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The Mining Advocate | September 2011


COVER IMAGE: Russian viola player Anna Larionava in Townsville for a recent competition. Photo: Lori Neilsen-Carr

September 2011

3 Growing pains

FEATURES 8 Major Projects

The Gladstone community has been alerted to the potential pitfalls of rapid industrial development through a recent rundown on the experiences of Western Australian mining hub Karratha.

9 Building Mining Communities 10 Coal and Gas Update News in brief across the coal and gas industries.

5 Black lung threat unmasked

12 Industry Update - Hard Rock A comprehensive wrap of exploration and operations in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Lax attitudes on the use of personal protection equipment in Queensland coal mines have sparked fears of the resurgence of a potentially fatal dust-related disease.

14 Between Shifts

7 Making tracks in the Galilee

16 Live, Work, Play Townsville

The Adani Group detailed its $10 billion grand plan in Bowen recently for the development of the

23 Training

Carmichael coal mine and related rail and port infrastructure.

24 Ivanhoe Australia Feature

8 Riding the dragon

26 Wet Season

Conquest Mining has signed up a second major Chinese smelter to take product from its Mt Carlton mine in North Queensland, adding extra polish to the gold-copper-silver project.

27 Processing

16-22 City’s perfect pitch

28 Building NW Queensland 30 Safety and Rescue

In line with a drive to encourage more mining families to live in Townsville, this edition highlights the area’s lifestyle, career and educational advantages in addition to the solid cultural credentials that attract accomplished performers such as Russian viola player Anna Larionava. Ms Larionava, pictured on our cover, visited North Queensland recently to compete in the 2011 Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition.

31 Health in Mining 32 Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference

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

Managing editor:

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

Dark m. 0417 623 156

Email: ...............................................................

Journalist: .......................................................... Jan Green m. 0418 740 336

Address: ......................................... U3/11 Carlton St, Kirwan, Q, 4817

Sales: ................................................p. (07) 4755 0336 m. 0417 623 156

Postal: ...................................................... PO Box 945, Townsville, Q, 4810 Client Services:..................................Marion Lago m. 0414 225 621

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September 2011 |

The Mining Advocate

When work is a foreign affair MMG Century superintendent geology manager Mike Smith.

AECOM technical

Two professionals highlighted the pros and cons of international postings for a recent Townsville forum, writes Jan Green.

director David Metcalfe. Ancient traditions

Working overseas can be a dream, a nightmare or a combination of both. MMG Century superintendent geology manager Mike Smith and AECOM technical director David Metcalfe have both experienced the good and the bad of being posted outside Australia – Mr Smith in Papua New Guinea and Mr Metcalfe in the United Arab Emirates, South-East Asia and Libya. The pair spoke about the challenges and pleasures of working overseas at a recent event organised by the Engineers Australia Townsville local group in conjunction with Women in Mining and Resources Queensland and the Townsville Women in Engineering Committee. Mr Metcalfe’s most alarming experience was being forced to flee Libya last February when the country’s upheavals manifested themselves in shooting outside his apartment. “I looked for a camel to get out on but couldn’t find one,” he laughed. “However, I eventually made my way to the airport and

managed to get a plane home.” PNG is one of the most lawless, corruption-ridden countries in the world, so Mr Smith too has contended with his share of daunting situations. While he was never personally threatened, he did have a couple of close calls with landslides, and flying in PNG - which is littered with what the locals call “rockstudded clouds” - is definitely risky. “People working on remote mine sites do a lot of helicopter flying, but although the pilots are good – generally they are Aussies – the planes aren’t always as well maintained as they are in Australia,” Mr Smith said. Although the places Mr Smith and Mr Metcalfe spent time in were worlds apart in many ways, both agreed a number of common factors applied to successful overseas working and living. The first and most important point was to respect each country’s culture and learn as much about it in advance as possible. For example, in conservative societies such as the United Arab Emirates even minor driving

Refuelling PNG style at the Wafi gold project exploration camp in Morobe province.

continue alongside modern military manoeuvres in the Saudi Arabian desert.

infringements or, in the case of women, dressing inappropriately, can result in severe penalties. Knowing the language can be helpful but, as English is so widely spoken, for the most part it’s not essential. Getting to know the locals – particularly community relations people - is invaluable in the event of misunderstandings occurring and in third-world or

disadvantaged countries, basics like first-aid kits, antibiotics, soap, earplugs and even dry emergency food rations should be regarded as staples. Regardless of the destination, all vaccinations should be up to date and life insurance policies in place before setting out. Both men agreed that if the work undertaken was in a politically volatile or dangerous

country, having an emergency exit strategy in place was essential. Despite the possible dangers and discomfort, they shared the opinion that working overseas was personally and culturally enriching, life changing, exciting and if the opportunities arise they should be seriously considered and, where possible, seized.

Engineering joint speakers event Heritage Bar, Townsville Photos: Mike Shearer

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The Mining Advocate | September 2011

Lessons from WA boom town A civic leader from the Karratha region has shared the area’s experiences with a fellow community grappling with rapid growth. Sky-high rents, inflated real estate values and social disruption are among the consequences of unchecked development in burgeoning industrial centres, a recent Gladstone forum was warned. These potential problems and others were highlighted in a case study presentation on Western Australian mining hub Karratha to Gladstone business owners and residents. Karratha and Gladstone regions are similar, with the former’s economic base including Rio Tinto’s iron ore operations, ammonia exports and Woodside’s Pluto gas project, being developed adjacent the existing North West Shelf liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility. Responding to an invitation from the Gladstone Engineering Alliance, the deputy shire president of Roebourne (which takes in Karratha), John Lally, outlined his region’s history, status, plans and lessons for Gladstone. “Social impact studies to determine how development will affect the community and businesses are the vital starting point,” Cr Lally told The Mining Advocate.

“Combined with that, substantial land for future housing as well as sewerage, water and electricity infrastructure – which Gladstone fortunately has, but Karratha doesn’t – are critical so as the region develops a balanced demographic can be maintained. “That hasn’t happened in Karratha, where average weekly rents vary from $1600 – $2500. “The result is people working in the resources industry are the only ones who can afford to pay that amount and that has put a severe strain on the town. “To partially redress the imbalance, the State Government - under the Royalties for Regions initiative assistance - built 100 dwellings for service workers’ accommodation. “Without resident service workers business would grind to a halt and the town could very easily finish up as glorified mining camp.” Cr Lally said the service workers’ accommodation was just one of a number of initiatives introduced over the last two years to make Karratha living more amenable. He also stressed the importance of the readiness of governments at all levels to work together


John Lally overlooks Karratha in Western Australia.

with resource companies to minimise the social impact on the community. “Gladstone is infinitely better off than Karratha in terms of land, power and water,” Cr Lally said. “But, despite being well positioned, they’ll still get hammered if they don’t plan effectively. Rents are rising already and unless the government

Photo: Aaron Bunch

releases land quickly, allowing developers to go ahead, speculators will move in and the town will be left behind.” While considerable strategic planning had been done already for Gladstone, much more was needed given the city would probably double over the next few years, Cr Lally said. “People just don’t realise to


what extent that’s going to affect them,” he said. “The other point is what’s happening isn’t a boom. It’s business as usual and it’s going to be like this for probably the next 50 years or so.” He further stressed the importance of community consultation in the decisionmaking process, particularly when it came to amenities such as schools, housing and community facilities. Cr Lally identified rents getting out of control as Gladstone’s biggest immediate danger. “In Karratha, we have to cope with the hand we’ve been dealt, but Gladstone is far better placed to ensure their inevitable rapid development occurs at a pace which benefits both the resources industry and the community in general,” he said.

Gas activity builds at Dalby Coal seam gas explorer and producer QGC is powering ahead with massive developments in the Dalby area. The company’s Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) Project involves significantly expanding QGC operations in the Surat Basin and transporting gas to Curtis Island off Gladstone. QGC senior vice-president Jim Knudsen said work on the LNG plant site was well under way and material loading sites in Gladstone and receiving points on Curtis Island were nearing completion. “Production of steel pipe for the main pipeline – all 540km of it – is complete and our shipments are moving to the lay-down areas in Miles,” Mr Knudsen said. “Here in Dalby we have also begun laying out pipe along the easement, ready for burial.” Other developments in that area include the expansion of a camp housing less than 100 people to accommodate 550 by the end of the year. QGC is also about to begin site preparation for the Ruby gas processing facility 40km west of Dalby. Construction of an associated water pond recently began and earthworks for a 550-person temporary camp are expected to start next month.

“This amounts to a significant investment and in all our parent company, BG Group, will have invested $15 billion by 2014 in constructing this project,” Mr Knudsen said. Since January 2010, QGC’s expenditure on the QCLNG Project has been estimated at $2.3 billion, with more than half spent in Queensland. “To date, we have more than 550 contracts for services and equipment and more than 1500 businesses have registered their interest in being involved in the project,” Mr Knudsen said. He noted many of these were small family businesses which were growing and prospering, much like Dalby’s Ostwald Bros, which has a $60 million contract with QGC. “In addition, QGC recently awarded a $57 million contract to Hutchinson Builders in Toowoomba,” Mr Knudsen said. “This will result in 130 locals being employed to supply modular accommodation units for our construction staff.” Mr Knudsen said QGC expected to create more than 5000 jobs during construction of the QCLNG Project and up to 1000 during operation. It will add $32 billion to Queensland’s economy in the first decade.



September 2011 |

The Mining Advocate

Morven keeps them movin’ Big rigs, emus and a hot trade in audio books to entertain drivers on long inland treks ... such is life at an Outback roadhouse. The contrast between cosmopolitan Cape Town in South Africa and Morven - a tiny, dusty town 190km east of Roma in Queensland’s coal seam gas country - couldn’t be much greater. However, Ausfuel Gull BP Morven Roadhouse site manager and former Cape Town businessman Johan Rademeyer is thriving in the both location and the job. A year ago Mr Rademeyer, 67, and his wife Cecilia retired in Lismore, New South Wales. But once the freezers were full of venison – shot by Mr Rademeyer - boredom with housework and gardening soon set in. The next hunt was for another job and the pair moved to Morven - with a population less than 300 – about seven months ago. “In the past, I’ve run my own service station and hospitality businesses in Australia, so what I’m doing now is familiar territory, even if the same can’t be said for the surroundings,” Mr Rademeyer laughed. Before being driven out

by danger and violence, the Rademeyers were well established in South Africa. Mrs Rademeyer was a divisional sales manager for a large cosmetic company and the family’s 3ha property produced an abundance of fruit, meat and vegetables. “In addition I’d go on at least five hunts each year for venison to supplement our own chickens, lamb and beef,” Mr Rademeyer said. “Most Sundays we’d have a big extended family lunch where the rice on the table was the only food not produced by us” Such bounty can’t be replicated in Morven, but given the roadhouse is open from 6am to 9.30pm seven days a week, there’s not time for much else anyway. “For a tiny outpost, just outside the edge of Morven, our staff of around 10 is kept pretty busy providing meals and snacks, fuel and items such as groceries, cool drinks, ice creams, and delicious sandwiches,” Mr Rademeyer said. “We also have newspapers, magazines, CDs, DVDs and audio books. The audio books, some of which are up to 24 discs,

Above - Ample parking and turning room, even for the locals, outside the Morven roadhouse. Right - Johan and Cecilia Rademeyer.

sell like hot cakes, mostly to long -distance truck drivers on the way to Darwin or Brisbane.” Long-distance truck drivers constitute about 75 per cent of the roadhouse’s custom. However, in the tourist season and leading up to special events like the Birdsville races, the volume of coaches, caravans and mobile homes increases substantially. While the roadhouse is quite small, parking areas of about 4ha ensure that trucks have plenty of room to park and manoeuvre.



