Tag Archives: South Australia

Byrnecut to use six Sandvik 18-t-payload BEVs at OZ Minerals mines

Leading Australia-based contract miner Byrnecut is embracing the many benefits of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) by purchasing six Sandvik battery-powered loaders with AutoMine® for use at OZ Minerals’ operations in South Australia.

Under a deal with Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, Byrnecut will take delivery of the LHDs in 2023 and 2024 for use at the Prominent Hill copper, gold and silver mine, south-west of Coober Pedy, and the Carrapateena copper and gold mine, north of Port Augusta. Byrnecut has been engaged by OZ Minerals to provide underground mining services at the mines and currently has a fleet of Sandvik LH621i loaders equipped with autonomous solutions operating on both sites.

We’re excited to be leading the way with battery-electric vehicles in Australia by putting these six Sandvik loaders into service over the next two years,” Max Woods, Asset Manager for Byrnecut, said. “Not only will the use of electric vehicles significantly improve the working environment underground, but it will also help our customers to work toward their emissions reduction goals – something that is increasingly important in the mining sector.”

Woods says the purchase of the electric loaders is part of Byrnecut’s commitment to explore and embrace new technologies that make its operations safer, more efficient and more sustainable.

“Eliminating emissions from loaders from the underground environment helps us create a better workplace, as does AutoMine technology that enables operators to work from comfortable remote control rooms,” he said.

Another major benefit to Byrnecut is the anticipated increased performance the new loaders could provide, Sandvik says.

The company worked closely with Sandvik prior to purchase to model various application scenarios, including both manual and automated operation.

“We’re expecting the loaders to provide greater throughput in both manual and automated modes while delivering a similar total cost of ownership per tonne delivered to their predecessors,” Woods says.

The new Sandvik loaders are also expected to bring major cost savings across their entire lifecycles, according to Woods. They are likely to require fewer replacement parts than their predecessors, and servicing is also more efficient and simpler.

Sandvik 18-t battery loaders are the most compact on the market, according to the OEM. The powerful electric motors, innovative electric driveline and the smaller tyres on the rear compared with the front, result in a small machine size, high payload with good visibility and unmatched speeds.

Battery machines produce no underground exhaust emissions and significantly less heat than traditional diesel engines, supporting the mines to reach sustainability targets, through reduced CO2 emissions.

Andrew Dawson, Business Line Manager for Load & Haul at Sandvik, praised Byrnecut for helping to pioneer the use of BEVs in Australia.

“The first Sandvik battery-electric loaders only began arriving in the country about a year ago, and the interest has been extremely strong,” he says. “We’re very pleased that Byrnecut and Oz Minerals see the benefits of this technology and is demonstrating it to the rest of the industry. We have always had an excellent working relationship with Byrnecut and look forward to cooperating with them throughout the roll-out and beyond.”

OZ Minerals backs in-situ copper-gold recovery project

OZ Minerals has committed funds to support in-situ recovery (ISR) research at the Kapunda copper-gold ISR project in South Australia, putting the project owners closer to outlining the potential economic extraction of copper resources via ISR.

Kapunda is being steered by EnviroCopper Ltd, which, itself, has a joint venture in place with tenement holder Terramin to earn up to a 75% interest in the mineral rights over metals which may be recovered via ISR.

As part of the agreement with OZ Minerals, the company has committed to A$2.5 million ($1.75 million) over 18 months to support ISR research at the Kapunda project, according to Thor Mining, which as a 30% interest in EnviroCopper.

This funding will continue studies into the potential economic extraction of copper resources via ISR, with collaboration between the two companies kicking off this quarter.

EnviroCopper plans to develop a Mining Lease application for the Kapunda project, which, from 2018-2021, was subject to extensive research into solving existing knowledge gaps in the ISR industry. Funded by a Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program Grant from the Dept of Industry, Innovation and Science to the total value of A$6 million (cash and in-kind), EnviroCopper partnered with industry, CSIRO and University of Adelaide to carry out this work.

The key objective was to research the core values of environmental, social and economic impacts of ISR mining, a proven method of metal recovery that has been used for over 50 years and, with recent technological improvements, is being considered for the recovery of metals like gold and copper from mineral deposits that can not be mined by conventional methods.

