Tag Archives: Western Australia

Barminco set for Normet battery-electric Charmec trial at IGO’s Nova operation

Normet’s Charmec MC 605 VE Smart Drive battery-powered emulsion charger is continuing its tour of Australia, with Barminco signing up to trial the machine for three months at the Independence Group-owned Nova nickel-copper-cobalt underground mine in Western Australia.

Barminco, a Perenti company, says the trial is part of its commitment to improving performance and driving sustainability initiatives across its business. It represents the contractor’s first heavy-duty battery electric vehicle (BEV) trial, coming on top of the short trial it conducted with Safescape’s Bortana light electric vehicle, also at Nova.

The MC605 VE Smart Drive will be a direct replacement for the diesel-powered MC605 D Barminco uses at its underground client sites, with the battery-electric trial likely involving a mix of production and development operations.

“Along with the maintenance and cost benefits of using battery-electric equipment underground, it will also provide an improved work environment for our people,” Barminco said.

OZ Minerals, in October, became the first miner in Australia to take delivery of a battery-powered Normet Charmec MC 605 VE SD. The charging unit, which arrived at the Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia, was also put through a three-month trial.

The work at Carrapateena involved the charging of 30 faces – all of which were charged without any major problems – with tramming times of 5-15 minutes and tramming distances of 1-3.5 km from the explosives warehouse to the face and back, according to Normet. The process saw 4.5 m long cuts and an average of 65 holes, with 300-400 kg of emulsion loaded per cut.

The trial involved the use of an on-board 1.5 t Emulsion Charging Module system provided by Normet and the application of Downer Blasting Services’ HEAT® 9000 ammonium nitrate emulsion.

The unit carried out charging with and without a trailing cable plugged into the mine site’s electricity infrastructure and a SmartDrive CT40 DC-charging trolley was also employed.

Reflecting on the Carrapateena trial, Normet said: “SmartDrive battery-electric vehicle architecture proved its ability for emulsion charging as this process is extremely energy efficient and enables independent operations even without a trailing cable plugged in.

“Silent slope performance as well as exhaust-, heat- and noise-free charging operations made a real impression on all users of the SD Charmec.”

Back in 2019, Normet made history with the MC 605 VE Smart Drive by demonstrating battery-electric emulsion charging in an underground production environment for the first time in Europe at the Pyhäsalmi mine, in Finland.

Fortescue rewards Monadelphous and Pentium Hydro with more Pilbara work

Fortescue Metals Group has handed out new work to Monadelphous Group and Pentium Hydro at its iron ore operations in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

Engineering company Monadelphous has secured a new five-year crane services contract, valued at around A$150 million ($117 million), with the miner.

The contract is for the provision of crane services supporting general repairs, maintenance and shutdown activities at Fortescue’s Solomon (pictured) and Eliwana operations.

Monadelphous has provided crane services to Fortescue’s Solomon operations since 2017 and, last year, expanded those services to Fortescue’s Eliwana operations.

Vysarn Ltd subsidiary Pentium Hydro, meanwhile, advises that it has amended, via a Deed of Amendment, the agreement for hydrogeological borefield drilling and construction services with Fortescue’s wholly owned Chichester Metals Pty Ltd and FMG Solomon Pty Ltd subsidiaries, previously announced in November 2019.

This amendment will see the term of its contract increased to 36 months, with the option of a two-year extension exercisable by Fortescue. The scope of work has also been amended to include the provision of dual tube flooded reverse drilling services, with an additional drill rig expected to be deployed by April.

At the same time, the companies have amended the revenue model for the contract.

Revenue from works in the original contract was based on key performance indicators for a number of production and monitoring bores and was subject to metres drilled and drill rates. Revenue from works will now be based on a combination of day rates and a schedule of hourly rates, Vysarn said.

Fe Ltd and Big Yellow make plans to mine JWD iron ore project

Fe Limited says it has executed a letter of intent (LOI) with Big Yellow that could see the emerging company become the mining contractor for the JWD iron ore project in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

A full form contract is targeted to be completed within the next 30 days, subject to receipt of necessary environmental approvals and logistic contracts. This LOI, the company says, will enable Big Yellow to allocate the necessary mining fleet and people to the FEL project.