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“I’ve counted up to 30 truck combos on the site at the one time,” Mr Rademeyer said. “To avoid slow turn-arounds, big vehicles can also park on the other side of the Warrego Highway directly opposite the roadhouse.” In return for the truckies’ excellent custom, the roadhouse’s shower facilities are left open around the clock for their use and tea and coffee are “on the house”. “That’s our contribution to

road safety,” Mr Rademeyer said. Apart from the job, he also enjoys Outback Queensland’s relaxed lifestyle, the company of the people who live there, travellers, rural workers and his hard-working staff. “It’s a vastly different way of life from everything else we’ve been used to and while there’s very little - apart from about 50 houses and a handful of businesses – out here, it’s a rich existence in so many other ways,” Mr Rademeyer said.


The Mining Advocate | September 2011

Black lung danger unmasked

Craig Stewart fits appropriate personal protective equipment to an underground miner.

Many miners are failing to don appropriate gear to prevent dust inhalation, placing themselves at risk, an industry expert warns. There’s grave concern among some safety industry members that underground coalminers who don’t wear the correct respiratory protective equipment (RPE) risk contracting potentially lethal diseases. One of the worst – commonly known as coalminer’s black lung disease – was thought, up until recently, to have been effectively eradicated in Australia. However, CSM Safety Services managing director Craig Stewart said 2008 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) mortality data listed 18 Queenslanders as having died of it over the period 19992008. The disease - also known as coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, first came to light in the Welsh coal mines in the 1800s. Inhaling coal dust was recognised as the cause and within a short time dust management was effectively implemented to protect miners. “Under current Australian mining safety and health legislation, all underground miners are required to wear RPE

where the risk of dust inhalation exists,” Mr Stewart said. “But from my own first-hand observations during safety audits, many don’t. “On at least three recent occasions (at coal operations), I’ve been the only one wearing respiratory protection underground. Many miners – even though they are aware of the risks – simply choose not to wear it and, in frequent cases, mine management or pit superintendents aren’t enforcing that legal requirement.” Mr Stewart also expressed concern that many miners, even though they wore respiratory devices, may not be adequately protected. “In recent training sessions, I’ve asked miners – those who did and didn’t wear protective equipment - what happened at the end of a shift when they coughed or blew their noses,” he said. “Nine times out of 10 they said what was coughed up or blown from their noses was black. That’s strong evidence that their

respiratory systems have been contaminated to an extent and that their respiratory protection equipment was not fully effective.” Mr Stewart said miners often rejected some of the best equipment available - claiming it

was hot, heavy and uncomfortable to wear. Instead, they opted for cloth disposable masks. While more comfortable, these did not prevent finer dust particles from entering the respiratory system, he said.


“These extra fine particles are the most dangerous because the body can’t filter them out of inhaled air or shed them with natural defences such as coughing. So they sit in the deep reaches of the lung and ultimately solidify,” Mr Stewart said. Mr Stewart feels it is imperative that all mining companies insist and, where necessary, force every miner working in dusty conditions to wear appropriate and correctly fitting RPE at all times. “Because the information is difficult to extrapolate and analyse and because there’s no requirement to follow up with medical checks when miners leave the industry, we don’t really know just how many people could be suffering from inhaled coal respiratory disease,” he said. “I hope I’m wrong, but given the number of miners I’ve seen working without appropriate respiratory protection and considering the working miner’s time in the industry, I fear it could be quite a lot.”

Longwall dust concerns Union representatives and mines inspectorates have been concerned for some time about the increased level of respirable dust being generated from the longwall mining method, according to a Queensland CFMEU safety head. However, based on figures available to the CFMEU, no coal miner had been reported as having any dustincurred disease in Australia for at least 25 years. CFMEU Mining and Energy Division industry safety and health representative Greg Dalliston said Queensland had introduced a health improvement awareness committee which met regularly to review and discuss dust level readings taken from compulsory personal monitoring. “The current Queensland mining legislation has now been in place since March 2001 and was written at a time when the production of coal from longwall mines in Australia was beginning to rapidly increase,” Mr Dalliston said.

He said Queensland laws required all coal mine workers to have a medical examination prior to starting work at a mine and at intervals of no more than five years apart. “In addition, all coal mine workers as well as mine operators and site senior executives have obligations regarding attaining and maintaining an acceptable level of risk at mines,” Mr Dalliston said. “The regulations require mines to have systems for monitoring and controlling dust, including respirable dust, in the workplace in place.” Mr Dalliston said a recent Kimberly-Clark survey revealed that 17 per cent of United States workers did not wear respiratory protection masks. He did not believe non-compliance would be that high among Australian coal mine workers. While the union encouraged workers to wear personal protective equipment, he said responsibility for controlling its effective use lay with management.

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September 2011 |

The Mining Advocate

Power lift earns innovation award A remote-controlled platform developed to help remove belly guards from mine dozers has come up trumps for its makers. The “Strongback Power Lift”, designed by an MMG Century Mine workshop team, took out the premier innovation award at the 2011 Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference in Townsville recently. The remote-controlled platform was judged the winning entry by an expert panel and the conference’s 700 delegates from a field of 10 finalists. The device was developed to assist tradespeople to safely remove gusseted steel plates, known as belly guards, from the

underside of mining dozers. Century general manager Karl Spaleck said the device differed from other products on the market because it had been developed especially for use with dozers. “The Strongback Power Lift has a low centre of gravity to improve stability and tracks to allow the device to be used on flat and uneven surfaces,” he said. “Another important feature is the use of a remote control to guide the platform out from under the dozer.” The People’s Choice Award for

innovation was won by Xstrata Coal’s Oaky North operation in the Bowen Basin, while BHP Billiton Cannington Mine was highly commended. Injuries associated with the installation of essential underground mine ventilation systems motivated workers at the Oaky North mine to investigate the viability of alternatives to fibreglass vent tubes. Lighter carbon fibre substitutes were commissioned and tested. New materials were also in evidence at Cannington mine, where strategically positioned Kevlar sheeting was used to help protect passengers from objects penetrating light vehicle bodies. • Conference photos - Page 32

MMG Century Mine asset and reliability manager Rod Dugmore explains the winning device at the conference. Photo: Mark Duffus

University links A James Cook University students-meet-industry presentation in Townsville recently helped introduce earth science, environment and engineering students to young industry professionals in relevant fields. Presentations by exploration managers, geoscientists, a chemical engineer and geologist gave students the opportunity to make personal contact with potential future employers and some also secured holiday employment. AusIMM NQ branch chair Jim Morrison said such events helped make students aware that top academic results ensured top jobs and

highlighted the benefits of belonging to one or more industry professional body. Such societies offered great opportunities to network with like-minded professionals at technical and social events, Mr Morrison said. “For example, the local AusIMM branch not only provides technical and social events in Townsville and Charters Towers, it also organises conferences, excursions and distinguished lecturer presentations at outlying operations plus support for JCU and EGRU (Economic Geology Research Unit),” he said.

Above left - Jamie Tregear (AusIMM), David Hunter (QNI) and Kegan Chisnall (Sun Metals) at the recent JCU industry presentation. Above - Kira Weidig (JCU), Dr Trevor Beardsmore (Barrick) and Kim Hurd (Kagara). Left - Dr Zhaoshan Chang with Erin Stormont, Mark Munro and Caitlin Morris (all from JCU). Photos: Mike Shearer

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The Mining Advocate | September 2011

Making tracks in the Galilee The Adani Group is expecting to increase capacity at Abbot Point in line with the development of its Carmichael mine, west of Moranbah.

The proponent’s vision for the $10 billion Carmichael coal project was detailed at a recent business forum, writes Robert Dark. Indian-based company the Adani Group has laid its credentials on the line in committing to one of the largest coal developments in the southern hemisphere. Adani has committed $10 billion to the development of the Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin, about 200km west of Moranbah, as well as connecting rail infrastructure, rail upgrades and port acquisitions. Adani Mining chief executive officer Jignesh Derasari described the company’s measure of commitment as in no doubt “provided we get support”. In his address to more than 260 guests at a recent Bowen business information forum,

Mr Derasari noted the company had already spent 25 per cent of its anticipated investment. He also detailed plans to maximise efficiency and reduce impact on the environment while promoting community development. Adani Group acquired the Carmichael thermal coal deposit last year and purchased a 99-year lease on Abbot Point, outside Bowen, earlier this year. The company is also one of two preferred proponents for the development of new coal export facilities at Dudgeon Point, near Mackay. Mr Derasari cited the cooperative use of existing rail lines to Abbot Point as an example

of meeting their triple-bottom line goals. He also noted that the mine’s return to the community in terms of royalties would be in the vicinity of $700 million per year with payroll and income tax liabilities of $300 million per year. “By the end of next year, we expect to get all the approvals in place and we definitely want to begin construction (of the mine site and infrastructure) early in 2013 and be operational by 2014,” Mr Derasari said. The proposed mine is expected to produce 60 million tonnes of coal a year in about 10 years’

time from both open-cut and underground operations. The rail link to Moranbah alone is expected to cost $1 billion. Upgrades to the existing line as well as a further expansion to the company’s Abbot Point facilities and development of Carmichael mine will be supported by a 5000-strong workforce in the construction stage. Consider the scale of the greenfields operation: 300MW of electricity; 6000 megalitres of water; 70km of bitumen; draglines; 800-tonne and 300-tonne excavators and


other materials handling, accommodation and ancillary logistics. The company believes the expected demand for 350,000 railway sleepers will create an industry in itself. Add into the equation a sense of urgency and you have a serious new contender to challenge the existing giants Xstrata, BMA, Rio Tinto and Anglo American Metallurgical Coal. Peter O’Reilly, chief executive officer of Enterprise Whitsundays - which organised the Bowen business information forum - said the size and scale of the Adani project was startling. “It is going to have a massive impact on our community and local economy,” he said. “And this is just one project. The Galilee Basin is expected to produce about 200 million tonnes of coal a year when it is developed. “The effects of this will flow into our region. “The vast majority of the long-term jobs created will be in mining and to become a place where people live and travel to work will be gold for this region. “Enterprise Whitsundays’ ‘Living Whitsundays’ project – which is about attracting mine workers to live in the Whitsundays and commute to the mines - is absolutely crucial to ensuring the region capitalises on the mining activity in an economic development sense.”




