Tag Archives: Western Australia

Civmec to replace car dumper at BHPs Nelson Point, carry out new work for Roy Hill

Civmec Limited says it has recently secured circa-A$120 million ($86 million) of new contracts across multiple operating sectors, including three new agreements with BHP and Roy Hill.

Among these new assignments is a Car Dumper Replacement project for BHP, which has instructed Civmec to replace Car Dumper 3 (CD3) at the Nelson Point facility in Port Hedland, Western Australia, was commissioned in 1998. The new CD3 has a design life of 30 years and is intended to fit in the existing concrete vault with minimal structural modifications, Civmec said.

Procurement activities for this project have commenced, with fabrication commencing in the first quarter of its 2023 financial year (September quarter) and completion of fabrication in Q4 FY2023 (June quarter of 2023). At peak, this contract will employ approximately 85 people, Civmec said.

Roy Hill, meanwhile, has instructed Civmec to perform two contracts.

The first one is a capital upgrades project where it has been awarded the SMP&E (Structural Mechanical Piping and Electrical) works for the ROM4 Crusher 5 project at Roy Hill’s mine in the Pilbara of Western Australia. This is a follow on from the current SMP&E contract for the WHIMS project for Roy Hill, which is nearing completion and will see the same project management team transitioning to the ROM4 project.

The scope includes SMP&E plus communications works for the Crushing Station 5 and transfer conveyor, including installation of client-supplied modules and equipment. Mobilisation will commence in the June quarter of this year with completion by the end of the year.

Civmec has also received an extension of its Shutdown and Maintenance Support Services Agreement with Roy Hill, being granted an additional five years through to March 2027.

“This contract extension demonstrates a significant commitment from Roy Hill and will enable Civmec to support the Roy Hill Operation with multi-disciplined shutdown and maintenance services for the fixed plant assets across the port (facility) and PSA (mine),” Civmec said.

“As one of Civmec’s long term customers, Roy Hill is an important stakeholder for our maintenance business. Our investment in the local community and our commitment to building our Port Hedland Workshop facility is evidence of our pledge to being a long-term partner to Roy Hill and our intent is to further strengthen this relationship.”

Bellevue Gold tasks GR Engineering with process plant build

Bellevue Gold Limited has awarded GR Engineering Services Limited engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work related to the 1 Mt/y gold processing plant and associated infrastructure for its namesake project in Western Australia.

GR Engineering will immediately commence design engineering services and ordering of long lead and design critical path equipment including the ball mill, crushing equipment, screens, agitators, leach and tailings thickeners, prior to entering into a formal EPC contract.

Geoff Jones, Managing Director, said: “GR Engineering is pleased to be working with the Bellevue team on this exciting gold project. This project further enhances GR Engineering’s reputation as the leading gold EPC contractor in Australia.”

Bellevue Managing Director, Steve Parsons, said GR Engineering knew the project well from its work during the study phase.

“Commencing manufacturing of these long-lead critical components of our 1 Mt/y processing plant de-risks the construction schedule and puts Bellevue on the pathway to first gold in the second half of 2023.

“The appetite among leading contractors and suppliers to be involved with our project speaks volumes about its strong future.”

Bellevue is forecasting production of 200,000 oz/y during years one to five at an all-in sustaining cost of A$922/oz ($653/oz) at its operation.

Tianqi and IGO herald battery-grade lithium milestone at Kwinana refinery

Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia Pty Ltd (TLEA) has announced first production of battery-grade lithium from its plant in Kwinana, Western Australia, marking the first time battery-grade lithium, or lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM), has been produced in Australia in commercial quantities.

This is a significant milestone for TLEA and Australian mining as the sector expands to meet rapidly growing demand for rechargeable batteries, primarily from the electric vehicle and energy storage system industries, TLEA, a joint venture between IGO (49%) and Tianqi Lithium (51%), says.

TLEA’s Kwinana plant has successfully met internal certification processes with the on-site laboratory confirming that battery-grade specification has been met on 10 t of lithium hydroxide, produced consistently over several days. Samples have been sent for independent verification, TLEA says.

The next step in the plant’s ramp-up process is customer qualification, which will be completed over the next four to eight months. During this time, the plant will continue to focus on stable, consistent and reliable production of battery-grade lithium.

“We are immensely proud to demonstrate that Australia can value add to its minerals onshore as it enhances its reputation as a critical contributor to the production of batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage, which are absolutely vital for the decarbonisation of the world’s economy,” TLK Chief Operating Officer, Raj Surendran, said.

