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The Mining Advocate | March 2009


March 2009

2 End of the line The downturn in commodities prices has dealt a severe blow to the Osborne copper-gold mine, with owner Barrick Gold dropping plans to develop an underground project which would have extended the northwest Queensland operation’s lifespan. Osborne general manager Neal Valk describes the outcome as disheartening, but stresses that the mine is fortunate to be in a position to operate for another 12 months. “Other operations have not been that fortunate,” he says.

3 Cooking with gas A Western Australian company expects to start construction this year and to be exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its planned Gladstone plant by the end of 2012 after signing two key agreements for the project recently. Liquefied Natural Gas Limited is among an array of proponents lining up to base LNG facilities in the central Queensland city. The State Government is setting up a specialist LNG Industry Unit to help bring such projects to fruition.

A 43-tonne hydraulic roof support is unloaded at Mackay docks, bound for the Carborough Downs longwall project. (Story - Page 9)

4 More coal job cuts


An organisational and workforce review targeting a 20 per cent reduction in labour and contractor costs across Anglo Coal Australia’s operations has resulted in 650 positions being earmarked to go. The cut comes on top of the recently announced closure of the company’s Aquila underground mine and the Dawson North pit, resulting in the loss of 450 jobs - primarily contract roles.

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

14 Industry Update

6 New life for stalled projects

A comprehensive wrap of exploration and operations in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

A new owner is about to restart the Tiwi Islands mineral sands operation in the Northern Territory and hopes to realise the full potential of a sister project on Cape York. Stirling Resources managing director Michael Kiernan discusses his plans for the former Matilda Minerals assets and explains why zircon is a key focus for his company.

17 2009 Mount Isa Mining Expo 20 Between Shifts

7 Surviving the setbacks (COVER STORY)

24 Safety

Fallout from the mining downturn has hit close to home for Mount Isa-born rugby league star Scott Prince, who has emerged triumphant from some tough personal battles in the past decade. The Gold Coast Titans co-captain discusses the bad times and the good as well as sharing his thoughts on the challenges facing those affected by the economic crisis.

26 Bigger, Tougher, Better 28 NRL

CONTACTS p. (07) 4755 0336 f. (07) 4755 0338

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March 2009 |

The Mining Advocate

Osborne faces final countdown A fall in copper prices has sparked a decision that sees this Barrick Gold-owned operation preparing to shut up shop next year. The Osborne copper-gold mine is expected to close in early 2010 after owner Barrick Gold dropped plans to develop the Kulthor underground project at the site. Osborne general manager Neal Valk said the decision, sparked by a fall in copper prices, would end an operation which had experienced various ups and downs during its 13-year lifespan. “This is disheartening, disappointing, but it is reality,” Mr Valk said. “We are fortunate that with the position that the mine is in - the good infrastructure, our people and the support of Barrick Gold - we are able to operate another 12 months. Other operations have not been that fortunate. “We all have to change our thinking about the way we move ahead. 2009 is a lot different to what we were thinking and planning in mid 2008.” The mine, 195km southeast of Mount Isa, employs a 400-strong workforce including 270 Barrick employees and about 130 contractors. It is a fly in-fly out workforce that travels from Townsville.

The canned Kulthor project would have provided an extension to the Osborne underground workings to supply ore to the site’s processing plant for three to four years. Mr Valk said Osborne had been built in the mid-1990s when copper prices were quite low and had experienced mixed fortunes since. “Osborne was fortunate in that it was built with good infrastructure on a very good resource,” he said. The operation survived copper prices as low as $US0.60 per lb in 2001, albeit on a shoestring, Mr Valk said. Prices began to recover from 2002, continuing to rise to about $US1.40 at the end of 2004. Mr Valk said 2005 had been an excellent year for Osborne, with a restructure of operations bringing more resources into mine development, higher production rates and a lower cost structure. At the end of 2005, the copper price had risen to $US2.10 per lb. In early 2006, Osborne operator Placerdome was taken over by Barrick Gold.

The Osborne copper-gold operation, south-east of Mount Isa.

“With improving copper prices and following the Barrick core value of acting with a sense of urgency, projects were approved to continue the decline to lower blocks in the mine, a cemented paste fill plant was approved for construction to allow higher mining recovery rates of high-grade blocks and the Trekelano Mine satellite deposit was approved to allow pre-strip mining, with first ore to the Osborne processing plant in October 2006,” Mr Valk said. “Osborne continued to get support from Barrick Gold, with the approval of the Kulthor Project.” The Kulthor deposit is located about 2.2 km from the main Osborne shaft. Work commenced in October 2007 advancing the decline to allow that deposit to be mined and making preparations

Call to approve Chinese deal and protect indigenous jobs An indigenous-owned and operated mining contractor has called on the Federal Government to approve the sale of OZ Minerals to Chinese company Minmetals without delay. Northern Project Contracting, which operates several contracts employing 45 indigenous people at OZ Minerals Century Mine in north-west Queensland, believes most of its workers will lose their jobs if the deal is not approved. NPC director Derek Flucker called on Treasurer Wayne Swan, as minister responsible for the Foreign Investment Review Board, to act to protect the jobs of local indigenous people by ensuring the deal went ahead. Mr Flucker said mining operations were one of the few ways that people in remote areas could be successfully employed. “Foreign companies will continue to play an important role in the mining industry in Australia, as they have always done, and we don’t see that we have anything to be concerned about with the potential Minmetals takeover,” he said.

“If the alternative is for the mine to go into receivership, and for all these people to lose their jobs, we need to take up the alternative. It will benefit no one if OZ Minerals is placed in receivership.” Beijing-based Minmetals last month launched a $2.6 billion takeover offer for debt-stricken Oz Minerals. Mr Swan is also considering state-owned Chinese aluminum company Chinalco’s proposed $30 billion investment in Rio Tinto. The Australian Workers’ Union and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union have expressed concerns about the deals and are calling for a revitalised national debate on export licences. “Our unions are cautious about the ownership of our strategic resources by foreign-government controlled capital – especially if this new source of capital acts against our own economic interests,” CFMEU president Tony Maher said. OZ Minerals announced late last month that it had secured the approval of its financiers to extend the terms of its debt arrangements to March 31.

for major rises from surface. “This was a particularly good year, with our best safety performance to date, very good copper and gold production, major projects progressing, as well as the ongoing work required to achieve targets,” Mr Valk said. But he said the events of late last year had highlighted the effects a major drop in copper prices could have on an operation. “The copper price has returned to about $US1.40 to 1.50 per lb,” Mr Valk said. “(A review of operations) showed that the continued development of the Kulthor underground project would be unprofitable at these prices and therefore the decision was made to stop work on this project.This is difficult, considering all the work that people have put into this project for the past 21 months.”

He said the company also decided to cut exploration expenditure. “We now have set a course, whereby production of copper concentrate at the Osborne processing plant will cease in Quarter 1, 2010,” he said. While today’s prices were on par with those four years ago, Mr Valk said costs had risen and the average grade of ore to the mill at Osborne had reduced. Mr Valk said Osborne had been fortunate to have a well-skilled and competent workforce during its lifetime. Another key to its success had been the long-term relationship with business partners and other stakeholders. “Overall, Osborne has been a successful operation and it has contributed to many people’s livelihood throughout North Queensland,” Mr Valk said.

Weipa cuts production Rio Tinto Alcan has wound back bauxite production at its Weipa mine and cut costs in response to tough market conditions. “The decision to reduce production at our Weipa mine was not taken lightly and we realise the impact this will have on employees, contractors and the community,” Weipa operations general manager Jo-Anne Scarini said. “The action was necessary in light of unprecedented downturn in global demand.” The Weipa operation is expected to produce about 18 million dry product tonnes of bauxite in 2009, compared to 19.9 million last year. In order to avoid employee job losses, the company has been redeploying staff into temporary alternative roles, performing tasks previously outsourced to contractors. Ms Scarini did not outline exactly how many contractor positions had been shed. “Weipa mine utilises a range of

contractors from a number of different firms, which varies from month to month,” she said. “Very few of the roles insourced are related to work being completed under long-term contracts.” The Queensland Government sent its Rapid Response Team to Weipa last month to assist laid off workers in the wake of the belt-tightening at Rio Tinto Alcan operations. “In some cases contractor staff numbers have been reduced by 50 per cent,” Tourism, Regional Development and Industry Minister Desley Boyle said. “Unfortunately Weipa is not immune to the effects of the global crisis, but this government is determined to protect Queenslanders’ jobs wherever possible.” Ms Scarini said Rio Tinto Alcan would continue to take necessary decisions to maximise the value of its portfolio of best-in-class assets, such as the Weipa mine.


The Mining Advocate | March 2009


All systems ‘go’ on gas schemes Various LNG projects proposed for Gladstone are reaching the “pointy end” of the decisionmaking process, writes Belinda Humphries. A Western Australian company expects to be “first cab off the rank” from a raft of proposed Gladstone liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects after signing two key agreements last month. Liquefied Natural Gas Limited was on schedule to start early construction work later this year and export its first LNG from Gladstone at the end of 2012, company managing director and chief executive officer Maurice Brand said. That schedule would make it the first of the seven proposals currently on the table for Gladstone to go into LNG production – and the first plant worldwide producing LNG from coal seam gas. “At the moment everything is indicating we will achieve those dates,” Mr Brand said. Other proposed LNG projects for Gladstone include the Queensland Curtis LNG plant (QGC), Gladstone LNG (Santos-Petronas), Australia Pacific LNG (Origin and

Maurice Brand Liquefied Natural Gas Limited managing director

ConocoPhillips), Southern Cross LNG (LNG Impel), a ShellArrow proposal and a Sojitz proposal. The State Government last month announced the establishment of a specialist LNG Industry Unit in the Office of the Co-ordinatorGeneral, supported by high-level departmental heads, to deal with

such projects. The Queensland Resources Council (QRC), which had been calling for a plan to maximise the opportunities flowing from the development of an export LNG industry, welcomed the move – describing it as “none too soon”. “That’s the sort of focus that we were looking for,” QRC chief executive Michael Roche said. “These projects are starting to get to the pointy end of decision-making, environmental impact statements are starting to flow – very complex documents. “Companies are looking to spend hundreds of millions of dollars this year in getting the projects ready.” Mr Roche said the scale of the proposals ranged up to an $8 billion investment for a single project which would generate around 3000 jobs. He suspected there was “a bit of a race on at the moment” between proponents to be first in, best dressed. LNG Limited last month announced that Norwegian LNG shipper Golar had signed an off take agreement for LNG to be produced at its planned $US500 million ($779 million)


Gladstone plant, while Arrow Energy had signed an agreement to supply coal seam gas to the plant.

Michael Roche Queensland Resources Council chief executive

Mr Brand has described the LNG Limited proposal as a relatively modest project, with a first train of 1.5 million tonnes and a second to be developed from 2014 with the same capacity. He believed the seven LNG proposals on the table for Gladstone were likely to be whittled down to two major

Curtis Island plants and LNG Limited’s own Fisherman’s Landing plant, with some consolidation of projects and facility sharing. QGC, a BG Group company, moved a step closer to building its proposed Queensland Curtis LNG plant last month by finalising a deal to purchase about 270ha of Curtis Island land from the Queensland Government. It plans to develop a facility capable of producing up to 12 million tonnes of LNG a year. Meanwhile Shell closed a deal with Arrow Energy, acquiring a 30 per cent interest in its coal seam gas acreage in Queensland and a 10 percent stake in subsidiary Arrow International. Shell said also it had signed an agreement with the Gladstone Ports Corporation for the right to investigate a site on Curtis Island for a possible LNG plant. Santos announced late last year that it was entering FEED (front end engineering and design) for its project, appointing Bechtel to design the coal seam gas-to-LNG plant at Gladstone.


