Tag Archives: Queensland

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.”

Epiroc to acquire key assets of RC drilling products manufacturer Schramm

Epiroc says it has agreed to purchase the key assets of Schramm Australia, a leading manufacturer of products for reverse circulation (RC) drilling.

Since February 2023, Schramm Australia, based in Perth, has been in voluntary administration, and Epiroc will now continue the business. The assets include intellectual property as well as two production facilities near Perth and two service centres in Queensland and South Australia. Schramm Australia’s employees will be offered employment at Epiroc.

“The Schramm products and brand are well known as a global leader in RC technology,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said. “We look forward to welcoming the strong team at Schramm Australia to the Epiroc Group.”

The asset purchase is expected to be completed in the June quarter of 2023.

Loadscan load volume scanner study highlights OPEX, revenue opportunities at Queensland gold mine

Loadscan says a recently released report focusing on the results from using a Loadscan load volume scanner at an underground gold mine in central Queensland, Australia, has reinforced the economic and environmental value of its solution.

The study, ‘UNDERGROUND MINING; Economic benefits of load volume scanning of underground mining trucks,’ was conducted over a seven-month period at the mine mine by Professor Peter Knights and Maximillian Reuter from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. The data gathered over that period indicated a significant incidence of carryback, excessive fuel consumption and under-utilisation of equipment, all of which contributed to unnecessary operating costs and considerable lost revenue, Loadscan says.

The Loadscan Load Volume Scanner (LVS) is designed primarily for the civil construction sector and uses eye-safe LiDAR laser scanning technology, combined with proprietary Loadscan software, to measure the exact volume of material in the bin of a truck. Loadscan’s Mine Payload Technologies division has further developed its Mine Payload Scanner (MPS) for mining applications using technology based on its LVS system.

In operation, empty haul trucks are driven below an elevated scan head to create a reference scan in the database and then, when loaded, are scanned during every pass from the mine, with those scans compared with the reference image to accurately measure the volume of the truck’s load.

Because trucks don’t need to come to a complete stop during the scanning process, the MPS system allows for a time saving over the use of traditional weigh bridges, reducing truck cycle times, while installation, operating and maintenance costs of an MPS are also considerably lower than in-situ weighing systems, according to the company.

Trucks are fitted with RFID tags for automatic recognition and tracking, which allows for detailed real-time reporting and data acquisition. The scan information returned can highlight underloading, overloading – negatively effecting revenue – or uneven loading, which can cause unnecessary stress and wear on truck components and substantially increase operating costs.

“One of the most important factors that the MPS can highlight is the incidence of carryback (or haulback), where material isn’t discharged from the bin during unloading and is carried back into the mine portal, reducing effective payload and having a considerable impact on productivity and, ultimately, revenue,” Loadscan says. “By identifying carryback, the material can be accounted for, deducted from shift tallies where necessary, and removed from the bin to ensure accuracy and improved payload capacity.”

Data for the study was gathered from four articulated haul trucks – three Epiroc MT6020 models with a rated capacity of 60 t, and a single Epiroc MT65 with a rated capacity of 65 t. More than 6,600 scanner readings were recorded over the four trucks during the seven-month period. Carryback was identified in more than 60% of the trucks’ haulage cycles and accounted for more than 980 cu.m of payload over the duration of the study, with an estimated revenue loss of A$370,000 ($243,969), according to Loadscan. In addition, figures were as high as almost 3,500 litres of additional fuel used hauling carryback over the study period, adding almost A$7,000 in estimated additional operating costs.

Loadscan Managing Director, Carey West, said: “Mining across the world is coming under a more intense focus to meet increased best practice requirements such as efficient use of equipment, reduced operating costs and a wide range of environmental issues, which is why metrics such as carryback, fuel consumption and loading efficiencies are so important.”

MPS data showed the average load volume for the 60 t-rated MT6020 trucks was just under 26.53 cu.m, which returned an average payload weight of slightly more than 48 t (based on an estimated bulk density of 1.82 t/cu.m). Isolated scans of the MT65 however, showed average volumes of less than 30 cu.m, equivalent to a payload of just under 54 t – considerably below its rated capacity of 65 t.

Conclusions from the report showed that the capacity of the MT65 could be considerably better used by increasing the average load. Estimations show an increase of just 10% in the average load would be valued at slightly under A$1 million per year, Loadscan said.

West added: “Inefficient loading cycles can have a huge impact on profitability. The MPS provides real-time data of every load with an accuracy of +/- 1% and, by identifying underloading, equipment can be better utilised and operators can be trained in more efficient loading practices.”

Overloading of trucks increases both cycle times and fuel consumption, reducing efficiencies and adding increased stress to machinery components, especially if trucks are loaded unevenly.

Potentially due to the presence of carryback in the bin, just over 9% of the trucks recorded during the survey period showed load volumes that could be categorised as overloading, with load volumes skewed to the right-hand side of the haul truck (potentially due to the location of the carryback material).

Uneven loading can create excessive tyre wear, add unnecessary load to suspension components and create stress through the driveline, Loadscan said.

The MPS allows operators to monitor off-centre loading by scanning the truck bin in four quadrants and generating visual warning indicators, according to the company.

