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THIS MONTH • Power costs reduced at Osborne • Beating FIFO fatigue • Balancing act needed for staff retention • Anthropological skills helping communication
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The Mining Advocate | May 2008
MINING May 2008
Darwin is the city best suited to service northern Australia’s booming future, according to economic adviser Brian Haratsis. Mr Haratsis, managing director of consultancy company MacroPlan, spoke at the recent True North conference in Darwin. He said Darwin could be developed as a global capital, which would be the starting point for minerals investment in the north and a suppliers’ base for the North West Shelf in Western Australia. However, Cairns and Townsville commerce representatives believe their own cities have important roles to play as well in servicing regional mining operations.
Here comes the night
Miners are most in danger from the eﬀects of fatigue at the start of their nightshift rosters, according to James Cook University academic Reinhold Muller. Dr Muller has studied a wide range of possible causes of fatigue at a North Queensland ﬂy in-ﬂy out operation in order to identify evidence-based management strategies. He believes mine sites and individual miners can implement a number of measures to reduce the eﬀects of fatigue in the workplace.
It’s a gas
Barrick Gold’s Osborne mine in North Queensland has connected to natural gas to reduce power generation costs. General manager Neal Valk said the site also recently installed a surface chiller plant to ease summer temperatures at the bottom of the mine.
MacroPlan’s Brian Haratsis addresses the True North conference. Photo: Christopher Knight
FEATURES 10 Industry Update A comprehensive wrap of exploration and operations in North Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Emma King enjoys the personal side of her role at engineering company GHD’s Darwin oﬃce. Ms King is involved in environmental impact statements, cultural heritage assessments and Native Title negotiation for large industry projects. She is a qualiﬁed anthropologist and believes this background gives her a solid base to communicate with stakeholders in a culturally sensitive manner.
14 Between Shifts 18 Lifestyle
9 Walking the retention high wire
19 Safety and Training
A recent Townsville conference examined the risks to companies failing to deal with issues of work-life balance. Visiting Canadian expert Professor Linda Duxbury warned companies that achieving balance was essential for staﬀ recruitment and retention - and therefore their survival.
20 BHP Billiton Cannington Mine
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The Mining Advocate
Much to oﬀer mining sector major manufacturing and service centre and an important training and events base for regional towns and western areas of the state. Queensland Co-ordinator General Colin Jensen will visit Townsville this month for the Mining North Queensland conference, and Mr Stack said he would be made aware of the commercial opportunities available if wider infrastructure was developed. Mr Stack said the biggest hurdle for North Queensland
While Darwin’s potential was the focus of discussions at the True North conference, others are quick to list North Queensland’s assets. Cairns and Townsville business leaders have highlighted their cities’ own unique roles in servicing the northern mining industry. Although a recent MacroPlan study identiﬁed Darwin as the best location to develop a global capital for northern Australia (see report on Page 3), commerce representatives in North Queensland say their respective cities are also well equipped to support economic development. The Cairns Chamber of Commerce Resources and Industry Taskforce (RITF) believes the city’s reputation as a tourist destination is helpful to its position as an industry service base. RITF chair Sharon Dawson said the volume of tourist traﬃc through the city meant that its domestic and general aviation services were among the best in Queensland. She said frequent ﬂight connections meant Cairns was able to service the North West Mineral Province, the Northern Territory, Papua New Guinea,
Indonesia and the Kimberley Region of Western Australia. “Personnel ﬂying in to Cairns in the morning can connect to anywhere else in Australia and the wider region by that afternoon,” she said. Ms Dawson said Cairns’ liveability also gave it excellent leverage in the area of personnel supply. “Given an option, a lot of people working in the mining sector will relocate to Cairns - it’s seen as a desirable place to live, providing an excellent lifestyle within a diversiﬁed regional economy,” she said. She said the RITF hoped that Cairns could help alleviate the shortage of workers in the Bowen Basin if direct ﬂights between Cairns to Mackay were introduced. Ms Dawson said Cairns serviced the mining industry in the “traditional” area of heavy engineering and provided less obvious services including fresh produce supply, professional engineering services, conferencing facilities, training
industry was power costs, with major enterprise in the region paying 17 to 30 per cent more for energy than companies in Gladstone and south-east Queensland, and that a regional base-load energy provider was needed. He said road and rail transport infrastructure from Mount Isa to the coast also needed immediate attention to cope with growth in mining and processing in the mid-west and the North West Mineral Province.
Townsville Chamber of Commerce president
Chinese encouraged to back NQ development projects
venues, legal and environmental consultancy, hire equipment, spare parts and travel services. Cairns was not in competition with Townsville or Darwin, but rather ﬁlled its own niche within the mining industry, she said. Townsville Chamber of Commerce president Craig Stack said the city was well placed to service North Queensland industry but investment in key regional infrastructure was needed. He said Townsville was a
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed between the China Development Bank and the Queensland Government to encourage Chinese development in North Queensland infrastructure. Premier Anna Bligh said the MOU would encourage co-operation between the parties to kick-start development projects. “By facilitating greater Chinese investment in Queensland resource projects, this MOU will help to aid the Queensland Government’s delivery of major initiatives such as the Northern Economic Triangle (NET),” she said. “One of the China Development Bank’s key functions is ﬁnancing investment projects deemed important for China’s continued development.” Ms Bligh said the blueprint for the NET (consisting of the area bounded by Mount Isa, Townsville and Bowen) aimed to raise the output and proﬁle of the region by providing better infrastructure and access to minerals resources and processing options.
Iron ore player ﬁnalising overseas oﬀtake deal
Mt Moss ready to export
New body goes in to bat for NT resource interests
The only major iron ore mine on the eastern Australian mainland plans to start shipping its product to China by year’s end. Mt Moss Mining general manager Mark Kaesehagen said mining had been conducted since August 2007 at the Mt Moss operation, 150km northwest of Townsville, and about 475,000 tonnes of iron ore had been stockpiled. He said processing would begin in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the company was close to ﬁnalising an oﬀ take agreement with a Chinese buyer. The operation would produce up to one million tonnes per annum of iron ore for at least 10 years and signiﬁcant potential existed in regional targets to add to its resources. Mr Kaesehagen said that in addition to exporting iron ore for steel mill feeds, the company wanted to use its “fresh” highgrade magnetite to service the coal washing industry, in which coal is ground down and passed through gravity separation. The company would look to produce about 100,000 tonnes per annum to service the industry in central Queensland and New South Wales, he said. Copper and zinc mineralisation has also been identiﬁed at the project. The Mt Moss operation
A new Northern Territory Resources Council will replace the former Minerals Council of the Northern Territory as the peak industry body. President of the new industry group, Chris Salisbury, said the council had broadened its role to reﬂect the growth of the oil and gas sector in the Territory. “A major review was conducted last year of the Northern Territory Minerals Council that made a number of recommendations about how we could better serve the growth of the industry,” he said. “This review found that, in some respects, we were not meeting members’ needs and recommended a range of reforms to strengthen our inﬂuence in the environment in which the resource industry operates.” Mr Salisbury signalled that a key focus of the new Northern Territory Resources Council would be advocacy for the industry, to have a greater impact on government policy making. “The resource industry is
Iron Copp er
Townsville Ayr Bowen
is at the centre of a package of tenements owned by the company in an historic alluvial tin, copper and silver and lead mining area. Three main ore bodies make up the operation, plus a zone containing iron outcropping. Mr Kaesehagen said the area was explored from the 1950s by companies including Mount Isa Mines, BHP and Noranda, but their focus was on base metals rather than iron. Industrial group Curtain Brothers - owner of Mt Moss Mining - acquired the leases in mid-2005, with an initial focus on obtaining magnetite for pipe coating to be used on the nowsuspended Papua New GuineaQueensland gas pipeline.
About 60 workers are employed at the operation, but this ﬁgure will double as production reaches capacity. Mr Kaesehagen said the company was in negotiations with Queensland Transport in regards to an initial road transport option for its iron ore to the Port of Townsville. It was also undertaking a feasibility study on using a reconstructed Greenvale rail line. Mr Kaesehagen spoke at a recent Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) technical talk in Townsville. The talks are held monthly – for further details contact Mark Daniell: Mark.Daniell@ bhpbilliton.com.
a major contributor to the Territory’s economy,” he said. “It is the key driver of regional economic development and indigenous employment. “We will be working to build better relationships with the Northern Territory Government and other industry groups and have more constructive input on issues such as occupational health and safety, land access, local government reform and engagement with Aboriginal people in the areas where we work.” The change of Federal Government and changes within the Northern Territory Government made it an opportune time to reengage, he said. Mr Salisbury said the comprehensive review included consultation with a range of stakeholders, analysis of other industry groups and feedback from members. “Our challenge now is to rebuild a strong industry organisation that is ready to reshape the industry’s future,” he said.
The Mining Advocate | May 2008
North needs own ‘global capital’ Darwin outshines Townsville and Cairns as the best site to become northern Australia’s economic hub, according to a new report. Darwin should be turned into northern Australia’s most important centre, according to economic adviser Brian Haratsis. Mr Haratsis, managing director of consultancy company MacroPlan, said the city was well placed to respond to the signiﬁcant growth in mining predicted for northern Australia to 2050. “We’ve analysed future population and production in northern Australia - it will all aﬀect the gross domestic product for Australia as a whole - and there is a need to build a globally focused capital,” he said. MacroPlan produced its report on why northern Australia needs a global capital city for the recent True North conference held in Darwin by business media company Terrapin. Mr Haratsis said its
conclusions would be submitted to the Federal Government through the newly created Oﬃce of Northern Australia and Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon. In researching options for a northern capital, MacroPlan considered Townsville and Cairns as alternative locations. Mr Haratsis said Townsville was discounted because its international airport was not operational and it was too close to the international airport in Cairns to justify rejuvenation. He said Cairns was scrutinised more closely but was deemed to be not as suitable as Darwin, partly because it did not have as much land available for development. Mr Haratsis said signiﬁcant investment was required for Darwin to position itself as a
MAIN POINTS Significant mining growth predicted for region to 2050 Darwin well placed to act as base for minerals companies and industry supply point but needs a city “makeover” and improved infrastructure base for minerals companies. He said a new city plan was needed to provide better public transport, more hotels, more road construction and a “substantial makeover” of the aesthetics of the city centre. “Darwin has to be the kick-oﬀ point for minerals investment,” Mr Haratsis said. “If companies make the decision to be based in Western Australia, they are nowhere near their northern Australian resources, because they go to Perth and not to Karratha or Port Hedland.” He said that as well as being a base for minerals companies, Darwin could operate as a major
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MacroPlan managing director Brian Haratsis speaks at the True North conference. Photo: Christopher Knight
supply point for goods and logistics to the mining industry. This would decrease costs and increase eﬃciency for northern Australian operations by signiﬁcantly reducing transport movements, he said. Mr Haratsis said infrastructure outside Darwin would need to be upgraded to support its role as a major supply base, including the construction of two or three ports between Darwin and Lake Argyle (in northern WA) and an upgrade of the Tanami Road in
the Northern Territory. He said making a case for Darwin to be developed as the capital of northern Australia would encourage federal spending on regional infrastructure. The inaugural True North conference brought together resources sector representatives, government oﬃcials, investors and developers to discuss sustainable economic development across northern Australia.