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March 2009 |

The Mining Advocate

Anglo gets the axe out A recent workforce review has seen the miner shed 650 positions on top of hundreds of contractor roles already earmarked to end. Anglo Coal’s axe has come down hard in central Queensland, with almost 650 employee and contractor positions to go from local coal operations by the end of this month as a result of a major review. The cut comes on top of the recently announced closure of the Aquila underground mine at Anglo’s Capcoal operation and the Dawson North pit at Dawson, resulting in the loss of an additional 450 jobs – primarily contract roles. It stems from an organisational and workforce review targeting a 20 per cent reduction in labour and contractor costs across Anglo Coal Australia’s operations in Queensland and New South Wales in response to deteriorating global market conditions. The review earmarked 650 positions to go across

the organisation, with the cut including 60 voluntary redundancies accepted by employees and a reduction of 470 contractor positions. This means 120 employees face non-voluntary redundancy. The group operates the Callide, Capcoal, Dawson, Foxleigh and Moranbah North sites in central Queensland and Drayton opencut coal mine in New South Wales. The Queensland operations will bear the brunt of the job cuts. An Anglo Coal Australia spokesman told The Mining Advocate that while the company could not provide a detailed breakdown of how many positions were going from each site, the impact in NSW would be “miniscule”. And he confirmed that the 650-strong reduction was on

Mining at Anglo Coal Australia’s Callide operations in central Queensland.

top of about 450 positions lost through the pit closures announced at Capcoal and Dawson in the past two months. Anglo Coal Australia chief executive officer Seamus French said the company had made every effort to minimise the impact on employees by implementing a voluntary redundancy scheme, freezing recruitment, redeploying employees to fill vacancies and eliminating fixed-term contractor positions. He said the company would continue its commitment to graduate and apprenticeship programs. After a run of similar jobslashing announcements – including BHP Billiton’s plan to shave 1100 positions from its

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metallurgical coal operations by July - Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) mining vice-president Stuart Vaccaneo said it was hoped that coal companies would await the outcomes of those measures and current contract tonnage and price negotiations before any further action. Queensland Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson warned that the Anglo Coal cuts were unlikely to be the last. “What we’re seeing here is the human face of the worst global economic crisis since the Depression. Queensland is not alone,” he said. Meanwhile the Queensland Resources Council (QRC)

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The Mining Advocate | March 2009


Pressure builds for rail upgrade Regional development groups are lobbying for funding to ensure the Townsville-Mount Isa link meets industry’s growing demands. Weeks of disruptions to mine freight and an impending Queensland election have intensified the push for an upgrade to the Townsville-Mount Isa rail line. And there are fears new projects such as Legend International’s planned 5 million-tonnes-perannum phosphate operation may be hampered by a lack of capacity on the crucial link unless Queensland Rail (QR) acts quickly. The Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Zone (MITEZ) group and Townsville Enterprise are calling on parties contesting the State election to commit the $250 million required to upgrade the Eastern Access Corridor and flood proof sections of the rail line. This comes after wet weatherrelated disruptions, including a closure for most of February to allow repairs after several sections of track were washed out. Townsville Enterprisecommissioned AEC Economics research showed the recent cuts to rail services cost the region $338 million in lost trade. MITEZ executive officer Glen Graham said that group was concerned about the line’s ability to cope with the expected increase in mining freight in the next few years, including product from Legend and expanded Incitec Pivot phosphate operations.

“MITEZ believes it is high time the Mount Isa-Townsville rail line was brought up to a higher standard,” he said. Townsville Enterprise chief executive officer Glenys Schuntner said there was a pressing need for investment into the rail line – not just for flood proofing, but to cater for anticipated growth. “Conservatively predicted increases in exports along this line to the port will push the rail line past its current capacity by 2012,” she said. “There are 4.6 million tonnes of products from the rail line being shipped annually already. “A predicted increase of 2.4 million tonnes in exports through the port in the next two years means this investment needs to happen now.” She said the annual tonnage was expected to grow by 15 million tonnes by 2014. QR Network is conducting a master planning consultation process with current and potential customers on the Mount Isa line. “The process is aimed at identifying long-term capacity requirements and related timeframes and evaluating investment options to meet those requirements,” a QR spokesman said. “An initial round of consultation meetings was held last year and ongoing feedback is now being

Above: Track repairs in the Julia Creek area last month. Left: MITEZ head Glen Graham is “pushing the barrow” for an upgrade. Photos: Roslyn Budd

about seven of the first 10 weeks of 2009. “We did have a situation where mines were operating and had product they wanted to get to market and they simply couldn’t,” he said. “Similarly mines that needed urgent supplies to come from the coast to the north-west couldn’t get that and therefore had to fall back on less efficient and more

incorporated in an updated Mount Isa Master Plan. “This will be distributed to relevant supply chain members in coming months.” Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said the line had been cut for

Miners back in business at McArthur River site Xstrata Zinc lost no time in resuming operations at McArthur River Mine after Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett last month

Flooding shuts down Lady Annie The north-west’s “big wet” has sparked the suspension of mining at CopperCo’s Lady Annie mine and an investigation into the possible pollution of nearby waterways due to site run-off. Receivers Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu said 68 employees were stood down from the operation, about 120km north of Mount Isa, in mid-February. They said also that the exceptional rainfall in the region had forced them to place the operations of Matrix Metals on full care and maintenance. That workforce had previously been reduced to about 28 after Matrix, which held the Mt Cuthbert and Mt Watson sites, went into voluntary administration in November and now consists of a skeleton team of four. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu said more than 1060mm of rain had fallen on the Lady Annie mine site between December 1 and the second week of February, including 183mm in 24 hours on February 8. Flooding and subsequent

damage had prevented normal access to site and severely impeded mining operations. “The necessary repairs to restore operations to normal levels cannot properly commence until the weather and conditions improve and as a result, we have been forced to suspend operations,” Deloitte partner Gary Doran said. He stressed that the employment of Lady Annie workers was not being terminated and their entitlements would

continue to accrue as normal. The receivers said they were investigating an incident at Lady Annie mine which may have released contaminants into the Saga and Inca creeks. An Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman said spills and overflows had been reported from 10 mines and related facilities across north-west Queensland and the Gulf region this year due to prolonged and very heavy rainfall in the region. Those sites included Lady

The Lady Annie site received more than 1060mm of rain within three months.

expensive road transport.” While there was no doubt the rainfall involved had been extraordinary, Mr Roche said the situation had highlighted the need for further investment in the line. He said the State Government had allocated more than $100 million over four years for measures to create some efficiencies on the line, but these would not add to capacity. The QRC expected QR to “rise to the occasion” and deliver the necessary capacity so that projects such as Legend were not hindered by an inability to get product to market, he said.

Annie Mine, Great Australia Mine, Birla Mt Gordon, Ernest Henry Mine, Mount Isa Mines, Century Mine, Leichhardt Mine, Selwyn Mine, Lorena Mine and the Yurbi rail loading facility outside Cloncurry, she said. EPA staff were working to assess the nature and extent of environmental harm caused by those spills, and what needed to be done to fix any problems. The EPA issued an Environmental Protection Order to Lady Annie Mine directing the company to take urgent action to prevent further discharge of contaminated water and expedite the repair of a collapsed stormwater pond wall. Meanwhile, laboratory results confirmed that a discharge from the Great Australian Mine had low (acidic) pH and contained elevated concentrations of heavy metals, including copper, zinc, nickel and cadmium. But the EPA spokeswoman said initial samples showed Coppermine Creek water had largely recovered by late last month, with pH levels returning to normal.

approved the operation’s openpit development with conditions. “We had already flown in a mining crew the preceding week, so we had staff on site who commenced work on the ramps and access to the pit immediately,” Xstrata Zinc Australia corporate affairs and community relations general manager Patrick Collins said. “On Friday evening after the announcement by Peter Garrett (on February 20) we got a flight into McArthur River with additional mining crew that were mining immediately.” The Northern Territory mine suspended operations in January pending Mr Garrett’s final decision after a court ruling last year that approval for the openpit expansion was invalid due to procedural errors by the previous Commonwealth Government. The additional conditions of Mr Garrett’s approval included the continuation of freshwater sawfish and migratory bird studies in and around the mine’s operational areas. Mr Collins said the first shot had been fired on site on the Tuesday after the announcement and the mill was processing ore the next day. But he said it would take several weeks for all staff to resume work and the operation’s throughput to return to its target rate of 2 million tonnes per annum.



March 2009 |

The Mining Advocate

Matilda sites ‘a waltzing’ again A new owner is about to breathe fresh life into a stalled NT mineral sands operation and its promising sister project on Cape York. Stirling Resources plans to restart the Tiwi Islands mineral sands operation in the Northern Territory mid-year after spending $4.8 million to pick up former Matilda Minerals projects. The acquisition, via Matilda Minerals administrators Ferrier Hodgson, also includes zircon tenements on Cape York Peninsula – where Stirling hopes to kick off production by early 2011. Stirling Resources managing director Michael Kiernan said the company had a five-year strategic development plan with targeted production goals in the commodities of copper, iron ore, coal and gold, as well as zircon. He said the company retained a very positive outlook on the market for zircon, which is used in the ceramics and porcelain industries. “Zircon is one of the few commodity prices that hasn’t been belted over the past 12 months,” Mr Kiernan said. “It has held its price - in fact it has firmed and is getting towards

an all-time high as a direct result of demand from middle-class China.” The Tiwi Islands operation was previously shipping zircon concentrate to China, but has been on care and maintenance since late last year. Mr Kiernan – a former director of Matilda Minerals said it had been shut down after torrential rain damaged Port Melville facilities, interrupting the operation’s exports and creating a cash crunch. He said Stirling planned to restart the operation mid-year, however it only had about 12 to 18 months’ life left. It was expected to employ 15 to 18 people and produce zircon concentrate at a rate of 30,000 to 35,000 tonnes per annum. The new owner plans to barge bags of concentrate off the beach to waiting ships rather than operating via Port Melville. Mr Kiernan said the main attraction in acquiring the Matilda Minerals assets had been its zircon tenements covering a 300km stretch of

Drilling on the Tiwi Islands under the former Maltilda Minerals mineral sands operation.

ancient beach sand north of Weipa. They had the potential to produce 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes of zircon concentrate a year, with the operation likely to employ about 50 people, he said. Mr Kiernan believed the Cape York Peninsula project had a

mine life in excess of 10 years. He said Stirling would spend up to $500,000 on further exploration at Cape York, with the program to commence immediately after the wet season. “The Tiwi Islands project will provide us with a quick avenue to production, while the

Queensland project presents a particularly exciting longer-term significant project,” Mr Kiernan said. Stirling’s resource industry interests also include a 19.8 per cent stake in Redbank Mines, which is developing copper assets in the Northern Territory.

Hit by retrenchment or the current financial situation? COMMON REACTIONS TO UNEXPECTED LOSS

• Lost your job or savings? • Feel overwhelmed with the pressure and stress? • Don’t know what to do?

Are you experiencing? ( tick if yes )

Financial loss affects different people in different ways. Some people may need to cut back on spending or put retirement on hold, while others will need to apply for financial assistance. TAKING CARE OF YOUR FAMILY Be aware that family members may be having a difficult time too. Ask yourself the following: • Have I discussed the situation with my partner and the ramifications of these changed circumstances?


sleep problems appetite loss feeling overwhelmed, anxious, fearful or frustrated feeling angry irritable and intolerant feeling embarrassed, guilty or powerless aches and pains mood swings muscle tension or pain withdrawing from others lowered sex drive and performance

• Have we explained clearly to our children what is happening?

If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms over a prolonged period and they’re impacting on your life, you could be at risk of developing depression or anxiety. It’s important you talk to a doctor or other health professional.

• If not, how can we talk to them so it doesn’t distress or scare them?


• Is my family OK? Do they need extra emotional support? • What steps can I take to ensure that life remains as “normal” as possible for our children? • What enjoyable activities can we still do as a family?

Adjusting to a loss or financial hardship is difficult emotionally and on a practical level. Remember, help is available. You can’t change the economy, but you can take steps to respond to the situation and look after your financial and emotional well-being.

