Tag Archives: Queensland

MMG brings in new Sandvik equipment for owner-operator transition at Dugald River

MMG Limited has acquired new underground equipment for its Dugald River zinc-lead mine in Queensland, Australia, as it gears up to make the transition from a contract miner-led operation to a run of mine (ROM) owner-operator model in 2023.

Among the purchases are three Sandvik DL421-15C longhole drills that will allow the team to drill holes up to 54 m in length and 115 mm in diameter.

A further seven Sandvik TH663i 63-t-payload underground haul trucks (pictured) have been purchased to support operations.

“These important acquisitions support Dugald River’s new operating model as ROM owner operator into 2023,” the company said.

Dugald River’s mining operations were previously overseen by Perenti-owned Barminco as part of a production and development contract which ends on December 31. Redpath Australia was awarded a new underground mining services contract at the mine, earlier this year.

PYBAR extends stay at AIC Mines’ Eloise copper mine

PYBAR, part of Metarock Group Ltd, has been rewarded for its last two years of service at the Eloise copper mine in Queensland, Australia, having now been awarded a four-year services contract.

Since arriving on site in 2020, PYBAR says it has set the standard in safe and efficient delivery of underground mining services and will continue delivering as it embarks on a new four-year mining services contract.

Having safely completed nearly 6.5 km of development at the high-grade Eloise copper mine over the past two years, PYBAR was invited to participate in a competitive tender process for the new contract earlier this year and was awarded the mining services contract at Eloise by mine owner, AIC Mines Ltd, for a further four-year term.

The new contract, with the additional scope of shotcrete services, will see PYBAR on site at Eloise through to 2026, and includes the development of declines, level accesses, ore drives, stockpiles and infrastructure, providing all facilities, services, labour, supervision, administration, construction plant and materials.

Forming part of the PYBAR fleet of mining equipment on site is a new Elphinstone CT WR820 10 cu.m agitator (pictured below), as well as two twin boom jumbos, two LHDs, a charge rig and a shotcrete spray rig.

PYBAR’s CEO, James Glover, said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded the extension of the Eloise project which is a testament to the work that has been delivered on site to date by our team at Eloise. AIC is a growth focused resources company and it’s pleasing to be able to extend our term for another four years and be a part of that growth journey.”

The team of over 50 skilled PYBAR personnel on site has kicked off the new Eloise contract well, setting the standard for the remainder of the contract with a near-record month of 412 m of development achieved in July.

AIC Mines said in November that it was targeting production of approximately 12,500 t of copper and 6,000 oz of gold in concentrate in its 2023 financial year to June 30, 2023.

Queensland Government backing set to ‘reinvigorate’ Mount Morgan gold mine

The Queensland Government has committed funding to “reinvigorate” the Mount Morgan gold mine in the state, backing the tailings processing plans of Heritage Minerals, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Cameron Dick, has confirmed.

“From its proud history as the world’s largest gold mine in the early 1900s, Mount Morgan has been under State Government management to remediate legacy environmental and safety risks for nearly 30 years,” Dick said.

“Heritage Minerals’ proposal to establish a tailings processing plant on the site is a gamechanger with the potential to process nearly 10 Mt of existing gold ore tailings, recovering an estimated 263,000 oz of gold and 5,600 t of copper.”

Heritage is planning to do this by leveraging the GreenGold Engineering-owned ReCYN resin-based technology, which has been shown on other projects to reduce cyanide consumption by up to 50% through capturing free cyanide from plant tailings and recycling it back into the leach circuit.

Dick says Heritage’s plans include the construction of a new water treatment plant to lower the level of contamination in the open pit, treat all water captured by the site’s seepage interception system, and help meet regulatory requirements for the release of treated water into the Dee River.

“While the Queensland Government’s support for Heritage Minerals’ proposal through our Investment in Queensland program is subject to the project also receiving Commonwealth Government and private sector financial support, our backing is a key step forward,” he said.

Heritage Managing Director, Malcolm Paterson, said the Queensland Government funding would allow preliminary work of the environmental rehabilitation of the old mine site to recover gold and copper from the mine tailings to now get underway to deliver a project with the potential to support jobs for another 100 years.

“The Mount Morgan mine created so much wealth and prosperity and had wide-ranging impacts, including providing the impetus for the establishment of BP (British Petroleum) as well as the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Australia’s oldest medical research institute,” he said.

“During the mine life, about 250 t of gold and 360,000 t of copper were extracted from the mine with about 134 Mt of waste rock and tailings generated. Our project will respect and protect that proud history, and create new jobs and opportunities for the future of Mount Morgan and the broader region.”

Paterson said Heritage has been working closely with the Queensland Government, which has managed the site as an abandoned mine through the Department of Resources, the Australian Government through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and Rockhampton Regional Council on local procurement and job creation.

“All our key permits and approvals, including our environmental authority, are now in place,” he said. “Once we finalise funding and finance approvals with the Australian Government, which we expect within coming weeks, we can commission further preliminary works. These works include an access road, administration buildings and a drain to divert freshwater captured on the site to a freshwater water storage as a new way to lessen acid mine drainage that emanates from the site.