Big Yellow is a new contractor founded by mining executives Brad Gordon (former CEO of Acacia and Intrepid), David Edwards and Mitch Wallace (both ex MACA).

“FEL believes that Big Yellow’s combination of experienced personnel looking to replicate their past success in a new entity is a good fit with FEL’s own aspirations to do the same and looks forward to continuing to work together,” it said.

Following the LOI being executed by both parties, discussions have commenced on works that can be commenced in advance of final environmental approvals being received.

The approvals received to date allow certain clearing and preparatory works to occur at JWD, along with refurbishment of the existing office facilities on site. These early works will allow a faster ramp-up of operations once the remaining approvals and key contracts are secured, FEL claims.

FEL says it has revisited the JWD geological model and mine plan, with opportunities identified for a reduction in the strip ratio and an improved average iron ore head grade. If successfully implemented, this would have a positive impact on its margins through reduced mining costs and improved pricing as a result of higher-grade products than initially expected, it said.

FEL Executive Chairman, Tony Sage, said: “With mining at Wiluna close to commencing, we are pleased to have advised Big Yellow of our intention to appoint them as our mining contractor. We are well advanced with the final approvals and other key contracts and would anticipate being able to update shareholders on these shortly.”

In September, FEL acquired a 51% interest (including operatorship) in the Gold Valley Iron Ore Mining Rights Agreement over the Wiluna West JWD deposit. The JWD project is part of the wider Wiluna West project, owned by GWR Group. It came with a 10.7 Mt resource grading 63.7% Fe using a 55% Fe cutoff.

FEL classes the project as a low capex, direct shipping ore development, which will produce a high-grade (resource average circa-63.7% Fe), low impurity iron ore. A January 2021 presentation claimed the mining and transport of the first 300,000 t of iron ore is required by September under the iron rights agreement.

XCMG custom graders get to work at Rio Tinto Western Australia mines

XCMG says it has delivered six customised GR2605 graders to Rio Tinto, which have recently been put into operation at the company’s mines in Western Australia.

The model, specifically customised for Rio Tinto, is a super-horsepower grader with enhancements in terms of safety, functionality and design to meet Rio’s given needs and cope with local working conditions, the manufacturer said.

XCMG set up an elite project team to take charge of the R&D, manufacturing and quality control of the customisation project, and devoted a year to survey and analyse construction conditions and the client’s demands.

“The project team has made breakthroughs in a series of core technologies such as double-handle electronic control, regional environmental monitoring, machinery status electronic monitoring and more,” Wang Min, Chairman of XCMG, said. “Our comprehensive customisation service not only provides the ideal products to our clients, but also put XCMG on a firmer footing in the global market.”

From setting up the project to final delivery, XCMG conducted nearly 100 upgrades and optimisations in accordance with Rio’s requirements and the working conditions along the railways in Western Australia where they will be used. Much of this focused on improving the safety designs and operator friendliness, including:

  • A mechanical blade safety lock system;
  • Trimark locking system to prevent accidental opening of the engine hood;
  • Adjusted filter and storage battery position for easy troubleshooting and maintenance;
  • New pin bolt system to eliminate suspension loading risks;
  • Spare parts safety system featuring wheeled platform for bucket tooth for safety checkup; and
  • More ergonomic, quick refuelling design.

Prior to the delivery, XCMG provided comprehensive product use and maintenance training to ensure a smooth transitioning to operating the equipment, it said.

Wang Min added: “Taking this collaboration as an opportunity, XCMG will continue to strengthen our independent innovation and move steadily into the high-end markets. We thrive to meet the customers’ needs and create more possibilities by improving the product quality and perfecting the services.”

Back in September, a ceremony marking an XCMG Grader GR2605 fleet delivery and GR5505 Mining Grader Project Commencement Ceremony for Rio Tinto was held at XCMG’s intelligent grader manufacturing base in Xuzhou.

