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The Mining Advocate | November 2008


MINING November 2008

2 Big spending on the way out The global financial crisis has been a hot topic of conversation over the last couple of months as the implications for the mining industry have slowly emerged. Common among most companies is a realisation that they need to keep a close watch over cash in order to ride out tough times ahead. In this edition, The Mining Advocate gauges the reaction of companies operating in North Queensland and the Northern Territory.

4 Pressure on NT uranium interests The recently elected West Australian Government has thrown a cat among the Northern Territory’s pigeons by overturning a ban on uranium mining in the state. The Northern Territory Government acknowledges it will now face more competition from WA in attracting uranium exploration dollars, but believes the region’s prospects remain the best in Australia.

ABOVE: Chariots player Glendon Connolly is wrestled to the ground as he tests the might of the Mongrels at the Battle of the Mines. COVER: Zinc Power Maroon player Kenese Kofe defies stiff defence from the Ernest Henry Dingos on his way to the tryline.

5 Looking for further rig work A Northern Territory labour supply company is hoping that successful completion of a refit of a 100m-tall drill

FEATURES 11 People 12 Industry Update

rig in Darwin harbour will lead to repeat business.

8 Agents for change in indigenous Australia

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

Delegates to the North Australia Economic Development Forum in Cairns have highlighted opportunities for the mining industry to bring about change for the better in indigenous communities.

24 Cloncurry’s greatest hits

16 Between Shifts 20 Travel Feature 22 Lifestyle 23 Bigger, Tougher, Better 24 Battle Of The Mines


Nine north-west Queensland teams lined up for this year’s Battle of the Mines rugby league competition. The Mining Advocate camped on the sidelines of the Cloncurry Showground to witness the thrills, spills and lighter moments of this much-anticipated event.

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The Mining Advocate

Tactics to tackle tough times close proximity to markets, fresh water, infrastructure, and port facilities.

The Advocate takes a look at how companies operating in North Queensland and the NT are reacting to the global financial crisis: KAGARA Executive director Joe Treacy said the company would save $70 million in 2008/09, mainly by deferring full construction of a base-metal treatment plant at its Mungana project near Chillagoe. Exploration in North Queensland will also be cut back as the company seeks an equity or joint venture partner. Mr Treacy said Kagara was examining the potential to fasttrack the Mungana high-grade gold project as an adjunct to its base-metal development.

ENERGY METALS Executive director Lindsay Dudfield said the uranium spot price had dropped but most of the world’s supply was sold on long-term contracts, which had remained relatively stable during the financial crisis. The company will continue to advance the Bigrlyi joint venture uranium project in the Northern Territory.

VITAL METALS The company has reduced the pace of work being undertaken

COPPERCO Managing director Brian Rear said the company had recently completed an expansion of its Lady Annie mine near Mount Isa and was now interested in higher efficiency rather than further expansion.

by external contractors on the tailings dam, plant and pit of the Watershed tungsten project, currently undergoing a feasibility study in far north Queensland. Managing director Andy Haslam said Vital Metals would conserve cash and concentrate on refining the current resource model for Watershed.

OZ MINERALS The company is considering scaling back production at its Century mine and delaying its planned Dugald River project until zinc prices recover.

COPPER STRIKE Managing director Tom Eadie said copper production at the company’s Einasleigh project in North Queensland could be delayed past 2010 by likely difficulties in securing finance during the current economic climate. He said the company was committed to developing the project as soon as possible, whether the market improved in three months or one year’s time.

PERILYA Due to the economic downturn, Perilya and Chalice Gold Mines have mutually terminated an agreement whereby Chalice was to acquire 100 per cent of Perilya’s Mount

MINEMAKERS The economic downturn was a hot topic at the Mining 2008 conference in Brisbane recently. Photo: Fiona Harding

Oxide copper and cobalt project in the Mount Isa region.

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MATRIX METALS Operations general manager Bob Dennis said the company, which is exploring copper tenements in north-west Queensland, could still make money from the commodity despite low prices because the fallen Australian dollar had lowered costs.



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The Mining Advocate | November 2008


Firms rein in spending The economic meltdown has blown a cool wind of caution across the Australian mining industry, writes Michael Stevens. North-west Queensland mining companies and suppliers should keep a tight grip on spending during the global financial crisis, according to Mount Isa Chamber of Commerce president Brett Peterson. Mr Peterson – who owns Mount Isa Mining Supplies – said that although the full implications of the crisis were unclear, it was likely that all companies would have to tighten their belts. He said he had been in the mining industry for 25 years and the importance of an easydoes-it approach was learnt from previous fluctuations in the industry’s fortunes. “We saw bad times up until 2003. You’re always cautious, and I’d say that most people in business today would remember

five years ago - they might not have been self-employed or had a business up and running, but they could still see what was around then and the way it was before that,” he said. Mr Peterson’s comments on caution were echoed by financial experts at the recent Mining 2008 conference in Brisbane. Patersons Securities head of research Mark Simpson said exploration and production would be wound back at uneconomic projects. “Capital preservation is the key,” he said. Westpac senior economist Justin Smirk predicted tough times until mid 2009 but believes China will have surprised economists with its healthy rate of growth by then and that the developing nation will continue

Capital preservation is the key in uncertain economic times, Mining 2008 delegates were told.

to drive the Australian resources industry. CRU Australasia regional director Allan Trench released his “what’s hot and what’s not” outlook for commodities in 2009, including the following minerals mined in North Queensland and the Northern Territory: • Take sunscreen: manganese, molybdenum, bauxite, • Sunny spells: gold, phosphate, • Mild conditions: copper, tin, nickel, iron ore, • Scattered showers: lead, • Cold snap: zinc and cobalt.

Photo: Stewart McLean

Flow-through focus Peak industry bodies are intensifying calls to introduce a flow-through shares scheme, which would stimulate mining industry investment by enabling transfer of the tax deductions of exploration companies to individual investors. Among the voices is the Minerals Council of Australia, which advocated development of such a scheme in a prebudget submission released in

January and now believes the financial crisis adds weight to the imperative for its immediate development. Federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said it was important to design a scheme that was economically responsible in the current financial climate. He said his department was working on a design to be properly considered in the 2009/10 budget process.

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November 2008 |

The Mining Advocate

Uranium rivalry The Territory is preparing to meet new interstate competition for the exploration dollar head-on, writes Michael Stevens. The Northern Territory Government believes uranium explorers will maintain their focus on the Territory despite Western Australia overturning a ban on uranium mining in that state. Geological Survey director Ian Scrimgeour said he was aware that a lot more money would now be spent on exploration in the neighbouring state. Dr Scrimgeour said the NT Government needed to ensure the Territory did not suffer in the process. “It just means the government has to work harder to provide the information that uranium explorers need to convince them to come to the Territory rather than elsewhere and we’re working on a whole range of programs to do that,” he said. Two companies with exploration tenements in both

jurisdictions have expressed pleasure with the West Australian Government’s decision but have indicated that their renewed interest in the state would not distract them from exploring their Territory prospects as well. Thundelarra Exploration managing director Brett Lambert said the company would reassess its priorities with regard to its West Australian uranium tenements. But he said the company’s Ngalia project - 300km northwest of Alice Springs -remained a long-term strategic holding for the company, which is also exploring uranium tenements near Pine Creek in the Territory. Energy Metals executive director Lindsay Dudfield said that company would explore with increased intensity in Western Australia, but its focus remained

Geological Survey director Ian Scrimgeour says the Northern Territory Government will have to work harder to woo uranium explorers in the face of fresh competition from the west. Photo: Christopher Knight

on the Bigrlyi joint venture uranium project, 390km northwest of Alice Springs. Dr Scrimgeour said he believed the Northern Territory’s uranium prospectivity was the best in Australia and he was confident

it would be able to maintain a strong uranium exploration industry. Applications for new uranium mine developments in the Territory are subject to approval by the Federal Resources and

Energy Minister - a position currently held by Labor’s Martin Ferguson. Last year’s Labor Party national conference adopted a policy change to allow new uranium mines.

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The Mining Advocate | November 2008

NT pitstop for big rig

Output rises at Ranger mine Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has reported increased production from its Ranger uranium mine, east of Darwin, in an operations review for the September quarter. Uranium oxide production rose 31 per cent in the quarter to 1349 tonnes due to the re-establishment of access to higher grade ore at the bottom of the pit, ERA said. A bigger mining eet meant the amount of ore mined was 80 per cent greater than both the corresponding quarter in 2007 and the June quarter of 2008. However, the amount of ore milled was 14 per cent lower than the June 2008 quarter because of a planned one week maintenance event in the plant.