Anglo American to remove steelmaking coal business Scope 2 emissions with Stanwell Corp pact

Anglo American says it has sourced the supply of 100% renewable electricity for its operations in Australia from 2025, agreeing terms for a 10-year partnership with Stanwell Corporation, the
Queensland Government-owned provider of electricity and energy solutions.

The deal will effectively remove all Scope 2 emissions from Anglo American’s steelmaking coal business in Australia from 2025, supporting Anglo American’s progress towards carbon-neutral operations by 2040, it said.

Dan van der Westhuizen, CEO of Anglo American in Australia, said: “Sourcing 100% renewables supply from Stanwell Corporation, linked to two major wind and solar projects in Queensland, is
a big step towards our target of carbon-neutral operations in Australia – and globally – by 2040. We are committed to playing our part to help combat climate change, including accelerating a number of technologies to abate our on-site emissions, from electrifying our truck fleet and other mobile equipment to capturing the methane from our steelmaking coal seams.

“I am delighted that we are able to support Stanwell Corporation in its investment in 650 MW of renewables capacity for Queensland. Today’s deal brings significant environmental benefits
and is net present value-positive compared with our current energy mix, while underwriting a large investment in renewable energy generation for Queensland.”

Anik Michaud, Anglo American’s Group Director of Corporate Relations and Sustainable Impact, said: “Combined with the agreements we already have in place for all our South America operations, from 2025 we expect to be drawing 60% of our global electricity requirements from renewable sources, transforming our Scope 2 emissions profile. We are committed to producing the metals and minerals that we need to mitigate the extent of global warming in the most responsible and sustainable way.”

The partnership between Anglo American and Stanwell underwrites investment in the two major Queensland renewable energy projects – Clarke Creek Wind Farm in Central Queensland and
Blue Grass Solar Farm near Chinchilla, Anglo American says.

New Cat 994K wheel loader improves ROM productivity at Batchfire’s Callide mine

Batchfire Resources says the arrival of a new Cat 994K wheel loader has brought with it a 150% improvement in material movement efficiency and reduced carbon footprint at its Callide coal mine in Queensland, Australia.

The operation recently retired its old Cat 994 after 100,000 hours of use, replacing it with a more efficient, safer, high-productivity Cat 994K.

The upgrade was made under Batchfire’s joint initiative with Hastings Deering to modernise its pre-strip mining fleet, future-proofing its operations with the latest technology.

The new 994K was customised with an oversized bucket, offering a 14 cu.m capacity, generating 150% more material movement without increasing carbon emissions, the company said.

Batchfire Resources Superintendent Mobile – Engineering and Maintenance, Daniel Boal, said: “There’s a huge difference in payload. It used to take us 10 buckets to load a Cat 789 truck on the run of mine. With the new 994K, we can do that in four.”

Batchfire has already seen a reduction in emissions, as well as a lower cost per tonne on the run of mine, despite the 994K featuring 500 horsepower (373 kW) more power than its predecessor. The unit also offers greatly improved operator comfort with its new high-cab design, air-suspended seat and lower noise emissions, the company says.

The 994K takes safety to another level at Callide, offering improved access, visibility and reducing tailpipe emissions – improving air quality and keeping the mine site safe, the company says.

Boal said the investment in new machinery ensured a more sustainable and efficient run of mine operation.

“On a ROM, what you need is a reliable loader, it’s probably one of the most critical parts of the mine,” he said. “We’ve got 500 hp more in the new 994, so we can do it quicker and more efficiently.

“This journey started in 1993. The old 994 has pretty much been in service the whole time. The way Caterpillar build things, they are made to last; they’re built for a long-term investment. It was an easy decision in the end to go for the new 994K loader.”

Orica and Alpha HPA strengthen high-purity aluminium ties

Orica has expanded its strategic relationship with Alpha HPA Limited, including acquiring a 5% equity interest and establishing a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to investigate the feasibility of establishing a new high-purity aluminium (HPA) manufacturing facility in North America.

The funds from the equity investment will be used to accelerate final engineering and product marketing for the full-scale HPA First Project at Gladstone, Queensland, and to advance feasibility studies on the potential of an additional HPA manufacturing facility in North America, with the remaining funds used for general working capital.

The non-binding MoU, meanwhile, will see the comapanies mutually investigate the technical and commercial feasibility of establishing a new manufacturing facility in North America to produce HPA products for the rapidly expanding future-facing industries in the region. The facility would seek to leverage and replicate the chemical process synergies that have been successfully established between Orica and Alpha HPA in the development of the HPA First Project at Gladstone. This would include the supply of process reagents and the offtake of process by-products to/from Alpha HPA’s and Orica’s manufacturing facility, supporting circularity between the two parties.

Orica and Alpha HPA previously executed binding, definitive agreements with each other related to the supply of process reagents and the offtake of process by-product to/from Alpha HPA’s First Project and Orica’s Yarwun manufacturing facility (pictured) within the Gladstone State Development Area in north Queensland.

