Tag Archives: Queensland

BHP BMA’s Goonyella met coal mine receives ABB electrification upgrade

Sustainability, employee protection and operational insights are the drivers of a cutting-edge electrification upgrade at BHP BMA’s Goonyella Riverside Mine in Queensland, Australia, ABB says in a recent case study.

At the BHP-Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) conjoined metallurgical coal mines Goonyella and Riverside in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, Subra Nedunuri, Senior Project Manager, Goonyella Riverside Mines (GRM), is responsible for delivering capital electrical projects without compromising environment, safety, quality, or mining schedules.

When a 43-year-old section of Goonyella Riverside’s power infrastructure became unreliable, Nedunuri began designing an upgrade with ABB capabilities, which protect employees, equipment and the environment, and enable predictive maintenance of 16 pumps critical to the mine’s operation.

Nedunuri said: “A rehabilitation project to move earth from one side of the mine to the other may cost $20 million, but in contrast this $3 million electrical upgrade can save lives and hundreds of millions of dollars in downtime.”

To power the coal wash treatment plant, pumps are used to direct water for reuse or into tailing dams: without them the plant can’t operate. In the past, the now obsolete electrical system communicated only three states of condition for the pumps operation – “On”, “Off” or “Fault”. The system had no protection against arc flash incidents (explosive releases of energy when an electrical arc travels through ionised air to ground or another part of the electrical system), which endanger the lives of service technicians and nearby workers.

For the upgrade, BMA wanted not only the safest switchgear to protect its employees, but a human-machine interface (HMI) that would enable remote and on-site monitoring and control of the electrical system and pumps around the clock.

ABB’s system-integrated Ultra-Fast Earthing Switches (UFES) formed the basis of GRM’s upgrade with safety, and protection of the people within the vicinity of the equipment in mind.

“The switch is installed into the panel to prevent an arc flash, if it occurs it will be detected and switch off the power in less than four milliseconds,” Nedunuri said. “In addition to UFES-enabled switchboards, the mine wanted to take advantage of new and trending technology in the form of digital communications between the switchboard and the plant.”

ABB Ability™ Electrical Monitoring and Control for Distribution Networks, known as ZEE600, integrates diverse devices from a variety of suppliers, under the IEC 61850 standard of communication preferred by BMA, ABB explained. At GRM, this condition monitoring solution harnesses the real-time diagnostic data of substation equipment and electrical assets – primarily the pumps – to alert on-site teams to respond with preventive maintenance.

“Via the HMI, you can actually see the health of the pumps, motors and starters – everything. Our analysis and improvement team also continuously collect the data and analyse it for troubleshooting and future enhancements,” he said.

Nedunuri said it’s all connected back to plant supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA).

Installation and commissioning of the upgraded system took place during the mine’s biannual three-week-long scheduled maintenance shutdown in August/September 2022.

Prior to the shutdown period, Nedunuri constructed the system at ABB premises in Brisbane. Together with the ABB technicians, they matched cabling inlets and outlets with a template of the GRM system.

Henry Lin, Project Manager for Electrification Service at ABB in Brisbane, says ABB customers need to reduce the risk of costly downtime. “Our main objective in these projects is to ensure that our customer’s assets operate at peak performance levels and are available as required,” he said.

BMA has performed much research on the digitalisation of its mines and the ongoing upgrade of infrastructure involves a constant rollout of individual projects. When it comes to the safety and reliability of electrical infrastructure, Nedunuri said the company doesn’t compromise, regardless of the cost.

“All upgrades must not only comply with Australian Standards, but also require ongoing modifications to meet the higher bar set by BHP BMA to make sure it runs efficiently and effectively into the future,” he said.

“I feel proud that I eliminated a huge risk to the business through the pump electrification project. We are protecting people using the new system with arc flash mitigation and at the same time, the monitoring and control enabled by ABB ZEE600, not only improves pump efficiency, but also adds a lot of functionality – it’s easy to operate and easy to maintain.”