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The Mining Advocate | March 2009



Surviving the ‘rollercoaster’ The mining slump hits close to home for an Isa-bred footy hero who has overcome some tough personal blows. Scott Prince is no stranger to hard times. The Mount Isa-born rugby league star lost his father, Les, in a road accident in early 2001 and was then sidelined with injuries, including two broken legs, during much of his three-season stint with the Broncos. But Prince prevailed – going on to represent his state, country and win a grand final in 2005 as captain of the Wests Tigers. The halfback, who celebrated his 29th birthday last month, is now co-captain of the Gold Coast Titans. However his childhood home town remains close to his heart and Prince said he had close friends and family who had recently lost their jobs at north-west Queensland mining operations. “There’s quite a lot of stress on families, especially with mortgage repayments,” he said of the downturn. “It’s quite scary.” Asked if he could offer some words of advice for those doing it tough in the Isa, after his own rollercoaster experience of the past few years, Prince said it was difficult to compare the challenge they faced with his own. “I guess with rugby league you can always work harder and it’s in your control to make things turn around,” Prince said. “With them, it’s out of their hands, out of their control what’s happening with the mining industry. “Obviously being persistent, having hope and faith that it will turn around – those are three things I can say about what I’ve had to go through and what families have to go through in such a difficult period. “Let’s hope in their case things do turn around and get back on track.” Prince’s father worked as a winder driver at Mount Isa Mines, operating the cages to take workers down the shaft. “I guess growing up in Mount Isa you always

thought you would follow in the footsteps of your father and that’s what I thought,” Prince said. “If it wasn’t for rugby league and the opportunities I’ve been given, there would be a fair chance I would have stayed in Mount Isa and been a miner.” Prince said his father’s death, in a single-vehicle accident on Herveys Range Rd outside Townsville, had rocked his whole world. During his difficult days at the Brisbane Broncos, Prince said he had been conscious of the fact that his late father, who had provided great support to him, would have loved him to “get back and play

some good football”. “The good times I’ve been through – I wish I could have shared that with the old man, but that wasn’t to be,” he said. He said family support, including the backing of his wife Kristy and “two beautiful daughters” (five –year-old Taliah and three-year-old Kahlen) remained a great motivator. And he is grateful for what league has offered him. “I’ve been involved in a premiership-winning team and have had the opportunity to play for my state and country,” Prince said. “It has been amazing. “As you get older you get more appreciative of the fact you get paid for something you love doing.”


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March 2009 |

The Mining Advocate

Citigold’s ‘year of expansion’ Advances at the Warrior Mine in the past 12 months have laid the foundations for a significant step up in production in 2009. Citigold expects to treble production in Charters Towers in 2009 after delivering 12,661 ounces of gold in 2008, up 15 per cent on the previous year. Chief operating officer Chris Towsey said the ramp up followed advances at the company’s Warrior Mine including increased electricity supply, a move to 24-7 operations and development work that provided access to new mining areas. “This (2009) is a year of expansion for us,” he said. “The last year really has been about development and consolidation, getting the basics right – the right mining method, getting the infrastructure in place and suppliers in place. “We have now positioned ourselves to expand the operations.” Mr Towsey said the company expected to achieve an annual production rate of 300,000 ounces of gold from its Charters Towers operations by 2013. The company is keen to cash

in on gold prices which have been hovering around an alltime-high in Australian dollars due to consistently strong United States gold prices and the recent fall in Australian currency rates. Mr Towsey said Citigold had anticipated the recent global economic slump in its long-term planning, based on previous industry cycles. It was well positioned to weather the downturn as an unhedged producer enjoying a combination of increased cash flow and good gold prices, without holding any bank debt. The company, which has relied on capital from share issues in the past, was expected to become profitable within the next year as a result of the increased production at Warrior Mine, Mr Towsey said. It would look at developing its Sunburst project, also in Charters Towers, after lifting production at Warrior. Mr Towsey said development of the mine’s western decline in

General manager mining, Garry Foord, checks on production output with the driver of an underground load-haul-dump unit at Warrior Mine. Photo: Gillian Tedder

2008 had opened up access to multiple areas of the Warrior Reef and it could reach the nearby Imperial Reef with a 300m crosscut. The Warrior Reef resource stands at 840,000 ounces of gold (with an average ore grade of about 13g per tonne)

and Mr Towsey said recent geophysical work indicated it could extend a further 1.5 km to the east, potentially holding a further 400,000 ounces than was currently contained in the overall resource estimate. “The Imperial seems to be a repeat of the Warrior Reef - we

expect about 1 million ounces in resources there,” he said. Mr Towsey said Citigold held a 10 million-ounce resource across its tenements in the Charters Towers area. “We have a 30-year project, we’re there for a long time,” he said.

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The Mining Advocate | March 2009


Milestone for project team

Uplifting A shipment of massive roof supports moves Carborough Downs a step closer to boosting mine output through a longwall expansion. The first 30 hydraulic roof supports imported for the $US330 million ($508.7 million) Carborough Downs longwall project have arrived in Mackay. A total of 149 such supports, each weighing about 43 tonnes, are to be installed in an upgrade set to increase the Moranbah district coal mine’s capacity seven-fold by 2011. Inbye Mining Services project manager Dave Crehan said the initial shipment of supports was a milestone in what he described as a flagship job for the company, which is the major contract supplier for the new longwall system. “It’s our first complete longwall package – us together with our suppliers – so it’s very important for Inbye Mining Services,” he said. The company, which has its head office in New South Wales, decided to base an operation in Mackay after winning the

Carborough Downs contract last year. Mr Crehan said the Mackay workshop had 30 employees and would be employing another 15 tradespeople within weeks to accommodate its increased workload. In addition to the Carborough Downs longwall project, Inbye Mining Services has been working on a roof support overhaul for the North Goonyella mine, an overhaul of a beam stage loader (BSL) for Newlands and an e-frame from Oaky Creek North. The Carborough Downs coal mine is 80 per cent owned by Brazilian giant Vale. Vale says the expansion will boost Carborough Downs’ annual production capacity from 0.6 million to 4.4 million tonnes of coal by 2011. Assembly and commissioning of the new longwall is expected to commence later this year and the

The hydraulic roof supports at Inbye Mining Services’ Mackay base, in the Paget industrial area.

new system should be ramping up to full production towards the end of 2010. Mr Crehan said the first 30 Tagor-brand roof supports received from Polish equipment manufacturer Kopex – a partner and shareholder of Inbye - had been trucked from the Mackay harbour to the company’s workshop mid-February. “They had to come here for compatibility reasons, together with the shearer, prior to installation underground,” he said.

The assembled equipment at Inbye’s workshop will also be used to train Carborough Downs workers. “The next 119 (roof supports) will be delivered straight to site,” Mr Crehan said. The 149 hydraulic roof supports will have the capacity to hold up 184, 462 tonnes of earth in total, while the shearer will be capable of cutting 4500 tonnes of coal an hour. Inbye Mining Services is building the coal clearance system

for the operation - comprising a 300m armoured face conveyor, a 1200mm wide BSL, impact crusher and Matilda-style belt boot end - while Eickhoff Australia is supplying a highpowered SL 1000 series shearer. Mr Crehan said the mine’s longwall system would also include CSIRO’s LASC (Longwall Automation Steering Committee) automation system, in what was expected to be the very first commercial installation of that technology.



March 2009 |

The Mining Advocate

Help for mining supply businesses The director of a new Mackay-based centre set up to boost industry productivity is keen to spread the word on its services. Businesses supplying the mining sector are being urged to tap into a new industryspecific initiative that promises to help boost productivity and provide access to a nationwide “knowledge network”. The Mackay-based Mining Technology Innovation Centre is due to be officially launched this month as part of the Rudd Government’s Enterprise Connect scheme. The government has committed $14 million over four years for the centre. It will provide services Australia-wide for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) supplying equipment and services to the mining, oil and gas industries, according to centre director Peter Van Iersel. It offers free business reviews, access to grants for tailored advice to address aspects

highlighted in such reviews and access to research work that may help increase productivity. Mr Van Iersel said now was a good time for businesses to take such steps to improve productivity. “There are tough times ahead. Companies need to have their act together and have a very efficient business to stay in business over this tough period,” he said. Mr Van Iersel said the criteria companies must meet to be eligible for a free business review from the Mining Technology Innovation Centre were quite easy. They must be solvent, have an Australian Company Number (ACN) and have an annual turnover of $1.5 million to $100 million. They must have been in business for three years in order to apply.

“The business advisers will spend four or five days with them to do a review of every aspect of their business free of charge,” Mr Van Iersel said. “The advisers have been hired from industry - they’ve either owned or managed businesses themselves. “They spend some time with the client, look at the business and come up with recommendations and a report which will highlight areas the business needs help with. “The Federal Government can provide extra funding for a tailored advisory service – paying dollar-for-dollar up to $20,000 to hire a consultant to work on those specific areas “Where the innovation centre for the mining sector differs (from other manufacturing innovation centres in the Enterprise Connect initiative) is we can also provide a link to the SMEs with research going on around the country in the sector. “We will be developing a

Mining Technology Innovation Centre director Peter Van Iersel addresses a Mackay Area Industry Network breakfast meeting. Photo: Daryl Wright

knowledge network on all the research going on. “Also, if we see a good potential for export we will help these companies to get into that as well.” Mr Van Iersel said he especially liked the simplicity of the application process for a

business review. People seeking further information on Mining Technology Innovation Centre services should contact the Enterprise Connect Hotline on 131 791, in business hours, or email miningtechnologycentre@

Kilometres of core hold key data for explorers A new 2000sq m drill core storage centre in Mount Isa is expected to open its doors to the mining industry as early as mid-2010. The facility will have the capacity to hold about 5000 pallets of diamond drill core – the equivalent of 600 to 700km of material, according to Department of Mines and Energy regional geologist Warren Cooper With diamond drill core costing about $250 a metre to obtain, that makes for a valuable collection of material in what Mr Cooper describes as a reference library for mineral explorers. Companies are required under State legislation to give their samples to the department when they have finished exploration work. Mr Cooper said this created a library of material containing information on rock types and a region’s geology for future explorers to access. “This material (retained) may represent examples of mineral deposits or styles of mineralisation, regionally significant reference material for regional geological understanding, deep holes in isolated locations that were very expensive to collect, potential for future emerging industries (eg

The Department of Mines and Energy drill core storage facility at Zillmere, Brisbane.

geothermal energy) or material that has scientific or academic merit,” he said.

“The value of retaining this material is that it can be made available in the future

for research, or viewing, to assist industry to assess the prospectivity of Queensland’s geology.” The Department of Mines and Energy currently holds about 36km of drill core, taken in the past 15 years, in a small open-air storage facility in Mount Isa. “But to ensure the long-term life of this material it needs to be securely stored under cover, away from the elements, and the optimum way of doing this is through a stand storage process using pallet racking and forklifts,” Mr Cooper said. The department also has an exploration data centre in Brisbane which includes a core storage facility as well as a small temporary core storage in Charters Towers. Mr Cooper said it planned to centralise storage of all metalliferous drill core in Mount Isa after construction of the new facility. “We’re hoping for completion of construction by the end of this year,” he said. “There will be a period where we will be putting the material in and that will actually take half a year at least because there’s a significant amount of material to be checked and referenced and repacked. “We hope it will be open for

full access to the industry in mid to late 2010.” Member for Mount Isa Betty Kiernan said the Bligh Government had approved the purchase of about two hectares of land near the Mount Isa airport for the new drill core storage facility. “With a construction and fit-out budget of just over $4 million to be spent on the facility over the next two years, this project will inject money into the local community and generate jobs in a region where the impact of the economic downturn has been strongly felt,” Ms Kiernan said. Thirty full-time jobs are expected to be created during the facility’s construction. Queensland Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson described the project as a major coup for the Mount Isa community that would stimulate the local economy and generate jobs. “A drill core collection is a library for explorers. It preserves a record of past geological exploration and adds value to today’s exploration,” Mr Wilson said. “This is so important because today’s exploration means tomorrow’s jobs.”


The Mining Advocate | March 2009


Step forward for ‘clean’ power New legislation provides a framework to help Queensland’s emerging carbon geosequestration industry develop. Queensland’s new greenhouse gas storage legislation has been hailed as a major step forward for the growing “clean” power industry. The Act, passed last month, included provision of legal tenements granting companies the right to drill wells to explore for suitable sites to store carbon dioxide underground, ZeroGen CO2 manager Howard Morrison said. He said pioneering geosequestration proponents such as ZeroGen had previously been working under the Petroleum and Gas Act of Queensland, with special dispensation from the State Government. “(The new Act) enables the activities of exploration for greenhouse gas storage reservoirs and the activity of storing CO2 itself and provides a regulatory and legislative framework for that to occur in,” Mr Morrison said. “The passing of the legislation in Queensland is a major step

Howard Morrison ZeroGen CO2 manager

forward for a young and growing industry.” The ZeroGen clean coal project aims to combine integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technology with carbon capture and storage (CCS) to produce low-emission base-load electricity at a site outside Rockhampton. The IGCC process combines coal with oxygen and steam under pressure to produce a

Razor gang ready

A ZeroGen drill rig near Springsure in central Queensland.

clean synthesis gas (syngas) for use in power generation. ZeroGen will capture carbon dioxide released in the combustion process and store it in underground reservoirs in the Springsure area.

