomotives like the FLXdrive, and the use of alternative fuels such as bio-diesel, renewable diesel and hydrogen.”

NRW’s METS business takes flight with Primero’s latest contract awards

The first build own operate (BOO) contract initiatives, and the first major engineering, procurement, site support and commissioning contract in West Africa are some of the highlights from Primero Group’s latest contract awards.

The company, acquired by NRW Holdings earlier this year, has recently been awarded new contracts totalling circa-A$155 million ($114 million) with key clients. It has also progressed strategic initiatives that provide further strength to the group offering within the newly formed Minerals, Energy and Technology (METS) business under the NRW Holdings banner, NRW said. RCR Mining Technologies and DIAB Engineering also feature under the METS business.

“These include the award of the group’s BOO contract initiatives crystalising the strategic direction deployed by the group to enter the market of ownership and operation of processing infrastructure,” it said. “The equipment is designed, fabricated and constructed internally utilising the METS division companies and focuses on enabling the infrastructure to be relocatable, in alignment with other material handling products already being offered by the group.”

Primero has been awarded two key contracts with Mt Gibson Iron. The first is for the upgrade of the Koolan Island crushing circuit under an engineering and construction contract off the coast of Western Australia. The second is a two-year fixed crushing contract at the Shine development project in the Mid-West region of Western Australia under a BOO arrangement, with an option to extend.

Also, in the iron ore space and Western Australia, Primero has been awarded a four-year contract for crushing services at Atlas Iron’s proposed Miralga Creek operation in the Pilbara region. The contract provides crushing services for 2 Mt/y under a BOO scenario and will commence in early 2022.

In West Africa, meanwhile, Primero has secured its first major engineering, procurement, site support and commissioning contract for the Abujar gold project in Côte d’Ivoire, owned by Tietto Minerals. “The project award demonstrates the groups continuing growth and maturity in minerals processing engineering execution and diversity in capability across multiple commodities in the group,” NRW said.

The project is at a 3.5 Mt/y throughput scale with most of the contract revenue to be recognised in NRW’s 2022 financial year.

Back in Western Australia, meanwhile, Primero has been awarded the Mt Holland water supply pipeline construction contract from Covalent Lithium. The project follows on from the design services that Primero was awarded in October 2020 and completed including detailed construction planning and methodology for the 130 km pipeline and associated pumping facilities.

Site construction works have commenced, and the project is scheduled for completion in the March quarter of 2022.

As an updated note, Primero confirms the previously announced letter of intent with Panoramic Resources for the contract operations of the Savannah Nickel project has been finalised into a binding contract with a term of three years, as per Panoramic announcement dated April 6, 2021.

Work has already commenced in the preparation and operational readiness for the recommencement of the concentrator operations in-line with the announced restart plan of the mine in the September quarter with first shipments planned in December.

NRW CEO, Jules Pemberton, said: “The ongoing development of the METS pillar of the NRW Holdings Group is continuing to provide further success and market penetration within key client groups in our sector. Primero, as the newest addition to that group, has added significant capability and these recent contract awards showcase the diversity, capability and the expanding capacity of the group across multiple commodities and services.”

SIMPEC to construct wet process plant at Iron Bridge magnetite project

SIMPEC has been awarded a A$145 million ($107 million) contract for the construction of a wet process plant for the Iron Bridge magnetite project in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The WestStar Industrial subsidiary has been contracted by Iron Bridge Operations Pty Ltd, a company representing the joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group subsidiary FMG Magnetite Pty Ltd and Formosa Steel IB Pty Ltd.

The wet processing plant is a significant part of the new magnetite mine at Iron Bridge, which will be central to the production of 22 Mt/y (wet) of 67% Fe magnetite concentrate product.

SIMPEC is to supply vertical construction services for the contract, with an anticipated workforce of more than 500 personnel. The contract is expected to commence immediately with works due to be completed by the middle of 2022.

SIMPEC’s part of the project consists of major module installation, tank installation, major mechanical installation, large bore piping and a significant portion of supply and installation of electrical and instrumentation works.

Fortescue, in its June quarter results, released today, said the Iron Bridge project was expecting first production by December 2022 and a ramp-up period of 12-18 months before reaching capacity.

WesTrac to rebuild Rio’s Pilbara dozers at Geraldton facility

Rio Tinto, WesTrac and the Western Australia Government have agreed on a project that will see dozers from Rio’s Pilbara operations head to WesTrac’s Geraldton facility for rebuilds, with up to 54 machines committed between 2021 and 2025.

