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CUSTOMISE

YOUR OWN SERVICE KITS

WesTrac offers you the convenience of creating your own preventative maintenance service kits, specific to your machine needs, when and where you need it. • One part number means only entering one line item • Kits are packaged as one item and are clearly labelled with model and service interval • Order one or multiple kits when it suits you • Control your kit contents with ease by adding items like Hydo Advanced 10 • Available for any machine and any model To find out how you can simplify your ordering process contact WesTrac today on 9377 9666. westrac.com.au WesTrac WA 128-136 Gt Eastern Highway South Guildford WA 6055

WesTrac NSW/ACT 1 Crescent Street Holroyd NSW 2142

WesTrac China Sky Centre Tower A No. 22 Wanyuan Street Beijing 100176

©2010 Caterpillar. All rights reserved. CAT, CATERPILLAR, their respective logos and ‘Caterpillar Yellow’, and the POWER EDGE trade dress, as well as corporate and product identity used herein, are trademarks of Caterpillar and may not be used without permission.

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus


Editor’s Pick Last month we spoke to you about imminent skills shortages as companies try to recruit the best and brightest in these turbulent times. This month, these shortages are growing increasingly apparent, as the supply of skilled trades and engineers begins to fall far short of the demand. Despite the damage to the industry wrought in recent months, there are actually a number of resource projects on the go all over the country. There is LNG (liquefied natural gas) production and export out of Western Australia, and the ports, pipelines, and trains it necessitates. There are ongoing investments in seawater desalination, and continuing work in the coal and iron ore sectors. The Chinese economy, too, continues to serve as a driving force behind Australian resource projects, as its numerous high speed train, nuclear power, port, airport, road, and power grid projects take in Australian exports of iron ore and other raw materials in significant quantities. While such projects clearly represent a strong hope for the future of Australia’s resource sector, in the short term their demand for labour can spell gaps in skills and capacity. The risk of these shortages is so great that the government has, in fact, recently announced a strategy to address them. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said that under the new plan, skilled workers will be able to fast-track to full trade qualifications within a much shorter timeframe – as little as 18 months – and that the Australian Government will provide $200 million towards training projects for skills in high demand and low supply.

This month’s issue of Australian Resource Focus looks at organisations providing service and support to the resource industry. Contributing Writer Aleisha Parr’s Accountability for Continued Growth examines Mackay Regional Council, a government body which takes a unique portfolio approach to administration. Through this system, and the creation of a dedicated board to provide consistent attention and care to the coal mining industry. In Syked for Success, Contributing Editor Jaime McKee explores how Sykes Group has turned its individual gains into successful partnerships. Joining with Allight and its parent company, National Hire Group, Sykes is able to provide a “onestop shop” for diverse equipment solutions. It’s proven to be a winning formula for this enduring company. And in Supplying Solutions, Contributing Writer John Boley looks at Austdac Pty Ltd, which has elevated the supply business to an art form, providing communications, gas monitoring, I.S. lighting and conveyor control equipment solutions to Australian coal mines and partners in industry.

The result of a report submitted by the National Resources Sector Employment Taskforce, this announcement could not have come at a better time. With the potential to benefit not only labourers themselves but the nation’s resource firms as well, this initiative could have a significant positive impact on the recovery and growth of the industry. Tim Hocken

Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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Production Editor Tim Hocken

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Creative Art Director Kulvir Singh Director of Business Dev. Robert Chambers Research Manager Cameron Walsh Caleb Richard Director of IT Christian Cooper Contributing Editors Jaime McKee Robert Hoshowsky Contributing Writers Aleisha Parr Jen Hamilton John Boley

06 News and Events

20 Equipment Placement

8th Floor, 55 Hunter St Sydney NSW 2000 GPO Box 4836, Sydney NSW 2001 Phone: 02 8412 8119 ABN 93 143 238 126

Serving Australia’s Mining and Construct

30 Mackay Regional Coun

Jeff Hocken Publisher

Industry News and Events

Accountability for Continued Growth

44 Winmax Drilling

Up In The Air

52 Special Report

Margaret River Coal Mine

60 Austdac

Supplying Solutions

70 Ludowici

A Tradition of Innovation

80 Sykes Group

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus

“Syked” For Success


52

70

tion Sectors

ncil

Ludowici

88 GBC Scientific Equipment

Simply Complex

96 Hardchrome Engineering

Harnessing The Power of The Laser

104 Mitchell Water

A Pipeline to Sustainability

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88 Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus


Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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Queensland Insurance Rates Skyrocket The latest bout of flooding in Queensland has done more than damage property, as some homeowners are now facing insurance premium increases of 20 per cent and higher. In one recent case, an Ipswich resident received a renewal notice that they would be facing an increase of a staggering 32.9 per cent, and insurance giant Suncorp is seeking annual insurance premium increases of more than 30 per cent in some instances. Many homeowners receiving notices of increased insurance premiums were not affected by the floods, and some insurers are arguing the reason for the higher prices range from the age of a home to the materials used in its construction and its location. There is one bright spot, however. After a series of natural disasters that devastated much of Queensland, the

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus

Federal Government is considering offering homeowners unable to afford insurance cheaper premiums. It is estimated that about 23 per cent of households – 1.8 million – have neither building nor content insurance. The fear is that many home owners

may opt out of insurance altogether as premiums continue to rise. Meanwhile across Queensland, hundreds of homeowners are still awaiting payment for the floods and cyclones that struck this past December and January, while others will not receive any compensation, as they were not covered for riverine flooding.


Margaret River Coal Mine Proposal Rejected After receiving hundreds of complaints and submissions, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has decided against recommending a controversial coal mine near Margaret River. Located in Western Australia’s south west, the proposal for an underground coal mine located just 15 kilometres from the popular tourist town was deemed environmentally unacceptable. Locals against the coal mine were buoyed by help from celebrities like respected Australian actor and producer Hugh Jackman, famous for the X-Men series, and London-born comedian and writer Ben Elton, who owns land in the area. Along with numerous complaints, the EPA received about 750 submissions opposing the mine, which many argued would harm the area’s environment and tourist industry. Also widely known as a wine-producing region, one

of the greatest risks cited was to the area’s water supply and aquifer water quality, as the proposed mine would have been located beneath a main source of water. “We are in a drying climate, and water resources in that part of Western Australia are very im-

portant,” said EPA Chairman, Doctor Paul Vogel. “This poses an additional, in our view, significant risk to the protection of those water resources.” Following the report by the EPA, there will be several weeks of public appeals regarding the proposed coal mine, with the final decision lying with the Environment Minister. Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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Shortage of Engineer

Walloped by floods and pummeled with cyclones in recent months, Queensland’s economic recovery is facing its latest foe: a chronic shortage of engineers.

A nation-wide lack of engineers will likely threaten Queensland’s recovery, caution experts from the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers. In addition, not having enough engineers available could undermine agreements for funding from

the Commonwealth under the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangement (NDRAA).

It is estimated in Queensland that the costs of recent flooding and Cyclone Yasi are in the $3 billion range, much of it necessary for repairing and rebuilding roads and other transport infrastructure. Under the Arrangement, Queensland has just two years to use the Common-

$100 million expansion by Chinese company MMG In Western Australian, Chinese state company Minerals and Metals Group (MMG) is about to inject up to $100 million into the Golden Grove copper and zinc mine. Located east of Geraldton, it is believed the mine contains reserves of over three million tonnes of copper oxide, much higher than an earlier reserve estimate of 1.5 million tonnes. The basis for the expansion had been proposed

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus

with Oxiana, the former owner of Golden Grove, but was shelved in 2009 in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. The project was recently re-examined by MMG, as there has recently been renewed interest in investing in WA’s mining sector, especially gold and iron ore. In addition to producing between 59,000 and 67,000 tonnes of copper metal, it is believed the open-cut mine at Golden Grove would employ 550 workers for the next seven years.


rs Slowing Recovery

wealth’s NDRAA recovery funds. While it is unlikely the Government will step back from the deal, many believe rebuilding will take considerably longer

than two years. A recent report stated that the shortage of skilled workers has already led to project cost overruns of up to 20 per cent.

Mining Hall of Fame Needs Funding

For hundreds of years, Australia’s prospecting and mining industry has played a significant role in the nation’s development. In Kalgoorlie, located along the Goldfield’s Highway, the Mining Hall of Fame is keeping the legacy of Australia’s rich mining past alive, yet the Hall of Fame may itself soon become history.

attractions, such as a 994 front-end loader from KCGM. In addition to vehicles, the museum features interactive displays, a world-class mineral gallery, travelling art exhibits, gold panning demonstrations, and more. www. mininghall.com

Struggling to stay afloat, the mining museum needs a million dollars to remain open for another year, and is actively lobbying the nation’s resources industry for the muchneeded cash. Although the Mining Hall of Fame needs funds, it continues to gain new Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus


NOJA Power to Supply Equipment

NOJA Power has been awarded contracts to supply approximately 100 Substation Control and Protection Switchboard to Endeavour Energy (Formerly Integral Energy) in NSW Australia. These assemblies are for installation to various Transmission and Zone Substation projects within the Endeavour Energy network area, and include the $36, Million Dollar Penrith Substation upgrade Project. The design, manufacture, testing and delivery of the assemblies includes a custom enclosure fabricated to strict Endeavour energy specifications.

The assemblies consist of 19� Rack and swing frame custom enclosures, which are populated with the latest technology in protection, control and communication equipment. Each Switchboard panel is routinely tested and certified, and factory acceptance tested, to ensure seamless integrations into the substation environment upon delivery. The Transmission and Zone Substation, Control and Protection panels are scheduled for delivery from the NOJA Power 4011M² NOJA Factory during the first quarter of 2011. Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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LUCRATIVE MINING INDUSTRY NOT WITHOUT RISKS

In a bid to sustain a safe and effi-

workers in the mining industry can

cient working environment, Pro-Vi-

be exposed to this wide range of haz-

sual Publishing is urging all workers

ards on a daily basis; from harmful

within the mining sector to adhere to

dusts, fumes, exhaust emissions and

safety regulations with the Mining In-

hazardous chemicals to other factors

dustry Guide to Safety 2011.

like noise, ergonomic stressors and psychosocial hazards.

