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THIS EDITION • Robotics and the mine of the future • Engaging China - the pitfalls and payoffs • Cairns pitch for Pilbara FIFO business • Clermont poised to tap Galilee growth

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The Mining Advocate | July 2010


July 2010

2 Go West, Young Man Cairns development groups are hoping to secure direct links to Karratha in Western Australia to help the city to become a fly in-fly out base for the booming Pilbara region.

3 Engaging Asia This edition explores some of the hurdles to attracting Chinese investment, with a few tips from resource sector insiders on how such deals can be sealed.

This driverless truck operating at the West Angelas mine in Western Australia is an example of the advances in automation being embraced by the nation’s resources industry. Story - Page 5. Photo: Christian Sprogoe

8 Osborne reborn The Osborne mine in north-west Queensland is “doing a Lazarus� thanks to Ivanhoe Australia, which has

7 Townsville Regional Capacity 10 Mackay Regional Capacity 12 Mt Isa Regional Capacity

purchased the operation in a bid to bring its own projects in the Cloncurry region online sooner.

11 Reel ‘em in A Mackay-based engineering firm believes the coal industry will embrace a new system it has pioneered to carry out comprehensive dragline rope drum refurbishments in the field.

36 Contract stacks up


14 Coal and Gas Update News in brief across the coal and gas industries.

16 Industry Update - Hardrock A comprehensive wrap of exploration and operations in Queensland and the Northern Territory.


An emerging Australian bulk materials handling company believes its contribution to the Abbot Point expansion works north of Bowen will set it up to win further major projects. Bulk Materials Handling Australia (BMHA) and German joint-venture partner FAM have started commissioning the first of four stacker reclaimers to be completed under a $135 million-plus contract.

39 Taking their cut A Clermont community group is working to position their town to make the most of the economic opportunities presented by the emergence of the Galilee Basin as a major coal mining province.

18 Between Shifts 22 QME feature 29 Mining Health and Safety Conference 32 Processing 33 Emissions 34 Major Projects 35 Training 36 Materials Handling 37 Building Mining Communities

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......................... Robert

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Advertising booking deadline September edition: August 27 All material is copyright and cannot be reproduced in part or in full by any means without written permission of the managing editor. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher.












July 2010 |

Cairns looks west for FIFO business Gaining direct flights to Karratha would help far north Queensland tap into the Pilbara resources boom, writes Belinda Humphries. Cairns development groups are targeting the booming Pilbara region to increase the city’s fly in-fly out (FIFO) mining business. Advance Cairns has applied for federal funding to devote a co-ordinator to building FIFO links, with a strong focus on companies operating in Western Australia. With an unemployment rate above the national average, far north Queensland offers a large potential labour pool as well as posing an attractive lifestyle option for personnel engaged in the mining industry, according to Advance Cairns chief executive officer Ross Contarino. “If we had direct flights from Cairns to Karratha and places like that people might decide to move to Cairns and take up those opportunities,” he said. “It would not be a hardship posting.” Mr Contarino and Cairns Chamber of Commerce President Jeremy Blockey met with mining contractors in Western Australia in June to sell the capabilities of the Cairns region as a major FIFO hub for both the WA and Papua New Guinea mining sectors. Mr Contarino said CITIC Pacific Mining was investigating a direct FIFO link between Cairns and Karratha while another company developing project in PNG was looking to establish a small base in Cairns. He described the scale of resource sector growth in the West as staggering, with the state expected to require up to 500,000 more workers in the next decade as a result.

“At the moment the Perth airport is getting fairly congested - there are not a lot of spots left in the mornings for FIFO services,” Mr Contarino said. “There are already FIFO flights from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to Karratha - and

Working Jobs Expo in late June has prompted plans for a mining specific jobs expo in the city later this year. CITIC Pacific Mining, which is developing the massive Sino Iron magnetite project 100km south-west of Karratha, collected about 500 resumes during the expo, Mr Contarino said. The unemployment rate in far north Queensland was 8.9 per cent in May – compared to a national average of 5.6 per cent -

Advance Cairns chief executive officer Ross Contarino.

Cairns is closer than any of those centres. “It’s probably about a fourhour flight from Cairns to the Pilbara and there are airline companies with capacity to take up those charters.” Mr Contarino said the Cairns business delegation had bumped into quite a few people from the Cairns and Atherton Tableland area who were already making the trip to the Pilbara region to work via Perth. Meanwhile, the high level of interest in mining positions during Centrelink’s Keep Cairns

after reaching a high of 13.8 per cent last September. Demand for mining charter flights to the Northern Territory and north-west Queensland prompted Alliance Airlines to establish a permanent base with two Fokker 100 aircraft in Cairns in May. Alliance general manager commercial Ken Crawford said the city was developing very strongly as a FIFO hub. MMG Century also recently resumed direct flights from Cairns to its Lawn Hill mine site.

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Range of tactics to win attention Industry ambassadors, “Team Australia” promotions and publicised land releases for exploration are among the tools the Queensland Government uses to sell the state’s resource potential in Asia. Queensland Treasurer and Employment and Economic Development Minister Andrew Fraser said the government continued to actively promote the state’s exploration and resource investment opportunities internationally. Its program of land releases for mineral exploration had been particularly successful in attracting Chinese companies to Queensland, he said. Mr Fraser said also the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation produced an extensive range of promotional products to increase investor awareness of Queensland’s known resources and production as well as exploration and investment opportunities. “Queensland also attends targeted seminars and conferences within Australia and overseas to promote mining investment opportunities,” he said. “Under the banner of ‘Team Australia’ and in collaboration with Austrade, representatives of federal, state and territory Geological Surveys work co-operatively to present a national approach to exploration, and mining and petroleum investment. “Australia is punching above its weight in the international arena for attracting mining investment.” A key strategy in China over the past five years had

been “Team Australia’s” promotional booth and presentations at the China Mining Conference, he said. This approach is also being adopted for the 2010 World Expo Australian Minerals and Energy Resources Showcases in Shanghai in August. Mr Fraser said the government had established Queensland Resource Industry Ambassadors to complement departmental promotional activities. “Under this initiative, selected resource sector leaders are providing their time freely to promote resource exploration in the state and provide feedback on best-practice measures to attract and secure such investment,” he said. The Northern Territory Government launched a four-year China Minerals Investment Attraction Strategy in 2007 as part of its Bringing Forward Discovery program to attract mineral and petroleum exploration funding. NT Resources Minister Kon Vatskalis said the strategy targeting China had sparked more than $140 million in publicly announced investments in mining and exploration. “Our work in promoting the Territory as an exploration investment destination though our China Minerals Investment Attraction Strategy is delivering real results, such as the recent $8.5 million investment by Teng Fei Mining in the TNG Manbarrum zinc-lead-silver project,” he said. “Both of these companies were brought together through meetings arranged under our investment strategy.”

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The Mining Advocate | July 2010


Push to raise profile in China Better cultural understanding and more promotion are being urged to help local industry attract increased Asian investment. Queensland’s resources industry is being undersold as an investment prospect to China and other Asian economies, according to mining consultant Tao Li. Dr Li, the director of Melbourne-based firm TL Geotechnics and Mining, says this failing is especially noticeable against Western Australia – which has a higher profile despite Sunshine State advantages including a wider range of mining commodities and a bigger labour pool. “From a resource point of view, I think particularly for North

Queensland, the community and other agencies need to promote it a bit more,” he said. Dr Li has worked in the mining industry for more than 30 years, including at Mount Isa Mines, and is an alternate director of Metallica Minerals, a mining junior with a strong North Queensland portfolio including the NORNICO project in the Greenvale area. When it came to marketing opportunities overseas, Dr Li believed Queensland mining interests were being overshadowed by the State’s other assets, such as its agricultural

Dr Tao Li TL Geotechnics and Mining director

industries and tourist attractions. Dr Li said also the Queensland resources industry was dominated

Build the relationship, then broker the deal “Quanxi” is the key to securing deals in China, according to Aquila Resources general manager – iron ore Russell Tipper. “It’s basically relationships,” Mr Tipper said. “You go over there and meet with people and, if you have operations here in Australia, invite them out to visit and build a relationship with key people. “A deal will grow out of that if it’s something that suits both parties. “I don’t think you can start with the deal – that’s a sort of western way of doing it.” Aquila Resources recently reached a memorandum of understanding with the China Development Bank which will pave the way for “mutually beneficial” investment and project financing opportunities. Aquila has a portfolio of iron ore, manganese and coal assets of particular interest to the Chinese steel industry as a source of raw materials. These include the Eagle Downs, Washpool and Red Hill coking coal projects under study in the Bowen Basin as well as an operating coal mine at Isaac Plains, Moranbah. The Perth-based company already has strong ties with major Chinese steelmaker Baosteel, which holds a 15 per cent stake in Aquila. Mr Tipper said there were no quick deals to be done with China. His advice to junior resource companies and suppliers wishing to do business with Chinese corporations was to be prepared to lay the groundwork and get to know who they were dealing with. “It’s a matter of establishing

by the “big boys” - players such as Xstrata, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton – who were unlikely to need to court Asian investors. North Queensland in particular needed to establish a critical mass of medium and small projects putting money into exploration and other activity to really get noticed and attract more investment, he said. Dr Li said one of the major hurdles when it came to doing business with China was the fact the parties often did not really know and understand each other. One part of the solution was to promote better understanding between Australia and China about each other’s culture and business approach, he said “Secondly, I think we do need to have a bit more promotion in terms of what the general rules are - the dos and don’ts and pros and cons in terms of what we need to prepare ourselves and our business partners for,” Dr Li said.

“Perhaps people need to be conscious that before signing something there’s a lot of work that needs to be done, a lot of trust that needs to be built... “The project is important, but No. 1 is the people - whether you are comfortable with the people. Not just the guy signing the cheque, but also his team.” Dr Li will be among the speakers at the James Cook University ( JCU) Asian Market Forum to be held in Townsville on July 23. JCU Centre for AusAsia Business Studies director Professor Zhangyue Zhou said the university had been running the forum for the local business community each year since 2007. “We’re hoping to attract more interest from the resources industry this year,” he said. “We’re trying to get them updated about what’s happening in the Asian market in general and in mining industry development.”

regarding foreign investment in Australia, including Chinese investment, Mr Tipper said their arguments did not stand up to real scrutiny. “Australia doesn’t generate enough capital to achieve all it needs to do,” Mr Tipper sad. “It does need foreign investment - whether that comes from the US, China or Europe or Japan......At the end of the day, I don’t think the FDI (foreign direct investment) from China has been at a level that should scare Australia.” Drilling at the Gillian deposit within the Mt Garnet tin project.

Russell Tipper Aquila Resources General manager – iron ore

a relationship with key players over there, and looking at larger, more developed players would probably be a reasonable tip in terms of focus,” Mr Tipper said. Mr Tipper said there were many advisers people could turn to in terms of engagement with China. “There are more and more Australian companies opening offices over there who have Mandarin speaking people to give you advice on how to approach certain organisations, who their important people are and which parts of the government will be influential in how these companies make decisions – a lot will be stateowned entities,” he said. “There’s a fair bit of homework required and I recommend that people take advice across the board - legal and commercial.” While there would always be those playing the scare card

Tin miner among those to woo Asian investors Consolidated Tin Mines is among the Queensland mining interests looking to China for finance as it works to develop a project west of Cairns with potential gross earnings of $3 billion. Managing director Ralph De Lacey recently returned from a round of discussions with potential Chinese off-take and joint venture partners in Shanghai. “We had positive meetings and they made all the right noises – but I’ve heard that before,” Mr De Lacey said. He said the company would continue to seek a strategic partner to help develop its Mt Garnet project, in the Herberton Tin Field near Cairns, at an expected cost of $124 million. Mr De Lacey said part of his challenge had been to get potential investors to understand the scale of the Mt Garnet project, which was expected to produce up to 5000 tonnes of tin metal in concentrate per annum. “It has the potential to earn $100 million per annum over a mine life of potentially 30 years,” he said. Consolidated Tin Mines looked to China for backing as it seemed to have a strong appetite for minerals and the funds available to invest – making

it “the best chance of success at this time”, he said. With crucial metallurgy work now progressing well, Mr De Lacey said the Mt Garnet project could start production in late 2012 or early 2013, subject to Consolidated Tin Mines raising sufficient funds. Mr De Lacey’s talks in Shanghai included participation in the Queensland-China Trade and Investment Forum at the invitation of the Queensland Government. Queensland Treasurer and Employment and Economic Development Minister Andrew Fraser said the forum, which had a major focus on energy and resources, was one of the key events during Queensland Week at Shanghai World Expo. “The forum attracted more than 10 Queensland participants and approximately 100 Chinese guests, including senior officials from key government agencies and business representatives from China’s major mining and energy companies,” he said. “The forum provided an excellent opportunity to showcase Queensland’s abundant resources of coal, coal seam gas (CSG) and minerals and to raise Queensland’s profile as a preferred investment destination for energy and resources.”

Dyno Nobel's new ammonium nitrate plant takes shape at Moranbah

Opportunities don't appear every day. So you must be alert for chances to advance your career and improve your lifestyle. At Moranbah in central Queensland there's an opportunity to do both, thanks to the restart of Incitec Pivot Limited's new Dyno Nobel ammonium nitrate plant. Construction on the $935 million project restarted in May and now the company is looking for skilled men and women to operate it. This provides a rare opportunity to join a landmark project early, be there on day one and grow with the operation. The Moranbah plant will manufacture explosives for the mining industry. It is being built to supply the rapidly growing, high-grade coal mining industry in the Bowen Basin. There are no fewer than 40 mines operating in the Bowen Basin, extracting 100 million tonnes of coal annually. They include operations controlled by some of the world's biggest miners, including BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), Rio Tinto, Anglo Coal and Xstrata. These operations export metallurgical coal to rapidly industrialising countries such as India and China, linking Dyno Nobel with international economic growth. Thursday Island Bamaga

All these mines need explosives and the Dyno Nobel plant at Moranbah, when it reaches full production, will make 330,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate a year in prill form and emulsion.


Iron Range

So it's not hard to see how it will become an integral part of mining in the region in the years ahead. Cooktown

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To man up the new plant, Dyno Nobel is now preparing to recruit for permanent operations and maintenance roles. We are looking for experienced

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Moranbah offers first-class facilities for a wellrounded lifestyle process operators at all levels, mechanical and electrical maintenance technicians, chemical, electrical and mechanical engineers and support personnel.

Moranbah has a 10-hole, 72-par golf course

To learn more about the opportunities coming up, contact us as shown below.

Through its Global Manufacturing operations, IPL is the only Australian producer of urea fertiliser (in Brisbane) and ammonium phosphate fertilisers (at Phosphate Hill). This spreads the company's exposure across both the mining and agriculture markets.

Interesting lifestyle

About the project

The Dyno Nobel plant is located just five kilometres from the established town of Moranbah, which itself is just two hours drive from Mackay on Queensland's coast.

The Dyno Nobel ammonium nitrate plant at Moranbah is due to be commissioned in early 2012. In operation it will have 85 employees.

Moranbah has most of the services a family would need. On the education front there is a kindergarten, two primary schools, a high school, a well-equipped library and a day-care centre.

The plant's location close to the major Bowen Basin coal mines will give it a competitive freight advantage. A long-term gas contract enhances its position as a low-cost AN producer.

For health services there is a hospital and five GPs working from two medical centres. For recreation, there is an aquatic centre, team sports facilities, a golf course and access to a range of recreational facilities for boating, fishing, camping and bushwalking.

Already 90 per cent of its production has been committed to customers, underpinning the viability of the new world-scale plant from day one.

Naturally the town has an extensive shopping mall and a full range of retail and specialty shops.

Moranbah will be the sixth ammonia plant in the IPL Group, highlighting the company's nitrogen manufacturing competence.

About the company Dyno Nobel provides explosives products and blasting services to some of the world's most successful mining companies. It is the No 1 explosives and mining services supplier in the United States and No 2 in Australia, as well as operating in Asia. Dyno Nobel is a business of Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL), an ASX top 50 company which also owns Incitec Pivot Fertilisers, Australia's premier fertiliser supplier.