Kapunda is a town with a rich mining history, growing from Australia’s first ever commercial copper mine in the 1840s. Even though the mine ceased production in the early 1900s, successive mining companies have looked at recovering the remaining copper over time, but, due to the proximity to town, conventional mining would not be possible. ISR mining is a possible solution to extracting this remaining copper in an environmentally- and community-sensitive manner.

Zero Automotive overcoming barriers with BEV conversion offering

Zero Automotive is one of several Australia-based companies looking to supply the clean and green light utility vehicles the domestic hard-rock sector requires over the next decades to achieve crucial sustainability goals while retaining high productivity levels.

Thanks to the support of a significant copper-gold miner in Australia, its membership of the Electric Mine Consortium (EMC) and METS Ignited backing, the company finds itself in a strong position to deliver these machines against a backdrop of supply chain issues and ever-evolving safety and regulatory requirements.

“We’ve got commitments for six machines altogether and are in the process of offering our production version to the market,” Dan Taylor, Business Development Manager for Zero Automotive, says.

The first and second units are already running at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia – Zero Automotive’s home state.

The first machine – a ZED70 Ti™ battery-electric light vehicle – was originally delivered to the mine at the back end of 2020 for testing. After successful trials, the company acquired this unit outright and, in early-2022, added a second Zero Automotive ZED70 Ti to enable its workforce to familiarise themselves with the capabilities and charging methodology that come with electric light utility vehicles.

Since then, the company has delivered a third ZED70 Ti conversion to Barminco, which is now on site at its client IGO Ltd’s Nova nickel-copper-cobalt operation in Western Australia. This vehicle is the first single cab conversion developed by Zero Automotive and will be deployed to site foremen to allow the mining contractor to gain a good understanding of its capabilities.

All three of these machines – and the three to follow – are based off battery-electric conversions of the Toyota LandCruiser 79 Series, a vehicle that has been part of the Australian mining landscape for many years.

The modular nature of the Zero Automotive platform enables its long-life battery energy system to be reused in multiple chassis, lowering the total lifecycle cost of the fleet as well as the cost of Scope 1 emissions, according to the company.

They also include dual AC-DC charging with the CCS Combo2 connection, which is becoming increasingly standardised in the mining space.

Data and feedback from the second OZ Minerals machine and the initial Barminco vehicle will be fed back into the EMC ecosystem under the Light and Auxiliary Equipment Working Group as part of the consortium’s continual improvement and knowledge sharing remit.

The EMC said of the consortium’s ongoing light and auxiliary equipment electrification ambitions: “Converting light and auxiliary vehicles as rapidly as possible to electric is key to the industry building the broader understanding and familiarity with electric equipment and infrastructure that will accelerate adoption across all aspects of operations.”

The EMC is a growing group of over 20 mining and service companies driven by the imperative to produce zero-emission products for their customers and meet mounting investor expectations. The objective of the EMC, backed by METS Ignited, is to accelerate progress toward the zero-carbon and zero-particulate mine.

The following three machines are also expected to be deployed to EMC members, with METS Ignited agreeing to provide some A$400,000 ($297,938) of funding towards the diesel-to-battery conversion projects outside of the vehicles already delivered to OZ Minerals.

“The key thing with all of these vehicle deployments is the ZED70 Ti being able to do the job the miners need to perform safely and reliably, getting the associated charging infrastructure right and working with key stakeholders on the change management process,” Dave Mitchell, founder and CEO of Zero Automotive, says. “Operators also need to get used to the power under the hood and how to maximise the battery re-charging capabilities when going down ramp.

“As a matter of course, we train up and educate the sites about the best way to utilise these vehicles,” he said.

To this point, the two prototype vehicles already operating out at Carrapateena have shown that they can work for a typical shift without requiring a re-charge and can then utilise the battery’s AC/DC-DC fast-charge option during shift changeover to enable another user to run the machine for the following shift.

The use of LTO (Lithium Titanate Oxide) battery chemistry and a 60-kWh battery capacity has been behind this performance. This electric motor can generate continuous power of 75 kW and peak power of 134 kW, plus 358 Nm of continuous torque. These values will be increased to 100 kW, 200 kW and 520 Nm (1,200 Nm peak) for the production version.