The recent refit of the Sedco 703 in Darwin demonstrated the city’s capacity for such maintenance projects, writes Michael Stevens. Extraman Darwin branch manager Ray Johns hopes the city can attract more large-scale rig maintenance work after the labour supply company recently contributed workers to a major project. The 100m tall, Transoceanowned Sedco 703 rig made a pitstop for reďŹ tting in Darwin harbour before continuing through to Woodside’s Greater Sunrise development, 450km north-west of the city in the Timor Sea. Extraman supplied 17 workers as safety oďŹƒcers, boilermakers, welders, industrial painters and trade assistants. They were mainly involved in the construction of new metal decking for the rig, as well as other repair jobs. Mr Johns said the close

proximity of Darwin harbour to oshore gas and oil ďŹ elds meant it was well placed to attract similar projects, but negative publicity surrounding Transocean’s importation of overseas workers for the reďŹ t did not help the city’s case. He said Transocean wanted workers with marine experience and Extraman had some suitable workers on its books. “This reďŹ t was the ďŹ rst one we have been involved in and we’re hoping to get repeat business – the client was very happy,â€? Mr Johns said. The Sedco 703 is a semisubmersible drilling unit capable of operating in water depths up to 2000 feet (610m). It was built in 1973 in the Avondale shipyards in New Orleans.

The Sedco 703 drill rig visits Darwin harbour for maintenance.


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The Mining Advocate | November 2008


Space technology to aid mines An advanced satellite system is expected to deliver improved tracking for open-cut operations, writes Michael Stevens. The CSIRO is partnering with Australian and European interests to improve global positioning system (GPS) technology for regional mine sites. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology will be developed for better tracking of equipment in open-cut operations. CSIRO Minerals Down Under National Research Flagship marketing and communication manager Bob Chamberlain said GPS tracking currently used in open-cut mines was often unreliable when equipment descended the drive, because the visible sky narrowed and fewer satellites were available for tracking. He said GPS signals were relatively weak and were easily restricted by obstructions such as buildings and trees. The new GNSS technology will embrace the Galileo global navigation satellite system being built by the European Union and European Space Agency,

which aims to be more precise than GPS. An integrated GNSS receiver will be developed that accepts signals from several satellite constellations - including Galileo - as well as input from other sources. Mr Chamberlain said the GNSS technology would be another step towards automation in the mining industry, helping to increase productivity and further improve safety. The Queensland Government is supporting the project through a $333,000 grant. The CSIRO is working with Australia’s Automated Positioning Systems and Italy’s Istituto Superiore Mario Boella on the project. Mr Chamberlain said a target date of March 2010 had been set for the demonstration and commercialisation of the new GNSS technology. The Galileo system, scheduled to be operational in 2013, will consist of 30 dedicated navigation satellites and ground infrastructure in Europe.

An artist’s impression of the European Space Agency’s first Galileo In-Orbit Validation Experiment (GIOVE-A) navigation satellite, which has been transmitting signals since 2006. Image: from the European Space Agency

Safety the name of the game The Mining Industry Skills Centre (MISC) recently launched a games-based simulation training tool. Project Canary - developed in collaboration with simulation experts QinetiQ - enables users to apply risk assessment skills while encouraging behavioural change with regard to safe working practices.

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November 2008 |

The Mining Advocate

Inclusive policies yield benefits A recent forum highlighted the positive ways in which mining companies are engaging indigenous communities, writes Lesley Watson. The mining industry has been identified as a key player in bringing about a change for the better in Aboriginal communities across northern Australia. Speakers addressing indigenous business opportunities at the North Australia Economic Development Forum in Cairns, October 27 to 29, praised innovative mining companies across the north that were successfully engaging communities and transforming regional economies. The forum was hosted by six northern Area Consultative Committees to “highlight the significance of north Australia and the immense opportunities it presents for the country as a whole”. Delegates brainstormed such issues as a sustainable economic

development environment for northern Australia, new industries for the far north, carbon trading and energy conservation in business, and indigenous business enterprises. Welcoming delegates to the conference, Yirriganydji elder Jeanette Singleton challenged forum participants to help tackle the big issues facing Aboriginal people across the north. “This conference is important for open debate for our people’s future,” she said. “We’ve still got a big battle ahead of us trying to come on board with mainstream issues. Everything has been Band-Aid stuff-up to now. The real issues have been ignored.” The chair of Desert Knowledge Australia, former politician Fred Chaney, said the importance

Roseby’s position remains strong

Peter Ingram Universal Resources managing director

Universal Resources remains confident that it will be producing copper from its Roseby project north-west of Cloncurry in 2010. Universal chairman and managing director Peter Ingram said the company was making a case for $16 million in funding for a new mill, as part of a total $213 million capital expenditure for the project, in the face of the credit squeeze. Mr Ingram said the current stock market situation meant that funding was now more likely to be achieved in 2009 rather than this year. The new mill would give the company the capacity to process around five millions tonnes per annum in a blend of hard and soft ores. That, in turn, increases forecast production to 26,000 tonnes of

copper a year, up from 21,000 tonnes, and 7000 ounces of gold, up from an initial forecast of 4500 ounces a year. Meanwhile, Mr Ingram said the long-term fundamentals for the resources industry remained strong in the face of the credit crunch. “(My opinion) is that this is the worst financial crisis since the 1929-1932 depression,” Mr Ingram said. “(But) governments are now much better positioned to take mitigating action. “We may see a recessionary environment for the short to medium term (one to two years). It is hard to know if the recent fall in metal prices is caused by supply and demand or the unwinding of hedge book positions or, more likely, both. “Certainly the impact is being felt in metals prices.” But he said the fundamental demand for metals in the Asian region was not going to stop. “The long-term view is buoyant,” he said. Mr Ingram said the mining industry had a lot of catch-up to do to meet projected demand. “In terms of copper exploration, in particular, the mining industry did very little exploration in the ‘90s,” he said. “The Commodities Research Unit of London has reported that if all known deposits were brought into production, there would still be an estimated shortfall of 12 million tonnes per annum by 2030.”

Jeanette Singleton Yirriganydji elder

of engaging the indigenous community had been frequently shown across northern Australia. “If you look at the example of the Argyle diamond mine in the Kimberley, you see the potential for transformation of a regional economy when there is a focus both on local and indigenous employment and on local procurement,” he said. Mining companies in the Pilbara, where 10 per cent of the workforce is Aboriginal, also showed the extraordinary impact and shared benefits of inclusive policies, Mr Chaney said.

John Moriarty, chairman of the Jumbana Group from Borroloola in the Gulf of Carpentaria, elaborated on the opportunities presented by the mining industry. “There are Aboriginal companies developing ventures that are profiting from mining, such as West Australian-based Ngarda Civil and Mining,” Mr Moriarty said. “They are now expanding into housing on Aboriginal communities. Other Aboriginal people are working in contract mining in places like Borroloola and Tennant Creek. “Aboriginal people want to be part of the mining situation; they want to reap the benefits of the harvest of all that Australian wealth. It doesn’t take much for mining companies to sub-contract jobs like laundry services and lawn mowing to local Aboriginal people.” He called upon state, federal and territory governments to advance business programs to Aboriginal people in remote communities. Professor Rolf Gerristen of the School of Social Policy Research in Darwin cautioned that there was a growing divide in northern Australia between “relatively wealthy expatriates

and mostly permanently resident, impoverished Aboriginal people”. Professor Gerristen attributed this to a raft of factors from high birth rates among Aboriginal people to urban drift, poor distribution of funding and expansion of Aboriginal settlements. But he also warned of the decline of inland service centres – “places like Tennant Creek, Meekatharra and Croydon” – as a result of mining companies increasingly providing their own infrastructure under a fly in-fly out policy. “This creates local tensions and, while it may be an economically rational decision for mining companies, it is having deleterious effects on the ground,” he said. However, he warned the issue was complex and that “bagging fly in-fly out policies doesn’t necessarily make sense”. Regional centres such as Cairns were developing a strong economic base of skilled services for the Territory mining industry, for example. A workshop of forum delegates produced a raft of recommendations – forwarded to Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development and Northern Australia, Gary Gray to aid the growth of indigenous business enterprise in the region.


Mary Christine Villanueva’s My Equipment and Me, Rizal, Philippines.