May 2008 |
New research into mine work cycles
Engineering group seeks ‘new blood’
Fighting fatigue A North Queensland study points the way for fly in-fly out sites to soften the blow of nightshift stints, writes Michael Stevens. Fatigue must be carefully managed at the start of nightshift at ﬂy in-ﬂy out (FIFO) mining operations, warns a Townsvillebased academic. Dr Reinhold Muller and his team from James Cook University ( JCU) studied the risks, causes and eﬀects of fatigue in 52 miners at a North Queensland FIFO site. He said the results showed that emphasis needed to be placed on reducing the negative eﬀects of changes to day-night rhythm experienced by miners at the beginning of the nightshift cycle. The ﬁrst two or three shifts in a nightshift cycle were the worst for fatigue, with miners thereafter adapting to a new circadian rhythm until deterioration returned in the seventh night. Dr Muller said it was vital for sites to make sure that village arrangements for nightshift workers enabled them to stay out of sunlight when having meals,
showering and sleeping. “Exposure to just a few minutes of sunlight is very detrimental to any partially achieved adaptation to the new nightshift rhythm,” he said. Dr Muller said the nightshift workplace should be illuminated as much as possible and power naps of 20 minutes scheduled during breaks where possible. Dr Muller’s study, published in Oxford journal The Annals of Occupational Hygiene, measured a wider range of risk factors than usually covered in fatigue research in order to develop evidencebased management strategies. Work organisational factors including shift and roster lengths were measured along with other inﬂuences on the individual such as leisure activities, drug and alcohol consumption, dehydration and time spent sleeping. Dr Muller found that fatigue in day and nightshift cycles at the site surveyed was clearly related
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to work organisational factors rather than other inﬂuences. The study showed that a roster including more than eight consecutive 12-hour shifts was too long, he said. The surveyed site reduced its roster from 10 to eight consecutive day shifts as a result (with its nightshift roster already limited to eight consecutive shifts). Dr Muller said also that workers should ensure they did not arrive on site with a sleep deﬁcit at the start of their shift cycle. He said anecdotal evidence suggested many FIFO miners did not have suﬃcient sleep in their last night at home and often drove long distances by car before boarding ﬂights to the work site. The results of the study have been communicated to the Queensland Resources Council and the Minerals Council of Australia. They will be discussed at the Mining North Queensland conference in Townsville on May 13-15.
Engineers Australia membership officer Daniel Seguin on the recruitment trail at James Cook University in Townsville.
Engineers Australia aimed to boost its youth membership recently with a recruitment barbecue at James Cook University ( JCU) in Townsville. Local engineering students were joined by their colleagues from JCU’s Cairns campus. Engineers Australia
membership oﬃcer Daniel Seguin was on hand to answer queries and hand out membership forms. “It’s absolutely imperative that we get out to the regions, where the skills shortage is,” he said. He said the organisation could assist university students with the practicalities of starting out in engineering and could also help them focus on their long-term careers. Mr Seguin said students in turn gave the organisation new blood. “I guess what we hope to get from younger members is diﬀerent perspectives,” he said. He said Engineers Australia wanted to see more students studying engineering and it had education programs in place from primary school through to university. Engineers Australia members ranged from university students to engineers in their 80s, Mr Seguin said. • Social photos - Page 16.
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The Mining Advocate
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The Mining Advocate | May 2008
Powerful pay-oﬀ Hooking up to natural gas is expected to significantly reduce running costs at the Osborne copper and gold operation. Barrick Gold’s Osborne mine will soon be powered by a combination of natural gas and diesel. General manager Neal Valk said the site was in the process of being connected to the lateral gas pipe running from the Mount Isa line to Cannington mine, about 45km north-east of Osborne. He said natural gas would be available at the Osborne site by the end of June and its dieselﬁred power station would be converted to run on dual power by August 1. “It will run on about 70 per cent gas and 30 per cent diesel,” he said. “The main reason for the project is that it reduces power costs on site by about 40 per cent.” Osborne mine is an underground copper and gold operation, 195km south-east of Mount Isa in North Queensland. Another major project undertaken at the site during the last quarter of 2007 and the ﬁrst quarter of 2008 was the
MAIN POINTS Mine site station to switch to dual power - 70 per cent gas/30 per cent diesel Coversion expected to cut site power costs by 40 per cent
installation of a surface chiller plant, which will provide cold air down an intake shaft to ease summer temperatures at the bottom of the mine. Osborne mine has between four and seven years of mine life left to run, although a current drilling program could extend that period. “We’ve begun drilling at the bottom of the mine to delineate the ‘zero’ block - we’re drilling up to indicated resource status,” Mr Valk said. “And on the surface we have a rig drilling 1800m holes that are trying to intersect the Osborne ore body 1500m below the surface so that we can see if there is a connection between the
bottom of the mine and ore that is a lot deeper. “We’ve drilled three holes and there is a fourth one to come, and then we’ll decide whether to do more holes or continue the decline development.” Osborne mine trucks concentrate to the Phosphate Hill railhead for transport to Townsville and Mr Valk said a road sealing project along the haul route from Duchess to Phosphate Hill had recently been completed. “It will improve running times for haul trucks as well as providing infrastructure for the general area,” he said. The project was funded by the Federal and State governments and Cloncurry Shire Council, with a contribution from Osborne mine. Mr Valk said the ﬁrst quarter of 2008 had been slow in terms of production at Osborne, with hanging wall and dilution problems on two main underground stopes taking time to correct. He said the operation’s paste ﬁlling project was continuing, and its satellite Trekelano deposit was producing enough to supplement Osborne ore in the processing plant.
New Citigold general manager of mining Garry Foord with senior geologist Sarah Warren, underground at the Warrior mine.
Citigold moving Foord Citigold has announced the appointment of Garry Foord as general manager of mining. Mr Foord will be based at the company’s Warrior gold project in Charters Towers, North Queensland. He previously held the position of general manager of engineering with Citigold for eight years, operating out of the company’s Brisbane oﬃce. Citigold managing director Mark Lynch said Mr Foord headed the Warrior mine design team and implemented the successful mining methods currently being used for extracting underground ore.
Mr Foord said he was looking forward to being on site and leading the mining team. “I have worked in gold mines before but I have never enjoyed such spectacular gold ore grades as those that I have seen underground at our Charters Towers mine,” he said. Mr Lynch said Mr Foord’s promotion was linked to the growth of Citigold operations at Charters Towers, where personnel had increased from 20 to 110 in the past 18 months. Meanwhile, the company says it has been pleased with continued high-grade gold intersections at the Warrior site.
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May 2008 |
Warning issued on foreign labour
The feasibility study for the NORNICO project will be delayed as its proponents incorporate a new element into their processing plans. Metallica Minerals has reconsidered the recovery component of its ﬂagship NORNICO nickel and cobalt project, 30km south of Mount Garnet in North Queensland. Managing director Andrew Gillies said an ion exchange (IX) resin process for selective nickel and cobalt recovery would replace the precipitation process originally proposed. This would improve eﬃciency as well as cutting construction and operating costs. Mr Gillies said the decision was prompted by unexpectedly high cost estimates for the precipitation plant. It would push out the completion of the current mine feasibility study from mid-2008 until later in the year to allow for further process design and back-end metallurgical test work, he said. Mr Gillies said the original back-end precipitation process was chosen more than two years ago and signiﬁcant progress in process understanding had been
made in the intervening period. “The IX resin process is a well-used metal recovery technology, particularly for uranium, copper and base metals, and in hindsight perhaps we could have gone down that path in the ﬁrst place,” he said. Metallica Minerals proposes a three-part operation at NORNICO consisting of an acid and power plant, a frontend nickel laterite heap leaching operation and a back-end plant to remove iron and recover nickel and cobalt from the leach solutions. Meanwhile, the company recently announced that an upgraded resource estimate for the Minnamoolka nickel deposit would enable it to be included in the NORNICO project feasibility study. Mr Gillies said the new estimate, completed by Golder Associates, had converted about 80 per cent of the Minnamoolka deposit from inferred to indicated resource status. The Minnamoolka nickel
The Mining Advocate
Metallica Minerals managing director Andrew Gillies examines nickel ore at the Minnamoolka deposit.
deposit is one of three within the NORNICO project area. Mr Gillies said the NORNICO project was currently forecast to have a 10 to 15-year mine life, but would probably last for decades.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is encouraging North Queensland mining companies to verify their overseas employees’ entitlements so they do not employ illegal workers. Following the recent detention of 13 farm workers in North Queensland who did not hold visas to work in Australia, the department’s regional outreach network is informing mining companies about its free internet system, Visa Entitlement Veriﬁcation Online (listed at www.immi.gov.au/employers). “The mining industry faces a similar problem to the farming industry with the employment of semi-skilled workers,” a departmental spokesman said. “Companies have traditionally taken on whomever they can get, but there are now many people in Australia who do not have a right to work.” He said immigrants to Australia without work entitlements were most likely to seek jobs in the mining, farming, catering and services industries. Large employers and those companies hiring workers who were fully skilled usually conducted background checks, he said. The department’s regional outreach network in North Queensland covers an area from Sarina to Weipa. An information session for employers considering hiring overseas workers on 457 visas was recently held in Mount Isa. “Concessions for regional employers could allow them to sponsor semi-skilled overseas workers as well as skilled workers,” the departmental spokesman said. “Sponsored migration can be a valuable option for employers in the current skills shortage and places like Mount Isa are multicultural towns where everybody can ﬁt in.” Employers can contact the department’s immigration hotline on 1800 040 070.