“This is an exciting time for our shareholders, suppliers and service providers who have contributed to the construction and ramp-up of the Kwinana Plant, and our employees who have worked so hard to turn the dream of producing battery-grade lithium hydroxide in Australia into a reality.

“Today’s milestone proves Australia has the capability and expertise to transition from a ‘dig it and ship it’ minerals supplier to a downstream supplier of value-added product.

“However, we also remain acutely aware that there is more work to do to establish the Kwinana plant as a reliable, significant producer of battery-grade lithium, starting with customer acceptance.”

TLEA owns the first lithium hydroxide plant in Australia and the largest in the world to be built and operated outside of China. Lithium hydroxide produced at the plant will be containerised and exported from the Port of Fremantle to customers around the globe.

Surendran said the first train at TLEA’s Kwinana Plant will now continue its ramp-up towards its nameplate capacity of 24,000 t/y of battery grade lithium hydroxide.

Lithium hydroxide is a lithium-based compound derived from spodumene, a lithium-bearing pegmatite mineral. Spodumene is sourced directly from the Greenbushes mine 250 km southwest of Kwinana (Albemarle 50%, Tianqi Corporation 25%, IGO Ltd 25%).

K2fly to deploy Ground Disturbance Solution across BHP WA iron ore sites

K2fly has announced that BHP Iron Ore has signed an initial one-year contract to deploy K2fly’s Ground Disturbance Solution over its entire iron ore operations in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The agreement with K2fly will generate annual recurring revenue of A$620,000 ($432,151), according to the provider of resource governance solutions.

BHP’s Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) is an integrated system of four processing hubs and five mines, connected by more than 1,000 km of rail infrastructure and port facilities in the Pilbara region of northern Western Australia. It produces over 245 Mt/y of iron ore, making it one of the top five producers of iron ore globally.

Sitting within K2fly’s Natural Resource Governance area, K2fly Ground Disturbance solution is a cloud-based Software as a Service platform for applying, approving, tracking, reporting and submitting closure of permits and rehabilitation commitments surrounding ground disturbance activities, K2fly explained.

“K2fly’s Ground Disturbance Solution is the only commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution available in the market today and is transforming the way resource and infrastructure landowners manage and govern their land assets, enabled by delivering spatial first visibility, speed and efficiency in understanding and decision making, and collaboration for the users across the spectrum of land management,” it said.

The agreement with BHP means K2fly now provides the ground disturbance solution for the three biggest iron ore producers in Western Australia: Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue Metals Group.

Nic Pollock, CEO of K2fly, said: “We are delighted to be starting our relationship with BHP, who will join many other Tier 1 global mining companies as a valued client of K2fly. Our Ground Disturbance Solution is the only system which helps provide better transparency and governance whilst avoiding damaging the environment or protecting cultural heritage and ensuring all stakeholder engagement and obligations are met.

“Because of recent events in the Pilbara, the world’s attention is very much focused on how mining companies ensure that they better protect the environment, cultural heritage sites and engage with communities. This is a global trend and because K2fly offers the world’s only COTS solution for the range of natural resource governance and ESG issues that mining companies are addressing today, we are expecting this solution to become standard across many mining companies and across all jurisdictions.”

Elastomers Australia develops fire retardant screen media panels for Rio Tinto Iron Ore

A three-year collaborative project between Rio Tinto Iron Ore (RTIO) and Elastomers Australia has delivered a major improvement in fire mitigation to enhance safety and protection of assets at the miner’s Western Australia iron ore sites, the mining services specialist said.

The project involved developing and rolling out Elastomers Australia’s Armalast fire retardant screen media panels in relevant RTIO-owned and operated processing facilities.

The development of the fire-retardant panels occurred following root cause analysis activities after a fire at RTIO’s Cape Lambert ore processing and port facility in early 2019. The analysis highlighted the flammable nature of various materials including screen media panels when exposed to elevated temperature conditions and ignition sources, Elastomers Australia said.

This incident is one of several similar fires that have caused issues for other miners and mineral processing operators in recent years, particularly in the iron ore sector, it added.

Within months of the fire, RTIO and Elastomers Australia had worked together to develop and commence testing a series of fire-retardant rubber screen media products.

Elastomers Australia General Manager Business Solutions, Pat Caputo, says due to the high occurrence of consumable rubber and other flammable materials in processing plants, the risk of fire is always present.

