Tag Archives: Queensland

Byrnecut and Sandvik collaborate on new MAKO ground engaging tool

Sandvik, with the help of Australia-based mining contractor, Byrnecut, has developed a new and improved Ground Engaging Tool (GET) that, the OEM says, reduces downtime and cost-per-tonne mined.

Over a four-year period, Byrnecut has been instrumental in the development of this new system, MAKO™.

In underground mining, wear and tear is unavoidable, and nowhere is it sharper than for the buckets and the shrouds fitted to loaders.

In the most abrasive conditions, the shrouds can wear out in just a few hundred hours of work. Replacing them – especially when they are welded on – can take multiple shifts: valuable hours where the machine is out of action and productivity dented.

To speed up this process, in 2001, Sandvik introduced its Shark™ range of Blue Pointer™ ground engaging tools (GET) – becoming the first retensionable shroud system for the underground market. Blue Pointer can be summarised as shrouds using mechanical fixings that are significantly faster to replace, Sandvik says.

Even though Sandvik says the system was the market leader in underground mining, it still looked to improve upon the Blue Pointer.

With that in mind, in 2018, Sandvik set about developing a replacement, MAKO, collaborating with internationally renowned specialist mining contractor, Byrnecut.

MAKO continues the shark theme – with a Mako being a shortfin predator – and brings with it several advantages: an innovative patented locking mechanism, hammerless removal system, cast corners improvement (patented) and additional wear indicator, to mention a few.

By far the biggest improvement in terms of reducing downtime and cost-per-tonne mined can be found in the MAKO corner shrouds. Normally, corners – which have a much harder life – tend to wear out and need changing at the mid-life point, compared with the rest of the shrouds. In extreme conditions an additional two ‘half corners’ can be needed for every set of normal shrouds. But thanks to improved material and design, with MAKO there is no need for part-life replacement corners, according to Sandvik.

These improvements have been put to the test in the field, with Byrnecut instrumental in putting prototypes through their paces. The contractor trialled the concept at one of its most abrasive sites – the Capricorn copper mine near Mount Isa in Queensland, Australia.

“Sandvik came along with a team of engineers and said: ‘Right, are you willing to help us develop MAKO?”, Gary Boswell, Byrnecut’s Chief Maintenance Supervisor at the mine, said. “So, we got on board and had a good working relationship with Sandvik. Right from the start we were looking for the same outcome – to lower total-cost-of-ownership and achieve a 1:1 [corner:shroud] ratio, so that we only changed corners when we changed all the other shrouds.”

The Capricorn mine has five Sandvik loaders (LH621s) fitted with 10.7 cu.m buckets. Boswell expects to get 7,500 hours out of a bucket and, because of the aggressive nature of the rock, replaces the GET every 500-550 hours, on average. That is roughly 14 sets of MAKO per bucket life. So, making them last longer and easier to change in one go can make a significant difference to downtime and cost over that lifetime.

MAKO has not achieved its durability performance by simply adding more metal; it’s put metal where it matters. The overall MAKO system also has a very favourable weight/performance ratio, according to Sandvik.

The first MAKO GET was fitted at Byrnecut’s Capricorn site in January 2019. Despite the remote location, the buckets were monitored by Sandvik experts on a weekly basis. It soon became clear that the new range was especially durable – lasting, on average, 12% longer than the best of the rest, as well as avoiding the need for half-life corner shrouds, according to the OEM.

The first MAKO GET was fitted at Byrnecut’s Capricorn site in January 2019

“The first prototype we thought was okay, but there is still room for improvement,” Michael McCormick, the Shark Loadmaster who was hands-on with the development of MAKO, said. “The feedback we got from Gary [Boswell] and the team at Capricorn really helped us understand the issues they were having. When something cropped up, we could quickly develop a short-term ‘hotfix’, before developing a longer-term solution. For instance, we found an opportunity to improve the locking system and had to adapt the pin assembly to ensure the push-off feature was truly hammerless.

