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MANAGING THE TRANSITION TO DIGITAL MINING
Ben.Creagh@primecreative.com.au HOW DO MINING COMPANIES MANAGE THE RAPID EMERGENCE OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE INDUSTRY TO AVOID ANY UNWANTED SIDE EFFECTS?
here’s no denying the potential of technology in the mining industry. The increasing use of automation, drones, 3D printing and wearable technologies has become more noticeable than ever on the mining landscape. And so it should be. For several years, the mining industry had been told it needs to be innovative, it needs to become more productive, it needs to be safer, or it needs to cut costs. Emerging technologies are designed to deliver these benefits for not just mining, but for a range of industry sectors. Some technologically-advanced solutions can even provide each of these benefits at the same time, on their own. Research shows that demand for equipment and machinery equipped with these technologies is accelerating in the wake of the commodities downturn. An Ernst & Young (EY) report found that demand for equipment with current technology and greater efficiencies continues to grow, driven by digital improvements, automation enhancements and the transformation of the workforce. Technology is great and all, but like everything that is new and shiny – and perhaps not always fully tested in every environment that it is developed for – there can be side effects lurking underneath a polished exterior. For mining, it is the third demand driver that EY identified – the transformation of the workforce – that is generating the most debate when the potential side effects of technology in mining are discussed. The key technologies currently being
MANAGING DIRECTOR JOHN MURPHY EDITOR BEN CREAGH Tel: (03) 9690 8766 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org JOURNALIST SHARON MASIGE Tel: (02) 9439 7227 Email: email@example.com CLIENT SUCCESS MANAGER KRISTINA PERIC Tel: (02) 9439 7227 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
implemented in mining will undoubtedly reshape company workforces, if they haven’t already. Autonomous machinery and drones, for example, require a lower volume of workers to operate or supervise them. It seems, however, that the impact new technologies will have on mining workforces is something that companies are already grappling with. Common questions being asked by mining executives are along the lines of: Which jobs will be affected? How do we transition personnel who are impacted? Will our workforce require new skills? How do we train or recruit the right personnel to support these technologies? Management of how this transition takes place is perhaps the most crucial consideration. The mining industry has often been criticised, in a sometimes unfair way, for its management of workforces in periods of change, particularly during boom-andbust cycles. But this is a different human resources scenario to the typical boom-and-bust cycle, and one where the mining industry can showcase its maturation by effectively managing how workforces transition into this imminent era of digital mining.
In this, the June 2017 edition, Australian Mining looks at how technology continues to change and shape the mining industry. We focus on how drones are being used on mine sites, while also examining the steps companies can take to effectively implement emerging technologies into their operations. This issue also shines the spotlight on Tasmania and examines the growth that is taking place in the state at several of its most important mines. In the first of a new series of features, Australian Mining explores an international mining region where Australian-based companies are developing projects or operating mines. On this occasion, we look at Nevada in the United States and the companies which have contributed to the lift in activity in the state’s bourgeoning lithium sector. And as always, we provide the latest in mining technology and equipment in our regular Product Showcase spread. Front cover credit: Atlas Copco
Ben Creagh Editor
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TASMANIA SPOTLIGHT TASMANIA TAKES ON THE WORLD OF MINING How Tasmania’s mining industry is boosting its competitiveness
AUSTRALIAN MINING UNFAZED BY 457 MOVE The mining sector’s reaction to the decision to drop the 457 visa program
HITTING BACK AGAINST FIFO MENTAL ILLNESS A new product addresses the impact of mental illness on FIFO workers
GOLD SECTOR REVIVING A HISTORIC WA GOLD MINE The Davyhurst gold operations are returning to action
32-33 INTERNATIONAL NEVADA: A MARQUEE DESTINATION Australian juniors are expanding the global lithium market with projects in Nevada
REVOLUTIONARY CONE CRUSHER TECHNOLOGY ARRIVES IN AUSTRALIA Metso has unveiled its new MX cone crusher
16-17 MINERAL EXTRACTION
ENHANCING MINERAL EXTRACTION ABGM is helping improve mineral extraction processes
18-22 DEMAND FOR TECHNOLOGY GUIDES RECOVERY Advanced mining equipment is rising in demand in Australia this year
SPECIAL FEATURE A SILENT EPIDEMIC AVOIDED Dust provides an ongoing challenge in the mining industry
FLYING INTO THE FUTURE OF MINING The use of drones at mine sites in Australia continues to evolve
44-45 TRACKING THE TRENDS
SAFETY IN MINING THROUGH MEASUREMENT AND TRAINING The importance of training to increase safety on mining sites
DIGITISING THE MINING INDUSTRY How digital technology continues to shape the mining industry
AUTOMATION AND REMOTE CONTROL
SAFETY THE OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD OF INHALING DIESEL EXHAUST FUMES The risks of inhaling exhaust fumes in mining
INNOVATIVE HANDLING SYSTEM OFFERS HANDSON SAFETY SOLUTION Boart Longyear’s latest safety innovation
PROSPECT AWARDS PROSPECT AWARDS WINNERS PROFILE Australian Mining speaks to The Resources Hub’s Dani Tamati
INDUSTRY COMMENT 6
NEWS 8-10 PRODUCT SHOWCASE 52-53 AUSTRALIANMINING
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HOW THE INTERNET OF THINGS CAN MEET EXPECTATIONS THINXTRA’S LOIC BARANCOURT EXPLAINS WHY THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT) IS A TECHNOLOGY THAT HAS LIVED UP TO THE HYPE AND HOW IT CAN BE USEFUL FOR MINERS.
he Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the few much-hyped technology innovations that is likely to live up to expectations. In the coming years, IoT is likely to be as disruptive as smartphones, fundamentally altering the way businesses operate. The mining industry is set to reap significant benefits from the introduction of IoT. In fact, The Economist says 38 per cent of businesses believe IoT will have a major impact over the next three years. That means mining businesses must move fast to stay ahead of competitors who will use IoT devices and applications to save money, operate more safely, and be more efficient. The IoT relies on sensors to send information back to a central location. This sensor data can range from checking the temperature on a piece of equipment for improved maintenance to monitoring a miner’s helmet for impacts, falls detection and geolocation to better manage health and safety risks. The volume of data sent back by these sensors can be massive but each individual message is minuscule; the largest message would be GPS coordinates at six bytes. Yet, according to Freescale, the IoT
THINXTRA’S LOIC BARANCOURT
will create 22 times more data traffic by 2020. Frost and Sullivan says 40 per cent of that data will come from connected sensors. This indicates the scale at which IoT will be adopted across all industries. To fully leverage IoT devices, businesses must manage four key issues: the range of the device’s connectivity; the cost of connecting the device; the device’s battery life; and the security of the information being transmitted to and from the IoT device. These issues can be solved by using a solution purpose-built for the IoT, comprising devices and a network connected to cloud. Mining operations are, by nature, usually located a long way from urban centres. This can sometimes mean internet connectivity is low or patchy, making it difficult to use IoT devices. Therefore, mining operations should look for an IoT solution that leverages an IoT network that offers long distance coverage. Using a dedicated IoT network such as Sigfox avoids the high costs associated with using the standard cellular network to leverage IoT applications. Each device can cost as little as two dollars per year to keep connecting to the cloud. Battery life is also an issue, particularly in remote sensors. The IoT offers opportunities to remove people from some of the more dangerous jobs, putting them in remote operating centres where they can monitor the output of sensors in those dangerous areas. However, if device batteries need to be recharged or replaced regularly, it can create extra work and negate some of the benefits. Mining organisations should therefore look for devices that offer a long battery life of up to 10 years using a standard battery. This keeps costs low and lets mining businesses take full advantage of the sensors. Similarly, sensors can be placed in wearable items like helmets to help keep miners safe on the job. These sensors can monitor heat and other conditions to proactively address issues that can lead to heatstroke, accidents or ill health.
THE IOT HAS MANY USES FOR THE MINING INDUSTRY
Depending on the application, sensors can monitor heart rate, ambient temperature, body temperature, ultraviolet light, impacts, air quality and more. They can also include a location system to keep track of where miners are in case an incident is detected. Managers can also check sensor information against incident reports to ensure staff are managing occupational health and safety (OH&S) requirements appropriately. For example, if a helmet has registered a hard impact but there is no incident report on file, managers may want to investigate to see whether there was an incident that needs to be followed up. Mining operations can also use IoT sensors to track assets from trucks to tools, delivering live information on asset location, status and motion. They can analyse the data returned from these sensors to paint a picture of how assets are used throughout the organisation, uncovering opportunities for improved efficiencies. For example, by analysing the data, a logistics manager may see that trucks aren’t being used for optimum efficiency. They can then change routes or shifts to maximise efficiency and reduce fuel and
maintenance costs, and deploy staff more efficiently. The IoT lets mining organisations leverage automation and proactive maintenance to deliver safer working conditions and a more efficient operation. IoT devices and applications let mining businesses gather information from places and in ways that, previously, would have been cost-prohibitive to achieve. The low cost, simplicity, and small size of IoT sensors makes it possible for mining businesses to get that information from anywhere throughout the operation. By bringing information together from previously-disparate sources, business leaders can get an overarching view of the organisation so they can make smarter decisions, faster. In the past, to gather all of this information and analyse it would have taken so long that the information would have been out of date and, therefore, far less useful. Now, businesses can see the information they need in near real-time, letting them take action sooner for better business outcomes. AM Loic Barancourt is the chief executive officer of Thinxtra
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THE LATEST MINING NEWS AND SAFETY AUSTRALIAN MINING PRESENTS THE LATEST NEWS AND SAFETY AFFECTING YOU FROM THE BOARDROOM TO THE MINE AND EVERYWHERE IN BETWEEN. VISIT WWW.AUSTRALIANMINING.COM.AU TO KEEP UP TO DATE WITH WHAT IS HAPPENING. MINING COMPANIES DELIVER STRONG RETURNS AFTER LISTING ON THE ASX Miners and explorers were amongst the top performers of the companies that listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in first quarter 2017. Initial public offerings (IPOs) of materials companies – which includes mining companies – set a strong pace in the first quarter of 2017, with 10 listing on the ASX from a total 26 floats, up from two in the same period last year, according to the OnMarket 2017 first quarter IPO report. The report revealed that IPOs returned an average of 18.3 per cent over the first quarter, outperforming the benchmark
S&P/ASX 200 index by 14.8 per cent. Materials floats provided a steady return of 4.5 per cent on the first day of listing and an average 15.7 per cent gain over the three-month period. A standout performer over the quarter was Ardea Resources, which returned a stellar 160 per cent from its February 9 listing date to March 31. “The rush of mining companies to float on the ASX reflects a significant turnaround from last year when few miners floated. There is now a greater investor appetite for mining sector investment given higher commodity prices and greater
confidence overall in share markets,” said Tim Eisenhauer, managing director of OnMarket BookBuilds (OMB). Ardea, a spin-out of Heron Resources, is developing the cobalt potential at its 100 per cent owned Kalgoorlie Nickel Project (KNP) in Western Australia, as well as the Lewis Ponds zinc-gold project in New South Wales. Other mining companies that produced notable returns over the first quarter included MetalsTech (55 per cent), Cobalt Blue Holdings (25 per cent), Matador Mining (10 per cent) and Marquee Resources (7.5 per cent).