West concluded: “Volumetric load scanning is an extremely valuable tool that can be utilised effectively to reduce mining operating costs and increase effective and efficient use of equipment.

“This report, which has been compiled on the back of collecting comprehensive amounts of data, indicates very clearly that the Loadscan system provides vital and useful information for operators, allowing them to work far more efficiently, generating better bottom-line returns and reducing operating costs.”

Solar farm goes live at MMG’s Dugald River zinc-lead mine

MMG says the new solar farm at its Dugald River operations in Australia has hit the commerical operation milestone, two months after construction was completed.

Reporting in its March quarter results, the company said it expected the solar project to reduce the mine’s carbon footprint and provide immediate energy cost savings, with approximately one-third of gas-fired power used in Dugald River operations expected to be replaced.

Back in late-2021, MMG signed an agreement with APA Group to construct 44 MW of capacity to serve the Dugald River zinc-lead mine in Queensland, with operations expected in the March quarter of 2023.

Dugald River resumed production on March 21 after a suspension of 34 days due to a fatal incident at the mine involving two contractors from Barminco. MMG says the mine continues to ramp-up through April with the focus remaining on safely returning its workforce to the underground environment. Production in 2023 is now expected to be in the range of 135,000 t and 150,000 t of zinc in zinc concentrate, lower than the prior guidance of 170,000 t and 185,000 t.

Austin Engineering delivers Indonesia-made truck trays into Pilbara region

Austin Engineering Limited has completed the first shipment of fully built and assembled truck trays from its Indonesia facility in Batam, which have been delivered directly into Western Australia’s Pilbara mining region.

The delivery comprised four truck trays that were shipped from Indonesia via Singapore into Port Hedland and then onto the customer site.

Austin recently completed a major expansion and upgrade of its Indonesian facility, which has doubled its manufacturing capacity to address increased demand.

The larger Indonesian facility is allowing Austin, it says, to mitigate the impact of ongoing supply constraints in Western Australia, particularly for skilled fabrication labour, which has been a limiting factor for production.

Alleviating these supply constraints has enabled the company’s local Western Australian facility to maintain more even operational output in line with local labour availability while ensuring Austin’s customers continue to have access to products, it said.

A return of freight costs to pre-pandemic levels has also enabled Austin to augment the shipping of sub-assemblies into Perth for final build (which has been standard practice for some time) with the delivery of full truck trays direct to the Pilbara.

Austin said: “The ability to ship directly from Indonesia to Port Hedland has the added benefit of removing the need for road haulage from Perth to client mine sites in the Pilbara. A reduction in overall transport and logistic requirements has safety, environmental and cost benefits. Specifically, a reduction in road haulage is favourable from a road safety and emissions reduction perspective.”

Further direct deliveries into the Pilbara are being planned with customers to augment Austin’s Australia-based supply, it said.

Austin CEO and Managing Director, David Singleton, said: “We are extremely pleased to see our design and manufacturing strategy starting to work in sync in the Asia Pacific region. The expanded facilities in Perth and Indonesia are allowing more flexibility from a manufacturing and delivery point of view. We have previously shipped truck trays, buckets and other mining equipment directly into Queensland, but it is the first shipment we’ve completed direct to the major mining centre of the Pilbara, and we expect this supply route to become a regular feature of our integrated supply chain.

“We remain committed to Australia as a manufacturing location, exemplified by our two factory units in Kewdale, Perth along with our two operating sites in Queensland. In addition, the majority of the steel we used in Australia and Indonesia is sourced from Australia.“

South32 and Emesent collaborate on LiDAR-equipped Spot trials at Cannington

South32’s Cannington Mine, in Queensland, Australia, says it is supporting Emesent in its pursuit of developing and testing light detection and ranging (LiDAR) scanning and automation technologies in real underground mining environments.

The team from Emesent were recently on site at Cannington with Spot the Robot Dog, trialling Spot’s autonomy development and capabilities in the underground silver-lead mine.

While the technology is still in its research and development phase, it has the potential to guarantee safer outcomes and ultimately transform the way Cannington operates, South32 says. Mining work safety and productivity can be improved by deploying the autonomous capabilities of Spot in various potential scenarios with different data capturing tools, including scanning, video recording and heat sensing, it added.

The focus on site was testing Spot’s capability in ‘post blast re-entry’ scenarios and emergency response. Spot, with an integrated LiDAR scanner, autonomously navigated sections of the mine, travelling through uneven and wet ground without operator intervention and exploring unlit areas. It was able to produce a 3D Point Cloud map of the underground mine in the process, South32 said.

The Cannington team has previously worked with Emesent to help develop industry-leading technologies including its Hovermap System for underground scanning, which is now used in mines all over the world.

Anglo American assembles Queensland’s first ever all-female Mines Rescue Team

Queensland’s first ever all-female Mines Rescue Team has been formed at Anglo American’s Capcoal Open Cut Mine, near Middlemount, and is set to join the state’s competitive Mines Rescue Open Cut Circuit.

Known as the Women of Steel, the team is made up of seven women who are now in training for the QMRS Mines Rescue Challenge later this year.