September 2011 |

The Mining Advocate

Staffing a question of balance Drawing on sectors with compatible skills and a greater focus on some mid-level roles are among suggested steps to beat workforce woes. With so much happening in the burgeoning mining sector, many employers running major projects are having real difficulty in finding the right staffing balance, according to an industry recruitment specialist. Mining People International managing consultant, Eastern Region, Jenny Revie believes the problem isn’t due to a shortage of potential employees seeking mining jobs, as thousands are attracted by the prospect. It is more that two of the most important criteria - an ability to cope with the demands of mining life as well as meeting the requisite skill levels – ruled many out. Despite the good money, mining was a hard life, Ms Revie said. It could place stress on families and the fly in-fly out routine burnt out many people, she said. Unskilled workers, while they could get in at ground level, often had limited opportunities for advancement. “For example, someone working on a dump truck, dozer, or a grader will build up skills over 13 or so years, but because they aren’t qualified as such frequently can’t progress beyond that level - so they leave to work in the city or take on other employment,” she said. “This then leaves another gap to fill and new people to be trained from the ground up because the positions aren’t necessarily being filled by people with the requisite skills. “Frequently those who live and work regionally in the mining

controversial, but instead of spending money in that area we should be making a much bigger training and development investment into the mining industry – which some are already moving to – because you can’t tell me there aren’t enough bodies in Australia,” she said. “At the blue-collar level, there’s no shortage of people with compatible skills and capabilities, such as quarry workers and people who’ve worked with heavy equipment on farms and in remote communities that

understand the location issues, but they are often denied jobs, even though they apply, simply because they don’t have mining experience. “Those are the people who should be employed, not overseas workers.” At the white-collar level, engineering dominated mining and while there was no shortage of people with 15 to 20 years’ experience, those with five to 10 years’ experience were considerably scarcer, Ms Revie said.

“While there’s some excellent talent at the really high end of the scale, the next two levels just haven’t come through to the extent the industry needs,” she said. “I believe overseas workers aren’t the long-term answer to that problem either. Instead, those considering a mining career need to look carefully at what they need to do to get the jobs they want and industry needs to attract and retain the best they can in those midlevels.”

Conquest Mining’s China coup Jenny Revie Mining People International managing consultant

industry opt to move to the city for family, educational or social reasons, so the mix is constantly changing and this is another factor in maintaining balanced employment at a number of levels. “New major projects are a great way for the right ‘green’ or unskilled blue-collar workers to get jobs and while it’s an excellent way to train people, it also constitutes a large capital investment in upskilling. “In addition, having a lot of unskilled people - for example, people with limited experience such as driving dump trucks on a mine site - can be potentially dangerous and a safety concern.” Ms Revie rejected the idea that importing overseas mining industry workers was any sort of solution to the skills imbalance. “This might come across as

An offtake deal for the sale of 60,000 dry metric tonnes of silver-copper concentrate to Shandong Humon Smelting marks a major step forward for Conquest Mining’s Mt Carlton project. This agreement, along with the previously announced contract with another leading Chinese precious metal smelter - Guoda Smelter - means all product has been sold over the estimated 12-year life of the North Queensland mine. Production is expected to begin in the second half of 2012 at the Mt Carlton site, 150km south of Townsville. Development of the $127 million mine, which has mineral resources of 1.4 million ounces of gold, 36.7 million ounces of silver and 71,200 tonnes of copper, was approved in December 2010. “The Humon contract is very important for this project and while the development is very conventional - with two open pits and straight-

Jake Klein Conquest executive chairman

forward metallurgical processes - the mine will produce a rich gold-coppersilver concentrate,” Conquest executive chairman Jake Klein said. “Therefore knowing that we had reliable offtake contracts in place was very important to our development decision.” Conquest Mining also recently announced that it had accepted a committed offer of finance from Macquarie Bank

for up to $100 million towards construction of the Mt Carlton project. Cultural heritage requirements and procurement of the mill have been completed and the final stages of permitting – including an environmental management plan - are in progress. “Our mining licence needs to be approved before any construction activity can begin, but we are hopeful that can be achieved and building started before the end of the year,” Mr Klein said. “We estimate around 150 people will work on the mine’s construction and about the same number over the life of the mine once operations are under way.” Based on current reserves and a 12-year life of mine, Conquest Mining anticipates initial annual production will average 95,000 ounces of gold equivalent. Recent exploration indicates there is potential for the mine life to be extended.

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Building Mining Communities

The Mining Advocate | September 2011

Mining Supporting Communities


'ERRMRKXSR Paul Hitchins from BHP Billiton Cannington Mine hands over a track top at a recent presentation with Queensland Senator Sue Boyce, Cloncurry Shire Mayor Andrew Daniels and bursary winners Emma Cursio and Denny-Ray Hill.

Bursaries help give NQ kids a sporting chance Thirty-two young North Queenslanders have each received a $750 boost to their sporting careers, courtesy of BHP Billiton Cannington and the North Queensland Sports Foundation. In addition to being awarded a 2011 North Queensland Sport Development Bursary, recipients were given embroidered track tops recognising their award. Applications for the bursaries were submitted through regional councils to the North Queensland Sports Foundation for vetting prior to the winners being announced.

“The bursaries are now in their eighth year and during that time more than 200 young athletes have been awarded over $114,000,” North Queensland Sports Foundation manager Col Kenna said. “Recognition of the requirements of young regional athletes has been identified by BHP Billiton Cannington recently increasing the individual bursary amount from $500 to $750. “This will help ease the financial pressure on improving performance, upgrading equipment or attending distant competitions or training.”


Gladstone engineers support local Salvos The Gladstone Salvation Army is more than $6556 better off, thanks to the generosity of the Gladstone Engineering Alliance. The funds, including $556.40 raised at the International Workforce and Gladstone Engineering Alliance (GEA) charity golf day, were presented to Salvation Army captain Jeff Bush. “It was great to be a part of such a fantastic day and I am very grateful to be the first charity to receive funds from such a great networking event run by the GEA,” Captain Bush said. The funds would go towards the Gladstone Salvation Army’s new initiative - a men’s shed project - and emergency services for the region, he said.

Townsville golf days boost charity coffers North Queensland miners and mine suppliers raised about $30,000 for a variety of charities when they teed off at two recent Townsville events. The inaugural Queensland ABB Mining Golf Challenge, staged by The Daybreak Rotary Club of Townsville, was declared a success. One hundred and fifty players from resource companies and suppliers participated, raising more than $25,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), the Australian Volunteer Coastguard, Delta Society dogs and the Rotary Foundation. “The last event of this kind was held around 2005,”

Daybreak Rotary Club of Townsvillle vice-president Marcel McLeod said. “We’re keen to see it continue as an annual event from now on and the fact ABB has confirmed naming rights for the next three years gives us confidence this will happen.” MMG Century Mine’s annual golf day – held to thank supply and service companies who deal with the mine throughout the year – raised more than $2500 for the RFDS. “Over 110 representatives from local through to national and international level took part,” a Century spokeswoman said.

Dave Tawse and Brian McKee (both from BHP Billiton Cannington Mine) at the Queensland ABB Mining Golf Challenge.

Paul Walker, Neil Robertson and Jayson Johns (all NQX Townsville) at the Century Suppliers’ Charity Golf Day.

Rod Dugmore (MMG Century Mine) and Glen Shannen (Hastings Deering) at the Century Suppliers’ Charity Golf Day.

Justin Tripcony (MMG), John Abbott and Bruce Maxwell (both Weir Minerals) at the Century Suppliers’ Charity Golf Day.

Mo Ali (MMG Century Mine) with Mark Clelland and Ray O’Brien (both from Blackwoods) at the Century golf event.

Charlie Lillie, Matt Rilstone and Len Maluga (all from Sandvik) at the Century Suppliers’ Charity Golf Day.

resourcing g the e future 'ERRMRKXSR



It’s a goer

September 2011 |

Under the subcontract, to be delivered for major contractor Bechtel Australia, John

Market domination

Holland will design and construct a 360m

Queensland will be producing more

jetty and loading platform. Construction

liquefied natural gas (LNG) than

of the new GLNG product loading facility

Australia’s total current production rate

is expected to be complete in 2013.

within nine years, according to forecasts

Arrow targets Bow

released recently in a leading industry report card. Queensland LNG capacity is

Arrow Energy has

set to reach at least

made a preliminary

25 million tonnes by

proposal for a

2020, according to

takeover of Bow

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shareholders $1.48 per share.

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energy economics

both companies to

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group, EnergyQuest.

The Australia Pacific LNG board has approved a final investment decision on the first phase of a two-train CSG to LNG project in central Queensland. The project – a joint venture involving Origin Energy, ConocoPhillips and now Sinopec - is expected to cost $US14 billion for the first phase and $US20 billion for the full two-train development. First LNG exports are planned to commence from Gladstone in 2015. Engineering, procurement and construction contracts for the planned LNG facility on Curtis Island have been awarded to Bechtel while a joint venture between McConnell Dowell Constructors and Consolidated Contractors Australia has entered a fixed-price pipeline construction contract.

LNG design deal

annum for export, with potential to double the size to four trains that could produce

Arrow Energy has awarded the front-end

up to 16mtpa. Arrow also recently awarded

engineering design (FEED) contract for its

a major contract to Parsons Brinckerhoff

planned multi-billion dollar LNG plant on

to investigate options for power supply to

Curtis Island off Gladstone.

surface facilities required to further develop

The engineering design will be undertaken

its coal seam gas projects in the Surat and

by CJV - an international consortium

Bowen basins.

comprising the Chiyoda Corporation, CB&I (Chicago Bridge and Iron) and

Contract for John Holland

the report, Australian 2011: From Well to

“The demand for

explore business Origin Energy managing director Grant King, Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser, Premier Anna Bligh and Australia Pacific LNG project director Page Maxson at the investment decision announcement. Photo: Ray Cash

The Mining Advocate

Queensland LNG

opportunities given the proximity of both companies’ CSG

from Asian buyers has been outstanding,

assets and the complementary nature of our

considering that LNG from coal seam gas

businesses,” Arrow chief executive officer

has never been done before,” EnergyQuest

Andrew Faulkner said.

chief executive officer Dr Graeme Bethune

Meanwhile Bow Energy recently reached an agreement to farm out its petroleum tenements in the central Eromanga Basin in Queensland to Real Energy Corporation.

Housing boost

said. “Twenty-five million tonnes is more than Australia’s current LNG production of 20.8 million tonnes in the 12 months to June 30 this year.” The report stated that further expansion of Queensland’s LNG capacity to around 32 million tonnes looked feasible by the

The company developing the Queensland

mid-2020s, but also noted the challenge

Curtis LNG Project has announced it

presented by labour shortages.

will spend more than $60 million on up to 100 houses in the Western Downs and Gladstone regions. The investment is part of QGC’s integrated housing strategy, which includes new houses for project staff and

Electricity from syngas Carbon Energy has announced an Australian first in achieving electricity generation using syngas produced through its process of underground coal gasification.

affordable housing and rental assistance

Carbon Energy managing director Andrew

in communities from Chinchilla to

Dash said this achievement at Bloodwood

Gladstone. QGC is expanding its

Creek in southern Queensland represented

Saipem - over the next 12 months.

John Holland has been awarded a marine

operations in the Surat Basin in south-

a major step forward for the company as it

The Arrow LNG plant will be designed

subcontract worth more than $90 million

western Queensland to transport natural

moved closer to its first revenue milestone

with two processing trains, each producing

as part of the GLNG Project’s Curtis

gas through a 540km underground pipeline

– connection to Ergon Energy’s local

Island facility.

to an LNG plant at Gladstone.

electricity grid, expected in October.

nominally four million tonnes of LNG per



The Mining Advocate | September 2011

Lift off for Eagle Downs Vale has moved closer to development of its Eagle Downs coal project in joint venture with Aquila Resources, with both the Queensland Government mining lease and $US875 million in funding from the Brazilian-based Vale board of directors now approved. Eagle Downs is located about 20km south-east of Moranbah in central Queensland. Vale said it had the potential to support a longwall underground mine employing 400 people and producing an average of 4.5mtpa of product coking coal (in the first 10 years of longwall production).