YANCOAL WINS APPROVAL FOR RIO TINTO COAL ACQUISITION Chinese-controlled Yancoal has secured Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval for a $US2.45 billion ($3.2 billion) acquisition of Rio Tinto’s Hunter Valley coal division in New South Wales. Yancoal reported that the Australian Government’s foreign investment watchdog had no objection to it purchasing Coal & Allied Industries, the Rio Tinto subsidiary which owns majority shares in the Hunter Valley, Mount Thorley and Warkworth coal mines. The FIRB approval is “a critical milestone”, according to Yancoal. “Today’s FIRB approval is a positive step forward for Yancoal, its shareholders and the Hunter Valley, demonstrating the Australian Government’s support for continued investment into the local resources sector,” Yancoal chief executive officer Reinhold Schmidt said. “Yancoal remains a key provider of employment,
CIVMEC JV WINS GRUYERE CONTRACT, STARTS ENGINEERING WORK
training and investment within NSW and we look forward to continuing to grow our operations.” The proposed deal between Rio Tinto and Yancoal, announced in January, involves a $US1.95 billion upfront payment and the potential for a further $US500 million over a five-year period. Rio Tinto would also potentially be entitled to royalties once the deal is completed. Yancoal’s Australian coal portfolio would expand to seven sites across Queensland and NSW with the acquisition of Coal & Allied. The ASX-listed company has announced that it plans to fund the transaction through a capital raising and entitlement offer of its shares. The acquisition remains subject to additional conditions, including approval from shareholders of Rio Tinto and Yancoal’s majority owner, Yanzhou Coal Mining.
YANCOAL’S ACQUISITION TOOK A KEY STEP FORWARD
AUSTRALIAN MINING GETS THE LATEST NEWS EVERY DAY, PROVIDING MINING PROFESSIONALS WITH UP TO THE MINUTE INFORMATION ON SAFETY, NEWS AND TECHNOLOGY FOR THE AUSTRALIAN MINING AND RESOURCES INDUSTRY.
Civmec, as part of the Amec Foster Wheeler Civmec joint venture (ACJV), has launched work on the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract at the Gruyere gold project in Western Australia. Earlier this year ACJV was named as the preferred provider of the EPC contract at Gruyere, which is a joint venture between Gold Road Resources and Gold Fields. The contract involves the detailed design, procurement and installation of the process plant, administration office, workshop and warehouse, as well as the main water pipelines and powerlines to the borefield. Engineering has started and onsite work is scheduled to commence in July. More than 300 personnel will be employed at the peak of the project, which is expected to be completed by December 2018. Civmec chief executive officer Patrick Tallon commented, “As a tier one EPC contractor we look forward to transferring our knowledge of the project into the delivery of a successful overall outcome for all stakeholders. “This is one of the largest and most prestigious projects in Western Australia and we are delighted to play a major part.” Tallon said Civmec was dedicated to working closely with the local community on the project, having developed a comprehensive local and indigenous engagement plan. “With plans to self-perform the steel fabrication at our Henderson facility, this project emphasises Civmec as Australia’s largest globally competitive steel fabricator,” he said. ACJV is a 50:50 unincorporated joint venture between Civmec and Amec Foster Wheeler Australia.
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THIESS SECURES MOUNT PLEASANT MINING SERVICES CONTRACT
MOUNT GIBSON TO CREATE 400 JOBS TO RESTART KOOLAN ISLAND IRON ORE MINE
CIMIC Group’s mining contractor, Thiess, has won a mining services contract for MACH Energy’s Mount Pleasant coal mine in the New South Wales Hunter Valley region. Mount Pleasant has approximately 474 million tonnes of total marketable coal reserves to be mined. Under the contract, Thiess will conduct total mining operations, including mine planning and engineering, at the mine until 2021. The contract is set to generate around $500 million in total revenue. CIMIC chief executive officer Adolfo Valderas said, “This contract award is a reflection of Thiess’ ability to deliver a tailored, total mine solution to our clients, and is a valued addition to our expanding mining portfolio.”
Mount Gibson Iron will spend $97 million to redevelop and restart production at the Koolan Island iron ore mine in Western Australia after a feasibility study delivered “compelling economics” for the project. Operations at Koolan Island in the state’s Kimberley region were suspended in November 2014 following a seawall failure which led to the hematite mine’s main pit being flooded. High tides around the pit breached a damaged section of the wall, which was already under repair, to cause the flooding. The incident left 200 workers at the mine redundant as Mount Gibson investigated a solution to resume operations. The company announced that extensive technical evaluation over the past two years, including detailed design and reviews by independent engineering experts, confirmed a safe and viable design and construction method to rebuild the seawall ahead of a restart of production. Construction of the seawall, pit dewatering and other activities associated with restarting production are expected to take 24 months, according to Mount Gibson, which is targeting first ore sales in early 2019. The project is anticipated to involve 80 workers during construction, with about 315 employees and contractors to be required during production. Mount Gibson chief executive officer Jim Beyer said the company had identified a safe and effective design and construction method for rebuilding the main pit seawall after two years of work. “Coming shortly after extending the life of our Mid West operations, the redevelopment of Koolan Island also re-establishes Mount Gibson’s status as one of Australia’s premier high-grade producers at a time of rapidly growing demand for premium quality iron ore products,” Beyer said. “Importantly, it also provides a long-term platform for further value creation. Our substantial cash reserves and cashflow from existing operations give us the capacity to undertake this investment without any need to take on debt for the project and still pursue other attractive opportunities which may arise in the months and years ahead.” In a feasibility study, Mount Gibson outlined a 3.5-year mine life for the Koolan Island operation, with all-in cash costs of $53 a wet metric tonne. The company will use the existing Koolan Island mining fleet, crusher, shiploader, accommodation camp, stores, workshops and administration facilities at the site.
A COAL STOCKPILE IN THEHUNTER VALLEY
EARTHQUAKE INTERRUPTS PRODUCTION AT NEWCREST GOLD OPERATION Newcrest Mining expects operations at its Cadia East underground mine in New South Wales to perform below production capacity for several months following the Good Friday earthquake that interrupted mining at the site. A large seismic event occurred in the region of the Cadia operation during April, suspending underground mining at Newcrest’s largest Australian gold mine. Surface operations were not affected and no injuries were recorded. The Cadia East mine remained subject to a prohibition notice a week later, according to Newcrest, which had completed inspection of both panel caves at the site by that stage. At Panel Cave (PC) 2, the larger of the two caves, Newcrest anticipated that production would restart in the early part of the 2018 financial year. It said cleaning of access drives and the extraction level was well advanced, while ground support was being rehabilitated and enhanced in other areas. “With the support of independent technical specialists, geotechnical mapping has been completed and a remedial ground support design has been developed,” Newcrest outlined. However, Newcrest had not yet provided an estimate for when mining would resume at PC1. The company reported that damage was identified to the crusher chamber area and extraction drives. “Work continues on quantifying the remediation and enhancement work where required in specific areas prior to recommencement of mining,” the company said in an ASX announcement. “Newcrest will provide a definitive estimate of the timeline for the recommencement of mining in PC1 once confirmed.” Newcrest announced following the seismic event that Cadia was not expected to meet its production guidance for the 2017 financial year. Operations at Cadia were also being affected by rising electricity prices in Australia, according to the company’s March quarter report. Newcrest said its electricity supply contract for the 2018 financial year had been finalised, with prices to be 90 per cent higher that what was being paid in 2017. Newcrest produced 599,000 ounces of gold in the March quarter, a 2.6 per cent fall on the previous quarter. Cadia was Newcrest’s top producing mine in Australia during the quarter with 168,579 ounces. The Lihir mine in Papua New Guinea produced 229,572 ounces over the three months, Newcrest’s largest single-mine output. AUSTRALIANMINING
THE KOULAN ISLAND MINE IS SET TO RESTART
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Project Scope The ContiTech West Australian Service Team from Karratha had to set up and execute the replacement of a 20,548 m 1050 mm wide ST2786 9x5 DIN-X SLL overland conveyor belt in the Pilbara for a major iron ore miner.
ContiTech Australia Pty Ltd www.contitech.net.au +61 3 9721 0600 Melbourne VIC +61 8 6240 3502 Perth WA +61 8 8 91860500 Karratha WA +61 7 48419800 Mackay QLD +61 2 8839 9600 Parramatta, NSW +61 2 4966 3493 Beresfield NSW
Key Data • Motive force provided was from the ContiTech belt puller and 100 t belt winder. The belt winder was operating in tension/slave mode behind the belt puller. This combination provided an efficient and controlled means of belt movement and winding. The maximum diameter of the racetrack reels was 6.8 m. • 32 lengths of belt at 650 m were installed and reeled during the replacement work. The belt movement operations were completed continuously over 72 hours with an approximate belt speed of 17 m/min. • The belt flake length was 450 m. • The belt was guided safely and controllably onto the conveyor system from the flake through two ContiTech 90° turning frames. • Lower than expected pulling forces were recorded during the replacement operations. The recorded values indicated a DIN friction factor of around f=0.010 Summary An additional, unscheduled conveyor job was also carried out by the team while their specially developed equipment was nearby. This was also completed early and incident free. The client advised they were extremely happy with ContiTech’s safety and performance, indicating they would like to continue the working relationship moving forward.