Team captain and Capcoal Open Cut’s Emergency Response Team Coordinator, Kiri Blanch, says she has been looking to put together an all-female team for some time.

“Our team is a dedicated group of women who really gel together, and we’re proud to be the first Anglo American and Queensland-based all-women team in the Queensland competition,” she said. “Everyone has been very supportive, especially our male counterparts. It’s a reflection of the culture at our site that continues to both support mines rescue and empower the women we work with.

“This has inspired our team to commit to the challenge, improve our health and fitness and achieve the best results possible whilst representing women in mining. We will train closely with the Capcoal Open Cut men’s team and support each other during competitions.”

CEO of Anglo American in Australia, Dan van der Westhuizen, said the team had the backing of all their colleagues across the company.

“We’re so pleased to support this outstanding group of women as they get set to make a real mark on Queensland’s mines rescue circuit,” van der Westhuizen said. “Although we still have further to go, it’s a strong example of how our industry and our operations are moving towards achieving equal representation and equality.

“At Anglo American, we have a strong history of supporting our highly competitive mines rescue teams across both our open cut and underground operations, so it’s particularly pleasing that that our Women of Steel are now Queensland’s first all-female team. Our mines rescue teams play a critical role in any incident response or rescue, and these competitions help ensure their skills are well honed, if called upon to undertake a rescue.”

Anglo American operates five steelmaking coal mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, and has additional joint venture interests in steel-making coal and manganese, as well as copper exploration projects underway in Queensland and Western Australia.

Bravus and Skytrans Airlines seal FIFO agreement for Carmichael workers

Bravus Mining and Resources has signed a new deal with Skytrans Airlines that will see the operator operate two Dash 8 300-series aircraft to exclusively service 24 direct flights a week to or from the Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland and Townsville and Rockhampton.

The average flying time for the Dash 8 300 is just 45 minutes between the Carmichael mine and Townsville, and 50 minutes between the Carmichael mine and Rockhampton. The first of the multi-million-dollar planes entered service this month.

Bravus Mining and Resources Chief Operating Officer, Mick Crowe, said the new aircraft would get Carmichael’s workforce to site and back home again more quickly, safely, and in greater comfort.

“Like every mine, the safety and wellbeing of our people, contractors, and suppliers is always our number one priority,” he said. “Our somewhat unique challenge is the remoteness of our operation. Carmichael is more than a 160-km drive to Clermont, and more than 300 km from Queensland’s east coast.

“So that means fatigue risk management and maximising quality of life for our workforce are top of mind when it comes to getting people to work and back home again safely and efficiently.

“These news planes will do just that. Those of our team who can’t drive in from the Isaac Region will be at work or at home in about an hour. That means less of their R&R lost to work-related travel, more time to spend with friends and family, and, hopefully, happier, safer, and more productive workers.”

Skytrans co-Owner, Johnathan Thurston, said: “From a Skytrans point of view, we are very excited to have the relationship with Bravus. This contract is going to create around 20 new jobs for Skytrans, employing local people in Townsville and Rockhampton, so it is great work from Bravus and Skytrans.”

Skytrans CEO, Alan Milne, said the company would establish bases of operation in Townsville and Rockhampton and recruit pilots and flight attendants who live locally to service the contract.

“This is really exciting news for the workers at Carmichael, who are going to receive an incredible level of service, and for Townsville and Rockhampton who’ll see new jobs and investment,” Milne said.

“Townsville and Rockhampton airports will now be formal bases of operation for us with local pilots, flight attendants and maintenance crews, just like we have in Cairns, Brisbane, and Horn Island.

“It’s terrific to see Bravus Mining and Resources continue to back fully Queensland-owned businesses like ours, and we look forward to building on this successful partnership long into the future.”

Orcoda’s OWLS software platform to be used at Kestrel’s coal operation

Orcoda Limited says its wholly-owned subsidiary Orcoda Resource Logistics has signed a software as a service (SaaS) contract with Kestrel Coal Pty Ltd.

Kestrel is one of the world’s largest producing underground metallurgical coal mines that produces around 7 Mt/y of metallurgical coal from its mine in the Bowen Basin of Queensland, Australia.

The Orcoda Workforce Logistics System (OWLS) provides a tailored solution to manage and oversee the workforce accommodation of Kestrel Coal’s 700-strong employees and contractors on site to enhance automation, efficiency and compliance, according to Orcoda.

The SaaS contract is for an initial term of three years and the expected revenue is made up of an initial implementation fee plus a monthly licence fee with a contract value of A$255,000 ($177,384), which could increase if Kestrel Coal later adopts additional features from the OWLS platform.

Geoff Jamieson, Orcoda Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to offer a solution to Kestrel Coal for managing and optimising their workforce accommodation on site. Our OWLS platform was specifically developed to manage mobile workforces in people-intensive industries that involve significant remote workforce management procedures, which are manually intensive at present. This means there is often limited visibility in the onboarding-to-roster cycle and between different teams within an organisation. Orcoda believes our software and contracting expertise will deliver significant benefits to Kestrel Coal and other similar companies in the natural resources/infrastructure industries.”

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.