The Rizal province, south-east of the Philippines capital Manila, was formed in 1901 when parts of the old Manila district and the district of Morong united. The mountainous portion of Rizal has evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year, while the lakeshore area is wet from June to October and dry the rest of the year. According to the Philippine Information Agency, the province is rich in non-metallic deposits such as rock aggregates, sand and gravel, limestone, marble and guano. Ceramics, copper ore and red clay are also

Photo: courtesy of Snowden.

emerging or potential industries in the province. Last year, TKC Steel Corporation formed a joint venture with a mining co-operative in Rizal to secure supply for its operations. The co-operative owns several mining tenements containing iron reserves. Mary Christine Villanueva captured this photo of a miner at Morong in Rizal, gathering his thoughts at the end of the day. The shot took out the People’s Choice award in this year’s Snowden Photo Competition. For more information on the competition, visit


The Mining Advocate | November 2008

Looking forward, looking back As Engineers Australia prepares to mark its 90th anniversary, the new president has a firm focus on the future as well as the group’s proud past. Melbourne-based civil engineer Peter Godfrey takes the helm this month as the new national president of Engineers Australia. Mr Godfrey plans to follow a theme of “Looking Forward, Looking Back” throughout 2009. “Engineers Australia will be looking forward through our 2010-2015 strategic planning exercise as well as through our marketing campaign to promote engineering to potential future engineers,” he said. “But it is also Engineers Australia’s 90th anniversary and we will be looking back and celebrating our proud history of support for the engineering profession, which has already made such a significant contribution to Australian society.” Mr Godfrey, 52, has served as Engineers Australia’s national

deputy president throughout 2008. His election to that role means he will take over from electronics engineer Julie Hammer as national president for the coming year. “My roles as a past Tasmania division president, former civil college board chair and councillor (equivalent to being a director of Engineers Australia) - and father of a new engineering graduate (Philippa) - have greatly assisted in preparing me for my role as national president,” Mr Godfrey said. “These roles also provided insights into the important activities of Engineers Australia and provided the enthusiasm for doing even more. “It is exhilarating to be part of a large team of extraordinary

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people doing fantastic things.” Mr Godfrey runs his own consultancy practice, BAS Consulting, and his 30year engineering career has included extensive management experience.

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November 2008 |

The Mining Advocate

Georgina’s diesel fitting dreams close to reality TORGAS diesel fitting engine specialist apprentice Georgina Brown (25) loved the idea of doing something engineering or mechanical related ever since she was a small child ‘helping’ her father repair the family car. So when the opportunity to do her apprenticeship with host business Cummins (Brisbane) came up, she didn’t hesitate. Before embarking on her current training, Georgina had done part of an engineering degree (which she deferred in favour of more hands-on challenges) and also did a few odd jobs for a local car mechanic – something she really enjoyed. Georgina decided that this was the industry she wanted to focus on and so the next step was to undertake the proper training and education to achieve that goal. “A fitter and turner I worked with was great and he suggested because of my age, gender and limited experience – I enroll in a pre-vocational course at TAFE as the starting point,” she said. “I wanted to be a fitter and turner at the time but he also suggested I might find diesel fitting more interesting. I looked into it, it sounded good, so that’s what I went ahead with.” Georgina loved the course, the highlight of which was two weeks’ work experience at Cummins, which was recommended as an excellent international company with lots of career options. “It was a great opportunity and everyone I met there and worked with was friendly, helpful and

easy to talk to. There was never even a hint of discrimination or any suggestion that, as a female, I couldn’t do the job,” she said. “Then I approached the people at TORGAS who arranged for me to complete my apprenticeship at Cummins, where I’ve always been treated equally and given every opportunity. It couldn’t have worked out better.” While Georgina is the only female apprentice at Cummins Brisbane, she is the eighth in Australia and the third in Queensland to take on the role of diesel fitting engine specialist (with Cummins). Georgina, who began the third year of her four-year apprenticeship in October, is still as enthusiastic about her career choice as she was in the beginning. “It’s great to be able to take apart something that isn’t working and fix it. I enjoy the challenge of problem solving and the combination of mental and physical energy it requires,” she said. “Some of the heavy work was hard initially because I’m not the biggest person, but as I got stronger I also learned little tricks, so now I can turn engines over and tension head bolts to 300 foot pound. The tradesmen I worked with taught me that it’s all about working smarter, not harder.” In addition to being delighted with her placement, Georgina has the highest praise for TORGAS and the role it plays in allowing her to get on with learning and doing her job.

“By looking after all the paperwork and administrative aspects, they make it very easy,” she said. That assistance is particularly appreciated because Georgina’s days are always busy and the work constantly varying. “For instance, I could be doing an oil consumption rebuild that takes the best part of a week – then there’ll be other smaller finicky jobs such as wiring problems, for example, which have to be fitted in as well,” she said. “However, at the moment, I’m spending most of my time in truck bay, problem solving and trouble shooting, which I love doing. I come home covered in grease and oil every day. It’s great fun!” Cummins Apprentice Master Edwin Crisp described his role as “looking after the day to day stuff ”, checking competencies, evaluating and ensuring the readiness of apprentices’ work for signature by the Department of Education, Training and the Arts assessor and liaising with local TORGAS manager, Nichole Gillespie.

Georgina Brown at Cummins

“While we do employ some apprentices directly ourselves, we find those who come through TORGAS are very good and the arrangement we have with them has definite benefits for us as a host business and the apprentices,” he said.

To find out more about taking on apprentices or trainees, contact the nearest TORGAS office on free call 1300 655 199 or email

“In fact, the process works very well.”


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The Mining Advocate | November 2008


Clay warms to the ‘Curry Ernest Henry mine technical services manager Clay Taylor

Clay Taylor is enjoying the bright lights of Cloncurry after travelling from the United States to take up a position as technical services manager at Ernest Henry mine.

Mr Taylor – who hails from Denver, Colarado - is responsible for providing technical support to the environmental, geotechnical, geological, engineering and survey departments at the mine. He recently worked in a remote American mining operation that made Cloncurry look like

the Big Apple and says his wife and three children are pleased with the change so far. Q: What are your impressions of Cloncurry? CT: It’s great. I’m not used to living in such a large town. Prior to Denver, I lived in a really remote town out in the

middle of the desert and Cloncurry is actually quite a step up from that. It’s a quick trip to Mount Isa and from there you can get plenty of flights. I’d say Cloncurry has been a pleasant surprise for my family. I tried to explain to them about Cloncurry’s population and size, and I know they had a preconceived idea of what it would be like, and the feedback I’m getting from them is really positive – better than expected. Q: Apart from its size, what else has impressed you about the town? CT: A lot of times, a village that close to a mine is generally a mining town – it is populated primarily by miners and there is not a diversity of culture or population. But I noticed that Cloncurry had a pre-established sustainable development foundation that wasn’t based on mining, but on pastoral stations – there was an agricultural base to the economy. In a sense we (miners)

came on initially as guests and now we’re kind of joint venture partners living in the town. I like that. Living in a mining town is different to living in Cloncurry. Q: Have you noticed any differences between the Australian and American

CT: I’ve mined a little bit of copper-gold in Indonesia and I was involved with a weird mineral called gilsonite. It’s only mined in one place in the world, in one corner of the state of Utah, and it’s used for black ink in newspapers

“I’d say Cloncurry has been a pleasant surprise for my family.” mining industries? CT: Mining has a higher profile and is much more visible in Australia the general population is more accepting of it. Back in the States, if someone asks you about your profession and you say you’re in the mining industry, they say ‘well, that’s unusual, what’s that like?’. So it’s a lot more commonplace over here. Q: What types of operations have you been involved with during your career?

- it’s pretty much oil that was squeezed up through cracks and petrified over millions of years. Then I’ve mined trona, which is basically laundry detergent – like a sodium bicarbonate. I’ve been a mine manager, a superintendent of engineering, a planning engineer, a project engineer and I worked for a while as a consultant for a global company that has offices here (in Australia). I’ve also done a stint as a tunnelling engineer for civil projects.

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November 2008 |

Air firm opens Cairns office

CuDECO’s Rocklands Group copper project - and CuDECO intended to pursue an exploration joint venture with Queensland Mining Corporation on the tenement.

Krucible happy with progress

Cairns MP Desley Boyle with Independent Aviation’s Jill Urquhart

Independent Aviation has opened a new office in Cairns. Managing director Ian Urquhart said the company had grown over 16 years and needed a new office for its eight aviation specialists, operating 24/7 with large-screen Apple computers. He said the specialists were able to confidently check all aircraft available and present the best options to their many customers in the mining and resources sector. Mr Urquhart said Independent Aviation specialised in flying people and cargo to destinations not usually serviced by airlines. Tourism, Regional Development and Industry Minister Desley Boyle - the State Member for Cairns - spoke at an official opening ceremony for the office.

Fresh uranium find for Deep Yellow Deep Yellow has announced the exposure of “significant” greenfields uranium mineralisation from drilling at the Isa West project, 5km west of Mount Isa. The company is in a joint venture with Xstrata at the project, where Deep Yellow can earn 100 per cent of its uranium rights. Meanwhile, Matrix Metals and Deep Yellow have agreed to amend the terms of their joint venture, in which Deep Yellow has been granted access to explore for uranium on Matrix Metals’ tenement holdings in the Mount Isa region.