Eromanga rising The Eromanga Basin represents a new coal frontier in Australia according to East Energy Resources (EER), which is focusing on its Blackall Project in western Queensland. The tenement, 45km south of Blackall, has an inferred resource of about 1.2 billion tonnes of thermal coal. “Eromanga is little known, but it’s a highly lucrative location that will play a significant role in the future of Australia’s coal industry,” EER managing director Mark Basso said. “The Galilee Basin has received a significant amount of attention as a hub for sourcing export coal and the Eromanga is only 200km away. Given the proximity, the potential to add to the export total is significant.”

A clutch of coal contracts Monadelphous Group has secured a three-year contract worth about $100 million with BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) for dragline and shovel shutdown work across its Bowen Basin coal operations. The engineering group said it had also recently won two contracts worth about $100 million for civil, structural, mechanical and electrical work to supply and install an overland conveyor and a drift conveyor as part of the extension project at the Rio Tinto Coal Australia-

managed Kestrel Mine near Emerald. It has also landed two contracts with BMA’s project delivery group for ongoing construction work on various sites in the northern region of the Bowen Basin over two years.

Teresa sale talks Linc Energy has progressed to the final stage of negotiations with the top four bidding groups for its Teresa coal tenement, north of Emerald.

to enhance recovery of metallurgical coal at the North Goonyella mine. Peabody believes the move will allow the recovery of up to 3.9 million tonnes of additional high quality hard coking coal from the Bowen Basin mine, with opportunities for use in other areas.

The company said LTCC technology would allow the After 16 years of recruiting operation to mine in the mining industry the full coal seam MPi has you covered. thickness of 6.5m compared to 4.2m under the conventional longwall mining method. Peabody is the first company to sign an LTCC licensing agreement with Yanzhou. The equipment is expected Call 07 3220 3129 to be placed into service in late 2012.

Reporting on progress recently, Linc said it had continued to observe strong interest from overseas investors in Australian coal resources.Linc Energy has lodged a mining lease application and commenced the environmental impact study for the Teresa operation.

Macarthur takeover bid Macarthur Coal’s directors in late August recommended that shareholders accept Peabody Energy and ArcelorMittal’s (PEAMCoal’s) increased takeover bid for the company. PEAMCoal increased its offer for outstanding shares from $15.50 to $16 per share, placing a value of about $4.8 billion on Macarthur. “This is a major step forward in our acquisition process,” Peabody Energy chairman and chief executive officer Gregory H. Boyce said. Macarthur Coal is a leading producer of low-volatile PCI metallurgical coal with production and development assets in the Bowen Basin including the Coppabella and Moorvale joint venture, Middlemount and Codrilla.

New longwall technology Peabody Energy has announced plans to install Longwall Top Coal Caving (LTCC) technology under licence from Yanzhou Coal Mining Company


/ ,

/  "

BHP Billiton rail plans BHP Billiton is investigating the potential development of its own rail line to Abbot Point to support the growth of its Bowen Basin coal operations. The company’s Goonyella to Abbot Point Rail Project would involve the construction of 250km-290km of rail line from the Goonyella Riverside mine to the coast, associated rail yards and maintenance facilities. BHP Billiton has begun the environmental impact statement process for the $1 billion-plus project. BHP Billiton and Hancock Coal have been named as preferred developers for two new coal terminals at Abbot Point, potentially increasing overall coal export capacity at the North Queensland port to 110 million tonnes per annum (with scope to increase to 160mtpa, subject to all relevant approvals).

Cameby Downs changes hands Yancoal Australia has taken over the Cameby Downs mine and a number of large coal tenements with its recent acquisition of Queensland thermal coal producer Syntech Resources.


The Cameby Downs open-cut operation, located between Miles and Chinchilla in the Surat Basin, produces about 1.4 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of thermal coal product, with plans to expand to Stage 2 linked to the development of the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) at Gladstone and the Surat Basin Rail infrastructure. Syntech had lodged an expression of interest for 10mtpa capacity in Stage 2 of the proposed WICET development. Yancoal Australia managing director Murray Bailey said the acquisition of Syntech represented an important step in the company’s long-term growth strategy. Yancoal plans to pursue the possible use of coal to chemicals, gas and hydrocarbon liquids technologies developed in China as an alternative method of developing the coal resources in the Surat Basin.

Blackwater project powers ahead QR National says it is on track to complete the $195 million Blackwater Power Project six months ahead of schedule after achieving an important project milestone. The project, which will nearly double the electrical capacity on the Blackwater rail system in central Queensland, is now expected to be complete by June 2012. In a critical milestone for the project, QR National Network Services completed construction of the Bluff feeder station site ahead of schedule.

Jobs expos announced The Queensland Government and the resources sector have reached an agreement to seek out new workers from coastal areas with high unemployment and plug them into the mining boom. The government will host Mining and Gas Jobs Expos in Cairns, the Wide Bay-Burnett, Sunshine Coast, Whitsunday and Gold Coast regions in October with the support of local councils.



September 2011 |

Skills champs

had been granted and Legend reported in August that the environmental impact statement for the proposed Paradise South operations had been submitted to the Queensland Government for assessment.

The Mining Advocate

zinc-lead deposits on the Einasleigh tenements at an expected cost of $122 million.

Mount Carbine cranks up

Icon Resources plans to restart Meanwhile the company is involved production at the Mount Carbine mine in discussions over a potential offtake in far north Queensland by the end of deal which would see Legend supplying 2011 after buying a relocatable Kelsey Alcoa with aluminium fluoride produced Jig plant for $650,000 to retreat tailings at the proposed at the site. Icon Paradise Phosphate Resources flagged Project and plans to change its Alcoa supplying name to Carbine North West Qld Specialists aluminium Tungsten, subject to hydroxide required U Crane Hire shareholder approval for the project. U Boomlifts and Scissor Lifts at its AGM. U Truck Hire

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Copper discovery

SkillsDMC chairman Ray Barker (right) presents Noel Gertz from Kagara with an award recognising individual contribution to training and employment of indigenous Australians in the resources sector.

SkillsDMC has recognised excellence in sustainable workforce development across the resources industry at its annual Chairman’s Awards. Individual award winners included Noel Gertz from Kagara, Delaney Nugent from the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy and Skills Australia chair Philip Bullock. The industry organisations recognised for commitment to workforce planning and development included Suffren Contracting and Plant Hire (civil sector winner), Barminco (metalliferous mining), Boart Longyear Australia (drilling), Muswellbrook Coal (coal sector) and Hazell Bros (quarrying). SkillsDMC is the National Industry Skills Council for the drilling, quarrying, coal and metalliferous mining and civil infrastructure sectors.

$3 million concept study which indicated the potential to mine and process at least 340 million tonnes of zinc-lead ore and 130 million tonnes of copper ore by large-scale open-pit mining methods.

Super-pit study Xstrata has launched a $47 million prefeasibility study for the Mount Isa Open Pit project, which would see the development of a large multi-commodity mine on the existing Mount Isa Mines footprint. Xstrata Zinc Australia chief operating officer Brian Hearne and Xstrata Copper North Queensland chief operating officer Steve de Kruijff said the development of a large zinc-lead-copper pit had the potential to extend the life of the combined operations beyond 2060. The prefeasibility work follows a review of the recommendations of an eight-month,

The prefeasibility study is expected to be completed in early 2013.

Phosphate plans advancing Legend International Holdings says discussions have advanced considerably with potential partners in the development of the company’s Paradise Phosphate Project in the Mount Isa region. It was announced in April that the project’s Paradise North mining lease

Breakaway Resources says drilling results have identified a significant new copper system at the Sandy Creek target within its Eloise Exploration Project in northwest Queensland.


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The broad widths of mineralisation intersected over a significant strike length displayed strong geological similarities to the nearby Eloise copper mine, the company said. Breakaway has recently completed an initial 33-hole RC drilling program to test the priority Surprise Ridge, Roberts Creek, Sandy Creek and Coral Reef targets at the Eloise Exploration Project, 70km south-east of Cloncurry.

Einasleigh sale vote A Copper Strike shareholder meeting in September is expected to vote on the proposed sale of the Einasleigh Project in North Queensland to Kagara for $16 million. The Copper Strike board recently announced it had entered contracts for the deal, which would also involve the cancellation of Copper Strike shares held by Kagara. The company recently completed a feasibility study for the joint development of copper and

Scandium sweep Metallica Minerals has taken full ownership of the scandium deposits within the NORNICO trimetals project in North Queensland.

The company recently acquired Straits Resources’ scandium rights in a shares deal worth more than $1.85 million. Metallica is preparing a feasibility study for the development of NORNICO, with plans to start mining from 2014.

Path cleared for CopperString The proposed CopperString transmission project connecting north and northwest Queensland has been approved as an infrastructure facility of significance (IFS) by the State Government. State Treasurer Andrew Fraser announced that the Co-ordinatorGeneral had approved an IFS for the proposed 1041km long, high-voltage electricity line between Woodstock, near Townsville, and Mount Isa. The IFS will enable future corridor acquisition if the Co-ordinator-General is satisfied all reasonable attempts have been made by CopperString to acquire land by commercial negotiation.

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The Mining Advocate | September 2011

Houdini reveals true colours Ivanhoe Australia says ongoing drilling has confirmed the Houdini project, 20km north-west of Osborne mine, as a new discovery on its Cloncurry tenements. Only limited, shallow drilling had been conducted on Houdini when it was acquired by Ivanhoe Australia as part of the Osborne package of assets purchased from Barrick Australia in 2010. Ivanhoe Australia said further drilling had confirmed that the mineralised zone at Houdini contained several high-grade copper pods within an overall strike length of 600m. “Ivanhoe Australia believes there is strong potential for further extensions along strike and at depth and has commenced an extensive drilling program to the north and south of these intercepts,” chief executive officer Peter Reeve said.

Chinese backing for TNG TNG has agreed to form a strategic partnership with a major Chinese mineral exploration and mining group to underpin development of the Mount Peake iron-vanadium project in the Northern Territory. The agreement with Jiangsu Eastern China Non-Ferrous Metals Investment Holding Company includes a $13.4 million funding injection at 11 cents per share. TNG said the move would support the ongoing prefeasibility study and upcoming pilot plant metallurgical test work program for Mount Peake. Jiangsu had also recognised the exploration potential of the company’s McArthur copper project in the Northern

Territory and had agreed to negotiate a separate joint venture to earn up to 80 per cent, TNG said.


Hi-ho silver, away

Matilda’s new darling Matilda Zircon has announced a maiden inferred resource of more than 890,000 tonnes of heavy minerals for its Kilimiraka mineral sands project on the Tiwi Islands, in the Northern Territory. The company said this resource would potentially underpin a significantly larger development than its Lethbridge South and West operations. The Lethbridge mines combined will produce about 40,000 tonnes of heavy mineral concentrate, which is less than 5 per cent of the heavy mineral contained in the Kilimiraka resource. Matilda Zircon technical director Peter Gazzard said the Kilimaraka resource had the potential to underpin an 8-10 year mining operation assuming mining rates of about 700 tonnes per hour.