TAKING TASMANIAN MINING TO THE WORLD STAGE THE TASMANIAN MINING INDUSTRY IS DEVELOPING STRATEGIES THAT WILL INCREASE ITS COMPETITIVENESS IN A GLOBAL MARKETPLACE ON THE REBOUND. BEN CREAGH WRITES.
Mines’ Renison tin mine near Tasmania’s west coast is also being upgraded. The Renison expansion project involves reprocessing the large historic tailings deposits generated since 1968 using modern technology. Grange Resources continues to invest in the development of the Savage River magnetite iron ore mine in northwest Tasmania. The company advanced construction of the South Deposit tailings storage facility at Savage River during 2016, a project that ensures the operation has sufficient storage for its remaining 30year mine life. Australian Bauxite, which has been producing at the Bald Hill mine near Campbell Town since December 2014, is progressing development of its second operation, the Fingal Rail project. The company launched field testing at the Fingal Rail site this year, which could determine if the mine launches production in the next 12 months. Late last year, Diversified Minerals poured first gold at the Henty mine in state’s west after the site was removed from care and maintenance. Copper Mines of Tasmania’s Mt Lyell mine is also on track for an early restart
thanks to a $9.5 million investment into the industry by the state government. Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council (TMEC) chief executive Wayne Bould said the industry in the state was on the verge of seeing positives from these developments. “Those (which invested) are actually starting to realise both production and economic benefit, which is starting to flow through to the government in terms of state royalties and certainly for the businesses themselves as they progress,” Bould told Australian Mining. “No miracle has occurred – it is just the result of some good business decisions.” Bould said the optimism emerging in Tasmania from this expansion was leading to a new level of business maturity in the state, with miners, services companies and the government all seeking ways to lift their competitiveness on a global scale. “The reality here is that if you are not at the top of your game then you can’t compete at a world level,” Bould explained.
Photo credit: Metso
asmania is focused on establishing a mining industry that remains globally competitive as it starts to see benefits from significant investments made by miners in the state. In the backdrop of announcements in recent years that Tasmanian mines had been closed or projects mothballed due to falling commodity prices or environmental concerns, the state’s industry has been building towards its next phase of growth. Despite the downturn, several companies operating in Tasmania bucked industry trends by committing to new projects or developments that would either enhance or extend the life of their mines. These investments involve some of Tasmania’s largest mines. For example, Chinese-owned MMG announced last year it would spend $30 million on a new tailings dam at the Rosebery mine south of Burnie to extend the life of the operations. The new tailings dam is being built on the site of two previous dams and will help remediate existing environmental issues at the operation. The tailings facility at Bluestone
IRON ORE PELLETS AT GRANGE RESOURCES’ SAVAGE RIVER MINE
“Australia isn’t the cheapest place to operate and when you are talking about smaller scale mines quite often it is easier to get a return on investment if you look to South America, Africa or even SouthEast Asia. “One thing that we haven’t considered well until recently is that you are always competing with international markets, whether it be for investors or to sell the product you are mining. It is a new experience for some of the companies in Tassie.” Bould said there was a growing awareness of how technology could be applied to manage and analyse performance at new and existing mines, as well as the opportunities that exist to use new methods to efficiently link Tasmania to world markets. However, Bould was reluctant to say that Tasmania was experiencing a total resurgence in mining conditions at this point. “There is a degree of cautious optimism about but people are being pragmatic and they better understand how the swings and roundabouts (of commodity prices) work now,” Bould concluded. AM
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REVIVING A HISTORIC WA GOLD MINE EASTERN GOLDFIELDS IS BREATHING NEW LIFE INTO THE DAVYHURST GOLD OPERATION IN THE GOLDFIELDS REGION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA ALMOST A DECADE AFTER THE SITE LAST PRODUCED THE PRECIOUS METAL.
trong gold prices and a general improvement in market conditions have ignited a wave of activity across Western Australia’s Goldfields region. The value of gold has held firm in 2017 and remains particularly strong in Australian dollar terms, rising to around $1700 an ounce. WA’s Goldfields is on the verge of notable growth from a range of midtier companies that are advancing projects towards production. Eastern Goldfields, which is chaired by experienced mining executive Michael Fotios, is contributing to the expansion through the Davyhurst project about 120km northwest of Kalgoorlie. Fotios, who played a key role in building Northern Star Resources into one of Australia’s largest gold miners, has guided the revival of the Davyhurst operation after its 1.2 million tonne per annum (Mtpa) processing plant was placed on care and maintenance in 2008. Davyhurst is on track to again be producing gold by June, with Eastern Goldfields hopeful it will become a 200,000 ounce a year operation in the coming years. The company raised $25 million this year, which followed
a $27 million share placement in 2016, to complete funding for the commissioning of Davyhurst, which has historically produced close to one million ounces of gold from a mix of open pit deposits. Fotios said there was a perception in the gold mining industry that Davyhurst had a “chequered history” following the activities that led to the operation closing in 2008. However, he explained that Eastern Goldfields would re-launch the operation by taking a different development and mining strategy to what had been historically applied at the site. Fotios said the mine’s previous owners had targeted the site’s lowergrade open pits, a strategy that broke down during a period of much lower gold prices compared with today. “We are looking more at the highgrade potential of the project, which we think is vastly underestimated,” Fotios told Australian Mining. “Our strategy is lower tonnes and higher grade in the open pits, and then we are pushing hard on the undergrounds, which historically no one has looked at.” To reach production, Eastern Goldfields has refurbished and recommissioned the plant to process ore from sources within the Davyhurst hub. The company has
also built a new raw water dam and installed a 5.5MW diesel-fired power station to support the existing grid power supply. While the company expects to pour gold by June, it anticipates that the September quarter will be the first full three-month period of production at the site. During the commission phase, Eastern Goldfields will focus on low and medium-grade stockpiles at the site, Fotios explained. “We will run the mill up to its rated capacity on that stuff…maybe see how fast it can go as part of the commissioning process,” Fotios said.
THE DAVYHURST PROCESSING PLANT
“We have budgeted the mill at 1.2 million tonnes per annum, but we plan to run it at 800,000tpa through until December this year.” The company will then move on to processing high-grade ore as it ramps up operations at the processing plant “We will see a significant amount of high-grade input from July onwards,” he said. Fotios said the Davyhurst strategy shared similarities with how Northern Star expanded over the past decade. He believes this approach has helped the company secure ongoing support and funding for its plan at Davyhurst. “A lot of it has to do with the track record of our group being involved with the early days of Northern Star – we had success there and it is a similar strategy to be honest,” he said. “A lot of our investors have been with us since Northern Star, and then were with us at General Mining in the lithium space. We had a good track record for delivering strong returns – I see Eastern Goldfields to be the same.” Fotios is also hopeful that Eastern Goldfields will share one more similarity with Northern Star – growth. “We will look at organic growth with the project we’ve got first, but we will always look at other opportunities we think will complement what we’ve got around Davyhurst,” he concluded. Eastern Goldfields has a joint venture with explorer Intermin at the Menzies and Goongarrie gold projects which has potential to deliver growth in the years to come. AM
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NEVADA: A MARQUEE DESTINATION FOR AUSTRALIAN LITHIUM EXPLORERS SEVERAL AUSTRALIAN-BASED MINING COMPANIES HAVE ESTABLISHED A PRESENCE IN NEVADA IN THE UNITED STATES IN SEARCH OF FUTURE SUPPLY FOR THE RAPIDLY EXPANDING GLOBAL LITHIUM MARKET. BEN CREAGH WRITES.
evada and lithium together offer an appealing combination for mining companies in the current market environment. The first is widely recognised for its welcoming attitude as a destination to invest in mining activities, while the seond has emerged as one of the hottest commodities in the world in recent years. Nevada is even ranked by Canadian think-tank, Fraser Institute, as the most attractive jurisdiction in the United States for investment in mining. In Fraser’s 2017 mining report, which ranks more than 100 mining jurisdictions around the world, it not only identified Nevada as the top US state for investment, but also the fourth most attractive region globally.
Nevada is particularly lauded by Fraser as a destination to invest in exploration, based on its government’s mining policy and the region’s mineral potential. Meanwhile, lithium continues to cement itself as one of the world’s most sought-after commodities as global demand for lithium-ion batteries grows at a rapid pace. While Nevada is historically better known for its precious metals mining, it already has a notable presence in lithium, with Albemarle producing from the Silver Peak brine operation, the only lithium mine in the US, since 1966. Nevada is also home to a Tesla mega-factory for manufacturing of lithium-based batteries. Together, Nevada and lithium are delivering a spike in mining activity in the state’s Clayton Valley area, one
of the rare locations globally known to contain commercial-grade, lithiumrich brine. Activity in Clayton Valley has intensified significantly after several junior companies identified the potential to take advantage of its metallurgy and surging prices for lithium. And, as is now common for Australian miners, the region’s appealing attributes have caught the eye of executives of ASX-listed companies seeking opportunities in foreign territory. One such company is Marquee Resources, which listed on the ASX earlier this year off the back of its Clayton Valley lithium project. Marquee, a spin-off of Force Commodities, completed its initial public offering (IPO) in March with a $3.5 million raising.
The Perth-based company’s immediate plans are to complete permitting of the Clayton Valley property and then launch a drill program at the site, which is within seven kilometres of Albemarle’s Silver Peak operation and a 3.5-hour drive from the Tesla manufacturing facility. Marquee executive director Charles Thomas said the company acquired the Clayton Valley project at an ideal time considering how conditions in the region transitioned in the 12 months since. “We only executed (the acquisition) in May last year but we had been looking at lithium opportunities in Nevada for a few months before that – you could pick up ground so cheap up there then. At the moment, it is much harder and also more expensive,” Thomas told Australian Mining.