To this point, the power dimension has often been the main metric quoted with any battery-electric machine, but Taylor pointed out that safety and regulatory considerations were often the biggest barriers to overcome in terms of getting machines operating at underground mines – a hurdle that Zero Automotive has cleared.

“We were able to successfully commission our second ZED70 Ti for OZ Minerals within two days of the machine arriving on site,” he said. “A lot of people are putting out offerings for light utility vehicles, but the required risk analysis in terms of deploying a vehicle underground has not been successfully worked through. This is rightfully a high bar to clear.

“We address any safety or regulatory considerations during our design process – not when the machine is on site – to make sure that operators can start using them quickly.”

Mitchell adds: “The user case is what we are focused on. That has allowed us to scale our offering quickly and ensure our clients can start running the machine underground as soon as they have it on site.”

Zero Automotive is expecting to deploy the other three machines on its books to the same companies (OZ Minerals and Barminco), but the final two machines of the six to be delivered will be under a revised platform to the original ZED70 Ti.

“It will be a platform that is designed from the ground up that incorporates the desired features and learnings from the first conversions, but we will simplify it to reduce complexity, weight and cost,” Mitchell said. “We’re sticking with the same battery configuration – which has proven itself in terms of power, safety and longevity – but we’re adding some auxiliary power outputs and ensuring the machine is multi-purpose.”

The latter element is tied to the company’s medium-to-long-term ambitions, which include the potential to supply battery-electric machines specific to the extended range space too.

For now, Zero Automotive is focused on getting its machines underground at hard-rock operations, ensuring operators and mining companies start realising the productivity and emission benefits that come with these zero-emission conversions.

Thiess named preferred mining services provider for Rex’s Hillside copper-gold project

Thiess says it has been named preferred mining services provider for the Hillside copper-gold project on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.

Rex Minerals Ltd, owner of the project, has notified Thiess of its intention to enter into exclusive negotiations to finalise the terms of a five-year mining contract.

Subject to a contract being concluded, which Rex says is expected to occur by the end of the year, Thiess is expected to deliver mining services and operate and maintain mining fleets to support the greenfield copper operation.

Rex says it plans to mine the open-pit orebody in five stages with selective ore mining and stockpiling. Average total rock movement from the open pit is expected to be 60 Mt/y.

Thiess, Rex says, has shown genuine willingness to join the company and drive down project costs, including:

  • Developing appropriate and flexible mining equipment options;
  • The early integration of personnel to assist with the project planning including optimal mine infrastructure area (MIA) layouts, and;
  • Use of Thiess’ proven HSE systems to further de-risk the project with a planned commencement in early 2023.

Thiess Executive Chair & CEO, Michael Wright, said: “We are delighted to be taking the next steps towards a partnership with Rex Minerals on the Hillside project. In line with our strategy to diversify our commodities and services, we are positioning Thiess at the forefront of sustainable mining. We share Rex Minerals’ belief in the significant contribution that metals make to a renewable future, and to the local communities and broader economy.”

Thiess Executive General Manager for Australia West, Spencer Jose, said: “We look forward to collaborating with Rex Minerals, the Narungga People, local businesses and the community to deliver safe, strong operational performance and sustainable outcomes for all of our people and stakeholders.”

Mining services are expected to commence in July 2023, subject to finalisation of contracts.

Hawsons Iron takes another step towards securing export for Supergrade magnetite concentrate

Hawsons Iron Ltd says it has signed a two-year option agreement to purchase three contiguous parcels of land suitable for developing an export facility for its namesake project at Myponie Point on South Australia’s eastern Spencer Gulf.

The agreement gives Hawsons the right to purchase the three blocks of land totalling 1,000 acres (405 ha), for A$14 million ($9.7 million) at any time within two years of the execution date.

A full Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) for the Hawsons Iron Project is underway and scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022. The Hawsons orebody’s softness, relative to ‘hard rock’ magnetite orebodies found in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, offers clear commercial advantage, the company says. It requires less energy during crushing and grinding to extract the magnetite concentrate, while a higher, 70% Fe grade is achieved because the ore is easily separated from impurities and waste.

The company has defined a 2012 JORC-compliant resource of 3,060 Mt at 13.1% Davis Tube Recovery (DTR) at a 6% cutoff for 400 Mt of concentrate with a planned production rate of 10-20 Mt/y over a 20-plus-year mine life.