GEMCO expansion project A $US279 million expansion project has been approved for the GEMCO manganese operation on Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory. The work, to be completed by late 2013, will increase GEMCO’s beneficiated product capacity from 4.2 million tonnes per annum to 4.8mtpa through the introduction of a dense media circuit bypass facility. Part-owner BHP Billiton said the expansion would also address infrastructure constraints by increasing road and port capacity to 5.9mtpa, creating 1.1mtpa of latent capacity for future expansions.

The pilot-scale Merrill Crowe circuit at Alcyone Resources’ Twin Hills mine.

Alcyone Resources has poured its first silver bullion as it continues work to recommission the Texas silver and polymetallic project in south-east Queensland. The company has produced more than 100,000 ounces of silver since it began reirrigating the existing silver-rich heaps at the project’s Twin Hills mine in April. The first silver-rich solution from the leach pads was processed using a pilot-scale Merrill Crowe circuit and Alcyone recently installed a new bullion circuit. It said it was commissioning the Twin Hills processing plant and had its earth moving fleet on site, being readied for commencement of full-scale mining. “We should see a progressive uplift in silver bullion production towards an annualised run rate of 1-1.5 million ounces by the beginning of the December quarter and then towards our full long-term production rate thereafter,” Alcyone Resources managing director Andrew King said.

The latest upgrade follows the successful commissioning of the GEMCO Expansion Phase 1 project in 2009.

Ranger Deeps decline approved Energy Resources of Australia has received Northern Territory Government approval to construct the Ranger 3 Deeps exploration decline. ERA said work to prepare the site was under way, with construction of the box cut scheduled to start in May 2012. The decline will allow ERA to conduct close-spaced underground exploration drilling and explore areas adjacent to the Ranger 3 Deeps resource. That resource, located east of the operating Ranger 3

pit, contains an estimated 34,000 tonnes of uranium oxide. It is expected to cost $120 million to complete the Ranger 3 Deeps exploration decline and drilling.

Training partnership Xstrata Zinc and the Northern Territory Government have entered a three-year $1 million partnership to boost education and training in the Borroloola region. The Strong Start Bright Future Borroloola Employment Pathways agreement will provide a trainer for the Borroloola School and accredited training for students, computers and resourcing for a Frequent Attender Rewards Program.

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September 2011 |

2011 Northern Engineering Conference

The Mining Advocate

PHOTOS: Romy Seigmann

Shangri La Hotel, Cairns

Hari Krishnan (Engineers Australia) and Mary McGuinness.

Ian McEwan (Engineers Australia) and Simon Orton (LC).

Mick and Danette McLean (Aurecon).

Kelly Stallman and Michael Egan (Engineers Australia).

Jeffrey Bunt (Project Services NQ), Debra Bunt and John Reid (consulting engineer).

Vicky Aguilar and Alex Ramos (both from Arup).

MAIN Bowen Basin Safety Conference

PHOTOS: Damien Carty

Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre

Erin Kelly and Barry Morssinkhof (both from Downer EDI Mining).

Lindsay Francis (Hastings Deering), Allan Ruming (MAIN) and Keith Mardon (Hastings Deering).

Danny McCarthy (Thiess) and Michael Rosengren (BMC).

Gina and Graeme Davis (both from Gina’s Flags).

Simon Mortess (Macs Engineering) and Andrew Wilson (Dupont) with Michael McGrath (FSI-Banlaw).

Debbie and Stephen Porter (The Solar Group).

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The Mining Advocate | September 2011

Dalby Chamber of Commerce Meeting


PHOTOS: Janine Waters

Dalby RSL

Matthew Ostwald (Ostwald Bros), Ian Hayllor ( Basin Sustainability Alliance) and Michael Kelly (WHK).

Ann Drews and Lyn Croft (both from WHK) with Megan McLaren (Carrick Aland).

Noel Brownsey (Dalby Chamber of Commerce), Jim Knudsen (QGC) and Beth Wood (Dalby Chamber of Commerce).

Lorna McGinnis (QGC), Di Reilly (Mary’s Commercial Hotel) and Zoe Carroll (QGC).

Robyn Sotiris (QGC), Ed Hoffman (Western Downs Regional Council), Nick Koenig (LJH Commercial) and Sandra Dicinoski (QGC).

Rebecca Gleeson (Surat Basin Conference), Gavin Walton (Condamine Electric Company) and Patrick Hastings (QGC).

Gladstone Engineering Alliance lunch

PHOTOS: Craig Chapman

Gladstone Entertainment Centre

Scott Richardson (CQ University) and Ray Londer (Schlencker Surveying).

Charlene Wheeless (Bechtel), Robert Gibb (APLNG), Suzanne Schulte (APLNG) and Kerry Heldon (Bechtel).

Anthony Havers (Rio Tinto) and Rodger March (CQ University).

Catherine Hindley and Emma Lenz (both from Phoenix Diesel Maintenance).

Carl Hager (Knobel Consulting), Alex McWilliam (McWilliam Property Services) and Brandon Yeats (Yeats Consulting).

Cyndi Ward and Jeff Williams (both from Re/max Gold).







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The Mining Advocate

Real Experiences September 2-6 Magnetic Island Race Week 10 Townsville Home Show & Lifestyle Expo 2-12 Strand Ephemera VI 8-11 Nashos 60th Anniversary 16-18 Townsville Triathlon Festival 18 Townsville Food and Wine Festival 23 Ice Cube ‘I am the West’ Concert


October 8 Full Noise Music Festival 8-9 Greek Festival 8 Townsville Crocodiles NBL (October to March) 19 Cold Chisel ‘Light the Nitro Tour 2011’ Concert December TBA Carols by Candlelight (date to be advised) 10 Summer School Holiday Program (finishing January 22) 19-23 Stable on The Strand 31 New Year’s Eve Celebrations February Jazz on Sundays (every Sunday from February to December) (Limited events in November and January) Ongoing events Flinders Street Cotters Markets (every Sunday) Willows Markets (every Sunday) Townsville Showground Community Markets (every Sunday) Balgal Beach Twilight Markets (first Saturday of the month from March to December) Strand Night Markets (first Friday of the month, May to December) Major events throughout the year March North Queensland Cowboys (March to September) May

Groovin The Moo


Eco Fiesta and Smart Lifestyle Expo



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The Mining Advocate | September 2011


Another string to region’s bow North Queensland hits all the right notes in the arts arena, with a cultural calendar boasting a range of quality events, writes Jan Green. Townsville’s international cultural status was recently reinforced when Russian viola player Anna Larionava did a Google search, discovered the city held an annual concerto competition and entered it. Ms Larionava is no stranger to international music competitions. Before coming to Townsville she’d competed in three other countries so, in addition to being well travelled, she was well placed to compare Townsville with overseas cities. Ms Larionava particularly enjoyed her North Queensland visit. She won two Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition events and, by staying with a Townsville family, discovered aspects of a tropical lifestyle that wouldn’t have been possible had she stayed at a hotel. She nominated The Strand as her favourite landmark and said she looked forward to returning one day. “But I have many things lined up, so perhaps in about five years,” she said.

Culturally, Townsville can boast an abundance of riches starting with the city’s own internationally recognised Dance North. Townsville has hosted the Australian Festival of Chamber Music for the last 21 years while the North Queensland Opera and Music Theatre, which began in 1981, aims to stage two gala productions each year. “They’re big ticket events generally costing in excess of $200,000 to produce,” director Bill Munro said. “Our standard is extremely high and we’ve been nominated for the national music theatre awards on a number of occasions.” Townsville also has a cultural treasure in the Warrina, the only independent cinema complex in the city. In addition to showing the latest releases, it also hosts the annual Sydney Travelling Film Festival and the Townsville Cinema Group screens quality films every second Thursday.

Visiting musician Anna Larionava tunes up on The Strand.

The cinema group, which has 350 members and was formed in Townsville 50 years ago, is the oldest one of its kind in Australia. Well patronised annual events include the Palmer St

Photo: Lori Nielsen-Carr

Jazz Festival and Townsville Cultural Fest. Visits by state and national orchestras, ballet and opera companies complement performances by the many talented local musicians including

the Barrier Reef Orchestra. Rock and other popular music artists regularly visit for concerts and events such as Groovin The Moo and the Full Noise Music Festival.

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September 2011 |

The Mining Advocate

City is top of the class for learning Families will find a solid range of local options from day care centres to tertiary education and training offerings, writes Jan Green. From babies through to bachelor graduates and beyond, Townsville has all bases covered when it comes to learning opportunities. Families who need to make both pre-school and ongoing education decisions have a number of options from which to choose. These include three tertiary and training organisations – James Cook University ( JCU), the Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE and Tec-NQ . There are 113 day care centres, 60 State primary schools and 11 State high schools. As well, there a number of Catholic and other private primary and secondary schools. “With so many dual-income families in the community,

the role day care centres play is extremely important - so it’s fortunate Townsville has a very strong early childhood network,” Kennedy Place Early Childhood Centre director Judy Eddiehausen said. Mrs Eddiehausen said quite a few of the local services were longstanding. The service from which Kennedy Place evolved opened in 1947, for example. As a result, Townsville and the surrounding district had a long history of providing quality care. “That quality is maintained by keeping up with national trends and new centres continue to open to meet the demand,” Mrs Eddiehausen said. A point very much in Townsville’s favour was the fact that its childcare availability

was greater than a lot of major cities and local prices were considerably lower, she said. Mrs Eddiehausen said imbuing children with a sense of community and belonging were important aspects of preschool services. Kennedy Place supported the turtles at the Reef HQ Aquarium, liaised with support services, raised money for local charities and joined in Tropical Fridays, she said. “We want people coming to our centre to know that we are proud North Queenslanders,” Mrs Eddiehausen said. She believed the fact that many of Townsville’s professional people had gone from attending local early childhood services through to JCU was testament to the quality of the services and education the city provided. “We see many examples of parents who have grown up and been educated in Townsville

Zane Fisher, Tahlia Richardson, Scarlett Kearns and Nikolas Collocroft on play equipment at Kennedy Place. Photo: Mike Shearer

who exhibit excellence in their chosen fields and who will become the mainstays of our

community,” Mrs Eddiehausen said. “I think that’s something we can be quite proud of.”


The Mining Advocate | September 2011


First choice for work and play Townsville offers a great mix of career opportunities and lifestyle advantages, says this prominent local engineer. The engineering profession is attracting many women who welcome the chance to apply logic and intelligence to any number of applications ranging from heavy industry to environmental work and everything in between. For Janice Moody, Townsville City Council’s water and sewerage planning engineer in the strategic planning department, her career path and the decision to work in Townsville were both easy. As she has a technical mind, an interest in how things work and enjoys the challenges of problem solving, engineering fitted the

bill perfectly. For Ms Moody, it’s the environmental aspect of engineering which appeals. “The focus of my role in the council is to ensure that water and sewerage infrastructure meets future growth needs,” she said. “For water, this starts with source water and following it through to treatment and delivery. “Water has always intrigued me. It keeps the community going and you can’t have people without water. It’s the key driver for a lot of development.” Ms Moody, who grew up in the Burdekin region, has worked

Townsville City Council engineer Janice Moody.

in the North since she graduated from James Cook University. “I like North Queensland and in this part of the world you get

Photo: Mike Shearer

the opportunity to work on so many things,” she said. “As a graduate engineer, I got to work on a wide variety of projects

whereas in a big city consultancy you’re more likely to be restricted to work in just one area. “Townsville is definitely the place to be now. We’ve got mining on our back steps, a major port and we are also now a major business centre. Because Townsville services such a wide area, a lot of engineering work is being done here. “But it’s also about lifestyle. Whatever industry you work in, you can be home in about 20 minutes each afternoon. There’s no sitting in traffic for hours, the weather’s great and it’s an easy friendly place to live in. “It doesn’t come much better than that.”