NEVADA IS WELL KNOWN FOR ITS MINING HISTORY
“We actually thought ‘do you peg it and then upsell the land at a quick profit, or do you go in and drill it and go for the money shot?’ Our guys want us to drill it so we will put some holes in there as soon as we can.” Thomas said the recent increase in competition in Nevada, and now throughout North America for that matter, included when securing exploration services. “The geologists are hungry for work – it has been quiet for them for a few years. Availability, up until recently, had been good and the prices good too,” Thomas said. “Now the sector over there has picked up significantly. Even some of the projects we were looking at a year ago, the pricing was half of what they are asking for now. “It’s not a full bull market, but certainly a lot more activity is about. There are actually quite a few ASX companies up in North America, so there is a bit of competition for projects from local guys too.” Marquee joins Global Geoscience and Caeneus Minerals as ASX-listed junior companies exploring for lithium in Nevada.
Global Geoscience owns four assets in Nevada, including the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project, which contains a 3.4 million tonne resource of lithium carbonate. More than 100 drill holes have been completed at Rhyolite Ridge, with Global Geoscience advancing the prospect into pre-feasibility earlier this year. Perth-based Caeneus is also targeting Nevada’s lithium-rich brine deposits and has been advancing exploration at its wholly-owned Scotty’s South project. Thomas said operating in Nevada offered many benefits and challenges for ASX-listed companies. “Everything can take a day longer (because of the time difference),” he said. “But they are very pro mining (in Nevada) and we find it easy to operate in the US – they have a similar business system to what we have in Australia. “It can always be a bit of a risk operating outside of Australia, but it isn’t a huge risk in terms of the US and Aussie dollar.” Marquee’s chairman, experienced
FUTURE DEMAND FOR LITHIUM BATTERIES HAS CAUSED AN INCREASE IN EXPLORATION
mining executive Mark Ashley, is based in the US, which helps the company effectively manage the business systems of the two countries, and any new opportunities that might generate interest. Thomas considers the Clayton Valley project to be a strong launching pad for Marquee, with the company hopeful it will be the start of bigger things in North America. “At this company we are looking for other acquisitions as well, including
a few things up in North America to bolt onto it. This is our first project but we have certainly got our eyes and ears open to other things,” Thomassaid. “We are purely a lithium company at the moment but if something else comes along and it makes sense we have certainly got the cash there to execute on it.” Marquee owns a 100 per cent interest in 111 mineral claims in Clayton Valley. AM
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DEMAND FOR HIGH-TECH MACHINERY GUIDES MARKET RECOVERY TECHNOLOGY IS TRANSFORMING MINING MACHINERY. AS AWARENESS OF THE EMERGING CAPABILITIES GROWS, DEMAND FOR THE NEW SOLUTIONS IS OUTPACING SUPPLY. AUSTRALIAN MINING REPORTS. 90% 80% 70%
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these newer solutions. “If you go back to two or three years I don’t think there was a great awareness of the value that the latest high-tech equipment provided,” Murphy said. “It wasn’t only the driverless elements to them but also the maintenance cycles. Now, there is increased awareness of it and we think that is driving the increased demand for higher end equipment.
TECHNOLOGY ADVANCES ARE DRIVING DEMAND FOR THE LATEST MACHINERY
demand is not to replace (the kit) with older equipment, but with high tech, low emission, highly efficient solutions that deliver all-round productivity. “Companies have actually sat back and focused on productivity and what is going to give them the best solution in this area.” EY’s report found that Australia’s yellow goods market rebounded over the six months to May, although it was still below the 2013 market peak. According to the report, there was a 41 per cent recovery in EY’s Australian mining fleet value index in the 15 months ending December 2016, and a 20-25 per cent increase in value for late model, low hours equipment since September 2015. Overall supply of equipment in mining recovered in 2016, resulting in a reduction in overall clearance rates, which sat at 57 per cent for mining. Capex delays have contributed to a recovery in used asset values, while the supply of quality used assets has remained constrained at the same time. Murphy believes the demand for high-end, tech-advanced equipment is also being driven by an improved understanding of the capabilities of
Units of equipment
emand for mining equipment with current technology and greater efficiencies continues to grow on the second-hand auction market, according to Ernst & Young (EY). The lift in demand is being driven by digital improvements, automation enhancements and the transformation of the workforce, EY’s 2017 Yellow Goods report revealed. In this environment, EY continues, predictive analysis is increasingly likely to form the basis of future procurement decisions. EY Oceania mining and metals transaction leader Paul Murphy said an insatiable demand for low hours, high tech, ultra-class equipment had emerged in the mining industry since market conditions started to show signs of improvement. “Every mine has gone through the productivity initiatives and costcutting exercise of the last several years and fully utilised the current kit that they had,” Murphy told Australian Mining. “As the market has strengthened a bit, with the benefit of commodity prices over the last few months, the
“Everyone who participated in the report is saying the same thing – that’s the future and that’s where the market is headed.” EY reported that the unfulfilled demand for newer equipment should be good news for original equipment manufacturers. It added that a partial recovery in commodity prices and demand for iron ore and gas are expected to assist market recovery, along with a growing trend towards automation. Murphy said the transition towards autonomous equipment appeared significant, with a strong positive impact on utilisation and maintenance costs in mining. “We expect to see the trend towards automation for large fleets becoming the norm, however the price of adopting automated systems remains prohibitive for smaller operations in the foreseeable future,” he said. “At the same time, the global push to raise emissions standards could have a negative impact on noncomplying equipment, and recent technologies such as AC drive trains could also impact the attractiveness of older, less efficient stock.” Against this backdrop, management teams face key decisions on whether to overhaul existing machinery, procure new equipment or hire from third parties, Murphy concluded. AM
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FLYING INTO THE FUTURE OF MINING DRONES HAVE BEEN REGARDED AS AN IMPORTANT TECHNOLOGY IN THE FUTURE OF MINING FOR MANY YEARS NOW. SO, HOW IS THE USE OF DRONES AT MINE SITES EVOLVING? BEN CREAGH INVESTIGATES.
doption of drones in Australia’s mining industry continues to gather pace. Once linked predominantly with the activities of major companies, the value of integrating drones into operations is now understood from the top echelon of mining to its grassroots level, with many junior explorers using them at early stage projects. Drones deliver many of the benefits that are commonly in demand at modern-day mining operations and exploration projects. Not only do drones help companies improve their safety performance, but they can also be applied to lift productivity and reduce costs. The growing number of Australianbased and international drone specialists or businesses that have entered the marketplace reflects the value the technology is expected to have in the future.
Global Drone Solutions (GDS) has emerged as a certified remote aircraft system operator and drone pilot training company in Western Australia over the past three years. While GDS provides its services to a variety of industries, it has worked closely with companies involved in mining as drones have grown in prominence in the industry. GDS chief executive officer Mahmood Hussein said drones had initially become popular with mining companies for maintenance activities, with the major miners moving first to invest in the technology during the past decade. “Since then they have realised they can use drones for a lot more things in terms of maintenance,” Hussein told Australian Mining. “One of the things they have established is that they want to build the profile of their large overland conveyors. “One of the problems with the AUSTRALIANMINING
conveyors is that the bearings and the rollers can overheat and breakdown but with a drone and camera they are able to track the different temperatures which would tell them when to expect a breakdown.” With the basic functions of drones proving valuable in mining settings, companies continue to trial new models to take advantage of advanced features that emerge as the technology evolves. Diversified miner South32 launched a new drone trial earlier this year with Israeli company Airobotics when it deployed a fully automated, industrial grade multi-purpose drone platform at the Worsley Alumina operations in WA. The Airobotics platform conducts programmed missions including inspections of equipment and conducting surveying and mapping activities. South32 uses the platform to capture data and insights across
the Worsley site in a 3D digital environment, enabling future improvements at the operation. Airobotics vice president Yahel Nov said the first aim of the trial was to automate the surveying process for South32 at Worsley, with specific focus on the operation’s processing plant. “Through automation we want to take the surveying frequency (at Worsley) from monthly or semimonthly to potentially daily,” Nov told Australian Mining. “That’s how we started, and we then moved on to inspection trials, specifically thermal inspections of infrastructure that contains hot liquid or pollutants. “The idea is that they won’t need to inspect these areas by walking or driving along them…rather someone in the safety of an office can check the video from the drone, put it on fast forward and condense and hour of footage into 10 minutes.”
Airobotics’ industrial-grade platform comprises a high-capacity drone, an automated base station and cloud-based software. It is fully automatic, unmanned and doesn’t require a pilot for operation. The drone automatically launches from a freestanding station called the Airbase, and is sent on a preprogrammed or on-demand mission to collect aerial data, such as inspecting equipment or machinery, surveying and mapping stockpiles, or monitoring for emergencies or security breaches. Once a mission is complete the drone returns to the Airbase, where a robotic arm replaces its battery and payload before deploying the next mission. “Our drone lends itself to mining because of the automation aspect of it. The fact that you don’t need qualified personnel, or pilots, it is easier for mining to adopt it,” Nov explained. “Then it is also weather proof, so that helps in environments where it is very dusty, it rains a lot or there are high winds – our drone can tolerate extreme conditions.” According to BHP Billiton, the company South32 was spun-out from in 2015, its drone trials are suggesting the technology will help transform the mining industry in the future.
AN AIROBOTICS DRONE RETURNS TO ITS AIRBASE
BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) head of production Frans Knox said there were many examples of drones making mining safer, most obviously by helping keep people out of harm’s way. At some of BHP’s coal mines in Queensland, drones are used to ensure areas are clear before a blast takes place and to track fumes post blast, Knox explained. “They’re also used to improve road safety on sites, by monitoring traffic,
road conditions and hazards,” Knox said in a blog post on BHP’s website. “At our Olympic Dam mine in South Australia, the maintenance team use them to help inspect overhead cranes, towers and roofs of tall buildings to avoid working at height.” He added BHP was also becoming more productive by using drones. “We’ve been trialling drones fitted with military-grade cameras to provide real time aerial footage and 3D maps of our sites,” he continued.
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“This is far cheaper than using planes for survey work, and the savings at our sites in Queensland alone are estimated to be $5 million a year. “With drones, we now gather more information about our sites than ever before. We can more quickly and accurately measure our stockpiles, review compliance to design against mine plans and understand where we need to make changes to improve safety or boost productivity.”
