Tag Archives: Western Australia

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.

RME supplies Northern Star’s Thunderbox mine with 500th Mill Relining Machine

In what it says is a major milestone, Russell Mineral Equipment (RME) has designed and completed production of its 500th Mill Relining Machine (MRM) for Australia-based gold producer Northern Star Resources Ltd.

This custom-made RUSSELL MRM will be accepted by Northern Star at a ceremony at RME’s global headquarters in Toowoomba, Queensland, this month. This MRM will service Northern Star’s new SAG mill at its Thunderbox project in the Goldfields of Western Australia.

RME and Northern Star began their relationship at the Kanowna Belle Operations, some 30 years ago with the purchase of RUSSELL MRM number five (MRM005). Northern Star owns six RUSSELL MRMs, including the 400th RUSSELL MRM, commissioned in 2018 at Kanowna Belle. Thismachine replaced a RUSSELL MRM that had been in operation at Kanowna Belle for 25 years.

The 500th RUSSELL MRM is a RUSSELL 7-axis, 6,000-kg capacity machine. The RUSSELL 7 is RME’s signature model sold globally, and this unit also comes with advanced RME INSIDEOUT™ technologies. These proprietary new technologies, developed by RME, enable placement and removal of grinding mill liners without any crew working on the charge inside the mill, greatly reducing exposure of personnel to significant hazards, the company says.

Since the introduction of the very first RUSSELL 7-axis MRM in 1992, traditional mill relining times have been quartered and many health and safety hazards have been eliminated, RME says.
Chief Customer Officer, Cherylyn Russell, says RME is a proud supplier to the hard-rock mining and mineral processing industry, primarily those processing gold and copper.

“This milestone is a chance to acknowledge the technology and safety advances of the RME Mill Relining System that enable giant grinding mills to get back to work quicker after regular relining,” she said. “Mill relining is the most specialised maintenance task in the mineral concentrator process and often dictates the length of shutdowns. RME’s innovative, customised, robust equipment helps increase mine site profitability, all while improving the safety of the working environment.”

Thiess to deliver mining services to Mount Holland lithium mine JV

Thiess says it has been awarded a four-year contract by Covalent Lithium to deliver mining services at the Mount Holland lithium mine in Western Australia.

Covalent Lithium is a joint venture between Wesfarmers and Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM), one of the world’s largest lithium miners.

Under the contract, Thiess will deliver drill and blast services, mining of overburden and ore, and equipment maintenance with a strong focus on community development and environmental protection, it said. Thiess commenced mobilisation and early mining operations in January.

Thiess Executive Chairman and CEO, Michael Wright, said: “We are very pleased to be selected by Covalent to undertake mining at the Mount Holland mine. This award recognises our team’s ability to deliver sustainable mining solutions and deliver enduring value for our clients across diverse commodities.

“We look forward to working with Covalent Lithium to safely position their operations for optimal efficiency, productivity and cost performance, and contribute strongly to a clean energy future.”

The Mount Holland Mine produces lithium-bearing ore that is concentrated and refined to produce lithium hydroxide, a mineral used to enable electric vehicles and battery-based energy storage systems. EPC contractor, Primero, is currently constructing the Mt Holland concentrator to process ‘run of mine’ ore at a rate of circa-2 Mt/y and produce an output of circa-400,000 t/y of spodumene concentrate to feed the company’s integrated lithium hydroxide conversion refinery situated in Kwinana.

Cobham confirms seven-year FIFO extension for Murrin Murrin mine site

Cobham Regional Services has been awarded a new seven-year contract with Minara Resources (wholly owned by Glencore), to provide fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) services to its Murrin Murrin site in the eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia.

Minara Resources is Australia’s largest cobalt producer and a major producer of nickel, and a foundation FIFO client of Cobham.

Cobham Regional Services Managing Director, Claude Alviani, said that Cobham had been providing FIFO services to Murrin Murrin since the mine commenced operations in 1996.

“We are absolutely delighted to continue the relationship we have with Minara as their aviation partner of choice,” Alviani said. “The operators of Murrin Murrin were pioneers of FIFO in Western Australia, using an airbridge to connect workers to site well before it became common practice.

“Over the past six months, Minara has transitioned to our modern, lower carbon emission aircraft with the E190 and Q400 now servicing the site.”