It plans to have a 120-megawatt demonstration plant up and running by 2012, followed by the development of a 400-megwatt commercial-scale plant. “We’re looking at the option

QMAG reduces workforce Queensland Magnesia (QMAG) has slashed production at its central Queensland operations, reducing its workforce by 130 people. QMAG last month announced it was ceasing all contract mining activities at its Kunwarara

mine and winding down its Rockhampton processing plant to 30 per cent capacity. It is expected production will remain at these levels until midyear. The company said the cuts were necessary to reduce

Progress for $7.5b Alpha coal project Anglo Coal employee Jason Fittler getting the “Greatest Shave” cut and colour treatment in Moura last year.

Mining industry workers throughout Queensland are ready to grin and “bare” it this month for the 2009 World’s Greatest Shave Mine Challenge. The Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland said 47 sites had registered by the start of March to participate in the annual fundraiser. They included operations in the central Queensland coalfields, throughout the northwest and at head offices in the south-eastern corner. The mine challenge is part of the Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland’s largest annual fundraiser, World’s Greatest Shave. It pits Queensland’s mining and energy workers, and associated companies and contractors, against each other

to raise funds in support of patients and their families living with leukaemias, lymphomas, myeloma and related blood disorders. “The willingness of the mining and energy sectors to get involved and back this worthy cause has seen the World’s Greatest Shave Mine Challenge break records each year since it commenced in 2006, with a total of more than $1.1 million raised to date,” Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland chief executive officer Peter Johnstone said. “Last year, 28 companies and 59 sites donated their time, money and hair to raise $420,000 as they competed for the 2008 Mine Challenge title. The challenge is now on to exceed this in 2009.”

of accelerating the commercial scale plant - that’s currently with our project sponsors (State Government and coal industry members) for their consideration,” Mr Morrison said. “We hope that the commercial scale project might be achievable by 2015.” ZeroGen, a governmentowned corporation, will be among the first storing CO2 in Australia. Mr Morrison believed advancing geosequestration know-how was a crucial element in meeting future global energy needs. “There are sufficient studies nationally and internationally to suggest that coal will play a major part of the solution for future energy requirements,” Mr Morrison said. “If geosequestration is not successfully achieved, our chances of meeting the climate change challenge and reducing our CO2 concentration in the atmosphere are greatly reduced.”

Hancock Prospecting has reached another milestone on the road to establishing its $7.5 billion Alpha coal project, 360km south-west of Mackay. Queensland Co-ordinator-General Colin Jensen last month released the draft terms of reference for an environmental impact statement (EIS) for what is potentially Australia’s largest coal project. Hancock Prospecting proposes to establish an open-cut coal mine 38km north-west of Alpha with an initial export capacity of 30 million tonnes per annum. If approved, construction of the mine is expected to begin in late 2010 and coal exports in 2013. The operation would employ 2500 people during construction and 1600 permanent staff. The project would include the potential construction of a new 400km-plus rail line and a port and a coal handling terminal able to expand to 80 million tonnes per annum or more. Hancock proposes to locate the coal handling terminal at either an expanded port at Abbot Point, outside Bowen, or at Dudgeon Point, south of Mackay. It proposes to either build a new rail track from the mine to the preferred port location and/or use parts of Queensland Rail’s railway system. The company’s coal tenements outside Alpha contain a measured, indicated and inferred resource in excess of three billion tonnes. The proposed open-cut mine is expected to be developed in stages, with a mine life in excess of 30 years. The release of the draft terms of reference for the EIS follows Mr Jensen’s declaration of the Hancock proposal as a significant project in October last year.

inventories and conserve cash in the face of a significant decline in demand for its products from world steel and refractory markets. They meant a major reduction in the number of contractors working at both sites, with Downer EDI Mining hardest hit, QMAG said. QMAG said the changes had reduced the total QMAG workforce, including contractors, from about 350 to 220. “We have had to stand down most of our contractors and have required our own people to accept reduced overtime, changes to shift rosters and enforced leave,” QMAG managing director Alan Roughead said. “At this time, we have no plans to make QMAG employees redundant but we will continue to monitor market conditions very closely.” He said the QMAG board had decided to continue with the operation’s expansion project, with construction due for completion in December 2009. “Despite the current downturn, the board believes QMAG’s business fundamentals and the outlook for magnesia remain strong and that the capacity will be required from 2010 onwards,” Mr Roughead said. QMAG is one of the world’s largest producers of deadburned, electrofused and calcined magnesia for the global refractory and chemical markets. It also produces and markets a range of magnesite products.



Weight watchers

March 2009 |

that it had revised its 2009 sales forecast down from 900,000 tonnes to a minimum of 400,000 tonnes. “The company now finds it necessary to reduce its workforce by 48 to match its production and sales expectations,” a Caledon announcement stated. “This will see the workforce fall to 143 by early March compared to 208 on site in late 2008 when the mine was gearing up for increased output. “The workforce has already fallen by 17 since this time due to natural attrition and the removal of some contractors due to completion of infrastructure projects.”

A new program ensures Hail Creek haul trucks carry their optimal load.

Hail Creek Mine’s payload optimisation program, introduced last August, is proving its ability to reduce the operation’s carbon footprint – along with its fuel costs. The program helps the mine manage the amount of material each haul truck carries to make the most of its resources and work more effectively and efficiently, according to pre-strip superintendent Glen Scott. Since starting the program, Mr Scott said the mine had already saved about 120,000 litres of fuel and 320 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (a saving equal to taking about 60 passenger vehicles off the road). Mr Scott said the steps towards achieving these results had included an audit of production and maintenance practices, an educational campaign on payload targets and providing regular feedback to supervisors and excavator operators.

Death at Blackwater Mine

and to Nixon Communications.”

Operations at BMA Blackwater Mine were suspended for two days after a man was killed in a light vehicle accident on the site about 11am on February 20.

Mr Badenhorst said a thorough investigation was under way into the circumstances surrounding the incident and the company was working closely with authorities to establish the causes.

John Barker was an employee of Nixon Communications, a company engaged

The investigation involved Queensland Police, the Department of Mines

by John Holland Mining to repair dozer radio microphone handsets at the mine.

and Energy Mines Inspectorate and BMA, he said.

“Our immediate thoughts are with the family of John Barker following this tragic event,” BMA Blackwater Mine general manager Steve Badenhorst said.

Cuts at Cook colliery

“Our priority has been to provide every possible assistance to his family, to Mr

Caledon Resources is cutting 48 workers from its Cook colliery in the Bowen Basin as a result of the downturn in the metallurgical coal market.

Barker’s colleagues at Blackwater Mine

The company announced in December


Caledon Resources announced in January that it was in discussion with a number of parties about a variety of potential transactions including possible takeover.

Boost for Beach Petroleum Beach Petroleum expects to see major increases to its oil and gas reserves base after dramatic upgrades to probable reserves and contingent resources within its coal seam gas tenements in Queensland and more conventional oil and gas projects in the Cooper basin. The company has reported a substantial increase in coal seam gas reserves within the Tipton West joint venture project area in the Surat Basin. This has lifted Beach Petroleum’s share of proved, probable and possible reserves by 34 per cent to more than 1115 PJ (192 million barrels of oil equivalent) as at December 31.

New permit for Bandanna Bandanna Energy has received a new coal exploration permit for a 339sq km area about 41km north of Injune in the southern Bowen Basin. The company made the application through its wholly owned subsidiary Carnarvon Coal.

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The Mining Advocate

Kestrel extension project on track Rio Tinto Coal says its $US991 million Kestrel Mine extension project remains on track to move into coal production in 2012. The company said the project focus was moving from surface works to underground drift and ventilation shaft work. “The past few months have brought a lot of uncertainty to the mining industry, but we’re delighted to be continuing with the Kestrel Mine extension, still on track to deliver its first scheduled coal in 2012,” Kestrel Mine general manager operations Tony Lennox said. The mine, 50km north-east of Emerald, cut its contract workforce by 50 in January and was reducing production by 15 per cent.

Santos passes billion barrel mark Santos has announced an increase in its proved and probable (2P) oil and gas reserves of 134 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe), taking the company’s total proved and probable reserves past the 1 billion barrel mark. The company said this significant increase in 2008 was driven by a substantial boost in Santos’ coal seam gas reserves accompanied by healthy growth in conventional oil and gas reserves. Santos said the Gladstone LNG join venture’s coal seam gas 2P reserves had increased by 142 per cent in 2008 to 3246PJ, confirming the company was in a strong position as it worked towards sanction of the project in 2010. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh last month officially opened Santos’ new Gladstone office, the regional base for its Gladstone LNG project. The office is expected to employ 15 staff.

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The Mining Advocate | March 2009

of schedule and was now due for completion in May this year. Felix said its Ashton open-cut and Carbon Energy has completed a 100underground mines in New South day underground coal gasification Wales and Minerva open-cut north of (UCG) trial at its Bloodwood Springsure performed well during the Creek site, near Dalby in south-east half-year. But production at Yarrabee Queensland. was down 10 per cent compared to the The company said it had clearly same period in 2007, largely due to wet demonstrated that its UCG module weather in December. could deliver commercial production of “Coal sales for the half year were 1 petajoule (PJ) per annum of syngas. affected towards Managing the November/ director Andrew Service December period Dash said the Trucks by customers in company would the steel industry be completing its unable to take the analysis of the full contracted data obtained amount,” Felix during the trial Resources stated phase prior to in the half-year providing the report. results to its two “Some tonnes main commercial were placed in partners, Incitec the spot thermal Pivot and market. Shipment nominations in the LyondellBasell, for their assessment. January - March 2009 quarter remain robust but again some customers in the Fastest growing fuel steel industry have not taken the full Demand for coal is growing faster than contracted volume. This is particularly any other energy source, according so for PCI coal from Yarrabee.” to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest World Energy Outlook. Surat Basin rail EIS released The report projects 45 per cent growth Queensland Co-ordinator-General in global energy demand between now Colin Jensen has released the and 2030. environmental impact statement (EIS) Demand for coal is expected to increase for the proposed Surat Basin Rail by 61 per cent in that time. Project for public input. The IEA stated that as world demand Also known as the Southern Missing for coal steadily increased, so did the Link, the 210km railway is expected need to advance clean coal technology. to cost around $1 billion to construct, and would run between Wandoan and Profit up for Felix Resources Banana. Felix Resources, the operator of “Enhancing the freight services in Queensland’s Yarrabee and Minerva this part of regional Queensland could Mines, posted a record profit before tax unlock the 4 billion tonnes of thermal of $224.6 million and a record profit coal in the Surat Basin,” Mr Jensen said. after tax of $166.1 million for the half “This multi-user, open-access railway year ended December 31. could transport up to 42 million tonnes

Bloodwood Creek trial complete

The company said this represented a 228 per cent increase on the previous corresponding period. It said construction of a coal preparation plant at the Yarrabee mine (north of Blackwater) was ahead

of coal to Gladstone’s ports each year for export while opening up markets for other Darling Downs mineral and agricultural products.” The Surat Basin Rail Project would create around 1000 jobs in the three

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Flying high

Kestrel employees (at back) Justin Lawrence, Rod Pike, Shane Pilkington, Matt Uren, Mark Clifford, (front) Bob Michel, Darrell Grant, Aaron Maguire and Greg Johnson have been with the operation since February 1999.

While tin or aluminium may be the traditional symbols of a 10-year anniversary, Kestrel Mine is sticking to coal. A series of barbecues was held across shifts last month as the Rio Tinto Coal operation marked its 10th birthday as Kestrel Mine. Rio Tinto bought the mine, then known as Gordonstone, after it was closed by a previous owner in the late 1990s. Among those attending the on-site barbecues to mark the milestone were some of the original Kestrel Mine employees present when the mine re-opened as a Rio Tinto operation on February 23, 1999. The operation, 50km north-east of Emerald, took its new name from a native Australian bird known for being high flying and adaptable.

years of construction plus 44 ongoing driving roles and some part-time maintenance positions. The Surat Basin Rail consortium comprises ATEC (Dawson Valley Railway), QR Surat Basin, Xstrata Coal Surat Basin Rail and Anglo Coal Australia. Interested parties have until March 23 to lodge a submission on the EIS for the project. Details are available at or www.