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Over the coming months, we will be advertising a wide range of opportunities on our website and To lodge an expression of interest, register your details early by visiting and in the 'Careers' section click 'Apply' and then 'Job Search'. Searching for job number 650390 will take you to Expressions of Interest - Moranbah Operations. Alternatively, email the Recruitment Manager Project Aurora,


The Mining Advocate | July 2010


Steady advance of automation Australia is a global leader in pioneering mining technology, as highlighted by Rio Tinto’s major ‘Mine of the Future’ program. Driverless trucks, remotely operated drill and blasting, automatic train systems. These are not fanciful visions of the future, but examples of the rapidly evolving technology already in operation on Australian mine sites. Rio Tinto recently opened a new Perth-based operations centre to play a key role in its “Mine of the Future” program to build on such technological advantages. The centre acts as a base for 200 controllers and schedulers and more than 230 technical planning and support staff, who use cutting-edge networks to control Rio Tinto operations up to 1500km away in the Pilbara region and ensure maximum efficiency. Australia is considered a world leader in the development and use of mining technology – including automation, according to CRCMining director of

research Professor Paul Lever. The trialling of automated drills and operation of five autonomous 930E Komatsu haul trucks at Rio Tinto’s West Angelas site in the Pilbara was a prime example, he said. Professor Lever said CRCMining’s own work in the field of robotics centred on the automation of large cable shovels. “We have a shovel running at Bracalba Quarry, north of Brisbane, which is already demonstrating automatic control of some shovel operations,” he said. That work is being undertaken in conjunction with P&H Mining Equipment and the coal industry. “There’s a suite of these types of automation initiatives in Australia including being the first country to seriously look at and advance the science of automated longwalls,” Professor Lever said. While there were no fully automated mines in Australia,

Going small may be next ‘big thing’ Increasing automation in mining may spark a shift from “bigger is better” to the economics of the small when it comes to equipment, according to a technological consultant for the resources industry. CSC Natural Resources Centre of Excellence director Dr Dennis Franklin believes the massive trucks commonly used to haul ore will be replaced by fleets of smaller, faster vehicles as the robotics revolution takes hold. “Much of the cost of keeping a truck on the road, other than fuel, is the personnel cost – maintaining a crew of drivers to cover the shifts,” he said. “The upshot of that is that over the years the trucks have become bigger and bigger.” The introduction of driverless trucks would remove that factor from the equation, making smaller vehicles a more attractive option, he said. This in turn would spark changes in pit design. Driverless trucks are already under trial in the mining industry, including at Codelco’s Chilean operations and at Rio Tinto’s West Angelas mine in Western Australia. Dr Franklin said his interest in the potential for microsizing aspects of mining was sparked by scientific literature about the development of solar-powered robot dragonflies. “I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if you had a million of those and

Dr Dennis Franklin CSC Natural Resources Centre of Excellence director

they could fly down (into a mine) and grab a bit of ore and fly back to the top,” he said. While admitting that example “may be a bit of a stretch”, he believed examining the benefits to be gained through robotics and “the physics of the small” would be an important trend in mining. Dr Franklin will be delivering a paper “Insights into the Mine of the Future” at the Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition conference in Mackay in July and is due to address the Australian Mining Technology Conference in Perth in September on robotics in mining.

A Rio Tinto employee manages port activities from the Perth operations centre.

Professor Lever said various automated components and systems were in operation. An example is the use of automated LHD (load-hauldump) machines that have been around for some time in underground mining. Professor Lever said the driving factors for increased interest in automation throughout the industry included improved safety, the advantages in productivity that could be gained by reducing the production variance of mining operations, and improved energy efficiency. “A final driver is the lack of skilled resources,” Professor Lever said. Many of the current efforts in the development of automation technologies may not remove people from the driver’s seat, but instead would take over the more complex tasks which require advanced skills and experience, he said. Professor Lever said developing the technology to allow multiple types of automated machines to work together safely, efficiently and productively in a mining operation was a major focus of research efforts within Australia, including by the Australian Centre for Field Robotics in Sydney. Rio Tinto’s “Mine of the Future” initiative is already boosting productivity, according to Sam Walsh, the company’s chief executive for iron ore and Australia. “We can now operate our Pilbara iron ore operations above nameplate capacity, redefining the limits of what was considered possible. And these benefits flow directly to our bottom line,” Mr Walsh said. “There is no other mining operation anywhere in the world attempting this on this scale. Our driverless trucks, remotely operated drill and blasting, automated train systems and

remote train loading functions are just the start of a revolution that is transforming the way we extract value from our resources, and will result in a far better, safer industry than could have been imagined even a decade ago.” Rio Tinto media manager – external relations Gervase Greene said there were no plans yet to

Photo: Robert Garvey

introduce such systems to the company’s Bowen Basin coal mines. “We’ve deliberately advanced our Mine of the Future vision and the various ideas in it so they are applicable to various forms of mining, but at this stage it is confined to the iron ore operations in the Pilbara,” he said.

Survey to crystalise councils’ case for cash A survey of councils in Queensland’s key mining and energy areas is under way as part of a united campaign for further funding to cope with growth. The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) is preparing a major submission to the State and Federal governments which will argue the case for a guaranteed cash stream to assist councils in meeting the infrastructure and service needs of booming resource regions. It will also call for legislative changes that would see local councils and communities have their say much earlier in the tenure process for exploration and mining operations. The initiative follows a meeting in December 2009 with State MP Tim Mulherin and his invitation for councils affected by the resources boom to state their case for assistance. Since then meetings have occurred with councils from the North West Minerals Province, Bowen and Galilee basins and the Surat Basin. The issue was highlighted again recently with a conference organised by the Western Downs Regional Council to discuss the potential for a Royalties for Regions-style scheme in Queensland and other revenue issues for local governments facing challenges related to mining growth. LGAQ general manager – advocacy Greg Hoffman expected the report to be submitted by early August. He said the group had not reached a position yet about what form the extra funding allocations should take or at what rate. It was starting with the council survey to try to identify the expected needs and challenges over the next decade. Mr Hoffman said the LGAQ submission would also call for changes to the approvals process undertaken by the State when companies sought exploration, mining and development permits. “The councils want to see legislative changes that have their local issues and community-impacting issues addressed at the very beginning of the approvals process,” he said. “At the moment these processes are not terribly user friendly or community friendly.”



July 2010 |

The Mining Advocate

Mongolia open for business This developing country to Australia’s far north offers a wealth of opportunity for mining supply firms, writes Robert Dark. Australia’s sunburnt outback and Mongolia’s frozen steppes have a lot in common when it comes to mining. A similar bounty of metals ore and coal means opportunities for Australian-based suppliers of mining technology and services, according to Austrade. Mongolia is a country of less than three million people located roughly above China and below Russia. While they remain its largest markets, Mongolia is encouraging junior miners and operators from other countries to develop a range of ore bodies hosting uranium and rare earths, among other minerals. Australian Trade Commissioner to Korea, Martin Walsh, said suppliers would do well to tap into existing first and second-tier Australian providers already operating in Mongolia. There are currently 30 such companies operating in Mongolia including Leighton Holdings. Rio Tinto recently signed an investment agreement with the Mongolian Government for the development of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold complex in the south of the country. This $4 billion investment presented opportunities for a range of providers, Mr Walsh said. “Mines service providers; safety and environmental rehabilitation;

communications suppliers and drillers, among others,” he said. “There are similar challenges (to operating in Australia). Australian mining companies have logistics skills in particular to attack those sorts of projects.” Mongolia’s legendary bad weather and tough geography were the least concerns for most Australian suppliers, Mr Walsh said. There were the challenges of working in a developing country, he said. Other challenges included a largely unskilled workforce and requirements from the Mongolian Government that a percentage of workers needed to be nationals. Australia was doing its share with AusAID programs designed to lift the standard of education, technical proficiency and awareness among mining professionals in Mongolia, Mr Walsh said. “The Australian Government is working with the Mongolian Government to lift its understanding and capacity to deal with foreign investors,” he said. “AusAID programs have educated a significant number of mining professionals. “There are now a whole bunch of people called ‘Mozzies’ who were educated in Australia. “These are really enthusiastic

Martin Walsh (Austrade), Sang Bum Lee (Sun Metals), Chris Rees (Austrade), Brendan Coyne (Austrade), Ki Deok Park (Sun Metals) and Paul Ryan (Sun Metals) during a North Queensland briefing tour.

people who meet regularly and are well positioned. So when new Australians come into the country, they are well received.” Austrade is represented in

Tracey Lines CILTA North Queensland chairman

A second major focus for the group would be the attraction of a larger share of transport infrastructure funding for the region, she said. “We’re intending to be a strong lobby group on some of

miners are encouraged to contact Austrade Queensland senior export adviser Brendan Coyne on (07) 4721 3677 or at brendan.

Exploration off the table Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s changes to the Federal Government’s planned mining tax regime may have cooled industry opposition, however concerns have emerged over the lack of exploration incentives. The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (The AusIMM) says a proposed exploration rebate was one positive feature of the original Resources Super Profits Tax plan. “The exploration rebate has now been excluded from the compromise deal reached with the three major mining companies,” AusIMM President Greg Chalmers said.

Industry group to iron out transport problems Reducing the impact of severe wet seasons on crucial northern transport networks will be a central focus for a newly formed local industry group. The North Queensland section of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Australia (CILTA) brings transport and logistics providers and users together to address supply chain issues. Chairman Tracey Lines said flooding during the 2008/09 wet season had a substantial impact on local industry, which had taken a long time to recover. “The rail was cut for a long time and for a whole year suppliers in the north-west were trying to play catch-up,” she said. “We had to put ships on between Cairns and Townsville to get product through because roads were cut. “It does need a transport and logistics approach to find solutions, it needs input from different parts of the industry.”

Mongolia during the summer and hosts a stand at the Mongolian Mining Investors Conference held each year around September. Interested suppliers and

these issues,” Ms Lines said. “CILTA gives industry members a voice outside of their individual organisations or various modes of transport.” The newly reformed CILTA North Queensland section hosted its first major event in Townsville in June – the Transport and Logistics in the Tropics Conference. The group rebanded in late 2009 after being inactive for some years. Ms Lines, who works as Port of Townsville Limited’s business development research officer, was appointed as chairman in February. She said the group was open to suggestions from members across all transport modes about the issues that most required attention in North Queensland. It would be working to raise CILTA’s profile and build membership, she said.

“We realise this is a pragmatic decision by the government in its bid to preserve the net revenue expected to flow from the new Minerals Resource Rent Tax, but it once again breaks a clear 2007 election promise by the Labor Party to encourage increased exploration in Australia.” The AusIMM and other industry groups have made submissions to the government since 2007 arguing for the introduction of a flow-through shares scheme to help foster exploration investment. The AusIMM will take its concerns to the government’s Policy Transition Group.

Budget comes up short A peak industry body has described a commitment of $18 million over four years as “a modest down-payment” on the pre-competitive geosciences funding required to realise the State Government’s stated aim of seeing Queensland become the “greenfields exploration capital” of Australia by 2020. Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Michael Roche was commenting on the Greenfields 2020 program announced in the recent State Budget. “Clearly, the QRC would have preferred new funding similar to the $29 million Smart Mining program that started in 2006 and concludes at the end of this month,” Mr Roche said. “Recognising that the State Budget position is tight, we must assume that the $18 million commitment was as much as could be afforded right now. However, given the success of the previous Smart Mining and Smart Exploration programs, there is clear incentive to top up this new funding commitment in later years as budget circumstances improve.” Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser said the Greenfields 2020 program would target key under-explored geological terrains which had the potential to develop into major new mineral and energy resource provinces for Queensland. Mr Fraser said frontier areas identified for greenfield exploration include north and north-west Queensland and the Thompson/Lachlan region of western Queensland. “We will provide new regional geological and geophysical data in these under-explored terrains to produce new interpretations, 3D models and resource assessments to assist industry and encourage exploration,” he said. “Collaborative drilling partnerships and further land releases for exploration will also play a key role in unearthing new deposits and reducing the risks and costs to industry associated with greenfield exploration.”

The Mining Advocate | July 2010

Townsville Regional Capacity

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Best of both worlds The Interdrill Group is finding steady work and skilled labour as it turns to central Asia to build business, writes Robert Dark. Mongolia has proven its mining potential to a Townsville-based drilling company in more ways than one. Not only is the company targeting more business in the central Asian republic, Mongolian nationals are helping fill its staff quota. Interdrill Group general manager Jason Summerfield said Mongolian drillers had a reputation for being stable in an industry known for its journeymen. “They have a great attitude,” Mr Summerfield said. “If the job is there they just get in and do it. We find them quite loyal and they don’t change simply because they get what seems like a better offer. “They are competent, reliable and undertake the role on par with drillers from other nationalities.” Around 20 per cent of Interdrill’s 150 staff is Mongolian. They are also involved in the company’s drilling activities in Pakistan. Mr Summerfield said the company was developing crosscultural international training

packages to allow Mongolians and other nationalities into Australia to work on 457 visas. Interdrill has noted a resurgence in exploration activity since the Mongolian Government abandoned plans to implement its equivalent of a mining super profits tax. Interdrill is registered as Gobi Drilling in Mongolia and has also worked for Batuu Mining, BHP Coal and Gobi Coal. The business has a full workshop and office based in the capital Ulaanbaatar. In what could be brochure copy for the country, Mr Summerfield described Mongolia as civil and pleasant with a committed workforce. However the winter does put a handbrake on work. “The biggest problem is the weather,” Mr Summerfield said. “You can only work nine months of the year. It is possible to work through winter but presents challenges. “The place is definitely moving forward and there are more companies selling drilling consumables setting up operations. Mongolia has

Towards the end of winter, ice and snow drifts still exist in the north of the country. An RD1500 mounted on an MAN 8x8 truck proves able to traverse the country irrespective of road conditions.

a reputation for big, privately funded projects and that is always attractive to investors.” Mr Summerfield said most of the Interdrill Group’s business was based outside Australia. “We undertake projects in

the geothermal industry in Papua New Guinea, copper and coal in Mongolia and other gas, hardrock and coal projects in Australia, Pakistan, the Solomon Islands and Myanmar,” he said.

Conference papers sought The Engineers Australia Townsville local group is calling for papers for this year’s Northern Engineering Conference. The conference, to be held at the Mercure Inn in Townsville on September 17, will carry the theme “Engineering leadership and sustainability: raising the bar”. Abstracts for potential presentations should be submitted by July 23. For further information email jeremy.tranter@

Engineering honour for ‘Silver Link’ North Queensland’s distinctive “Silver Link”, the Burdekin River Bridge, is taking its place among the most significant feats in Australia’s engineering history. Engineers Australia has approved the bridge’s listing under the organisation’s Engineering Heritage Recognition Program. A ceremony is planned for August 10 to celebrate its recognition under that program. Engineers Australia Townsville local group committee member Howard Goodes, who is organising the event, said there were also plans to erect an interpretive panel to display historical photos and information about the bridge. Townsville-based Main Roads engineer Ervin Smith and Engineering Heritage Australia Queensland panel member Anthony Carey prepared the submission that prompted the bridge’s recent approval as an Engineering Heritage Marker. Their submission described the bridge, located between Home Hill and Ayr, as a unique engineering feat in the nation. Completed in 1957 after a decade of construction work, the bridge permitted the crossing of the Burdekin River – previously a serious barrier to the development of North Queensland.