BMA and ABB are collaborating on a pipeline of further potential upgrades to existing on-site installations, with each project planned to deliver greater safety, reliability and sustainable growth, ABB says.

Golding to add second 600 t excavator and 220 t haul truck to Jellinbah East fleet

NRW Holdings Limited’s wholly owned subsidiary, Golding Contractors Pty Ltd, has signed a variation to its existing five-year mining services agreement with Jellinbah Mining Pty Ltd at the Jellinbah East coal mine in central Queensland, Australia.

The scope of the variation includes operating and maintaining a second 600-t excavator and 220-t rear dump truck fleet to mine pre-strip overburden, increasing the full scope of the agreement to two 600-t mining fleets.

The variation is valued at approximately A$160 million ($105 million) and will commence in April 2024 using existing owned fleet and supplemented with hire equipment, NRW says.

NRW subsidiary Action Drill & Blast Pty Ltd has also been awarded the following contracts in Queensland:

  • Blasthole drilling services for Batchfire Resources at the Callide coal mine. The contract, valued at circa-A$52 million over five years has commenced and will use a workforce of some 40 personnel;
  • A 12-month extension to supply agreement with Dyno Nobel Asia Pacific Pty Ltd for a Bowen Basin mine valued at A$30 million; and
  • A services agreement involing drilling for a central Queensland mine. This has a contract term of three years on an agreed rates basis with an estimated value of A$28 million.

These contracts will also use existing ADB-owned equipment where applicable, the company said.

NACG’s MacKellar Group banks five-year met coal contract in Queensland

North American Construction Group Ltd says the MacKellar Group has been awarded a five-year contract extension by a major metallurgical coal producer in relation to a mine in Queensland, Australia.

The contract contemplates the provision of fully maintained equipment and related services at the site operated by the producer.

The award extends the expiry date from June 6, 2025, to June 30, 2030, and qualifies as contractual backlog given minimum hour commitments in the agreement, NACG says. Rental scopes are estimated at C$100 million ($74 million) per year resulting in a total value from this extension of C$500 million, the company added.

The contract requires the addition of two loading units and one service truck, for between C$20 and C$25 million, which will be purchased by the end of the year and bring the total dedicated fleet at this site to approximately 70 heavy equipment units.

NACG acquired MacKellar in July 2023 for C$395 million.

Joe Lambert, President and CEO of NACG, said: “We are excited about this extension and look forward to continuing the relationship we have with our customer at this site. This is the first material contract we have signed in Australia since the acquisition of MacKellar and are very proud of how well the first five months have gone.

“MacKellar has provided an excellent platform to grow our business in Australia as we leverage our operational and maintenance expertise in the region. We believe this ‘locking in’ of fleet is indicative of the strong demand for heavy equipment in the Australian mining sector. In light of this demand, and bolstered by long-term contracts, we have begun to take steps towards prudently increasing fleet size in Australia, including potentially transferring underutilised Canadian fleet into that market with the goal of maximising overall utilisation.”

Rio Tinto looks to renewably power Gladstone ops with Australia’s largest solar power project

Rio Tinto says it will drive development of Australia’s largest solar power project near Gladstone, Queensland, after agreeing to buy all electricity from the 1.1 GW Upper Calliope Solar Farm to renewably power its Gladstone operations.

The agreement will bring more renewable power into one of Australia’s most important industrial hubs and marks another step towards Rio Tinto’s climate goal of halving its global Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions this decade, the mining company said. If combined with more renewable power and suitable firming, transmission and industrial policy, it could also provide the core of a solution to repower Rio Tinto’s three Gladstone production assets – the Boyne aluminium smelter, the Yarwun alumina refinery (pictured) and the Queensland Alumina refinery.