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The Mining Advocate | May 2008
Ranger shoots for higher production
Firm sinks $25m into exploration Territory Resources is working to substantially expand its resource base and extend mine life at the Frances Creek iron ore project. Territory Resources has committed $25 million to exploration over the next two years at its Frances Creek iron ore project, 190km south of Darwin. Territory Resources chairman Michael Kiernan said the company aimed to substantially expand its resource base and extend the mine life. “The immediate focus of exploration is the expansion of near-mine reserves and resources including the areas adjacent to the known deposits,” he said. Mr Kiernan said an exploration budget of $12 million had been approved for the 2008 calendar year. Three rigs would undertake more than 100,000m of reverse circulation drilling, he said. Mr Kiernan said the northern tenements at Frances Creek
contained signiﬁcant potential for further discovery, with sporadic outcrops existing on the northern extension of the Frances Creek structure. “The style of mineralisation in the region tends to be under modest cover and therefore has remained generally unexplored and undiscovered,” he said. “Having taken Frances Creek into production, our aim has been to use cashﬂow to realise the signiﬁcant production expansion opportunities. “Our strategy is to discover, dig and deliver as much as possible over the coming three years, to capitalise on the strength in the iron ore market and develop future earning streams.” Territory Resources recently appointed Ian Hassall as exploration manager. Mr Hassall has considerable
Production at Territory Resources’ Frances Creek project.
iron ore experience in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, both as a mine geologist and in exploration. The company has also undertaken a complete review of the available geological information from current and historical records for Frances Creek. An airborne electromagnetic survey and a multi-spectral survey were conducted late in 2007 and Territory Resources has planned a structural study of the mine site and adjacent areas.
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New processing technology is due to come online this year to lift uranium production at Energy Resources of Australia’s (ERA’s) Ranger mine. Chief executive oﬃcer Chris Salisbury told ERA’s recent annual general meeting that construction of a laterite treatment plant and a radiometric sorter was expected to deliver growth in production from existing ore stockpiles in the near future. He said the treatment plant was expected to produce up to 400 tonnes of uranium oxide per annum from 2008 to 2013, and the sorter would enhance production by 1100 tonnes over the same period through the selective upgrading of low-grade ore stockpiles. Both projects were in advanced stages of construction and were due for commissioning in the
second half of this year, he said. Mr Salisbury also reported successful results from pilotscale work on the possible introduction of heap leaching to the Ranger operation, conducted as part of a $10 million prefeasibility expansion study. The Ranger operation, 250km east of Darwin, is extending its operating pit in order to target an extra 4857 tonnes of contained uranium oxide and extend the life of the pit from 2008 to 2012. ERA chairman David Klingner said the company had achieved a record net proﬁt of $76.1 million in 2007 and had provided almost 10 per cent of the world’s produced uranium. He said the likelihood of carbon emission costs being imposed on fossil fuel energy production would help keep world uranium prices high.
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May 2008 |
The Mining Advocate
A true ‘people person’ Darwin-based anthroplogist Emma King
There are special circumstances in doing business in the Territory because of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. Q: Why is it an advantage to be a qualiﬁed anthropologist in carrying out these functions? EK: I oﬀer a certain level of experience and expertise. When a cultural heritage statement needs to be done, it’s good to have someone in the company who can verify individuals and consult appropriately. It’s good to have someone who is aware of cultural issues and how to engage with the indigenous communities.
Photo: Christopher Knight
Emma King helps ensure mining projects have minimum negative impact on local communities. As a qualiﬁed anthropologist, Ms King is employed by engineering company GHD to negotiate in a culturally sensitive manner with
indigenous stakeholders. She is based at the company’s Darwin oﬃce. Q: What is involved in being an anthropologist and working for GHD? EK: Anthropology in Australia is the study of human culture, in all of its aspects. My area of interest is socio-cultural anthropology, with a focus on indigenous Australia.
GHD employs me to improve services in the ﬁeld of social and cultural impact. I’m involved in environmental impact statements (EIS), cultural heritage assessments and Native Title negotiation – I consult with indigenous communities. In the mining sector, I also hold workshops on how to work in the Northern Territory.
indigenous communities when a project is developed? EK: It’s really important in the mining and development ﬁeld, because when a mine is developed it is there for a long time. There are quite a number of ways to achieve good
“I really liked the people side of things, so I decided to follow through with anthropology”
Q: Is it unusual for anthropologists to be employed in this way? EK: I am the ﬁrst anthropologist employed by GHD globally and, as far as I know, the company is the only one of its type in the mining and engineering ﬁeld to employ an anthropologist.
working relationships with indigenous communities. You need good communication at the outset and you need to keep Aboriginal stakeholders keyed in as a project develops.The indigenous community also needs to have a leadership role in cultural heritage studies. And all of this is in addition to the legislative responsibilities that apply to companies as well.
Q: How important is it to have good relations with
Q: Where does your job take you?
MINING AROUND THE WORLD
EK: At the moment I am engaged in an EIS at Cape York for a mine looking to start up there. It’s a 12-month job. I work throughout northern Australia - in North Queensland, the Northern Territory and the northern part of Western Australia. But most of my work is carried out in the Northern Territory from Alice Springs up. Q: Before you started in this role, did you believe your career would take you in this direction? EK: No. I went to the University of Queensland in Brisbane, where I studied archaeology and anthropology. I had always seen myself pursuing a career in archaeology, but then I ended up working with Aboriginal people at Alice Springs. I really liked the people side of things, so I decided to follow through with anthropology.
Joint eﬀort to reap skills A new project is bringing mining and farming interests together to produce a welcome source of workers for both industries.
Oyunjargal Dendev’s Traditional New Year Morning, Boroo Gold Mine, Mongolia Boroo open pit gold mine is in northern Mongolia, 110km west-north-west of the capital, Ulaanbaatar. It is located at an elevation of 1200m in a sparsely-populated and relatively arid area. The mine is 95 per cent owned by Canadian mining company Centerra Gold, which in turn is 53 per cent owned by Cameco. The mine has an Australian connection in its development,
with Aussie-based gold producer AGR acquiring an 85 per cent interest in the project in 1998 and completing a feasibility study the following year. It acquired an extra 10 per cent interest in the project in 2000 before Cameco Gold bought a controlling portion of AGR in April 2002. A contract was signed in May 2002 between Cameco and an Australian-based construction
Photo: courtesy of Snowden
company for the engineering, procurement and construction management of the processing plant. Gold production at the mine is forecast to total more than one million ounces by 2009. Oyunjargal Dendev’s frosty photo of Boroo gold mine was highly commended in last year’s Snowden Photo Competition. To enter this year’s competition, visit www.snowdengroup.com.au.
North Queensland mining companies are being urged to support a program aimed at creating a pool of skilled workers for the mining and agricultural industries. A pilot project is set to be implemented from Townsville under the Australian Regional Agriculture and Mining Skills (ARAMS) project, which arose from a Memorandum of Understanding between the Minerals Council of Australia, the National Farmers Federation and the Federal Government. Townsville-based local coordinator Russ McNee said the project would encompass the Townsville-Mount Isa corridor. It would engage as many employers as possible to ﬁnd solutions for both industries, Mr McNee said. Zinifex Century Mine was represented at the project’s ﬁrst meeting, which introduced the
initiative and sought interest in participating in a local steering committee. The committee will provide guidance on the development and implementation of the project for the region. ARAMS taskforce deputy chair Denita Wawn said the taskforce had no preconceptions about the solutions that the Townsville region would identify, and it was imperative that the project was driven by local industry and employers. Parties interested in the North Queensland ARAMS project can contact Mr McNee on 0427 827 175. The Dubbo region of New South Wales and the Upper Spencer Gulf region of South Australia have also been chosen as pilot sites under the ARAMS project.
The Mining Advocate | May 2008
Companies must tackle work-life conďŹ‚ict
Balancing act A visiting academic has addressed a Townsville conference on issues such as role overload and the job expectations of a new generation. Ensuring work-life balance for employees is a matter of survival for Australian companies, according to visiting expert Linda Duxbury. Professor Duxbury, from the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University in Canada, presented the business case for change at a recent Queensland Government OďŹƒce For Women conference in Townsville. She said ďŹ nding worklife balance was crucial for recruitment and retention during a period of skills shortage which would only become worse in coming decades. Role overload was a key cause of work-life conďŹ‚ict in Australia and belied the countryâ€™s laidback image, Professor Duxbury said. She said Australians spent an average of 48 hours at work each week and donated another six hours of home time to work. The solution to role overload largely rested with managers,
W G N E TIN S LI
who were most able to control the workload of their staďŹ€ and create a workplace perceived by workers to be ďŹ‚exible. Professor Duxbury said traditional work-life imbalance had helped create the current labour shortage, because from the 1970s women often had to make the choice between having meaningful careers outside of the home and having babies. She said also the â€œBaby Boomerâ€? generation joined the labour market when there were more good workers than jobs
and had sacriďŹ ced signiďŹ cant amounts of their personal lives to companies. The younger generation was determined not to follow the same path, Professor Duxbury said. And she said the changed nature of the younger generation meant that work-life balance should no longer be perceived as only an issue for women with children. Professor Duxbury said she had been arguing the business case for work-life balance culture change since 1993, after abandoning her earlier moral arguments for change because they did not make an impact on companies.
Forum attracts mine input Two major mining companies were represented in a panel discussion at the work-life balance forum in Townsville. Incitec Pivot human resources manager for far north Queensland Rod Francisco said managers needed to listen to their workers and never completely reject their balancerelated requests.
He said managers needed to ensure that solutions were sustainable in the long-term. Zinifex Century Mine stakeholder relations oďŹƒcer Kath Logan said workers were motivated by more than money, and the well-facilitated accommodation camp at Century mine helped with recruitment and retention at the site.
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Triathlon participants from the Ernest Henry mine included (back) Brian Webb, Tim Purvis, Steve Rooney, Steve Perkins, Richard Forsyth, (middle row) Andrew Upfill, Danny Huisman, Amanda Wass, Nicole King, Mike Westerman, Ryan Turner, (front) Brett Wass, Laura Tully, Ivan Zapata and Greg Targett.
Getting down and dirty at Julia Creek Xstrataâ€™s Ernest Henry mine tested its staying power recently when it entered the triathlon event at the Julia Creek Dirt and Dust Festival. Two menâ€™s teams, two corporate teams and one mixed team from the mine sweated it out on an 800m swim, 25km cycle and 5km run. One of the menâ€™s teams ďŹ nished third in its division. The annual triathlon event at Julia Creek, 250km east of Mount Isa, began in 1994 with the idea of putting the town on the map by hosting an endurance event in one of Queenslandâ€™s hottest and harshest climates. The Dirt and Dust Festival now features a wide range of activities, including a professional bull ride.