Alpha HPA’s First Project represents the commercialisation of the production of circa-10,000 t/y equivalent of HPA and related products using the company’s proprietary licensed solvent extraction and HPA refining technology. The technology provides for the extraction and purification of aluminium from an industrial feedstock to produce 4N (>99.99% purity) alumina for the intended use within the lithium-ion battery and LED lighting industry.

Orica Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sanjeev Gandhi, said: “Building on our successful partnership with Alpha HPA in Australia, we are thrilled to further expand our relationship and explore opportunities for growth and circularity in North America. The Alpha HPA First project in Queensland has demonstrated how industrial partnerships can optimise resource use, simultaneously creating value and reducing waste.”

Alpha HPA Managing Director, Rimas Kairaitis, said: “Having established a strong working relationship in developing our HPA First Project, the mutual ambition to expand our relationship into North America and establish Orica as a strategic shareholder in our company is a welcome progression of our relationship. Importantly, we see these initiatives as a strong endorsement of the ongoing development of our business.

“Orica has a detailed understanding of our process technology, the advanced nature of our marketing activities, and a strong appreciation of our commitment to building a sustainable business to help decarbonise critical future-facing industries. We welcome Orica as a new shareholder in our company and look forward to taking this exciting next step in our development together.”

NRW Holdings’ Action Drill & Blast wins South Walker Creek contract

NRW Holdings Limited says its wholly-owned subsidiary, Action Drill & Blast Pty Ltd, has been awarded a five-year drilling contract by Stanmore Resources SMC Limited at its South Walker Creek mine.

The contract, valued at circa A$65 million ($41 million) over the five years, is due to commence in November 2022 and will leverage a workforce of some 35 personnel.

South Walker Creek is an open-pit mine, some 35 km west of Nebo in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. The mine has been operating since 1996 and adopts a multi-bench, open-pit mining method using a dragline, and truck and hydraulic excavators.

With a mine life of 25-plus years, South Walker Creek produced 4.9 Mt of high-quality low volatile PCI coal in the 2021 financial year.

Stanmore Resources acquired BHP’s 80% interest in BMC in May 2022, becoming the operator of South Walker Creek.

FFI and IPL’s Gibson Island ‘green ammonia’ plans progress to engineering stage

Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL) will progress planning for the conversion of IPL’s Gibson Island ammonia facility to run on green hydrogen to its final stages, electing to commence front end engineering design as well as executing a framework agreement to govern the project through to a final investment decision, Fortescue Metals Group says.

With studies having confirmed its feasibility, the proposed project could see the construction of a new circa-500 MW hydrogen electrolysis facility at the site to produce green hydrogen as well as the retrofitting of IPL’s existing ammonia manufacturing facility to run on the green hydrogen produced on-site.

IPL’s Gibson Island facility will cease traditional fertiliser manufacturing early in the new year. As part of IPL’s decarbonisation strategy and in line with FFI’s goals to help heavy industry decarbonise, the Brisbane ammonia manufacturing and port facility conversion would be a world-first, Fortescue claims.

The two companies said last year they were partnering on a project to conduct a feasibility study to convert the ammonia-production facility to run on green, renewable hydrogen.

IPL Managing Director and CEO, Jeanne Johns, said the company was pleased to create a pathway to a more sustainable future for the Gibson Island ammonia manufacturing facility after traditional fertiliser production ceases.

By virtue of running on green hydrogen, the facility could ultimately produce up to 400,000 t/y of green ammonia, which can be exported to international markets as well as used in fertiliser or to help decarbonise local industry through its potential use as a low-carbon fuel source for ports, airports and heavy transport.

Front end engineering design (FEED) is a critical phase in development and will firm up technical specifications and cost, underpin procurement, as well as mature the project to final investment decision (FID), targeted for 2023. The FEED phase is anticipated to cost around A$38 million ($24 million), with the federal government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, contributing A$13.7 million.

FFI CEO, Mark Hutchison, said around 100 jobs would be supported across the project in the lead up to FID, with first production, subject to FID, expected around 2025.

“Progressing this project into this final assessment stage is an important milestone in what will be a world-first conversion of an existing facility to become an industrial-scale producer of green hydrogen and green ammonia,” Hutchinson said.

“This collaboration aims to put Queensland and Australia ahead of the pack – not only in terms of the scale of production and supply of green hydrogen and green ammonia, but also in terms of demonstrating to the world that projects like this are feasible and that Australia has the foresight, the commitment, and the know-how to invest in and deliver them.

“We’re so pleased to have the support of a partner in IPL who are as invested as we are in developing real-world solutions to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and equally appreciate the support of the federal government who are a key enabler of us progressing the project to its final development phase.”

Johns said the announcement was a significant step forward for sustainability with IPL and FFI leading the global charge.

“The potential conversion of Gibson Island to green ammonia shows our commitment to pursuing opportunities to help create a more sustainable world in the new and emerging opportunities stemming from green ammonia,” Johns said.

“We are very pleased to be able to partner with FFI on what would be a world-first project, and I extend my thanks for the partnership and support from both the federal and Queensland governments.”

The parties are also working with the Queensland Government to understand how the project could benefit local energy markets and support the delivery of the Queensland Government’s Energy and Jobs Plan and broader development objectives.

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.