Perfect place to relax, or rev it up CBD benefits at heart of Townsville’s great climate, diverse population and natural beauty mean people of all ages are spoilt for choice when it comes to lifestyle and entertainment. The city hosts high-profile events such as matches by Townsville’s three national sporting teams - the Cowboys (rugby league), the Crocodiles (basketball) and Townsville Fire (women’s basketball) - as well as the annual V8 races and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Townsville is primarily a relaxed tropical city, but there’s also a choice of upmarket, “dress up” events such as the winter racing carnival. The Strand is one of the city’s favourite lifestyle and entertainment venues. With Cleveland Bay and Magnetic Island as a backdrop, this strip offers 2.2km of sandy beachfront and plays host to

more than 200 community events each year. “The Strand really is the people’s place,” Townsville deputy mayor David Crisafulli said. “It’s the location for regular night markets, gala al fresco dinners, family outings and is in close proximity to the city’s restaurant and nightlife precincts in Palmer St and Flinders St East. “Also close by is Reef HQ

Aquarium – the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium and the Museum of Tropical Queensland.” Magnetic Island, just 20 minutes away by fast catamaran, is a popular getaway for day trips, weekends or extended holidays. Activities include scuba diving, camel riding, national park walks, restaurants and a vibrant night life.

V8 racing action on the Reid Park street circuit during the annual Townsville 400 event. Photo: Paul Carruthers

many property wish lists Proximity to Townsville restaurants, cinemas, the casino and entertainment centre, a revamped Flinders Mall and the Reid Park V8 race track are just some of the reasons young professional couples and commuting mine workers are embracing inner city apartment living with enthusiasm. Apart from location advantages, favourable factors include minimal garden maintenance and, particularly in the case of high-rise living, good security if the place is left vacant for any length of time. Townsville’s skyline has changed considerably over the last 11 years. Unit developments ranging from small complexes through to multistorey buildings have proliferated. Many overlook Cleveland Bay or Ross Creek and most have balconies facing these views. Knight Frank director Craig Stack said the majority of about 1100 new Townsville CBD units for permanent residents were built between 2000 and 2009. CBD occupancy rates were stronger than in other locations in Townsville and while occupancies had dropped to about 70-75 per cent for Palmer St units, they were steadily improving, he said. “Also, as a result of post-GFC recovery, new unit developments are reappearing on the market, with Mirvac and Honeycombes prominent in this area,” Mr Stack said. He identified incentives being offered by the Townsville City Council and the recent introduction of a $10,000 State Government rebate for new unit acquisitions as key drivers for inner city development.



September 2011 |

The Mining Advocate


Community assets a winner Early investment in key facilities has helped strengthen the North Shore residential estate’s standing as a popular lifestyle choice. The upfront delivery of major community infrastructure and services is paying off for the residents of Stockland’s North Shore development in Townsville. With 15,000 people to call North Shore home over the next 15 years, Stockland has laid the foundations for a self-sustainable community just 12km from Townsville’s bustling CBD. Now three years into its lifespan, North Shore is quickly proving a popular lifestyle choice for hundreds of local and regional buyers. North Shore project director Andrew Astorquia said much of North Shore’s success was due to the efforts Stockland

had made in collaborating with various levels of government to deliver quality, community-based infrastructure and services early in the project. “We have worked closely with the State and local government and key community stakeholders to create a shared vision for North Shore and to secure their ongoing support,” he said. “These efforts have played a big part in our ability to deliver infrastructure early on in the project. “Examples of these include the delivery and funding of the $5.1 million Northern Beaches Leisure Centre, the $42 million North Shore Boulevard and $25 million Stockland North

Shore Shopping Centre. These, along with the opening of St Clare’s, the first of four schools planned for the community, and the recent launch of North Queensland’s largest display village, the 24-home Living

Display Centre, all demonstrate our commitment to the timely delivery of community infrastructure.” Mr Astorquia said the vision for North Shore was to create a community where residents

could shop, learn, work and play in close proximity to their homes. The development is located in an area near Deeragun and Bohle on Townsville’s northern outskirts.

Residents Brent and Lindsey Gorris have started their family at North Shore.

Wise investment decision

North Shore, located just north of Townsville, features an established shopping precinct and recreational facilities including a public pool and parklands.


The Northern Beaches Leisure Centre was the first building constructed at North Shore and opened to the public before a single resident was living in the community. Just three years on, the centre has proven popular, receiving more than 1000 visitors a week through its doors. This is just one example of North Shore’s credentials as a wise investment decision for property buyers. Savvy buyers are recognising that developer Stockland is delivering a community where people can live, learn, work,

shop and be entertained close to home - and that translates into a development in high demand. In March, the community welcomed the Stockland North Shore Shopping Centre - which is the first step in creating a shopping, business and entertainment heart for residents of North Shore. Project director Andrew Astorquia said Stockland was committed to building a community that had it all. “Our plans include a subregional town centre that will include a 40,000sq m Stockland shopping centre and

approximately 60,000sq m of civic, commercial and ancillary retail uses; two neighbourhood convenience centres; four schools and three child care centres,” Mr Astorquia said. The year ahead will see the completion of the North Shore Medical Centre, Stage 2 of St Clare’s Catholic College and Phase 1 of North Shore Central Park. Two new residential precincts will also be launched within walking distance of the Northern Beaches Leisure Centre and Stockland North Shore Shopping Centre.


The Mining Advocate | September 2011


Courses underpin new passport for coal sector work A training overhaul has taken place in line with the latest standard coming into effect for the industry, writes Jan Green. The introduction of GIQ Coal courses in Queensland has refocused attention on the delivery of health and safety training in open-cut and underground mining. The courses were officially launched in July following the release of Recognised Standard 11 Training in Coal Mines. Morrissey Training sales and marketing manager Rebecca Morrissey said the Mining Industry Skills Centre (MISC) had introduced two new general induction courses as a result of the new standard - GIQ Coal Surface and GIQ Coal Underground - which replaced the original GI course. “The GIQ Coal Mining Passport program is owned and managed by MISC,” she said. “However Morrissey Group, with its training subsidiary Morrissey Training, is one of the organisations licensed by the skills centre to deliver it. “We offer training in all GIQ courses – GIQ Coal, both surface and underground as well as GIQ Coal Bridging.” Ms Morrissey said the new Standard 11 stipulated that individuals wishing to work in the Queensland coal industry

Rebecca Morrissey Morrissey Training sales and marketing manager

must successfully complete six core units of competency, with one extra competency for underground work. “These units are all covered in the GIQ Coal courses and, as an adjunct, MISC has introduced the hi-tech, serious games-based simulation tool, Project Canary,” she said. “It’s an incredibly effective tool which allows individual users to identify potential safety and health hazards while moving around a virtual industry site.”

Individuals completing the courses would receive a GIQ Coal Passport, Ms Morrissey said. Anyone holding a pre-July 2011 issued passport will need to complete a GIQ Bridging course once it expires. “Alternatively, they can, if they choose, opt to do the course immediately,” Ms Morrissey said. About 20,400 people are working in the Queensland coal mining industry with a further 10,000 opportunities set to come online with new projects. An MISC spokesperson said existing passport holders and contractors should check with their places of employment as to when those sites would require workers to meet the new standard. Morrissey Group mining and resource industry training manager Jeniffer Deasy said organisations and individuals working in the Queensland coal mining industry would feel the benefit of the introduction of GIQ Coal Passports. “New staff joining work sites now only need complete site-specific induction courses, while industry organisations can meet their safety and health obligations without having to carry out extensive, general inductions for all new employees,” she said.

William Ross State High School students Isabelle Farina, Oliver Dale, Dennae Smith and Taylor Lemmon in the first stages of experimentation before cracking the secret to keep their eggs intact. Photo: Mike Shearer

Humpty never had it this good In a fun and innovative conclusion to an Australian Engineering Week initiative, a Townsville school principal parachuted into the school oval and students dropped eggs from a scissors lift. As anticipated, following a program of learning and experimentation, the parachuted eggs survived unbroken as did William Ross State High School principal Garry Chew. For six weeks, 30 gifted and talented year 7 and 8 students worked with The Engineering Link Group (TELG) on the Mt Stuart Cluster Epic Science Program, an engineering module requiring the students to design, test and evaluate a parachute for an egg. Participants were selected from a cluster of schools including William Ross State High School as well as Annandale, Oonoonba, Woodstock and Wulguru State schools. They worked in 10 groups of three to determine the highest speed an egg could survive, then calculated the minimum size for a parachute capable of depositing an egg safely on the ground from a drop of about 6m. TELG director Paul Richards said Australia was training only about 50 per cent of the number of engineers it needed. “So anything at all that helps involve Australian students in science and engineering is to be applauded,” he said. “The program I ran was a William Ross initiative and we were really delighted to be involved.” The students who took part had been more than equal to the tasks set and loved doing them, Mr Richards said.

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Ivanhoe Australia feature

The Mining Advocate | September 2011


Recruitment drive on a roll Ivanhoe Australia’s recruitment and retention program for its Selwyn project and the formerly shelved Osborne operation, south of Cloncurry, continues apace in preparation for the return to production scheduled for midMarch 2012. The company’s current emphasis is on acquiring metallurgists, while the next drive

will target surveyors, geotechnical engineers, mining engineers and production geologists. Ivanhoe Australia general manager operations Neal Valk said the majority of the fly in-fly out workforce would be based in Townsville and Cairns. “People have to like that kind of lifestyle, so it’s not for everyone,” he said.

“Equally, whoever we employ also needs to meet our requirements, so we’ve advertised widely to make sure we attract the most appropriate candidates.” Workforce numbers are expected to reach about 500 once production is under way. Commenting on the recruitment and retention program’s progress to date, Mr Valk said he was

pleased to have secured electricians with good skills and experience. While some mining operators had been taken on and were meeting Ivanhoe’s needs, more were required, he said. “But, as we are just three months out from starting to commission the plant, our most urgent requirement is for metallurgists,” Mr Valk said.

“Then we will also need to concentrate on acquiring professional people in the geotechnical, engineering and geology fields.” Mr Valk said as Pybar Mining Services’ development work was on schedule, diamond drills had been installed underground and stope delineation would go ahead in September.

Faces of Ivanhoe Australia - north-west Queensland Evan Brittlebank (Adelaide resident) – field assistant

Adelaide-based field assistant Evan Brittlebank relishes the variety and challenges his job at Osborne mine entails. And because he’s a single man, working four weeks on-two weeks off, suits him very well. “It means I really enjoy my break when it comes round,” he said. While the job of field assistant is his primary role, Mr Brittlebank also conducts soil sampling for exploration or drill rigs, co-ordinates the earthworks for various projects and is involved in building Osborne’s new core processing facility. “There are just so many opportunities out here and there are so many things in the pipeline,” he said. “It’s one of the most exciting exploration grounds in Australia. “I love exploration, change, and the challenge of anything new - and I also enjoy working for Ivanhoe. “I’ve done a lot of contracting, but they are one of the best. We all have the same goals and that makes us all feel very much part of a big team.”