“As is natural, we had some performance issues with earlier prototypes, and it took us a couple of goes to get it right. But the ability to work in real time with Gary’s team was the key to enabling us to respond rapidly with quick fixes and validating their effectiveness.”

Boswell concluded: “Safety is paramount, and we did not want our guys hammering or using oxyacetylene to get the shrouds off. But Sandvik fixed that with the push-off feature that can handle worn-out GETs; even those with lifting lugs eroded through use. The issue of transporting heavy shrouds has also been resolved by a new lifting device, which is very effective.”

Sandvik added: “When, like Byrnecut at the Capricorn mine, you are using several hundred [GET] sets each year, the MAKO’s collective benefits add up to significant productivity, cost, time and safety enhancements. The cleve design of MAKO, perfected in the field, helps keep buckets meet their availability and productivity targets.”

BUMA Australia extends relationship with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s Goonyella mine

BUMA Australia has won its third contract in 2022, with the mining service provider extending its relationship with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Goonyella Riverside mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin for up to another five years.

This award covers delivering mining services at the operation and extends the company’s existing delivery scope at the mine.

BUMA Australia is a subsidiary of Bukit Makmur Mandiri Utama (BUMA), which, itself, is a subsidiary of PT Delta Dunia Makmur Tbk. The company’s Australia presence was expanded in 2021 with the acquisition of Downer EDI Limited’s Open Cut Mining East business.

The contract extension from BMA is valued at A$400 million ($268 million) over a three-year term, with the option to extend for another two years. Production is expected to average 36 million bank cubic metres per year.

On February 22, 2022, BUMA Australia announced it had secured a new A$550 million contract extension at BMA’s Blackwater mine and, on May 10, it announced a new A$320 million, three-year contract with Bowen Coking Coal’s Broadmeadow East coking coal project, with the option to extend for a further year.

TOMRA XRT ore sorters providing Mt Carbine with tungsten upgrade, circular economy advantages

TOMRA X-Ray Transmission (XRT) sorters are providing a game-changing solution for the EQ Resources-owned Mt Carbine mine in Queensland, Australia, reducing costs and achieving high-purity tungsten ore for follow-on processing while contributing to a circular economy by producing green aggregates for sale, the ore sorting company says.

The Mt Carbine mine, northwest of Cairns, Queensland, was acquired by EQ Resources in 2019. The company entered a joint venture with Cronimet Group to set up tungsten extraction from the mine’s large waste dump and tailings. It is also planning to operate the open pit and underground mine, of which it has full ownership.

EQ Resources management has a long-standing relationship with TOMRA, having used its sorters with success on a variety of projects since 2011, TOMRA says. Based on this experience, the company turned to TOMRA once again for the Mt Carbine mine, with test work conducted at TOMRA’s Test Center in Wedel, Germany, confirming its XRT technology would provide the solution for the project.

“We were confident it would work, but we sent a small sample for testing to make sure,” Kevin MacNeill, CEO of Mt Carbine mine, EQ Resources, said. “The advantage of TOMRA’s sorters compared to others is in the image resolution: it is able to resolve the finer inclusions in the tungsten. This high resolution gives us better recovery and more control over the sorting process.”

Mt Carbine is currently mining the 12 Mt of low-grade historical stockpiles. The ore is crushed and screened at 6 mm and 40 mm. Two TOMRA XRT sorters are used to pre-concentrate the feed in the 6-40-mm-size range before processing in the wet plant. Approximately 10% of the sorters’ feed mass is ejected as product with a recovery of tungsten of well over 90%. This means only 10% of the mass is processed in the wet plant, dramatically cutting running costs, reducing the required size of the wet plant, as well as saving water and energy, TOMRA says.

“We let the technology do the work for us and take out all the rubbish and we’re left with just the pure tungsten to send to the processing plant – and we do that very cheaply using the sorters,” MacNeill says. “One of the best things about the TOMRA XRT is the cost savings to the operation. It costs approximately A$1.5/t ($1.02/t) to sort and then it costs A$14/t for wet processing: as we take out 90% of the sortable fraction mass, we only have to process 10% of the higher grade concentrate and natural -6 mm material while maintaining recovery, so our cost benefit is obvious.