There have been several severe mining disasters in the past decade, in-

Miners are also warned of the pos-

cluding the recent New Zealand ca-

sible pitfalls in dealing with issues of

tastrophe in November last year, the

fatigue, drug and alcohol abuse, fire

Chilean mining tragedy in August last

danger and atmospheric contami-

year and the notorious Beaconsfield

nants causing respiratory disease.

mining disaster in Tasmania during

The latest Guide offers a range of

2006.

recommendations and solutions for some of the industry’s common prob-

These incidents highlight the serious

lems such as these.

risks that miners face daily; however, mine workers are also subjected to

“The Mining Industry Guide to Safety

several other day-to-day procedures

2011 is an easily accessible resource

that have further risks attached.

for all involved in the Mining Industry,” said John Hutchings, CEO, Pro-

The new Guide acknowledges that

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus

Visual Publishing. “This edition of the


Guide provides valuable, up-to-date

“I would like to thank all of the

information regarding health man-

great sponsors for their support of

agement plans, commuting to and

the Mining Industry Guide to Safety

from the mine, drug and alcohol poli-

2011 who have made it possible for

cies and fire fighting guidelines.”

the Guide to be distributed free of charge,” Hutchings concluded.

Industry workers will find that adhering to information outlined in the

For further information, or to

Guide will ensure continued safe

obtain additional copies of the

working conditions for all involved.

Guide please call Pro-Visual Pub-

The Guide will be distributed free of

lishing on (02) 8272 2611, email:

charge nationally and is produced

marketing@provisual.com.au or

and distributed without cost thanks

see www.provisual.com.au

to industry sponsorship. Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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The Southern and Western Coalfields Conference 2-3 May, Peppers Craigieburn Resort, Bowral, NSW As part of the Regional Coal Series, The Southern and Western Coalfields Conference will provide the most up-to-date coal market information as well as discuss regional projects and developments, and operational issues encountered. Operational case studies will include Blind Boring at Austar Coal Mine, and details of the Airly Coal Development Project. Also expect an overview of coal and gas environmental regulations, the challenges of implementing sustainable mining practices, and transport and infrastructure in the region. For more information visit: www.informa.com.au/southernwesterncoal

4th Annual Kimberley Energy & Resources Development 9-10 May, Cable Beach Club Resort, Broome, WA

This conference is an excellent opportunity to learn how mineral exploration and development is progressing in the booming Kimberley region. Information will be presented in a practical case study approach featuring Kimberley Metals Limited, Ellendale Mine, Ridges Iron Ore Project, and Savannah Nickel Project, to name a few. Delegates will also have the unique chance to submit questions to the speakers during the panel discussion and will be able to check out the co-located North West Expo. For more information visit: www.iir.com.au/kimberley/dm

South West WA Resources Developments 25-26 May, Sanctuary Golf Resort - All Seasons, Bunbury, WA With a full two day agenda, this event aims to cover a variety of topics focused on the renewed mining development currently occurring in the region. Topics include changes to the WA approvals process, benefits of the Exploration Incentive Scheme, regional road upgrades, an update on Iluka operations in the region, increased coal gasification, and overcoming conflicting industries in the SW, to name a few. Also scheduled is an exclusive tour of the region’s largest port facilities, Bunbury Port. For more information visit: www.iir.com.au/sw/dm

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus


Resources and Energy Symposium

Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus


Unconventional Gas Week 30 May – 01 June, Sofitel Brisbane, QLD The Shale Gas Symposium and The Annual National CSG Summit will be united under one roof at this inaugural event. A two day masterclass on the geological characterisation of unconventional gas shales and an international address from Professor Marc Bustin, University of British Columbia, are features of The Shale Gas Symposium. CSG 2011 will provide an outlook into the future of Australia’s CSG industry, as well as insights into CSG infrastructure, safety, workforce planning, and water management. For more information visit: www.unconventionalgas.com.au

Mine Rescue and Emergency Management 2011 31 May - 02 June, Holiday Inn, Brisbane, QLD Safety is of the utmost importance at any mine site. At this CPD accredited conference, mining emergency services personnel share their strategies for effective emergency planning, implementing responsive emergency measures, improving resilience to natural disasters, and ensuring adequate staff training. Features include an emergency response and rescue team role-play exercise, and a live interview of Mayor of West Tamara Council, Barry Easther, who oversaw the mine rescue operation of Beaconsfield’s trapped miners. For more information visit: www.minerescue.com.au

The 3rd Annual Drill and Blast Conference 31 May - 02 June 2011, Venue to be confirmed, Brisbane, QLD The drill and blast expert’s goal: to achieve the needed fragmentation while balancing cost and blast impacts. Attend the Drill and Blast Conference to learn how to reach this goal through strategic fragmentation practices. Leaders in the field will discuss using software to optimise blasting, systems for tracking blast output, safe explosives handling techniques, through-seam blasting, and methods to reduce vibration levels and fumes. Practical knowledge will be reviewed with seven interesting case studies and four instructive workshops. For more information visit: www.drillandblastevent.com.au

Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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-By Robert Hoshowsky

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus


When Equipment Placement was formed in June of 2002, it was created to provide quality parts and services to Australia’s growing mining and construction industries. Almost 10 years later, brothers Brian and John Bondi and their team continue to serve the nation, offering experience, service, and solutions from everything from filtration systems to dozers, trucks and excavators. “We get a lot of repeat business,” says Brian Bondi, Company Director at Equipment Placement. “We pride ourselves on the quality of our product, and the quality of our product support. Our back-up and support is where we believe we get the majority of our business.”

Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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Quality Equipment At Equipment Placement, clients are offered a wide range of equipment to meet their mining and construction needs, including filtration and auto lubrication systems, air precleaners, service trucks, pressure-less fuel shutoff valves, wheel dozer conversions, Buffalo Concrete Mixers, and more. Along with quality rotational molded products and safety items, Equipment Placement also has an extensive number of high quality used equipment for hire and for sale – such as dozers, trucks, and excavators – and maintains a large selection of parts and components

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus

in stock for the equipment the company manufactures. “There are very few customers who have bought one product from us, and never come back again, so we do sell a lot to some of the local

“We pride ourselves on the quality of our support. Our back-up and support is wher business.” -Brian Bondi, Company Director at Equ contractors and local rental companies,” remarks Mr Bondi. “They buy from us to rent, and put them in their rental fleet.”


Long before Brian and John formed Equipment Placement, the brothers gained a formidable amount of hands-on experience working for other companies. Brian worked with a Perth-based Caterpillar dealership before moving on to the company’s

product, and the quality of our product re we believe we get the majority of our

uipment Placement engineering sector, which manufactured buckets, blades, and attachments for the dealership, and built an innovative hybrid machine for

the mining industry. Later, he became Australasian Sales and Marketing Manager at Tiger Engineering Pty Ltd, then spent two years as Director of OEM Pty Ltd. His brother John’s experience is no less impressive, and includes a great deal of hands-on mechanical training. John’s many hats include working with large earthmoving equipment, as a mechanic and leading hand, as a workshop foreman responsible for setting up extensive facilities, implementing Environmental Policy and Site Quality Plan (Quality, Safety and Environmental Policies) at Thiess Contractors, and working

Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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F L U I D F I LT R AT I O N E Q U I P M E N T

Protect your equipment, reduce maintenance costs and increase profits Equipment Placement stocks a number of leading edge products designed to filter out harsh and damaging contaminants. This is especially so in extreme environments, such as mining, where heat, high volume usage and dust combine to impose wear and damage on equipment.

Products from Filter Technology Australia comprise portable and fixed filter assemblies for fuel and lubricants. With FTA filters, professionally installed by Equipment Placement, lubricant and mechanical component life can be greatly extended, resulting in cost savings and reductions in environmental impact. FM504 Filter buggy

Fuel farm filtration system

FM440 hydraulic by-pass filtration system for excavators and shovels

Particle counter checking filtration

Increased fuel efficiency and lower costs for transport industries

RCI Technologies fuel purifiers are simple one-step units which remove 100% of free water and up to 98% of dust, dirt and other contaminants. Uses a unique 3-stage purification system which features centrifugal and coalescence technologies. Eliminates fuel filter clogging, breakdowns and improves emission quality. Also, by eliminating water from the fuel system, the formation of damaging sulphuric acid is prevented. Even ‘clean’ diesel fuel can contain impurities, as a result of storage or transportation. Equipment Placement can specify and install RCI units from 1.9 l/min up to 1500 l/min.