Macarthur Coal financial results Macarthur Coal reported a record half-year net profit after tax of $106.9 million for the six months to December

31. But the company said it would not be declaring an interim dividend due to unprecedented uncertainty regarding future coal demand. “Uncertainty across several areas including coal price, coal volumes and the mix of coal sales for the period ahead inhibits Macarthur Coal’s ability to provide full-year profit guidance at this time,” the company said in its halfyear report. Chief executive officer and managing director, Nicole Hollows, said the record first-half profit provided a platform from which Macarthur Coal would be able to “manage the challenges of the more difficult times ahead, while still maintaining our ability to achieve sustainable growth in the future”.



March 2009 |

Tin takeover

The Mining Advocate

as 25 per cent of Arafura’s final shares Bid for Queensland Ores on issue. Arafura will use the funds Outback Metals is making a takeover to progress the development of the bid for Queensland Ores, operator of company’s Nolans rare earths-phosphate the Wolfram Camp mine in North project, north-west of Alice Springs. Queensland. Arafura chairman Ian Laurance said the Queensland Ores in November funds would enable Arafura to maintain announced it had suspended operations its timetable to start production of rare at the mine, citing mining and earths and uranium during 2011. metallurgical hitches. It said the Northern Territory Resources Minister decision had been reinforced by weak Kon Vatskalis said the agreement molybdenum was a sign that prices and the the Territory global economic Government’s CAIRNS downturn. commitment to the TOWNSVILLE Outback Metals China Minerals THURSDAY ISLAND chief executive Investment officer Chris Attraction Strategy Jordinson said was delivering the company results. believed there “This is the was a reasonable fifth significant Without a travel agent you’re on your own possibility that the investment by Wolfram Camp Chinese companies project could be in the Northern Territory minerals returned to production. industry in the last two years and I am The Queensland Ores board has said confident that there will be more to it intends to support the Outback come,” he said. Metals bid in the absence of a superior proposal.

TEL: 1300 76 86 96

Icon Resources is purchasing the Collingwood tin plant in far north Queensland.

Icon Resources is purchasing Metals X’s Collingwood tin project in far north Queensland, with plans to use the idle tin concentrator to process material from its Mt Carbine tungsten mine. Icon will acquire all the shares and assets of subsidiary Bluestone Nominees from Metals X including the Collingwood tin project, significant remaining undeveloped tin resources and the remaining project plant and infrastructure. “This is an exciting move for Icon as it takes the company several steps closer to Mt Carbine production while significantly reducing expected capital costs and development lead time,” Icon managing director Dr John Bishop said.

Plans to list gold company Kagara has announced plans to float a new subsidiary company, Mungana Goldmines, on the Australian Securities Exchange. The new company will acquire the rights to gold within Kagara’s North Queensland tenements. This includes an inferred resource of 1.6 million ounces of gold, 90,000 tonnes of copper and 14 million ounces of silver contained within the Red Dome and Mungana porphyry gold deposits near Chillagoe. Managing director Kim Robinson said the move would “facilitate the rapid development of Kagara’s substantial gold assets”.

Kagara said it would provide more detail on the planned initial public offering for Mungana Goldmines as information became available.

Chinese funds for Arafura Arafura Resources has entered an investment deal with a major Chinese minerals company. Jiangsu Eastern China Non-Ferrous Metals Investment Holding Co, a subsidiary of the East China Exploration and Development Bureau (ECE), has signed a Letter of Intent that will provide an initial $8.5 million injection of funds to Arafura Resources. An additional multimillion-dollar share deal will allow ECE to acquire as much

North West Crane Hire has the following equipment and cranes on offer: 18-220t Cranes 34ft – 85ft EWP’s 3 x 10m Tippers Semi’s, Flat top and Step Deck Trailers IT Loader 3t-7t Forklifts Tilt Trays Crane Operators, Riggers, Labourers, Tradespeople and Supervisors available The company, directed by Mark and Leanne Bellamy, commenced in 2004 with one 50t Crane and now the fleet has expanded to 78 various units with more cranes, semi’s and equipment on order and due to arrive in 2008. Mark Bellamy: Kelvin Ryan:

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Mining projects streamlined

The Bligh Government plans to fasttrack 11 key mining projects to create more than 1500 jobs in regional Queensland. Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson announced the move after top-level talks with mining sector representatives, unions and senior government officials in February. Mr Wilson said his Department of Mines and Energy would work with the Department of Natural Resources and Water, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Infrastructure and Planning, and other government agencies to identify areas of regulatory overlap and to streamline approval processes. “We are closely monitoring outstanding mining lease applications and working directly with companies on actions we can take to speed up the process,” he said. The projects involved have not been publicly identified.

‘Pleasing’ results at Mount Garnet Exploration company Consolidated Tin Mines says it is extremely pleased with continuing good results from its Gillian and Pinnacles projects near Mount Garnet in North Queensland. Drilling was showing good widths and grades of both tin and iron, which provided a strong degree of confidence for the upcoming resource upgrade, the company stated.

Spectacular copper grades CuDeco has announced the latest results for drilling at its Rocklands Group copper project outside Cloncurry. The company said drilling at the Las Minerale deposit had produced some “spectacularly high” copper grades, with several 1m samples over 10 per cent copper, up to a maximum lab assay of 58 per cent. CuDeco also reported significant intersections of cobalt and gold.


The Mining Advocate | March 2009

Redbank gains ground

Bright future

sand dunes and buried alluvial river sands.

Copper developer Redbank Mines Managing director Peter Gazzard said has expanded its land holding in the further drilling, bulk pit sampling and prospective McArthur South region detailed mineralogy studies on the in the Northern Territory with the floodplain and palaeochannel deposits granting of five new exploration had led to an increased garnet grade and tenements. tonnage for these deposits. Redbank now holds about 2760sq km The company has reported an increase under lease or application in the region. in contained garnet from 1.787 million Redbank managing director Bruce to 2.379 million tonnes. Morrin said the This increase would newly granted potentially extend Water tenements were mine life by 33 per Trucks close to Redbank’s cent, Mr Gazzard current mine site said. The company and processing also announced an infrastructure. increase in average “Redbank intends garnet grade, to explore the from 6.9 per cent tenements, to 8.8 per cent, principally for paving the way copper, but also for for significantly cobalt, uranium, lower mining and phosphate and processing costs. manganese,” Mr Morrin said. Redbank announced early this year that New venture for Syndicated it was undertaking a $2.5 million initial Syndicated Metals has entered a joint exploration program for 2009, targeting venture with Universal Resources for high-grade copper sulphide targets exploration in the Dronfield tenement, across its Northern Territory copper about 70km south-east of Mount Isa. project.

Deep Yellow enters joint venture Deep Yellow has entered an earn-in joint-venture agreement with Universal Resources regarding a uranium tenement about 20km north-east of Mount Isa. The terms of the agreement commit Deep Yellow to a $100,000 exploration program in the area, including reverse circulation percussion drilling, by the end of 2009. The company stands to earn up to 80 per cent interest in uranium and related minerals discovered in the tenement.

Resource boost for Harts Range Olympia Resources has announced an increase in the resource inventory at its Harts Range project, 130km north-east of Alice Springs. The project is based on industrial garnet and alumino magnesio hornblende in


Syndicated stands to earn up to 80 per cent interest in the tenement under the agreement. The tenement contains several known copper, gold, molybdenum and uranium prospects and covers 9km of strike length of the Pilgrim Fault. Syndicated said the Universal tenement complemented its 49 per cent interest in the Kalman South joint venture, which hosts a substantial portion of the Kalman molybdenum-copper-rheniumgold deposit.

Mt Oxide project strengthens Perilya has announced an increase in the mineral resource estimate for the Mt Oxide copper and cobalt project in the Mount Isa region. The company said the new estimate of 17.9 million tonnes at an average grade of 1.3 per cent copper for 224,000 tonnes of contained copper represented

Mining at OM Holdings’ Bootu Creek manganese mine, 110km north of Tennant Creek.

The Bootu Creek manganese mine in the Northern Territory delivered a record operating profit after tax of $48.8 million in 2008, OM Holdings said. The company has reduced planned production for 2009 due to current market conditions, but said the Bootu Creek operation had the ability to rapidly ramp up to 700,000 tonnes per annum when conditions improved. “With the completion of a highly successful exploration program in 2008 and an updated mineral resource inventory for Bootu Creek expected to be released shortly, we are continuing to work towards future medium-term organic growth opportunities including completing the study to examine the feasibility of further expanding production at Bootu Creek to a 1.5 million tonnes per annum production case upon a sustained recovery in global markets,” OM Holdings chief executive officer Peter Toth said.

a 10 per cent increase in contained copper compared to the previous mineral resource announced in February 2008. Managing director Paul Arndt said the upgrade strengthened the project and demonstrated its potential for additional resource and reserve growth in the future. “Despite the uncertainty in capital and metals markets, our level of confidence in the prospectivity of the Mt Oxide copper project continues to grow and we maintain the view this project has considerable potential as a low-cost, robust and stand-alone asset worthy of development, when metal prices increase, to increase shareholder value,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zhongjin Lingnan, China’s third largest zinc producer, has acquired 50.1 per cent of Perilya. Perilya last month announced completion of a $45.5 million share placement to Zhongjin Lingnan and a restructuring of its board in accordance with the move.

Survey data released The Queensland Government has released new survey data covering 95,000sq km of far north Queensland. The data covers parts of the Westmoreland region, areas south of the Gulf and near the significant Croydon and Georgetown goldfields.

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March 2009 |

The Mining Advocate

WORLD LEADER HAS A LONG-TERM COMMITMENT TO ISA In this day and age, minerals processing relies on sophisticated automation and process control products and systems. Yet Yokogawa is the only supplier that has established a branch office in Mount Isa to support the industry in this region. “We want to be able to talk to customers face-toface and provide them with sales and technical support whenever it’s needed,” Kel Gillett, Yokogawa’s Senior Sales Engineer for North Queensland said. “Yokogawa set up an office in Mount Isa 10 years ago, and we’ve found that being local really helps us to anticipate and respond to our customers’ requirements. “It might seem odd that a major multinational has a presence in Isa. But to us it

McArthur River Mines, Incitec Pivot, Boddington Gold Mine Expansion Project, HIsmelt iron ore plant, Queensland Alumina, the Newcrest Telfer, Cadia and Ridgeway gold mines, and Minara Resources’ Murrin Murrin Nickel mine among others.

ense tto o just makes good sense omers are, be where the customers lationsships build long-term relationships ovide with them, and provide ck-up the quality of back-up mportan nt that is critically important uction on to keeping production g. And, off their sites going. course, we can readily ise based d draw on expertise hes around d in other branches nd Australia, Queensland and und the and even around ded.” globe, if needed.” Yokogawa is building an impressive track he record in the minerals g processing sector in Australia. The firm is sen the chosen supplierr to rata the Xstrata Mount Isa/

“The Japanese commitment to quality is unmatched. It really gives us an edge in the minerals processing sector, where equipment has to operate day in and day out in conditions that can be pretty harsh,” Kel continued. “Our flagship

Yokogawa offers local sales and technical support for your field instrumentation We have fully qualified instrument technicians based in Central and North Queensland available to provide you with the best possible measurement solutions for your process. Flow Water quality meters pH/ORP Pressure conductivity Temperature turbidity Process calibrators chlorine dissolved O2 IR and O2 gas analysers Contact us for an on site appraisal: North Qld

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distributed control system has an availability of 99.99999% – which equates to less than five seconds downtime per year! And our field instruments consistently deliver stable and accurate process measurement. They’re really built to last.” In addition to sophisticated distributed control systems, Yokogawa has a wide range of field instruments including flowmeters, pressure transmitters, process calibrators, gas analysers and water quality meters. Yokogawa will be exhibiting at the Xstrata Mount Isa Mining Expo this month. For further information about any of Yokogawa’s automation and process control products, systems and services, visit their stand or call Kel Gillett on (07) 4743 8355.