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May 2008 |
The Mining Advocate
Dual listing for subsidiary
An aerial view of the Redbank copper project in the Northern Territory.
High-grade copper intercepts at Redbank Redbank Mines has claimed “spectacular” nearsurface copper grades at its Redbank project, 40km from the Queensland border in the Northern Territory’s McArthur River basin. Managing director Jerome Vitale said deﬁnition drilling was being carried out on the project’s Bluﬀ, Azurite and Redbank deposits to enable completion of detailed pit planning and mine scheduling. He said drilling at the Redbank deposit had encountered a number of high-grade copper intercepts in oxide mineralisation close to the surface. A ﬁeld program located the source breccia pipe for the Redbank mineralisation. Mr Vitale said reporting of ﬁnal laboratory assays was expected this month. The drilling program is part of a deﬁnitive feasibility study for the oxides phase of the Redbank project, scheduled for completion in June.
Nominations sought Northern Territory Employment, Education and Training Minister Marion Scrymgour has encouraged individuals and organisations involved in training to submit their nominations for the Northern Territory Training Awards. She said the awards highlighted organisational best practice and the achievements of individuals engaged in vocational education and training in 12 diﬀerent categories. Entries close on May 30. For more information visit www.trainingawards.nt.gov.au.
Field inspection Top End Uranium has advised that a ﬁeld inspection was recently conducted of its Door Creek and Koolendong anomalies by consulting geologists Marcello de Angelis and Tom Reddicliﬀe. Executive director Ian Richer said chemical assay results indicated anomalous uranium values in three samples of termite mounds at the Door Creek anomaly and in one soil sample over mica schist and granite basement rocks near the Koolendong anomaly. He said the company was considering more comprehensive systematic sampling of soil and termite mounds across all of the higher ranked anomalies, as well as an airborne electro-magnetic survey along the Tom Turners fault centred on the Door Creek anomaly. The Door Creek and Koolendong anomalies are part of the company’s Yambarra project, 150km south of the Rum Jungle uranium deposits in the Northern Territory.
Greenhouse emissions plea The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) is seeking to ensure that Queensland jobs and industries are not put at risk by policies seeking to haul in the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. In a checklist relating to the Federal Government’s Garnaut Climate Change Review, the QRC has urged Professor Ross Garnaut to carefully consider the implications of new policy measures on a Queensland economy that is largely dependent on
The study was targeted at expanding the smallscale stockpile leach operations at Redbank into a 6000-tonnes-per-annum contained copper leach operation. The company also plans greater production when the sulphide stage of the project comes online. Meanwhile, Gulf Mines issued a statement to Australian Securities Exchange noting Redbank Mines’ recent announcement. Gulf Mines managing director Graham Reveleigh said the Redbank project’s exploration retention licence 94 was completely surrounded by Gulf Mines’ exploration licence 10335. He said Gulf Mines had also identiﬁed targets similar to those being explored by Redbank Mines. “These intersections drilled by Redbank clearly enhance our chances for discovery of high-grade copper mineralisation near surface at our own prospects,” Mr Reveleigh said. trade-exposed and energy-intensive industries. “With its signiﬁcant energy reserves, growing energy exports and energy-intensive industries, Queensland is particularly exposed to the risk of any hastily conceived or implemented emissions trading scheme,” QRC chief executive Michael Roche said.
Legislative changes The Queensland Government has introduced a bill into parliament proposing amendments to the mining and quarrying safety and health legislation. Mines and Energy Minister Geoﬀ Wilson said the amendments would ensure that timely information would be provided to oﬃcers investigating fatal and other serious mining accidents. “The need for these amendments was made apparent by a fatal underground accident at the BHP Billiton Cannington mine on January 17 this year,” he said. “Mine workers, acting on legal advice, refused to provide the location of the accident to the mines inspectors who attended the mine to investigate. “It was over 28 hours before investigators were provided with the relevant information to enable them to commence their investigation. “To prevent this happening again, the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 and the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999 are to be amended to ensure that persons with relevant knowledge about the location, time and circumstances of a serious mining accident must provide that information to investigating oﬃcers.”
No more reminders The Northern Territory Government has ended the practice of sending renewal reminder notices ﬁve months prior to the expiration date of exploration licences and substitution exploration licences. According to a notice issued by the Department of Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines, the lodgement of applications for renewal remains the responsibility of licence holders, pursuant to Section 29A of the Mining Act. The notice stated that the Mining Act did not provide for the renewal of such licences once they had expired.
Minerals Corporation has decided to dual list its subsidiary, Australian China Clays, on the London and Australian stock exchanges. Minerals Corporation managing director Vic Alexander said shareholders had often requested that Australian China Clays be dual listed, but the company did not believe industrial minerals had a proﬁle in the Australian ﬁnancial markets. London, on the other hand, had a long standing active specialisation in the category, he said. However, he said the increasing emphasis on green cement, which was expected to dominate future Australian China Clays tonnage, had substantially changed this position and the proposed dual listing was an appropriate way forward. Mr Alexander said the Australian China Clays ﬂoat would proceed in coming months. Australian China Clays has commissioned a kaolin project at Skardon River in far north Queensland.
Drilling at Bulman project A drilling program is scheduled for the second quarter at Admiralty Resources’ Bulman zinc and lead project in southern Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. Executive director Phillip Thomas said 59 reverse circulation holes were planned at two prospective leases to delineate mineralisation. He said a further three regional exploration targets had been generated by airborne geophysical survey interpretation and soil geochemistry and 36 reverse circulation drill holes were planned to test these areas. Mr Thomas said the company’s strategy at the project was to prove up a resource that was economic and use the data to negotiate a joint venture arrangement with interested parties from China, America and Asia to bring the deposit into production.
Jumping into Featherbed Kangaroo Metals has completed the ﬁrst round of reverse circulation drilling at the Antimony Reward prospect, part of the company’s Featherbed project in North Queensland’s Herberton-Mount Garnet tinﬁeld. Managing director Brett Teale said the company’s 10-hole program focused on targets below and adjacent to historical workings. Samples had been submitted to ALS, Townsville for analysis. The Featherbed project is prospective for tin, tungsten, molybdenum, copper, lead, gold and silver.
New modelling at Woolgar Strategic Minerals has reported a signiﬁcant resource increase at its Woolgar global gold project, 120km north of Richmond in North Queensland. Managing director Wally Martin said a new model of the project’s Camp Vein resource and an updated model of the Grand Central resource were completed by SRK Consulting and Bartsch Geoscience. He said the modelling found that the Camp Vein and Grand Central gold resources were within openpittable depths and situated in two intersecting structures. Additional resource model updates were also under way for the project’s Lost World and Hillview gold deposits, as well as several other small deposits, for inclusion in the global resource inventory, Mr Martin said.
Construction start-up Kagara expects construction of its fourth Mungana treatment plant to begin this month, with ﬁrst production targeted for April 2009. Executive chairman Kim Robinson said cross cuts were being applied to the Mungana ore body. He said gold ore mined from the gold halo surrounding the base metal deposit during the development phase would be stockpiled for processing at a future date. The Mungana zinc, copper, lead, silver and gold operation is located near Chillagoe in North Queensland. Mr Robinson said the company would release an initial resource estimate for its Victoria base metal deposit over the next nine months and signiﬁcant additions were also expected to its Red Dome deposit and Mount Garnet zinc and copper resources.
The Mining Advocate | May 2008
Financial adviser appointed Queensland Ores has appointed ﬁnancial services ﬁrm BBY as its exclusive equity capital markets adviser. BBY will help Queensland Ores communicate its business strategy to domestic and international institutions and explore future capital raising opportunities. Queensland Ores managing director Taﬀ Greenwood said the appointment was another demonstration of the company’s commitment to bringing its projects through to production. The company is developing the Wolfram Camp tungsten and molybdenum project near Cairns in far north Queensland.
Attracting foreign workers The Northern Territory Government is sending a delegation to the Opportunities Australia Expo in Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa. The expo, which will be held on September 13 and 14, is aimed at encouraging skilled migration to Australia. More information is available online by visiting www.expo-australia.com/.
Silver Hill estimates rise Conquest Mining has announced new resource estimates for the Silver Hill deposit, part of its Mt Carlton project in the northern Bowen Basin in North Queensland. Managing director John Terpu said Silver Hill tonnage estimates had increased by 45 per cent from the September 2007 resources estimate. He said the company’s consultants, Hellman and Schoﬁeld, had advised that a signiﬁcant proportion of the Silver Hill resource was likely to be upgraded to measured status in the near future, upon successful completion of normal quality control.
Historic acquisition Uranium Equities has reached agreement with Hanson Australia to acquire 100 per cent of the issued capital in Queensland Mines, the registered owner of the historic Nabarlek uranium mine in the Alligator Rivers province of the Northern Territory. The lease containing the mine is surrounded by the tenements of the West Arnhem joint venture between Cameco Australia and Uranium Equities. Uranium Equities managing director Mark Chalmers said the Nabarlek mine, which operated between 1979 and 1988, was Australia’s highest grade uranium mine. He said no exploration had been conducted on the lease in the current uranium price environment, with the last drilling having been conducted in 1994. Mr Chalmers said an intensive program of data review and re-interpretation had been initiated in preparation for a major exploration thrust, expected to begin in June or July.
Feasibility study contract Arafura Resources has awarded a $23.6 million contract to Bateman Litwin to lead a deﬁnitive feasibility study at the Nolans rare earths project, 135km north-north-west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. Bateman Litwin will prepare a front-end engineering design and costing package as well as ﬁnancial modelling for the study. Starting in July, the deﬁnitive feasibility study is expected to run for 20 months. The project is expected to produce phosphoric acid, uranium and calcium chloride in addition to rare earths.
Kick-start at West Gibbet Emmerson Resources has begun its maiden drilling program within its Tennant Creek mineral ﬁeld tenements in the Northern Territory. Managing director and chief executive oﬃcer Rob Bills said the ﬁrst hole of an eight-hole drilling program had begun at the West Gibbet prospect, one of many target areas identiﬁed by the company as part of its brownﬁelds exploration program. He said the West Gibbet prospect, prospective for gold and copper, was located about 6km west of Tennant Creek and was originally deﬁned in the 1950s by a large magnetic anomaly.
A core sample from Republic Gold’s Northcote project in far north Queensland.