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus

5


Filter Technology Along with supplying the nation’s mining and construction industries with a wide range of quality parts and services, Equipment Placement is the WA agent for Filter Technology Australia. Providing world-class leading edge filtration systems that complement existing OEM filtration units, Filter Technologies offers patented technology that removes particulate contamination down to just two microns. The results? Dramatically increased equipment life, oil life, and reduced fuel consumption for diesel-powered units, and much lower carbon dioxide and particulate emissions. “We try to encourage our customers to look at fulltime, on-board, additional filtration for all their major components, so that they get an extended life from all of their major components in their drive train,” says Brian Bondi of the Filter Technologies products which are manufactured in-house at a facility in New South Wales before being sold worldwide. The filtration systems – which are available to suit any fixed or mobile plant assembly or vehicle – not only clean fuel, oil, hydraulic and other fluids, but reduce damage to machines from contaminated fluids, thereby reducing downtime and running costs, and extending component life. One of the greatest benefits of the system is to the environment. “Those who understand the importance of controlling contamination within components understand that it is more of a necessity than a luxury,” says Mr Bondi, using the example of filtering fluids for hydraulic excavators, which can hold up to 10,000 litres of hydraulic oil. “These products allow the user to monitor the oil and maintain levels to get much more life out of the hydraulic oil,” says Mr Bondi. “Keeping your lubricants and fuel clean assists in extending oil life, and reduce component wear, which in turn extends component life.”

as a sales representative of OEM Pty Ltd. Today, Brian and John – who is also a Company Director – use their experience in the business to serve the needs of their customers at Equipment Placement. “My brother and I have been in the same industry now since the late Seventies, so we have a fairly wide network who we also consider friends in the business,” says Brian. “We rely a lot on our reputation, and we have contacts within the industry, and our network grows through word of mouth.” Over the past year, the company’s sales and rental fleet has increased significantly. Though the firm has operations in Queensland, it was fortunately not affected by the recent flooding and cyclones that have ravaged the area. “Only one machine was briefly out of commission,” says Mr Bondi. “We were more fortunate than some.” Mindful of the plight of their fellow Australians, Mr Bondi says the team at Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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Equipment Placement is donating a portion of the rent it receives from its Queensland machines back to the Premier’s relief fund.

Ball Bearings to Trucks Serving as a one-stop shop for the nation’s many mining and construction operations, Equipment Placement offers not only quality products and service, but the supply and hire of equipment. Many products are made by the company, or manufactured specifically for the firm by trusted local contractors. Service trucks’ steel fabrication is contracted to a local company, and when bracketing, pumps, motors and other systems are installed, the result

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus

is a high-quality finished product. “We basically manufacture the whole service module,” says Mr Bondi. From the smallest ball bearing to large trucks, Equipment Placement offers a vast selection of replace-

“Our key focus is always to make sure tha after... if something is an issue, we deal w -Brian Bondi, Company Director at Equ ment parts and components to its customers. The company designs and manufactures fuel and lube trucks to the highest standards, meeting all Australia-wide mine site regulations and requirements. It offers a range of service trucks, water


trucks, and water truck modules for most highway truck cab chassis and articulated off-highway trucks. Along with new machinery, Equipment Placement has a selection of quality used products like dozers,

at the customer is the first person looked with it then and there.” uipment Placement excavators, loaders, graders and scrapers from well-known manufacturers like Caterpillar, Komatsu, Hitachi, Terex, O&K, Liebherr, Bell, and Volvo. Many of its clients in mining and construction rent equipment and machinery from Equipment Place-

ment, who offer top-notch quality and service across the country. “We will rent anywhere in Australia,” says Mr Bondi of the company, which maintains equipment in the Pilbara, the Bauxite region down south, Mount Isa, and other areas. The company offers maintenance in both New South Wales and Queensland to ensure that all equipment is in proper working order.

A Range of Products Along with providing top-quality parts and a number of rental and purchasing options, Equipment Placement is proud to represent products from a number of related Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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Mack Metroliner service truck

ilt for reliable operation in tough conditions

companies, including Hydrau-Flo

materials), and Hoist Rope Impact

ipment Placement’s service trucks, fuel trucks, water trucks and modules are designed specifically for – construction a valve system that removes the in Damper, which improves safety ing and work, servicing heavy equipment the most testing conditions. All our trucks and are t tough to withstand harsh conditions and are fitted risk of overfilling and spillage dur-with high quality equipment and components.

rsatileing fuel transfer – and Easilube, a

made-in-Australia designed be designed to fit a large rangesystem of 2x4; 4x4; 6x4 and 8x4 cab chassis trucks. Equipment Placement supply standard tank, compartment and equipment layouts, or configure your vehicle to suit your own specifically for auto lubrication in cific requirements. Whatever your operational situation, Equipment Placement can supply a service, rugged conditions. Other or water truck to meet your exact needs.fine prod-

ucts carried and installed by Equipment Placement include Turbo II pre-cleaners, durable molded products from FSP International which FVZ1400 water truck Mack Granite fuel truck Izusu service truck waterelectric truck rear view mining conform to the requirements Mine productivity in Isuzu any Regulation MDG15 (fire-resistant shovel by managing control host

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus


Brian Bondi Company Director

John Bondi Company Director

bounce. “We support products to make surereplacement that theparts customer is Equipment Placement is yourour one-stop shop for quality equipment, and a products and services to add value to your mining and industrial operations. torange no ofend,” says Mr Bondi, “and the first person looked after in the Our range includes fuel and service trucks, water trucks, filtration systems, auto lubrication line, and that if something is an issystems, air pre-cleaners, non-pressurised fuel shutoff systems, wheel dozer conversions, and a sue, we deal with it then and there. wide range of rotational moulded products and safety items. We’re well-prepared to putGroup someone Additionally, our group partners – Fluid Transfer Management and Western Equipment – specialise in a range of products including refuellingon anda monitoring technology, plane and go anddiagnostic resolvefluid an issampling, mining, construction and concrete mixing equipment. sue, if the case may be. Sometimes Services include sourcing and supply of high quality used mining and construction equipment, we do repairs and things like that including dozers, trucks and excavators. To reinforce our commitment to product support, we hold a significant selection of parts and components in stock back up the equipment off our toown back, just towebe sure manufacture. the customer is happy. In a lot of Equipment Placement is committed to providing value to ourwe customers with the products cases, just end upbest taking it on and services at competitive prices, and with a level of expertise that is second to none. pride ourselves on standing be- the chin, and that’s part of the reahind them. Our key focus is always son I believe we get repeat sales.” 1

Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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-By Aleisha Parr

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus


W

hen it comes to vacation destinations, Queensland’s Mackay Region offers some of the more striking, untouched features and attractions. The region, which lies along the northern coastline of Queensland, halfway between Brisbane and Cairns, boasts a wide array of white sand beaches, secluded islands and lush green parks and rain-

forests. With its generally consistent tropical climate and untouched feel, Mackay Region has been of great appeal to tourists and residents alike. What draws people to Mackay Region is obvious the moment you catch sight of its beautiful attractions; what keeps people there is its

Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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Tenix. Leaders in Engineering Australia’s Water Recycling Future Mackay Water Recycling Project – A $150 Million Investment

90

%

of Mackay’s wastewater is recycled to irrigate local sugar cane The Mackay Water Recycling Project is Queensland’s largest regional water recycling project. Tenix played a major part in the design and construction for the Mackay Regional Council. Tenix, as part of the project, has been contracted to operate the facilities for 10 years.

Helping preserve The Great Barrier Reef 250 tonnes of nutrients no longer pollute The Great Barrier Reef each year.

Tenix is a leading provider of end-to-end services to owners of electricity, gas, water and other infrastructure and industrial assets across Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands. We design, construct, operate, maintain and manage assets to deliver optimal results for our stakeholders and customers.

www.tenix.com

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NSW (02) 9963 9600 VIC (03) 8517 9000 QLD (07) 3510 7100 WA (08) 9270 1500 SA (08) 8345 8900 NZ +64 9 622 8600 APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus


strong economic growth and readily available employment opportunities. Although the region is historically known for its production of sugar cane, it is the mining industry which accounts for most of the recent growth seen in Mackay Region. This has been an important focus for Mayor Col Meng and the Mackay Regional Council, which is structured in a rather unique way for a Queensland Council. Rather than organising it into the typical divisions, Mayor Meng has instead chosen to run the Council using a portfolio system, whereby each of his ten Councillors is responsible for a specific portfolio, such as water, roads, finance or parks and gardens. Mayor Meng explains how the system has made it easier to do busi-

ness in the region: “We believe that this certainly is a very good way to be. It’s made councillors very accountable for their position and it gives the community a person that they can go and talk to. So it’s very similar to state and federal, whereas they have ministers we have portfolio councillors and it has worked very well here and it has helped with our growth in going forward.” And indeed, the region has seen positive growth trends. With job opportunities abundant, due in part to the recent resources boom but also to the Council’s investments into infrastructure such as its universities and hospitals, the region has a stronger employment rate than its neighbours both to the North and Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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even some areas in the South. The newly constructed Mackay Entertainment Convention Centre (MECC), a business unit of the Mackay Regional Council, has aided in this growth, providing for new opportunities within the region since its opening nearly eighteen months ago. The $29 million state-of-the-art facility includes a 1090 seat theatre, a 100 seat studio space, two plenary halls which extend to accommodate 1800 people, two dedicated foyers, bars, a theatre space and breakout rooms alongside extensive front-of-hour

Civil construction solutions from Rocla Rocla’s world-class manufacturing technology is based on 80 years of leadership in the design and supply of precast concrete products for the civil construction industry: concrete pipes, box culverts, headwalls, bridges, pit systems, retaining walls, boardwalks, building columns and stormwater pollution control systems can be combined to create efficient engineering solutions.

Call the Rocla info line on 131 004. www.rocla.com.au

ÂŽRegistered trademark of Rocla Pty Limited ABN 31 000 032 191. A member of the Fletcher Building Group.