July 2010 |

The Mining Advocate

Osborne reborn in $17.4m deal Ivanhoe Australia has snapped up a neighbouring copper-gold operation in a move to help fast-track its own project suite. The Osborne mine in northwest Queensland is “doing a Lazarus” thanks to some wizardly wonders up the road. The copper-gold operation, 195km south-east of Mount Isa, faced closure after owner Barrick Gold last year dropped plans to develop the Kulthor underground project at the site. However the operation’s proximity to Ivanhoe Australia’s molybdenum and rhenium projects has given it a new lease on life. Ivanhoe Australia is purchasing the Osborne operation for $17.4 million, plus a share of royalties, in a deal due for settlement in September. Ivanhoe Australia chief executive officer Peter Reeve said the purchase would help Ivanhoe bring the start date for its Merlin project forward by a year and a half, with the ore to be trucked 50km for processing at the Osborne plant. The Merlin mine was now likely to be in production in 2012, while production from the high-grade Little Wizard

deposit – which lies in the path of the planned Merlin decline – remained on track to start next year, he said. Mr Reeve said the Osborne purchase would save Ivanhoe Australia about $100 million in capital expenditure for the Merlin development. There will be a hiatus in activity at Osborne until ore becomes available from the molybdenum-rhenium project. Mr Reeve said Ivanhoe Australia would maintain a small care and maintenance crew at Osborne until that time, as well as a mining assessment team. It hoped that many of the 250-strong Osborne workforce would be available to return to the operation when it ramped up again, he said. Ivanhoe plans to progressively build up the Merlin mining rate to 800,000 tonnes per annum by 2014 while sourcing other viable ore from the Osborne tenements and its own Cloncurry coppergold projects to utilise any spare capacity in the mill. The company says the highest


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priority copper-gold ore sources are those within the existing Osborne mine, particularly at Kulthor - where a 2.35km development drive has been completed, with only 150m remaining to be developed to gain access to ore. Ivanhoe Australia is conducting a scoping study regarding its own copper-

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gold projects in the Cloncurry region – which include the original Mount Elliott mine, Starra Line and Mt Dore. Mr Reeve believed the Mt Dore operation had the potential to go into production within three years, mining at a rate of about three to five million tonnes per annum to potentially produce

15,000 to 20,000 tonnes of cathode copper. That ore would be treated in a solvent extractionelectrowinning heap leach operation on site rather than at Osborne. “Once we have the Mt Dore project going, with Osborne and Merlin going, we will easily have a workforce approaching 500 or 600 within the next five years,” Mr Reeve said. Ivanhoe Australia has selected its preferred contractor to develop the Merlin decline and expects to put development work at Kulthor out to tender soon. Detailed work has already commenced for a 50km haul road between Merlin and Osborne and Mr Reeve said the task would be made easier by the fact a 35km track had already been bulldozed between Osborne and the Lucky Luke prospect. “The big strategic advantage of the Osborne acquisition is that it makes the whole activity of mining, developing, making cash and paying dividends come together much more quickly and reduces the risk of delivery of the Merlin project,” Mr Reeve said. “We’ve been looking at this for just under 12 months - since Barrick announced it was letting Osborne run down.”

The Mining Advocate | July 2010



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Jobs agenda An employment passport is among the strategies an industry-government partnership is investigating to aid indigenous job prospects in the resources sector. The North West Queensland Indigenous Resources Industry Initiative is holding a series of community engagement meetings throughout the Mount Isa and Gulf regions to discuss that idea and other employment issues. Partnership facilitator for the initiative, Michael Limerick, said the employment passport would act as a record of relevant training and experience that jobseekers could present to resource companies. “We found that many indigenous people have had a lot of different bits of training and work experience, but that is not always captured in a way that can easily be presented to employers,” Mr Limerick said. “The passport will also provide a bit of transferability.” Mr Limerick said the group was also working to clarify exactly what resource companies meant when they stated they were seeking job applicants who were “work ready”. “We had a workshop of HR (human resources) managers from some companies to talk about that,” he said. “There are a lot of common elements in the companies’ approaches but the message is not always communicated consistently.” Requirements which may seem hard and fast, such as the need to hold a drivers licence, could actually be quite flexible in practice, he said.

“The things mining companies have said are most important as minimum requirements are really about attitude,” Mr Limerick said. “That’s the issue they stressed the most - the ability to work in a team, turn up regularly to work, communicate in the workplace and the willingness to learn.” Mr Limerick said indigenous people accounted for about 23 per cent of the population in north-west Queensland, but only about 8 per cent of the local resource sector workforce. Incitec Pivot HR manager for northern Australia Rod Francisco said the working group meetings held as part of the initiative had been the first time companies operating in the region had sat together as an industry to discuss indigenous employment issues. “We have all identified similar issues that we all had different ways of approaching,” he said. “But the issues are the same and we have been able to clarify as a group what needs we have.” Mr Francisco said Incitec Pivot was undertaking a review of training programs across its Queensland operations and would be looking at ways to increase indigenous opportunities as part of that process. The North West Queensland Indigenous Resources Industry Initiative stems from a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Queensland Resources Council and the State Government in 2007 to increase indigenous employment in the resources sector and foster indigenous enterprises.


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Partnership facilitator for the North West Queensland Indigenous Resources Industry Initiative, Michael Limerick, at a recent stakeholder meeting in Mount Isa. Photo: Roslyn Budd

Budding Darwin branch A newly formed committee is working to resurrect the Darwin branch of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM). Committee chairman Dave Clark said Darwin previously had been home to a very successful AusIMM branch, but its activities had dwindled in recent years. “We have some very capable and motivated people on board who are keen to ramp things up again,” he said. “There is plenty of support from key people within organisations such as ERA (Energy Resources of Australia) and other mining and exploration companies with a local presence.” Mr Clark - who manages GHD’s Northern Territory business - arrived in Darwin late last year from Melbourne, where he had been an

active AusIMM branch committee member. “I was keen to play a role in the Northern Territory’s AusIMM branch and it soon became clear that activities had fallen by the wayside over the last several years,” he said. Mr Clark contacted a selection of local members and other interested professionals, resulting in the reformation of a core local committee in April. The group has since held several formal meetings and it hosted its first social event in late June. Mr Clark said it was looking to recruit more committee numbers, increase the level of participation and enhance the membership levels. People interested in joining the Darwin AusIMM branch should contact Mr Clark on 0412 092 096.

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July 2010 |

The Mining Advocate

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Report highlights transport priorities

The new Sandvik Mining and Construction premises in Paget, Mackay.

Sandvik celebrates shift to new complex at Paget Sandvik Mining and Construction has opened a new service and support branch in Paget, Mackay. The company previously worked from three different sites in the central Queensland city, but has brought its operations under one roof with the new complex. “With this new branch, we have one of the most modern facilities in the industry, including the latest servicing and machine diagnostic equipment,� Sandvik Mackay branch manager Ryan Jones said. Consisting of more than

3000sq m of workshop floorspace, the new facilities allow Sandvik to carry out a full range of rebuild and repair work on a wide variety of equipment. “Workshop 1, which can carry out strip and rebuild on anything up to large continuous miners, has two 20-tonne cranes, a 5-tonne auxiliary crane and 1000-volt power supply, so we can do complete testing and diagnostics,� Mr Jones said. “Workshop 2, which can carry out a wide range of fabrication work, also incorporates a paint bay – again capable of handling

large continuous miners.� Other facilities include a machine shop, field service support storage, a separate 15m-by-9m washbay and a braketesting area. The complex includes a highrise warehouse with capacity to stock more than 6000 line items. To mark the opening, visitors to the Sandvik stand during the upcoming Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition (QME) will be invited to attend a spit roast and inspect the new facilities on the evenings of July 27 and 28.

The Mackay region’s freight transport network is struggling to meet current demands and will restrain future economic and export growth, a new report shows. The Regional Economic Development Corporation (REDC) released the report, produced by Norris Consulting, analysing the freight transport issues in the Mackay Whitsunday Isaac region. The report estimates that limitations in the region’s freight transport network will lead to the loss of 5000 new jobs and $6 billion per annum in gross regional product if priority areas are not addressed. REDC acting chief executive officer Laura Sorensen said it was vitally important that the State and federal governments took notice of recommendations stemming from the report. “The priority areas in our freight transport network must be addressed to ensure that our region remains economically sustainable

and copes with growth long term,� she said. Priority actions outlined in the report include: • Intermodal corridor access to the Port of Mackay to remove freight vehicles from urban areas, • Development of a multicargo facility at Abbot Point, • Upgrade Peak Downs Highway to roadtrain quality, including Clermont to Alpha, • Northern Missing Link rail and associated road connectivity, • Development of planning instruments including a Statutory Regional Plan, Regional Integrated Transport Plan and Strategic Freight Network Plan. The Economics Of Freight Transport Project report will be sent to Regional Development Australia, Queensland Transport and Main Roads.

Mackay Regional Capacity

The Mining Advocate | July 2010


Factory finish in the field ABC Heavy Engineering is offering the coal industry a new option for tackling dragline rope drum wear, writes Belinda Humphries. A Mackay-based engineering firm has pioneered a system that cuts the costs and risks associated with dragline rope drum refurbishment by offering a factory finish in the field. ABC Heavy Engineering co-owner Maurie Smith said the ability to carry out a full refurbishment in situ could save

mine operators as much as $1 million per drum set in direct and associated costs. The new system was used in the field for the first time recently during a dragline shutdown in the Hunter Valley coalfields. Mr Smith said the success of that debut had brought him great

satisfaction after a long process of research and development. “I’m completely confident that this revolutionary new process will be embraced by a range of customers throughout the industry,” Mr Smith said. The story began about a decade ago when ABC Heavy Engineering developed a process to fully rebuild worn dragline rope drums and a range of other dragline and shovel components in its factory. Mr Smith said ABC Heavy Engineering was able to reinstate rope groove wear using specifically designed weld alloys followed by CNC machining to the original profile and induction hardening of the surface affected by rope contact. This offered a greater depth of uniform hardness than the flame hardening technique used in the original manufacture of the drums, he said. A full refurbishment including this treatment took five to six weeks in the factory, requiring

The 1965 Dodge Phoenix on a stop in the 2010 Outback Trek.

Travels of an artful ‘Dodger’ Every year in early June, Maurie Smith takes a break from steering his business interests and gets behind the wheel of an old automobile for the Royal Flying Doctor Service’s Outback Trek. The most recent trek saw participants make their way from Hay in New South Wales to the Whitsunday haven of Hamilton Island. Mr Smith said the journey had marked the trek’s 21st year of fundraising by retracing the route of the very first event,. He made the trip in a freshly prepared 1965 Dodge Phoenix under the theme “The Dodgy Brothers”. The Dodge had spent its life as a country funeral director’s mourning car before being converted into a trek vehicle, Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith has only missed two or three years since his first trek experience in 1991. His teammates over the years have included his sons and a range of workmates from ABC Heavy Engineering. “This year I went with Simon Edwards who owns the hotel at Blanchetown (South Australia) and Lloyd Silk, a cane grower from Mackay,” he said. “Glen Spears, a mate who owns Central Helicopters - based in Adelaide, again completed the entire trek in a Bell JetRanger helicopter - fundraising along the way by selling scenic chopper flights to other crew members and participants.” So what is it about the Outback Trek that keeps this 58-year-old businessman coming back year after year?

Picture-in-Picture (PiP)

“Having fun travelling, camping out in the ‘Milky Way Motel’ and enjoying the odd drink with mates that you may not have seen since the last trek while raising money for the very essential Royal Flying Doctor Service is my two weeks’ of annual stress relief ,” he said. The 2010 trekkers travelled via Broken Hill, Copley and Innamincka in South Australia then across the western Queensland border to Noccundra, Stonehenge, Muttaburra, Barcaldine, Ravenswood and on to Airlie Beach. Participants then took a ferry to Hamilton Island with family and friends for the gala dinner and awards function. Mr Smith said preliminary estimates indicated the 2010 Outback Trek would net more than $1million for the RFDS.

120° lens rotation

Maurie Smith with a dragline rope drum.

the sort of time window available only during a major dragline shutdown, he said. ABC Heavy Engineering took a step towards in-situ refurbishment when it began to offer induction hardening in the field to allow companies to tackle problems of wear during smaller shutdowns. “We always viewed it as a staged thing,” Mr Smith said “We had to get the customers comfortable with the fact we could achieve induction hardening in situ and then move on to developing the rest of the process as we have now.” Mr Smith said the firm had since been able to incorporate all the processes required to rebuild a drum in the factory into a fully modular, transportable system that it could take on site. “One of the big issues was the room inside the dragline that we had to work in,” he said. “We have been able to reconfigure a lot of our machinery to have it mounted permanently inside a B-double transporter which we can back into place at the rear of the dragline.”


Photo: Lauren Reed

The process conducted on site includes some heat treatment to soften residual hardening, pre-machining of the worn area using CNC milling and indexing equipment connected to a pony drive, application of welding alloys to reinstate wear, final machining of the rope groove profile and induction hardening. Mr Smith said the total process took about three weeks. “It gives the customer another option regarding how they can reduce costs and control risk,” he said. The company has applied for an innovation patent for the system. Mr Smith was the original owner of ABC Heavy Engineering – the trading name for Australian Bearings Corporation – but sold the business in 2007. It went into administration under the new owners and the family bought it back in October last year, with Mr Smith’s three sons – Rick, Chris and Paul Smith - acting as company directors and shareholders.


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The Coffee Club Mount Isa - brewing success

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Lenore is a hands-on franchise owner, spending her days looking after customers and managing their team of more than 25 staff. The Coffee Club Mount Isa is located at 21A-21B Mile Street and is open seven days a week from 7am until late. When the question is “where will I meet you?” the answer is The Coffee Club Mount Isa. Visit to find out more about The Coffee Club.

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The Mining Advocate

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The Mining Advocate | July 2010


North-west’s ‘accidental’ geo The incoming national president for peak professional body, The AusIMM, tells of her multi-faceted mining career. A young Alice Clark had her sights set on studying marine biology at university before finding a firmer footing in the world of strata and stone. Twenty-seven years later, the Mount Isa-based geologist can boast a distinguished mining career and the honour of being elected as the next national president for The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM). While it may be hard to ignore the fact that she is the first woman to win that role in The AusIMM’s 117-year history, Ms Clark is determined that gender will not be the focus of her presidency. “I’m a different gender, but it’s not new to me – I’ve been a woman all my life,” she said. Her focus is on doing the best job she can and Ms Clark lists three key issues which she is especially passionate about - encouraging continued professional development, workplace diversity and industry self-regulation. Ms Clark’s resume offers an interesting glimpse of the North’s recent mining history after her almost accidental entry into the profession of geology. Her family emigrated from the United States when Ms Clark was nine. Former Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen was importing skilled people for the sciences at the time and her father - a computer scientist and mathematician with a background in nuclear physics – took a role at the Queensland Institute of Technology. Ms Clark said her family moved around Australia and New Zealand in the years that followed, before she left home to

study at James Cook University in Townsville. “I actually went there to do marine biology and discovered I don’t have any sea legs at all and my alternative was geology,” she said. “I walked into my first geology lecture and thought ‘wow, this is what I want to do’.” Fortunately she had found herself at one of the top centres in the country for economic geology. Ms Clark said her luck continued when she left university, gaining her first exploration job with Bob Osborne – the geologist who discovered the copper-gold deposit in northwest Queensland where the Osborne mine stands today. “My very first drill program was at Trough Tank - which became the Osborne deposit,” she said. Ms Clark left the team when Placer Dome took over from CSR in 1988 and took a job with an MIM subsidiary at the newly producing Ravenswood gold operation in North Queensland. A talk from visiting Mount Isa Mines chief geologist Brice Mutton spurred her interest in working in the north-western mining hub. “So I asked him if I could transfer out and kept asking until eventually I was transferred to Mount Isa in 1990,” she said. After eight years working across the Mount Isa mining operations and in exploration, Ms Clark said she was “given a crack at Brice Mutton’s old job”. She worked as chief geologist for three and a half years at what is now Xstrata’s copper-lead-zinc operations, where she also met husband Steve de Kruijff. Ms Clark left that role to start her own business - CdeK

Incoming national AusIMM president Alice Clark.

Geological & Mining Services - when daughter Clare started school in 2002. “I wanted a bit more flexibility – that’s why I went out on my own,” she said. “There are not a lot of childcare options out here. It’s difficult for families to find balance in mining towns without child care options.” About 50 per cent of Ms Clark’s consultancy work is based on copper, silver, lead, zinc and gold projects in Australia, while the remainder involves overseas

operations. It centres on assessing ore bodies and mineral resources – particularly their potential as commercial prospects. Ms Clark is also involved in mentoring and a separate arm of her business provides peer review for documents such as feasibility studies and public reports. Ms Clark said she loved her work. “I get exposed to a lot of innovative people and that’s very inspiring,” she said. “I also get exposure to high

level corporate issues – I like that, looking at the strategic objectives of different groups.” Outside of working hours, Ms Clark can often be found on the sidelines supporting the Spinifex College under 14s netball team. She is also a keen cook and amateur astronomer. Ms Clark is a director of The AusIMM and deputy chair of the Joint Ore Reserves Committee ( JORC). She will take up her new role as AusIMM president in January 2011.