Under a new power purchase agreement (PPA) signed with European Energy Australia, Rio Tinto will buy all power generated from the Upper Calliope solar farm for 25 years. The plant will be built and operated by European Energy, at a site about 50 km south-west of Gladstone, pending development and grid connection approvals.

Once approved and developed, Upper Calliope would have the potential to lower Rio Tinto’s operating carbon emissions by 1.8 Mt/y, the company says.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive, Jakob Stausholm, said: “This agreement is a first important step in our work to repower our Gladstone operations and illustrates our commitment to keeping sustainably powered industry in central Queensland.

“The task remains challenging, but we have a pathway to provide the competitive, firmed power our Gladstone plants need and we are continuing to work hard with all stakeholders, including the Queensland and Australian governments, on getting there.

“Competitive capacity, firming and transmission are critical to developing a modern energy system that can ensure more large-scale renewables development in Queensland and help guarantee the future of Australian industry.”

Once approved, construction of the Upper Calliope plant is targeted to start in 2025 or 2026 and, when complete, it will provide enough electricity to meet about 5% of Queensland’s current demand. The plant, which is expected to take two years to construct, will cover 2,400 ha, employ 1,000 people during construction and support 100 direct and indirect jobs when operating.

European Energy CEO, Erik Andersen, said: “European Energy is proud to be a strategic partner in this project with Rio Tinto. Our commitment to providing renewable and reliable energy aligns perfectly with Rio Tinto’s ambitious climate goals. The Upper Calliope Solar Farm is not just a solar power project; it’s a testament to our shared vision for a greener future.

“By supplying renewable energy to one of Australia’s key industrial hubs, we are setting a new standard for industrial energy consumption. This project underlines our dedication to driving the transition towards renewable energy in Australia and demonstrates the potential of solar power in transforming the energy landscape of the region. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Rio Tinto and other stakeholders to create a sustainable and energy-efficient future for Australia.”

Upper Calliope is the first successful applicant in a formal Request for Proposals made by Rio Tinto for renewable power and firming projects in central and southern Queensland.

Rio Tinto says it continues to assess other proposals, solutions and partnerships to help competitively meet the energy needs of its three production assets in the Gladstone region. These assets require more than 1 GW of reliable power to operate, which equates to over 4 GW of quality wind or solar power with firming. Potential further electrification of plant processes could increase their electricity demand in the future.

BMA completes SABR Hay Point coal terminal project

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA)’s Hay Point team recently celebrated the completion of the Shiploader and Berth Replacement Project, nicknamed SABR, in Queensland, Australia.

In operation since 1971, the Hay Point Coal Terminal has undergone multiple expansion projects over its lifespan. It is a critical piece of infrastructure in BMA’s logistics portfolio and enables the BMA team to deliver high quality metallurgical coal for steelmaking to customers all around the world, quickly and reliably, BHP says.

These vital replacement works, requiring 15,000 tonnes of steel, will reinforce Hay Point’s ability to deliver coal to customers into the future. As Gaia Antoniucci, Head of Asset Projects, said at Thursday’s celebration: “The completion of the SABR project will improve the terminal’s cyclone immunity and ensure its long-term sustainability.

“I’m so proud of all of the teams who worked tirelessly day-in, day-out – both on-site during construction, as well as behind the scenes, and of the fantastic integration between the various parts of the different organisations to ensure the project ran without any major issues, and with the utmost focus on safety and the best outcomes for project delivery.”

SABR has been designed with a safety mindset – most of the project infrastructure has been built in controlled environments, minimising the exposure of front-line workers to the danger of high-risk work activities such as working over water environments. Over three years, the project absorbed more than 250,000 work hours during construction, and supported almost 700 BMA and contractor personnel working over the life of the project to carry out the transformation.

Linda Murry, General Manager at Hay Point for BMA, acknowledged at the celebration that the project has not just been an investment for BMA, but for Central Queensland more broadly.