“We couldn’t afford to run this waste dump if we had to crush everything to 6mm and process it through the wet plant, it would be too low grade and costly.”

EQ Resources is also taking advantage of the TOMRA XRT sorters to create an additional revenue stream from the waste material.

MacNeil explained: “Normally you would grind the waste down to 6 mm and put it through the jigs, but, by putting it through the TOMRA sorters, we are able to keep a whole range of aggregates on the coarser size fractions. The sorters remove any material containing acid-forming sulphides and the waste rock that comes out is incredibly clean. We are, therefore, able to use it in making all kinds of different quarry products – from road bases to concrete aggregates. It’s a perfect example of a circular economy.”

“Selling these green aggregates adds a significant portion to our business – about A$5 million a year – and that’s all because of the TOMRA sorters. In fact, we’ve probably paid for each machine from this revenue five times over.”

The TOMRA XRT sorters are delivering both environmental and business benefits to the Mt Carbine operation, to the satisfaction of MacNeill: “They’re dry, they create no water usage, they require very little power compared to what we use in the processing plant, so it’s a real advantage to us to have these, and we’re looking at purchasing a third one in the near future.

“From an environmental point of view, I think the TOMRA sorters will play a huge role in the future because of their capability of removing sulphides. If you remove sulphide before stockpiling waste rock, you will have the benefit of no acid creation and drainage – and it would reduce your footprint in your closure plans.”

Redpath awarded underground mining services agreement at MMG’s Dugald River mine

Redpath Australia says it has been awarded a new underground mining services contract at MMG Limited’s Dugald River mine in northwest Queensland.

Dugald River is one of the world’s top 10 zinc producers, located some 65 km northwest of Cloncurry. It produced 41,655 t of zinc concentrate and 4,740 t of lead concentrate in the June quarter.

The contract involves all underground development activities and will require up to 200 personnel in various management, operational and trades roles, with mobilisation commencing in the coming months, Redpath said.

Back in September 2020, Barminco agreed the terms of a variation and extension to its development and production contract at Dugald River, with the variation extending the term of the contract by 18 months to December 31, 2022.

Anglo American, QMRS commission industry-first Shaft Rescue System at Aquila

Queensland Mines Rescue Service (QMRS), in partnership with Anglo American, has commissioned a critical new piece of mine rescue equipment for use across underground mines in the Queensland mining industry.

A funding commitment, in excess of A$2.3 million ($1.6 million) from Anglo American, enabled QMRS to purchase the Queensland mining industry-first Shaft Rescue System (SRS), a mobile truck-mounted emergency system to assist in underground rescues.

The commissioning at the Aquila mine followed a 2019 commitment from Anglo American Australia then-CEO, Tyler Mitchelson, to wholly fund the equipment for the QMRS.

Chief Executive Officer of QMRS, David Carey, acknowledged Anglo American for funding the equipment and supporting QMRS in its design and engineering.

“While we hope we never need to use it, the SRS will form part of the emergency response plan for every underground mine site in Queensland and we’re grateful for Anglo American’s support in delivering it,” Carey said. “The SRS lowers interchangeable cages into mine shafts to rescue trapped miners and is equipped with a world-first intrinsically safe directional Wi-Fi communications system that can be used safely underground.”

The Wi-Fi enables radio communications from the rescue cage to the surface, captures and shares real-time video and sends data from a gas monitoring system, according to Carey.

QMRS says the SRS has interchangeable cage options and over 1,200 m of rope on the drum for use in deep shafts. It is engineered with multiple fail-safe braking systems, hydraulically powered from the Volvo FMX 10*4 truck engine, which also has a back-up power system.

Carey added: “This equipment will make a meaningful difference to our emergency response capabilities in Queensland and will be housed at our Dysart headquarters in the heart of the Bowen Basin, so it’s close by if ever required.”

Head of Safety and Health at Anglo American’s Steelmaking Coal Business, Marc Kirsten, said the company was pleased to support QMRS in delivering the SRS for all those who work underground in the mining industry in Queensland.