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus


and backstage facilities. The construction of this facility allows for more conferences and conventions to be held within the Mackay Region, drawing visitors from around the world and establishing it as the centre for such important activities. Most notably, the MECC has been host to the Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition (QME) and its inaugural QME Conference last year. While the QME Exhibition had been held in Mackay Region for numerous years, 2010 was the first

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Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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year that the QME was able to provide an accompanying conference, now that the facilities for such an event were available. With attendees from countries including China, Brazil, South Africa and India, the conference draws in thousands of high-profile mining professionals. Says Mayor Meng, “It is a huge attractor and we’re quite proud that it is run in our region and that we’re therefore seen as one of the mining services centres in all of Australia.” Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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“Handling growth is one of the most important things for our city. I think if we can handle growth - which I believe Council has done in recent times - if we can handle that and keep going forward it will set a great path for Mackay Region in years to come.” - Mayor Col Meng

Deputy Mayor Darryl Camilleri adds: “Over the last ten to fifteen years we’ve seen a real evolution of the mining support industry particularly in our community . . . Certainly there have been a lot of work opportunities in this area. The growth in the mining industry in itself has meant that there are a lot of new jobs be-

ing created and we have very low unemployment numbers throughout the area.” While there are no actual mines located within the region itself, there is a strong mining presence in the nearby Bowen Basin coalfields, situated just to the west of Mackay

Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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“Over the last ten to fifteen years we’ve seen a real evolution of the mining support industry particularly in our community . . . Certainly there have been a lot of work opportunities in this area. The growth in the mining industry in itself has meant that there are a lot of new jobs being created and we have very low unemployment numbers throughout the area.” - Deputy Mayor Daryl Camilleri

in the hinterlands. With companies including – but not limited to - BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, Xstrata, Rio Tinto Coal Australia Pty Ltd and Macarthur Coal involved in current mining operations in the area, the recent resources boom is having great effect on the Mackay Region, as it sees the expansion of old mines and the construction of new ones. This evolution in turn fuels Mackay Region’s diverse support services industry, while also increasing population growth. In a prudent move, the Mackay Re-

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gional Council – in conjunction with the Isaac Regional Council and the Sarina Shire Council – has created a board to ensure that the coal mining industry throughout the Bowen Basin receives proper and consistent attention and care. As there are a number of companies of various sizes and interests operating throughout the area, the board recognises the importance of including everyone working within the industry in the region and not just communicating with one or two of the larger companies. Working together with one another, industry professionals in the


future it will be very important for the whole of the country and not just our regions.”

regions, and both State and Federal Governments, the board endeavours to maintain and communicate standards and expectations. Reports Mayor Col Meng, “That’s been pretty eventful for us and I think into the

Another initiative underway in the region is The Mining Trail, a tourist attraction and educational experience exploring the mining industry and its associated networks. The trail spans approximately 300km between Clermont and Mackay along the coast, following the export route from the Bowen Basin coal mines through to its ports in Hay

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Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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Point for overseas export. Showcasing both man-made historical attractions, such as original mining towns and industry sites, as well as the untouched hinterland, the trail can take a few days to fully explore. In the works for a few years now, the trail is open and already attracting many tourists passing through the region to stop and stay awhile to explore the fascinating local history. The recent evolution of Mackay Region is exciting to watch. Comments Mayor Meng, “Handling growth is one of the most important things for our city. I think if we can handle growth - which I believe Council has done in recent times - if we can handle that and keep going forward it will set a great path for Mackay Region in years to come.� With its innovative system of leadership complementing its dynamic community plans and investments, it does seem that the Mackay Regional Council is set to enjoy a lucrative future.

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-By John Boley

A

sking “how's business?”, the last thing you expect as an answer is “I don't know”. But that's what we got from Nathan Falconer, managing director of Winmax Drilling, a specialised diamond drilling contractor providing remote-location core sampling services to min-

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ing and exploration companies. In the weeks after the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the spotlight has been thrown on the nuclear industry and the wider resource industry of uranium exploration and exploitation. As nearly all


of Winmax's contracts for the next six months concern uranium, it was understandable that Nathan should be so uncharacteristically uncertain. Certainly the fallout from Japan's nuclear crisis has hit Australia's uranium producers, even if it is a

short-term effect. John Borshoff, chief executive of Australian uranium miner Paladin, told media in the days after the Fukushima plant failed that uranium-centred businesses had become a sideshow to the Japanese crisis "which, though understandable as this is the nature

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of nuclear, is nevertheless having a highly destructive impact. The media frenzy, the stakeholder positioning feeding on misinformation and hyperbole is astounding." Michael Angwin, chief executive of the Australian Uranium Association, commented to reporters that the share market reaction, wiping up to a third off the value of many uranium-related companies, had been predictable, but that there are 502 nuclear reactors active or under construction worldwide that all

need uranium to operate. "The factors which were driving the demand for Australia's uranium and the demand for nuclear power last Friday are still the same today," he told ABC. However, Nathan suggests he is not unduly worried as Winmax could fairly easily switch priorities to other forms of drilling. The Winmax service is so specialised there is not so much competition as a problem meeting demand, particularly in Western Australia (home to

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Winmax's head office) and Northern Territory (where they have a yard and, at present, 70 percent of their rigs). The company is not active in the east at present but has been doing some work in South Australia.

and now “the mining companies are being pushed into more remote areas.” As they go, “they are being educated about helidrilling and its cost and it's opening a market for them to go and explore.”

Nathan stresses that Winmax is not solely about helidrilling: “we are very capable of doing land-based surface work.” Nevertheless, heliportable drilling has become popular of late. In the last 50-60 years, he explains, a lot of the 'easy' places have already been fairly exhaustively exploited

The cost of excavating tracks and land to get to remote places “can be upwards of two to three hundred thousand dollars” and Nathan reckons the cost of putting a chopper on can be basically about the same. There are, however, some distinct advantages to approaching by

APRIL 2011 | Australian Resource Focus


air. “First off, you don't have to go through the EPA to get clearance to dig all these tracks to get to these places.” Winmax can fly in from the nearest access point, often just a 10-15 minute flight, “and just start drilling”. He stresses the potential time savings – especially if you factor in a drive of maybe an hour or more each way by ute for the crew – and increased productivity. And with almost all of Winmax's clients being ASX-listed, there's a small matter of ensuring the stock market hears about results just as soon

as possible. Heliportable drilling involves transporting a disassembled drill rig by helicopter to a precise (often difficult to access) location. The ground crew then assembles the rig piece by piece until it is operational. Normal drilling can then be carried out in places few other drilling companies can reach. Winmax works in conjunction with Remote Helicopters Australia. The two companies have developed a mutually beneficially relationship and are in a position to present a Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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full package to clients. The company works closely with its clients to ensure minimal environmental impact. The relationship between chopper company and drilling company is of paramount importance, and by working in conjunction with RHA, the trust and efficiencies gained benefit both the client and Winmax. Winmax currently has Alton HD900, Boart Longyear LF70 and MD600 rigs, heliportable and customised to also complete everyday surface exploration drilling work. The compact

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design of the HD900 has minimal environmental impact and it can operate in difficult terrain. These rigs are track mounted and are ideal for all surface exploration work. Lightweight, modular and manoeuvrable, they reduce the need for developing expensive site access. Faster setups, hole re-entry and demobilising means these rigs can be over the hole and drilling sooner. Winmax says its focus is on providing clients with clean and concise mineral core samples, while at the


same time reducing drilling costs through increased productivity. The savings in drilling costs are passed on to clients. Drilling crews work closely with both geotechs and clients in the field. On the environmental side, helidrilling can be said to minimise the disturbance to any location and make it easier to clean up after exploration because the impact is limited to the site itself without the need for local access roads or a camp. It is often something of a privilege, says Nathan, for his crews to work in some spectacularly beautiful natural locations that tourists would find it hard to get to - prodiving staff with an extra bonus. After all, not everyone gets to commute to some of Australia's most inaccessible sights on a daily basis. Turnover among the rig crews is minimal and a sense of teamwork and trust is essential in the business. Safety is always paramount, and in such remote locations as-

sumes even greater importance. Winmax believes that the key to a safe working environment is employee awareness and knowledge of safety at all times. Through extensive and continued training and good communication, staff are well prepared and aware of the importance of occupational health and safety issues. Training and documentation is recorded daily through drilling reports, and minutes of toolbox meetings are available to clients upon request. It is widely anticipated that the hubbub over nuclear power and uranium production will quieten down – as one leading industry analyst said, disasters like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl failed to impact long-term plans for the spread of nuclear power. Market sentiment may take a while to improve, but it is only to be expected that exploration will soon be more or less back to normal. Meanwhile, Winmax remains ready to drill for anything, anywhere, any time. Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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-By Robert Hoshowsky Across Australia, a number of proposed coal mines have been in the media over the years, the most recent being the Vasse Coal Project, recently rejected by the Western Australia Environmental Protection Agency. A controversial subject since last year, the coal mine’s owners faced an uphill battle from the beginning, with the mine vociferously opposed by locals, environmentalists, community groups, tourism authorities, and the Margaret River Wine Industry Association. As with most mining projects, the key point of contention was location. This coal mine was not to be established in some isolated, unpopulated area, but in Osmington, just 15 kilometres north of the heart of Margaret River. Known not Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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only across Australia but around the world, the region is renowned for its pristine coastline, lush wilderness, abundant surf breaks, and sparkling clean water. Popular with tourists and locals alike, Margaret River is home to spas, aquifers, camping grounds, luxury retreats, a thriving arts community, and over 120 wine producers. Few things unite a community more than a perceived threat to its livelihood and ecosystem, which many felt was in jeop-

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ardy when the proposal from Vasse Coal to mine in Margaret River was presented.