CopperString advances

Industry groups join forces for bigger, better Isa ball The north-west Queensland local group of Engineers Australia will team up with their AusIMM counterparts this year to hold a combined ball in Mount Isa on September 11. “This year, in place of our traditional engineering ball, we have joined forces with our local AusIMM chapter to host a bigger, better formal event at the Mount Isa Civic Centre,” Engineers Australia local group president Davey Cawood said. “We are expecting more than 300 local and regional professionals to attend this gala evening of fine dining, fantastic entertainment and invaluable networking opportunities.” The ball is a highlight on the group’s educational and social calendar for the 2010-11 financial year. Mr Cawood said the planned line-up included regular technical talks and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions. Committee members will also be visiting local schools in early 2011 to present basic engineering concepts to the students before setting them a fun engineering challenge. “The engineering concepts presentation will also include a section explaining what engineers actually do and exploring engineering as a profession,” Mr Cawood said. “In the past, our school-based competitions have been targeted at the primary level. This year, we hope to engage with senior school students as well.”

Photo: Roslyn Budd

A feasibility study has been launched for a $1 billion power link between Townsville and Cloncurry.

The Queensland Government is joining forces with private companies CuString and Leighton Contractors to conduct a feasibility study into a 700km powerline project from Townsville to Cloncurry. The $1 billion CopperString proposal, which would link existing and future mines in the North West Mineral Province to

the national electricity grid, has been declared a project of state significance. Premier Anna Bligh said the milestone followed the Sims Review, which determined the private sector should fund infrastructure to address the region’s electricity shortfall. “In August 2009, the Queensland Treasurer, with the

support of the Federal Treasurer and the Queensland Resources Council, called on potential energy providers to work with major regional energy users to find a commercially viable longterm answer,” she said. “In the case of a transmission connection, customers for these projects have advised the State Government they have selected the CopperString project from a number of potential transmission proponents to undertake a detailed feasibility study. “Results of the CopperString feasibility study, due later this year, will allow the major energy customers to assess if this represents a better solution compared to local generation for their energy requirements over the next 20-plus years.” Ms Bligh said the Sims Review identified an upgrade of CS Energy’s Mica Creek Power Station at Mount Isa as an option for future power supply to the region, while leaving the door open for other parties to develop alternatives. CS Energy is well advanced in its investigations into upgrade and expansion options for the gas-fired power station.



Key LNG contract announced Santos has appointed Fluor Australia as the preferred contractor to carry out Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) for the upstream component of its Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas (GLNG) project. Santos anticipates awarding an EPC contract subject to a final investment decision and will extend Fluor’s engineering design contract in the interim to include early works activities of about $50 million. The GLNG upstream scope comprises all coal seam gas and associated water gathering and processing infrastructure for both the Fairview and Roma fields to supply a proposed LNG plant in Gladstone. Santos president for Queensland Rick Wilkinson said the project remained on track to deliver its first LNG cargo in 2014. The Queensland Government recently granted conditional approval to the $7.7 billion Santos/Petronas GLNG project. Premier Anna Bligh said Co-ordinatorGeneral Colin Jensen had completed a review of the environmental impact statement and approved it with strict conditions.

Dam allocations open SunWater has issued a call for foundation customers to reserve highpriority water allocations from the $824 million Connors River Dam project in central Queensland. The proposed dam, 110km east of Moranbah, is strategically located near the booming Bowen and Galilee basins

Terminal project “significant” Xstrata Coal Queensland’s $1 billion proposal to build a coal export terminal on Balaclava Island, north of Gladstone, has been declared a significant project by Queensland Co-ordinator-General Colin Jensen. The facility could export up to 35 million tonnes of coal per annum from the Bowen and Surat basins if approved.

July 2010 |

Mr Jensen said the declaration of a significant project signalled the beginning of a rigorous assessment of the project’s impacts on the natural, social, economic, built and cultural environment.

Upgrade at Stanwell

Ichthys project delayed INPEX has put back the development schedule for its Ichthys gas project. The final investment decision is now expected to take place in the last quarter of 2011, with LNG production from the planned onshore facility at Darwin forecast to commence in the latter part of 2016, rather than 2015.

Queensland Energy Minister Stephen Robertson has announced INPEX public affairs manager Tim plans for a $22.5 million upgrade of Larcombe said Stanwell Power the company and Station outside NEW ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITY its joint venture Rockhampton Align your product and services to themes that make the participant mining industry and supply chain run bigger, faster, better. in central Total remained Queensland. Processing Training committed to Materials Handling Safety Mr Robertson developing the Emissions Living Remotely said the upgrade project as rapidly Major projects would include as possible and the installation of Ring us now and talk there had 07 4755 0336 stressed to us about packages. new low-pressure been no change in or email turbines, which plans to locate the will increase the onshore component efficiency of the at Darwin. “The Ichthys project is station and reduce its greenhouse gas extremely large and complex,” he said. emissions by 47,000 tonnes a year. “We are taking the time now to Mr Robertson said the work on Unit 4 optimise all aspects of the project’s at Stanwell followed upgrades on Units design to minimise the risk of 2 and 3 over the past two years. increasing costs. “ Unit 4 is expected to be taken offline Mr Larcombe said the environmental for about 60 days from August 30, with impact statement for the project and the remaining units managing power supporting technical studies would be demand during this period. released for public comment soon as part of a comprehensive community New division at Clough consultation program. Engineering and construction company Clough has established a dedicated Washpool resource increases Australian coal seam gas division. “Our entry into the coal seam gas industry is a key strategic step in strengthening our position as an engineering-led EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contractor with a focus on the oil and gas sector,” Clough chief executive officer John Smith said. “We’ve assembled an experienced team for Clough Seam Gas, one that understands the unique requirements of the Australian market, and one which we feel is capable of delivering tailored, high quality services to coal seam gas clients.”


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Aquila Resources has released an upgraded resource statement of 185.54 million tonnes for its Washpool hard coking coal project, 24km north-west of Blackwater in central Queensland. The company also announced a maiden reserve statement for the project, including proved and probable reserves of 108.3 million tonnes, with marketable product reserves of 39 million tonnes. The Washpool feasibility study, which is still to be released, proposes an open-cut mine producing 1.6 million tonnes per

The Mining Advocate

annum of high-rank, hard coking coal over a mine life of up to 25 years.

Tougher rules on CSG water The State Government has moved to further tighten restrictions on the storage and handling of coal seam gas water. Acting Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk recently released a new policy to ensure that dams used to aggregate and store CSG water or brine are built to best-practice environmental management standards. Ms Palaszczuk said the application of these standards demonstrated the State Government’s commitment to ensuring that salt produced through CSG activities did not impact on the environment. “Companies who fail to comply with these tough new standards can face penalties in excess of $2 million,” she said.

$4.85b coal rail bid The Queensland Coal Industry Rail Group (QCIRG) has issued a $4.85 billion cash offer to the Queensland Government to buy the QR Central Queensland coal track network. QCIRG chairman Nick Greiner said the fully funded offer represented a substantial premium to what was likely to be achieved under the proposed Initial Public Offering (IPO) of the assets. QCIRG comprises 13 Queensland coal producers - Anglo Coal, BHP Billiton, Ensham Resources, Felix Resources, Jellinbah Resources, Macarthur Coal, Peabody Energy, Rio Tinto Coal, Vale Australia, Wesfarmers Resources and Xstrata Coal. Aquila Resources and New Hope Coal Australia are supporting parties and have the opportunity to provide equity at a later stage.



The Mining Advocate | July 2010

Green light for rail corridor Queensland Co-ordinator-General Colin Jensen has approved the proposed Hancock rail corridor - an essential milestone towards the development of the Alpha Coal Mine.

Switched on

Vale moves on Belvedere Vale has signalled its intention to increase its stake in the Belvedere Hard Coking Coal Project to 100 per cent by exercising its option to acquire Aquila Resources’ share of the joint venture.

The corridor has been approved as an The project achieved a milestone in Infrastructure Facility of Significance the first quarter of 2010 with the under the relevant Act. This means completion of the pre-feasibility study, the company behind the $2 billion rail which indicated the underground proposal now has longwall project at Water a defined corridor Moura in central Trucks within which Queensland could they can continue be developed at a to examine the cost of just over feasibility of their $2.8 billion. Vale plans. Hancock in June increased Coal proposes to its participation build a 495km in Belvedere to standard gauge 75.5 per cent by railway from the acquiring AMCI planned Alpha Investments’ stake Coal Mine in the for $105 million. Galilee Basin to Abbot Point, north of Bowen. Oaky North contract

Alone again A heads of agreement for Arrow Energy’s planned takeover of Liquefield Natural Gas Limited’s Gladstone LNG project has expired. The deal ground to a halt after Shell and PetroChina announced their own takeover bid for Arrow. LNG Ltd managing director Maurice Brand said the company remained strongly of the view that its mid-scale project at Fisherman’s Landing was well placed to be successfully developed and commercialised in a much shorter time frame than other, much larger LNG projects.

New Cambria drilling Coking and thermal coal explorer Stanmore Coal has started exploratory drilling at its New Cambria project, 20km east of Blackwater in central Queensland. It plans an initial program of 22 holes targeting a resource of low volatile PCI coal.


Some of the Darling Downs Power Station commissioning team at the finished plant.

Origin Energy has completed final commissioning of its 630MW Darling Downs Power Station in Queensland. Developed at a cost of more than $1 billion, the plant has three 120 MW gas

Bounty Mining has entered into a sixmonth contract to provide labour hire services for gate road development at Xstrata’s Oaky North mine, north-east of Emerald in central Queensland.

turbines and a 270 MW steam turbine. It will emit less than half the greenhouse gas of a typical water-cooled coal-fired power station of the same capacity and requires much less water. The development includes a 205km domestic gas pipeline linking the power

Chairman Gary Cochrane said Bounty was in ongoing discussions with other mine owners in relation to further opportunities in New South Wales and Queensland in the near future.

station to coal seam gas fields in the region held by Australia Pacific LNG - a joint venture between Origin and ConocoPhillips. Origin has also purchased a 77ha block adjacent to the current Darling Downs Power Station for possible future expansion.

$229m deal for Thiess Thiess will continue coal mining operations at the South Walker Creek Mine following a three-year $229 million contract extension by the mine’s owner BHP Mitsui Coal. The new contract focuses on overburden and coal mining. Thiess employs nearly 300 technical, operational, maintenance and management team members at South Walker Creek Mine.

Appointment welcomed The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has applauded engineer Jennifer

Mackenzie’s appointment as the first female general manager of a BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance-owned mine. Ms Mackenzie, who has taken the reins at Dysart’s Norwich Park Mine, shared this year’s QRC Resources Award for Women with Susan Denk, chief operating officer for Unidel.

Curtis Liquefied Natural Gas project (QCLNG) near Gladstone. Premier Anna Bligh said conditions for the BG Group-owned project included community and social benefits such as the provision of affordable housing for Gladstone and the Western Downs. “This is a great step forward for

Approval for LNG project

Queensland and we now await the

The State Government has granted conditional approval to QGC’s multi-billion-dollar Queensland

Federal Government’s consideration of this project under its environmental laws,” she said.

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July 2010 |

drilling campaign on a series of targets close to Crunchie,” he said.

Crocodile’s golden touch Crocodile Gold has commenced the portal excavation ahead of schedule for its new Cosmo underground mine in the Northern Territory, with production expected to begin in mid-2011. The company has also declared the start of commercial production at its Union Reefs mill near Pine Creek, saying target throughput, grades and recoveries are now being met on a consistent basis. Crocodile Gold chief operating officer David Keough said this was a significant milestone for Crocodile Gold, which had come a long way since taking control of the former GBS Gold assets in the NT in November 2009. “We have successfully commissioned the Union Reefs mill, brought three mines into production and continue to have encouraging exploration results from our ongoing drill program,” he said. “Over the coming months we plan to continue development at the Cosmo and Tom’s Gully underground mines and expect a steady flow of exploration results.”

Crunchie a sweet prospect Solomon Gold has announced a maiden inferred resource estimate at its gold and silver Crunchie Prospect, which forms part of the Rannes project about 150km west of Gladstone in central Queensland. The estimate is 5.6 million tonnes at 1.12g/t for 201,648oz of contained equivalent gold. Five prospects in the Rannes project area - Crunchie, Homestead, Kauffmans, Cracklin Rosie and Porcupine Pie have been subject to first-pass drilling by Solomon subsidiary Central Minerals and previous explorers, with potentially economic intersections in all five. Solomon Gold chief executive Nicholas Mather said the company would continue to grow the Rannes project resource towards its stated objective of one million ounces. “We are about to commence a 20,000m

JV chases next Cannington BHP Billiton has commenced drilling at the Altia silver-lead-zinc deposit, in the Cloncurry district, where it is involved in a $10 million joint venture project with Breakaway Resources. Breakaway said a high-capacity diamond drill rig had been commissioned to drill a deep hole of about 1000m as part of an initial program of 5000m of diamond drilling.

by developing its scandium projects alongside the proposed NORNICO nickel-cobalt project.

Cairns, includes a 150,000 tonnes-perannum processing plant currently on care and maintenance.

Meanwhile, the company expects to generate an updated resource estimate in July for its Greenvale nickel cobalt deposit.

Tropical Metals, a Brisbane-based private resource company, previously held the Wolfram Camp project area before farming out an 85 per cent interest to Queensland Ores (now known as Planet Metals) in 2004.

This would be used in pit design and mine scheduling for the Greenvale operations.


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Consolidated Tin Mines has opted out of a deal to acquire North Queensland Metals’ tin assets in the Herberton area of North Queensland.

This forms a key component of Without a travel agent you’re on your own The company BHP Billiton’s announced recently first-year that, following minimum expenditure commitment of completion of due diligence and in light $1 million under the farm-in and joint of the current market conditions, the venture agreement Breakaway secured board had decided not to proceed with with the global mining giant last the proposed transaction. November. Consolidated Tin Mines is Breakaway said the focus of planned proceeding to a pre-feasibility study exploration under the joint venture at its Mt Garnet tin project in North was based on the strong geological Queensland. It has commenced similarities between the Altia discussions with potential Chinese offmineralisation and the world-scale take and joint venture partners. Cannington silver-lead-zinc mine, located 100km to the south along the New head for uranium group same geological corridor. ERA chief executive officer Rob Atkinson has taken up the chairmanship “Bonus” scandium discovery of the Australian Uranium Association. Metallica Minerals has discovered highERA owns and operates the Ranger grade scandium mineralisation near the uranium mine in the Northern Territory. former Greenvale nickel mine, about Mr Atkinson replaces outgoing 190km west of Townsville in North chairman Dean Dalla Valle, who heads Queensland. BHP Billiton’s uranium business. The company said the presence of scandium at the Lucknow nickel-cobalt Wolfram Camp sells for $8m deposit added to its existing scandium resource at the Kokomo project, about Planet Metals has entered into a 50km north-north-east of Greenvale. binding Heads of Agreement to sell its Wolfram Camp tungsten-molybdenum Managing director Andrew Gillies project for $8 million to Tropical said this left Metallica ideally placed Metals. to become the world’s major longterm supplier of scandium products The operation, about 90km west of


The Mining Advocate

At present, Tropical Metals remains in joint venture with Planet Metals, maintaining a 15 per cent stake. A revised independent resource estimate prepared by Golder Associates recently led to a 50 per cent increase in tonnage and 45 per cent increase in grade for the Wolfram Camp project. Total resources now stand at 1.42 million tonnes at 0.60 per cent tungsten and 0.12 per cent molybdenum.

Manbarrum changes hands TNG Limited has sold its Manbarrum zinc-lead-silver project to privately owned Chinese resource company Teng Fei Mining for $9.7 million in cash. Under the terms of the sale agreement, TNG will receive a 2 per cent net smelter return on any future mining production from the Manbarrum tenements. The Manbarrum project is located about 70km north-east of Kununurra in the Northern Territory.