Republic Gold all set to get busy in the basin Republic Gold has secured a drill rig for an aggressive 6000m drilling program at its Hodgkinson Basin prospects, between Mareeba and Cooktown in far north Queensland. Managing director John Kelly said the work would focus on resource delineation and expansion, which would assist with the company’s planned feasibility and development program for the region. He said drilling would initially take place at the Northcote gold project, where 23 follow-up holes from the 2007 season were planned, for a total of 1800m of drilling.
Power outages strike Century Zinc production at Zinifex Century Mine in the lower Gulf of Carpentaria was aﬀected by unplanned power outages in the March quarter, partly caused by electrical storms in the wet season. According to the recently-released March quarter review, zinc in concentrate production was 3 per cent lower than the December quarter, but 4 per cent higher than the corresponding period last year. Zinc in concentrate production for the ﬁrst quarter of 2008 was 8 per cent higher than last year due to better recoveries, stable operation and higher-thanplanned availabilities. Zinifex chief executive oﬃcer Andrew Michelmore said a regional exploration program at the Century operation had returned signiﬁcant results at the Silver King extension and a second program south of the mine had intersected massive sulphides at the Watsons Lode prospect. According to the review, an updated resource statement for the Dugald River project, 65km northwest of Cloncurry, was expected in the second quarter of 2008. It stated that the company had secured letters of intent for concentrate oﬀ takes for Dugald River with a portfolio of Asian customers.
Yabulu output ramps up BHP Billiton’s Yabulu expansion project achieved ﬁrst production during the March quarter. According to a recently released company production report, reﬁned nickel production at the reﬁnery was increased from 6200 tonnes in the December 2007 quarter to 17,700 tonnes last quarter. The report stated that the Ravensthorpe nickel operation in Western Australia, which provided ore to the Yabulu expansion, continued to ramp up in line with schedule.
Cobalt recovery tested CuDeco has announced that high cobalt recoveries were achieved in the ﬁrst stages of testwork designed to produce cobalt concentrate from ore at its Rocklands Group copper project. Executive director Peter Hutchison said the next stage of the testwork would investigate a selection of process conditions to produce a saleable cobalt concentrate. The Rocklands copper project is located 15km west-north-west of Cloncurry.
Mr Kelly said the company then planned 1500m of in-ﬁll drilling at the Tregoora gold project, where the Terrace Creek and Retina North prospects were successfully drilled last year. He said an additional 1200m of in-ﬁll drilling would also take place at the Sleeping Giant prospect at the Tregoora project, where there was an indicated and inferred resource of 156,000 ounces of gold. The drill rig would then be moved to the Whumbal West prospect, where work carried out last year demonstrated the presence of tungsten in the virgin ﬁeld, Mr Kelly said.
Promising results at Maitland Glengarry Resources says it is encouraged by the outcome of a recently completed resource evaluation at its Maitland project in North Queensland. Managing director David Richards said the southern shoot of the deposit contained 75 per cent of its copper resource and all of its molybdenum resource. The southern shoot was open at depth and strong mineralisation had been intersected 300m below the surface, he said. Mr Richards said the mineral resource for the northern shoot had been classiﬁed as indicated. The Maitland project is located within Glengarry Resources’ Greenvale project, about 200km west of Townsville.
Roseby conﬁrmed viable Universal Resources has released the full executive summary for its recently completed deﬁnitive feasibility study into the Roseby copper project, 65km north-west of Cloncurry. Managing director Peter Ingram said the study conﬁrmed that Roseby was both technically and ﬁnancially viable, and the board was looking forward to taking the project beyond the study stage into ﬁnancing and construction.
‘Spectacular’ sulphide ﬁnd CopperCo has announced “spectacular” copper grades from a new high-grade sulphide copper zone discovered immediately beneath the proposed copper oxide pit ﬂoor at Lady Annie East. Managing director Brian Rear said followup drilling would begin at the project to better understand controls to mineralisation. The Lady Annie project is 137km north of Mount Isa in North Queensland. First production of copper cathode from the project occurred in October 2007.
Matilda fundraising Matilda Minerals has reached agreement with Max Capital to underwrite the exercise of the company’s unlisted options. Matilda Minerals says this will raise $1,345,000 to expand its Tiwi Island project in the Northern Territory and progress exploration at its North Queensland tenements.
May 2008 |
Incoming Pajingo mine manager Simon Jackson also has 20 years’ experience in the industry and was previously technical services manager at Barrick Gold’s Turquoise Ridge operation in Nevada. NQM chief executive oﬃcer John McKinstry, who has been acting as general manager of Pajingo since NQM bought the mine late last year, said the appointments completed a ﬁrst-class team.
Territory Uranium tests Rum Jungle and Pine Creek targets Territory Uranium is testing the potential of its Rum Jungle and Pine Creek project south-east of Darwin. The company stated that recent data compilation had focused the team on the project’s Saunders and Pickfords prospects, which were previously worked for lead and copper. A large copper geochemical footprint overlay the area and drilling database compilation had highlighted a distinct lack of past drilling, it said. The Northern Territory Geological Survey Mineral Occurrence database also noted copper sample grades of up to 15 per cent in rock chips at the Pickfords prospect. Territory Uranium managing director Ian Bamborough said the company planned a program of up to 4000m of reverse circulation and diamond drilling at the Rum Jungle and Pine Creek project during the 2008 ﬁeld season to test a number of advanced gold and base metal targets. Territory Uranium is a Northern Territory-based mineral exploration company that holds a total of 40 tenements (21 granted and 19 applications) covering more than 28,500sq km in the Territory. Its other exploration tenements include the Litchﬁeld, Woolner, Arnhem, Daly River and McArthur River projects. The company believes its exploration portfolio
Summit drops Georgina project Summit Resources has entered into an agreement to sell its interest in the Georgina Basin project to Newland Resources. The project, located to the west and south-west of Mount Isa in North Queensland, is prospective for uranium and Mount Isa-style base metal deposits. Summit Resources has been in a joint venture with Newland Resources at the project, but the sale agreement will bring this arrangement to an end. Summit Resources executive chairman Brendan O’Hara said the sale would enable the company to focus on its Isa North Project. He said an extensive drilling program had been conducted at the Valhalla and Skal uranium deposits with the aim of extending the existing resource envelopes along strike and improving the resource classiﬁcation.
Watershed drill results Vital Metals has received the ﬁnal results of the in-ﬁll diamond core holes drilled at its Watershed project in 2007. Managing director Andy Haslam said the drilling campaign conﬁrmed the presence of good grade
The Mining Advocate
Radioactivity revealed NuPower Resources announced that a recent data review had revealed enhanced uranium prospectivity at the Yalyirimbi exploration lease, within its Aileron project. Managing director Dennis O’Neill said the unearthing of historic data showed that four exploration holes in the south-western corner of the lease, drilled by Agip in the late 1970s and early 1980s, had intersected anomalous radioactivity including a 46m intersection in one hole. He said the company had also ﬁnalised interpretation of 2007 data, which indicated potential discoveries at the lease. The Aileron project consists of ﬁve exploration tenements totalling 5000sq km, 135km north of Alice Springs.
Territory Uranium managing director Ian Bamborough, right, consults project maps with contract geologist Steven Wood, left, and senior field assistant Brad Schuuring.
contains areas mainly prospective for uranium, but it is also examining nickel, gold and base metal mineralisation. An intensive exploration program is planned over the next two years. Mr Bamborough was previously the principal exploration geologist at Newmont Australia’s Tanami gold operations in the Northern Territory.
Honouring the Diggers
tungsten in the previously undrilled area in the north-west zone, extended the northern boundary of the deposit 300m further north and increased the known depth extent in the south-west area to 500m below the high point of the Watershed ridge. He said Coﬀey Mining had been commissioned to undertake a revised resource estimate and a new ﬁgure was expected in the ﬁrst half of May. Vital Metals also recently announced that scout drilling had intersected signiﬁcant tungsten mineralisation to the north and south of the current known boundaries of the Watershed resource. The Watershed project is located 150km northwest of Cairns.
New managers for Pajingo North Queensland Metals (NQM) has announced the appointment of a general manager and a mine manager for Pajingo gold mine near Charters Towers in North Queensland. Incoming Pajingo general manager Alex MacDonald has 20 years’ experience in the mining industry and was most recently the chief operating oﬃcer and general manager of alluvial operations and exploration for African Minerals.
About 300 mine employees stopped work to attend a recent Anzac Day service at BHP Billiton Cannington Mine, 200km south-east of Mount Isa. The on-site services have had an annual theme since ﬁrst being held in 1997 and this year the 90th anniversary of the Battle for Villers-Bretronneux in France was commemorated. “The Anzacs who fought at Gallipoli were then sent to France, where many fought at VillersBretronneux,” said organiser and ESS site services employee Veronica Allison. Several Cannington employees gave short speeches and read poems about conﬂicts from World War I to the present deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Golden outcome GBS Gold has reported further successful drilling results at the Brocks Creek underground and Fountain Head open pit mining operations within the company’s Union Reefs operations centre about 150km south of Darwin in the Northern Territory. The company stated that underground drilling in the Brocks Creek mine indicated depth extensions to both the main and central orebody lodes. Drilling in the Fountain Head open pit operation was concentrated on the Tally Ho lodes, located on a shear zone diverging from the main Fountain Head anticline lode structures. The drilling revealed depth extensions and deﬁned additional ore material that should extend the Fountain Head open pit mine life, the company stated.
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The Mining Advocate | May 2008
Diamond promise builds North Australian Diamonds has increased the indicated and inferred resource at its Merlin diamond project, 720km south-east of Darwin in the Northern Territory. The company stated that the resource was increased from 7.88 million tonnes to 9.17 million tonnes following the successful drilling of a second hole into the project’s PalSac pipe during the second phase of a resource deﬁnition drilling program. The company’s strategy is to target suﬃcient resources at the project to support a large-scale, longterm mining operation.
Exploration agreement Exco Resources has entered an agreement with Liontown Resources to explore the Fort Constantine South copper-gold project area, south-east of the Ernest Henry mine in north-west Queensland. Under the joint venture, Exco Resources can earn up to a 70 per cent interest in the project by investing in exploration on its tenements. Managing director Michael Anderson said previous exploration on the tenements had identiﬁed a number of prospective geophysical anomalies, which had been the subject of only limited drill testing. He said the project was strategically located adjacent to the company’s ﬂagship E1 Camp and Xstrata’s Ernest Henry mine.