“The terminal is a very busy place, which is constantly working for our customers,” she said. “It needs to be at its best to ensure BMA remain the world’s largest exporter of seaborne metallurgical coal.

“This has not just been an investment for BMA, but for Central Queensland more broadly. Hay Point’s increased capacity will drive economic growth throughout the region well beyond this port. We’re hugely proud of our ongoing contribution to Central Queensland.”

Whitehaven Coal to acquire BMA’s Daunia and Blackwater mines

Whitehaven Coal has executed definitive sale agreements with BHP Group and Mitsubishi Development Pty Ltd (together, BMA) to acquire 100% of both the Daunia and Blackwater coal mines in Queensland, Australia, for an aggregate consideration of $3.2 billion.

Whitehaven says the transaction delivers significant value upside with attractive growth opportunities in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, including synergies with Whitehaven’s Winchester South development project. It also transforms Whitehaven into a metallurgical coal producer in line with strategy, with pro-forma managed run of mine (ROM) production of around 40 Mt/y annum and pro-forma revenues of around 70% metallurgical coal and 30% thermal coal.

Completion of the acquisition is expected in the June 2024 quarter subject to satisfying conditions precedent including regulatory and merger control approvals.

The Daunia open-cut coal mine is 30 km south-east of Moranbah, and about 170 km southwest of Mackay in Queensland. The mine produces a hard coking coal (HCC) and pulverised coal injection (PCI) metallurgical coal products, and it is expected to produce an average of circa-4.9 Mt/y of saleable coal production over the next five years. It is expected that the remaining LOM production will continue until 2040. Daunia is adjacent to Whitehaven’s Winchester South development project in the Bowen Basin. Following the acquisition, Daunia’s coal products will continue to be exported to customers across Asia through the Dalrymple Bay Terminal near Mackay.

Back in 2020, BMA announced a A$100 million ($64 million) investment and new jobs as part of the introduction of 34 autonomous trucks at the mine.

The Blackwater coal mine is an open-cut mine which lies 73 km south-east of Emerald in Queensland and is expected to produce an average of circa-12.4 Mt/y of saleable coal production over the next five years. It is one of the largest coal mines in Australia, with a strike length of 80 km, and has the largest dragline fleet (7) in the Southern Hemisphere. Both HCC and semi soft coking coal (SSCC) metallurgical coal products are mined at Blackwater. The remaining LOM production is expected to be greater than 50 years. Blackwater’s coal products are exported to customers across Asia through the RG Tanna Terminal north of Gladstone.

Paul Flynn, CEO & Managing Director of Whitehaven, said: “This is a compelling transaction for Whitehaven that accelerates our strategy, transforms our company and delivers substantial value for our shareholders.

“This transformational acquisition will pivot our portfolio towards metallurgical coal, which has been a core pillar of our strategy for many years making this a better balanced business. Our thermal coal business remains strategically important as we continue to provide much-needed coal products to support the global energy transition and as customers seek our high-quality and high-CV products to limit their emissions.

“This is a highly attractive and materially earnings accretive acquisition, with considerable upside potential, which we expect will deliver meaningful returns to our shareholders for many years to come. It strengthens our portfolio of quality, long life assets in attractive locations providing geographic and operational diversification and scale benefits.

“We look forward to completing the transaction and welcoming the teams at Daunia and Blackwater into the Whitehaven business, and working with the local community and other stakeholders who will remain an important part of our operations.”

BHP partners on OTR tyre recycling and repaving project in Queensland

In a Queensland first, crumb rubber created from giant mining tyres has been used in a trial to resurface one of Queensland’s major highways, BHP reports.

The trial was a collaboration between the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR), BHP and the Australian Flexible Pavement Association, with the aim to investigate if a crumb rubber modified binder made from a 100% OTR mining tyre could be used to construct a spray seal for Queensland roads.

Two giant BHP mining tyres, each over 4 m high and weighing 4.2 t, were used in the trial.