Barbara shows open-pit potential Australian explorer Mt Isa Metals has announced new copper and gold assay results from exploration drilling in its Barbara copper project, about 50km north-east of Mount Isa. The drilling has produced multiple copper-gold intersections within the near-surface sulphide deposit. Mt Isa Metals managing director Peter Spiers said the latest results had extended the potential for open-pit mineralisation at the site.

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The Mining Advocate | July 2010

Iron ore shipments up Territory Resources completed iron ore shipments totalling 2.027 million tonnes from its Northern Territory operations for 2009/10, representing a 30 per cent increase on last year. “We have been able to maintain a fully sold position for all our products from the Frances Creek mine throughout the GFC and the recent market uncertainty,” managing director Andy Haslam said. “Territory has now cemented its reputation as a reliable supplier of quality high-grade iron ore in the Chinese market.”

Call to revisit Aurukun project Cape Alumina has urged the Queensland Government to call tenders again for the development of the Aurukun bauxite deposits on western Cape York. The call was sparked by the recent announcement that Chinese aluminium manufacturer Chalco had allowed its $2.5 billion development deal with the Queensland Government to lapse due to adverse conditions in the aluminium sector. Cape Alumina managing director Paul Messenger said there were several companies – including Cape Alumina – that would be interested in developing the Aurukun project. “It is particularly important to call for tenders again if the terms of the original tender are to be changed – that is, if the Government no longer requires the developer of the Aurukun bauxite deposits to build an alumina refinery on Queensland’s east coast,” he said. Meanwhile Cape Alumina has commenced a detailed review of its Pisolite Hills bauxite mine and port project near Mapoon on western

Cape York following the Queensland Government’s Wild Rivers declaration for the Wenlock Basin.

strategic alliance Legend formed late last year with the Wengfu Group, a major Chinese fertiliser producer.

The company says the size of the High Preservation Area surrounding the Coolibah Springs complex in particular would impact the project, meaning it was no longer economically viable in its present form.

A second study is also under way based on expanded production rates.

Successful capital raising

A recent feasibility study has concluded that the Legend Phosphate Project in north-west Queensland is positive and robust against a number of fertiliser market scenarios. Legend International Holdings said it was currently reviewing the Wengfu Feasibility Study and would summarise the project economics, forward strategy and timeline in a public announcement in late July. The study outlined the economic feasibility of the development of a 600,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) sulfuric acid plant, 300,000tpa phosphoric acid plant, 600,000tpa fertiliser plant, an aluminium fluoride plant and auxiliary facilities. The phosphoric acid plant would initially be fed by crushed and screened high-grade phosphate rock ore from Legend’s Paradise North deposit, followed by feed from a beneficiation plant located at Paradise South. The study was completed under a

of North Queensland,” Mungana Goldmines managing director Pat Scott said.

Solid results at Nicholson project New assay results have confirmed a prospective and potentially large iron

Batavia Mining has completed a $4.8 million capital raising to Jiangyin Huaxi Steel, enabling the company to focus on an exploration Water program at the Trucks Roper River iron ore project in the Northern Territory.

However Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson says the 500m High Preservation Area has struck the right balance between environmental protection and sustainable development.

Positive feasibility study


Batavia has also signed a heads of agreement with Jiangyin Huaxi Steel for potential off-take arrangements for 1 million tonnes per annum for a period of five years. The company said other Asian-based groups had also expressed interest in participating in the Roper River iron ore project, either by taking part in future share placements, off-take arrangements or potential joint ventures.

Flying start for Mungana Mungana Goldmines plans an aggressive exploration program of about 100,000m of drilling over the next 18 months at its flagship Mungana and Red Dome gold projects in Queensland.

ore project, with iron-rich outcrops intermittently occurring over a distance of 60km, at Phosphate Australia’s Nicholson iron project in the Northern Territory. The company said the results were from a recent heli-borne sampling program over a project tenement 230km from the Gulf of Carpentaria which also contains its advanced Highland Plains rock phosphate project.

Tanami steps up drilling Australian gold producer Tanami Gold has commenced the largest drilling program in its history, with multiple rigs in service across its Western Tanami project in Western Australia and the newly acquired Central Tanami project in the Northern Territory. Four rigs were under contract in June and there were plans to increase to six rigs within two months and up to eight rigs within four months, the company said. The major drill program under way

The company, which made its debut on the Australian Securities Exchange in June, aims to increase the current measured, indicated and inferred resource from 1.85 million ounces of gold, 180,000 tonnes of copper and 13 million ounces of silver to more than 3 million ounces of gold in resource.

at Central Tanami is designed to

“This marks the beginning of a significant new chapter in gold exploration in the Chillagoe region

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elevate the quality and quantity of the project’s gold resources in advance of recommencing mining operations. The recommencement of the Central Tanami operations, combined with production in Western Australia, is annual production rate to 200,000 ounces by the end of 2011.

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July 2010 |

Mackay Area Industry Network (MAIN) breakfast

The Mining Advocate

PHOTOS: Lauren Reed

Ocean International Hotel, Mackay

Karen Tomlinson and Irene Leard (both from Busy at Work).

Terry Holt (Group Engineering) and Nat Byrne (Airconstruct H.V.A.C.).

Renee Meares (MAIN) and Tony Caruso (Mastermyne).

Greg Mulhall and Mark Birkett (both from Team Supply Logistics).

Tony Britton (JSIS) and Craig Joy (Workplace Consulting).

Darren Crocker (MAIN) and Michael McGrath (NQ Cranes).

Transport and Logistics in the Tropics Conference

PHOTOS: Stewart McLean

Mercure Inn, Townsville

Tony Cantarella and Ruth Stjernqvist (both from ARG) with Garry Pinder (Intermodal Solutions).

Darren Stocks (McGrath Newcastle) and Mark Westbrook (Seymour Whyte Constructions).

Sean Coffey and Robert Haddow (both from Queensland Nickel).

Paul Ryan (Sun Metals) and Mauricio Mora (Lead Infrastructure Engineering).

Greg O’Shea (Xstrata Copper) and Nigel Kellie (BHP Billiton Cannington).

Murray Davis (Trade Queensland) and James Doyle (Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation).


The Mining Advocate | July 2010

Women in Mining and Resources Queensland networking event


PHOTOS: Sue Sands

Capricornia Restaurant, Emerald

Peta Coppleman (Rio Tinto), Rebekka Gismondi (Generations Health and Fitness) and Sally Wallis (Rio Tinto).

Sita Krishna, Meredith Carter and Michelle Mason (all from Rio Tinto).

Leanne O’Donoghue (BMA) and Mary Bulger (BMA).

Susan Denk (Unidel), Neat Walding (Rio Tinto) and Therese Dower (Rio Tinto Technical and Innovation).

Malise Jenkins (Wesfarmers) with Chelsea Logan and Liesa Plation (both from BMA).

Karin Baxter (BMA) and Deb Cheyne (Wesfarmers Curragh Mine).

Women in Mining and Resources Queensland networking event

PHOTOS: Erica Smith

The Purple Grape, Moranbah

Liza Prosper (Arrow Energy) with Melanie Gordon and Ros Green (both from BMA).

Angela Marshall (BMA) and Veronica Bowater (BMA).

Mal Broomhall (Lucas Drilling), Leah Ditton (Coalfields Training Excellence Centre) and Donna Sheehy (BMA).

Helen North (BMA), Lynette Mossman (BMA) and Shirley Walk (BMA).

Delaney Nugent (Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy) with Karyn Looby (BMA).

Caroline Morrissey (Queensland Resources Council) and Natasha Fee (Protector Alsafe).

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July 2010 |

MITEZ dinner

The Mining Advocate

PHOTOS: Roslyn Budd

Terrace Gardens, Mount Isa

Glenys Schuntner (Regional Development Australia - Townsville and north-west Queensland) with Graham Barram (Queensland Country Credit Union).

Brett Peterson (Mount Isa Chamber of Commerce), Patricia O’Callaghan (Mount Isa Chamber of Commerce) and Shane Cagney (McKinlay Shire Council).

Tracey Lines (Port of Townsville) with John O’Brien (CopperString Project).

Tony Lucas (QR) with Ben Callcott (Charters Towers Regional Council mayor).

Andrew Daniels (Cloncurry mayor), Betty Kiernan (State Member for Mount Isa) and Nigel Kellie (BHP Billiton Cannington).

Robbie Katter (Mount Isa City Council councillor), Glen Graham (MITEZ) and Rod Wilkinson (Department of State Development).

AusIMM Darwin social event

PHOTOS: Christopher Knight

Shenannigans, Darwin

Dave Clark (AusIMM committee chair), Jennifer Parks (Cameco Australia) and Colin Hallenstein.

Peter Middlebrook (HAR Resources) with Eileen McGovern (Northern Territory Government).

Kristen Solen (Newmont), Joshua Northfield (Newmont), Bill Kmon (GHD) and John Davis (Exterra Resources).

Rolf Hallenstein (Arafura Resources) with Megan Kesty and Brian Jones (both GHD).

John Fisher (Petting Leases) with Mike Faucett (Northern Territory Government).


The Mining Advocate | July 2010

Darwin Mining Club official launch


PHOTOS: Christopher Knight

Parliament House, Darwin

Frederick Earnest (Vista Gold), John Carroll (John Carroll Consulting) and John Baxter (Matilda Zircon).

Mike Watt (Gordian Corp) with Tom Harris and Meon Merington (both from H2O).

John Robertson (Hays Recruiting) and Alister Trier (NTG Minerals and Energy).

Gary Hill (G K Akers Contracting) and Tim Nicol (DET Vetis Schools).

Daniel Moriarty (Coffey) with Ian Johnstone (Batavia Mining).

Alicia Sherwood (Rio Tinto Alcan), Natasha Spark (ERA) and Emily Beresford-Cane (Rio Tinto Alcan).

Queensland Nickel community open day

PHOTOS: Stewart McLean

Yabulu reďŹ nery, Townsville

Queensland Nickel employees Sally Hayer, Robyn Ward and Laura Delaney.

Trefor Flood (Queensland Nickel) with wife Chris.

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QME Feature

The Mining Advocate | July 2010


Numbers add up for QME A new study aims to determine the true extent of the economic windfall this major trade show delivers for the Mackay region. The Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition (QME) is expected to attract more than 10,000 trade visitors this year and will include a record 550plus stands. But just how much wealth does the biennial trade show generate for the host city of Mackay and surrounding centres? QME organisers, Reed Exhibitions, say the figure is definitely in the millions of dollars, but how many millions is not clear. This year they will be working with the Regional Economic Development Corporation (REDC) in Mackay to better gauge its economic impact. “QME is a significant event for Mackay in terms of the economic

benefit to the region, however to what extent is still unknown,” REDC acting chief executive officer Laura Sorensen said. “REDC is currently working with the event organisers Reed Exhibitions to obtain the data necessary to actually quantify the economic benefit to the regional economy.” The event has seen steady growth in visitor numbers over the past decade, from 7398 at the first QME in 2000 to 10,252 visitors in 2008. Those figures - independently audited by the Central Audit Bureau - include only registered trade visitors, not accompanying family members or school groups, for example. Mackay Tourism estimates

the event injects $7-8 million into the local economy through the purchase of local accommodation, meals, transport, entertainment, services and equipment hire by the organisers, exhibitors, trade delegates and accompanying persons. QME represented probably the largest single influx of visitors into the city at any time of year, Mackay Tourism general manager David Phillips said. “It is important economically, culturally and professionally for our community,” Mr Phillips said. “We work closely with Reed Exhibitions and have a temporary visitors information centre set up in the showgrounds for the duration.” The influx of visitors around QME fills almost every hotel room, caravan and cabin site in Mackay and spills into surrounding areas such as

Proserpine, the Whitsundays, Nebo and Sarina. It comes against the backdrop of an already buoyant visitor trade fuelled by a strong regional mining industry and general growth. QME exhibition manager Soren Norgaard said while accommodation would still be tight for the 2010 event, Reed Exhibitions had worked closely with Mackay Tourism to meet demand. He said motel capacity in the city had increased since 2008 and visitors were also being offered regional accommodation and transport packages as well as home-stay spots with local residents. Extra commercial flights between Brisbane, Mackay and other centres would make it easier to fly in and out for the event, he said. And Reed Exhibitions has

partnered with Greyhound Buses to provide a daily “QME run” between Moranbah and Mackay. Mr Norgaard said QME organisers expected to attract more than 10,000 people to the exhibition again this year and up to 200 conference delegates. He said also QME would have about 20 more exhibitors this year compared to 2008, with an impressive total of just over 550 confirmed exhibiting companies. “It has become a ‘must attend’ networking week for the mining industry and a lot of companies do time their product releases for QME,” Mr Norgaard said. After receiving a bucketing during the 2008 event, the organisers have this year configured the exhibition floorspace to include more undercover area and sheltered walkways connecting pavilions.

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QME Feature - Products and Services

July 2010 |

The Mining Advocate

RAD makes an impact on safety RAD Torque Systems manufactures a range of pneumatic, battery and electric-powered torque tools that apply very high bolt loads with practically no operator effort. Many people will be familiar with traditional impact or impulse tools where the torque being applied is physically absorbed by the inertia of the tool and the operator holding on to it for dear life. The RAD tool in contrast has a non-impacting constant drive which is controlled by regulating the air pressure or current in conjunction with a NATA traceable calibration certificate for safe and accurate torquing. The pneumatic tools in the RAD range in particular produce 88 times less vibration than comparable impact wrenches and operate at a noise level of less than 85 decibels, making the tools extremely comfortable to use for long periods of time, reducing fatigue and consequently increasing safety and productivity. RAD’s ultra-compact patented planetary gear reduction system is also able to rotate independently to the tool handle, ensuring that no reaction forces are transmitted back to the operator - an essential feature considering that they produce the highest powerto-weight and accuracy of any similar tool on the market today. For further information visit

Sabre Teeth self-sharpening ground engaging tools g Q Queensland-based manufacturer Sabre Teeth will launch its new patented range of self-sharpening ground engaging tools too during the Queensland Mining and Engineering E Exhibition (QME). The range is designed for use on wheel lloaders and excavator buckets as well as scraper blades fitted with standard Esco or Cat adaptors. “Our teeth are long lasting and durable, with an extended wear life b because they self-sharpen during use,” Sabre Teeth marketing manager and director Allan Stallan said.

Graco Husky 1050 pumps Graco Australia is releasing a new conductive polypropylene pump that can be grounded for use in hazardous areas. The model to be launched during QME 2010 is a doublediaphragm pump that does not have any aluminium in its external wetted parts and is ATEX-certified. It is part of the Husky 1050 range of pumps, which replace Graco’s Husky 1040 range and are described as 30 per cent more efficient than those models.

More intelligent solutions from Ahrens Dynamic Australian construction and engineering company, Ahrens, is making its presence felt in Mackay, with two key building projects under way. Ahrens is undertaking a full turn-key design and construction project for mining giant Monadelphous. The facility, which will be used to maintain and fabricate heavy duty mining equipment, consists of a 1600m sq workshop as well as offices and an ancillary building. Also in Mackay, Ahrens is working on a similar facility for D&T Hydraulics. Whilst Ahrens specialises in design and construction, it has also established a reputation for the delivery of large and complex materials-handling projects for the mining and grain industries. Our symbol. Your guarantee. To capitalise on this success, Ahrens recently established a dedicated materials handling-mining division to provide infrastructure and expertise to Australia’s mining sector. With its own structural steel fabrication facilities in Queensland and South Australia and in-house design, engineering and site erection teams, Ahrens is well placed to explore new and challenging opportunities in the mining industry. The initial focus will be on train and truck loading and unloading systems, conveyors, storage and covers and plant structural steel, as well as other projects that complement Ahrens’ core design and construction business.