Booming economy Access Economics has named the Northern Territory the strongest growing economy in Australia. Chief Minister Paul Henderson said the Territory’s economy was forecast to grow by 7 per cent next year, compared to 3.9 per cent nationally.
Einasleigh planning is powering ahead Copper Strike has conﬁrmed that the feasibility study for its Einasleigh project is on track for completion in July or August. Managing director Tom Eadie said initial production was planned in 2010 from a 500,000-tonne-per-year mill and would be followed by a second 500,000-tonne-per-year mill in 2012. The second mill would allow for a dedicated copper circuit and a dedicated zinc and lead circuit, he said. Mr Eadie said the conceptual plan would lead to the long-term production of up to 25,000 tonnes per year of zinc, 12,000 tonnes of lead, 10,000 tonnes of copper and more than one million ounces per year of silver. An environmental management plan for the project’s Kaiser Bill mining lease was due to be completed in early May and the ﬁnal engineering design for the processing plant, including estimates for capital and operating costs, was scheduled for completion later in the month. Mr Eadie said a three-rig drilling program was planned to expand the resources at the project’s Jackson, Chloe, Railway Flat and Kaiser Bill prospects. He said drilling of other targets was scheduled for July and August. Copper Strike also announced signiﬁcant zinc intersections from the ﬁrst drill hole at its Kamarga prospect, about 20km east of Zinifex Century Mine in the lower Gulf of Carpentaria.
Core samples from the Einasleigh project showing copper.
DATE CLAIMERS On a mission The Northern Territory Government is calling for expressions of interest from companies wishing to join a trade mission to Indonesia on June 19 to 21. The delegation will participate in the fourth Balikpapan Mining and Petroleum Expo. For further details contact Maryanne Taylor at the Department of the Chief Minister on (08) 89469550 or email email@example.com. Registrations close on May 23.
Northern exposure The annual Mining North Queensland conference will be held at Rydges Southbank convention centre in Townsville on May 13-15. Representatives from numerous mining companies operating in the region will speak about projects and plans. Government oﬃcials and development organisations will also address key issues facing the industry, such as infrastructure and skills shortages. More information and registration details are at www.iir. com.au/nqld.
Protecting the river The Mitchell River Watershed Management Group is holding a Palmer River stakeholder forum at Mareeba in
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North Queensland on May 16. The forum will cover topics including best practice management of mine access roads, managing the impacts of alluvial mining and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage. Contact Brynn Mitchell on (07) 40532856.
Better business The Queensland Government is holding a series of free high-performance workshops for Townsville businesses. For full program details contact Julie Lockyer on (07) 32246985.
Lunchtime talk An Engineers Australia Cairns local group luncheon will be held on May 21. The guest speaker is Cairns Regional Council Mayor Val Schier. Contact Margie Wrigley on (07) 4031 3199.
Sound practice QMI Solutions will hold a ﬁve-day manufacturing excellence workshop at Townsville’s Plaza Hotel from May 28. The program is designed to give manufacturers the skills needed to implement best practices such as leading and managing change, waste reduction and supply chain management. The Department of Tourism, Regional Development and
Industry’s Townsville oﬃce is supporting the workshop. Contact Vineeta Anuj at QMI Solutions on (07) 3364 0607.
Site tour BHP Billiton Cannington Mine is holding a family open day on June 1 to provide an opportunity for the community to see how the mine operates. Mine tours and children’s activities will be held along with special events to celebrate BHP Billiton’s sponsorship of the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games. Buses will leave from Mount Isa and will travel through Cloncurry or Julia Creek.To book a seat on the bus and for timings, contact the Cannington site on (07) 4769 2255.
Port conference The Port of Townsville is hosting the third annual regional ports conference on June 12-13 at Rydges Southbank in Townsville. The conference will review the consequences of growth, including the issues of environmental management, urban encroachment and port and city interface. It will also feature local and international case studies highlighting the success of developing ports together with industry and the community. To register phone (02) 9080 4307.
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May 2008 |
The Mining Advocate
Engineers Australia Queensland Division membership barbecue James Cook University Townsville campus
Tom Adsett and Angela Darwen (both from James Cook University, Townsville campus).
Matthew Payne and John Lane (both from James Cook University, Cairns campus).
Dane Thomas, Tim Lammers, Nick Stewart, Sam Stayte and Joe Waite (all from James Cook University, Townsville campus).
Tom Jackson and Hayley Trevor (both from James Cook University, Cairns campus).
Doug Menhenick and Francis Paraha (both from James Cook University, Cairns campus).
ITT Water and Wastewater opening ITT Water and Wastewater premises, Mount Isa
Stephan Budd and Londt van der Merwe (Xstrata).
Andrew Speedie (developer) and Steve Wollaston (Office of Federal MP Bob Katter).
Rifet Turcinovic (Ray White Mount Isa), Jamie McLauchlan (Xstrata) and Craig Holmes (ITT Water and Wastewater).
Mark Lovett (ITT Water and Wastewater) and Nic Brokling (Xstrata).
Richard Buckwell (ITT Water and Wastewater), Bob Katter (Federal Member for Kennedy) and Shannon Wall (ITT Water and Wastewater).
The Mining Advocate | May 2008
Charters Towers Chamber of Commerce and Mines AGM
PHOTOS: Danielle Jesser
Cattleman’s Rest Motor Inn, Charters Towers
Bob Conroy (Charters Towers PCYC), Stewart McIver (Gold City Roadhouse) and Daryll Mulgrue (Rural Fire Service).
John Lynch (Citigold) and Ben Callcott (Charters Towers Regional Council Mayor).
John Webb (Merricourt Station) and Robert Prestipino (guest speaker from Vital Places).
Sandra Turner (Pirtek Charters Towers) and Francis Turner (DALFLIN Employment). Helen and Wayne Dixon (Inland Electronics). James Doyle (Department of State Development) and Simon Mulligan (Cattleman’s Rest Motor Inn).
Sue Murphy (Queensland Country Credit Union) and Megan and Bernie Robertson (Hollimans Hardware and Rural Services).
Brian Guthrie and Alicia Robertson (both from NEATO).
Geoff Phillips (North Queensland Metals, Pajingo) and Susan Phillips (Charters Towers Chamber of Commerce and Mines).
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May 2008 |
MITEZ and Townsville Port Authority ‘Mining the Carpentaria’ breakfast
The Mining Advocate
PHOTOS: Richard Shanks
All Seasons Verona Hotel, Mount Isa
Tony Alderton(Department of Tourism, Regional Development and Industry) and Beryle Castley (Isa Skills).
Sharon Shorter (Sargent Four Wheel Drive Hire), Tony Hales and Tonya Kyle (Commonwealth Bank).
Bob Katter (Federal Member for Kennedy) and Grant Harrison (Sargent Four Wheel Drive Hire).
Jeff Moore and Ben Falkenhagen (Wulguru Steel).
Shalane Loos and Jessica Dickfos (4LM Radio).
Greg Bellinger and Marcel McLeod (Total Fab).
True North conference networking lunch
PHOTOS: Christopher Knight
Sky City, Darwin
Richard Swann (Compass Resources), Davis Overall (John Holland), Andrew Carter (Yilgarn Infrastructure) and Tamatha Smith (Yilgarn Infrastructure).
David Paterson (ERA), Jim Singer (Rio Tinto Alcan) and Rex Littlewood (Noble Resources).
Richard Hancock (NT Dept of Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines), Robert Ritchie (Darwin Port Corporation) and David Rolland (GHD).
Damien Hale (Federal Member for Solomon) and Anil Ahuja (Bhushan Steel).
Maree Parker (Queensland Office of Regional Development), Bob McCarthy (Queensland Department of Tourism, Regional Development and Industry) and Eric Lumsden (West Australian Department of Planning and Infrastructure).
Damien Hale addresses the gathering.
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The Mining Advocate | May 2008
Xstrata Mount Isa Mining Expo opening function
PHOTOS: Ruth Fahey
Buchanan Park Rodeo Arena, Mount Isa
Anthony and Michelle Kuhn (IFE Bulk Solutions).
Graham Perrett (Federal Member for Moreton), Kevin Hendrey (Xstrata), Noeleen Dempsey (representing the Kalkadoon people), Betty Kiernan (State Member for Mount Isa), Steve de Kruijff (Xstrata), Brett Peterson (Mount Isa Chamber of Commerce), Michael Roche (Queensland Resources Council) and Les Bunn (Mount Isa Deputy Mayor).
Stephen Crisp (Austral Asia Line), Elle Glashoff (Port of Townsville), Barry Lovett (MITEZ) and Helen Dearling (Port of Townsville).
Jemma Schweikert and Sarah Dixon (Xstrata) with Vicki Wilson (ABC Radio).
Tony and Alison Midgley (TCQ Communications).
Audrey Moller, Jennifer Holmes and Michelle White.
Libby Hall and Scott Mutimer (Mount Isa City Council).
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May 2008 |
The Mining Advocate
Hummer H3 Adventure
The big rig that Humms oﬀ road and on The Mining Advocate’s Townsvillebased photographer and 4WD enthusiast, Stewart McLean, puts a Hummer through its paces. When asked to take the Hummer H3 Adventure for a test drive I thought to myself: “how will I avoid scraping the paint oﬀ the sides of such a large machine”. But once seated behind the wheel, I felt comfortable and relaxed. The interior is spacious for the driver and there is more than enough room for family or friends to snooze comfortably on a long trip. The smoothness of the H3 with its constant four-wheel drive is great around town, on the open highway and on the dirt.There is very little road noise and it rides bumps eﬀortlessly. The 3.5-litre, ﬁve-cylinder petrol motor delivers plenty of power through the fourspeed auto transmission. Despite being such a large vehicle, it felt like driving a family-sized sedan. Compared to other large 4WDs I’ve
driven, the Hummer corners well in tight spots, which is an advantage navigating in city traﬃc. I got the feeling behind the wheel that the H3 would handle most terrain without a problem. Even this smaller version is a big boy’s toy and well within the price range of rival SUVs. The Hummer is equipped with everything you’d expect of a modern SUV: air, cruise control, electric windows, six-stack CD and plenty of touch seat adjustments. The leather trim steering wheel feels great. It even has heated front seats. (A bit redundant in northern Australia.) Forward vision is great, however use of the large and well-placed mirrors for reversing in tight spots is recommended as the military-style, small side and rear windows do limit vision. The cargo space is surprisingly small for such a large exterior. Having said that, you can still ﬁt enough tents and an esky in the back for a good weekend camping. Optional side steps are an advantage considering its size.