Celebrity Protestors Protests against the mine came quickly, followed by online petitions and extensive coverage in newspapers and on television. Big name celebrities like actor Hugh Jackman and comedian Ben Elton soon showed their support for the community and its natural beauty. En-


vironmental activists, and a group called “No COAL!tion,” voiced their concerns over the mine, fearful about the effect of mining on water supplies and underground aquifers, using the slogan, “Margaret River – Too Beautiful to Undermine.” Fears ranged from the mine potentially penetrating the Leederville aquifer underpinning the Margaret and Blackwood Rivers to pollution of the air, soil, and water from carcinogenic heavy metals and harmful acids and salts. The proposed plan was for an underground coal mine with two shafts, with a target production rate of 1.2 million tonnes a year, with a design life of 15 to 20 years. On March 17, the EPA Board considered the level of assessment for Vasse Coal Management’s proposal at their meeting. Their findings, released just four days later, stated: “The EPA determined, based on the referral information and its own investigations and inquiries, that there is adequate information to demonstrate

that Vasse Coal Management’s coal mining proposal is environmentally unacceptable.” Said EPA Chairman Paul Vogel, “In effect, this is an EPA ’no’ to the proposal.” Assessing the proposal at a new level, the decision was based on referral information and environmental advice presented to the EPA. Among the Board’s concerns were the Leederville and Sues Aquifers, and the social surrounds of the Margaret River region, supported by the aquifers. “Even though some of the significant impacts, or risks, may be presented as being manageable because of their low probability of occurring, the environmental consequences of some low probability event may be so serious, widespread or irreversible that the proposal, taken as a whole, on balance, presents unacceptable risks to important environmental values, and thus makes the Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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proposal environmentally unacceptable,” said the EPA in its recommendation against the implementation of Vasse Coal Management’s proposal. While the anti-coal lobby coalition expressed their joy at the EPA’s decision, Vasse issued a statement stating their disappointment that the EPA determined the project not proceed to a full public environmental review and public engagement period. LD Operations stated they were not provided with any information, evidence, or reasons why the EPA declared the level of assessment for the project API Category B (environmentally unacceptable), and was seeking clarification and considering an appeal.

Potential Benefits As environmental groups, wine producers, Margaret River locals and others lauded the EPA’s decision against the coal mine, one critical aspect of the project remained largely overlooked: what might the

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benefits have been had the Vasse project gone ahead? According to the company, the Vasse Coal Project would have been “unlike any other coal mine operation in Western Australia – it would be an underground mine and its planning would be underpinned by the fundamental goals of minimising impact and not only coexisting with the local community, environment and industry, and bringing significant economic and


planned, it was likely to have hired about 225 locals, and indirectly generated many more jobs - up to 800. The goal was to have the mine become an integral part of the community and local industries, and a future economic asset to the South West region. Respecting the area’s delicate ecosystems, consideration to minimising the effects of mining on nature and tourism were planned considerations throughout scoping and project design, with the goal of making the Vasse Coal Project one of the least intrusive mining operations in the land, with a relatively small mining footprint. social benefits to the South West region.� A number of environmental and mining studies were underway regarding the design, noise, dust, surface and ground water aquifers, flora and fauna, water usage, coal transportation, Aboriginal and European heritage assessment, and the impact of the mine on the community. If the project had proceeded as

The mine was to have been small to mid-sized, with a target production rate for the sub-bituminous black coal of 1.2 million tonnes per year. Vasse planned to make two products from the coal: a high-energy thermal coal for domestic and export markets, and another product used in the Corex steel-making process. In order to respect the area’s thriving tourist industry, planned locaAustralian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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tions for the mine’s coal handling and preparation plant were to be in North Capel – a distance away from major tourist destinations and most associated access roads in the region. Below ground, the workings of the mine were designed so the Leederville aquifers were protected by a barrier. Access to the coal seam – via two vertical shafts – was to be completely lined, sealed with a steel-reinforced concrete composite liner. Plans for the Vasse Coal Project acknowledged concerns for the environment, the area and its economy from tourism and wineries, while trying to reduce any po-

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tentially harmful impact on the area.

Wines, Not Mines In the end, the Vasse Coal Project was not to be, stopped by community activists, environmental groups, local wineries, and very bad timing. Some protestors took advantage of last year’s Deepwater Horizon environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, comparing the potential coal mine to the disastrous threemonth-long oil spill. Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett questioned why an underground coal mine would be located in a prime


wine-making region, close to aquifers. Representatives from the Margaret River Wine Industry Association and No COAL!tion successfully staged campaigns against the mine, stating that it was not “environmentally acceptable.” The group’s spokesperson, Ian Parmenter, stated: “In the current climate, and in view of the premier being ‘no fan of the project,’ it seems that the Vasse Coal Project is, appropriately, doomed to fail.” Some, like Liberal cabinet minister Troy Buswell, went even further, stating mining company LD Operations should “pack its bags and leave town.”

Although LD Operations has expressed its dissatisfaction with the EPA’s decision and will appeal, it is very unlikely the ruling will be reversed by WA Minister for the Environment, Bill Marmion. Fearful of greenhouse gas emissions, coal seam methane, and fuel used in mining operations and transportation, there are talks underway by anti-coal mine groups to have the region protected permanently. There are, however, many other leases and exploration licences in the region, and it is just a matter of time before another company comes forward with a similar proposal. Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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-By John Boley

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A

ustdac Pty Limited is one of Australia’s largest suppliers of communications, gas monitoring, I.S. lighting and conveyor control equipment to Australian coal mines and general industry. Austdac was formed in 1983, carrying out manufacturing, design, system engineering, and sales in the mining industry and local industrial sector. It is a progressive Australian

company with offices in NSW, QLD, and Pittsburgh, USA. Austdac now forms part of the Hubbell Industrial Technology segment. Hubbell Incorporated is an international manufacturer of quality electrical and electronic products for a broad range of non-residential and residential construction, industrial and utility applications. With 2010 Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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revenues of US$2.5 billion, Hubbell Incorporated operates manufacturing facilities in the US, Canada, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the People's Republic of China, Italy, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Australia. Hubbell also participates in joint ventures in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and maintains sales offices in Singapore, China, Mexico, South Korea and the Middle East. Austdac's head office is in the Baulkham Hills Shire at Castle Hill, an area that was chosen for its geo-

graphical position and ease of transportation to both the industrial and mining areas, which are located to the North, South and West of the factory. The Mackay Queensland branch was opened in 1994, to service the rapidly expanding Bowen basin coalfields. In mid 2005 this was expanded with technicians based in Emerald, Central Queensland, to provide localised service for the Emerald region. The company was registered as an approved workshop to

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service intrinsically safe equipment in August 1991. This has since been updated to comply with the latest requirements of AS/NZS 3800 with accreditation gained in June 2004. Following the company’s expansion into gas and environmental monitoring it implemented a NATA accredited laboratory in June 1996. The lab provides the necessary statutory calibrations (including inhouse and in-field calibrations), as required under the Coal Mines Regulation Act and Standards Australia guidelines. The NATA laboratory ensures rapid turnaround of calibrated equipment.

Austdac has its own manufacturing and assembly section to ensure the maintenance of reliable, quality built finished products. The company believes that environmental monitoring underground is paramount in the safeguarding of mine operators, and has directed the development of its products in this direction. Austdac Pty Ltd is the Australian agent for the complete range of Trolex instrumentation. Registered in 1996, its NATA accredited laboratory enables Austdac Calibration

Due to the demand within the industry for products designed to suit local needs, Austdac has expanded the NSW head office with its own research and development division. This department has facilitated the production of Australian equipment designed expressly for local market sectors.

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Services to operate, delivering a quality maintenance service aimed to suit customers' environmental monitoring needs. Specialising in gas monitoring, the lab accepts portable and fixed gas detectors, pressure, temperature and flow sensors, level switches and associated control equipment for scheduled and priority calibration, maintenance or repair. Staff includes four in-house technicians

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and support personnel, and three NATA signatories oversee all NATA calibrations. This endorsement allows Austdac to provide service to instrumentation used in the coal mining industry. Additionally, the company can maintain flameproof and intrinsically safe equipment. As a result, Austdac Calibration Services has the resources to provide its clientele with an in-house one-stop repair, maintenance and calibration facility.


The company offers its on-site maintenance and calibration program via fully qualified service technicians, who also form part of the team of NATA signatories. Austdac Calibration Services provides a free delivery service for customers, where instrument size and weight restrictions comply with the carrier’s 3kg satchel conditions. This service allows for the transportation of 99 percent of all equipment serviced, with the instrument returned in an Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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air/road pre-paid satchel at no expense to the client. Austdac maintains a database for all equipment which is repaired, serviced, or calibrated by its team of technicians. The database accurately holds details for each individual instrument, outlining equipment condition, on-board consumable sensor details, software versions and trends in causes of downtime. The information is used to actively maintain equipment and inform clients of findings. This decreases

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downtime experienced through sensor failure or unplanned maintenance and allows for the development of work practices and general maintenance programs. The details relating to sensor maintenance make note of the sensing cell's date of manufacture and projected life expectancy, as outlined by the manufacturer. This facility enables sensor change out prior to failure, and preferably during a planned service for maintenance and calibration. This will, of course,


eliminate unnecessary downtime for the instrument while in the field.

with its face power distribution systems.

A routine maintenance schedule can be implemented where all sensors are conveniently changed out at the same time. Such agreements allow Austdac Calibration Services to monitor instruments individually to assess instrument integrity and eliminate downtime.

Major users of Austdac equipment include coal mines in Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and the US, oil and gas industries in Australia, Indonesia, and New Zealand, tunneling industries in Australia and Spain.

NATA accreditation enables the company to perform calibrations on a range of brands in gas detection, including those outside the agency of Austdac such as Defender, Dr채ger, Minigas, MSA and Industrial Scientific. Austdac has been manufacturing explosion protected electrical equipment for 21 years. This equipment has been manufactured under various schemes including NSW government approval, AUSEx, ANZEx, and IECEx. The equipment includes models using Exi, Exe, Exm, Exl, and Exd protection techniques. In fact, Austdac pioneered the use of Exe in underground coalmines in Australia

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-By Aleisha Parr

Seventy years after the arrival of the First Fleet, amidst the hectic economic activity of the gold rush, John Charles Ludowici became one of Australia’s first established business owners when he founded his tannery at Burns Bay in Sydney. Focusing on providing goods and services to other producers, Mr Ludowici set the standard for what would come to evolve - through innovation and a keen sense of anticipation for clients’ future needs - into one of Australia’s leading industrial engineering companies, with product and service solutions for a broad range of markets.