The Mining Advocate | March 2009


Holding its ground in tough times Organisers expect this year’s Mount Isa Mining Expo to be ‘extremely successful’ despite the poor economic climate. Tough times in the resources industry have prompted Mount Isa Mining Expo organisers to offer discounts for companies seeking to exhibit in 2009. Mount Isa Chamber of Commerce manager Patricia O’Callaghan said the offer, launched in January, was both a response to the current economic situation and a marketing technique to help increase the buzz about the event and fill remaining booths. Organisers were confident the 150 sites would be full for the 2009 event. “Our main aim is not to make money from it but to show we

are still a strong industry, sticking together, and we have a number of suppliers and support services that the mining industry should look at and take advantage of,” Miss O’Callaghan said. With purchasing officers and other mining company representatives attending expo events, Miss O’Callaghan said it provided suppliers with a great opportunity to promote their business directly to major clients. And the current downturn meant many operators may be looking at outsourcing work and making other cost-cutting changes that could translate into new opportunities for suppliers.

Blackwoods Mount Isa branch manager Kyrran Lewis.

Miss O’Callaghan said organisers expected the 2009 expo to be extremely successful despite the poor economic climate. “The interest has not swayed whatsoever,” she said. “It’s one of only a handful of events that continues to thrive in this industry and a reason for that is strong community backing and the support received from Xstrata and others.” Xstrata Mount Isa Mines is naming rights sponsor for the expo for the fifth consecutive year Industrial and safety equipment retailer Blackwoods

Photo: Roslyn Budd

has thrown its weight behind the 2009 event, booking 22 booths to showcase its suppliers. Exhibitors coming under the Blackwoods banner will include Alemite Lubrequip, Cigweld, CRC, Dy-Mark Australia, ITW, Norbar, MTI Qualos, Atlas Copco Tools, Nitto, Techtronic Industries, Kimberly-Clark, 3M, Uvex, Septone, Mayo Hardware, Rapp-It, Mumme, Deb, Garlock, Macnaugh, Perma, JBS and Prosafe. Blackwoods Mount Isa branch manager Kyrran Lewis, who joined the local operation last year, said he had seen the 2008 expo and believed the company

should have a significant presence at the 2009 event. “We need the exposure and we see this as a showcase to the surrounding businesses – not just mining but other tradespeople, the rural community, councils and others,”he said. The 2009 expo will include a family fun area for the first time, with activities such as face painting, arts and crafts and educational displays. The industry exhibition will be held at Buchanan Park in Mount Isa from March 24 to 26, with associated social and networking functions also being run across the city from March 23.

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March 2009 |

The Mining Advocate



BUMP IN: Exhibitor registration and set-up 8am - 5pm Buchanan Park

PORT OF TOWNSVILLE MINING THE CARPENTARIA BREAKFAST: Open to all exhibitors and general public 7.30am - 9.30am Buffs Frog and Toad Lounge

ITT WATER AND WASTEWATER GENERAL MANAGERS FUNCTION: By invitation only 6.30pm - 7.15pm Mount Isa Civic Centre

EXHIBITION: Tradies, apprentices and general public 10am - 8pm Buchanan Park

XSTRATA OPENING FUNCTION: Open to all exhibitors and general public 7.30pm - 12pm Mount Isa Civic Centre

QANTAS NETWORKING HAPPY HOUR: Open to all exhibitors 8pm - 10pm Mount Isa Race Club at Buchanan Park



EXHIBITION: Business and commerce day 10am - 6pm Buchanan Park

EXHIBITION: Dignitaries and purchasing officers 10am - 3pm Buchanan Park

TELSTRA NETWORKING DINNER: Open to all exhibitors 7pm - 11pm Buffs Billabong Lounge

BUMP OUT: Exhibitor take down 3pm - 5pm Buchanan Park

MOUNT ISA MINING SUPPLIES PURCHASING OFFICERS DINNER: By invitation only 7pm - 11pm Red Earth Boutique Hotel Boardroom

CLOSING FUNCTION: Open to all exhibitors 7.30pm - 11.30pm mystery venue

FRIDAY - MARCH 27 BUMP OUT: Exhibitor take down 8am - 5pm Buchanan Park


CUT WASTE BEFORE YOU WASTE AWAY There’s no doubt that businesses across the board are facing a different outlook than this time last year, but innovative fabrication and labour hire company Totalfab has found a way to help its clients survive – and even thrive – in these tougher times. Totalfab managing director Marcel McLeod has been practising Lean manufacturing principles for years to reduce waste and cut costs for customers, and has travelled the globe to learn from the world’s manufacturing greats. While the Townsville-based company continues to produce diverse products for the mining, construction and minerals processing industries and

Learning how to reduce waste at Totalfab’s Townsville workshop. back and take the time to consider what

tools into a central area so they are

– there are so many simple steps that

simple steps they can take to survive

accessible and low inventory can be

can be taken to tighten-up costly slack.”

these tough times.

spotted and replaced straight away,” he

“One of the first actions I’d recommend


is to view everything that is not directly

“Also, creating a specific location for

regional program aimed at addressing

adding value to the product as waste

cleaning equipment will eliminate the

the slow-down in the economy through

and eliminate it immediately.”

need for unnecessary searching, and

the generation of new business and

long back from a trip to Gympie where

Just by organising the materials and in-

establishing mobile toolboxes that can

investment opportunities.

he spent two days with a materials

formation flow correctly and sustaining

be taken anywhere will mean tools are

Visit, call

processing firm to identify its unique

those new systems, Mr McLeod says

always immediately on hand.

(07) 4789 3677 or email marcel@

problems and find workable solutions.

waste can be cut by up to 50 per cent:

“These suggestions are just the tip of to see how Marcel

“Owners and managers need to step

“You can do things like putting all the

the ice-berg in enhancing productivity

and his team can help your operation.

offer quality labour resources, it’s also focused on assisting other businesses to trim-up. “Now that we have streamlined our workshop operations we are helping other companies to cut their waste and bring costs down,” Mr McLeod says, not

Totalfab’s forward-thinking approach has seen it selected to participate in a


The Mining Advocate | March 2009


Display showcases city history The Xstrata stand at the 2009 Mount Isa Mining Expo promises to take visitors on a journey back through the years to explore the rich history of one of the greatest mineral discoveries of all time. The historical display has been organised to mark the 85th anniversary of the establishment of Mount Isa Mines.

Photos, films and original artefacts dating back to 1932 detail the evolution of mining from pick axes and hand-held drills to some of the most advanced technology in the world. A detailed display of the various stages of exploration, mining and mineral processing will also be part of this year’s A Mount Isa meter maid in the 1970s.

the mining industry. The Xstrata stand will also showcase interactive displays from three community groups from the Xstrata Community Partnership Program North Queensland, including: • The North West Wildlife Carers Group from 1pm to 2pm daily – demonstrating the care involved in treating rescued native wildlife including baby kangaroos, a wallaroo and a tiny agile wallaby. • The Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health from 10am-3pm daily - demonstrating how SimBaby, a computerised medical mannequin, is used for emergency simulation training of health professionals in Mount Isa and remote western Queensland communities. • Arilla Indigenous Women’s Paper Mill – representatives will be available throughout the expo to provide visitors with hands-on paper making demonstrations. The Xstrata stand will be located at the Xstrata Entertainment Centre at Buchanan Park.

Miners waiting for their shift in the 1940s.

Mount Isa Mines is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year and the operator’s mining expo stand will reflect that milestone.

Xstrata stand. A geology camp, 3-D model of underground mining operations and a mini working floatation cell will enable visitors to increase their understanding of Xstrata operations. The company said also the stand would feature its “handson” Xstrata Skills Centre display, showcasing the Xstrata apprenticeship program and apprentices at work. As a new initiative this year, Xstrata will introduce a sustainable development display with activities and information regarding Xstrata’s community involvement, environmental management, and health and safety management systems

including the new BSafe behavioural-based safety initiative. Results of the Lead Pathways Study – Phase 1 and fact sheets regarding Mount Isa Mines’ environmental performance and improvements will be available, with members of Xstrata’s environment team on hand to answer any questions. The Xstrata Mount Isa Mines mines rescue team will also feature in the 2009 display demonstrating training drills and advanced response and rescue processes. In addition, human resources representatives will be available at the Xstrata career booth to provide advice on how to enter


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March 2009 |

Mackay Area Industry Network (MAIN) breakfast meeting

The Mining Advocate

PHOTOS: Daryl Wright

Ocean International, Mackay Roanne Johnson (WIN News), Anna Oakley (Hail Creek Mine) and Sue Willett (WIN News).

Alan Haynes and Margaret Clegg (both from Haynes Mechanical).

Peter Van lersel (Mining Technology Innovation Centre) and Sueanne Hackett (Enterprise Connect).

Karen Jackson (MAIN) and Valda Johnson (HMG Westhill).

Tony Britton (JSIS Engineering) and Carl Howe (Anderson Industries).

Laurie Willett (Haynes Mechanical), Margaret Cameron (The MAC Services Group) and Brenda Heitman (Uniforms Mackay).

Karen Tomlinson (Busy at Work), James Kearney (G&S Engineering) and Sharon Dixon (Busy at Work).

Jenny Descovich (Department of Education Training and the Arts -DETA), Diane Anstee (Department of Tourism, Regional Development and Industry -DTRDI), Vicki Booth (DTRDI), Peter McDuff (DETA), Craig Fraser (Brown & Bird Accountants) and Chris Nagle (DTRDI).


The Mining Advocate | March 2009


Linatex open day Townsville Justin Gillespie (Linatex), Tony Fillingham (BHP Billiton Cannington) and Deon Lubbe (Linatex).

Ricky Nolan (Linatex) and Cliff Potter (Mineforce).

Kylie Allan and John McKnight (BHP Billiton Cannington).

John Phelan (Worley Parsons) and Sheldon Sprott (Linatex).

Paul Sugg (TotalFAB) and Deon Lubbe (Linatex).

Henk Pit (Linatex) and Rod Woods (PCE Coatings).

Chris Wills and Jared Eather (Wulguru Steel).

Brendan Pickering and Ben Falkenhagen (Wulguru Steel).

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March 2009 |

Gold Coast Titans and Cronulla Sharks in Darwin

The Mining Advocate

PHOTOS: Christopher Knight


Melinda Herridge with Scott Prince.

Ian Donnelly, Racheal Curtain, Luke Bailey and Allan Priestley.

Wendy Ramond with Trent Barrett.

Joel Fowlestone, Matt Rogers and Shona Dilley.

Ricky Stuart and Kim Power.

Scott Prince, Matthew Wells, Kobe Hawkins and Luke O’Dwyer.

Young Chamber cocktail party

PHOTOS: Romy Siegmann

PaciďŹ c International Hotel, Cairns

Oliver Williams, Victor Adamczyk and Anthony Ferrau (all from Arup).

Andrea Ambrossio (Outsource Managagement) and Mark Page (Cairns Private Hospital).

Cara Dodds, Graham Bennett and Helen Santolin (all from Bendigo Bank).

Peter Cooper and Peter McLaurin (both from Commonwealth Bank).

Jake Robertson (Marino Moller Lawyers), Louise Robertson (Robert Bird Group) and Donette Gangemi (Prime Radio).

Erica Peebles, Sandy Whyte and Judy Lloyd (all from Cairns Chamber of Commerce).


The Mining Advocate | March 2009

Cairns Resources and Industry Taskforce breakfast presentation


PHOTOS: Romy Siegmann

PaciďŹ c International Hotel, Cairns Kenn Dunn (Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce ) Sharon Dawson (Dawsons Engineering) and David Conn (Port Moresby Chamber).

Arthur Davie and Kevin White (both from Global Welding Supplies).

Gayleen Toll (Precruitment) and Ian Roberts (Royal Wolf Containers).

Stephen McGowan (The Rack ‘n Stack Wharehouse) and Brien Leibinger (Preston Law).

Adrian Solomon and Ben Shepherd (both from Conics).

Mark Van Dusen (PNG Namba Wan Trophy Ltd) and Thelma Spelta (Community Safety).

Scott Ivory and Steve Tika (both from Arup).