DDH1 drilling contractor debuts on ASX after stellar IPO

DDH1 Ltd has officially commenced trading on the Australian Securities Exchange following an initial public offering last week that saw the drilling contractor secure gross proceeds of A$150 million ($115 million) through the issue of around 40% of its shares.

The IPO proceeds were used to allow existing shareholders to realise part of their investment in the company and to repay company borrowings, the company said. The IPO was one of the largest by a Western Australia-based business in the past decade, according to DDH1.

“The ASX listing marks a significant milestone in the evolution of DDH1, which was established in Perth in 2006 with the vision to create Australia’s premier mineral drilling contractor,” the company said. “Over time, DDH1 has earned the custom of Australia’s premier mining companies through its repeated and meticulous service offering of gathering the critical geological data that supports the decision making in respect of all mining activity through the complete cycle of a mine’s life.”

DDH1 has a portfolio of approximately 102 clients, with a financial year 2020 pro-forma revenue of A$249.8 million. Its earnings are diversified across multiple commodities and geographies, with a client base that includes Newcrest Mining, BHP, Evolution Mining, Gold Fields, Independence Group, Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines, Newmont Corp, Ramelius Resources, Rio Tinto, Roy Hill Iron Ore and St Barbara.

It offers both surface and underground drilling services, with diamond coring and reverse circulation rigs on offer.

Sy Van Dyk, DDH1’s Managing Director and CEO, said: “The growth and success of DDH1 to date is testament to the commitment of the whole team, which strives to ensure the safety of all stakeholders while delivering exceptional service to our clients.

“Our long-term client relationships are built on the provision of quality drilling services and a deep understanding of our client’s business needs. The company’s significant market position reinforces the strong levels of industry recognition.”

He concluded: “There is growing demand in the Australian mineral drilling sector for DDH1’s services because of increased exploration, development and production spending by minerals exploration and mining companies. As an ASX-listed company with a strong balance sheet, a committed shareholder base, a disciplined approach to growth and access to capital markets, DDH1 is well positioned to pursue its growth strategy.”

Strandline seals energy agreement for Coburn with Contract Power Australia

Strandline Resources has executed a 15-year electricity supply agreement (ESA) with Contract Power Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pacific Energy Ltd, to build, own, operate and maintain (BOOM) the power generation and LNG storage and regasification facilities for the Coburn mineral sands project in Western Australia.

Coburn’s purpose-designed power infrastructure is based on a low-cost, low-emission solution integrating natural gas-fuelled generation with state-of-the-art solar and battery storage technology.

The executed ESA, which follows Contract Power Australia being appointed preferred contractor at Coburn, enables Strandline to capture energy supply cost savings relative to the definitive feasibility study published in June 2020. This study anticipated a development capital for the project of A$260 million ($199 million), excluding financing costs.

Contract Power specialises in turnkey design, installation and operation of energy assets and has a strong track record of delivery in the mining sector of Western Australia, Strandline said.

Coburn’s power station will be located near the mineral separation plant. The power station is designed to be suitable for a maximum demand capacity of 15 MW and average consumed power of circa-10 MW. Natural gas will be supplied by others under an industry standard long-term LNG supply agreement and trucked to an on-site storage and re-vapourisation facility supplied by Contract Power. The LNG then feeds a set of engine generators on an N+1 basis and has circa-30% solar (renewable) penetration for the major stable loads. Generation is at 11 kV with step up to 22 kV for power transmission to the project loads across the mine site.

Coburn has a JORC compliant mineral resource of 1,600 Mt at 1.2% total heavy mineral (THM), classified as 119 Mt measured, 607 Mt indicated, and 880 Mt inferred. The ore reserve comes in at 523 Mt grading 1.11% THM for circa-5.8 Mt of contained heavy mineral, underpinning an initial mine life of 22.5 years at a mining rate of 23.4 Mt/y.

The contract is based on a 15-year BOOM commercial model with fixed and variable payment regime for power consumed over the term, Strandline said. The contract provides for incorporation of wind turbine and other new generation technology solutions under agreed commercial structures as and when they become commercially attractive to the project.

Strandline Managing Director, Luke Graham, said the execution of this major development and operational contract marked another key step in the company’s strategy to bring Coburn into production as well as establishing an important relationship with Contract Power, a leader in sustainable clean energy generation in Western Australia.