Deep Yellow will now be able to achieve 100 per cent ownership of the uranium rights without proceeding through the original ownership path.

CuDECO expands its interests CuDECO recently became the largest shareholder in Queensland Mining Corporation. CuDECO chairman Wayne McCrae said Queensland Mining Corporation held 51 granted mining leases and a large acreage of exploration permits within the Cloncurry copper belt. He said Queensland Mining Corporation also owned the Morris Creek exploration permit - which adjoins the south-west boundary of

Krucible Metals has received positive phosphate results from recent drilling at its Phosphate Hill Mine South prospect, 5km from Incitec Pivot’s Phosphate Hill mine in north-west Queensland. Managing director Tony Alston said these early results – from holes drilled in a wide spacing - indicated the potential for the company to define a commercially viable deposit. He said drill spacing needed to be tightened up before a joint ore reserve committee-compliant resource could be calculated.

Good results at Golden 40 Emmerson Resources has received pleasing assay results from phase-two drilling at its Golden 40 project, in the Northern Territory’s Tennant Creek minerals field. Managing director and chief executive officer Rob Bills said the results validated the company’s belief that gold mineralisation continued along strike at the historic Golden 40 mine in an area previously untested by explorers. The Golden 40 mine operated as a high-grade underground mine between 1969 and 1983.

‘Deep hole’ on target for Citigold Citigold Corporation has announced that its Charters Towers “deep hole” has hit the first main target. Managing director Mark Lynch said significant gold mineralisation was encountered close to the down dip projection of the Brilliant West structure, which supported the geological basis for the current inferred resource in the area. Drilling is continuing.

Kagara pursues copper focus Kagara has reported record copper

The Mining Advocate

production of 9472 tonnes from its North Queensland operations for the September quarter. Executive chairman Kim Robinson said the company was continuing its shift towards copper production at its Thalanga and Mount Garnet plants, but it had also maintained low-cost zinc production.

Einasleigh feasibility study due Copper Strike says the feasibility study for its Einasleigh project - 300km north-west of Townsville - is scheduled for completion this month. Managing director Tom Eadie said excellent drill intersections had recently been received from several different prospects within the project. He also reported that holes completed at the company’s Kamarga prospect in the lower Gulf had intercepted thick zinc-lead mineralisation.

Matilda Minerals in administration Matilda Minerals – owner of the Tiwi Islands mineral sands operation - has appointed voluntary administrators. Administrator Martin Jones said options for restructuring of the company would be examined. The move comes after the company recently announced it was suspending its Tiwi Islands production because operating margins were unfavourable.

Increased production at Pajingo North Queensland Metals says the Pajingo gold mine near Charters Towers entered a more productive phase during the September quarter, with improved operational performance. Gold production for the quarter was 13,671 ounces at a cash cost of $677 per ounce, compared to 9791 ounces at a cash cost of $733 per ounce in the previous quarter. Chief executive officer John McKinstry said management had prepared plans to meet the objective of sustainable production of 70-80,000oz per annum. North Queensland Metals operates the Pajingo mine on behalf of its joint venture with Heemskirk Consolidated.


The Mining Advocate | November 2008

Oil and gas company for sale

Kon Vatskalis said the latest figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed a 44 per cent increase in expenditure in the Territory to $132.7 million. Queensland Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said $563.3 million had been invested in the State’s mining and petroleum industries.

Oil and gas explorer and producer Coogee Resources has initiated a sale process for the company. Coogee Resources chief executive officer Gordon Martin said the decision to sell followed unsolicited interest for the entire company arising from the decision of its second-largest shareholder - interests associated with Sunrise Commission meets Babcock & Brown - to sell its 35 per The inaugural cent stake. meeting of He said an Service the Sunrise outright sale Trucks Commission was process was the held recently to most practicable discuss gas-field outcome for all development in the shareholders in the Timor Sea. prevailing market The commission conditions. was established in The company is accordance with developing the the International Montara project Unitisation in the Timor Agreement Sea off northern between Australia and East Timor Australia. to facilitate the development of the

New prospects in the north-west Results of a deep seismic survey conducted in the Cloncurry-Croydon region of North Queensland have indicated the potential for new mineral, petroleum, gas and geothermal energy resources. Geoscience Australia mineral deposit geologist David Huston said the presence of major faults in the crust surrounding the Millungera Basin about 100km east of Cloncurry and up to 15,000sq km in size - was significant. “While the region between the faults is a previously unknown geologic province, with undefined mineral and energy potential, these structural features show similarities to the geological setting of the world-class Olympic Dam copper-gold-uranium deposit in South Australia,” Dr Huston said.

Unprecedented exploration spend Mineral exploration expenditure in the Northern Territory and Queensland reached record levels during 2007/08. Northern Territory Resources Minister

Greater Sunrise fields as a single entity. Its role will include advising the Australian and Joint Petroleum Development Area regulators in their assessment of a development plan for the project. Federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said the formation of the commission was an important step in co-ordinating the two regulatory frameworks that would govern development.

NT agreement with Chinese bank The Northern Territory Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the China Development Bank in Beijing. Resources Minister Kon Vatskalis said the MOU would promote co-operation in the facilitation of major project developments in mineral exploration and processing and allow the Territory leverage to new connections with the Chinese financial community.

Export and industry awards OM (Manganese) has won recognition as an emerging exporter at the 2008


American opportunities

Queensland’s Trade and Investment Commissioner for the Americas, Peter Beattie, during his presentation at the mining technology seminar. Photo: Stewart McLean

Latin America is a fertile ground for exporting Queensland mining expertise and technology, according to trade commissioner for the Americas, Peter Beattie. The former Queensland premier spoke at a recent Next Generation Mining Technology seminar in Townsville. He said Chile was planning to invest about $US22 billion in new mining projects over the next five years, Brazil would invest $US38 billion and Peru $US10 billion, while Columbia was expected to emerge as an economic powerhouse. Mr Beattie said opportunities existed for Queensland companies in the provision of mining services, clean coal technology and mining-related infrastructure.

Chief Minister’s Northern Territory Export and Industry Awards. OM Holdings chief executive officer Peter Toth said the award capped off a highly successful period for OM (Manganese), which had established itself as a major strategic player in the global manganese industry. “Our Bootu Creek manganese mine near Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory is now delivering 700,000 tonnes a year of high-grade manganese ore into the world’s fastest growing commodity market – an outstanding achievement which is a credit to all stakeholders involved with the project,” he said. Among other recipients, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) took out

exporter of the year and the mining and energy awards.

Better testing for safety officers The Queensland Government is improving its testing systems for mining health and safety officers. Queensland Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said the State’s Board of Examiners was being revamped with new senior appointments and the streamlining of administrative processes to deliver more flexible and efficient arrangements for applicants to safety positions.



Mithril extends its interests Mithril Resources has entered into a heads of agreement with Sammy Resources (a wholly owned subsidiary of Cazaly Resources) to earn an 80 per cent interest in two Northern Territory nickel and copper exploration licences. The tenements are contiguous with Mithril Resources’ existing Huckitta project to the north and Casey project to the south.

First Browns oxide export The first copper produced at the newly commissioned Compass Resources mine near Batchelor has been trucked into Darwin for export. Compass Resources has a contract with Sempra Metals Concentrates Corporation (a large USA metal trader) to buy and distribute the copper cathodes. The Browns oxide project will process 1.3 million tonnes of ore a year from an open-cut mine to produce 10,000 tonnes of copper cathode, 1000 tonnes of cobalt and 700 tonnes of nickel.

NT supplying uranium to China The first shipment of Northern Territory uranium to China will be sent before Christmas, coming from Energy Resources of Australia’s Ranger mine at Jabiru, 260km east of Darwin. The Northern Territory Government said China’s plan to build 40 nuclear power plants by 2020 could offer more opportunities for Territory exporters.

Ivanhoe discovers further sulphide Ivanhoe Australia says it has discovered a significant extension of the sulphide zone of the Mt Dore copper deposit near Cloncurry in north-west Queensland. Chief executive officer Peter Reeve also said an extremely high-grade intersection of molybdenum had been returned from recent drilling on the northern flank of the Mt Dore system. He said an aggressive drilling program consisting of 37 holes for a total of almost 23,000m was planned at the deposit over the next six to nine

November 2008 |

months, which would step out from the currently encountered mineralisation by about 600m to the north-east. Mr Reeve said that if the step-out program was successful it would add significant tonnage to the sulphide zone and present a distinct and separate development opportunity for the company in the Cloncurry region.

railhead (about 140km by road from the project), which will generate nearterm cashflow.