March 2009 |

The Mining Advocate

Steve’s systems attract acclaim A northern mining executive has been recognised for his “leadership and passion” in improving workplace health and safety. The introduction of a range of safety systems within Xstrata Copper’s North Queensland division has drawn national recognition for a company executive. Chief operating officer for North Queensland, Steve de Kruijff, has won the AusIMM (Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy) Jim Torlach Health and Safety Award. AusIMM chief executive Michael Catchpole said the award recognised best practice and raised awareness of what could be done in the mining industry. “Steve de Kruijff is a man who is passionate about the safety of his people, and has applied that passion to ensure that organisational safety goals are implemented consistently and successfully at the operational

level,” Mr Catchpole said. Under Mr de Kruijff ’s leadership as general manager of the Mount Isa operations within Xstrata Copper’s North Queensland division, a range of innovative safety systems were implemented from early 2005. These initiatives included: • the re-organisation of the safety and health functions and increased resources for training to provide more effective and focused competency based training outcomes; • an inclusive safety communication and improvement system which increased workers’ and managers’ focus on the hazards present in day-to-day activities; • leadership development programs aimed at front-

line leaders which delivered strengthened coaching and communication skills; and • a two-year study focused on “over period of time” injuries in key underground mining roles which identified opportunities to make lasting improvements to equipment and task design. Between early 2005 and late 2006, AusIMM said these safety initiatives helped deliver a dramatic improvement in the Disabling Injury Frequency Rate (DIFR). In late 2006, Mr de Kruijff was promoted to the position of chief operating officer for Xstrata Copper’s North Queensland division. He is also the vice-president of the Queensland Resources Council. “The leadership and passion Steve de Kruijff applies to the health and safety of workers in the industry continues to deliver results,” Mr Catchpole said. He said Xstrata Copper’s North Queensland division

Chief operating officer Steve de Kruijff.

had achieved more than 3.3 million hours lost-time-injury free between October 2008 and February 2009. In 2008 the division also achieved a 36 per cent improvement in its Total

Photo: Rob Parsons

Recordable Injury Frequency Rate compared to 2007. The AusIMM safety award is named in honour of the late Jim Torlach, State Mining Engineer of Western Australia from 19842001.



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The Mining Advocate | March 2009

Downturn danger

Call to boost health checks

Don’t downsize safety is the message from an industry expert for firms considering cost-cutting measures. Leading service provider, CSM Safety Services, has warned of a hidden concern in the current economic uncertainty. Managing director Craig Stewart said general trends including downsizing of workforces, restrained spending habits and, in some cases, suspension or closure of business operations may be overshadowing safety as a priority. “Hazards can go unrecognised and be inadequately controlled in workplaces where operations continue without adequate resourcing, including available skills and knowledge,” he said. “In times like these it is imperative that effective risk management practices are maintained in our workplaces to ensure the safety, health and welfare of our workforce. “The loss of resources, especially specialist workers, can both leave your business without the necessary competencies to operate critical processes and leave your workforce without

appropriate levels of supervision. “The worst possible case is where processes are performed by staff or other persons without the necessary skills and knowledge of the safe work practices required. “If these practices are allowed to continue then the effect on the business owner, staff, the business and ultimately the community could be catastrophic.” Now was the time to consult with workers and review operational hazards, Mr Stewart said. “Business owners and operators have formal obligations to manage the hazards present in their business and to provide a safe workplace for everyone including visitors,” he said. “This obligation should be a greater concern in the restricted (financial) environment we are currently experiencing.” Budget allocations must ensure adequate skill and competency were employed to ensure the maintenance of safe and healthy workplaces, Mr Stewart said.

Specialist safety skills may be lost due to economic pressures. Photo: Stewart McLean

That also applied to operations entering a care and maintenance phase. “Owners and operators suspending operations must ensure there are sufficient resources available to maintain or correctly decommission plant and equipment,” Mr Stewart said. “This is to ensure they do not pose a threat to the community

Mesh designed to cut hazards underground A new style of mesh for the underground mining industry is at an advanced stage of development in Western Australia. The product - High Energy Absorption (HEA) mesh – was invented by Professor Yves Potvin, the director of the Australian Centre for Geomechanics at University of Western Australia. Compared with existing ground-support systems such as mesh and shotcrete, HEA mesh is cost effective, can be rapidly installed and can support loads of up to 17 tonnes, the centre says. It can also accommodate significant deformation. The product - consisting of a cable bolt laced and overlaid with a sheet of regular or crinkled weldmesh – is at a late stage of development, with

OneSteel investigating the practicalities and economics of commercial production. “The sudden and powerful nature of mining-induced seismic events makes them extremely hazardous for a mining company’s workforce, resources and productivity,” Prof Potvin said.

“HEA mesh is designed to assist operations to mitigate the risks associated with rockburst and seismicity.” The Australian Centre for Geomechanics is a not-for-profit mining research centre at UWA partnered by the CSIRO and Curtin University of Technology.

or surrounding environments because of any deterioration and/or failure mechanisms that may occur.”

Large Queensland employers should take a leadership role in establishing more health and wellbeing programs in the workplace, according to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ). WHSQ executive director Dr Simon Blackwood told a Brisbane conference, organised by the Association of Self Insured Employers of Queensland, that large companies were well placed to develop, implement and evaluate health and wellbeing programs due to their greater resources. Programs could range from individual health checks, skin checks and counselling to organisational efforts such as healthy food policies and physical activity programs, he said. Dr Blackwood told the conference that WHSQ was committed to implementing strategies that assisted workplaces to introduce these programs. “The Queensland Government’s Toward Q2: Tomorrow’s Queensland strategy aims to make Queenslanders the nation’s healthiest people by 2020,” Dr Blackwood said. “The strategy aims to reduce obesity, smoking, heaving drinking and unsafe sun exposure. The workplace has a key role to play in this.” Dr Blackwood said health and wellbeing programs could have substantial benefits for employers. “There is a cost in not acting, since poor health costs employers in sick leave, compensable injuries and premature retirement,” he said.

HAZCHEM SPILL KITS an essential in the workplace

Why is a Spill Kit necessary? Under WH&S regulations and the EPA there is a duty of care that falls upon all persons to correctly and safely clean-up all spills What types of products are in the Spill Kits? EcoSpill has specifically designed the Hazchem Spill Response kits for response to aggressive liquids and most chemicals including alkalis, acids, caustics & corrosives. Each EcoSpill Hazchem Spill Kit contains basic PPE* (personal protective equipment), spill clean-up instructions as well as:

Absorbent Powder: ChemSorb - standard spill kits Or Snow Absorbent - premium range Absorbent Mats: Thick yellow absorbent mats that absorb most chemicals including alkalis, acids, caustics & corrosives. Ideal for any in-plant application. Land Socks - 1.5m & 3m in length, these socks are placed around the perimeter of the spill, in order to contain it. *Important note: When dealing with hazardous chemical spills, always consult that chemical's MSDS in order to ascertain the correct PPE required for your safety. Do not assume that the PPE in your spill kit is sufficient for every conceivable chemical.

Phone 07 4723 7652 Fax 07 4723 6841 Email

High Energy Absorption mesh.

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March 2009 |

The Mining Advocate

Sandvik MEC roller range Sandvik Mining and Construction has introduced a new low-noise, lowvibration and corrosion-resistant conveyor roller. The company says the Sandvik MEC roller range, manufactured in Mackay, is well suited for applications such as port work, coal handling preparation plants and installations close to populated areas or in corrosive environments. Key features include a roller tube mechanically located and fixed to the end cap (eliminating the risk of separation), a non-metallic end cap resistant to corrosion and weathering, a lightweight aluminium tubing option (offering reduced manual handling risks) and a shell-to-end cap transition design providing extra protection for the belting. Sandvik says the range is dimensionally identical to standard rollers of the same diameter/bearing combination.

DBI-SALA miners’ fall protection range Capital Safety, through the DBI-SALA brand, has developed a new range of miners’ harnesses for personnel to work in restraint or fall arrest modes. The products include a mine utility range, the ExoFit XP miner’s harness and the Delta miner’s harness. Capital Safety says all the miners’ harnesses meet the strict requirements of the new AS/NZS 1891.1:2007 standard, are equipped with suspension ttrauma straps au a st aps aand d are i-Safe enabled. The i-Safee intelligent safety system is built into the harnesses nesses to track inspections, control inventory ory and manage information.

Wilco Techn Technologies Trajectaflex s resin firing system TThee Trajectaflex resin firing syste Th system is designed to install resin capsules for resin set bolting in underground mine strata control. Wilco says this new syste system revolves around a flexible steel nozzle which, through a revo revolutionary spring design, allows for easy bolt hole location. This provides a safe, simple and efficient solution to resin capsule installation whilst reducing bolting cycle times.

Akron Br Brass Severe-Duty water cannon Akron Brass’s Severe-Duty water cannons are designed to withstand continuous operation while mounted on heavy-duty equipment such as off-road fire, construction or mining vehicles. The range includes 12v and 24v electric devices, with a standard 24-month mining warranty, or a fully hydraulic option, with a standard 12-month mining warranty. Easy to install, operate and maintain, the manufacturer describes the Severe-Duty range as setting a new benchmark in performance and reliability. Akron Brass produces a comprehensive range of nozzles to fit – including straight stream, fog or jet flows and foam induction.

MILLMAST mill liner handler Queensland-based company Russell Mineral Equipment has launched a new mechanism for relining small mineral grinding mills. The MILLMAST mill liner handler can be erected in minutes and is capable of handling 400kg. Russell Mineral Equipments describes this technology as the most cost-effective way to dramatically reduce mill relining times while improving reline crew safety by eliminating heavy lifting.

Komatsu Rotary Ko Bushing Track PLUS Bu This n new undercarriage system offers up to twice the lilife of a conventional dozer undercarriage in high high-wear applications, according to Komatsu. It eliminates the need for costly and in inconvenient pin-and-bush turns. The Rotary Bu Bushing Track PLUS (Parallel Link Undercarriage Syste System) is being introduced as an option on Komatsu’s D65 series of dozers early this year, with Komatsu offer it soon on D51 and D61 series machines plans to o as well.

nch tool set Super Wrench Distributor I Like It Direct describes the Super Wrench as a versatile hand tool which fits multiple sizes and shapes and is selfadjusting from 2 mm to 70mm. After locking on to nuts, bolts and pipes, the wrench can be moved back and forth in a ratchet-style action - allowing the head to be turned without removing it from the work. The Super Wrenches come in sets of four or five, with each carrying a lifetime guarantee.



The Mining Advocate | March 2009


Spirit of Kokoda Cairns-based PNG Holidays travel specialist Paul Charles recently completed a Kokoda Track journey with Australian trekking company Our Spirit. He recounts a story of personal, historical and cultural revelation. “I recently had thee ng pleasure of walking the Kokoda Trackk as part of a group G organised by PNG Holidays and guided by Our Spirit. Our tour leader - trained paramedic Rob Brown, the local ‘Kokoda legends’ (porters) and Our Spirit provided me with one of the most amazing, professional and eye-opening experiences of myy life. d not only l to b h Walking the trackk proved be a tough physical challenge but also culturally rewarding and very educational. Rob displayed a vast amount of knowledge of the track and its World War II history and, through the stories he told, he conveyed a deep respect for the diggers that fought under the harshest of conditions for the freedom of all Australians. asions we even had trekkers On several occasions with other companies hanging around our group trying to listen to the interesting stories, poems and quotes from diggers that Rob recounted. To appreciate the true nature of the Kokoda Track you have too become a part of it, and in so doingg you discover a wondrous world of d people, culture and hospitality not encountered anywhere else in the world. The Our Spirit Kokoda experience really facilitates this. The beauty of the scenery and the tranquillity and hospitality of the villages was amazing. Each afternoon we would arrive in another village to be greeted by the wide smiles of colourfully dressed friendly locals. For me the Kokoda Track was a life-changing experience. Although well and truly out of my comfort zone, I found myself relishing the challenge and not missing any of the comforts of home. It causes you to reassess your values, makes you realise that what you take da Track and its for granted the people along the Kokoda ey seem truly happy villages have never experienced, yet they and content. I don’t know how it happened exactly but I look at things differently now. A problem is just a problem...a mountain is just a mountain. If something appears too daunting I now take it apart and attack it piece byy piece. Or in the case of a mountain... b step by step. Our Spirit, especially Rob Brown and the local porters and guidess provided a truly professional service. At all times I felt safe and secure in thee d knowledge that Rob was a fully trained paramedic with access to an extensive amount of medical supplies (carried byy himself ). After having conversations with trekkers from other groups along the way my opinions of Our Spirit were further enhanced. The main complaint I heard from other groups was the lack of historical information provided. I must admit when we walked the track I thought it was sacrilege to see people walking over places like Brigade Hill without any knowledge or reverence for what happened there.