“Operators are always conscious of managing the risks of ignition, but with so many moving parts and the need for hot works to be carried out within close proximity to flammable components, there is always some degree of risk,” Caputo said.

“So, as part of Rio Tinto’s risk mitigation, the company approached Elastomers Australia to develop a screen media product that would inhibit the spread of flames.”

It is not the first time manufacturers have tried to develop fire retardant rubber, but a persistent issue for screen media, and particularly that used for hard-rock processing such as iron ore, has been the impact on wear life and screening efficiency.

The fire retardancy of the Elastomers Australia products was quickly established, but other criteria had to be evaluated prior to rollout, including verifying performance and ensuring that no new risks – such as increased manual handling requirements – were introduced, according to Elastomers Australia.

Caputo said while the rollout was impacted to some degree by COVID restrictions, it was aligned with regular shutdown cycles to prevent any undue impact on planned production.

He added that Elastomers Australia had developed Armalast fire-retardant screen media for use in other mineral processing applications including gold, copper, nickel, coal and lithium operations.

“We typically develop customised screening solutions based on the unique ore properties of materials being mined from one site to another, which means we can formulate fire-retardant solutions to suit most dry screening applications where fire may pose a risk,” he said.

Develop wins major WA gold mining contract from Bellevue Gold

Contract mining newbie Develop has been awarded work valued at around A$400 million ($298 million) at Bellevue Gold’s Bellevue Gold Mine in Western Australia.

The contract, which covers a period of almost four years, provides for Develop’s Underground Services division to undertake construction, development and production activities at the underground mine. The commencement date for the contract is in the June quarter.

Develop says it has established a highly experienced team of underground mining specialists led by Managing Director Bill Beament. Beament is the former Executive Chair of Northern Star Resources and was previously General Manager of Operations at major underground mining contractor Barminco.

The Develop Underground Services team also includes Norther Star alumni Paul Nilsson (Develop’s Manager Mining Underground) and Aaron Armstrong (Develop’s Maintenance Manager Underground).

DEVELOP, formerly Venturex Resources, only established the company’s Underground Services division in November. In addition to catering to its own requirements at the Sulphur Springs copper-zinc-silver project in Western Australia, it has also been working on exploration and development activities at its Woodlawn zinc-copper project in New South Wales, which it acquired earlier this year.

Develop has appointed Jordan Hall as Project Manager for the Bellevue contract. Hall spent 19 years working for Byrnecut, during which time he was employed predominantly in senior management roles at major Western Australia projects such as the Jundee gold mine and Golden Grove base metals project.

In addition, Develop has recently recruited a significant number of underground personnel and secured key equipment. This capability ensures Develop has ready-access to a deep pool of underground mining specialists and the latest machinery for use at Bellevue, it said.

Beament said Develop had established an exceptional team of highly experienced underground mining specialists.

“Our team is perfectly suited to the Bellevue project, with decades of underground development and production experience, particularly in Western Australian gold projects,” he said.

“We have access to an extensive pool of specialists across the required disciplines, many of whom are unquestionably world-class, and we are well-advanced in securing the latest equipment.

“Our business model has attracted extensive interest from industry people, we have strong track records of operational excellence on all levels and we are ready to deploy our skills and expertise.”
Beament said Bellevue’s strong commitments to ESG targets were aligned with Develop’s own core beliefs.

“This is an enormous opportunity for both companies,” he said. “Bellevue is an exceptional gold asset with a great production outlook and low all-in sustaining costs in the heart of Western Australia.

“It is one of the largest contracts in the Western Australian gold mining industry. It is also one of the most environmentally-ambitious projects, with the aim of producing Australia’s first carbon-neutral gold.

“I have no doubt that applying the combined skills and experience of the Bellevue and Develop teams to this exceptional asset will ensure strong returns for all stakeholders.”

Bellevue is forecasting production of 200,000 oz/y during years one to five at an all-in sustaining cost of A$922/oz at its operation. Its most recent feasibility study also outlined a 1 Mt/y asset with forecasted greenhouse gas intensity of 0.202 t CO2e/oz, with planned integration of renewable energy.

The Bellevue contract will be executed by Develop’s Underground Services division and conducted in parallel with Develop’s work at Woodlawn and Sulphur Springs.

Monadelphous Group banks work with Rio, Tronox and Newcrest

Monadelphous Group has announced several new contracts and contract extensions in the resources and energy sectors in Australia and Papua New Guinea, including work with Rio Tinto, Tronox Mining Australia and Newcrest Mining.