Western Australia Regional Development Minister, Alannah MacTiernan, welcomed the news, saying it would provide a major boost for the Mid-West’s mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.

The project was negotiated between the State Government through the Mid West Development Commission and industry after feasibility studies identified WesTrac’s Perth and Pilbara facilities were at capacity and unable to accommodate the additional repairs and maintenance required by Rio’s mining operations.

The Geraldton facility will receive up to 12 dozer rebuilds annually, from various Pilbara operations, according to the statement.

The project will support two new, localised apprenticeship opportunities in the Mid-West as well as creating new local skilled jobs and providing pathways to employment with Rio Tinto, the government said. The project also reduces transport times and negates logistical difficulties mining companies face getting heavy machinery in and out of the metropolitan area.

“The state will look to expand the initiative into a cross-regional Smart Specialisation project with linkages to the Kimberley and Goldfields regions, using the Mid-West as a demonstration pilot,” it added.

MacTiernan said: “This is a fantastic initiative that will see more work carried out in our regional centres, rather than shifting to Perth. It confirms that geography is not a barrier to global success for our regionally-based METS facilities, but in fact an advantage.”

Rio Tinto Port, Rail and Core Services Managing Director, Richard Cohen, said: “Rio Tinto is committed to growing regional Western Australia by supporting jobs and training opportunities for local people. Regional investment initiatives like the METS project will deliver ongoing benefits to the local economy.

“By unlocking the capabilities of the Geraldton WesTrac branch, we are significantly reducing transport time by removing the roughly 900-km round trip to Perth. This will lower costs, improve productivity and reduce the risk of driving related incidents that can occur on congested metropolitan roads.”

WesTrac CEO, Jarvas Croome, said the company was committed to developing capacity and capability throughout the state.

“Like many providers in the METS sector, WesTrac is seeing strong demand across all areas of our business due to the level of mining and construction activity,” he said. “That applies to new and used equipment sales, training, maintenance services and equipment rebuilds, and if there are opportunities to expand our offerings in regional centres and provide efficient outcomes for our customers, we’ll happily consider them.”

As well as multiple metropolitan operations, WesTrac currently has branches in eight regional centres including the major Western Australia mining regions. The company also operates as the authorised dealer of Caterpillar equipment in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

NRW Holdings to deliver solar power solution for Rio’s Gudai Darri

NRW Holdings has secured two new contracts from Rio Tinto, one of which will see it enter the renewable energy fold with an agreement to deliver a 34 MW solar photovoltaic system at the Gudai Darri mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

This contract is part of Rio Tinto’s commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations with a stated target to reach net zero emissions by 2050, NRW said, adding that the contract value is approximately A$60 million ($44 million).

The scope of work for the solar farm includes design, procurement, construction, testing and commissioning of all equipment including a 33 kV substation to be integrated into the overall Rio Tinto Iron Ore infrastructure, including remote control and monitoring via the Rio Tinto Iron Ore Remote Operation Centre.

The solar farm will be connected to the Rio Tinto grid at the Gudai Darri Central Substation via a 6-km long overhead powerline and fibre-optic link, which is not included in the NRW scope.

Design and procurement will commence immediately followed by commencement of construction in August 2021. Construction and commissioning are scheduled for completion in early 2022, it said.

Jules Pemberton, NRW’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, said: “Securing this work recognises the broader delivery capability of the business and NRW’s long-standing experience of delivering projects for Rio Tinto in the Pilbara. Renewable energy represents an increasing opportunity for the group in particular captive projects like this where the energy output is integrated to the client’s network.”

Alongside this announcement, NRW said it had been awarded the Stage 3 Expansion Works at the Nammuldi Waste Fines Storage (WFSF) facility. The works to be undertaken for this project are the Stage 3 expansion to the existing WFSF for Hamersley Iron Pty Ltd, a Rio subsidiary that manages the joint venture Nammuldi operation (53% owned by Rio, 33% owned by Mitsui Iron Ore Development, 10.5% owned by Nippon Steel Australia and 3.5% owned by Sumitomo Metal Australia), at the Nammuldi Below Water Table (NBWT) project.

The site is around 60 km northwest of Tom Price, with the WFSF Stage 3 expansion consisting of raising the existing earth fill embankment by a further 6 m using the downstream method with associated earthworks along with mechanical upgrades to water management structures, waste fines deposition lines and pond decant infrastructure.

The expansion works to be undertaken will achieve the ultimate limit currently permitted for the WFSF, NRW said.

Construction works will start in mid-August 2021 with all works complete in June 2022. A work force of about 75 personnel will be engaged on the project which has a contract value of circa-A$26.5 million.