Brett Fowler, General Manager, Minara Resources, said: “We are pleased to continue our relationship with Cobham, a long-term partner of the Murrin Murrin operations. We welcome the addition of the lower carbon emission aircraft to Murrin Murrin as we continue to produce the nickel and cobalt that are critical commodities for the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

The new contract comes at a pivotal time for the industry in Western Australia as the State prepares to open its borders.

Cobham’s Business Development Director, Tim Pirga, said that Cobham was well positioned for transitioning to the next phase of living with COVID.

“We have a private terminal which allows us to offer bespoke solutions for COVID screening, health checks and passenger separation,” he said. “Minara will take advantage of our facility and of our experiences operating in other states where borders have been open for some time.”

Anax Metals brings Gekko in for process plant design at Whim Creek copper mine

Anax Metals Limited has appointed Gekko Systems as process plant design consultant to assist with the design process of a polymetallic sulphide concentrator plant at the Whim Creek copper mine in Western Australia, Gekko says.

The concentrator plant will be designed to process approximately 320,000 t/y of pre-concentrate, with feedstock for the concentrator consisting of primary sorted ore and upgraded fines from the gravity circuit.

Anax plans to design the process plant and associated infrastructure such that it may be fabricated and assembled on skids, in a factory, prior to transportation and installation on site. This strategy delivers many significant benefits and reduces site related construction risks.

Anax’s Managing Director, Geoff Laing, said: “We are very pleased to be working with the Gekko team and look forward to delivering a cost-effective modular plant for Whim Creek. Modularisation is a key element of the ‘Anax Blueprint’ which is expected to deliver leveraged outcomes to our projects.”

NRW to leverage MaxMine tech platform at Dalgaranga gold mine

NRW Holdings’ mining division has entered into an agreement with MaxMine to install its technology across the A$300 million ($216 million) Dalgaranga gold mine contract in Western Australia.

The MaxMine platform harnesses cutting-edge hardware, digital automation, advanced artificial intelligence-based analytics and human-powered coaching to empower mine sites to increase environmental efficiency and operationally productivity, according to the company.

NRW was seeking a mining technology provider who could provide reliable data-driven, automated optimisation of its operations on site, leveraging the existing teams and fleet to further its data and broader technology leadership ambition within the mining industry.

The Dalgaranga gold mine is owned by Gascoyne Resources. NRW reach agreements with Gascoyne to keep providing services at the mine back in 2020 after the miner’s successful A$125 million recapitalisation process.

NRW has invested in building out its internal data analytics capabilities and was ready to step up its approach to partnering with service providers that supply to industrial data quality and help solve big data analytics challenges, it said.

Additionally, a tight domestic labour market has increased operator turnover at all mine sites and is an especially challenging issue for the mining contracting segment.

MaxMine’s technology automatically captures, enhances and contextualises up to 10,000 times more data at open-pit mining operations, relative to the industry standard fleet management system products, according to the company. Its data processing pipelines automatically contextualise all equipment, operator, and site data relative to each other, and dynamically to the conditions within the shift, such as weather, or other external factors.

This contextualised site data (a digital twin) is translated, in tandem with implementation coaching, to generate tangible increases in asset productivity and reliability of equipment, through three primary improvement states. These are: (1) Get in control; (2) Optimise Performance; and (3) Ramp up production rates.

These outcomes are evidenced by existing customers who experience, on average, an 11% payload increase and halve tyre costs after implementing MaxMine, the company said.

NRW Operations Manager, Adam Harper, said continuous innovation and intelligent use of data is core to NRW mining division’s future, and another way NRW is consistently adding value for its customers beyond moving tonnes.

NRW General Manager Mining Division, Tim Abrahams, added: “NRW emphasises good data as a critical enabler of our operational effectiveness and partnering with MaxMine, who are a leader in fleet operations data, allows us to continuously improve our performance for our customers.”

MaxMine Chief Executive Officer, Coert Du Plessis, said the two companies were aligned in pursuing a more sustainable and reliable mining industry.

“The benefits from this cooperation extend beyond MaxMine or NRW; the global challenge of ‘Net Zero’ by 2050 cannot be achieved without an order of magnitude change in mining efficiencies. Working with NRW is another fantastic example of great partnerships helping transform a critically important industry into a safer, more efficient and environmentally-friendly component of the world’s economy.”

The announcement of the agreement with NRW comes one month after MaxMine officially launched MaxMine Carbon, a technology offering that, the company says, will enable mining operators to reduce their carbon emissions by 5-20%, depending on their existing efficiencies, with limited or no additional capital expenditure.