Managing Director, Bryan Granzien, said the export facility agreement strategically underpinned the Memorandum of Understanding executed earlier with Flinders Ports Pty Ltd, moving Hawsons closer again to its goal of supplying high-grade products, essential for decarbonising steelmaking.

“This agreement secures a crucial export site required for the planning and development of our 20 Mt/y project and, importantly, provides significant additional space to accommodate expansion of the Myponie Point Port into a multi-user, bulk commodity export facility,” he said.

“Now that we have identified our port location, planning and detailed design work can continue on the deep-water port facility and the underground slurry pipeline from Broken Hill, including all approvals and land access agreements along the 392-km pipeline route.”

Granzien said Hawsons stood to gain from an opportunity to participate in the future growth of the Myponie Point Port as its ‘cornerstone’ customer by securing additional space required to support development and expansion. Myponie Point Port is expected to be ready to start exporting Hawsons’ Hawsons Supergrade® magnetite concentrate by the second half of 2024.

ZERO Automotive commissions second battery-electric ZED70 Ti at Carrapateena

ZERO Automotive has delivered its second ZED70 Ti battery-electric conversion to OZ Minerals at Carrapateena in South Australia.

This vehicle was successfully commissioned within a day after a prior inspection and collaboration with the underground operations team, according to ZERO Automotive.

This latest addition to the OZ Minerals zero emissions fleet has dual AC/DC-DC charging with the CCS Combo2 connection, and an In-Vehicle Monitoring System. This provides the capability to monitor the battery status remotely, the company said.

The first ZED70 Ti became one of the first Australia-made street legal light electric vehicles to enter an underground mine after making a trip into the Tjati Decline at Carrapateena back in early 2021.

SRG Global captures SIMEC Mining contract in South Australia

SRG Global Ltd says it has been awarded a mining services contract valued at around A$150 million ($108 million) with OneSteel Manufacturing Pty Ltd that will see it carry out work at SIMEC Mining’s iron ore operations in South Australia.

The scope of the contract includes the provision of specialist drill and blast services across multiple mine locations at SIMEC Mining’s operations. The five-year contract will commence immediately.

David Macgeorge, SRG Managing Director, said: “This term contract is a significant achievement for our Mining Services business. It demonstrates the strength of our drill and blast capability and adds another high-quality client in the desirable iron ore sector. We look forward to building a strong working partnership with SIMEC Mining.”

Howden to supply complete mine cooling system for OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine

Howden says it has won a contract to supply a cooling system for the expansion of OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine in South Australia.

The solution provided by Howden will be for the complete mine cooling system, with Howden’s equipment ensuring safe productive outcomes at depth and additional efficiencies to reduce environmental impact for current and future carbon footprint compliance.

Howden will focus on sustainability and the solution will include closed circuitry on both condenser and evaporator circuits and R717 (Ammonia) compressors which emit no harmful CO2 or HFCs, the company said. The system consumes no water, using the ambient air as the cooling medium and Howden will supply chillers, air cooled condensers, bulk air coolers, pumps, electronic controls and hydraulic design.

Camille Levy, President of Howden APAC, said: “Howden works in partnership with customers to create solutions for their needs which are of the highest functionality, while supporting their net zero targets. This project is no exception. Our unique combination of manufacturing excellence, technical and project deliverables, and our global experience, also contributes to the reduction of carbon impact of operations.”

The use of Howden refrigeration screw compressor technology coupled with supplies of condenser coolers and bulk air coolers were other supporting factors in the successful offer which will be delivered by the Howden team in China, the company said.

The OZ Minerals Board approved construction of a hoisting shaft at the Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia last year, paving the way for a mine life extension and throughput expansion.

Iluka taps into hybrid power at Jacinth-Ambrosia after KPS project completion

Pacific Energy says its subsidiary, KPS Power Generation, has completed the conversion of Iluka Resources’ 10 MW diesel power station at the Jacinth-Ambrosia mineral sands mine in South Australia to a hybrid power facility.

The “world first” hybrid power station incorporates both solar photovoltaics and electric turbo compounding (ETC) technology, combined with an upgraded control system, Pacific Energy said. ETC technology allows generators to maintain the same power output using less fuel and producing lower CO2 emissions, making generators work more cleanly and effectively by recovering waste energy.