Gong for Alcan tyre team

Rio Tinto Alcan’s tyre support team at Weipa has won the company’s most prestigious employee honour – the Nathaniel V Davis Award – for helping the bauxite operation turn around its Resource calculation for Barbara mine tyre performance. Syndicated Metals The team - led by has calculated a Rick Crawford, Water maiden resource Scott Whyte Trucks estimate for its and Jane Edward Barbara deposit, - has driven a 50km north-east comprehensive of Mount Isa. tyre improvement program at Weipa, The combined targeting the safest indicated and and longest life inferred mineral possible for every resource is 2.4 tyre. million tonnes of ore containing During the first six 38,000 tonnes of months of 2008, copper. Rio Tinto Alcan Weipa’s average tyre life increased by about 32 per cent - or Managing director Russell Davis said 34,000km - compared to 2007. there was excellent potential to expand the Barbara resource along strike and at depth, as well as potential for gold Strong tin and iron potential credits. Consolidated Tin Mines has He said Syndicated Metals would announced that results from an initially assess the potential of mining airborne geophysical survey over three the Barbara lode via an open-pit key projects near Mount Garnet in operation. North Queensland have confirmed the The deposit lies within the company’s strong tin and iron potential of the Mt Remarkable project. project area. Managing director Ralph De Lacey Phosphate joint venture said the survey had provided good support to the current understanding Legend International Holdings and of mineralisation and confirmed where Mount Isa Metals have entered into a additional work should continue. heads of agreement for the formation of a joint venture over each party’s respective interest in tenements overlying the D-Tree phosphate deposit, near Mount Isa. Legend will manage and hold an 80 per cent interest in the joint venture, which will also have access to plant and infrastructure at Legend’s proposed Lady Annie phosphate development, 15km to the east of D-Tree. An early focus at D-Tree will be the identification of high-grade mineralisation suitable for potential direct shipment via the Mount Isa

Department leaving Darwin The Northern Territory Resources Council has questioned the rationale behind plans to shift the management team of the Department of Regional Development, Primary Industries, Fisheries and Resources to Alice Springs following the resignation of chief executive John Carroll. Resources council chief executive officer Scott Perkins said the decision would remove an important office from Darwin and potentially dilute services

The Mining Advocate

at a time when the resources industry was responding to rapidly slumping commodity prices and the world financial crisis. The Northern Territory Government stated that Richard Galton would act as chief executive of the department until the position was advertised and permanently filled in Alice Springs. The government announced at its reelection that it would “reach out” to the whole of the Territory in its new term.

Drilling at Roper Bar Western Desert Resources has begun a reverse circulation drilling campaign on the Roper Bar iron ore project in the Northern Territory. The program is estimated to last for about six to eight weeks, or until the beginning of the tropical wet season, and is expected to comprise up to 200 holes with an average depth of 50m. Managing director Norm Gardner said the program would be varied to include several diamond drill holes to extract core suitable for beneficiation testwork if drilling and access conditions were favourable.

Training award for Bootu Creek OM (Manganese) was recently named employer of the year in the Northern Land Council’s Employer Excellence Awards in Darwin. The award recognised the indigenous employment rate at Bootu Creek mine, which general manager Mark Laing said resulted from strong partnerships between OM (Manganese), the Northern Land Council and traditional owners. About 25 per cent of the mine’s construction workforce and 15 per cent of the mine’s 200 operational workers are indigenous. A work-readiness training project based on the requirements of the Bootu Creek mine has also been developed by the Northern Land Council and Industries Services Training.

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The Mining Advocate | November 2008

Inpex legislation introduced Another step has been taken towards construction of an Inpex LNG plant in Darwin with the introduction of legislation to provide certainty for the project. Chief Minister Paul Henderson said the LNG Project Bill gave Inpex a guarantee that the project would be able to be built at Blaydin Point if the site was given the go-ahead in the company’s final investment decision. Mr Henderson said the legislation would support the legal framework established earlier this year between the NT Government and Inpex and Total. “This project’s magnitude and importance mean we need certainty for both the private investors and the government,” he said.

Indigenous trainees graduate Sixteen students have finished the gas and oil industry’s first indigenous preemployment program, with half having already been offered full-time jobs. The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association delivered the eight-week program at Winnellie, Darwin. The training included first aid, occupational health and safety, fatigue management, operating forklifts and driving heavy vehicles.

Help for explorers Queensland explorers are urged to apply for a share in $2.5 million in State Government grants to give them a leg up. Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said three types of grants were available under the government’s Smart Mining - Future Prosperity program: • Collaborative drilling grants that fasttrack drill testing of geological targets in under-explored parts of Queensland, • Industry network grants for junior mineral exploration companies to access industry think-tanks and other specialist services, • Cluster formation grants that allow explorers to share drilling and geophysical resources.

Applications for collaborative drilling grants close on December 5 and those for industry network and cluster formation close on March 13, 2009.

More work at Elizabeth Superior Resources will undertake a gravity survey of its Elizabeth prospect, part of the Dajarra copper project south of Mount Isa. Managing director Ken Harvey said preliminary modelling indicated this means should be able to detect a sulphide-rich body down to a depth of about 250m and would provide a method of determining new drill targets within a 5km-long anomaly.

Environmental guidelines Northern Territory Environment Minister Alison Anderson has released draft guidelines for the environmental impact statement (EIS) relating to Arafura Resources’ Nolan’s Bore rare earths project. The government determined that the proposal to develop a new mine, build workers’ accommodation, transport ore and transfer processing residues from the railhead back to the mine site for storage was environmentally significant. Meanwhile, Ms Anderson has also determined that BHP Billiton’s proposal to transport copper concentrate and uranium oxide through the Northern Territory and export it via the Port of Darwin requires an EIS. The company plans to expand its Olympic Dam mine in South Australia and will transport the commodities to port via the Adelaide-to-Darwin rail line. Both EIS guidelines are available for public comment at envirocomment.

New targets for Bondi Bondi Mining recently identified three

new uranium drill targets at its Murphy project in the Northern Territory. Managing director Rick Valenta said the company had also been awarded a grant of $100,000 through the Northern Territory Government’s geophysics and drilling collaborations program. He said drilling under the program would begin at the Murphy project in the first quarter of next year. Bondi Mining is a Brisbanebased exploration company with a uranium portfolio of 20 granted tenements and three applications totalling 15,085sq km in three major uranium provinces in the NT and Queensland. The company is also actively advancing the phosphate potential of its Murphy tenements.

President and chief executive officer Marc Henderson said more than 100 holes had been drilled at the project and the company could demonstrate that Westmoreland was one of the most robust and technically straightforward uranium deposits in Australia. The project is located in north-west Queensland near the Northern Territory border.

Looking overseas for inspectors The Queensland Government is embarking on an international recruitment drive to attract skilled mines inspectors to the state. Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson said 12 new mines inspectors would join the inspectorate, bringing the total number of inspectors to 46. He said the international recruitment campaign would focus on coal and metalliferous inspectors in the United Kingdom and India. Mr Wilson said the government would also continue to recruit within Australia for mines inspectors. All newly-appointed mines inspectors will be located in regional Queensland.

Engineering salary survey Independent research company New Focus is conducting Engineers Australia’s sixth annual online salary survey.

Incentive to relocate industry The Townsville region will receive funding from a program aimed at boosting Queensland’s high-growth regions. Minister for Tourism, Regional Development and Industry Desley Boyle said the new Regional Queensland Investment Incentives Scheme (RQIIS) would offer up to 100 per cent payroll tax rebates and potential cash grants to firms relocating to the region from outside the state.

The survey targets public and private sector employers and is seeking information on engineers’ salaries, conditions and benefits. It should be filled out by human resources officers and managers, as it gathers information across a variety of grades and types of engineers. Engineers Australia stated that last year 143 employers completed the online survey and their responses reflected the salary, benefits and working conditions of about 13,000 employees.

Call for tenders on port work

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Westmoreland looking good Laramide Resources says drilling results at its Westmoreland project continue to meet or exceed the company’s expectations.



The Port of Townsville is inviting tender submissions for construction work at Berths 8 and 9 to repair a number of reinforced concrete piles. Sealed tenders are to be lodged in the Tender Box at the Port of Townsville administration building no later than 3pm on November 28. For more information call Robert Henaway on (07) 4781 1604.


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November 2008 |

Port of Townsville stakeholders briefing

The Mining Advocate

PHOTOS: Stewart McLean

Jupiters, Townsville Jeff Innes (Conquest Mining), Sandra Harding (Port of Townsville), Elle Hilton (Port of Townsville) and Tim Bastian (Department of Tourism, Regional Development and Industry).