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With its rich history extending back over the past one hundred and fifty years, Ludowici is of a unique class of industry which not only is informed by time honoured traditions but also which excels at developing innovative and useful technologies. With its roots and headquarters established in Brisbane, including its newly assigned Headquarters in Pinkenba, Ludowici has also developed a global reach, including wholly owned subsidiary companies in Chile, Peru, USA, China, South Africa, and India, and agents in other mining resource countries. The strength and breadth of this reach

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maintenance services. The company boasts extensive experience working in the iron ore, gold, mineral sands, manganese, chrome, diamond, copper and coal industries, though it also services other major markets including water management systems, rail systems and noise attenuation, structural glass and glazing. Additionally, Ludowici designs, manufactures and markets bearings, joints and isolators for bridges, rail systems and other engineering speaks not only to Ludowici’s business acumen, but also to the high quality of products and services the firm offers. Servicing primarily the mining, construction and industrial mineral processing industries, Ludowici offers a diverse range of engineering solutions to meet nearly every industry demand. Currently, Ludowici supplies materials handling, mineral processing products and equipment, innovative design services, consumable products, and installation and

Partners down to the ground

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structures as well as a broad spectrum of hydraulic, pneumatic and custom made sealing products in both Australia and South Africa. Indeed, wherever there has been a gap in the industry, it has always been Ludowici’s aspiration to fulfil that need with its own innovative and resourceful products. Known for its leading technologies including – but certainly not limited to – vibrating equipment, coal centrifuges, jetslingers, modular poly-

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processing in fine particle separation. Additionally, Ludowici endeavours to continuously broaden its product and service offerings, which it does in part through strategic acquisitions. Over the past few years, companies including Johnson Screens, Watergates, and Cleanwater have all been integrated into Ludowici. Most recently, the company has acquired Rojan, a fully integrated manufacturer and supplier of wear, thermal and corrosion applications for the urethane panels, screen surfaces, magnetic separators and wear resistant materials including ceramics, the company also is capable of developing customised solutions at an organisational level. One such product demonstrating the innovative talent at Ludowici is its muchlauded Reflux Classifier, a patented design owned and utilised solely by Ludowici. Developed in partnership with University of Newcastle’s Professor Kevin Galvin, this product offers substantial benefits to mineral

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SPECIALIST DIVISIONS ARE DEDICATED TO DELIVERING • Screen Surfaces offering the most advanced mining and industrial screening media and engineered screen deck systems. • Process technology and vibrating equipment including centrifuges, dryers and grinders plus 24/7 equipment maintenance, condition monitoring and component overhaul. • Quarry products to enhance extractive, construction and raw materials processing industries. • Rubber technology including material handling hoses, rubber expansion joints, high quality natural and synthetic rubber linings and mouldings. • Wear resistant surfaces manufactured in a variety of materials. • High performance polyurethane products for consumable, capital equipment and other engineering applications. • Hydraulic and pneumatic sealing products.

AIMEX Ludowici is proud to be attending Asia Pacific’s International Mining Exhibition (AIMEX) in Sydney this upcoming September, with a booth of 144m2 offering product displays from every department, including its patented Reflux Classifier. The conference, held every four years, offers an international platform for Australian and overseas suppliers to showcase their unique mining technology, equipment and services. Stop by to see the new and exciting engineering solutions offered by Ludowici.

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minerals processing and industrial markets, and one of the most technologically advanced ceramics companies in the Southern Hemisphere. As Rojan primarily supplies the hard rock mineral processing, heavy clay bricks and pavers, chemical and fertilizer plants and power generation industries, this new partnership stands to enhance Ludowici’s reputation as a leading supplier for its global minerals and industrial markets. Perhaps of most effect in ensuring all of its clients’ needs are met on a continued basis is Ludowici’s commitment to providing a complete service from design to manufacture through to installation and maintenance functions. In particular, Ludowici puts great attention into the initial design process, working closely with its clients to ensure that all bottlenecks or potential problems are sidestepped or eradicated, and designing effective solutions to improve plant efficiencies and maintenance procedures. Service cen-

tres have been located strategically throughout Australia and abroad, offering accessible and timely support to each highly valued client. With over seven hundred and eighty trained specialists worldwide, Ludowici’s global presence ensures that all of its clients continue to receive high quality and dedicated service and attention, thereby ensuring a greater utilisation of equipment and ultimately enabling a more productive and advanced industry as a whole. In recognition of this work, Ludowici has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including the prestigious Core Chemical Engineering award at the UK IChemE Awards for Innovation and Excellence, 2010, for its work on the Reflux Classifier; the Australia Latin American Business Council (ALABC) award for Business Excellence; and most recently, Ludowici had the high honour of being nominated for the Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards. Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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Ultimately, Ludowici has maintained its distinction of quality and excellence within the industry through both its adherence to the traditions of service and client attention passed down throughout the company from its first days as a familyrun business, in combination with its continuous efforts to develop innovative and efficient technologies and equipment. As quoted from the company website, “the business has evolved in step with its environment, a process of change which has accelerated over the last 40 years. What has not changed is an ethos embracing quality in product and service, respect for people employed by or dealing with the company and an ethical approach to its corporate responsibilities.” Signalling its regard for environmental conservancy, Ludowici vows also to ensure that it meets the “needs of the present without compromising the ability of future gen-

erations to meet their own needs.” As it stands, Ludowici has implemented an environmental management plan to minimise its impacts as well as undertaken measures to conserve resources, prevent pollution and monitor advances in environmental control and technology which are relevant to its operations. Beyond this, Ludawici’s engineering solutions themselves often help to minimise negative environmental effects for its clients. At the core of every pioneering, strategic or conscientious choice stands Ludowici’s commitment to helping each individual client enhance its own capabilities and productivity via the use of innovative and integrated technology solutions. As Ludowici continues to grow, no doubt, so too will its ability to offer even more specialised solutions for each and every client, making one of Australia’s longest established companies also one of its most dedicated and capable industry drivers. Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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-By Jaime McKee Established in 1967 to service Australia’s burgeoning mining and construction industries, Sykes Group has grown into one of the largest auto prime pump manufacturers in the world. Recently acquired by National Hire Group Ltd, Sykes joins an exciting and dependable family of brands including Allight, Westrac, and Coates Hire, who together are proving to be a formidable operation capable of providing clients with a “one-stop shop” for diverse equipment solutions. An expert in the field of pump technology, Sykes specialises in the design, manufacture, and application of both standard and custom-built pumping equipment for some of the most challenging mining

and construction environments in the world. With pumping solutions that run the gamut from dewatering mines, to removing silt and slurry from fishing ports, to recovering river sands and gravels, to dredging irrigation channels and marinas, to clearing weeds from waterways, to reclaiming mine tailings ponds, Sykes’ technology is widely regarded as among the most advanced in the world. Manufacturing its pump products at bases in NSW and Dubai, Sykes focuses on providing each client with leading-edge solutions designed with their particular needs in

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mind. Far from offering a “one-sizefits-all” service, Sykes applies its expertise to devising the best possible product for each unique application.

Partners in Excellence As the parent company of world-class equipment brand Allight, National Hire Group has brought Sykes together with experts in light, power, air and water management solutions. Best-known for its mobile lighting towers, Perth-based Allight is also

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an exclusive Australasia distributor of Perkins engines, FG Wilson power generators, Rotair compressors and its own range of dewatering pumps. The combined group, known as AllightSykes, now has an even greater capacity to meet customer demand for sales and support of its many products. The acquisition has been described by Andrew Aitken, Managing Director of National Hire, as “a company-transforming acquisition for Na-


tional Hire’s equipment sales and support business. “Sykes Group,” says Mr Aitken, “provides scale, volume and distribution opportunities for National Hire that will help underpin future growth,” and enable the brand to expand its reach into global mining and construction markets.

ing because the businesses operate in common markets and appear to have similar core values. Like Sykes, the Allight brand is very well respected, and being in the same family as Westrac and Coates Hire will enable Sykes to raise its profile and access resources to create even more growth opportunities for all stakeholders.”

Sykes Chairman Jon Collins said of the acquisition: “Combining Sykes with National Hire is very excit-

Originally established in 1967 by UK pump group Henry Sykes Plc, the company traded as Henry Sykes Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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Problem Solved at one of Victoria’s Biggest Fishing Ports Employees of Sykes Group, Melbourne Branch, were approached by Gippsland Port Authority, Victoria, to assist with the ongoing problem of the local Lakes Entrance inlet silting up and limiting Port access for small craft and fishing contractors. Existing dredging methods were unable to overcome this issue due to the inability to get close to the channel inlet walls. This issue soon became critical, and Sykes Group was contacted for a solution. In conjunction with Bruce Green of Gippsland Port Authority and Charlie Whelan of Whelan’s Earthmoving, Sykes supplied the solution - a Dragflow HY85B Hydraulically Driven Submersible Slurry Pump c/w 2 off EXHY20 Hydraulic Agitators mounted to Whelan’s 30 Tonne Excavator. The Sykes Dragflow Pump is capable of moving up 450 cubic metres per hour of slurry, of which approximately 30% or 135 cubic metres per hour is sand. The reach of the 30 tonne Excavator made it possible to manoeuvre the

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pump to a precise position and clear all the sand, restoring access to the vessels. Video of the pump in action can be viewed on the company’s website at: http://www.sykesgroup. c o m / t e m p l a t e s / s y ke s _ c o nt e nt . aspx?pageID=605


Pumps Pty Ltd, importing pumps and equipment from the UK until 1974 when local manufacture commenced in Gateshead, Newcastle NSW. In 1977, the firm became part of another UK group, Hanson Plc, trading as Hanson Sykes Pumps Pty Ltd in Australia. In 1987, Mr Collins joined the board in Australia after more than 18 years with Hanson Plc in the UK, and in 1988, was appointed Managing Director. The company’s

structure changed once again in 1992 when the firm ended its associations with the UK companies to focus on its Australian operations. In 1998 Jon Collins became the sole owner of Sykes Pumps Australia Pty Ltd, which in 2003 changed its name to Sykes Group Pty Ltd, reflecting the Group’s move to more diverse offerings with a more global reach. As AllightSykes, the company is now able to offer one of the broadest selections of equipment technologies and product designs in Australia.