Although OTR tyres make up to 25% of ‘end of life’ tyres in Australia each year, OTR tyres are only 4% of the tyre waste rubber that is recovered.

The recycling process started with cutting up the tyres to remove steel and fibres, followed by crushing and crumbing the rubber into crumb of a suitable size. The rubber crumb was then bagged ready for transport to the bitumen binder production site. The crumb was blended into the binder, which was then transported to its final destination for spraying onto the road surfacing.

One giant mining tyre, in this context, provides 3.55 t of crumb rubber, able to seal up to 3.5 km of rural highway, BHP says.

The Peak Downs Highway where the repaving process took place links the towns of Mackay and Clermont and is the main link between Queensland’s Whitsunday Coast and the Central West region of the state near Moranbah.

Acting BMA Asset President, Tim Day, said the collaborative approach provides the mining industry a sustainable way to reuse tyre waste that would otherwise end up in landfill.

“It will have a positive impact on the environment, as more than 6,000 tonnes of tyres can be used to seal roads,” Day said. “This is a great example of how the by-products of mining can be used to positively affect the local communities where we operate, and we look forward to exploring how we can now further expand this trial to other road surfaces around the country.”

Lydia Gentle, Manager – Portfolio Delivery at BHP, was at the forefront of the trial saying she’s proud of the final outcome.

“It was a fantastic collaboration between BHP, TMR and our industry partners, and marks an exciting start to a more sustainable future for our tyre waste,” Gentle said.

Since completion, the highway surfacing has performed very well in Central Queensland summer heat under the intense mining traffic and continues to be monitored, according to BHP.

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance secures half of Central Queensland power requirements with renewables

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has entered into a new renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) with Queensland’s publicly-owned energy generator and retailer CleanCo, which, the company says, is expected to provide half the forecasted electricity demand of BMA’s Central Queensland operations over five years from January 2026.

The new PPA will run to the end of 2030 and effectively extend an existing low carbon emission power agreement between BMA and CleanCo currently running to the end of 2025.

This second PPA will enable BMA to continue to source half of its expected electricity needs from low greenhouse gas emission sources such as solar and wind, as well as pumped hydro.

BHP President Australia, Geraldine Slattery, said: “We are increasing renewable electricity at BMA in line with our decarbonisation commitments to 2030 and beyond, improving the long-term sustainability of our business while at the same time supporting Queensland’s renewable electricity infrastructure build, regional communities and local jobs.

“We expect demand for Queensland’s higher-quality metallurgical coal to remain strong for many years to come, as major steelmakers look to reduce their emissions intensity while delivering the steel needed to support global population growth and decarbonisation infrastructure.”

BHP Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “Using more renewable electricity at our operated assets across the globe is key to our operational decarbonisation strategy. We are pleased to continue our strong relationship with CleanCo.

“Through a growing number of agreements to supply our mines in Chile, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia with renewable electricity, we are making good progress on decarbonisation while supporting the development of renewable infrastructure and stimulating regional economies.”

The new PPA will help support four renewable electricity projects across regional Queensland, which combined are expected to generate more than 1,500 local jobs during construction: the Dulacca Wind Farm due for completion in late 2023, the MacIntyre Wind Farm due for completion in 2025, and the Western Downs Green Power Hub and Kaban Wind Farm that currently supply electricity to the grid and are expected to reach full commercial operation later this year.

The PPA is also linked to CleanCo’s new renewable energy storage initiative, which directs excess renewables to the Wivenhoe Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Station to support an increase in around-the-clock renewable supply and cost management.

CleanCo CEO, Tom Metcalfe, said: “At CleanCo we are committed to providing tailored, clean energy solutions to help our customers decarbonise.

“It is our role to develop solutions that meet the unique energy needs of these companies so that they can thrive in a net zero future and I am thrilled BMA has entrusted CleanCo to continue to supply reliable, renewable energy for its operations.”