“QMRS supports our industry with leading edge emergency response capability and support, and we are pleased to have been able to support them in turn, by providing this vital and potentially life-saving equipment,” Kirsten said.

“The SRS will improve emergency response capabilities across all underground mines in the Queensland mining industry, and it was important to us to make this investment in industry safety.”

Anglo American operates five steelmaking coal mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, three of which are underground.

Orica’s Chemicals business eyes new complementary opportunities

Orica’s Investor Day, taking place last week, highlighted potential growth areas in one of the company’s less-publicised ‘verticals’, its Chemicals business.

Mining, Quarry & Construction and Digital solutions often steal the headlines in quarterly updates, but Adam Hall, Group Executive & President of Asia & Chemicals, showed there is plenty going on within the company’s fourth vertical.

This business, which covers the fields of ore processing, chemical stabilisation and recovery & treatment, strengthens Orica’s presence across the mining value chain, having a strong alignment with its global footprint and understanding of customer needs, the company says. It also acts as a complementary component of Orica’s “new solutions offerings”.

Orica’s current exposure is to leaching agents and emulsifiers, with cyanide making up its biggest product today.

As one of the largest producers of sodium cyanide for mining, Orica delivers the leaching agent in briquette form in circa-1 tonne boxes that are easily containerised, or within an Orica-designed Sparge isotainer system, or in liquid form via purpose-built iso tanks suitable for safe road or rail transport around the world.

It relies on the Yarwun, Gladstone Cyanide Manufacturing Facility in Queensland for this supply, which has an annual capacity of 95,000 t/y and is compliant with ISO9002 and the International Cyanide Management Code. This facility is complemented by the company’s sodium cyanide transfer stations in Peru, Ghana and Malaysia.

Hall was positive about potential growth opportunities in the cyanide space, explaining demand for cyanide was expected to outpace the predicted growth in gold ore treated to 2026 as the complexities involved with treating orebodies continued to increase.

He said the Yarwun facility had great brownfield growth opportunities around the site, with the company evaluating potential expansions in the region of “high single digit” or “low double digit” percentages.

Hall was equally positive about cyanide retaining its presence in the gold leaching process, saying that, while substitution questions continued to come up, the realities associated with such a transition meant it was infrequently feasible.

“There is one major mine that has switched away from using cyanide into a different reagent,” he said. “That cost them north of $100 million, and our understanding is they would not necessarily do it again. Also, that specific mine has a certain lithography that lent itself to using that reagent.”

Hall said Orica’s emulsifiers – which allow it to differentiate its explosives products through maintaining the stability of the mixture – represented “a small but mighty part” of the company’s product suite. He saw potential growth opportunities for emulsifiers, which he said contained the “secret sauce for emulsification”.

Outside of these two Orica mainstays, Hall highlighted the potential for Orica to play in both flotation and solvent extraction markets as part of growth opportunities that added up to A$23 billion ($16 billion).

In flotation, collectors, frothers and flocculants are integral to optimising the process. The same can be said for solvent extractants in the SX space.

“We see all of these as potentially interesting for Orica,” Hall said. “These are all big fields…but each of them has something we could potentially partner or bring to our clients, and something we will be looking to do over the next five years or so.”

Partnerships could potentially see Orica team up with big chemical players that have a by-product or comparatively small value stream coming out of an integrated facility where Orica could bring its “deep understanding of what the miners need and how we can deliver against that using the products that are produced”, he explained.

This could see Orica act as an agent, an offtaker, or purchaser of the by-product production unit.

As with all other Orica verticals, the Chemicals business will be looking at any potential bolt-on to the emulsifier and cyanide offering as a way to influence more of the value chain, ensuring changes made up- or down-stream provide value throughout the full flowsheet.

DRA Global offloads G&S to KAEFER Integrated Services

DRA Global and KAEFER Integrated Services have executed an agreement for the sale and purchase of the business of G&S Engineering Services Pty Ltd and G&S Support Services Pty Ltd (collectively G&S), comprising selected contracts, assets and liabilities for A$8 million ($5.6 million).

