Tag Archives: US

Austin Engineering lauds APAC performance as it heads for FY21 guidance hit

Austin Engineering Ltd is on track to hit its earning guidance after securing new orders for more than 100 products, including truck bodies, water tanks and buckets totalling more than A$35 million ($26 million) in revenue over the past few weeks.

This order flow supports previously announced earning guidance of an underlying net profit after tax in excess of A$9 million for its 2021 financial year (to June 30, 2021), which remains in place, Austin said.
Recent confirmed notable purchase orders received include:

  • Seventy-eight truck bodies for a large global miner in the Pilbara region of Western Australia for delivery throughout the balance of the current and next Australia financial years;
  • Twelve truck bodies for a large global mining contractor for delivery into Queensland, Australia – manufactured in Austin’s Indonesian facility;
  • Eight truck bodies for a large global gold miner in Western Australia; and
  • Three stairway access water tanks for a large global miner in Queensland, Australia – manufactured in Austin’s Indonesian facility.

Austin’s order book and committed work is now in excess of 70% of expected revenues, in line with this time in 2019, it said.

The Asia-Pacific region is outperforming expectations with key workshops in Perth and Indonesia well positioned to remain close to capacity for the balance of the financial year and beyond, the company added.

The economic environment in North and South America is less supportive than contemplated at the start of the financial year, Austin said.

“The continued backdrop of the US election and ongoing COVID-19 position in the USA appears to have impacted customer confidence in deploying capital in the short term,” it added. “Austin expects an improvement to this position, post January 2021, with annual budgets of US customers replenished on a calendar year basis, along with a completed Presidential transition. Ahead of this, Austin is currently quoting on a large volume of work in North America with decisions expected early in the third quarter (March quarter) of this financial year.”

Business conditions in South America have been similarly impacted by COVID-19, which has delayed several tender decisions for long-term supply contracts for both new equipment and repair and maintenance in Chile, Austin said. “Austin is well positioned for a number of opportunities but has seen short term softness due to the deferment of decisions,” it added.

Austin Managing Director, Peter Forsyth, said: “The Asia-Pacific region is performing exceptionally well at the moment with a strong line of sight to keeping our two large facilities in Perth and Indonesia close to capacity, and I am very happy with the level of orders and further opportunities in this region. Offsetting this strength, the Americas are currently facing challenging operating environments, and this is a product of the broader economies in those regions. I am heartened by the scale of opportunities in the US, Canada and Chile and we remain confident that the tide will begin to turn early in the New Year in these regions.”

In other innovation-focused developments, Austin said it was recently asked to provide a solution for a Canadian customer that had two key requirements when sourcing truck bodies for their operation: first, to achieve the maximum payload possible; and second, to ensure that the truck bodies would not require any maintenance before replacement.

Austin designed an ultra-light weight body that offered a substantial payload increase on previous designs with sufficient structural integrity to remain maintenance free for a shortened design life of less than two years, it said. This solution will enable the customer to achieve a lower cost per tonne and provides Austin with a more regular replacement cycle of equipment in this mine.

eCobalt looks for 50% production increase at Idaho project

eCobalt Solutions has identified the potential to increase the production rate by 50% at its Idaho cobalt project (ICP) in the US, even before it has started mining.

Following an extensive internal review, the company’s team has assessed the production rate can increase to 1,200 t/d, from 800 tpd, “creating a more resilient project economic plan”, it said.

While the company did not indicate how much extra capital would be involved in such a move – it is continuing to work with Micon International to finalise the feasibility-level study – it did say the change was not expected to significantly delay achieving full production, or require additional permits.

“This 1,200 t/d mine plan with improved economies of scale should create a more resilient project economic plan that can withstand the volatility of the cobalt market experienced recently,” eCobalt said. “A larger and more robust plan will furthermore elevate eCobalt’s position in the cobalt market.”

Michael Callahan, eCobalt’s President and CEO, said: “One of our principal objectives over the past several months has been to build a first-class technical team that has the talent to drive this project and the company forward.

“Together we took a critical look at the work that was in progress on the feasibility study, and rigorously tested all the assumptions to determine whether a larger and stronger plan could be developed.

“The result of this work demonstrated that the incremental cost of retrofitting the mill to process more tonnage is supported by considerably stronger economies of scale while having no expected impact on the approved plan of operations. This plan would allow us to produce more cobalt earlier, thereby increasing cash flows at the beginning of the mine life, improving payback and overall project economics.”

The company’s pilot-level testwork, along with ongoing market developments, have provided critical information needed to refine the list of potential offtake partners, eCobalt said. With the objective to produce a concentrate with the lowest processing cost to be sold at attractive terms, samples have been sent to this list of potential partners.

“The company has received positive feedback from these parties demonstrating that ICP concentrate is desirable due to its clean and ethical production as well as its high cobalt and copper content.

“As there is no equivalent or benchmark concentrate in the market, thorough testing by refineries is required to obtain final concentrate specifications and commercial terms. Testing and analysis of ICP cobalt concentrate samples is currently underway by these parties. As final concentrate specifications may affect downstream processing, additional guidance on the project development timeline will be provided once final indicative terms have been agreed.”

Work required over the next several months to complete the feasibility study with the new targeted production rate includes:

  • Adjusting the mining sequence, schedule and costing for 1,200 t/d;
  • Completing the engineering to expand the mill to 1,200 t/d;
  • Obtaining quotes to bring these cost estimates to feasibility-level, and;
  • Defining final concentrate specifications based on competitive commercial terms for offtake.

Over the course of the past 20 years, the company has spent over $135 million developing the project, which is environmentally permitted with proven mineable reserves of cobalt and secondary copper and gold.

The project is located in the heart of the Idaho Cobalt Belt, a mineral-rich, prolific metallogenic district unique to North America, which historically produced around 2 Mt of cobalt from the early 1900s to the 1960s.