Jason Moser (Townsville) - underground mine technician

Jason Moser recently decided to throw in his job as a golf professional and rejoin the mining workforce. He’d previously worked in the mining industry, but had been out of it for about seven years. When he heard about the opportunities Osborne presented, he applied for and was given the job of underground mine technician. “I’ve been here around four months now,” Mr Moser said. “I’m really enjoying the job and my roster, eight days onsix days off, is much more family friendly than a golf professional’s job. Then, weekends were the busiest, so I could never spend that time with my young children. “As a mine tech, I check pumps, drive trucks, operate underground loaders and the crusher, run water services and do whatever else needs doing. I’m pretty much a jack of all trades. “We’ve got an exciting development here and with production due to start in March next year, there’ll be a lot more people coming on and a lot of opportunities to develop new skills. I really look forward to that.”



September 2011 |

The Mining Advocate

Industry still under the pump Shifting water remains a key focus for many Queensland mines battered by flooding last wet season and now gearing up for the next. Demand for pumping services remains high in the Bowen Basin coalfields and is expected to heat up over coming months, according to a key supplier. ITT Townsville branch manager Cameron Gilchrist said demand in that region peaked around the end of 2010, but with many coal mines still under water the company remained busy. Being able to respond quickly and efficiently in the face of disasters such as last wet season’s Bowen Basin coalfields inundation was absolutely imperative, he said. “When disaster strikes – as it did in the 2010 floods - it’s essential companies have access to disaster recovery equipment,” Mr Gilchrist said. He cited the case of Campbell Mining Services (CMS) as an example of ITT’s ability to respond quickly and professionally in times of emergency. “When CMS, a Queensland mining contractor company,

contacted us, we were able, within 24 hours, to suggest using large electric submersible pumps capable of handling flow rates of between 500 litres per second and 1000 litres per second (1800 to 3600 cubic metres per hour) with a total dynamic head between 20 and 30m,” Mr Gilchrist said. Two weeks later, CMS confirmed a five-month rental agreement for three large Flygt pumps and accessories to assist with pit recovery at a BMA mine site in the Bowen Basin. Within four days, ITT obtained equipment from five of its 14 Australian branch offices, fitted new cables to all three pumps and dispatched the shipment, Mr Gilchrist said. “With major highways and roads underwater, delivery proved challenging,” he said. “The trucks were re-routed to avoid flooded areas. ...Despite the obstacles, we delivered the equipment within seven working days. CMS then made up

An aerial view across one of the many Bowen Basin mines inundated during the last wet season.

floatation frames in its workshop based on pontoon arrangement drawings supplied by ITT and put the dewatering pumps to work in an open basin pit.” ITT also airfreighted nine

Godwin diesel pumps, which were sold through its Townsville and Gladstone branches soon after landing, Mr Gilchrist said. “With the wet season looming once more, we are currently

building up stock levels and our rental fleet to assist with demand of the 2011/12 wet,” he said. “So when it does arrive, we’ll again be well placed to deal with whatever it throws at us.”

Walls go up as mine sites prepare for more rain Coal companies are investing heavily in preparations for the next wet with additional on-site water storage, pipelines, pumps and water treatment plant, according to the Queensland Resources Council. “They are also eagerly awaiting the findings of a review into the State Government’s Fitzroy Basin Model Conditions, which govern off-

site water discharges by coal mines,” QRC chief executive Michael Roche said. “Mines need to be in a position to manage another wet season as well as address the legacy issue of some 500 gigalitres of water stifling coal production six months after the floods.” The Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) received

27 applications for new dams or to lift the walls of existing dams on Queensland mine sites in the first half of 2011. This compared to 18 applications received throughout the entire 2010 year, a DERM spokesman said. The QRC said Queensland had been on track to export more than 200 million tonnes of coal in 2010/11 based on firstquarter totals.

However, record rainfall from September 2010 that extended into widespread flooding of coal-producing regions had seen the state’s annual exports fall some 40 million tonnes short of that projection. “The 163 million-tonne total confirmed by port data is 21 million tonnes down on the previous year and just four million above what we were

able to export during the global financial crisis,” Mr Roche said. “Exports for the month of June 2011 were 14.7 million tonnes – the strongest monthly total in six months – but 19 per cent below June 2010 figures. “Unfortunately, this confirms our worst case scenario in that the industry is still working at around 80 per cent capacity.”

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The Mining Advocate | September 2011


HMA expands NQ operations Mining industry needs are a key focus for this business, which includes a division specialising in process control, writes Jan Green. Townsville’s broad economic platform, strong growth and vital role servicing the mining industry have prompted Halley & Mellowes Australasia (HMA) to boost its presence in the city. The industrial equipment group recently increased the size of its Townsville operation from a small sales office to a workshop and warehouse. HMA Townsville regional manager Clint Cook said the company was strategically placed to provide a wide selection of capital plant and equipment to a diverse range of sectors, particularly in state-of-the-art processing applications. The POGC division of the HMA Group of companies specialises in process control, with products including Kaydon fuel and oil filtration systems. These systems are widely used

to constantly filter the hydraulic and gear oil used on the drives for SAG and ball mills, crusher plants, power generation turbines, and in hydraulic plant and machinery to keep fluids contaminant free. Mr Cook said Kaydon filtration systems were also widely used at many mine sites to keep diesel contaminant free. This applied to machinery inline systems and bulk storage facilities. HMA also offers a range of high-efficiency hydraulic filters for heavy yellow equipment previously only available direct from original equipment manufacturers. “Diesel engine demands are changing and with today’s highpressure engines (30,000-plus psig) requiring clean emissions requirements, diesel fuel

HMA Townsville regional manager Clint Cook at the opening of the equipment group’s new facilities. Photo: Mike Shearer

suppliers are tailoring properties of their fuels to suit demands in different regions,” Mr Cook said. He said the sulphur previously added to fuel to increase lubricity was being removed. “With the sulphur removed, it is difficult to control abrasive inorganic particles in the fuel process,” Mr Cook said. “This means high-pressure

fuel injectors and fuel-injection pumps are susceptible to wear from the particle-laden fuel. “From fuel pumps to injectors and engines, water and particles in diesel fuel are reducing engine component life from thousands of hours to hundreds of hours. “So, today’s newer engines need fuel to be completely conditioned.”

To minimise the effect of potential abrasive inorganic particles in fuel, the HMA group offers Kaydon fuel and oil filtration systems designed for flow rates from 1gpm to 400gpm. A range of filters suitable for specific fuel or oil situations is available along with options such as pre-filters and heaters. Mr Cook said in heavy use mobile equipment markets such as mining, quarrying and construction, fuel transfer incurred particulate and water contamination which was carried into fuel tanks. The use of bulk fuel conditioning in the fuel offloading and fuel forwarding lines removed the burden of contamination removal from onengine filters, he said. Fuel and oil tanks can also be kept free of water and particulate with the use of continuous tank circulation (kidney loop) and conditioning systems.

QMAG cements its growth plans

Queensland Magnesia’s Parkhurst operation.

Queensland Magnesia (QMAG) will purchase and overhaul a mothballed Rockhampton cement plant at a cost of $20 million. The development near QMAG’s existing Parkhurst operation will allow the company to increase magnesia production by 100,000 tonnes a year. QMAG managing director Alan Roughead said the acquisition of the former Cement Australia facility represented a very efficient use of capital. “The advantage of the facility not only includes its close proximity to our existing Parkhurst plant but also the anticipated level of output from a relatively small capital outlay,” Mr Roughead said. “We believe the incremental output created by this acquisition will be one of the most efficient capital expenditure programs in our industry globally.”

QMAG has previously produced calcined magnesia at the facility on a toll basis. The facility will remain idle for the remainder of 2011/12 as QMAG develops final plans for its recommissioning and operation. The company plans to begin production at the site in 2012/13 and ramp up over a two-year period. It also plans to outlay further cash at its Kunwarara and Yaamba mines to boost magnesite ore output. Mr Roughead said production at the new facility would be targeted at the calcined magnesia chemical markets, where demand is expected to grow significantly in coming years. QMAG will employ about 50 people at the facility when it is fully operational. QMAG is forecast to produce more than 300,000 tonnes of calcined, deadburned and fused magnesia at its existing Parkhurst facility in 2011/12.



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The Mining Advocate | September 2011


‘Game on’ for sports lovers A burgeoning event drawing hundreds of competitors is enhancing the north-west region’s sporting stature, writes Robert Dark. North-west Queensland’s lifestyle offer has improved as a result of the recent Xstrata Great Western Games. The games attracted more than 2000 competitors from as far away as Roma and Normanton to compete in 20 sports over a period of five weekends during the winter. The secret to providing bush kids with the same opportunities as their city cousins was having a patron sponsor and lifting the standard of the officials and adjudicators, said NQ Sports

Foundation manager Col Kenna. “The north west was part of the North Queensland Games rotation and hosted the same in an eight-year rotation,” Mr Kenna said. “The annual Great Western Games now means more athletes can compete more often. The level of competition is directly affected by the number of athletes. “This year the games were exceptionally well supported. “All sports were well attended. We had 350 people compete

in a netball tournament in Charters Towers, more than 150 gymnasts in Hughenden and 100 participants in athletics. “In Mount Isa, we had record numbers competing in the halfmarathon, and boxers and judo entrants from clubs as far away as Palm Island, Mossman, Roma and Woorabinda. “The officials are going to great lengths to ensure competition is provided at the same levels as coastal and metropolitan centres. When you lift standards, the competition is more attractive and more people participate.” The inaugural Great Western Games in 2009 included 13 sports across seven northwestern centres and attracted

1400 participants, he said. The Xstrata sponsorship provided an anchor for the Great Western Games to move forward, Mr Kenna said. “Having a secure sponsor allows us to plan ahead and take big steps in growth rather than small steps,” he said. The success of the games and the opportunity provided was encouraging more activity at the club level and stronger overall involvement, Mr Kenna said. He cited the efforts of the Mount Isa Athletics Club in hosting its first major carnival last year as an example of the positive effects of the Xstrata Great Western Games. The carnival was held with a

view to stepping up to the games, Mr Kenna said. “Mount Isa used to run weekly events but never ran an official athletics carnival (under the auspices of Athletics Queensland) before,” he said. “They got electronic (measuring) gear from Longreach athletics and enlisted the help of officials from Townsville and other places. “The club improved on what it could present because of the greater standards that would be needed at to host the Great Western Games. That will lead to greater involvement and when more people use facilities there is a better case for funding.”

Isa boasts strong athletics scene Parents with hopes of their children competing in top-level athletics could do worse than join the Mount Isa Athletics Club. This year the club has six athletes competing in the secondary schools state athletics titles, while 11-year-old Bailey Tau Tau will take on the country in his age group when throwing the discus at the primary schools national titles in Darwin from September 15 to 18. At 148 registered members, Mount Isa boasts the second largest athletics club in northern Queensland behind Townsville – coming in ahead of centres including Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton, according to vice-president David Scott. “We offer all sprints from 60 to 1500m, all throws and all jumps apart from pole

vault,” Mr Scott said. “We are working on developing multi-events like decathlon and offering basic pole vault for beginners. “Numbers have been consistent for four or five years, though it is a transient town and members do change. “We have the same sorts of numbers as soccer does in the city, so it is one of the larger sports.” The strength of athletics owed a lot to the large volunteer support base, he said. “A portion of the club has been here for many years (and) that core does a lot of work,” Mr Scott said. “Many others simply want to do well for their children while they are here. We don’t struggle for volunteers and, when they are at training or at the meet, they might as well hold a stop watch or a measuring tape.