David Sibley and Matthew O’Halloran (both Port of Townsville).

Tony Manning (Maritime Museum of Townsville), Warren Cooper (Department of Mines and Energy) and Martin Gledhill (Port of Townsville).

Ross Dunning, Clair Ryan and Barry Holden (all Port of Townsville).

Renee Crosby (Port of Townsville), John Preston (Maritime Safety Council) and Tracey Lines (Port of Townsville).

Dolan Hayes and Mayor Les Tyrell (both Townsville City Council).

Terry Dodd (Pacific Marine Group) with David Ede and Richard Boulton (Coast Guard Townsville).


The Mining Advocate | November 2008

Genalysis Laboratory Services opening


PHOTOS: Stewart McLean


Mike Nowak (BHP Billiton Yabulu) and Doug Jones (Liontown Resources).

Robert Pace (Pace Farming) and Tony O’Connor (Kookaburra Tours).

Scott McInerney (Haden), Jeff Turner (BM Webb) and Stav Bogiatzis (Haden).

Mark Skoroszewski and Brad Dunn (both from Genalysis).

Peter Mellor (Department of Tourism, Regional Development and Industry), John Fowler (Intertek Minerals Services), Les Norton (Genalysis), Gary Wheeler (Genalysis) and David Crisafulli (Townsville City Council).

North Australia Economic Development Forum Shangri-La Hotel, Cairns

David Hinchley (Terrain) and Don Pollock (North Queensland Area Consultative Committee).

Frederick Marchant (Far North Queensland Area Consultative Committee) and Chris Robertson (Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries).

Julia Leu (Cairns Regional Council) and Sherry Kaurila (Hinchinbrook Shire Council).

Ross Contarino (Advance Cairns), Michael Tomkinson (Cook Shire Council) and Brian Prove (Department of Tourism, Regional Development and Industry).

Tom Gilmore (Tablelands Regional Council Mayor) and Peter Radke (Tableland Futures Forum).

Trevor Brook, Michelle Cochrane and Erik Oates (all from Indigenous Business Australia).

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November 2008 |

IFAP Darwin centre 20th anniversary

The Mining Advocate

PHOTOS: Christopher Knight

Northern Australia Safety Centre, Darwin Des Carolin, Colin Snowden, Drew Innes and Ben Johnston (all Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service).

Scott Perkins (Northern Territory Resources Council) and Stuart Sterritcoles (CDE Capital).

Robert Cresswell (RAN) with Julie Smith.

Ben Surawski (Airborne Solutions), Ross Coburn (St John Ambulance) and David Paech (Airborne Solutions).

Ross Bradford (Northern Command), Greg Pobar (IFAP) and Anne Bradford (Department of Justice).

John Roil (Chemtrans) and Billy Smith (Safety Coaching and Training).

Chris Tresider, Andy Tresider, Debra Tresider and Bruce Tresider.

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The Mining Advocate | November 2008

Battle of the Mines


PHOTOS: Roslyn Budd

Cloncurry Showgrounds Milda Staugas, Netta McInnerney, Annette Reilly and Pat Pratt cater for the footy crowd.

Shane Peterson cooks steaks for the RFDS fundraising effort.

Quinn Smith, Angela O’Rourke and Bruce Whittacker (Oz Minerals, Dugald River).

Kevin Lu and Adeola Sopade (Xstrata Copper).

Ed Bird, Natasha Young and Annabelle Heggaton from Jessievale station.

Samantha Haack and Danielle Taylor (Xstrata Zinc supporters).

Ernest Henry supporters Holly Turner, Symantha Turner, Matthew Twomey and Kimberly Twomey.

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Taking care of Queensland



November 2008 |

The Mining Advocate

Sizzling summer attractions A strong line-up of premier sporting events and the arts over the next few months should boost Brisbane’s appeal to holidaymakers. Brisbane offers an unprecedented calendar of major events this summer – providing an added element of top-notch entertainment for those considering a break in the Queensland capital. An Emirates All*Star Twenty20 cricket match – featuring Australia and the

Johnnie Walker All Stars - kicks off the sporting smorgasbord on November 14. Three international cricket matches follow, including Brisbane playing host to the first Test of the summer cricket series against New Zealand at The Gabba (November 20-24). The Rugby League World

A variety of cricket clashes is among the summer sports line-up.

Cup semi-final (November 15) and final (November 22) are both being played at Suncorp Stadium, in a fitting end to rugby league’s centenary celebrations Down Under. A spot of tennis follows from January 4 to 11. Marcos Baghdatis, Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Ana Ivanovic are just a few of the heavy hitters competing at the inaugural Brisbane International tennis tournament being played at the brand new Queensland Tennis Centre. Brisbane is also hosting a solid line-up of cultural exhibitions and music concerts in the next few months. The Gallery of Modern Art’s summer exhibition is Contemporary Australia: Optimism (November 15 to February 22). The State Library of Queensland is showing Game ON - an international blockbuster looking at the history of videogames culture. At the same time performers including Noiseworks, Def Leppard, Bernard Fanning, Xavier Rudd, John Mellencamp and Billy Joel are bound for Brisbane. For further information visit

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The Mining Advocate | November 2008

Beachfront sanctuary A stay at Melaleuca Resort in Palm Cove, north of Cairns, places visitors within easy striking range of a wide variety of attractions. Whether your idea of a perfect holiday is soaking up the sun on a golden beach, snorkelling or diving on the Great Barrier Reef, or perhaps experiencing the magic of the Daintree rainforest, the Melaleuca Resort at Palm Cove provides an ideal base. Set amongst tropical gardens and magnificent melaleuca trees, the beachfront resort offers stylish apartments with private balconies and all the mod cons. Guests looking to indulge in excellent food and wine will find award-winning restaurants just a short stroll away from the resort. There is also the option of staying in and taking advantage of the Melaleuca Resort

apartments’ convenient kitchen facilities to prepare a meal. Rejuvenate with a spa treatment, walk the beach barefoot on the warm sand, have a swim in the cool pool, take a tour or reef trip, or treat yourself to excellent resort retail therapy. Palm Cove visitors have the choice of a wide range of activities at their doorstep, or the option of simply sitting back and unwinding in a relaxed trocial setting. Melaleuca Resort is a 20-minute drive north of Cairns city and airport in far north Queensland. For further information call 1800 629 698 or visit www.

Palm Cove in far north Queensland offers holidaymakers a taste of tropical paradise.

A polished Cairns gem 201 Lake Street is a modern apartment hotel situated just off the Cairns Esplanade and a short stroll away from the hubbub of the city centre. Suited to business travellers, couples, independent travellers and families alike, this property is still somewhat of a secret. Its spacious one and two-

bedroom apartments feature high ceilings, fresh colours, sleek finishes and stylish fittings. Guests at 201 Lake Street can relax in air-conditioned comfort and enjoy viewing on their own 42-inch plasma screen, entertain on their apartment’s spacious private balcony, or take a dip in

the beautifully designed swimming pool. The apartments also feature fully self-contained kitchens as well as laundry facilities. For bookings or enquiries about 201 Lake Street accommodation phone (07) 4053 0100 or visit




November 2008 |

Fishing classic creates a splash The recent Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic has been hailed a success despite some confusion about the use of boats. Mount Isa Fish Stocking Group secretary George Fortune said nominations for this year’s event were down because of conjecture that the low water level of the lake would lead to boatss being banned. But in the end they were allowed to take to the water and anglers enjoyed the full experience of the annual three-day event. Mr Fortune said 12 barramundi were weighed in, with the biggest 77cm long and 5kg in weight. He said a run of cool nights and ed persistent north-easterly winds had lowered the water temperature and affected the n barra fishing (barras generally only feed in warm conditions). It is closed season for barramundi in thee Gulf of Carpentaria and surrounds, but ake anglers were able to acquire permits for Lake ree Moondarra that allowed them to catch three barras each and keep one.

Above: Robert Whitney (George Fisher Mine) helps son Dusty, 4, in a casting competition. Right: Bob Forth receives first prize for the senior secret weight competition from presenter Russell Corrigan. Left: Allan Hirst (Ace Scaffolding) releases a sleepy cod.

Mining ball in Brisbane About 600 of the industry’s brightest - and, on the night, most beautiful - came together for the fourth successive year at the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy’s (AusIMM) Mining Ball in Brisbane. This year’s event was held in conjunction with the Mining 2008 conference so that AusIMM members who had travelled from North Queensland and interstate could attend. The evening also acted as a fundraiser for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and a silent auction of winning entries in the Snowden Photo Competition and other donated prizes contributed to a donation of almost $40,000. Sponsorship from Xstrata Copper also allowed a number of students to attend the event. Above all, the AusIMM Mining Ball was an opportunity for those in a geographically dispersed industry to catch up, renew

old acquaintances and celebrate the contribution that mining makes as the backbone of the Australian economy. It was held under the auspices of the Southern Queensland branch of AusIMM.