BHP’s heritage manager, Daniel Bruckner, also uses drones to map and digitally record areas of cultural heritage near its sites in the Pilbara region. “For me, the bigger picture is what this technology allows us to do that could never have been done before, and for us that means being able to share and preserve cultural heritage that might otherwise have been lost,” Bruckner said. “We’re now able to share all our footage with local Aboriginal groups, and they’re excited about that possibility.” Knox said the technology would change the nature of work, including surveyors spending less time gathering data in the field and more time interpreting it with drones being able to deliver samples from site. “And soon, more drones could be managed by ‘pilots’ operating from a range of different vantage points. Drones are a good case study for how we want to introduce new technology into BHP Billiton,” Knox concluded. Foreign-based drone companies like Airobotics have been joined in Australia by several other international drone manufacturers and operators that are specifically targeting the mining industry.
AN AIROBOTICS DRONE ON A MISSION
Japanese unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) provider Terra Drone launched an office in Brisbane this year with the aim of bringing more drone technology to the Australian mining sector. Integrating LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) laser scanning sensors, the company uses UAV solutions that are accurate within three centimetres and can provide 3D models with high definition.
A BHP DRONE IS PREPARED FOR FLIGHT
The systems provide surveying services directly to the mining, construction and infrastructure management companies, capable of providing forestry and vegetation data capture, and assessing encroachment on powerlines and critical infrastructure. The company also plans to offer hardware and software solutions to third party drone operators. Airobotics and Terra Drone enter the Australian marketplace confident the use of drones in the mining sector will expand in the coming years. Nov believes the mining industry is only a few years away from seeing every company owning either a fixed wing or rotary drone – if not both. “Nearly all tier 1 companies utilise drones. It’s part of the reason why we decided to go into mining first because it is a proven market,” Nov said. “The problems that mines have are what led them to use drones in the first place. It is a dangerous environment and it has expensive personnel, so anything they can introduce to use remotely is good. “Our drone is a multi-rotor so it is very high precision tool. Other drones are fixed wing so they don’t have the same precision but they provide large coverage and that’s what you will find many exploration companies using.” Airobotics is also targeting Australia’s oil and gas industry, which will require drones for a variety of purposes at the mega liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants that have been developed around
the country. The company is hopeful of establishing an Australian headquarters in Perth as its business grows. GDS usually trains smaller businesses in the operation of drones, including early stage or exploration companies, from its Perth base. Hussein said more junior mining companies were investing in drones for exploration-related activities such as environmental monitoring, “A company I was recently speaking to, when they set up their mine, they used a botanist to check the flora and fauna at the site,” he explained. “Companies still need a botanist – they have to document every bit of flora and fauna – but by flying a drone across it they are capturing more data, more accurately and in about a third of the time. “Once the company is finished there they then have a video and photos they can refer to which helps to return the site back to what it was like.” And it isn’t just mining companies that are applying drones to the industry, with the Northern Territory Government investing in the technology to inspect legacy mines to help aid remediation efforts. Drones are being used in the NT to reach previously inaccessible areas of mines, producing digital terrain models to give operators a better perspective of the site. During the past summer legacy sites in the NT like Orlando, Warrego, Nobles Nob and the Peko mine were inspected by drones. AM
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TRACKING THE TRENDS
DIGITISING THE MINING INDUSTRY DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY HAS THE POTENTIAL TO SHAPE THE MINES OF THE FUTURE. DELOITTE’S NICKI IVORY TELLS AUSTRALIAN MINING HOW THIS MOVEMENT CONTINUES TO EVOLVE.
companies having to retreat and be on the defensive during the market decline, significant investments planned for digital projects were replaced with cost cutting measures, organisational restructures and strategies of productivity improvement. Having now transitioned through the downturn, and with digital technologies continuing to become even more affordable, the industry has found itself at a point where the digitisation of mines is back on the agenda. This is exactly what Deloitte is now observing, with a broader spectrum of the industry looking closely at these opportunities, national mining leader Nicki Ivory explained. “Everyone is now grappling with this,” Ivory told Australian Mining. “They know they have to do it but they also want to know how they do it in a cost effective way. “So, we think the industry is poised on the edge of a massive change driven by digital technology in mining.”
The three layers
In its 2017 Tracking the Trends mining report, Deloitte divides mining’s digital revolution into three layers, which companies will need to manage to be successful during the implementation. Firstly, as mines embrace digital technology, their core processes will become fully integrated, autonomous and remote. A network of low cost, highly capable sensors that use the Internet of Things (IoT) is making this possible, according to Deloitte. The top layer is the stuff at the mine site itself, Ivory explained, while emphasising that junior and mid-tier companies could now afford to invest in these technologies. “Things like autonomous trucks, drones and sensors on every piece of equipment…smaller companies don’t need to go the whole hog to get the benefit – they could only automate their trucks for instance,” Ivory said. “They could have sensors on their trucks to tell them when the tyres need replacing or when they need
he digitisation of mining has accelerated to a pace not previously seen this year as market sentiment has improved. While the awareness of what can be achieved by developing digital mines and companies has been emerging for at least a decade, various obstacles have prevented much of the industry from taking the leap until now. Initially, the cost of technologies like autonomous equipment, site-wide sensors and company management systems meant only the major miners could afford to make such significant investments. When Rio Tinto set up its Perth operations centre to control its iron ore assets in the Pilbara in 2010 it was a big deal for this reason. Then, just as these technologies were rapidly developing and becoming more mainstream, and therefore more affordable, the commodities downturn hit. With mining and services
to refuel, to analyse the changeover points, the idle time etc.” Ivory said mining companies then needed to collect data from the technologies introduced on site. “It’s about having a platform – like a nerve centre almost – a common platform that can take the information in real time from all of those digital assets and enable it to be analysed,” she said. This leads to the second layer – reinforcing these changes in core operations, with companies needing to rethink the way they generate and process information. “Companies need to bring all of the data together and then analyse it in real time,” Ivory said. “It will tell them if there is a bottleneck coming because of a breakdown somewhere in the system, which then enables them to change things further ahead in the process.” Thirdly, the effects of digitisation will extend beyond core operations and the flow of information to the supporting processes and systems
AUTONOMOUS TECHNOLOGY, SUCH AS DRIVERLESS TRUCKS, IS BECOMING MORE COMMON ON AUSTRALIAN MINE SITES
TRACKING THE TRENDS
of functions like human resources, finance and marketing. “These solutions are no longer massively expensive and only for the big companies. There are lots of things smaller companies can now do as well, in their back-end functions,” Ivory said.
How digital should the industry go?
With the digital revolution emerging into the mining industry, should companies be warned not to take the implementation too far, or is the sky the limit? Ivory said there were possibly side effects of the digital revolution that the industry needed to be aware of. “The consequences of it if you take it to the ‘sky’s the limit degree’ is what happens to jobs?” Ivory pondered. “People are really thinking about this. What does it mean for the people and where do the companies redeploy them?” Ivory offered the industrial revolution as a historical reference where comparisons could possibly be drawn. “If you look at the industrial revolution there was massive angst about what it would do to jobs. New jobs were created through that
process,” Ivory explained. “The same will happen here but it’s not clear whether it will be one-forone job creation or if it will be a onefor-five ratio. What it means for the future of work in mining is very much front of mine for people.” Ivory said the human resources component of the digital implementation in mining was something the industry would continue to consider.
To deliver an integrated digital mine, companies must establish a capability to use data to resolve a wide range of business problems. In essence, intelligent business decisions will hinge on access to timely and relevant information. Implement supporting platforms and enablers. On the road to digital transformation, mining
companies will need to strengthen their information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) backbones. Enable the diverse connected workforce. Digital transformation requires top to bottom organisational transformation, which is why it is essential to have the right leadership, culture, operating model and people. AM
Leading digital strategies
Deloitte has identified five key strategies for mining companies considering a digital future (source: Deloitte – Tracking The Trends 2017): Articulate a clear digital strategy. Rather than spawning disconnected functional initiatives, digital strategy has to be driven from the enterprise level and clearly define the value of digital to the organisation as a whole. Digitise the mining value chain. Companies will need to apply digital capabilities to the core mining process, including solutions that range from digitising engineering and asset information across the asset lifecycle, to connecting and internet-enabling remote devices and sensors. Deliver the integrated digital mine.
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INNOVATIVE HANDLING SYSTEM OFFERS HANDS-ON SAFETY SOLUTION BOART LONGYEAR’S ZACHARY STRAUSS DISCUSSES HOW THE COMPANY’S LATEST DRILL RIG AND LOADER SOLUTIONS WORK TOGETHER TO REDUCE THE RISK OF HAND AND BACK INJURIES.
ith a remote control feature that provides 100 per cent hands-free rod handling, an innovative system from Boart Longyear offers a hands-on approach to driller safety. The new LF160 drill rig and FL262 Freedom loader work hand-in-hand to reduce the risk of hand and back injuries on drill sites, because there’s no need for the driller’s assistant to manually intervene to trip and align the rods, add or remove a hoist plug or connect to the top drive. Introduced at MINExpo in September 2016, the tandem is already on the ground at surface coring sites in the United States,
Canada and Latin America. Interest is also keen among contactors in Australia, where the strong safety culture drives demand for innovation. Boart Longyear’s own drilling services group had been testing the rig and loader for about a year before last autumn’s market launch. The LF160, of course, is just the latest in a long line of innovative products from Boart Longyear, incorporating key features and proven technology from some of its most popular surface coring rigs already on the market. What really sets this rig apart, however, is its ability to pair seamlessly with the FL262 Freedom Loader. The combined capabilities of this dynamic duo open the door for
contractors to target sophisticated drilling exploration contracts that stipulate some of the highest safety standards, without sacrificing productivity. Depth capacity of up to 1800 metres of NQ capacity also accommodates the majority of diamond coring needs, including exploration for gold, copper, iron, nickel, zinc and other minerals. Totally hands-free rod handling means just that – 100 per cent, not “almost” hands-free, as is the reality with some products. The driller’s assistant can operate the radio remote control from a safe distance, away from the risks of the moving rods – anywhere he has a clear line of sight to both the rod and the driller.
