Tag Archives: road trains

Fenix takes control of road train haulage business to cut Iron Ridge costs

Fenix Resources says it has signed definitive agreements with Newhaul Pty Ltd to acquire Newhaul’s 50% interest in Fenix-Newhaul Pty Ltd, resulting in the consolidation of 100% ownership of the haulage business into Fenix.

Factoring in the upfront consideration of A$7.5 million ($5.2 million) in cash and 30 million Fenix ordinary shares – with contingent consideration of a further 60 million Fenix shares subject to achievement of significant value-based performance milestones – the additional cash flows generated from the consolidation of the company’s haulage operations will result in higher earnings for Fenix and higher dividends available to Fenix shareholders, it said.

Fenix-Newhaul was incorporated in October 2020 as a 50:50 joint venture company to implement the strategic alliance between Fenix and Newhaul. It was established to provide haulage and logistics services to Fenix’s Iron Ridge Project, in the Mid-West region of Western Australia, 490 km from Geraldton Port.

Fenix-Newhaul operates a fleet of 25 quad road trains which provide a daily haulage capacity to Fenix of up to 4,000 t/d. In the last 18 months, Fenix-Newhaul has hauled the equivalent of over 1.72 Mt of high-grade iron ore to Geraldton, completing over 15,000 round trips travelling almost 15 million km.

The Fenix-Newhaul business provides additional logistics support to Fenix’s operating iron ore loading facilities at Iron Ridge.

The business includes a driver change-over facility and a driver accommodation base at Cue, as well as a company-owned 110,000 sq.m depot in Geraldton with 24-hour workshop and administration support.

Fenix said the transaction will deliver lower operating costs for Fenix with additional value expected from operational flexibility advantages, as well as unlocking new growth opportunities that can now be explored for the benefit of Fenix. It quantified the former as cutting FOB costs by circa-A$10/t ($6.9 t), enabling Fenix to target total C1 FOB cash costs of circa-A$70/t (wet).

Rob Brierley, Managing Director of Fenix, said: “Consolidation of Fenix-Newhaul ownership is an important strategic initiative as it immediately reduces our haulage costs. It provides Fenix with a significant advantage over our peers given haulage costs are the largest cost input for Mid-West iron ore miners.”

John Welborn, Chairman of Fenix, said: “Fenix-Newhaul is a highly profitable state-of-the-art logistics business which is an essential component of Fenix’s business success. Consolidating 100% ownership is a smart move which will reduce our costs and provide operational flexibility. These advantages will make our business significantly more resilient and robust to commodity price volatility. The transaction is a key outcome from the board’s recent strategic review and provides Fenix with a vastly improved platform to evaluate and acquire further growth opportunities.”

Mineral Resources partners with Hexagon for ‘autonomous road train first’

Mineral Resources Ltd (MRL) says it has partnered with Hexagon to develop an autonomous road train solution as part of a plan to unlock “stranded tonnes” in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

Part of its mining services infrastructure supply chain solution, the autonomous road trains will form an essential part of the cost-efficient supply chain for the Ashburton Hub iron ore project, MRL said.

To support the development of the 30 Mt/y Ashburton Hub, the company plans to run a fleet of 425 t Gross Combination Mass (GCM), triple-trailer road trains operating across multiple convoys, with each road train convoy consisting of up to five prime mover trucks, with three trailers each, hauling the ore from the mine site to the Port of Ashburton.

The autonomous road train solution integrates Hexagon’s drive-by-wire technology with an autonomous management system to orchestrate vehicle movement, MRL explained. A successful pilot project is already underway at MRL’s Yilgarn operations (pictured) using 385 t GCM triple-trailer road trains, which have been tailored for the specific economic constraints of iron ore and other bulk commodities. During the next two years, the testing will continue, ramping up to 425 t GCM in time for the development of the Ashburton Hub project in the December quarter of 2023.

In this final configuration, a remote operations centre would monitor the trucks, with one operator in control of the platoon.

“An autonomous road train configuration of this scale is a world first and reflects MRL’s approach to continuous improvement and innovation,” it said. “We will initially adopt the technology for our own operations, with a view to offering the solution to our large Tier One customer base, further growing MRL’s mining services business.”

Mike Grey, MRL’s Chief Executive – Mining Services, said: “MRL has always been at the forefront of providing innovative and low-cost mining services solutions. In recent years, we have implemented a number of new technologies which have enhanced the safety and operational efficiency of our long-distance road train haulage fleet, reducing the risks of driver fatigue and increasing fleet availability. The autonomous road trains will take us to the next level again. They provide a safe, cost-efficient solution for hauling ore, which is key to unlocking stranded tonnes in the Pilbara.”

He added: “Being part of the MRL Group, our Mining Services division is in a really good position to trial all of our new technologies on our own mine sites prior to offering additional services to our customers. Our autonomous road trains, combined with our other innovations, are all part of our growth strategy to expand our capability to provide full pit-to-ship, low-cost infrastructure solutions.”

Murrin Murrin nickel mine to benefit from new Bis road trains

As part of a major upgrade to its off-road haulage fleet at Minara Resources’ Murrin Murrin nickel mine in Western Australia’s north-eastern Goldfields, Bis’ operational teams have welcomed new 350 t Dual Powered Road Trains (DPRTs) to site.

Bis’ high-payload proprietary road trains deliver customers reduced haul cycles and vehicle movements – leading to higher productivity at reduced costs, the company says.

Bis has been providing a range of services at Murrin Murrin (wholly owned by Glencore), including haulage and haul and road maintenance services, calcrete services, and bulk logistics services, since the operation began in 1998. Last year, it extended its haulage and site services contract for a further four years.