QME Feature - Products and Services

The Mining Advocate | July 2010


Aggreko cools mining’s hottest event The expected 10,000 attendees at this year’s Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition (QME) will be kept in cool comfort thanks to a temperature and humidity control solution provided by Aggreko, the global leader in the provision of temporary power and temperature control services. QME 2010 will take place at the Mackay Showgrounds, inside temporary structures erected specifically for the event. “Ambient temperatures within the marquees can reach up to 30C due to the large number of visitors at the show, which can cause discomfort, exacerbated by relative humidity,” said Stephen Steenson, operations director for event organisers Reed Exhibitions. “The cooling solutions provided by Aggreko can lower the temperature by approximately 8C, depending on other variable factors. “This provides significant relief, particularly to foreign visitors who may not be accustomed to Queensland’s high temperatures.” Aggreko has the world’s largest fleet of rental chillers and the equipment to be used at the Mackay exhibition is from the same fleet used for mine cooling other industrial applications. For more information on Aggreko’s capabilities, visit

Tamec DunnEasy Idler Tamec Services will use QME 2010 to showcase a new conveyor change-out system offering shaftless rolls. The company says the DunnEasy Idler’s innovative design speeds up change-out while reducing the risks normally associated with maintaining conveyor idler rolls. The shaftless rolls are up to 70 per cent lighter than competing products. Roll resistance and drag are greatly reduced, cutting running costs by as much as 50 per cent through lower electrical loadings.

Draeger Oxy 6000 self-rescuer Draeger Safety Pacific has announced a new addition to its range of self-contained oxygen self-rescuers for emergency situations. The Draeger Oxy 6000 self-rescuer, to go on show at QME, includes a “Safety Eye” feature to check for the presence of moisture and yellow potassium peroxide fragments within the device. Consisting of a mouthpiece, nose clip and protective goggles, Draeger says the Oxy 6000 has been tested in thee harshest mining applications and offers a 10-year lifetime without maintenance.

Haulotte Multijob MJX Haulotte Australia has developed a new combination front-end loader, backhoe loader and excavator machine. The three-in-one Multijob MJX, to be launched during QME 2010, is described as perfect for confined job site spaces. It has a pushing force of 9 tonnes, a lifting capacity of 3.2 tonnes and a turning circle of 4.2m. The front-end loader option has a reach of 3.5m and a lifting height of 4.3m, while the excavator has a reach of 7.1m and can dig down as far as 4.1m.

VIBXPERT II VIB Pruftechnik has launched the VIBXPERT II, Pr the latest vibration data collector and signal analyser based on German engineered technology. The device combines the proven features of its predecessor with the advantages of faster processors to reduce measuring times and a brilliant energy-efficient colour display to provide intuitive operation. The VIBXPERT II has proven features for users in industrial maintenance for the monitoring and diagnosis of machine conditions. Numerous evaluation functions and practical measurement templates ease analyses of complex machinery problems and routine measurements on site. With a large data memory of 2 GB and long-life lithium ion batteries, data collection of up to eight hours can be achieved without interruption.

Hydco 1200H drilling rig Hydco International will unveil its new multi-purpose exploration drill rig at Mackay’s industry expo in July. Its 1200H rig in multi-purpose format, displaying many of Hydco’s latest features, is capable of taking core samples to depths in excess of 2000m. At the same time, it can comfortably handle both open-hole and 4½ RC work using a plug-in air system. The deep diamond rig is available in truck or track mounts, with a variety of options to suit individual requirements.

Terex Finlay J-1480 crusher Finlay Screening & Crushing Systems will introduce a new jaw crusher with a throughput capacity of up to 700 metric tonnes per hour during the 2010 Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition. The latest addition to the Terex Finlay crushing range, the J-1480 crusher has a 1370 mm x 762 mm single toggle jaw crusher chamber. Its 10sq m hopper has hydraulically folding sides and a hydraulic wedge clamp system to provide faster machine set-up time.

Minprovise Dugless 900 Minprovise will be demonstrating its new lowprofile loader during the Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition in Mackay. Developed and built in Western Australia, the Dugless 900 conveyor spillage cleaning and digging unit is a fully remote-controlled compact crawler. It has been specifically designed to safely clear material spillage from inaccessible and remote points on mining conveyor systems.

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QME Feature

July 2010 |

The Mining Advocate

Mining conference adds value A full program of topical presentations at a nearby venue is expected to prove the perfect complement to this year’s trade expo. An industry conference is being held in Mackay in conjunction with the Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition (QME) for the first time this year in a move to add further value for visitors and attract more senior industry representatives. The conference has the theme of “Mining 2010 and Beyond: maximising resources, alliances, technology and innovation for a sustainable future”, and will be held on the first two days of QME at the nearby Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre. “We have an excellent line-up of speakers and papers for this conference – which is only five minutes’ walk from the exhibition site,” QME exhibition manager Soren Norgaard said. Mr Norgaard said an industry conference had been held to coincide with the 2008 exhibition, but was sited north at Airlie Beach in a bid to ease pressure on Mackay accommodation. “We had a bit of learning from that. It was too far removed from

the wider exhibition,” he said. “Mackay in the meantime has got a state-of-the-art conference facility just down the road from QME – it fitted perfectly.” Queensland Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson is due to launch the event with a presentation covering issues including smart energy and mining initiatives, Queensland exploration incentives, assessing the social impact of the current resources boom, an update on the Abbot Point/Gladstone port expansion, and the government’s commitment to supporting foreign investment. Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche will deliver the keynote address on the subject of “Optimising resources, technology and relationships for sustainable industry growth”. Mr Roche is expected to cover such issues as making the best use of technological breakthroughs, sustaining the coking and thermal coal industry, forming alliances and

The Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre.

partnerships, the industry’s readiness for “Boom 2” and global demand for clean coal and LNG. Other key participating

Pre-register online Organisers are encouraging prospective visitors to the 2010 Queensland Mining and Engineering Exhibition (QME) to pre-register for the event. “We strongly encourage anyone interested in visiting QME to pre-register, as it allows them to maximise their time at the show, looking at the latest products and services, and talking to suppliers and peers and colleagues,” exhibition manager Soren Norgaard said.


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People can pre-register on the QME website at au/en/visiting/register-to-attend and have an E-Badge emailed to them. The exhibition will be held at the Mackay Showground from July 27 to 29, while the associated QME Mining Industry Conference will be held on July 27 and 28 at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre.


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QME Feature

July 2010 |

Feeling the bang of ‘Boom II’ The latest industry exhibition opens in Mackay against the backdrop of surging activity across the state’s resources sector. QME 2010 is being billed as the event that will set the scene for a central Queensland mining sector that is set to take off again in what is being referred to as “Boom II” for the industry. QME exhibition manager Soren Norgaard said the latest investment forecasts for the resources industry showed sustained positive growth for Queensland over the next five years. “This surge in growth and activity – driven largely by demand for coal from China – means QME 2010 will be an ideal chance to see the latest products and services in a single location, plus an unmatched opportunity for people to network with their colleagues and peers,” he said. The value of mining projects in the pipeline for the MackayWhitsunday-Isaac region was

Soren Norgaard QME exhibition manager

estimated at $14.6 billion in the latest Regional Development Register. The Regional Economic Development Corporation (REDC), which produces the register, said this had grown $998 million since the previous quarter

– mainly due to companies updating and increasing various project estimates. New additions to the list included a proposed expansion for the Lake Vermont coal mine, 18km north-east of Dysart, and QCoal’s Drake project, a sixmillion-tonne-per-annum opencut mine to be located 17km south of Collinsville. Both are listed as being under study in the register compiled by the REDC for the three months ending May 30. The register lists more than $50 billion worth of development under study, committed, under construction or recently completed across all sectors throughout the region. Acting REDC chief executive officer Laura Sorensen said the total value of such projects had increased by $1.8 billion since the last listing. “The past quarter has also seen a number of projects progress from a status of committed to under construction. This is a very positive sign that it’s business as usual,” she said.

The Mining Advocate

Footy hero Wendell Sailor will be guest speaker at a new QME networking function.

Wendell to kick off event Former Australian rugby league and rugby union international Wendell Sailor will help launch a new networking function at this year’s QME event. The Sarina-born sporting star is booked as guest speaker for the “Night to Remember” function on the Tuesday night of QME exhibition week. “We’ve always had an exhibitors’ function – a casual cocktail function for the exhibitors to get to know each other on the opening day,” QME exhibition manager Soren Norgaard said.

“What we’ve found, as QME has become more and more of a networking event, a lot of exhibitors get out and have meals with clients in the evenings.” The new function would provide a central location for exhibitors to network with invited clients as well as conference delegates, he said. The event, at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre, will include live entertainment, refreshments and canapés.

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Health and safety conference feature

The Mining Advocate | July 2010


Strong line-up for 2010 The resource industry is gearing up for what is considered a premier event on the nation’s occupational health and safety calendar. Organisers are expecting attendance numbers to reach 600 at this year’s Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference, to be held in Townsville from August 22 to 25. Conference chairperson Greg Dalliston said the 2010 event boasted a strong line-up of Australian and international speakers, including UK Health and Safety Laboratory chief executive Eddie Morland and US Office of Mine Safety and Health Research principal engineer Tom Noval. The keynote presentation on the opening night will come from retired Major General Jim Molan, whose 40-year Australian Army career included a posting as the Coalition’s chief of operations in Iraq.

Mr Dalliston said work under way to “harmonise” mining legislation across Australia as part of a new national occupational health and safety framework would be among the key issues discussed at the conference. Federal Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism coal industry and mine safety manager Michael Alder is due to provide an update on the process. Mr Dalliston described the Townsville conference as a premier event on the nation’s occupational health and safety calendar. “We see it as definitely the peak mining industry health and safety conference in Queensland, if not Australia,” he said. “It is something where all different levels of industry and

Greg Dalliston Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference chairperson

great opportunities the Townsville conference provided for people from all levels of mining to get together and discuss key issues. “You have people there from CEOs to people working at the face,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to talk to each other, also to listen to what’s been going on in research in OHS (occupational health and safety) and get a feel, from time to time, as to how other industries are addressing the issues we face.” Mr Bell said the 2010 conference would include a session on proximity detection, an issue he was keen to keep at the forefront of the industry’s agenda. The Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference is jointly hosted

by the Queensland Resources Council, the Queensland Government, and mining unions the CFMEU and AWU. Mr Dalliston – who is a CFMEU district union inspector - said the event the reflected the stakeholders’ strong belief in a tripartite system for looking after the health and safety of Queensland mining industry employees. This year’s conference has the theme “Simple solutions to complex problems”. In addition to the program of papers and facilitated discussion, the four-day conference features the annual Innovation Awards. It will also include a charity auction to benefit the Mater Foundation’s work on prostate cancer.

providers like consultants and training groups can get together.” Queensland Commissioner for Mine Safety and Health, Stewart Bell, also stressed the

Shot of Joy to cure safety woes Forget tonsillitis or bronchitis - mining sites are suffering a bad case of 5x5-itis when it comes to their safety approach, according to Professor Jim Joy. The director of the Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre (MISHC) at the University of Queensland said many people were obsessed with measuring the level of risk attached to every situation through repeated use of the familiar 5x5-column risk management tables, at the expense of control efforts. It’s a condition he hopes to help cure through an address at this year’s Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference. Professor Joy said he planned to tackle the challenges presented by the complexities or perceived overcomplexities of the process of

Professor Jim Joy UQ MISHC director

managing risk on mine sites. The importance of this issue had been reinforced by a series of interviews MISHC had conducted with senior mining personnel and stakeholders such as the CFMEU (Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union) and the State mines and

energy department, he said. “What came across increasingly was the overcomplexity of the risk management approach or a perception that these systems are not providing as much value as they should,” Professor Joy said. There were concerns that some systems which had developed over time now overlapped, required too much time and effort, lacked quality in their outcome and had lost their connection with the way a mine was really managed. “It’s my intention in my paper to talk about five or six relatively simple things that try to address the perception of complexity,” Professor Joy said. “It’s revisiting why we are doing the risk management thing rather than just talking about what we are doing.”

Underground miners in a virtual reality longwall scenario.

Virtual is now reality New South Wales industry group Coal Services will set up a virtual reality theatrette at the upcoming Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference to showcase the training modules it has developed using 3D imagery. The technology takes participants through realistic mine-site scenarios to help practise their response in emergency situations without being subjected to risk. Coal Services chairman and executive director Ron Land will be also be one of the keynote

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Townsville Entertainment & Convention Centre (TECC) and Jupiters Townsville

speakers at the conference. “My address will focus on this innovative, highly interactive technology and how our world’s best practice platforms will assist with training the next generation of Australian mine workers,” Mr Land said. “We know the power of virtual reality – that the capacity to remember safety information after experiencing situations in a virtual world far exceeds a trainee’s ability to translate information from a lecture in a classroom.”

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To all those involved in health and safety in the Queensland Mining Industry… We invite you to join us in Townsville in August to hear from industry experts from around Australia and Overseas and also to share your own experiences in finding ‘Simple Solutions to Complex Problems’

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Health and safety conference feature

July 2010 |

New risk regime Interpreting the ramifications of Australia’s adoption of an international standard may require expert advice, according to a safety services firm. A Townsville-based consultancy has flagged the urgent need for businesses to make themselves aware of new risk management standards. This followed the recent adoption of an international standard in this area, CSM Safety Services director Craig Stewart said. “Australia had a widely respected standard (AS/NZS 4360 Risk Management), which was readily accepted and utilised by a wide range of businesses,” Mr Stewart said. “This has now changed to an international standard that will guide Australia in an equal risk management process adopted in best-practice industries around the world.” The variations of the revised standard, (AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk Management – Principles and Guidelines), were best interpreted and implemented by experts, Mr Stewart said. “Risk is now defined in terms of the effect of uncertainty on objectives,” he said.

Businesses have legal obligations to ensure that adequate control/ management practices are successfully implemented to reduce hazards and associated risks, especially in the health, safety and environmental spheres.

“The principles that organisations must follow to achieve effective risk management have now been made explicit. “There is much greater emphasis and guidance on how risk management should be implemented and integrated into organisations through the creation and continuous improvement of a framework. “Also, more information is provided describing the

attributes of enhanced risk management. “This recognises that while all organisations manage risk in some way and to some extent, this may not be optimal.” CSM Safety Services has qualified risk practitioners who can assist with hazard identification, risk management processes, risk management training and manager coaching.

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Health and safety conference feature

The Mining Advocate | July 2010


‘Sick donga syndrome’ warning The increased use of demountable units as on-site office space poses potential health risks due to air quality issues, an expert says. The term “sick building syndrome” is widely associated with spates of respiratory problems and general ill-health among city workers who spend their days in multi-storey office towers. But occupational hygiene consultant David Corbett believes “sick donga syndrome” may be a major sleeper issue for mining and construction work sites throughout regional Queensland. Mr Corbett, operations manager for Field Enviro, said demountable buildings had become an office space mainstay for civil construction and mining projects. In a decade-long career in occupational hygiene, Mr Corbett said he had encountered many cases of sick building syndrome in urban areas, but his work in the Mackay region in the last few years had highlighted the potential hazards of donga-style workplaces. “Perhaps one of the greatest factors affecting air quality in

dongas is that their installed airconditioning systems generally rely on a high proportion of recirculated air to maintain a constant temperature,” he said. “Most seasoned site personnel could certainly attest to the fact that donga airconditioners are generally not well maintained, are poorly fitted and refitted, and often do not work at all. “Poor air circulation, coupled with overcrowding and poor standards of housekeeping make dongas a potential haven for a variety of biological, chemical and physical agent contamination.” One of the biggest issues was the build-up of carbon dioxide during the day as companies pushed more workers into these small spaces for shifts of up to 12 hours at a time. This caused drowsiness, dehydration, headaches and nausea at elevated levels, he said. “The CO2 is not building up to dangerous levels, but it is reaching levels that can affect performance,” Mr Corbett said.