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Gateway to discovery Inspiration Port Hinchinbrook is located in one of Australia’s most scenic destinations. Situated between Townsville and Cairns, the resort is set in tropical surrounds with a rugged Cardwell Range backdrop and world-renowned Hinchinbrook Island in the foreground. It is the gateway to the protected island - just 5km offshore. The island has much to be discovered. Its 39 square kilometres offer beaches, rainforests, wilderness walks and the majestic Mt Bowen. The island is separated from the mainland by the deep, narrow, mangrove-fringed Hinchinbrook Channel. Its pristine conditions harbour much iconic tropical marine life, including turtle and dugong. The all-weather boat ramp at Inspiration Port Hinchinbrook allows access to one of the top fishing locations in the country with freshwater, estuary and bluewater spots offering up barramundi
and mangrove jack as well as a host of tropical fish from the azure blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef. A choice of charter operators and guided tours are available at Inspiration Port Hinchinbrook, which also boasts a worldclass marina. Those into more passive sports can don goggles and a snorkel and check out the coral which encircles nearby islands that make up part of the Great Barrier Reef. Driving tours are a gourmet experience. The Cardwell hinterland has many attractions including Cardwell lookout, with its panoramic views, as well as walks and mountain stream
swimming holes in World Heritage-listed wet tropics rainforest. The resort facilities include a swimming pool and tennis courts, marina berths and boat hire, a boutique specialising in resort wear and a gallery with fascinating local arts and crafts. The recently completed waterfront restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week with an a la carte menu of fresh local produce. Inspiration Port Hinchinbrook offers the holidaymaker a choice of accommodation from holiday villas, stylish self-contained apartments and resort homes to waterfront properties with private pontoons.
SAFETY AND TRAINING
The Mining Advocate | May 2008
Ready to take the driver’s seat A long-time heavy machinery operator hopes to see more indigenous people trained in such skills for the mining industry. Joseph McKenzie believes he can help prepare indigenous people for work in the mining industry. Mr McKenzie has been a heavy equipment operator for 30 years and is now looking to use his experience to train other indigenous people to be operators. “Being an Aboriginal person and teaching Aboriginal people is logic to me,” he said. Mr McKenzie said indigenous people were naturally gifted at operating heavy machinery such as graders and loaders. “Part of growing up (in indigenous communities) is listening and looking skills, because without them you wouldn’t survive,” he said. He believes more work needs to be done in the area of indigenous training, with a focus on the development of eﬀective programs rather than just the provision of funding.
“A lot of mentoring needs to be done,” Mr McKenzie said. “Most mining operations are on indigenous people’s land, so it’s very beneﬁcial for indigenous people to get into that ﬁeld. “My motto is, if you can’t beat them, join them.” Mr McKenzie is based in South Australia, but also works in the Northern Territory and he recently visited the Mining Services Expo in Alice Springs to examine the latest heavy equipment technology. He is looking for sponsorship to help establish his indigenous training program. “I need some help to get it oﬀ the ground, with the costs of training and equipment,” he said. Mr McKenzie can be contacted on 0420 047500.
Joseph McKenzie tries out a Hastings Deering grader simulator at the mining expo in Alice Springs. Photo: Joyce van Dijk
New skills recognition system The Queensland Government has introduced a new system of recognition for skilled but unqualiﬁed trade workers. Education and Training Minister Rod Welford said that under the new recognition of
prior learning process, workers could earn nationally recognised qualiﬁcations with less paperwork and time. He said the new system replaced Trade Recognition Certiﬁcates, where workers had
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Radiation guidelines for explorers The Queensland Department of Mines and Energy has issued a guidance note to assist exploration companies in protecting their workers from radiation. The note warns that exploration crews working on deposits containing naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) could experience radiation exposure from drill and core cuttings. The department outlines controls to be implemented where the potential radiation dose for exploration workers is likely to exceed the dose limit for members of the general public. The full guidance note can be found at: www.dme.qld.gov.au/ mines/mining_safety___health. cfm.
May 2008 |
Recovery is king
Cannington is a silver, lead and zinc mine 200km south-east of Mount Isa. It is the world’s largest single mine producer of silver and lead. It was officially opened in August 1998 but was producing from late 1997. The mine employs about 540 BHP Billiton workers and up to 300 contractors, depending on need.
Cannington’s processing operation has recently switched focus from throughput after achieving its goals in that aspect of plant performance.
Cannington mined 2.9 million tonnes of ore and processed 2.35 million tonnes last financial year – the highest figures in the operation’s history.
Maximising recovery will continue to be the main aim of Cannington’s processing plant this year, according to metallurgist Ben Holloway. Mr Holloway said the operation’s focus was diﬀerent to that of two years ago, when throughput was king. “At the moment our throughput is pretty much where we want it to be and we don’t want to push the ore through any faster - the faster you push material through the less recovery there is,” he said. “We’re now focusing on the key performance indicators for increasing recovery and basing most of our projects on those indicators.” He said the fundamental ways in which the processing plant worked had changed little since the ﬁne lead circuit was introduced in 2003, but methods
The Cannington operation includes a rail-loading facility at Yurbi (15km east of Cloncurry) and a modern minerals concentrate handling facility at the Port of Townsville.
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The Mining Advocate
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of reagent distribution had changed slightly as part of the optimisation process. These adjustments were inﬂuenced by the slowly changing ore being mined at Cannington, Mr Holloway said. “The way the material reacts in the circuit is starting to change as we go to diﬀerent areas in the underground ore body,” he said. Mr Holloway said that on a day-to-day level, the amount of reagents used depended on the ore grades. “If the grades are low we might not use as much reagent as when the grades are high because we don’t have as much material to recover,” he said. He said although grades varied frequently, overall lead and zinc grades had dropped slightly compared to six years ago, as more of the Cannington ore body was removed.
The Mining Advocate | May 2008
From hard rock to high value
Metallurgist Ben Holloway on top of the grinding circuit.
Photo: Stewart McLean
The processing chain at BHP Billiton Cannington Mine begins with ore being hauled by truck to the surface stockpile for above-ground crushing or being crushed in underground ore passes and hoisted to the surface. A blend of crushed lead, silver and zinc ore is chosen according to the ratio of minerals the operation wishes to process. The blended ore goes into an autogenous mill, where the ore further grinds itself down without the assistance of additional grinding media. The ore is then put through a secondary crusher to reduce it to optimum size. The fully crushed ore goes through a ﬂotation circuit, where a series of reagents (substances consumed during chemical reactions) change the surface properties of the ore to allow
certain valuable minerals to ﬂoat to the surface. The material that has not been recovered in one part of the ﬂotation circuit moves onto the next part of the circuit. The ﬂotation process eventually produces a lead concentrate that also has a high silver content and a zinc concentrate. Both concentrates are thickened and put through a leaching circuit to dissolve unwanted minerals. Excess water is ﬁltered out to produce the ﬁnal dry concentrates. Most of the product is railed to the Port of Townsville, but small amounts of lead concentrate are also sent to Mount Isa Mines and zinc concentrates to Sun Metals zinc reﬁnery in Townsville.
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May 2008 |
The Mining Advocate
A wild and woolly start Two workers who came on board during Cannington’s early days tell how the site has hooked them in for the long haul. Operations planner Peter Hagen knows the Cannington site like the back of his hard hat. He helped build the mine as part of a contractor construction crew that operated between late 1996 and September 1997. “I ﬁrst came here when nothing was standing - you’d look out to Cannington station and see the sheep walking in a cloud of dust,” Mr Hagen said. “We actually camped at the station for a few months while the beds were short here at the construction camp.” Following site construction, Mr Hagen put his hand up for three months’ work with another contractor to commission the processing plant before ﬁnally becoming a permanent employee at Cannington mine. “I initially came out for ﬁve weeks’ work and I’m still here - I forgot to go home,” he said.
The Cannington mine is celebrating 10 years of operation in August and Mr Hagen believes newcomers to the site have it relatively easy. “My roster was 28 days on–seven days oﬀ when I was in construction and then I moved to 14-7. I’m on an 8-6 roster now and I couldn’t imagine doing 14-7 again,” he said. Fellow long-hauler Colin Gillespie said that as well as easier rosters, on-site facilities were better now than when he started in the mining industry and new miners were especially fortunate at large operations. “They (new miners) get spoiled when they come out to big mines like this because it’s a lot diﬀerent to smaller mines where they don’t have all the ‘you beaut’ stuﬀ,” he said. Mr Gillespie helped commission the processing plant
Long-term Cannington mine employees Colin Gillespie and Peter Hagen.
and is now a process trainer. Although he would not choose to switch from his even-time roster, Mr Gillespie said having longer periods at work during the early days allowed him to develop some solid friendships and he still caught up with some former workmates who had
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moved on to other sites. Mr Hagen said social activities under the even-time roster were mainly pursued oﬀ site and he and a few workmates sometimes gathered for a round of golf. Both men said they felt proud of Cannington mine’s successes. “I’d always moved from
Photo: Stewart McLean
construction site to construction site, but this one was very special and there are special people here,” Mr Hagen said. Mr Gillespie hoped to remain at Cannington for as long as it was producing. “If you’re here this long, may as well stay to the end,” he said.
The Mining Advocate | May 2008
Can-do Kieran shifts up a gear A new apprentice is taking the challenge of mine work in his stride and enjoying life with BHP Billiton’s Cannington operation. Going from high school to mine site was a shock to the system for ﬁrst-year apprentice Kieran Johnson, but he has learnt to enjoy the change. “The ﬁrst week was pretty hard - I felt pretty tired - but you get used to it,” he said. “After work I usually do something for an hour before dinner and be in bed by about 8.30 - you have to get a decent sleep.” Mr Johnson is a mechanical ﬁtting apprentice and is involved in pump repair and pipe replacement at the Cannington mine site. When The Mining Advocate visited he was helping to ﬁx the operation’s pebble crusher. Mr Johnson became interested in an apprenticeship with BHP Billiton when he was living on Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria, where the ﬁrm operates the Groote Eylandt
Mining Company (GEMCO) manganese mine. “Some of my mates started apprenticeships there and said it was really good, and I liked the idea of having a roster that was week on–week oﬀ,” Mr Johnson said. He moved from Groote Eylandt to Townsville to complete the last few months of Year 11 schooling and Cannington mine was a logical choice for beginning an apprenticeship with BHP Billiton. “The crew I work with is great and I get to learn a lot of new things, but going underground is probably the coolest part of my job,” Mr Johnson said. “I love going down the winder and doing the shaft inspection.” Cannington mine is the host operation for apprentices employed by MRAEL.