The reduction in diesel consumption and improvement in fuel efficiency is expected to save over 2 million litres of diesel and over 5,500 t/y of CO2 at the operation, according to Pacific Energy.

KPS has operated the 10 MW diesel power station at the Jacinth-Ambrosia site since 2009. Under the new contract, which runs for an initial term of seven years, KPS will:

  • Install 3.5 MW of solar power generation;
  • Integrate the solar array with the diesel power station; and
  • Introduce ETC technology to each of the 10 1 MW generators.

juwi Renewable Energy Pty Ltd, the Brisbane-based subsidiary of juwi AG, constructed the medium penetration solar/diesel hybrid power solution for Jacinth-Ambrosia, with KPS owning and operating the hybrid project. It is expected to deliver almost 21% of the mine site’s annual electricity needs.

Shane Tilka, General Manager, Australian Operations at Iluka, said: “The move from diesel to hybrid energy at Jacinth-Ambrosia marks an important evolution in Iluka’s Australian operations. It also offers a potential blueprint for the future use of renewable energy at the company’s other existing and planned operations.”

Pacific Energy Group CEO, Jamie Cullen, said: “We are thrilled to work alongside Iluka, a valued long-term client to deliver a world-class, world-first solar PV and ETC hybrid power facility, and to assist them with reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to net-zero emissions.”

South Australia Government extends Accelerated Discovery Initiative

The South Australia Government says it will extend its Accelerated Discovery Initiative (ADI) until 2025, committing another A$11.5 million ($8.2 million) to the program.

The ADI provides co-financing to mineral exploration activities to attract greater exploration investment, bringing forward new mineral resource discoveries, jobs, Aboriginal employment opportunities and royalties, according to the government. It also has a focus on supporting innovative technologies, collaboration and new exploration concepts to fast-track mineral exploration across South Australia.

Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the ADI plays an important role in maintaining South Australia’s international leadership in mineral exploration development.

“We expect to receive a high level of interest during round three, with a funding of up to A$3 million reflecting the global significance of ADI and the calibre of proposals,” van Holst Pellekaan said. “ADI is Australia’s most diverse exploration co-funding program, offering support for traditional drilling and geophysics, as well as other non-conventional exploration techniques, frontier logistics support, technology and research innovation.

“With a heavy emphasis on new technologies, scientific endeavour, and upskilling, to boost discovery while reducing risk, ADI reflects the changing drivers in exploration.

“Successful projects will bolster activities and support innovative technologies to generate and test new exploration ideas and increase new data sets to help accelerate data sharing between entities within the exploration sector.

“In additional to innovative exploration programs, ADI initiatives have fostered meaningful employment and upskilling of Aboriginal employees and businesses. So far, during rounds one and two, funding of A$7.4 million was allocated to 36 initiatives.”

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Barton Gold, Alexander Scanlon, said the ADI has allowed Barton to accelerate its innovation-driven exploration approach to the central Gawler Craton region of South Australia.

“ADI facilitated a trial of deep ground penetrating radar (GPR) in the region and early results are compelling,” Scanlon said. “The technique has not only found over 25 shallow new structures, but also their orientation, giving us clear, shallow targets for precise, high-efficiency and low-cost drill testing.

“We are looking at an order of magnitude gain in cost and time to target delineation, acquiring these targets for less than $200,000 over a 1-2 month period, versus A$2-3 million of drilling over a 1-2 year period of time,” he said.

Barton is an ASX-listed gold exploration company with a total attributable circa-1.1 Moz of gold in the resource category (28.74 Mt at 1.2 g/t Au), a pipeline of advanced exploration projects and brownfield mines, and 100% ownership of the only regional gold mill in the central Gawler Craton of South Australia, the company says.

van Holst Pellekaan said Barton’s recent success is another example of the benefits of the ADI not only delivering results for Barton but sharing the results publicly that will help other explorers unlock new discoveries.

“It was pleasing to see round two heavily over-subscribed, with a total of 76 high quality applications received with 22 projects assessed against the project criteria to receive funding,” he said. “We are anticipating a similar amount of interest for round three.”

The extension of the ADI will significantly contribute to increased exploration activity and discovery of new mineral resources to achieve the South Australian Growth State target of A$300 million in annual exploration investment, the government says.