With built-in tools and functionality, the system’s tilting top drive head is key to simplifying the rod handling process and reducing the need for operator intervention and maintenance. This brings the rod close to the ground, allowing all joints to be made in a safe, near-horizontal position where the driller and his assistant have good visibility. The tilting top drive head also results in the elimination of the mainline hoist, hoisting plug and water swivel management. In any operation where time means money, concerns about reduced productivity are certainly understandable. But with this system, there’s no need to worry. The FL262 Freedom
THE LF160 DRILL RIG
AUTOMATION & REMOTE CONTROL
Loader can cycle six metre rods in the same amount of time as a manual cycle, so productivity is maintained while safety is improved because of 100 per cent hands-free rod handling – a definite plus-plus. Among other innovative features of the LF160 is its patent-pending visual wireline component. The wireline winch drum is positioned in front of the mast, keeping the entire wireline system within clear view of the driller. This enables the driller to spot spooling problems quickly to avoid tangling of wire rope and to minimise unnecessary maintenance and downtime. In addition, a versatile dual foot clamping and hydraulic breaking device eliminates any need or temptation to use a pipe wrench to break tight joints under pressure. And a rod making alignment device above the top clamp facilitates hands-free rod handling when adding a new rod by centring the top rod with the rod already in the hole, ensuring a clean stab and thread start. A rod centraliser, mounted under the bottom clamp, keeps the rod string centred in the drill line. To comply with varying emissions requirements in different countries and jurisdictions, the LF160 also offers the choice of a Tier 3 or 4 final engine. Crawler and truck-mount configurations are also available, including options for both Mercedes 8x8 and 6x6 trucks specifically for the Australian market. Contractors and drillers alike can rest assured that safety is foremost. The LF160 is CE certified according to the rigorous requirements of the latest EIN 16228 drill rig safety standards available, with various interlocks and dead-man buttons incorporated to prevent accidents
caused by unintentional movement of the control lever. Customer- or sitespecific modifications are generally minimal and easily accommodated. Drillers and contractors are also reacting favourably to the rig’s comparatively low noise level, pointing out that hearing protection – while still an important safety requirement – is seemingly barely needed. That’s because the engine and pumps are positioned as far away from the driller as possible, inside an enclosure with soundproofing materials. And the drill head itself, typically another source of noise, is quieter than many other drill heads on the market. Like its customers, Boart Longyear is always proactive when it comes to ensuring safety. With the LF160 drill rig and FL262 Freedom loader, handsfree rod handling is the hands-on solution. AM
A CLOSE-UP OF THE LF160 AND FREEDOM LOADER
Zachary Strauss is product manager, capital drilling equipment, for Boart Longyear.
BOART LONGYEAR’S ZACHARY STRAUSS
AUSTRALIAN MINING UNFAZED BY MOVE TO SCRAP 457 VISAS MINING IN AUSTRALIA IS NOT EXPECTED TO BE HEAVILY IMPACTED BY THE ABOLISHMENT OF THE 457 FOREIGN WORKERS VISA. AUSTRALIAN MINING REPORTS.
ustralia’s mining industry has supported the federal government’s decision to replace the 457 Visa program for foreign workers with a new temporary worker immigration scheme. The Turnbull Government announced in April it would abolish the 457 Visa program, which once played a crucial role in addressing skills shortages in Australia’s mining industry. However, this is no longer the case. Applications for 457 visas in Australia’s resources industry have fallen substantially over the past five years, dropping from 6630 in 201112 to 230 in 2016-17, according to Department of Immigration figures. Mining now represents just 1.8 per cent of new 457 applications throughout Australia. The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) noted that employment of 457 visa holders had decreased since the mining construction boom days. The total number of 457 visas given to workers in the mining industry in 2015/16 was a quarter of that of industries with health services and a fraction of the hospitality industry, according to QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane. “Last financial year, 457 visa holders in the Queensland mining industry decreased by 26.5 per cent. Hospitality, health care, education, construction, manufacturing, IT and professional services are the big users of 457 visas,” Macfarlane explained. Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) acting chief executive Tara Diamond said the Australian Government’s new plan would help ensure skilled migrants, and the significant contribution they make to our nation, was no longer trivialised and leveraged for cheap political point-scoring. “However, it should be recognised that the 457 Visa program has worked as intended. The system was built to be responsive to changes in our economy and fluctuating labour demand, and has delivered on this objective,” Diamond explained.
“The resource industry is one sector that has seen a dramatic change in labour demand and skills availability in recent years. “The same temporary skilled migration programs that were critical to filling crippling skills shortages during the major project investment and construction boom, have more recently seen numbers drop to almost non-existent, as skills and labour pressures have eased.” Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCI) chief executive officer Deidre Willmott warned that any changes to the skilled migration system must not make it harder for businesses to access skilled labour quickly and efficiently. Willmott said WA businesses must be able to access skilled workers in times of skill shortages. “Western Australian workplaces are home to many niche, technical skills that can take years to develop – when the economy is thriving, WA
employers need access to these skills quickly so their businesses can grow and create more jobs for all workers,” Willmott said. “If these skills are unavailable locally, it is vital that employers have the flexibility to source these skills overseas – in the year to June 2012, WA employers made more than 16,000 applications for 457 visas. “Mechanical engineering technicians and civil engineers were the most sought-after at the time, which reflected the period’s peak demand for mining skills.” The new Temporary Skill Shortage Visa initiative involves two streams – short term and medium term. It is underpinned by more focused occupation lists that are responsive to genuine skill needs and regional variation across Australia. Short-term visas are issued for two years, while medium-term visas are issued only for more critical skills shortages and for up to four years. The Business Council of Australia
USE OF 457 VISAS FADED AFTER THE MINING CONSTRUCTION BOOM ENDED
(BCA) also provided guidance for the government’s new plan for foreign workers. “The capacity for businesses to hire temporary workers to fill genuine skill shortages has been an overall boon for Australia, allowing the economy to ride out volatile economic cycles including in the mining industry,” BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott said. “Businesses naturally prefer to hire Australians wherever possible – it’s easier, it’s cheaper and it means workers come ready with valuable local knowledge and skills. However, when there aren’t enough skilled workers available, a small number of temporary visas can be the deciding factor in whether or not a large investment goes ahead. Westacott added it was crucial government worked with employers to get the details right and ensure industry’s ability to fill genuine skills shortages was enhanced, not degraded. AM
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HITTING BACK AGAINST MENTAL ILLNESS IN FIFO WORKERS FOLLOWING RESEARCH THAT FOUND FLY-IN FLY-OUT (FIFO) WORKERS ARE TWICE AS LIKELY THAN THE REST OF AUSTRALIA’S GENERAL POPULATION TO EXPERIENCE DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY, ONE MAN DESIGNED A NEW PREVENTATIVE MEASURE TO CHANGE THAT STATISTIC. SHARON MASIGE WRITES.
2015 survey conducted on FIFO workers by Western Australia’s Edith Cowan University found that more than one third of survey participants had experienced depression, anxiety or stress symptoms – more than double that of the rest of the population. This prompted Ian Mclean, who works in the FIFO industry, to develop a kit to help workers manage their health and wellbeing when on site. Dubbed the Hitch-Box, the kit contains toiletries for a one-week stint as well as mental health tools to help workers manage their lifestyle while working away from home for long periods of time. The idea for Hitch-Box stemmed from Mclean’s own experiences
having difficulties as a FIFO worker. “I sort of felt trapped in the FIFO industry,” Mclean told Australian Mining. “It got to a really bad stage where I was almost at the point of quitting my job before I actually reached out for help, saw a psychologist and was taught how to properly manage the FIFO lifestyle.” The Hitch-Box features a range of toiletries including shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion and a shaver set, as well as an on-andoff shift planner, a habit tracker – for workers to keep track of habits and a stress relief wallet card with six tips to reduce anxiety in the workplace. “We’re also in the process of designing a relationship checklist where people can tick off little things that they’ve been doing during their
swing to maintain their relationship with whoever it may be. Whether it is their wife, their family, or their children,” Mclean said. One of the key reasons for designing a toiletries box was so it would create extra luggage space for FIFO workers, who often have a 10kg minimum when travelling to site. It was also designed as a means to bring mental health ‘literature’ into the worker’s private setting, particularly if they feel uncomfortable seeking it out for themselves. “At the moment all the mental health literature on site is usually at the company’s reception or at some location where people don’t want to be seen picking it up,” Mclean said. “They don’t want people to think ‘Oh he’s gone to grab a brochure for suicide, he’s having a had time’ or
HITCH-BOX CONTAINS TOILETRIES AND POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES FOR FIFO WORKERS
they don’t want to be ridiculed, or seen as a liability. “So the box actually provides a vessel to get the mental health information in their personal space where they can read it in private and act on it if they need to.” Mclean also partnered with charity organisation Livin for the development of Hitch-Box. The charity was established by Casey Lyons and Sam Webb after Lyons’ best friend Dwayne took his own life after struggling with mental illnesses. “Dwayne suffered from depression and bipolar for a number of years,” co-founder, Casey Lyons said. “And in my opinion the stigma is what kept him quiet. “He had great support networks around him, he had a beautiful family
and great friends but the stigma sort of kept him quiet. It made him feel ashamed and stopped him from asking for that help that could have ultimately saved his life.” With the slogan, ‘It ain’t weak to speak’, Livin aims to remove the stigma linked to mental illness and encourage others to speak up if they are having any issues. “There are plenty of great service providers in this country but people just do not feel comfortable putting their hand up and asking for help,” Lyons said. “We’ve outcast people when they put their hand up and asked for help relating to a mental health problem and this might be because when we can’t actually see the problem we don’t believe it exists.” The charity brings the message of speaking up to schools and the wider community through education workshops, social media, merchandise and community-based events. “It’s all about stigma reduction,” Lyons added. “Just making people feel comfortable and empowering them to get help.” Lyons also highlighted the importance of raising awareness
of speaking up as it could be the beginning of someone’s journey to seeking help. “There are so many warning signs out there and if we don’t have that empathy or that understanding we all too often – in this fast paced world that we live life at today – will miss these signs,” Lyons said. “Raising that awareness just lets people know that they’re not alone and that there is help out there. It
a tough industry, there is a perceived attitude that as a worker you have to be tough as well. “People have the attitude of ‘I need to be tough to get through this job’ or I don’t want to be the person that has to ask for help,” he said. And so Mclean resonated with the Livin organisation and its message because despite those fears, there are a lot of people also willing to help. Mclean said one of the hardest
AT THE MOMENT ALL THE MENTAL HEALTH LITERATURE ON SITE IS USUALLY AT THE COMPANY’S RECEPTION OR AT SOME LOCATION WERE PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO BE SEEN PICKING IT UP.” comes back to education – it creates that understanding and with that understanding comes acceptance.”