Apprentice Kieran Johnson at work at BHP Billiton Cannington Mine.
Photo: Stewart McLean
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Safety awareness a top priority
Fresh frontiers The hunt is on for further Canningtonstyle deposits neighbouring the massive silver, lead and zinc operation. Cannington mine is embarking on the most signiﬁcant exploration program in its history. Exploration geologist Dan Goddard said up to 15 new targets would be drilled over the next ﬁve years to identify deposits within a 150km radius of the north-west Queensland operation. He said the program aimed to ﬁnd deposits that were similar to Cannington but smaller in tonnage. “The window of opportunity for exploration has stayed open longer because of the long-term metal prices,” Mr Goddard said. “The area around the mine has been heavily explored, but these Cannington-type deposits are in a very deformed and complex environment, so it’s quite easy to miss them.”
BHP Billiton recently stated it was examining open pit mining and underground extensions as potential growth options for Cannington. Asset leader Shane Hansen said these options alone would give Cannington a 20-year life, but the new exploration program was likely to add to the operation’s reserves and potentially further extend the mine life. Mine geologist Arron Gorrie was optimistic about the chances of ﬁnding signiﬁcant satellite deposits. “There are a lot of targets and a lot of new ideas and we’re going to test them with the new program,” Mr Gorrie said. “Cannington was found initially because it is a magnetic anomaly and exploration geologists drilled out other magnetic anomalies around this area.
Mine geologist Arron Gorrie and project geologist Marcus Crawford inspect core samples at a drill site. Photo: Stewart McLean
“But most of the magnetic anomalies they’ve drilled haven’t come up trumps, so they’ve used some diﬀerent geophysical techniques to identify targets for the new program.” He said he was fortunate
to be involved in an exciting period for such a unique operation. “Cannington is the highest grade silver mine in the world by far - no other deposits in the world even come close,” Mr Gorrie said.
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The Mining Advocate
Cannington mine is focused on moving forward with safety awareness and accident prevention following the death of a worker. Townsville-based contractor Mick Auld died in an underground accident at the site in January. Asset leader Shane Hansen said the tragedy was felt heavily by everyone involved in the Cannington operation. “Certainly when we have an event like a fatality it’s absolutely devastating to everybody who works here and our deepest sympathies go to Mick Auld’s family,” he said. “It’s just tragic for them and devastating for us. “But we must continue our eﬀorts to make sure that we can try to free the industry of those sorts of events.” He said Cannington was expanding its procedures aimed at controlling potentially fatal risks and the workforce was involved in making the improvements. “Success in safety is about getting the people involved to look at the day-to-day things we do and challenging whether it’s the best way to do it,” Mr Hansen said. Production superintendent Alf Garnett has been on a self-proclaimed safety bandwagon since joining the Cannington operation nine months ago. He said the operation was heading in the right direction in terms of safety before January, but the fatal accident had reminded everyone they needed to be even more vigilant. Among the safety positives at Cannington was the fact that a number of production crews, one haulage crew and two development crews had been lost time injury-free for 12 months, he said. Mr Garnett, who has worked in underground mines for 22 years and spent ﬁve years at a surface operation in New South Wales, said employee recognition was vital in improving safety.
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The Mining Advocate | May 2008
Service crew member Jason Horan was one of 12 recruits to graduate recently from Cannington’s Mine Training Program. Photo: Stewart McLean
BHP Billiton’s Cannington operation boasts a four-month training program to prepare inexperienced recruits for mining roles.
1700 applications were received, including some from South America and India. “We were looking for people who could show commitment to the program and to the company afterwards, because it is a retention strategy,” Ms Cramb said. “Some of the recruits will probably rise through and become supervisors and superintendents and some might even go on to do engineering degrees. “Others are more than happy to be operating the trucks because they’ve come to Cannington for a quality of life. “Some have young families and they’ve taken the opportunity to provide for their families and have quality time with them as well.” The second intake will begin training in July and the third intake is due to be advertised through standard recruitment channels towards the end of 2008.
It’s not easy being green, but Cannington’s Mine Training Program (MTP) gives newcomers a good start at the north-west Queensland operation. The new program oﬀers inexperienced people a fourmonth course in the basics of operating underground and brings them to Level One operator capability before they are dispersed to crews. It is a recruitment and retention strategy but has also been recognised as an important safety measure. “A large part of the program focuses on safety basics - rather than just getting recruits on site and letting them loose, they are told why we do things a certain way and not another way, and we involve subject matter experts from each department on site,” said mining training
co-ordinator Karen Cramb. “Safety and health components of the MTP include the BATS program (Better Attitude Towards Safety), environmental awareness, health monitoring, dust and lead management and risk and hazard identiﬁcation and management.” Mine training and services superintendent Michael Arnold said recruits studied the theory and practice of mining basics such as ground awareness, manual scaling, hand-held mining and explosives awareness. They were also instructed in the installation of air, power and water services and the operation of light vehicles, haul trucks and integrated tool carriers, he said. “With the vehicles, the recruits do a bit of training on the surface in safe, dedicated training areas to get familiarised with the equipment and then
they go underground with the trainers and spend some time with them,” Mr Arnold said. “We slowly introduce them to the activities that the crews are doing so they get used to the surroundings, and then we gradually integrate the recruits within the crews – under
supervision - after a period of time.” Twelve recruits recently graduated from the ﬁrst intake of the program and are now part of the mining crews. Ms Cramb said they considered themselves lucky to be part of the pilot program after
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May 2008 |
The Mining Advocate
Keeping on track The Cannington operation is tapping into employeesâ€™ enthusiasm for sport to help motivate and reward excellent work practices. Sports-themed rewards have recently recognised Cannington workers showing outstanding commitment to safety. Underground safety adviser Christian Young won a trip to watch the Australian Athletics Championships in Brisbane. â€œA trip like that deďŹ nitely motivates you to maintain high performance in safety,â€? he said. â€œSite safety is about people protecting people, ďŹ rst and foremost, but itâ€™s nice to have an additional reward outside of work as well.â€? Much-coveted trips to this yearâ€™s Olympic Games in Beijing have also been oďŹ€ered to three high achievers at Cannington. Contracts superintendent Karen Ross will spend three days at the Olympics after the supply
department she heads celebrated a decade of lost time injury-free status last year. â€œTo be recognised is a great feeling,â€? she said. â€œI enjoy the swimming, so ďŹ ngers crossed I get to go and see that.â€? Ms Ross will no doubt see the home product being dished out to winning athletes. Cannington mine has supplied the silver used in both the gold and silver medals. Asset leader Shane Hansen said Cannington mine was proud of its association with the Olympic Games, having supplied silver to the Sydney Olympics as well. He said former Australian sprint star Raelene Boyle had visited Cannington mine a
Canningtonâ€™s reward scheme offers sportslovers like Ruth Kaurila the chance of a special treat.
couple of times and was in Townsville late last year to see silver concentrate loaded on to ships for China. Mr Hansen said special events
would be held to celebrate Canningtonâ€™s involvement with the Olympics and he expected that workers would watch the games with interest.
Photo: Stewart McLean
â€œWith any big sporting events, when people have ďŹ nished work they often go back to the village and sit around the big TV screens and enjoy it,â€? he said.
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The Mining Advocate | May 2008
An exercise in individuality An on-site health and lifestyle co-ordinator tailors fitness options to suit all comers at Cannington mine, writes Michael Stevens. Jeﬀ Shaw is a popular man about the Cannington village, being ESS site services’ health and lifestyle co-ordinator. Mr Shaw runs exercise sessions every night including circuit classes, boxing classes, step aerobics, cardio training, aqua aerobics, pilates and yoga. He also organises social sporting sessions such as touch footy, soccer, indoor cricket and volleyball. However, his most successful innovation is the provision of individualised exercise programs. “I assess the guys and give them a program to target weaknesses,” Mr Shaw said. “When someone comes to me to get an exercise program I’ll ask them how long they can spare after work and usually
Health and lifestyle co-ordinator Jeff Shaw in the Cannington gym. Photo by: Stewart McLean
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the response is between 30 and 45 minutes as an absolute maximum. “So I make the programs short but intense, so that they can beneﬁt from them in a short period of time.” He said between 10 and 12 workers per day had asked for individual programs over summer and 70 workers were midway through a three-month health challenge targeting weight loss, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Mr Shaw said one of his biggest challenges was keeping workers focused on ﬁtness when they were away from the mine site. “A lot of workers ask me for programs they can do oﬀ site and I try to make them as simple as possible, utilising equipment they have at home,” he said. ESS also operates a gym at the village.
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May 2008 |
The Mining Advocate
Dishing out the comforts of home ESS workers provide everything from cleaning, laundry and meal services to aircraft refuelling and shuttle bus runs at Cannington mine. They are not their mothers, but site support workers with ESS make miners feel like they never left home. ESS site manager at Cannington, Chris Norman, said the company’s co-ordinated catering service was the result of monumental planning. Each week a truck with three attached trailers arrived at the site from Brisbane with enough food for up to 500 workers, he said. Mr Norman said Wednesday and Saturday were steak nights, Friday was ﬁsh and chips night, and roast nights were included as well. “We also do occasional theme nights where we usually serve seafood - bugs, prawns, oysters, mussels and even lobsters for special occasions,” he said. Meat options aside, Mr Norman said a lot of planning
went into providing at least one healthy choice at each dinner. “We do a ﬁve-week-cycle menu and send it oﬀ to the company dietician, who reviews it and recommends what we should be looking for and what we should steer away from and the healthiest methods of cooking,” he said. “Our dietician also frequently visits Cannington for one-onone diet consultations with anyone who would like advice on a healthier lifestyle.” As well as cooking, ESS is responsible for the gargantuan task of washing work clothes for underground miners. “The personnel have their showers down at the mine site and dump their clothes into a laundry bin,” Mr Norman said. “Every shift 500 miners each have a shirt, trousers or overalls, and socks and jocks that need
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT In an average week, Cannington workers consume approximately the following quantities of food: • 1 tonne meat • 500kg potatoes • 800L milk • 250kg watermelon • 100kg rockmelon • 400kg seafood (on special nights)
to be washed, folded and put in their pigeonholes ready for the next day.” ESS also cleans village rooms, runs the bus to and from the site’s airstrip and even refuells the planes.
ESS staff help keep the mine workforce well fed.
Photo: Stewart McLean
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