Macmahon lines up open-pit/underground work at Red 5’s King of the Hills gold project

Macmahon Holdings Ltd has been awarded its second major contract in as many weeks in the Goldfields region of Western Australia, receiving a letter of intent to carry out contract mining services at Red 5 Ltd’s King of the Hills (KOTH) gold project.

The KOTH project is an open pit and underground gold deposit with a projected mine life of over 16 years. This could see the company produce 176,000 oz/y of gold over the first six years, according to a recent feasibility study.

Red 5 has commenced the construction of the camp and processing facilities on site and is planning for mining to commence in early 2022. First gold production is expected to occur in June 2022.

Just last week, Macmahon was appointed the underground mining contractor at St Barbara’s Gwalia gold mine at Leonora Operations in Western Australia.

Following a detailed tender process for both the surface and underground mining activities, Red 5 has issued a letter of intent to Macmahon for a proposal combining both scopes of work. Under the agreement, the parties are working to finalise the documentation by which Macmahon will provide all surface and underground mining services to the project over a five-year contract term, commencing in the March quarter of 2022.

Macmahon expects this documentation will be completed by June 2021 and that the contract will add over A$650 million ($497 million) to the company’s order book.

Macmahon’s CEO and MD, Michael Finnegan, said: “We are delighted to be in advanced discussions with Red 5 for its King of the Hills gold project in Western Australia. We have a strategy to expand our presence across the mining services value chain, and this project highlights the benefits of being able to offer a combined surface and underground mining solution from the outset. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Red 5 team and supporting their development of this important project.”

Swift Media wins more business from Western Australia mines

Swift Media Ltd says it has secured two new technology, entertainment and support contracts with Atlas Iron and a contract extension from AngloGold Ashanti, both in Western Australia.

The specialist technology company which delivers entertainment, communications and advertising to remote locations such as mine sites, has booked A$2 million ($1.56 million) in total contract value from its latest pacts, which also includes a contract extension with LNG focused Inpex Operations.

The Atlas Iron contracts at Miralga Creek and Sanjiv Ridge, in Western Australia, will see Swift provide its On Demand communication and entertainment platform and ongoing support for a 36-month term, plus Wi-Fi internet, fibre works, GPON network replacement, and data cabling for the Miralga Creek Village starting in March.

Swift has also extended its AngloGold contract, thought to be at Tropicana, which will see it supply in-room entertainment and ongoing support in 1,042 rooms for 11 months starting February 2021.

First Sanjiv Ridge iron ore shipment on its way, Atlas Iron says

Atlas Iron has hauled its first shipment of ore by road to Port Hedland, in Western Australia, from its new Sanjiv Ridge operation in four brand new pink trucks.

After announcing the first ore crushed earlier this month, the Hancock Prospecting owned company reached this new milestone this week.

Some 4-5 Mt/y of iron ore lump and fines is to be hauled by road to the Utah Point stockyard, which will add 5-6 years to the Atlas value chain, the company says. It comes with 64 Mt at 57.2% Fe of mineral resources and 29 Mt at 57% Fe reserves.

Sanjiv Manchanda, Atlas Iron CEO, said: “I’m so proud of our team of Atlas staff and our contracting partners, MGM Bulk, MACA and CSI for working so tirelessly to ensure we surpassed our project targets. It’s always a team effort, and our small team certainly knows how to get things done safely, efficiently and with agility to get a win-win outcome.

“I also take this opportunity to thank our partners MGM Bulk and CSI Mining (a Mineral Resources Ltd subsidiary) who painted their four brand new trucks and crusher, which were used today and for the duration of the project, a striking pink colour in recognition of our Group and Executive Chairman’s commitment to supporting breast cancer research and improving patient care. These pink trucks now add to a large amount of mining infrastructure in the Pilbara now pink, including trains, ships, processing plants, crushers and mining trucks.”

Gold Fields keeps modernising Granny Smith with Mobilaris solutions

Gold Fields has implemented both Mobilaris Onboard and Mobilaris Situational Awareness at its Granny Smith underground mine in Western Australia as part of an ongoing modernisation program.