Our Spirit facilitated lo local fruit and vegetables to supplement ou ll as our evening trek meals as well d uded daily food packs which included b s, breakfast cereals, muesli bars, 2 cheese ch and biscuits, fish and to tortillas, noodles, tea, coffee and M as well as treats to help Milo ke you motivated. From what h tI keep saw of other groups it looked like the were surviving on dehydrated they me and two-minute noodles meals and very few snacks. In fact, other grou seemed envious at the groups amo amount of snacks and decent food w we were provided with compared to them I was also impressed to learn them. that Our Spirit is the only company with a 100 per cent completion rate, th everyone who has started the in that track with Our Spirit has completed wh it, which in itself says a lot about the company. I think this has a lot to do with the pretrek service that Our Spirit provides eg training programs, dietary advice and ensuring that all of their participants have completed adequate preparation. Whilst on the track I had conversations with trekkers from other groups who had members of their group pull out before the end of the d which must have been very first day, disap disappointing for them. M Our Spirit Kokoda trek exceeded My 3 m expectations in providing the all my entir group of fellow trekkers with entire ric experience conducted in an a rich uno unobtrusive, safe environment with the support of the local ‘legends’. Aft following in the footsteps After of those who fought on the track, we visited Bomana War Cemetery jus outside Port Moresby where just so some 3800 Australian and Japanese so soldiers and local Papuans lie buried. A this stage your emotions are At ve mixed - the elation of having very co completed a 96km walk of the K Kokoda Track combined with the fe feelings of sorrow for so many young lives lost. You wi will be moved. Walking the track was wa an incomparable journey on many different levels. Experiencing the rich culture of the local villages, the knowledge gained of the history of the track and the brave men who fought to preserve our way of life, and the sense of achievement gained from conquering the physical challenge of completing the journey all proved to be highlights of their own. If anyone is contemplating walking the track, I would say ‘think no more...just do it’. It will change you for the better.” Paul Charles is a travel specialist for PNG Holidays at Business & Leisure Travel, Cairns. For more Kokoda Track Adventure infor information, the 4 2009 timetable and spac space availability plea please contact paul paul@ PN au or o phone 130 1300 368 855.

1. A view from the PNG Highlands. 2. “Did I say there were no bridges on the Kokoda Track?” Dennis Hickey (on bridge), Jimmy Bartel (on rock) and Andrew Neale. 3. A typical hill climb - steep, wet and muddy. 4. Dennis Hickey making a refreshing river crossing.

2009 Kokoda Trek Dates 16th April 2009-26th April 2009 “ANZAC Day Trek” *** (Trek ends with Dawn Service at Bomana War Cemetery and then Breakfast at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby) 15th June 2009 - 26th June 2009 20th July 2009 - 31 July 2009 10th Aug 2009 - 21 Aug 2009 14th Sep 2009 - 25th Sep 2009

2010 Kokoda Trek Dates 16th April 2010 - 26th April 2010 “ANZAC Day Trek” (Trek ends with Dawn Service at Bomana War Cemetery and then Breakfast at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby) 14th June 2010 - 25th June 2010 13th Sept 2010 - 24th Sept 2010 *** Limited availability for this year’s ANZAC trek and requires higher degree of fitness due to short preparation time

Itinerary Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10

Fly Australia to PNG, overnight Port Moresby Fly to Popondetta overnight Kokoda Trek Kokoda Village to Deniki Trek Deniki to Alola via Isurava (Monument) Trek Alola to Templeton’s Crossing Trek Templeton’s Crossing to Myola Trek Myola to Effogi Trek Effogi to Menari Trek Menari to Nauro Trek Nauro to Vesulogo to Owers Corner, visit Bomana War Cemetery, overnight Port Moresby Day 11 Fly Port Moresby to Australia. “Our Spirit are incomparable with their leadership of groups trekking the Kokoda Track”, says 2nd 14th Battalion Veteran, Stan Bisset. “The historical 96km Kokoda Track, also known as the Kokoda Trail in PNG, encompasses steep rugged mountains, treacherous ridges, unforgiving rivers and rainforests with giant trees that will tower over you and look down, mocking you, at every opportunity”. Trek only price of A$3495.00 (Ex Kokoda Village) All-Inclusive price from $4899.00 Ex Cairns (Includes All flights, Transfers, Pre and Post Hotel Accommodation, Our Spirit Kokoda Trek, Travel Insurance) Prices available from other cities on request. Groups of 10 or more trekkers may elect these or alternate dates Group discounts may apply. PNG Holidays can package Our Spirit Kokoda Treks with Diving, Surfing, Fishing or relaxing breaks at other locations throughout Papua New Guinea - visit PNG Holidays. or call toll free 1300 36 8855 for more information.



March 2009 |

The Mining Advocate



Just the ticket

Rounds 1 - 4 Sam’s staying put Sam Thaiday has committed to remain part of the Brisbane Broncos squad until at least 2011. The club said the 23-year-old forward, who grew up in Townsville, had inked a new two-year contract late last month. “I am very happy to be staying here at the Broncos for another two years,” Thaiday said. “While there are always other options to consider, in the back of my mind I always wanted to stay here. “What I am also very pleased about is that we have been able to finish the negotiations and finalise the deal before the NRL season starts. “That allows me to concentrate solely on my football as the new season begins.” Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen said the club was glad to again have Thaiday under an extended contract. “It is particularly pleasing to have Sam here for at least another two years,” he said. “He’s an established member of the NRL squad, is very much a senior player here now, and also an established Origin player. “Sam brings a lot to the team environment and we certainly hope this isn’t the last contract he signs with the Broncos.” Thaiday has represented Queensland in the State of Origin arena six times as well as playing for his country. He is a former student of Kirwan High School in Townsville and played for Townsville Brothers as a junior. Thaiday, who made his debut for the Brisbane Broncos in 2003, was named as the club’s Player of the Year in 2008.

Game Venue Round 1: 13 - 16 March 2009 Storm v Dragons Olympic Park Broncos v Cowboys Suncorp Stadium Warriors v Eels Mt Smart Stadium Sharks v Panthers Toyota Stadium Bulldogs v Sea Eagles ANZ Stadium Titans v Knights Skilled Park Roosters v Rabbitohs Sydney Football Stadium Wests Tigers v Raiders Campbelltown Sports Stadium Round 2: 20 - 23 March 2009 Rabbitohs v Eels ANZ Stadium Broncos v Storm Suncorp Stadium Dragons v Titans WIN Stadium Panthers v Bulldogs CUA Stadium Cowboys v Wests Tigers Dairy Farmers Stadium Raiders v Roosters Canberra Stadium Sea Eagles v Warriors Brookvale Oval Sharks v Knights Toyota Stadium Round 3: 27 - 30 March 2009 Wests Tigers v Roosters Sydney Football Stadium Titans v Bulldogs Skilled Park Warriors v Broncos Mt Smart Stadium Eels v Raiders Parramatta Stadium Cowboys v Storm Dairy Farmers Stadium Rabbitohs v Knights Bluetongue Stadium Dragons v Sharks Jubilee Oval Sea Eagles v Panthers Brookvale Oval Round 4: 3 - 6 April 2009 Broncos v Dragons Suncorp Stadium Roosters v Eels Sydney Football Stadium Panthers v Wests Tigers CUA Stadium Storm v Titans Olympic Park Warriors v Rabbitohs Mt Smart Stadium Bulldogs v Sharks ANZ Stadium Knights v Sea Eagles Energy Australia Stadium Raiders v Cowboys Canberra Stadium



Friday 6:35 pm Friday 7:35 pm Saturday 4:30 pm Saturday 6:30 pm Saturday 6:30 pm Sunday 1:00 pm Sunday 2:00 pm Monday 6:00 pm


Friday 6:35 pm Friday 7:35 pm Saturday 4:30 pm Saturday 6:30 pm Saturday 8:30 pm Sunday 1:00 pm Sunday 2:00 pm Monday 6:00 pm


Friday 6:35 pm Friday 7:35 pm Saturday 4:30 pm Saturday 6:30 pm Saturday 7:30 pm Sunday 1:00 pm Sunday 2:00 pm Monday 6:00 pm


Friday 6:35 pm Friday 6:35 pm Saturday 4:30 pm Saturday 6:30 pm Sunday 11.00 am Sunday 1:00 pm Sunday 2:00 pm Monday 7:00 pm


*Kickoff time at the venue in Eastern Standard Time.

The North Queensland Cowboys have set aside a dedicated space for community organisations to promote their causes at Dairy Farmers Stadium home games in 2009. Twelve organisations have been offered the opportunity to take up the spot – dubbed Cowboys Community Corner - at home games, giving them exposure to crowds that regularly exceed 20,000. Use of the Community Corner – which would otherwise be commercial space – is offered at no cost to the participating organisations, with a marquee supplied by the Cowboys located in close proximity to a main thoroughfare. Townsville Mayor Les Tyrell, Cowboys executive director Peter Parr and player Johnathan Thurston helped allocate organisations their home game dates in a random draw last month (pictured above). The 12 organisations selected for 2009 include the North Queensland Domestic Violence Resource Service, Just 4 Kids, Legacy Townsville, Youth Street, Department of Child Safety agencies, Townsville Hospital Foundation, Landcare, Red Cross Blood Service, Spinal Injuries Association, PCYC and the Cowboys Community Fund. Cowboys community relations manager Fiona Pelling described the selection process as a challenging one, with many worthy causes to consider. “Our department receives up to 100 requests per week during the rugby league season from individuals and organisations in our local area and in some cases beyond,” Ms Pelling said. “In an ideal world we’d have the time and resources to help everyone, but we’ve found it more effective to partner with organisations that specialise in areas of welfare and community support with greater reach than we do. “We’re delighted to be in a position to help these notfor-profits that we feel represent a spectrum of local community interests and we’re looking forward to seeing the benefits of Community Corner for our partners over the season.”

PCYC project using love of league to help Cloncurry kids A “Footy Families” program kicking off in Cloncurry this month aims to use the region’s love of rugby league to help reduce young people’s exposure to alcohol and violence. Cloncurry PCYC (Police Citizens Youth Club) branch manager Sergeant Mick Hughes said the North Queensland Cowboys had thrown their weight behind the scheme, along with BHP Billiton Cannington Mine. The PCYC will be showing games live on a big screen throughout the season and encouraging young people to come along and bring family members with them. Sgt Hughes said the aim was

to keep the kids off the street and provide a way for them to view games without hanging around licensed premises or household gatherings of adults drinking alcohol. “We were looking at devising a program that would try to reduce the exposure of kids in the area to domestic violence and alcohol-related offences,” he said. “We decided to use the popularity of rugby league - which out here is a bit of a religion, as are the Cowboys.” He said the PCYC did not want the footy nights to be used as a babysitting exercise and was encouraging children to bring older

family members along so that they could spend time together in a constructive environment. Doing so would make them eligible for weekly prize draws of Cowboys merchandise, with a major prize of a trip for six to Townsville to see a Cowboys-Broncos game also up for grabs. Sgt Hughes said the Cowboys club was also donating a jersey signed by the team which would be raffled to help cover the cost of the “Footy Families” program. The PCYC will be decorated with items such as flags and posters for game days and Sgt Hughes said

he had ordered 20 NRL-themed beanbags. Sgt Hughes said the “Footy Families” nights and afternoons would be alcohol and smoke-free. People ignoring club rules about swearing and other issues of respect could expect to be “sin binned”, he said. “Footy Families” is among a raft of community programs benefiting from a partnership formed this year between Cannington Mine and the North Queensland Cowboys. The Mount Isa Bush Kids Centre (formerly known as the Royal Bush Children’s Health Scheme) is among the other beneficiaries.

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March 2009  
March 2009  

The Mining Advocate - March 2009