Innovation and Quality Those products come about as the result of a true team effort. With inhouse CAD and Engineering services, Sykes Group is able to offer custom solutions and options for its clients’ many needs. Located onsite at the NSW facility, the engineering team can not only design the best new product for the job, but also assist customers with product selection and provide a comprehensive and certified test result. Fully accredited to ISO 9001-2008, Sykes Group Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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tinuous research and development, Sykes Group welcomes the opportunity to liaise directly with clients, and links its ongoing R&D efforts with industry and customer needs. Innovative pump products such as the Contractor range, the Himax self-priming pump, the lightweight Yakka, the submersible Grindex, and the Dragflow agitator slurry pump have been the result.

is able to ensure that its products perform to the high standards clients have come to expect from the brand. Viewing every new sale not as a goal in itself, but as a starting point for an ongoing relationship, Sykes Group stands behind its products, offering the kind of superior after-sales support championed by the entire AllightSykes family. Sensitive also to the need for con-

Whether supplying Allight mobile lighting solutions to illuminate road works, or providing Sykes water management solutions to dewater a major mining project, AllightSykes guarantees premium products and superior support, and has the experience, expertise, and know-how to back it up. Getting to this point has proven to be an exciting journey for the Sykes Group, and it is clear that the future holds even greater things for this leading-edge company. Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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-By John Boley

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Talking to us on a day when the Aussie dollar closed in on a record high, we might have expected Ron Grey to be a little grumpy. After all, 95 percent of the output of his company GBC Scientific Equipment Pty Ltd is for export. But he turned out to be surprisingly sanguine about business and prospects. GBC designs, manufactures and markets a range of scientific instruments. It is a major manufacturer of analytical instruments including the fifth-Generation Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAS), fourth-Gener-

ation Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICPOES), third-generation UV-visible spectrophotometers, second-generation ICP-oTOFMS, HPLC, XRD and rheometer systems. GBC has been the recipient of many international export awards. Worldwide, the company, which was established in 1978, is represented by distributors in more than 100 countries. More than 30 years after its inception, Ron says, GBC is “renowned in the elemental analysis field as a result of its successful

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The OptiMass 9500 ICP The OptiMass 9500 ICP time-of-flight mass spectrometer (ICP-TOFMS) is described as 'state-of-the-art in elemental analysis'. The second-generation bench-top ICP-TOFMS overcomes the major limitations associated with quadrupole ICP-MS instrumentation. Detection limits equivalent to those achievable with a quadrupole instrument can be achieved for amu 1 to 260 within seconds. This inherent speed allows higher sample throughput with the use of conventional sample introduction systems. In hardware terms these improvements have led to reduced maintenance, more robust plasma performance, enhanced sample introduction capability and improved system sequencing. In software terms many new features have been added. The auto optimisation software function allows the software to optimise the instrument parameters automatically to give the best sensitivity. The OptiMass 9500 software contains a powerful semi-quantitative analysis mode. This mode uses factory defined relative sensitivity factors (RSF) to define the detector response to an unknown concentration of analyte. The simultaneous nature of the OptiMass 9500 allows not only semi-quantitative, but also retrospective semi-quantitative analysis. When comparative studies are required, such as in forensic science, it can be very useful to use the new Fingerprinting software. This type

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of analysis makes the best use of the scans to be compared to determine how closely they match by giving a figure from 0 to 1. This type of analysis entails a statistical comparison of a test spectrum to a spectrum of a known material. This can be a comparison of an SRM to sample material or the comparison of sceneof-crime evidence to samples recovered from suspect’s residence, vehicle or personal belongings. Before implementation of this type of analysis the correct sampling protocols need to be established. The OptiMass 9500 then provides a rapid multi-element analysis providing complete spectral data collection. This, coupled with the powerful statistical fingerprinting software of the 9500 provides the complete package for comparative analysis. The true simultaneous multi-element capability of the time-of-flight technology used in the OptiMass 9500 ensures that no information is lost from analysis of small volume samples often found in scene-of-crime scenarios. The high speed data collection rate enables transient signals generated from (e.g.) single shot laser ablation, electro-thermal vaporization or flow injection, to be sampled 30,000 times per second and 50 integrated full mass spectra to be displayed every second. This opens up a range of applications that previously have been hindered by the slow sequential nature of quadrupole or magnetic sector field mass spectrometers.


portfolio. The company is now leading the world in instrument development.” Business is growing along with the mining boom and markets such as the Middle East have “been good for us recently, although current events give us some cause for concern. “Our biggest problem is that we are an Australian manufacturer and we sell in US dollars which is what is used throughout the industry. The problem of the high Australian dol-

lar directly affects our margin. When the dollar was at 70 cents, which is considered fair value, we had 30 percent more margin. Our reaction has been to establish an operation in Malaysia and this now manufactures all our AA line. “At the end of the day, people like to buy Australian when they can. But the reality is that most of these products are not made in Australia.” A good example, according to Ron, is a “prominent new product” that he says purports to be built in the

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UK although it is really put together in China. “The fact is that no one makes white goods in Australia anymore and we have to look at our cost base too.” Now it gets technical. “We still make our ICP orthogonal time-of-flight mass spectroscope (TOF MS) range in Australia. It's the only MS of its type on the market and its chief advantage is that it's simultaneous – all the others are sequential. It's an expensive product, but a very good product and it has all sorts of advantages over all the other methods of elemental analysis. The key one is it's instantaneous; it takes 30,000 measurements per second

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on every mass and every isotope, so basically in less than 45 seconds we can give you every element, every isotope, and that includes the sample introduction, the floss time, stabilisation time – it's a massively capable analysis tool and we make it in Australia. Oh, and we designed it in Australia too.” Of course at this level of technology, the market is a very narrow one. “It's a very highly specialised field – ICPMS – in our case the same as an ICP in that you have an inductively coupled plasma, which is an electronic flame burning in argon. This burns at about the same temperature as the surface of the sun,


that's the sample introduction system, which takes a liquid sample and converts it into ions. We then inject that into a time-of-flight mass spec

– that gives all the ions an equal kick in one direction. “The heavy ones go slower, the light

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ones go faster. The fastest ones to get to the detector are the lightest ones, i.e. hydrogen; the heaviest ones are slowest to the detector, i.e. uranium; and all the other ones come in between. So the time of arrival of those ions defines what they are, and the height of the peak at the time of arrival defines how much there is.

It is, says Ron, “a very simple technology in concept. But it's very complicated execution.” OptiMass in 9500 ICP-oTOFMS Apart from mining and resources, Orthogonal Time-Of-Flight The World’s Fastest Benchtop ICP Mass Spectrometer

there is a very wide variety of uses for such technology. There's the water industry, for example. “It's a big industry for all these technologies. Nearly every municipality with a water board has to have regulatory control of water – you're not allowed to poison people,” says Ron drily. Not

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in Australia, at any rate. “Well, lots of other countries are coming to the same conclusions”. There's also pollution control. “All sorts of industrial plants need to monitor their effluents. On top of that you have medical applications and even the nuclear industry: because our timeof-flight measures all the isotopes you can determine if something has had any nuclear work done at all – instantly. If you pick up any non naturally-occurring elements you know it's come out of the reactor.” Some time ago, GBC teamed up with another company that specialises in laser ablation, a form of analysis of considerable use in mining. This is another simple concept, according to Ron. “Strike a spot with a laser, evaporate a small amount of the material and analyse it – because we can do that at 30,000 times a second we can achieve a true simultaneous analysis of the plume [of gas that comes off when the laser strikes the object]. “We have one application where we


are analysing ancient tapestries and vases – we can determine where the clay in a particular vase came from because of the elemental isotopic makeup of that region.” Away from the science, Ron Grey assesses the company and its future. “As a businessman, I am both optimistic and pessimistic. Optimistic in that we are in some sort of correction and have been for the last couple of years, and the stock market has come up.” There are also some

negative signs, such as the marked drop in the US housing market. “But the good news for me is that the business I am in seems to have stabilised quite well. The big effect for us is the value of the Australian currency and that is determined by the level of commodity pricing and interest rates in Australia compared to those in other major currencies. “All in all, the day-to-day isn't so bad.” Which, all things considered, is a fairly cheerful analysis.

Mitutoyo and GBC Providing Innovation to the World State-of-the-art precision measuring instruments and machine tool accessories Mitutoyo measuring equipment Machine tools and accessories See-Thru doors check our website for a detailed product overview 55 Northern Rd West Heidelberg VIC 3081 Phone: (03) 9450 1900 Fax: (03) 9458 3217

5 Hallstrom Place Wetherill Park NSW 2164 Phone: (02) 9756 5577 Fax: (02) 9756 5666

sales@mtiqualos.com.au www. mtiqualos.com.au

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-By Aleisha Parr

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After intense academic testing and demonstrations through collaboration between research teams from Swinburne University of Technology and CSIRO, through the Cooperative Research Centre for Welded Structures, a revolutionary all-robotic laser cladding technology is set to be employed on the first ever commercial application of its kind. Hardwear – the technology company who brought us this revolutionary tech-

nology – was recently purchased by Melbourne company Hardchrome Engineering, who already specialises in providing clients with numerous industrial repair services including chrome and nickel plating, hydraulic component repair and manufacture, application of polymeric, metallic and composite coatings, and state of the art fully automated and computerised heat treatment and Nitriding furnace technologies.