The awards totalled some A$230 million ($172 million).

One of the contracts the engineering firm has secured is with Rio Tinto for the provision of shutdown works at the Greater Tom Price operation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The work includes upgrades and modifications to existing process plant infrastructure at the Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 project (pictured), with work expected to be completed in the second half of 2022.

In New South Wales, Monadelphous has secured a multi-disciplinary construction services contract with Tronox Mining Australia in Broken Hill, where the mineral sands producer processes its heavy mineral concentrate from other operations in Australia. The work is expected to be completed in the second half of 2022.

Finally, in Papua New Guinea, Monadelphous has been awarded a contract with Newcrest to provide engineering, procurement and construction services on the CCD 3 & 4 Refurbishment Project at Lihir Island. The work, which includes the major overhaul of two tanks associated with the gold production facilities, is expected to commence onsite in July 2022 and be completed in mid-2023.

BHP ties up 100% of Nickel West power requirements with renewables

BHP says it has secured enough renewable energy to cover 100% of the power requirements of three of its major nickel operations in Western Australia, following the signing of a new Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Enel Green Power.

The PPA between BHP and Enel Green Power will underpin construction of stage 1 of the Flat Rocks Wind Farm near the Great Southern town of Kojonup, it said.

Stage 1 is expected to create 120 jobs during construction and up to 10 locally-based roles once operational. Construction is due to begin in July 2022, and first power is expected in October 2023.

The new wind farm will comprise the 18 tallest wind turbines in Western Australia at a tip height of 200 m and is expected to produce 315 GWh/y.

Under the renewable PPA with Enel Green Power, the Flat Rocks Wind Farm will generate the equivalent of 100% of the current power requirements for Nickel West’s Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter and Kambalda Nickel Concentrator from 2024.

The combined output of the Flat Rocks Wind Farm, through the PPA, and the recently announced Merredin Solar Farm PPA, is enough to cover the current power requirements of all three of Nickel West’s downstream facilities – the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter, the Kambalda Nickel Concentrator and the Kwinana Nickel Refinery, which are connected to the South West Interconnected System (SWIS).

Renewable energy from the Flat Rocks Wind Farm is expected to reduce Nickel West’s market based Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by just under one third against BHP’s financial year 2020 baseline levels from 2024 based on current forecast demand.

The combined effect from BHP’s agreements for the Flat Rocks Wind Farm, the Merredin Solar Farm and the Northern Goldfields Solar Project is expected to reduce Nickel West’s total market based Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 60% against the 2020 financial year baseline levels from 2024, based on current forecast demand.

The Italian-owned Enel Green Power and Moonies Hill Energy, owned by local landowners, have been working on the co-development of Flat Rocks Wind Farm since 2016. The windfarm covers the Shire of Kojonup and Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup.

The area around Kojonup, which is one of Western Australia’s oldest towns and has a rich local history and large Italian population, is an ideal location due to its strong winds and being situated on the southern part of the SWIS, BHP said.

The Flat Rocks Wind Farm will have a capacity factor of nearly 50%, which is one of the highest in the country, complementing BHP’s use of solar from the Merredin Solar Farm, well positioning Nickel West for a reliable supply of renewable energy over a 24-hour period, it added.

GeoMoby geolocation technology receives plaudits at Karora’s Beta Hunt mine

Having developed what it says is world-first geolocation technology for mining that could improve safety underground and potentially save companies millions of dollars each year, GeoMoby has now tested out its solution in an underground section of Karora Resources’ Beta Hunt gold and nickel mine, in Western Australia.

GeoMoby – the name of the company and product – uses wireless, cable-free and reusable beacons to geofence sites, track assets and check on workforces, providing a layer of safety and efficiency never seen before, the company says.

It recently tested the location and communication network at Beta Hunt, with results gathered from the project confirming the possibility of live audio and video streams in real time, using Bluetooth Low Energy, GeoMoby said.

Before now, audio and video communication from underground to the surface has only been possible with Wi-Fi or LTE powered wireless networks.

Bluetooth capabilities enable mining companies to reach optimal connectivity without having to stop operations – at a large cost to the business – to lay cables and wires throughout the site, the company said. The technology allows the transfer of live audio and video streams to the surface in real time, in addition to existing real-time location, messaging and photo transfer capabilities, ensuring surface teams can have eyes and ears underground.