The AusIMM Mining Ball at the Brisbane Convention Centre included an auction of winning Snowden Photo Competition entries as a fundraiser for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Entertainers “Johno and Nolan” with winner of the heads and tails competition, Isabel Owen. Photos: Fiona Harding

The Mining Advocate


The Mining Advocate | November 2008


Schmidt flow sensor SS 20.260 The Schmidt SS 20.260 flow sensor, designed for use in process technology, offers crucial upgrades over its forerunner. With an expanded measuring range of 0 … 50 m/s, the sensor can be applied for flow-rate control in a wide range of systems. It can operate in temperatures of up to 120C, depending on the configuration. Schmidt Technology says the latest version of the unit is more robust due to a chamber in which the sensing element is protected against impacts.

Alminco Scorpion crawler rig The Scorpion is a new air-over-hydraulic, track-mounted drill rig designed to install secondary roof and wall support in underground roadways. Capable of bolting in roof heights of 1.4m and above, the machine’s narrow width allows it to work next to a belt or in limited space. And there is plenty of power for the hydraulic drill and mast, with the machine boasting a radial piston air motor capable of producing more than 14 kW (18.8 hp) and supplying hydraulic pressure of up to 207 Bar (3000 psi).

Quest Technologies Edge noise dosimeter Quest Technologies offers workers a micro-sized, cable-free device to measure personal noise exposure with its newly released dosimeter, The Edge. The contoured shoulder-mount instrument is designed for comfortable use while maintaining an upward orientation for the microphone. Quest Technologies says its new rechargeable lithium polymer battery gives The Edge the longest battery life in the industry for cable-free dosimeters. Datalogging and time history are available with instant data review via an LCD viewing screen.

Terex MT6300AC haul truck Terex Mining recently launched what it describes as the only truck in its industry completely designed from the ground up as a true 400-ton haul truck. The new MT6300AC boasts high ground clearance and is powered by an MTU/Detroit Diesel C Series 20V4000 engine, offering up to 3750 hp. Terex says the truck’s drive system and wheel design enable it to pull away easily from the shovel, while the new MT Series cab gives operators more leg room and plenty of storage.

MDL Australia VS150 void scanner A tough and easily portable field instrument, the VS150 is designed to produce fast and accurate 3D laser scans of underground voids where access is limited, dangerous or prohibited. Manufacturer MDL Australia says the device uses the pulse “time of flight” technique to measure ranges to rock faces and other objects without the need to place reflectors on the target. It makes 200 such measurements every second, up to a range of 150m and to an accuracy of 5cm.

Schneider Electric OsiSense ultrasonic sensor

ACME inflatable fresh air bay

The OsiSense sensor is billed as being able to detect anything from the position of machine parts to the different levels of paints in pots without contact. The device produces pulsed ultrasonic waves to detect objects up to 8m away regardless of the material involved. Schneider Electric says the sensor is the smallest of its kind on the market, making it ideal for places where mounting space is restricted. It is highly resistant to chemical agents, making it suitable for use in industrial environments including mining applications.

For a fast response to protect workers from harmful gases and smoke, ACME offers its inflatable fresh air bay. The device is designed to provide a safe enclosed environment in an area where contaminated air or poor ventilation poses a threat to human life. ACME says the lightweight device can easily be deployed by one person and it inflates in about 60 seconds. The inflatable fresh air bay is made of strong, flameretardant fabric, with reflective strips on all sides to ensure high visibility.



November 2008 |

The Mining Advocate

2008 competitors BHP Billiton Cannington Cougars Oz Minerals Century Chariots Barminco Eloise Bulls Xstrata Copper Mount Isa Mines Young Guns Xstrata Zinc Mount Isa Mines Zinc Power Maroon Xstrata Zinc Mount Isa Mines Zinc Power Silver Xstrata Copper Smelter Mongrels Xstrata Mount Isa Copper Operations Devils Xstrata Copper Ernest Henry Dingos

North West Crane Hire has the following equipment and cranes on offer: 18-220t Cranes 34ft – 85ft EWP’s 3 x 10m Tippers Semi’s, Flat top and Step Deck Trailers IT Loader 3t-7t Forklifts Tilt Trays Crane Operators, Riggers, Labourers, Tradespeople and Supervisors available The company, directed by Mark and Leanne Bellamy, commenced in 2004 with one 50t Crane and now the fleet has expanded to 78 various units with more cranes, semi’s and equipment on order and due to arrive in 2008. Mark Bellamy: 0407 620 868 Kelvin Ryan: 0422 124 083

Bobby Werman crosses the line for the winning team, the Xstrata Mount Isa Copper Operations Devils, with Julian Nardoo and Rob Herbert in support. Photos for the feature: Roslyn Budd


The Mining Advocate | November 2008


Devils make it two in a row A hard-fought grand final saw the muchfancied Century Chariots pipped at the post again this year, writes Michael Stevens. Deja vu reigned at this year’s Battle of the Mines rugby league competition, with the Devils winning the grand final against the Chariots by a margin of two points for the second year running. And once again, the result was something of a surprise, with the smart money being on the fleetfooted Century side. The Chariots were resplendent in canary yellow jerseys this year, in line with the new OZ Minerals branding. For most of the competition the team’s razzle-dazzle footy matched their incandescent garb as they tore holes through opposition defensive lines like excavators through waste rock. The Devils were the quiet achievers – they had crept up to fourth place by the end of the second round and somehow ended up qualifying first for the finals. In the first semi-final, the Chariots raced to a 16-0 halftime lead against the Eloise

Bulls, keeping tempo with a techno version of Popcorn emanating from a “blue light” disco next to the ground. The second half saw a continuation of the playful theme, with the Chariots eventually winning 26-4. The second semi-final – between the Devils and Zinc Power Maroon – began bizarrely when the Devils’ kick-off bounced back into the arms of one of their players running through, who then barged over to score in the corner without a tackle having been made. In the end, the Devils won 18-4, with the only Maroon try coming right on the stroke of fulltime. The Chariots and the Devils were then left to face off against each other in the grand final – one team aiming to erase an agonising 2-0 defeat in the corresponding game last year and the other wanting to prove that their success in 2007 was no fluke.

Devils captain Reggie Nardoo lines up for the posts through Copper Smelter Mongrels defence.

Both sides were scrappy in the first half of the final – probably due to tiredness – and the halftime score was locked up at 4-4. The Chariots revived their brilliance at the start of the second half with a try that passed through many hands and

at 10-4 after the conversion it seemed as though they would go on with the task and win comfortably. But poor discipline set in and the Chariots conceded a spate of consecutive penalties to open the door for the Devils,

who nonetheless struggled to capitalise through their poor handling. The Devils did manage to cross the line out wide with just over eight minutes remaining to bring the deficit back to two points. Both sides had near misses as the clock wound down, until the Devils scored an unconverted try to hit the lead at 12-10. With 30 seconds remaining in the match, the Chariots attacked furiously from the re-start, but to no avail. Devils captain Reggie Nardoo was emotional as he huddled with his team after the fulltime siren, telling them that he was proud to be part of something special. The bemused Chariots were once again left shaking their heads, but with the explosive talent that the side possesses, they can look forward to another red-hot shot at the title next year. Ground announcer Keith Douglas Jr had the final word: “You’d go a million miles and not see another game like that one.”