BHP is on track to achieve its medium-term target to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30% by FY2030 (from FY2020 levels). BHP also has a long-term goal to achieve net zero operational greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

CDE opens new Australian headquarters in Queensland

CDE has announcd the official opening of its new Australian headquarters in Queensland as it commits additional resources to the local market.

Based in Stapylton, near Brisbane and the Gold Coast, the new 2,900 sq.m site, complete with managed stores, is part of the company’s wider growth plans and follows the announcement and commissioning of several new large-scale projects in the Australasian market.

CDE says it has steadily grown its local team to over 20, across business development, project management, installation, commissioning and aftersales support teams with plans for future recruitment underway.

“We have designed and engineered over 60 projects across Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, including turnkey solutions for Repurpose It – described as “Australia’s most sophisticated resource recovery plant” – and Walker Quarries – one of the newest and most advanced quarry wash plants in New South Wales,” the company said.

In 2022, the company was also awarded the contract to design, supply and install a state-of-the-art washing solution for Rino Recycling for the treatment of construction & demolition (C&D) and commercial & industrial waste materials at their Pinkenba site in Brisbane.

On the mining side, in 2019, Centrex Metals partnered with CDE Meta to deliver a state-of-the-art wet processing plant at the company’s Ardmore site, in Queensland, to produce phosphate concentrate.

Australasian General Manager, Daniel Webber, says: “Our purpose is to create our best world a tonne at a time, and to do this we need to be supporting our customers to realise their purpose and vision. Support means being there when they need us, and that means having CDE boots on the ground.

“We have great confidence in the potential of this market and we’re fully committed to supporting new and existing customers, whose trust in our expertise is key to making this very investment possible.”

To minimise plant downtime, the investment in CDE’s new Australian headquarters includes the development of fully stocked and managed stores to house high-wear, consumable and critical plant components.

Peter Neely, CDE CustomCare Regional Manager for Australasia, says: “For the first time in the local market, we’re able to offer readily-available parts. Responsive on-the-ground support and locally available parts with short lead times means we are better equipped to strengthen our direct relationships with customers, ensuring their plants continue to run material at optimum efficiency to support a fast return on investment.”

The company’s pre-emptive and preventative approach to plant maintenance sees thousands of replacement parts readily available for immediate dispatch to customers throughout Australasia.

Webber adds: “Our approach to aftercare is designed to ensure our customers get the maximum performance from their CDE equipment. Central to this is having a direct relationship with customers and continuing to invest resources in the markets where they are based. Our investment in Australia is but one part of wider plans to invest in and resource our regional teams and offices to provide the best level of care possible to protect our customers’ investments.”

“By growing our regional team we are closer to our clients during the sales process, resulting in better solutions being developed; we are closer during project delivery, leading to safer and more efficient work sites; and, most importantly, we are closer once our customers plants are operational, enabling us help maintain uptime through scheduled maintenance activities and prompt professional breakdown support.”

SRG Global builds out contract book with BHP, Rio Tinto maintenance work

SRG Global says it has secured maintenance contracts in Queensland and an Aboriginal JV contract in Western Australia for clients including BHP and a subsidiary of Rio Tinto.

The contracts, valued at circa-A$65 million ($43 million), bring the company’s new contract wins since the start of the 2023 financial year (which ends on June 30) to A$1.2 billion.

The Queensland maintenance term contracts include contracts with Rio Tinto to provide engineered access services at Yarwun in Gladstone. This contract will start immediately and is expected to continue for a period of five years, including two one-year options to extend.

The Bugarrba Aboriginal JV term contract with BHP is to provide shut down engineered access services in the Pilbara of Western Australia. The contract will start immediately and is expected to continue for a period of five years, including three one-year options to extend.

David Macgeorge, Managing Director, commented: “These contract wins showcase our specialist skillset as a trusted partner to deliver maintenance services for our clients critical infrastructure in the marine, alumina, steel and iron ore sectors.”