GeoMoby CEO, Chris Baudia, said the high-speed wireless network powered by Bluetooth Low Energy was able to transfer a range of important operations information from down the hole to the surface.

“Using our point-to-point network of nodes and technology platform, we have been able to stream audio and video in high quality and real time to the surface, allowing those above ground to hear and see what’s going on beneath them,” he said.

He said the simple, cable free, low disruption deployment method was a game changer for miners looking to improve their communication with minimal interference to operations.

“Key data transferred from underground to surface includes speed calculation alerts for vehicles and machinery, proximity awareness and real time proximity detection alerts,” he explained. “These features, along with file transfer and geofencing technology, are being delivered through our updated Underground Zero Harm application, giving miners the advantage of a one stop technology shop for monitoring people and assets.”

The roll out of a wireless point-to-point network at Beta Hunt involved the installation of 16 nodes across 2 km of underground mine tunnels and was completed in 2.5 hours, with no impact on the mine’s operations, according to GeoMoby. It connects a range of devices – both personal and company issue – directly to nodes, which combine to feed information in to the platform for users to see.

Baudia added: “Our benchmark is entry-level technicians correctly positioning or replacing nodes with no or minimal assistance from GeoMoby. Software diagnostic tools incorporated into the platform allow site personnel to detect any fault in the network and respond immediately, which is critical to ensuring communications remain intact at all times.”

Karora Senior OHS Adviser, Jody Herd, said there had been a steep change in operator behaviour since the GeoMoby technology was installed.

“We have 120 people on site at any given time,” he said. “Previously we tracked personnel and equipment underground the old school way with tag board systems, so we didn’t always know where everyone was at any given time without using a radio.

“We’ve already seen a change in operator behaviour due to workers understanding that machines are now monitored using the GeoMoby solution.”

Baudia said GeoMoby was working through added use cases of contact tracing capability in the instance of infectious disease entering sites, individual health monitoring and geofencing solutions that are currently only available with their on-surface solution.

Orexplore’s GeoCore X10 to start scanning core at Wiluna Mining gold operation

Orexplore Technologies says it has signed a binding agreement with Wiluna Mining Corp to deliver site-based drill core scanning services for the ASX-listed gold miner at its namesake operation in Western Australia.

The globally focused mineral scanning technology company says the purchase order is valued at A$170,000 ($127,418) and covers a two-month agreement for the scanning and analysis of circa-2,000 m of NQ core on-site. This work, Orexplore says, will support the current exploration drill campaign activities.

Subject to site conditions and the campaign status, additional core quantities may be added to the scanning program to be determined by Wiluna.

Orexplore will deploy to site a self-sustained containerised unit using the in-field GeoCore X10® platform and the Orexplore Insight analysis software. The company will also deploy to site a scanning technician to operate the unit and effectively integrate it into the site workflows.

The significance of the agreement is that it represents a fully commercial site deployment of Orexplore’s exploration value proposition that delivers improved rapid decision making from near-real-time field-based core analysis that seeks to deliver time and cost savings across exploration programs, Orexplore said.

Orexplore’s technology platform comprises its field sensing GeoCore X10 product that extracts information from drilled core potentially hours after its extraction. GeoCore X10 is the result of over 20 years of X-ray research, algorithm development and sensor technology, offering non-destructive measurements and no drill core preparation ahead of time.

The Orexplore Insight software then connects geological decision makers anywhere in the world to analyse and interpret results to accelerate decision making, the company said.

Orexplore’s Managing Director, Brett Giroud, said: “We are extremely pleased to collaborate with Wiluna Mining as they leverage technology to increase exploration value. This agreement further confirms the increasing demand for operators to receive fast, in-field information from drilling that is fit for purpose and highly targeted towards improving dynamic exploration decision speed and quality.”

He added: “The in-field deployment of the patented GeoCoreX10 technology that combines high resolution 3D tomography with a large range of detected elements is a unique combination for the mining sector. The deployment at Wiluna, in conjunction with their exploration drilling, further supports Orexplore’s strategy and vision, and we look forward to delivering value to Wiluna.”

To date, Wiluna Mining has outlined 5.53 Moz of resources and 1.29 Moz of reserves within a 1,600 sq.km tenement package in the Northern Goldfields of Western Australia. The company, last week, said it had produced 3,855 t of gold concentrate since ramp-up (7,800 oz) at an average grade of 69.9 g/t, while three shipments and 4,488 oz of gold had been dispatched.