The culture of the mining industry
Mclean said in his experience in the mining industry, he did not reach out for help because of fear of being ridiculed or seen as “the weak link”. He mentioned that because it can be
parts was admitting he had a problem, but once he did, he received the help and support he needed. “As soon as I admitted it and reached out to someone at work and said ‘hey I’m not really feeling good with the work-life balance at the moment, I need time off to recoup my thoughts and manage my own mental health’, everyone was willing to help. “It was just all inside my own head
THE KIT WAS DESIGNED FOR A ONE-WEEK STINT ON SITE
[the idea that] I can’t reach out for help because I’ll be seen as a weak link,” he said. “That was all just a concoction of my own imagination.”
The next step
So far, Hitch-Box has received a strong response from lower management and Mclean said the next stage was to get it onto mine sites as a preventative maintenance method against mental health illness in the industry. “Hopefully in the coming months we’ll have someone take it on board and we’ll get it into some camps and see some results,” he said. As for Livin, Lyons said it was experiencing a period of growth, with plans to establish more teams nationwide to spread the message of seeking help. “Most times getting started or taking that first step is generally the hardest,” he said. “You’re definitely not alone, there is help out there, [so] please don’t be ashamed to put your hand up and ask for help.” AM For more information about Hitch-Box contact Ian.firstname.lastname@example.org
REVOLUTIONARY CONE CRUSHER TECHNOLOGY ARRIVES IN AUSTRALIA METSO HAS UNVEILED ITS NEW MX CONE CRUSHER IN AUSTRALIA, PROMISING A NEW LEVEL OF EFFICIENCY, SAFETY AND AUTOMATION. AUSTRALIAN MINING REPORTS.
he product of 100 years of cone crusher evolution, Metso’s new MX seems poised to redefine the way we think about cone crusher performance with claims of previously unimagined; efficiency, wear part utilisation, safety and automation. Metso unveiled the new machine along with a number of other worldfirst innovations at this year’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG global trade show in Las Vegas. Metso has now
announced the launch of MX4, the first model of its innovative new MX cone crusher series, on the Australian and New Zealand markets. According to Metso, MX is the first ‘Multi-Action’ cone crusher on the market. It combines the very high reduction ratios of the most demanding mining applications with superb endproduct shape and consistency critical in aggregate applications. The machine’s engineering team said that the MX cone crusher was designed with one objective in mind -
making the machine owner’s business more profitable than ever before. The company states that the MX reduces total-cost-of-ownership while supercharging productivity.
Patented ‘Multi-Action’ technology
Peter Newfield, Metso Australia’s head of marketing and communications, said the company’s patented Multi-Action technology was a revolutionary way to automatically optimise crusher operation.
MX IS THE FIRST MULTI-ACTION CONE CRUSHER ON THE MARKET
The MX is able to simultaneously adjust its setting with a rotating bowl above its cavity and a hydraulic piston inside the machine’s fixed shaft. Dynamic setting adjustments can be made when the crusher is operating under full load conditions without the need to stop production. Both rotating bowl and piston adjustments are fully automated, so no human intervention is required. The MX also provides a maximised tramp release distance, delivering high levels of protection against
uncrushable objects and overloading. Protection is optimised under all conditions, even with completely new wear parts.
More uptime and lower operating costs
According to Newfield, the MX with its Multi-Action technology is
distributed crushing action are combined to provide a highly optimised rock-on-rock crushing motion. Together with the machine’s Multi-Action technology, this results in extended intervals between maintenance and higher production rates. Quality characteristics of all
OUR PROSPECTIVE CUSTOMERS CAN BE CONFIDENT THAT OUR NEW MACHINES ALREADY HAVE A PROVEN TRACK RECORD IN SOME REALLY CHALLENGING APPLICATIONS.” the most cost-efficient crusher on the market. It enables operational cost savings of 10 per cent or more compared with traditional cone crushers. Savings in wear components coupled with an effective and continuous crushing action, provide an unbeatable starting point to bring down the cost per tonne in any quarry or mining application. The new machine’s uptime is significantly better than traditional cone crushers. The MX’s MultiAction design allows dynamic setting adjustment and wear composition with its hydraulic piston, minimising interruptions to production. It also provides rapid, fully automated protection via its rotating bowl. The combination of rotating bowl and piston adjustment enables optimised wear part utilisation. The MX features a very robust design that is based on Metso’s experience over the years with its Nordberg MP, HP and GP Series cone crushers. The new crusher is designed for the most challenging operating conditions with very hard and abrasive feed material. From the start, the MX was engineered to minimise downtime and allow 24/7 crushing in the harshest applications. One of the big advantages of the MX is its quick and easy wear component change-outs. All the wear parts are accessible from the top of the machine, allowing a complete change-out in just two to three hours.
sized end product fractions stay consistent throughout the lifetime of wear parts.
Newfield said the smart optimisation of Metso Multi-Action technology was the key to reaching desired end-product shape and particle size distribution while eliminating waste. End products can be measured
as often as 10 times per second and shown directly on the crusher’s automation display. Operators can easily control and automate parameters such as material cavity level, crusher speed, power setting and piston pressure. Crushing quality can be monitored via Metso’s ‘VisioRock’, which measures real-time production through a photo particle size analyser that is connected to the crusher’s automation system. VisioRock is compact in design and easy to install. Its Modbus interface enables quick access to particle size distribution from cameras that are mounted above the crusher’s output conveyor.
Designed with operator safety and the environment in mind
Less human machine interactions for adjustment and maintenance naturally means a safer working environment for machine operators and maintenance staff. Combined with purpose-made lifting components and wear part tightening tools, the MX is said to be
a big win for operator safety. The machines have also been designed with the environment in mind. There is no lead used in the MX’s counterweight design and no backing is required to set the liners. The machine’s lubrication system has been optimised to use up to three times less oil than previous models. Machines can be equipped with Metso’s offline filtration system which keeps oil clean for extended periods.
Technology proven in the ‘real world’
As part of its MX development program, Metso included a prelaunch field testing period. Machines were secretly tested in four different countries. By the time of the global launch in Las Vegas, the test machines had completed a combined operational time of more than 10,000 hours. “Our prospective customers can be confident that our new machines already have a proven track record in some really challenging applications,” Newfield said. AM
Up to 70% wear part utilisation
The MX delivers record breaking wear parts utilisation rates, according to Metso. The crusher can use up to 70 per cent of the mass of new wear parts. Optimal cavity design, stroke direction and an effectively
MX CRUSHER CUT AWAY VIEW SHOWING PATENTED MULTI-ACTION TECHNOLOGY
INSTALLATION ERRORS OVERLOAD
STORAGE & HANDLING ERRORS
OTHER INSTALLATION ERRORS
STORAGE & HANDLING ERRORS
19.6% 2.8% 6.9%
INSTALLATION ERRORS 54% LUBRICATION-RELATED FAILURES OVERLOAD
STORAGE & HANDLING ERRORS
OTHER INSTALLATION ERRORS
54% LUBRICATION-RELATED FAILURES
OVERLOAD INADEQUATE LUBRICATION STORAGE & HANDLING ERRORS CONTAMINATION OTHER 54% LUBRICATION-RELATED FAILURES INADEQUATE LUBRICATION CONTAMINATION
54% LUBRICATION-RELATED FAILURES
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ENHANCING MINERAL EXTRACTION MINING CONSULTANCY ABGM HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN RESEARCH TO IMPROVE MINERAL EXTRACTION, REINFORCING ITS CONTINUED SUPPORT OF AUSTRALIA’S MINING INDUSTRY. SHARON MASIGE WRITES.
ith its origins as a South African mining consultancy in 2006, ABGM moved to Australia, providing mineral resource management, mine planning and mining solutions, as well as prefeasibility and feasibility studies for various minerals in different countries. Research and development, within the mining industry, is a key technical area where ABGM is contributing while working with Brisbane-based organisation CRC ORE. The organisation’s goal is to ‘optimise economic resource extraction’ through implementing innovative ideas and developing technologies to improve project
value, while reducing operational costs and energy requirements for each of the projects. The organisation is associated with the University of Queensland and boasts an impressive project list specifically pertaining to Grade Engineering. Grade Engineering is the optimisation of energy use and maximisation of value extraction for different mineral deposits and this approach specifically considers the research of the natural ore deportment properties for different mineral deposits. ABGM co-owner and director, Anton von Wielligh, said Grade Engineering was the task that he was involved in with the aim of developing methodologies and processes to use these variables
within the mine optimisation, mine planning and mine valuation space. This was done successfully while using open pit and underground optimisation and mine planning software. “Grade Engineering is the function of capturing and testing the natural ore deportment properties of an orebody (maximum metal exploitation at the lowest possible energy cost), through differential blasting techniques and screening of the ore for the optimal fragmentation profile that will yield the best value,” von Wielligh told Australian Mining. “CRC ORE, in their research, have identified that certain ore deposits, ore bodies or mineralisation deposits have different abilities to yield product or contained metal at certain
GRADE ENGINEERING HELPS BOOST PRODUCTIVITY ON SITE
fragmentation profiles. Identifying the ability of different orebodies within a project could save the project or operating mine a significant amount of money, if they know at which economic point they are able to obtain the best fragmentation profile that yields the maximum value if one compares product/contained metal to energy and effort. He continued: “So, if you break the rock at a certain fragmentation size (through chemical and mechanical effort), you free up a percentage of the containing metal and understanding where on the value curve the ideal fragmentation for a specific orebody lies, while accounting for the mining conditions for the orebodies, is where Grade Engineering studies adds value.”
is placing a bigger emphasis on environmental management and protection, as well as health and safety. “I can certainly say that globally, these have seen a really big push and improvement in recent years,” he said. “So making sure that the mining industry abides by its stringent environmental requirement/ regulations while also ensuring that it provides for a safe and healthy working environment and workplace for people is certainly one of the key focus areas of mining companies.”