David Corbett Field Enviro operations manager

While the level of CO2 in an indoor environment was generally about 450 parts per million, Mr Corbett said monitoring had shown some airconditioned donga offices were reaching 1000 parts per million by morning tea. He said the incubation and spread of diseases like influenza was another issue that employers could not afford to ignore. Other internal air quality issues often affecting donga-style work spaces included the presence of bacteria or fungal spores, dust,

generator or vehicle exhaust fumes (due to poor placement of airconditioning intakes), and the presence of contaminants from furnishing or construction materials and processes. Of these potential contaminants, Mr Corbett said formaldehyde was especially problematic as many people were very sensitive to small quantities. The first line of defence against “sick donga syndrome” is prevention through effective maintenance and hygiene programs. If those measures failed to address adverse health effects, Mr Corbett said companies should consider monitoring to ascertain levels of surface and airborne contamination in building spaces and institute targeted control measures to improve the indoor air quality. In a statement on donga air quality, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland noted that off-gassing problems from urea formaldehyde foams in wall cavities had been common in the 1980s and 1990s until foam stability problems were overcome. “Formaldehyde, even in low concentrations, can cause a range of respiratory effects. At

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higher concentrations it causes tearing of the eyes,” a Workplace Health and Safety Queensland spokesman said. “Some of the manufactured wood products such as particle board and Medium Density Fibre (MDF) board may also be manufactured using urea formaldehyde adhesives which can slowly off-gas for a considerable period after initial manufacture. “This can add to the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in an enclosed space.” The use of fully recirculating split-system airconditioners with no regular take up of fresh air presented problems including carbon dioxide build-up, while in humid environments there was also the threat of mould proliferation, he said. The spokesman said there were no specific regulations relating to donga air quality under Queensland’s Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 2008 when those units were used for accommodation. “However, where such units are used as workplaces, the exposure standards appropriate to any of the VOCs (eg formaldehyde) would apply,” he said.

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July 2010 |

Coal scans back in demand

New wave

Sugar mills keeping more fabrication work in-house

The ability to measure quality accurately across an entire run of material offers a raft of benefits for industry, writes Belinda Humphries. A new generation of technology is overturning old perceptions and creating fresh interest in the use of online spectral analysis within the coal and power industries, a Mackay-based supplier says. RTI has installed 10 online analysis machines in Queensland – nine of those within the Bowen Basin – as well as making two sales in New South Wales and one in Victoria over the past three years, according to chief executive officer Dr James Asbury. Dr Asbury said RTI had entered a market that was disillusioned by the poor performance of the earlier chutestyle analysers and lack of service from the companies that had supplied the equipment. “There was a lack of confidence in the market and nobody supporting the analysers,” Dr Asbury said. “There was a feeling they didn’t work. Within the last three years we’ve been able to turn that around significantly and the market seems to be waking up now.” RTI sells analysers that can measure the coal quality in the entire production line from the run-of-mine coal through the coal washing process in order to generate a consistent and accurate final quality of coal. Dr Asbury said such technology helped operators ensure ash content in their product did not exceed customers’ specifications. Spectral analysers could also provide power generators with a full elemental breakdown of the

Dr James Asbury RTI chief executive officer

coal coming into plants. Importantly, the real-time nature of the analysis and the fact the devices scan the entire run of material rather than taking samples enables power stations to identify spikes in ash content and various other elements across the supply. Dr Asbury said this allowed operators to make adjustments to ensure the coal continued to burn efficiently and without unacceptable emission levels. Online spectral analysis also provides a clear picture of sulphur content – important in controlling emissions - and iron content, which can cause slagging in the boiler if levels are too high. “Power stations more and more are becoming very interested in monitoring the elements to run more effectively,” Dr Asbury said. “Even if they can increase efficiency by 1 per cent – that’s a very significant return over a year.”

The Mining Advocate

A 31-tonne evaporator top cone is lifted into place at Inkerman Mill. Photo: Michal Beroun

North Queensland sugar mill operator Sucrogen aims to keep more of its fabrication and fitting work in-house in the face of tough pricing competition and skill demands from the mining industry. Sucrogen operations manager for cane products Craig Doyle said the company had increased internal work in that area by as much as 300 per cent in the lead-up to the 2010 crushing season compared to last year. “We’re keen to continue that – it’s working well,” he said. Sucrogen, formerly CSR Sugar, operates seven mills

across the Herbert, Burdekin and Sarina cane districts. While it would continue to be a major client for regional engineering and fabrication firms, Mr Doyle said a number of factors favoured stepping up such work at Sucrogen’s own workshops. These included making better use of permanent employees outside of the six-month crushing season, preserving knowledge within the company and cost advantages. “When you are up against the mines, in mining booms the quotes for outside work

increase,” Mr Doyle said. Mr Doyle said Sucrogen had been undertaking a lot of boiler duct and vessel work itself as well as building a massecuite reheater and rotary juice screen. He said Sucrogen would continue to outsource specialised work, but believed it could manage as much as 30 to 50 per cent of fabrication and fitting work in-house. “For every large job we will still get quotations and ask our internal workshops to quote to ensure there’s a cost advantage for us to do it,” Mr Doyle said. Sucrogen completed a major capital works and maintenance program across its operations prior to the start of crushing in June and expects to process 13 to 14 million tonnes of cane this year. Mr Doyle said the largest project had been the replacement of six old evaporators at the Inkerman Mill in Home Hill with two modern units. The vessels were fabricated off site by Bundaberg Walkers Engineering Limited and assembled with the use of a 350-tonne crane. The improvement program also included replacement of the No. 1 boiler stack at Invicta Mill, Giru. EDMS Australia built the new stainless steel stack, which was installed in three sections. Mr Doyle said Sucrogen had invested hundreds of millions of dollars in capital and maintenance over the past three years.


The Mining Advocate | July 2010


Bright prospects Kogan Creek is shaping up as a hot spot for renewable energy, bringing new work opportunities in existing skill sectors. The sun is shining on the western Darling Downs region as a hub for Queensland’s emerging solar energy industry. Two of eight projects shortlisted under the Federal Government’s $1.5 billion Solar Flagships Program have nominated Kogan Creek, near Chinchilla, as their planned development site. This comes on top of CS Energy’s planned $98.8 million solar boost project at the existing coal-fired power station. Electricity infrastructure associated with that facility as well as the skills pool built up by the existing mining and energy industry in the region are part of the attraction. So too is climate, with the area enjoying an average daily solar exposure of more than 21 megajoules per square metre, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. “You get lots of hours of sunshine and not too much hostile weather,” CS Energy chief executive David Brown said. The region compared well with parts of California in the United States and Spain which had established commercial solar operations, he said. Parsons Brinckerhoff is among the solar proponents in the area, with what it hopes will be the first of many solar thermal and photovoltaic projects to be rolled out throughout the country over the next 10 years. Client relationship executive for generation and renewables Craig Chambers said many of the skills required for this fledgling industry would mirror those found in the

David Brown CS Energy chief executive

surrounding mining and energy sectors. Parsons Brinckerhoff is preparing a detailed proposal for a 150MW solar parabolic trough power plant at Kogan Creek as part of a consortium that also involves CS Energy, Siemens, John Holland, Infrastructure Capital Group, the Queensland University of Technology and Curtin University. AREVA will establish manufacturing facilities at Kogan Creek for its role in CS Energy’s solar boost project and says the way is open for those facilities to be used in other works. This will translate into local jobs, according to commercial director for AREVA Solar in Australia, Anthony Wiseman. “One of the features with AREVA technology is that, unlike a lot of other competing solar technology, it requires a lot of local involvement,” he said. Simple fabrication work was required to transform materials

such as flat glass plates and steel sections into the reflector component of the linear fresnel solar installation, he said. The modular nature of that process meant local suppliers could quickly get up to speed and develop some solar experience without heavy capital outlay, he said. Mr Wiseman described the region as a “hot spot” in terms of solar power potential and said this would be enhanced by the development of local skills in the industry. AREVA is also involved in a proposal by Wind Prospect CWP to use linear fresnel technology to construct a 250MW power plant at Kogan Creek. That project and Parsons Brinckerhoff ’s Solar Flair Alliance project at Kogan Creek are among eight set to share in $15 million of feasibility funding under the Solar Flagships program.

An AREVA solar thermal facility at Kimberlina.

Photo: courtesy AREVA Solar

Carbon-cutting agenda Electricity generator CS Energy is taking another major step in its drive to cut carbon emissions, with construction due to start within months on a solar boost project at Kogan Creek. Harnessing new technology has already helped the State Government-owned corporation reduce the rate of CO2 emissions from its power plants by about 17 per cent since 1997, according to CS Energy chief executive David Brown. Now it is turning to renewable energy at Kogan Creek, in addition to its involvement in the ground-breaking carbon capture and storage venture – the Callide

Oxyfuel Project, to help take that low-carbon philosophy further. “We’ve got a target for 2030 of dropping from where we are now, where we produce about 830kg of CO2 for every megawatt hour generated, to under 400kg,” Mr Brown said. The solar boost project will improve efficiency and increase capacity at the 750MW Kogan Creek power station by up to 44MW by augmenting the plant’s feedwater heating process. “In simple terms, the solar boost will enable Kogan Creek to produce more electricity with the same amount of coal,” Mr Brown said.

International solar energy firm AREVA - which already has a 5MW solar thermal installation operating at Kimberlina in California - will provide the technology. Mr Brown said the Kogan Creek project would be the largest deployment of AREVA’s solar thermal energy technology in the world and the largest solar project of any kind in the southern hemisphere. It will include a 30ha solar field using compact linear fresnel reflector technology to collect energy. The solar boost plant is expected to become operational by mid 2012.

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July 2010 |

The Mining Advocate

Mine plans tied to neighbours The latest Galilee Basin venture to be declared a significant project is expected to ‘piggy back’ on infrastructure developed by other local players. Development of the proposed $1.5 billion South Galilee coal operation outside Alpha will be tied to progress on the neighbouring Warratah Coal and Hancock Prospecting projects. Bandanna Energy managing director Ray Shaw said the project would “piggy back” to some extent on transport infrastructure established to support those major developments and was dependent on at least one of them going ahead. Bandanna Energy and its farm-in venture partner AMCI are in the prefeasibility stage of their project, located south-west of Alpha in the Galilee Basin. The South Galilee venture, recently declared a significant project by the Queensland Government, has the potential to support annual production of up to 20 million tonnes of thermal coal for export over a mine life of more than 40 years. State Premier Anna Bligh said the project could generate 2000 construction jobs, a permanent operational workforce of 750 people and numerous support jobs for suppliers and contractors. Dr Shaw said the South Galilee mine was most likely to come online after the other major projects had started and were ramping up production. Warratah Coal and Hancock Prospecting have previously

Ray Shaw Bandanna Energy managing director

indicated a potential start in coal exports from the Alpha region as early as 2013. “Our production (timeline) will be dependent upon the other proponents out there, regarding port and rail corridors,” Dr Shaw said. “The Queensland Government has made it clear they would like to see third party access and no duplication of major infrastructure such as the rail corridor.” AMCI is conducting a 140-hole drilling program to better define the South Galilee coal resource and gain more information on coal quality and distribution to assist mine planning. “That process will be completed probably in the first


half of next year,” Dr Shaw said. Dr Shaw said there was no doubt the coal projects in the pipeline in the Alpha area would provide major impetus for regional development. “The eastern part of the Galilee Basin will become, in a number of years, a very significant coal province - not only in Queensland, Australia, but also the world,” he said. “It will take the major players that we’ve got in the area at the moment to help develop that.” Dr Shaw said the critical mass had definitely been established

Drilling at the South Galilee project.

to ensure that either most or all of the four major coal projects on the table would go ahead. A spokesman for the Office of the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning said proponents had predominantly developed their plans independently of each other to date.

However, the State Government had worked extensively with the parties to identify common objectives and project opportunities which would deliver efficient infrastructure utilisation and outcome, he said.

Significant cluster of projects The South Galilee Coal Project joins three other coal mines and a power station proposal in the Galilee Basin in gaining significant project status from the State Government. These include Hancock Prospecting’s proposed Alpha coal project, which would include a mine 40km north-west of Alpha and transport infrastructure to be developed at an approximate cost of $7.5 billion, as well as that company’s Kevin’s Corner project, 56km north of Alpha. Waratah Coal’s $7 billion China First proposal to develop an open-cut coal mine north-west of Alpha and related transport infrastructure is also listed, along with its plans to build a “clean coal” power station in the region. Among the other coal developments in the pipeline throughout Queensland which have been declared significant are • The proposed $2 billion Belvedere coal mine 7km north-east of Moura in the Bowen Basin, • BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Bowen Basin Coal Growth project, involving the


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production of an additional 20 million tonnes of coal annually through staged developments in the Moranbah area, including the new Daunia and Caval Ridge open-cut mines, • Xstrata Coal Queensland and Sumisho Coal Australia’s Wandoan project, located 5km west of the township of Wandoan in the Dalby Regional Council area, • New Hope’s Stage 3 expansion project at the New Acland open-cut coal mine, about 35km north-west of Toowoomba. Amendments to the State Development and Public Works Organisation Amendment Act in 1999 provided for the declaration of significant projects by the Co-ordinator-General. A spokesman for the Office of the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning said the Act clearly set out the steps all “significant projects” needed to follow to allow a robust and rigorous assessment of economic, social and environmental matters relating to their development.


The Mining Advocate | July 2010


Stepping up skills for gas boom Energy Skills Queensland is developing new programs to help tweak existing trades knowhow to meet the needs of a growing industry. Initiatives to help tradespeople “upskill” will play a crucial role in filling the estimated 18,600 jobs to be created in Queensland’s emerging coal seam gas and liquefied natural gas industry in the next decade. Energy Skills Queensland chief executive officer Glenn Porter said the CSG-LNG industry was seeking a range of skilled people in traditional trades such as diesel fitters, electricians, electrical instrumentation technicians, process plant operators and drillers. “We are in the process of developing programs for existing tradespeople to give them the extra skills they need (to move across to the CSG-LNG sector),” Mr Porter said. “For example, diesel fitters would be working on gas-fired engines and turbines rather than

diesel engines and fixed plant. “So we need some upskilling in these subtle areas of difference.” The proponents behind the major LNG projects planned for the Gladstone area were also building up their internal training capacity to achieve this outcome, in addition to delivering a range of apprenticeships, Mr Porter said. He said Energy Skills Queensland was working with a number of public and private training organisations to help them gear up to meet the CSG-LNG sector’s workforce demands. The Gladstone campus of the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE is offering some of the first industry-specific training under the program, targeting pressure welding. “A big skills shortage we have

Try a Trade Program The fledgling Mackay Engineering College is launching its 2010 Try A Trade Program in July, providing 42 Year 10 students with experience in targeted trades. Education Queensland trade centre project officer Bob Baker said the curriculum for that college was under development, with an outreach model due to be offered in schools next year. Meanwhile the college was running its Try A Trade

Program for the second year, having offered the experience to 28 students in 2009. Five local Manufacturing and Engineering Gateway Schools are involved in the program, which focuses on electronics, fabrication, automotive and diesel-fitting work. Mr Baker said the program included training at school, a full day at TAFE for each of the four trade areas and a full week of work experience in the students’ preferred area.

Glenn Porter Energy Skills Queensland chief executive officer

identified in the construction phase is for pressure vessel welders - people to weld up the

Most-wanted list By 2020 it’s estimated Queensland’s CSG/LNG sector will need the following skills for its operational workforce alone: 400 Engineers 75 Geologist/geophysicists 1000 Drillers 230 Electrical and instrumentation trades 270 Mechanical and diesel fitters 90 Water operations 100 Health, safety and environment personnel 270 Transport and logistics Energy Skills Queensland says additional demand will be created in construction, with these job projections yet to be finalised under CSG/LNG Workforce Development Plan. Workers required during construction will include engineers, carpenters, steel fixers, concrete finishers, equipment operators, mobile crane operators, civil operators, riggers, scaffolders, telecommunications tradesmen, electrical and instrumentation tradesmen, electrical trades assistants, painters, cryogenic insulators, insulators, boilermakers, pipefitters, special class welders, mechanical fitters, sheet metal workers, labourers, drillers and polyethylene pipe fabricators.