Players show true grit

The world according to Keith

The effort put in by all the Battle of the Mines teams this year was immense, given the difficult conditions for football. The Cloncurry Showground was a shimmering heat haze when the day’s proceedings kicked off at 11.30am on October 18. Feathered kites rode a stiff breeze above the field, seeming to suggest that the bomb would be an effective attacking weapon (but it was ultimately used few times). A rectangular patch of dirt in the middle of the field became

increasingly scuffed as the afternoon progressed, throwing up a cloud of rich red dust. Thankfully, the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service was on hand, with five firies driving a tanker out and hosing down the dirt patch for 10 minutes. A highlight of this year’s competition was the toughness and close scorelines of the early games, in contrast to the blowouts at the start of last year’s event. Rather than first-up rustiness, fatigue dealt a harder blow to many teams as they struggled

Booming ground announcer Keith Douglas Jr has a somewhat manic manner of calling the action. Some of his more poetic constructs this year included: • “I don’t know what’s in the water up at Century, but they’re growing some big boys up there.” (After a Chariot forward bowled over a Mongrels player) • “If you want the ball over the line, give it to the ‘C’ and the ‘C’ will be there.” (Referring to the nickname of the Maroons fullback who had scored) • “A Mongrel hits a Cougar!” (Bastard!) • “Everyone wants a taste of the try line – they’re hungry, hungry, hungry.” (Inspired by the wafting smells of the burger stand) • “They’ve just woken up – they’ve just realised they’re playing footy.” (players and fans alike struggle through 11 hours of competition) • “The Cougars can smell the taste of victory, not far away.” (Huh?) Darren McNamara from the Dingos runs the ball up against the Century Chariots.

to maintain intensity and concentration later in the afternoon and evening. Eloise led after the first round, thanks to some bruising defence and quick-fire attack, and made it into the semi-finals. Zinc Power Maroon also looked promising, especially after beating the Bulls 10-4 in the second round. The Young Guns – a team made up of apprentices – largely avoided the scourge of serious injuries that plagued them last year, with head coach Ron Eastburn saying that more intense training sessions and a closer relationship with physiotherapists had helped them cope this year. The Cougars were disappointing in the end, having been in third position after half their games but missing out on the finals. However, they were dark horses the previous two years and there’s no telling what they’ll do next year – though they have some work to do to match up with the Devils and the Chariots. Meanwhile, the Mongrels ensured their team stayed true to the goals of the day by passing around their tent an orange hardhat and ear muffler combo, with a mantra written in black marker pen: “I will not talk about work”.



November 2008 |

Reporting on the run Remember Jon and Rion? The Mining Advocate spoke to them in the last edition about what they expected from this year’s Battle of the Mines. We caught up with the two players mid-afternoon on the big day and both were pleased with the run of play. Jon Almond – from the BHP Billiton Cannington Cougars – said the team’s first game was tough, but they managed to notch up a 4-0 win over the Xstrata Mount Isa Copper Operations Devils and they backed it up with a victory over the Mount Isa Mines Young Guns in their second match. “Our defence is probably the best bit of our game,” he said. Mr Almond said he was pleased with his own form despite dropping the ball in the match against the Young Guns. Rion Burgess – from the Xstrata Copper Ernest Henry Dingos – said the competition was more relaxed than last year but was still strong. “It has been pretty physical

The Mining Advocate

Eloise Bulls player Sean Burge helps Zinc Power Silver’s John Saunders to a little sit-down.

Eloise charges into the fray Rion Burgess Dingos player

- we’ve got a few injuries, but I think every team has got them,” he said. Mr Burgess said he was focused on simply surviving the competition, but still harboured slight hopes that the Dingos could make the semis.

The surprise packet at this year’s Battle of the Mines was the Barminco Eloise Bulls, making their first appearance in the competition since 2003. Bull Simon Boyes - who was named player of the tournament – said the small mine of just over 100 workers had put in a big effort to raise

a team of 20 players for the event. Although their first run as a full team only occurred on the day before the competition, Mr Boyes said individual players had put a fair amount of effort into training before the event. “We didn’t come here to get

flogged, obviously,” he said. He said a few of the Bulls players would hang up their boots after this year’s competition, but he was confident that the younger players showed enough interest to allow Eloise to field a side in next year’s competition.

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The Mining Advocate | November 2008


More than a footy match The Battle of the Mines bash shows how a sporting event can become a true celebration of community spirit, writes Michael Stevens. The Battle of the Mines is about more than just a bunch of blokes having a hit-up and giggle on the field once a year. It’s about mates with wide grins who’ve driven across from the Isa to see Robbo gingerly position himself on the wing in the hope that a big forward won’t run at him. It’s about kids running around in circles in the long afternoon shadows of the grandstands, playing a mixed game of tag, wrestling and footy. It’s about Rotary Club volunteers heaping barbecued onion on beef patties behind a canteen counter to raise money for charity. The Battle of the Mines is a bastion of the traditional role of sports in society, where a muchanticipated event can bring a small community together in pride and celebration.

It’s a far cry from sport at a national level, where competiveness frequently gives way to ruthlessness, and where publicity surrounding sex and drug abuse scandals have eroded so much of the pure enjoyment of watching a game being played. Camped on the sideline this year at the 12th Battle of the Mines competition was the man who began the concept, John Green. He said the idea occurred to him as a way of overcoming the obstacles to playing sport caused by irregular work times. “I was doing shiftwork at a mine as a boilermaker and I found that I couldn’t get a game,” Mr Green said. “A lot of country teams had trouble fielding sides because everyone in the mines was working shiftwork and the mines didn’t allow you to go to training.

Kids play touch in the shadows of the grandstand.

Battle of the Mines pioneer John Green, left, with former North Queensland Cowboys coach Graham Murray at this year’s competition.

“So I thought, what’s a way we can keep a bit of rugby league alive?” The first Battle was played between three teams - Ernest Henry, Cannington and Eloise. It has grown to be a nine-team event this year. Also watching on the sidelines was former North Queensland



Cowboys coach Graham Murray, visiting the Battle of the Mines competition for the third time. He said the Cowboys – who send players out each year to act as officials and run junior coaching clinics – appreciated Cloncurry’s support and enjoyed giving time back to the community.

The Battle of the Mines encouraged camaraderie among the miners, Mr Murray said. “They can talk about it for the next 12 months - it’s always played in a good spirit,” he said. Mr Murray’s comments came only a couple of hours before a heavy brawl involving numerous players from Zinc Power Silver and the Mongrels led to their match being abandoned. But the players readily shook hands afterwards and it appeared that no bad blood remained. All money raised from team registrations was donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The competition was organised by the Rotary Club of Cloncurry.



November 2008 |

The Mining Advocate

‘FOGs’ roll in to lend a hand A trio of rugby league legends provided some star power on the sidelines at this year’s mine clash in Cloncurry, writes Michael Stevens. Former State of Origin greats (FOGs) Gene Miles, Mick Hancock and Tonie Carroll pitched in at this year’s Battle of the Mines, running the sidelines as touch judges and serving drinks for half an hour. When The Mining Advocate visited the bar, it looked as if they were enjoying their work – the customers were content with their beers and the FOGS were

studying a crumpled racing form guide, with Tonie Carroll calling in the bets on his mobile phone. A few minutes later, more patrons arrived and the FOGs happily posed for photos and signed autographs in between dipping into the Eskies for icecold tinnies to serve. Mr Hancock said the FOGs were frequent visitors to the Battle of the Mines and liked to

Zinc Power Maroon players John Venz (left), Hese Tupou (low) and Daniel Rhodes (behind) wrap up a Zinc Power Silver attack.

help where they could. “We’ve been here and in the Isa since Wednesday. It’s all about community – we’ve been going to schools and radio stations and visiting mines,” he said. Mr Hancock said the passion displayed by Battle of the Mines players was admirable and made up for certain lapses in finesse. “They come out here and they probably haven’t played since they were kids - you never lose it in the mind, it’s just that the body doesn’t get where you want it to get,” he said.

Melanie Gosbee is served by rugby league great Tonie Carroll.

Dylan Reid keeps his eye on the ball.

Devils player Ben Watt breaks through the defence of Copper Smelter Mongrels Gavin Bunny (left) and Scott Hendry (right).

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savings through the increased performance of

delivering specialist workforce solutions. We can help you focus on your core business by letting us manage the responsibilities of

your greatest asset, your people. At SKILLED we’re proud to take ownership of

employing permanent and supplementary staff.

each individual project, no matter how large or

Our reputation as Australia’s leading provider

small, and our commitment to safety is second to

of specialist workforce solutions to the mining


industry is built on our ability to deliver:

OfÄces located around Australia including: Bundaberg Cairns Darwin Gladstone Mt Isa Townsville Rockhampton

SKILLED employees rely on us to keep them safe

• Flexible Labour

and our track record speaks for itself.

• Project Based Workforce Solutions • Total Workforce Management

For further information of

• Training & Apprenticeships

SKILLED’s mining services, or to

• OH&S and IR Management

become a team member please call

• Reduced Workforce Risk Management

1300 366 606.

Safety + Knowledge + Integrity + Leadership

Calling all employers The Australian Technical College North Queensland is looking for employers to take on apprentices in 2009. If you are an employer who is interested in taking advantage of this opportunity please register your interest now. We will have students ready for an apprenticeship in 2009 in the following trades.

Australian Technical College North Queensland MAKATC030

Register on 1300 665 733 or visit


• Bricklaying • Carpentry • Plumbing • Electrical • Boilermaking • Fitting & Turning • Light Vehicle Automotive • Heavy Vehicle Automotive • Panelbeating • Spray Painting

07 4154 2275 07 4041 0594 08 8942 5300 07 4979 6196 07 4743 4603 07 4726 3900 07 4927 8722

November 2008  

The Mining Advocate - November 2008

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