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These traditional cladding services, however, are quickly becoming a thing of the past due mostly to their high expense and environmental impact. With the opportunity to use new, clean technologies, such as laser cladding, comes a whole new way to do business in the industry. Says Mehdi Soodi, Laser Cladding Manager for Hardchrome: “Our background in metal parts - which is hard chrome nickel and chrome plating has helped us a lot in understanding the potential of laser cladding.

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Laser cladding is actually solving all the problems we had with chrome plating. We used to say ‘no’ to a lot of projects or customers which were referred to us for chrome plating, and we were saying no because of the limitations of those technologies or processes, but laser cladding comes along and solves all those limitations. So, our forty-odd years’ experience in dealing with metal parts and serving the industry has helped us a lot to harness the potential of laser cladding in a very efficient way.”


Set to begin in early April of 2011, the very first commercial application of Hardchrome’s laser cladding process will be for a power station owned by AGL, and will be carried out over a one month period. Performed in-situ, the process utilises a special diode laser and “gun” in conjunction with a programmable robot to resurface the old, eroded turbine blades into perfectly strong and durable like-new blades. This process eradicates the need for

companies to replace metal parts such as turbines – which generally must be replaced every eight years offering the same quality outcome, with the same process duration of four weeks, but with a significantly lower price tag. Hardchrome is able to offer its laser cladding services for less than the cost of replacement. To break that down, a turbine blade typically costs $35 thousand, and there are typically 180 turbine blades which need to be replaced. That amounts to roughly $1 million

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to replace them outright, whereas Hardchrome can use its laser cladding process to safely and efficiently offer the same service at just a quarter of that price, saving the client money and time while also adding a whole new level of environmental conservancy to the practice. Mr Soodi feels that this technique could – and should – revolutionise the industry. “With all these project issues in large organisations like power stations and mine sand

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refineries, our industry is a repair industry – a process that increases the service life of parts. For every company that is coming out of this mild recession, buying a new part is not always the best option nowadays, so everyone is turning to reliable repair processes. Hardchrome has about five or six of those processes, and the laser cladding is the most recent of those, the most modern and the best for high value metal components. The industry is now looking at Hardchrome as


Soodi: “The laser cladding process is a very, very safe process. If there is any waste, it’s really from the metal parts, which we recycle. We try to run it as a green workshop. There is no environmental concern at all with this project - in fact, because chrome plating is not an absolutely green project - it’s not as environmentally friendly as other projects laser cladding is taking a lot of the burden off of chrome plating, doing what used to be done with chrome plating. That’s really helping us do the first option to repair their high value metal components instead of just going ahead and buying a new product . . . they appreciate our services a lot more than before. ” Furthermore, the laser cladding process is an environmentally friendly alternative. Not only is it saving in waste by allowing companies to repair instead of replace costly equipment, but it produces far less waste than traditional cladding techniques previously used. Explains Mr Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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less chrome plating, which helps the environment with all the waste that comes out of chrome plating.” Customers which could benefit from the process include owners and operators of power stations, mines, steel mills, the rail industry, the oil and gas industry, and 4 axis CNC systems. In a recent showcase attended by Hardchrome in Orlando, Florida, the technology was a huge hit, with businesses flocking to the booth to be the first in line. Meanwhile, the

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marketplace in Australia tells a much different story. Hardchrome is finding that many managers are afraid to take the risk and try this revolutionary new product. Mr Soodi considers this to be an important and necessary advancement – not just for his company, but for the future of the industry as a whole. “I understand that as a maintenance manager in a mine they might say ‘Why should I risk trying new technology? The old technology that I have been using for thirty years works and it works


fine. Why should I try new things?’” he reflects. “Well the answer is because it’s a better thing. It saves you money and it saves you time. And you will never know it until you tried it and those who have tried it have saved a lot of money.” The obvious next step for Mr Soodi and the Hardchrome team is to raise awareness within the industry of not just the benefits of in-situ laser cladding, but also of the disadvantages of clinging on to out-dated, unsustainable technologies and processes. Says Mr Soodi, “It is lack of information, and I think it’s our responsibility to take care of that . . . We want industrial mangers to think

outside the box . . . We want them to work with us to promote or increase the level of technological advancement in Australia.” To this end, the company is launching a series of educational seminars with the first one set to be held in Latrobe Valley, and upcoming seminars in NSW, WA and QLD. “The most important thing is that we don’t recognise any boundaries for our technology – we keep using innovative technology... We keep adding technology, we keep bringing in equipment just invented in Europe and the US or we come up with innovative ideas and applications, so innovation is the key to our success.” Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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-By Aleisha Parr

W

ith so much attention focused on dealing with the recently excessive rainfall and floods across Queensland and Victoria, it is easy to forget about Australia’s underlying water crisis – its desperate lack of reliable water. Australia is actually the driest inhabited continent,

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with far too many communities plagued by chronic water shortages and droughts. These water woes have led to government issued water restrictions in many regions and cities over the last several years, but it is clear that Australia needs to develop a more permanent and suc-


cessful plan for water preservation and acquisition in order to continue to grow and develop as a nation. Mitchell Water, Australia’s largest dedicated water pipeline contractor, has been developing and implementing pipeline systems for nearly

thirty years, helping communities across Australia to obtain their water needs. Offering a complete design and construct service, Mitchell Water’s solutions extend from efficient pipeline network design, directional drilling, storage tank and pump station construction inAustralian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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cluding programming control and SCADA communications, through to bulk earthworks and poly lining for reservoirs and channels. In a recent publication, Mitchell Water boasts, “We are not limited by the size of the task, the location or the complexity, and remain committed

to delivering excellence in pipeline construction.�

MITCHELL WATER CAPABILITY STATEMENT

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Although it began in 1982 as a small family run business, through the dedication of its founding family and their loyal workforce, it has seen record growth over the past


five years with the successful completion of nearly 9000 km of water pipelines, 32 pump stations, 82 tanks and 25 earthen storages up to 140 ML. The company now turns a sizable yearly profit, servicing the entire continent. Part of that process included increasing capabilities through building up a committed and reliable workforce and amassing the largest fleet of specialised pipeline trenching equipment anywhere in Australia. The fleet includes equipment imported from North America as well as innovative machinery including trenchers, vibratory ploughs, and trench screening and backfilling

equipment developed by Mitchell Water. One important innovation championed by Mitchell Water is the Modified Vibratory Plough, which was recently developed to install HDPE up to 125 mm diameter and 1200 mm deep without creating any trenches or surface grading and ensuring ultimately no soil erosion or sinkage. In normal circumstances without the use of this technology, the topsoil would have to be removed and set aside, the trench dug and the pipeline inserted, then re-covered with the original ground and the topsoil returned. This technology reduces damage done to crop areas, and Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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also allows for more accuracy and navigational control when working in cultural preservation areas where artefacts are at risk of being disturbed. Recounts Mr Bennett, “Farmers were absolutely impressed. They kept saying to us ‘This is marvellous. You’re not upsetting the ground in which we grow our crops, where we grow our pasture’.” Mr Bennett attributes the company’s success also to its devotion to helping improve the quality of life of residents and to increase productivity of local industry within these areas. Referring to a recent project out in Tungameh, Mr Bennett explained, “They only used to get water three or four times a year. It would flush through the channels into the dams and then they’d be expected to use the water in the dams all sorts of domestic purposes, supported by rainwater of course. In times of drought, they didn’t have water. At the end of the project the

farmers would come up and say simply that they now have water on tap 365 days a year of a good quality that they could drink it.” This particular project involved the installation of a domestic system throughout middle Victoria. Mitchell Water installed 776 outlets over a total of 360 km, ultimately saving approximately 80% of water previously lost in the area. Although a very successful project, the Tungameh pipeline was small compared to a more recent endeavour carried out in Wimmera Mallee, which covered almost 9000 km of terrain, roughly 10% of all of Victoria. Jointly funded by the Commonwealth of Australia, the Victorian State Government and water users, the project was overseen by the Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water Corporation and benefited 36 towns across the region by providing water that had previously been unavailable. With an initial project completion period assumed for ten years, Mitchell Water was able to Australian Resource Focus | APRIL 2011

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deliver on every requirement of the multiple phase $415 million project in just three and a half years – an incredible feat and a great testament to Mitchell Water’s capabilities. The situation in Wimmera Mallee prior to Mitchell Water’s work was so bad, in fact, that many residents and farmers did not have access to water most of the time. In certain cases, Mitchell Water allowed these communities to use the systems they were creating, even without a com-

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mission tendered yet, just to ensure that they were able to get the water they so badly needed. This generosity fuels much of the work carried out by Mitchell Water. Mr Bennett shares his feelings on the Wimmera Mallee project, “The sheer size of the Wimmera Mallee project means that for us it’s one of the feathers in our cap. It was the largest irrigation domestic project ever undertaken in Australia and we’re really proud of it. It’s a great feeling that we then saved 95% of


the water that they used to use. So, in Australia where water’s a scarce resource, it makes you feel proud that you provided that benefit.” Mitchell Water’s work far surpasses merely providing a service to communities; it actually changes peoples’ lives. Property values increase, standards of living improve; indeed, even the little things that we sometimes take for granted – like being able to take a shower without worrying about consuming water preserved for drinking water – can be life-changing.

Adds Ross Bennett, Director of Business Development for Mitchell Water, “I can’t understand, myself, why they don’t implement that right across all the farming regions of Australia, particularly the more intensified farming areas, where people are still presuming that they can live on the little rainwater that falls out of the sky. It’s quite feasible to pipe water to large areas of farming. The difference it makes to people’s lives just to have stock domestic water, and the very little amount of water it actually uses is incredible.”

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Australian Resource Focus - April Edition  

Australian Resource Focus - 2011 April Edition

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