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gas pipelines and LNG plant at Curtis Island and pipeline in the upstream operation,” Mr Porter said. “We will also be training people and getting them certified as scaffolders, riggers and dogmen - those sorts of qualifications. There will be a big demand for those skills in the construction phase.” The dual trade of electrical instrumentation is another area of high demand for the LNG projects, both throughout construction and in the operational phase. “We believe anywhere up to 400 or 500 of those will be required by 2020,” Mr Porter said. Mr Porter denied that the industry was running behind


in terms of recruitment and training, saying the final investment decisions (FID) were yet to be made on the four major LNG projects proposed for Gladstone. “However, once FID has been announced on one or more projects and major construction contracts commence there will be a need for EPCs (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) and contracting firms to ramp their workforces up very quickly, creating a significant demand on the Queensland construction and engineering workforce,” he said. Energy Skills Queensland was established by the State Government to lead industry and government engagement on vocational education and training, skills development and labour market issues. It has worked with key project proponents Arrow Energy, Origin, QGC and Santos to create the CSG-LNG Workforce Development Plan. And in March this year, the State Government committed itself to a partnership with industry to develop a $10 million program to train the thousands of workers needed for the emerging CSG-LNG industry. Mr Porter said Energy Skills Queensland was receiving about 50 to 80 calls a week from people interested in joining the CSG-LNG industry. “We’ve had a huge interest, even though we haven’t formally promoted the training yet to the community,” he said. The interest was predominantly coming from within Queensland and ranged from job seekers with no skills through to professionals such as engineers looking for information on how to enter the CSG-LNG industry, he said.


» » » » »




July 2010 |

The Mining Advocate

Project stacks up for newcomer A bulk handling venture says it has proved its ability to deliver a top-notch machine despite a tight timeline and other challenges. Bulk Materials Handling Australia (BMHA) and German joint-venture partner FAM have started commissioning the first of four stacker reclaimers to be completed at Abbot Point Coal Terminal under a $135 millionplus contract. BMHA, an emerging player in the Australian bulk materials handling arena, is confident its contribution to the expansion works under way at the key North Queensland coal terminal will act as a springboard to further major projects. Managing director Craig Dixon believes the company will have the best advertisement possible for its expertise and equipment range as new projects start to roll out following a recent lull in the market. It will have delivered a state-of-the art machine with significant advantages over its competitors. “We believe we have built the best machine that Australia has seen and we will demonstrate that,” Mr Dixon said. The Australian-owned Mecrus

Group created BMHA as a stand-alone entity focused on bulk materials handling. BMHA has aligned with FAM (Magdeburger Foerderanlagen und Baumaschinen), a recognised provider of worldclass machines, and together as FAM Queensland (FAMQ) they are focusing on bulk materials handling opportunities throughout Australia and SouthEast Asia. FAMQ are due to hand over their first stacker reclaimer to North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation in August, with the entire Abbot Point project to be completed early next year. Mr Dixon said each machine would weigh more than 1800 tonnes and be capable of moving 6000 tonnes of coal per hour, peaking at 8000 tonnes. FAMQ won the stacker reclaimer contract in April 2008 when the Abbot Point port owner sought a competitive bid as part of the X50 expansion project to double the facility’s capacity to 50 million tonnes per annum.

The new stacker reclaimer at the Abbot Point Coal Terminal, north of Bowen.

Photo: Ben Cox

FAMQ had worked closely with the client to determine the ways in which the design could be improved in order to give optimum reliability and serviceability, he said. “We have also built a stronger machine, capable of being expanded to move 8000 tonnes an hour, up to a peak of 10,000 tonnes,” he said. Mr Dixon said FAMQ had been very conscious of State Government policy encouraging major contractors to give local suppliers a fair go. The project will ultimately

include more than $80 million worth of Australian content, a significant contribution given the majority of the design work had to be undertaken in Germany and many high-end engineered items sourced from overseas. “We do not have that expertise available here,” Mr Dixon said. Among the future jobs the partners will be targeting is the supply of further stacker reclaimers and ship loaders at Abbot Point to accommodate expansion.

Mr Dixon said the contract involved many challenges from Day 1 – including a tight timeline and significant supply issues. FAMQ had to start from scratch, with no existing stacker reclaimer design to meet specific NQBP requirements, he said. “In response FAM has delivered some innovative engineering solutions that have delivered improved machine characteristics whilst coming to terms with and embracing strict Australian design standards,” Mr Dixon said.


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Building Mining Communities

July 2010 |

The Mining Advocate

Moranbah family’s high-speed pursuit Following his motorsport dream takes a lot of travel and not a little cash for a rising star from the central Queensland coalfields. The Sager family knows all about life in the fast lane. Fifteen-year-old Liam regularly hits race tracks around the country as a Formula Ford driver with his sights set on progressing to the international Formula 1 championship podium. He has been a factorysupported racer since 11, when he was signed up by Phoenix Race Karts, and is now the youngest member of the CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motorsport) Rising Star program – all of which has involved Melbourne-based racing commitments. That means the work and travel schedule gets pretty hectic at times - not only for Liam but for parents Toni and Brad Sager, who run Xceed Heavy Equipment, Electrical and Airconditioning in Moranbah. “It takes a fair amount of time,” Mr Sager admits. “But he’s really keen on it and we want to give him the best chance possible of reaching his goal. “We’re lucky we have very good staff in the office here who are able to manage the

place while we’re away and our eldest boy Kaleb runs the workshop.” It was brother Kaleb’s involvement in go karts which first inspired Liam to get behind the wheel at age seven. “For a while we had them both going, for two years together,” Mr Sager said.

“He’s really keen on it and we want to give him the best chance possible of reaching his goal”

“We were down at Melbourne probably once or twice a month and at state titles, trekking all over the country. “The only state they haven’t raced is Western Australia.” Liam was due to drive in the Formula Ford class competition held as part of the racing line-up at Townsville 400 V8 Supercar event, July 9 -11. He also travelled to

Darwin for that leg of the V8 Supercar series in June, when his chances were dashed by two crashes at the Hidden Valley Raceway. However his main focus this year is contesting the Victorian Formula Ford State Series Championship. Liam’s participation in the CAMS Rising Stars program, which targets potential Formula One champions, means he is part of the Victorian-based Minda Motorsport team. Liam said his age meant he had two more years at Formula Ford level before moving on. “I’ll just see where it goes from there - maybe overseas to Europe to race a wings and slicks car like a Formula 3 or Formula Renault,” he said. Mr Sager said the family was seeking further sponsors to help Liam continue racing. “It is an expensive sport,” he said. “Even at Formula Ford level it’s $10,000 to $15,000 a drive - and that’s without your airfares and accommodation.” But with Liam already challenging – and often matching - drivers up to three years’ his senior, Mr Sager said time was on his side in terms of reaching the peak of his chosen sport.

Moranbah businessman Brad Sager helps son Liam prepare for a Formula Ford run at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway. Photo: Christopher Knight

A splash of cash BMA has pledged $2 million towards the upgrade of the Greg Cruickshank Aquatic Centre in Moranbah. BMA chief executive officer Marcelo Bastos said a number of Isaac Regional Council and BMA consultation processes had indicated upgrading the aquatic centre was a high priority for the community. The upgrade project includes refurbishment of the 25m and 50m pools, construction of additional shade areas, café facilities, landscaping and new seating and barbecue areas. The plans also include new outdoor play equipment and a water play facility for children. BMA’s funding commitment covers about half the total cost of the project. BMA and the council plan to work in partnership to secure further backing from other industries and government.

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Building Mining Communities

The Mining Advocate | July 2010


Clermont taps Galilee growth A community group is working to position their town to enjoy the economic spin-offs from major development in the Alpha area. Clermont is preparing to tap into the business opportunities presented by the emergence of the Galilee Basin as a major new coal mining province. The Clermont Community and Business Group, formed late last year, has been positioning the Central Highlands town to win spin-off work from projects being developed outside Alpha. And it is starting to see results, with work under way to open up further industrial and residential blocks in the town. Clermont Community and Business Group spokesman Tony Upton said the town was strategically placed to supply the new Galilee Basin mines and offer an appealing country town lifestyle for families looking to settle in the area. “Alpha is the closest (community), but we’re definitely the next closest and we’re also the one that’s in line with their major supply source for mining equipment – Mackay,” he said. “Once the Alpha mining projects start up, Clermont will be smack-bang in the middle. “We think we’re in a pretty sound place to take advantage of some of the associated industry.” He said Emerald was also well positioned, but was already servicing a large range of mines, whereas the main focus of Clermont’s mine supply business was based on the nearby Rio Tinto Blair Athol mine – which is winding down – and the new Clermont mine. Major mining operations in the pipeline for the Alpha area include Hancock Prospecting’s Alpha and Kevin’s Corner

projects, Waratah Coal’s China First proposal and Bandanna Energy and AMCI’s South Galilee coal project. Mr Upton heads the affordable land and housing committee of the Clermont Community and Business Group. Since the group began campaigning late last year, he said Isaac Regional Council had committed to creating an affordable housing estate in the centre of town. It also recently completed an 11-block residential development in Francis St. Paul Breckon, who heads the Clermont Community and Business Group’s business attraction and industrial land committee, said there were also two industrial developments on the horizon. One involves a 12ha parcel of land owned by two local residents and the other a 24ha industrial and residential development proposed by investors SCN Pty Ltd. “Our group is out there to promote that - get that land developed and encourage new business to come to town,” Mr Breckon said. “These guys also want to shore up some numbers. “That’s where our group can hopefully help them, by trying to get out there and get some expressions of interest. “We want to get on the front foot. The Galilee Basin is going to explode out there.” Mr Breckon said his business, PB Steel and Engineering Company, and others in Clermont were already involved

Blair Athol



Kevin’s Corner Alpha Project Alpha Oil Shale

China First Jericho Alpha

South Galilee Mantuan Downs

in early work for the Alpha projects. Among the Clermont Community and Business Group’s aims is to encourage

major mining supply companies to establish a base in Clermont to service Galilee and Bowen basin mines.

“It’s a good launching pad - it’s an hour from here to the Alpha projects or any one of those mines in the Bowen Basin,” Mr Breckon said. So isn’t he concerned about encouraging more competition for his own business? “I do get a bit toey about that,” Mr Breckon said. “But by encouraging other competitors to the town, they will bring more infrastructure, it will hopefully give business a bigger pool of workers and you will get a chain reaction – extra school teachers, hairdressers, people like that.” Mr Upton said the Clermont Community and Business Group had recently received $60,000 from Rio Tinto’s Community Development Fund, which planned to contribute a total of $1.5 million to Clermont over the next three years. It had also received exceptional support from Isaac Regional Council Mayor Cedric Marshall, he said.

‘Tsunami’ on the horizon Developer John Jolly believes he can sense a significant shift in prospects for Clermont – a shift he believes will help bring his proposed residential and industrial project, with a potential value of $60 million or more, to fruition. “It’s like an undercurrent that suddenly has become a groundswell for Clermont,” he said. “It’s almost like a tsunami – there is a big thing happening, but it won’t be really obvious until it gets here. “We’re perfectly placed. We have our development and operational works approval for the industrial development and a council


that is very supportive of what we’re doing.” Mr Jolly is one of three principals in SCN Pty Ltd, a group proposing to develop a 24ha parcel of land in Clermont into about 30 industrial lots and an upmarket accommodation complex, including 80 to 160 three-bedroom townhouses. He said he was confident the project would go ahead this year after recent meetings in Clermont to gauge interest. SCN was also talking with central Queensland mining operations in a bid to secure lease arrangements for the accommodation component of the project, he said.

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Building Mining Communities

July 2010 |

The Mining Advocate

Mining Supporting Communities


BMA Blackwater Mine administration assistant Pam McGorrery accepts the 2010 shield from Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland president Beverley Mirolo and Mine Challenge chairperson Paul Barnard.

Blackwater Mine proves a cut above the rest BMA’s Blackwater Mine has topped the fundraising tally for the 2010 World’s Greatest Shave Mine Challenge in Queensland, contributing $39,123.50 to the Leukaemia Foundation. The central Queensland site has been a consistent champion in the five years the challenge has been running, according to Mine Challenge chairperson Paul Barnard. However, he said another BMA site – which he would not name – had indicated it planned to take Blackwater on for competition supremacy next year. Teams representing contractors building the Blackwater mine’s coal handling and preparation plant were the top fundraisers in the challenge’s first two years. Mr Barnard said BMA Blackwater Mine teams had gone on to win the challenge shield in 2008, 2009 and 2010. “They’ve been absolutely fantastic supporters – they really get into it in a big way,” he said. He noted that the fundraising efforts were greatly assisted by BMA’s “matched giving” program, with the company providing dollar-for-dollar donations. A BMA Blackwater Mine representative was presented with the Mine Challenge shield during a function in Brisbane to recognise the efforts

2010 MINE CHALLENGE TOP 10 1. 2. 3. 4.

BMA Blackwater Mine Xstrata Mount Isa Mines Bechtel Brisbane office Xstrata Coal Rolleston Mine 5. Xstrata Coal Newlands Mine 6. Red Mountain - Poitrel 7. Bucyrus 8. Arrow Energy 9. Xstrata Coal Brisbane office 10. BMA Goonyella Riverside of Queensland’s top World’s Greatest Shave fundraisers. The Queensland resources industry raised about $325,000 across 51 registered sites in the 2010 Mine Challenge, with the Top 10 sites alone accounting for $215,000. Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland chief executive officer Peter Johnstone said the funds had contributed to the record result of more than $4 million generated through this year’s World’s Greatest Shave in March. The funds raised assist with the care of patients and their families living with leukaemias, lymphomas, myeloma and related blood disorders.

'ERRMRKXSR Cannington Cougar Rhett Hassell with Dion Rossow and Brody James.

Footy cubs enter Cougars’ den Junior rugby league players from the Julia Creek Saints made the two-hour trip to BHP Billiton’s Cannington mine recently to join the site’s Cougars team for a training run. The visit, organised through the McKinlay Shire Council, included a passing and ball skills workshop followed by dinner at the Cannington village. McKinlay Shire Council sport and recreation officer Bec Climie said the excursion was designed to provide exposure to higher level sports training. “These kids all play in the junior rugby league competition here in Julia Creek,” Ms Climie said. “Being a smaller club, it can be difficult to find a coach and we rely a lot on the support of parents.

“I also managed to take away some handy drills which I’m certain we will roll out at the next Saints training session. “We look forward to running more of these events in conjunction with Cannington.” Cannington asset leader Bob Fulker said the Cougars had been training for a couple of months in preparation for the Battle of the Mines in October. “Visits like this allow the kids to get a glimpse of what life is like on a mine site and hopefully come away with some pretty handy footy tips,” he said. “Their enthusiasm was great and I think the guys also had an opportunity to cast their eyes over a few future Cougars.”

Helicopter fundraising continues The big rigs rolled out to support Mount Isa Rodeo Queen Quest entrant Danielle Bellamy recently as she moved closer to her target of raising $20,000 for NQ Rescue. Ms Bellamy said the Isa Big Rig Challenge, including a ute show, had raised about $8000 for the community helicopter service. “It was awesome,” she said. “The turn-out of trucks and

other vehicles was excellent and the quality was excellent.” Ms Bellamy said about 25 vehicles entered the event, with many participants keen to see a similar challenge held next year. Ms Bellamy plans a 000 night on July 17, where guests will dress as emergency services personnel, to round off her fundraising efforts. She said the good response to

Jaime Searle, Rodeo Queen Quest entrant Danielle Belamy, Sujan Shaw and Narelle Preston at the Isa Big Rig Challenge. Photo: Roslyn Budd

her campaign highlighted the strong community support for the Mount Isa-based rescue service. NQ Rescue cannot resume flights until the community helicopter service raises $1.5 million for a machine meeting the standard for government use in search and rescue and aeromedical operations. Chief executive officer Alex Dorr said the service was about to sign a naming rights sponsor and was receiving good support from local councils and the pastoral industry. Mr Dorr said NQ Rescue also had an “in principal” agreement from the mining sector for a major contribution, but they first wanted to see guaranteed State Government support. Mr Dorr has written to Queensland Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts proposing a two-year trial for the service to prove that community demand exists and justifies ongoing financial commitment from the government.

Cannington’s day at the track Junior Boys fashion winner Kade Ferguson with BHP Billiton Cannington community relations specialist Ruth Kaurila.

More than 200 people came out for a day at the races when the BHP Billiton Cannington Cup was run at the Cloncurry Racecourse recently. The day included a five-race program and fashions-on-the-

field events judged by BHP Billiton Cannington community relations specialist Ruth Kaurila. It was hosted by the Cloncurry and District Racing Association and BHP Billiton Cannington.

resourcing g the e future 'ERRMRKXSR


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July 2010  

The Mining Advocate - July 2010