“It makes for a happy club. We surveyed members last year and the club was thought of as one of the better-run organisations people had been involved with. “There was a feeling that a number of people do their bit rather than a few being lumbered with a lot of work.” Mr Scott’s family immigrated from England and settled in Mount Isa in 1987 when he was in grade 8. “I’m a family man and I would do anything for my children,” he said. “That’s what keeps me here. We’ll be here until the kids finish high school at least and then we’d only move if it was for their (continued) education.” Mr Scott’s partner Michelle, son Joshua, 12, and 10-year-old daughter Jade are all involved with Mount Isa athletics.

Eleven-year-old Bailey Tau Tau in his Queensland Athletics uniform, sporting the silver medal which qualified him for the national titles in discus.

Miner helps preserve prehistoric bounty Xstrata Mount Isa Mines has been awarded the Riversleigh Medal for its support and commitment to fossil research within the Riversleigh World Heritage area of north-west Queensland’s Boodjamulla National Park. Riversleigh Society president Arthur White said the selection committee was unanimous in its decision to award the 2010 Riversleigh Medal to Xstrata Mount Isa Mines for its vital support of the Xstrata Riversleigh Fossil Project. “It’s the first time the medal has been awarded to a company and recognises the exceptional contribution made by Xstrata Mount Isa Mines to our understanding of Australian prehistory,” Dr White said. Xstrata’s support has enabled the discovery of hundreds of museumquality fossil specimens to be added to Australia’s national natural treasures. These include the remains of a massive diprotodon skeleton – the largest marsupial ever to have lived on Earth – found at Floraville Station along the Leichhardt River. The giant prehistoric, plant-eating marsupial weighed about three tonnes,

Xstrata Copper chief operating officer North Queensland Steve de Kruijff displays the medal with Professor Mike Archer from the University of NSW, a member of the Floraville Station diprotodon dig team.

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raised its young in a pouch and is thought to have lived in mobs like kangaroos. The Floraville Station remains are

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Cannington aces Darwin competition A north-west Queensland team came out on top when crews from across three states and territories put their rescue skills to the test. BHP Billiton Cannington Mine dominated this year’s Northern Australian Emergency Response Competition, held recently in Darwin. As well as being named best overall team, Cannington took out seven firsts, one second place and one third place out of 12 events. Cannington was the only Queensland team to take part and, in spite of stiff competition from two Western Australian and four Northern Territory teams, they more than rose to the challenge. Cannington asset president Bob Fulker said the achievement was a glowing endorsement of the site’s emergency response capability and overall commitment to safety. “This award is recognition of the dedication of each member of our emergency response,” Mr Fulker said. The mine’s emergency services supervisor and team co-ordinator for the Northern Australian Emergency Response Competition, Steve Hambrecht, said the 2011 team of seven had acquitted themselves extremely well. “We came second in 2010 so we were keen to go one

better this time and our captain Adam Self, vice-caption David Lestone, medic Claire Nolan, Ian Jones, Jade Clemments, Rod Gilliland and trainer Keith Evans from KGE Mines Rescue did exactly that,” he said. “The competition definitely tested them to the limit. “The scenarios were realistic, with one of the most challenging being a combined road accident and hazardous materials rescue. “As they were scored as two separate events, the team had to be split in two, then come up with a strategy that met the needs of both situations within a time limit.” Mr Hambrecht said the seven contestants were selected from a pool of 50 mines rescue volunteers at Cannington and comprised a mixture of experienced personnel and rookies. “We selected the Darwin finalists from across our four crews to try to share the experience of the event,” he said. “So some of these guys were together for only five days prior to the competition with some never having met before. “Picking the team wasn’t easy, so we not only pay tribute to those who acquitted themselves

The BHP Billiton Cannington team in action during the recent Northern Australian Emergency Response Competition. Photo: Samantha Young

so well in 2011, but also to those who were equally capable but didn’t make the team.” Mr Hambrecht also acknowledged the contribution of Mr Evans in training the Cannington team, the efforts of

Darwin Co-ordinators director Linda Young for her part in organising the event and chief adjudicator Steve Ellis. Mr Ellis said the competition standard this year was slightly higher than the last.

Grasstree victory The Grasstree mine team held off strong competition from seven other Bowen Basin underground coal teams to take out the 41st EK Healy Cup. Eight teams with seven members in each competed in the annual event at the Cook Colliery near Blackwater recently. The top four teams - Grasstree, Crinum, Oaky No 1 and North Goonyella - will go on to compete in the National Underground Mines Rescue Competition to be held at Wollongong on October 14. Kestrel, Moranbah North, Broadmeadows and Oaky North teams also took part in the 2011 EK Healy Cup. “Each team undertook five tasks on the day, plus they were required to complete a theory paper the night before,” EK Healy Cup chief assessor Ray Smith said. The event, which involved months of advance planning, was described by Mr Smith as very demanding for the assessors and participating teams. “The excellent standard of all eight teams, each captain’s leadership and team paperwork highlighted the participants’ skills and reinforced the fact each mine has carried out effective training,” he said.

“In addition, the thing that shone through was that what was learned last year was carried through into the 2011 event,” he said. “This, for us, is invaluable feedback.”

Teams gear up for north west contest Top mines rescue teams from across the North West Minerals Province will battle it out for the coveted perpetual trophy at the 2011 Xstrata North Queensland Mines Rescue Challenge, to be held October 20-21. The event will include teams from Xstrata Mount Isa Mines, BHP Billiton Cannington, MMG Century, Ravenswood, Xstrata Copper’s Ernest Henry Mining and Mount Gordon. It will be held at Xstrata Zinc’s George Fisher mine, 20km north of Mount Isa. Xstrata Mount Isa Mines emergency and protective services superintendent, Darren Bracey, said the challenge was a great tool for training rescue crews in basic scenarios while providing a competitive edge. “Winners are judged on their ability to follow standard procedures and how teams respond to situations that could occur in the workplace, not the fastest response time on the day,” he said. “Overall it’s a great event that really builds team morale and provides rescue crews with an opportunity to test their skills.”


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The Mining Advocate | September 2011


Clip-ons tipped to catch on fast When it comes to eye protection, a Townsville entrepreneur believes his patented design is a shade above the rest, writes Robert Dark. It’ll be a matter of out with the old safety glasses and in with the new when the New Year clicks over. Not one pair, the whole lot of them. Townsville entrepreneur Peter Millios has geared up to meet massive demand with his new product Clip-on Safe Shades. Other safety glasses on the market - including the popular wrap-around kind - failed to meet the new standard AS/NZS13371-2010, which would be enforced next year, Mr Millios said. The new standard requires a greater lateral cover to protect against the frontal impact of a 6.8mm ball bearing travelling at 160km/hr. Clip-on Safe Shades had been tested against a ball bearing impact of up to 240km/hr, Mr Millios said. “There are no other safety glasses on the market to date that

are able to meet the new (ASO) standard,” he said. With greater lateral cover and coverage for the temples, together with the proven impact resistance, the glasses went beyond the new requirements, Mr Millios said. “Our patent has been granted in Australia, where we also have a certificate of compliance,” he said. “We have a patent pending in the USA and European Union.” The argument is as compelling for individuals as it is for companies when considering new duty of care legislation changes to be enforced in January 2012. More than three per cent of mine workers - about 9500 people - in Queensland and Western Australia sustained eye injuries by direct impact each year, Mr Millios said. Changes in duty of care

Townsville entrepreneur Peter Millios with the Clip-on Safe Shades.

liabilities next year meant the individual would carry more responsibility, he said. “As of January 2012, the responsibility for injury is divided between management and staff,” Mr Millios said. “The duty of care no longer rests (solely) with the

owner of the mine but with every employee.” Safety glasses had been viewed as a disposable item and a fashion statement for too long, which had led to a culture of inefficiency and waste, he said. Having safety glasses as part

of the hard hat, as in the case of Clip-on Safe Shades, meant they were less likely to be put down and lost or damaged. The product also has advantages for miners who wear prescription glasses, as Clip-on Safe Shades can go over that eyewear.

Be aware of the signs and help fight a common cancer Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is the second most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in Australia. Nearly 3000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year in Queensland alone. The risk of developing bowel cancer increases significantly from the age of 50, with 50 per cent of bowel cancers occurring in people aged 50-69. Cancer Council Queensland business development manager for building construction and mining, Reg Green, recently spoke to Moranbah miners about bowel cancer in addition to healthy living, smoking and skin cancer. Mr Green said bowel cancer symptoms could include bleeding, prolonged changes to normal bowel

habits, unexplained tiredness or weakness, anaemia, ongoing abdominal pain or cramping, significant or unexplained weight loss and a loss of appetite. “Anyone with a higher risk of developing the disease, because of their previous history of bowel cancer or polyps, or a strong family history of bowel cancer, should consult their doctor - as should anyone who is experiencing symptoms,” he said. “It’s important to remember you do not have to have symptoms of bowel cancer to be at risk of the disease.” Mr Green said regular screening had the potential to reduce the risk of developing the condition while up to 75 per cent of bowel cancers were preventable through changes in diet and lifestyle.

“This includes maintaining a healthy weight and regular physical exercise,” he said. The Australian Government implemented the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program in 2006. Australians turning 50, 55 or 65 years of age receive a free testing kit in the mail. Cancer Council Queensland is now urging the government to expand the program to screen every Australian over 50 years. Those wishing to support that campaign should visit For further information about bowel cancer, assistance or support, call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20 or visit

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Qld Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference

September 2011 |

The Mining Advocate

Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference Photos: Mike Shearer

Lee Barberel and Geraldine Gillespie (both from Macarthur Coal).

Helen Scott and Leanne Scanes (from CBI) with Rosy Buckley (Rolleston Coal) and Connie Eales (CBI).

Richard Jois (ARRB Group) and Adrian Glasscock (NSCA).

About 700 delegates attended Australia’s biggest mining industry health and safety conference in Townsville recently. The event, which took the theme Embracing the Age: Supporting People and Technology, was held under the joint patronage of industry, mining unions and the Queensland Government. Conference chairman, Queensland Resources Council acting chief executive Greg Lane, said the influx of new employees and technologies into mining was bringing new challenges. “However, they also bring new opportunities for continuous safety improvement,” he said. Keynote speakers for the 2011 conference included: • Dr Thomas Novak, Professor and Alliance Coal academic chair – Department of Mining Engineering, University of Kentucky, • Dr Jennifer Bowers, chief executive officer of the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, Queensland, • Russell White, managing director of au, and • BASEjumpers Glenn and Heather Singleman. An additional highlight was the launch of the Shift One Degree driver awareness campaign specifically targeting the mining industry.

Barbara Johnson, Mick Storch and Annette Lynch (all from The Bullion Group).

Bill Shanahan (Triple A Mine Services) and Dan Crowley (Verifact Protect).

Mark Wooler (Anglo American Metallurgical Coal), Gregg Jones and Fay Ormonde (both from Sharp Training).

Neil Randolph (Mines Inspectorate Southern Region) and Mick Stothard (Bounty Mining).

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September 2011  

The Mining Advocate - September 2011