In 2018, Gold Fields launched a five-year modernisation program for the site. The first phase’s ambition is to ensure cost efficiency, productivity and a safe work environment by integrating data-driven solutions into the mine.

Michael Place, Mine Manager at Granny Smith, said Gold Field has three dedicated full-time personnel to work on the modernisation program. It has also employed external consultants and contractors to assist with the integration.

“Together, we integrate an underground LTE system to have full connectivity in the mine,” he said.

Gold Fields’ investment will also have environmental effects over time as its digitalisation allows the company to work more sustainably.

“Moving into a more digital world is going to make sure that we are sustainable long-term,” Place said. “For instance, we can maintain our cost profile during expansion and follow up on our environmental footprint.”

Historically, underground blasting has been one of the biggest time thieves in the Granny Smith Mine, with the operation currently losing four hours of production in a 24-hour period due to the firing. With the ongoing modernisation program, Place looks for the mine to become more efficient than before.

“Integrating technology into the mine allows us to look at options to reduce the inactive time,” he said. “We can increase efficiency through autonomous equipment, remote operations, and digital solutions. The expected outcome is a 5-15% increase in productivity.”

The Granny Smith Mine has close to 4,000 different locations, with over 100 employees underground at the same time. It already runs 1.2 km deep and, like many mines, is under constant development.

Michael Place, Mine Manager at Granny Smith

In 2019, a group from Gold Fields Granny Smith, including General Manager, Andrew Bywater, visited Boliden in Sweden to study the use of the Mobilaris product suite, with focus on Mobilaris Onboard and Mobilaris Situational Awareness in the Kristineberg mine.

Mobilaris Onboard, working as a machine navigator underground, creates traffic awareness and a safe and effective traffic flow, according to the company. Based on real-time data, Mobilaris Situational Awareness enables transparency and awareness. The information makes it possible to control the operations and resources, and people can quickly act upon what is happening and make smart decisions faster, Mobilaris says.

Because Mobilaris data and positions were shared in real time, the operation had seen an increase in safety and efficiency, according to Mobilaris.

This visit has since led to Gold Fields implementing both Mobilaris Onboard and Mobilaris Situational Awareness at its underground operations at Granny Smith.

Place said: “Mobilaris Onboard allows us to navigate to all locations underground quickly and efficiently. It will improve our productivity and decrease inactive time by reducing traffic congestion and finding equipment and machines faster.

“We are a haulage-constrained mine and, by reducing the cycle time of our haulage fleet, we can raise our productivity. It is a significant benefit.”

Strong customer relations allows Mobilaris to develop and test all products in real environments, as well as the possibility to bring companies to customer’s sites to experience the products in use, Mobilaris said.

“Our close relationship with the customer is a crucial success factor for Mobilaris,” Pascal Hansson, Sales Director, Mobilaris Mining & Civil Engineering, said. “All our solutions are tested in Boliden’s and other companies’ underground mines. This gives us the confidence to deliver what we promise to our customers.”

Gold Fields has plans to use Mobilaris Situational Awareness as its number one source of information and integrate it with fleet management, inventory systems, and the daily shift scheduler, according to Mobilaris. The mine’s digital investment is expected to pay off within a year, it added.

Place explained: “The location data will synchronise with daily schedules to ensure real-time data is captured from the time jobs are planned and executed. We are looking at efficiency improvements, but we are currently introducing this technology to maintain our production profile with the increasing depth and costs.”

The Gold Fields modernisation program has full support from top to bottom and is expected to be finished over the next two years, Mobilaris said.

During the research process, Gold Fields discovered that Mobilaris Onboard addresses specific safety issues. By sharing positional data and navigation in 3D, drivers can avoid traffic congestion and find shelter during emergencies.

Place said: “We have installed tablets in all our heavy vehicles. With Onboard’s traffic awareness feature, we can minimise the vehicle-vehicle interaction and the vehicle-personnel interaction. The application also tells us where to find the three nearest refuge chambers to our location. So, if there is an emergency, we can get the quickest path to safety.”