The sale is subject to conditions precedent standard for a transaction of this nature and is currently expected to complete before the end of the September quarter of 2022.

G&S, based in Mackay, Queensland, has a 25-year track record of delivering services to the Australian resources sector, with a focus on maintenance and shutdown services and structural mechanical piping (SMP) construction services.

KAEFER Integrated Services is a provider of technical industrial services specialising in insulation, access, surface protection, passive fire protection, as well as mechanical services.

DRA Interim Chief Executive Officer, James Smith, said: “DRA has been undertaking a strategic review of its business, to ensure that we re-focus on our core strengths of engineering, project delivery and operations management. G&S, with its focus on operational maintenance, SMP construction and shutdown services, is not part of this core focus.

“We believe the G&S business will be best served under the ownership of KAEFER, where it can benefit from having an owner that is strategically aligned to providing the required investment and management focus.”

The sale comprises certain key contracts, assets and liabilities of G&S. Importantly, the new owner, KAEFER, is committed to building on G&S’ work program and connection with clients and suppliers and maintaining a strong workforce, DRA says.

DRA previously announced the cessation of its APAC construction business, with G&S currently seen as loss-making, as a result of some poorly performing construction projects. As a result, it is no longer considered a core part of DRA’s activities.

For the financial year ended December 31, 2021, G&S contributed approximately 20.1% of group revenue, EBITDA and profit contributions were negative, and accounted for approximately 10% of Group assets. Those proportions have since decreased.

The re-focus of DRA’s APAC business on engineering, project delivery and operations management requires a restructure to optimise these operations, the company says. Further, the group is finalising the outcomes of its previously announced operating model review which is also expected to optimise the group’s corporate overhead structure.

Thiess spinoff wins first mine rehabilitation contract from Ensham Resources

Following its launch in March of this year, Thiess Rehabilitation has been awarded its first contract – a 3.5-year partnership with Idemitsu Australia’s Ensham Resources to deliver mine rehabilitation solutions that create areas for native bushland corridors and cattle grazing across more than 700 ha of land.

Working with the client at the Ensham Mine, in Queensland, Australia, the scope of works includes the detailed design and construction of the final rehabilitated landforms, topsoiling and seed bed preparation, and sowing of both pasture and native tree species.

The team will apply industry-leading landform design methodologies, as well as the implementation of technology for surveying and seeding, to deliver the project, it says.

Thiess Rehabilitation’s Group Manager, James Anderson, said: “We’re really excited to work with Idemitsu’s Ensham Resources, who have already achieved more than 660 ha of progressive rehabilitation at the mine. We share an understanding that mining is about value, and that value is fully realised when we return the land to a sustainable and usable state.

“We’re looking forward to bringing our whole-of-mine-life insight to design, develop and deliver solutions to meet the needs of our clients and leave a positive legacy.”

Ensham Resources General Manager, Andy Mifflin, said: “We’re very pleased with our achievements to date, including attaining the Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science’s certification of the largest area of open-cut coal mining rehabilitation ever in Queensland, with a total of 663 ha of progressive rehabilitation utilised for long term cattle grazing.

“Ensham looks forward to working with Thiess Rehabilitation to achieve the successful completion of the next phase of our progressive rehabilitation.”

Idemitsu Australia commenced operations in 1993 using dragline strip mining methods and, during the life of the mine, the company has been progressively rehabilitating previously mined out areas.

EQ Resources enlists help of Golding for Mt Carbine tungsten development

EQ Resources Limited says it has executed an Early Engagement Contract with Golding Contractors Pty Ltd for the restart of the open-pit mining operations at the Mt Carbine Tungsten Mine, in Queensland, Australia.

EQR said it selected Golding, a subsidiary of NRW Holdings, as its preferred partner after working through a high-quality engagement and approval process.

“Early engagement was a preferred course for EQR as recent capital investment into the Mt Carbine processing plant is commissioning well and the company is receiving positive feedback from offtake partners for supply of our critical mineral product,” EQR’s Chief Executive Officer, Kevin MacNeill, said.

“EQR wants to deliver the highest quality outcome for the life of the Mt Carbine Mine for all stakeholders. Golding has strong credentials including specialist mine site rehabilitation works and environmental earthworks.

“Mt Carbine is ramping up treatment of its substantial low-grade surface resource as part of its joint venture with Cronimet with the next step in the development plan being the restart of its 100%-owned operations starting with the Andy White open pit, subject to the planned permit amendment. It’s a natural progression.”

Over the coming months, key areas of engagement and focus to finalise the mining contract and ensure smooth transition to mining operations will include:

  • Pit design: EQR is set to revise pit design in line with the recent drilling with Golding to maximise the strategic resource benefit and value for all stakeholders;
  • Equipment selection: In conjunction with the pit design under the contract, EQR and Golding will target strategic equipment selection to further optimise mining costs;
  • Contractor engagement: Golding will help manage the open-pit development through their in-house resources and network of preferred contractors to ensure compliance with Queensland mining legislation;
  • Stakeholder engagement: EQR and Golding will jointly engage local and strategic stakeholders regarding camp establishment, workshop establishment, personnel engagement, strategic regional suppliers and manufacturers; and
  • Timing: the open pit operations are forecast to begin during the first quarter of 2023.

EQ Resources, as a result of the acquisition of Mt Carbine Quarries in June 2019, now has 100% ownership of the two mining leases and surrounding exploration projects at the project. In a joint venture with Cronimet, the tungsten processing plant has been refurbished, commissioned and expanded to 300,000 t/y capacity.

The company is in the process of completing the required environmental amendments to allow the operation to process 300,000 t/y and eventually 1 Mt/y. Once the bulk test work is completed, a feasibility study will be completed for the design of the 1 Mt/y operation.

Field Solutions Holdings extends communications connection with Kestrel Coal

Australia-based Field Solutions Holdings Limited says it has been selected as exclusive preferred supplier for enterprise Managed Desktop, Network and general IT services for Kestrel Coal on a five-year contract term.

Coming with revenue of circa-A$25 million ($17 million), the contract extends Field Solutions’ existing connectivity provision relationship with Kestrel Coal, while leveraging its Regional Australia Network telecommunications infrastructure.

“The award of this enterprise contract to FSG validates and reinforces our strategy to build infrastructure and deploy full-time resources into rural, regional and remote Australia,” Andrew Roberts, FSG CEO, said.

FSG has been operating and building infrastructure across central Queensland for the past five years, providing residential, business and enterprise telecommunication services from its Emerald regional headquarters.

This win consolidates FSG as the largest Managed Services organisation in Emerald and surrounding areas and will see FSG expand its local operations at its Emerald Regional headquarters, the company said.

“Field Solutions’ Regional Australia Network services the mining regions northeast and west of Emerald and FSG has provided connectivity services to Kestrel Coal for three years, together with other mining and agribusiness customers,” Roberts said.

Kestrel Coal ran a competitive process to select FSG as its preferred IT partner, FSG says. Its mine is 51 km northeast of Emerald and was managed by Rio Tinto until 2018. It is one of the largest coking coal mines in the world, with an estimated 158 Mt of reserves.

Roberts added: “Last year, FSG acquired Infrastructure as a Service, cloud and ISP provider TasmaNet, which bolstered FSG’s existing capability to deliver enterprise grade managed and cloud services. This contract win highlights the value of our recent TasmaNet acquisition.”

FSG says it is currently finalising commercial terms for the Managed Network and Managed Services contracts and expects the transition to be completed by the end of July. Additional IT and procurement services will be sourced on an as-needs-basis over the course of the five-year term.

The company is continuing to pursue several key mining services contracts in central Queensland, according to Roberts.

“Mining and agribusiness areas across Australia will continue to be key focus areas for FSG to deploy its own infrastructure and services,” he said.

These areas will be serviced by FSG’s 4G and 5G Regional Australia Network, which is currently under construction.