The focus going forward
GRADE ENGINEERING TARGETS THE RETRIEVAL OF THE REQUIRED METAL
“You can get 85-90 per cent of your containing metal out of the rock by only applying 65-80 per cent of the energy. Whereas most projects look at supplying 100 per cent energy and only getting 92-95 per cent of their containing metal,” von Wielligh said “It is all about finding the optimal ratio needed to achieve the best containing metal/revenue to cost result.” Grade Engineering studies and research have received very positive responses from different clients who have participated in this study field. “Some of CRC ORE’s clients identified that they were interested to see Grade Engineering research and studies on a number of their commodities/projects,” von Wielligh said. This success also led to discussions between CRC ORE and ABGM around becoming formal partners, enabling ABGM to work on more projects with CRC ORE as they are certainly leading the way in this technical space. ABGM has a global client base; working with clients in the United Kingdom, Canada, Africa and Australia, and is also involved in assisting mining companies with acquisitions. “Part of our local project work is also assisting companies to acquire new or sell some of their mining assets within Australia,” von Wielligh said. He added that the company has been involved with various international companies during their acquisitions of / or bids on Australian gold mines.
Australia’s mining sector leading the way
von Wielligh said Australian mines were leading the way when it comes to automation within open pit and underground mining operations, when compared to most other countries, where mining and commodities form a significant part of their economy. He referred to an annual miners’ forum that fostered interest in new technologies and automation processes, and also improvements on mining equipment, reinforcing
the country’s uptake of automated technologies in recent years. “Australia is inviting automation and always looking at smarter ways to do things and this is largely due to innovative industry leaders within the Australian mining organisations,” he said. Despite Australia’s automation uptake, von Wielligh said Australia’s mining industry was one of the sectors that was not evolving as fast as other industries. He did note, the mining sector
ABGM HAS BEEN WORKING TOGETHER WITH CRC ORE TO DEVELOP MINERAL EXTRACTION SOLUTIONS FOR THE MINING INDUSTRY
The company does not have any current expansion plans, although von Wielligh said it was not out of the question. Instead, he said the company was more focused on innovation and where the industry is less reliant on high commodity prices to initiate or expand mining projects which results in more employment opportunities and more investment opportunities for mining companies, by exploiting our mineral resources smartly and more cost effectively. He said working on new technologies and research development was a passion and something close to his heart. “Seeing that we move the industry forward and come up with new ways of doing things, smarter ways of doing things,” he said. AM
SPECIAL FEATURE: MINE SAFETY AND VENTILATION
A SILENT EPIDEMIC AVOIDED THE MINING INDUSTRY NEEDS TO BE AWARE OF THE HIDDEN DANGERS THAT CAN CAUSE CHRONIC RESPIRATORY DISEASES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM. AUSTRALIAN MINING REPORTS.
perception among owners and workers in mining and related industries is that the causes of chronic respiratory diseases are obvious – poor ventilation, overexposure, poor OH&S standards and working in dusty environments. When it comes to black lung, lung cancer and other breathing-related diseases, there are other underlying causes that are less apparent, which tend to go under the radar but are just as dangerous to the human respiratory system. There are hidden dangers that go unnoticed. For example – a truck operator who works in an underground (non-coal) or open-pit mine will likely be in an enclosed cabin. Chances are, there may be a ventilation system hooked up that is designed to stop airborne particulate and fibre exposure. However, there are other issues that need to be addressed including: Is the cabin pressurisation correct? Is
the filter system compliant to OH&S standards? How often is the filter changed? Is the filter media compliant for the type of dust / fibre, or how often is the system checked? Are CO2 levels checked and compliant? It is especially important in industries such as mining because with diseases like black lung there is more than one airborne particulate or fibre that causes harm, including coal dust and silica dust. Acceptable exposure levels to these kinds of particulate are defined by legislation. In NSW coal mines, the exposure limits for a TWA eight-hour working period are: • Respirable dust 2.5 milligrams (containing <5 per cent silica) per cubic metre of air (mg/m3) • Respirable quartz (silica dust) 0.10 mg/m3. Researchers at the University of Melbourne’s Lung Health Research Centre suggested that there may not be a safe level of coal dust exposure.
Most OH&S standards call for filtration of high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA), which is a filtration efficiency of 99.97 per cent of all particulates >0.3 micron. The direct cost of not looking after workers in dusty environments is that they will get sick and not be able to work. The worst result would be workers contracting a disease that cannot be treated such as lung cancer or pneumoconiosis. The Cancer Council reported that at the end of 2016, every year, up to 130 workers are diagnosed with lung cancer due to exposure to diesel fumes (class 1 carcinogen) in the work place. There are also peripheral costs to take into consideration, too. This includes the law suits by former workers, medical bills, and the cost to the economy of unproductive workers being permanently disabled and therefore reliant on government financial support. It is an employer’s best interest, on many levels, to make sure their
DUST IS AN ONGOING CHALLENGE
workers are protected with the best available equipment and systems. However, not all cabin air systems are created equal. One such system, the RESPA and Q-CABAIR, makes sure that the cabin environment in both mobile and fixed plant complies with Australia’s OH&S standards. As well as offering filtration of airborne particulates, there are a range of other features it has that ensures workers are not only protected, but work in a comfortable environment. This includes optimum thermal comfort, maximum filter service life, as well as high recirculation air filtration of entrapped contamination that also protects the HVAC System. The chance of no worker getting any particulate-related disease is remote. However, industries do need to do as much as they can to make sure their workers lead healthy, productive lives without the shadow of potential respiratory diseases hanging over them. AM
Q-CABAIR /RESPA TM
QUALITY CABIN ENVIRONMENTAL AIR SYSTEMS FOR MINING Protecting the health of your employees and equipment: • Q-CABAIR™ ENVIRO systems utilises the RESPA® units for both External and Recirculation Air Filtration. • Highest OH&S Compliance and Protection of Mobile and Fixed Plant Cabin Occupants. • Reduction of Operator Fatigue associated with Co2 concentration. • Optimum Cabin Pressurisation. • Maximum Protection of HVAC Systems for Maintenance and Operator Comfort. • Protection of Cabin Internals (electrics / electronics, etc). • Suitable for all Fixed & Mobile Operator Plant Cabins, Electrical Enclosures, etc. • Tested and Certified by Australian & USA OH&S Regulators. • High Recirculation Air Filtration for entrapped airborne contamination. • Extensive Filter Service Life by upto a factor of x 20 compared to other systems.
Q-CABAIR /RESPA SYSTEMS CAN BE USED ON ANY FIXED OR MOBILE PLANT OPERATOR CABINS TM
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SPECIAL FEATURE: MINE SAFETY AND VENTILATION
DRIVING DOWN COAL DUST LEVELS THE CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MINING AND ENERGY UNION (CFMEU) IS CALLING FOR THE COAL DUST LIMIT IN QUEENSLAND MINES TO BE REDUCED, FOLLOWING THE NUMBER OF WORKERS CONTRACTING LUNG DISEASES AS A RESULT.
he Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is urging the Queensland Government to do more to monitor dust levels in the state’s coal mines, amid the growing number of workers being diagnosed with dustrelated lung diseases. In April this year, an Anglo American coal miner was diagnosed with emphysema and chronic bronchitis after the inhalation of excessive amounts of coal dust. This is in addition to the 20 workers diagnosed with black lung since 2015, which the CFMEU said highlighted the major problem of dust in Queensland coal mines. Queensland’s current coal dust limit is 3mg/m3 of air, higher than the New South Wales and United States limit of 2.5mg/m3 of air. Following the number of workers recently being diagnosed with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, or
black lung, the state government established the Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis select committee to inquire into the resurgence of the disease to find ways to prevent it. The inquiry included hearings in a range of Queensland regional areas and capital cities from community members, medical experts and victims who have been impacted by the disease. The CFMEU is calling for the inquiry to prioritise minimising the coal dust limit in Queensland mines. “In the past 12 months, dust levels have remained well above the legal limit in many Queensland coal mines,” CFMEU mining and energy district president Stephen Smyth said. He added it was “absolutely unavoidable” that the legal dust limit in Queensland coal mines must be lowered and an independent system for monitoring and compliance introduced.
The state government made certain measures to protect workers from the disease into laws from January this year, such as underground coal mine workers undertaking respiratory function tests and chest x-rays when they enter the industry and every five years thereafter, and retired coal
through its Dust to Dust: Make Black Lung History campaign, is also seeking for a black lung victims fund to support those already suffering from the disease, funded by a 10 cent per tonne level on coal on all mining companies. Smyth added that safety should be the government’s main priority when
IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS, DUST LEVELS HAVE REMAINED WELL ABOVE THE LEGAL LIMIT IN MANY QUEENSLAND COAL MINES.” mine workers granted access to chest function and x-rays. By law, mining companies must also provide dust monitoring data to the mine inspectorate every three months as well as report all cases of black lung. Apart from calling for a lower legal limit on coal dust, the CFMEU,
it comes to mine workers. “Australia’s coal miners deserve the safest possible conditions at work and mining companies are not properly managing dust levels,” he said. “Coal miners go to work, not to die, and this has dragged on long enough.” AM
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SAFETY IN MINING THROUGH MEASUREMENT AND TRAINING AUSTRALIAN MINING SPEAKS TO BESTECH MANAGING DIRECTOR SAM BHASIN ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MEASUREMENT AND TRAINING DEVICES TO ENHANCE SAFETY AND PRODUCTIVITY ON SITE.
ustralia’s mining industry has some of the most stringent safety standards in place to ensure all workers return home to their families unscathed. To uphold these safety standards on site, while still maintaining high production rates, operators must use measurement devices for their systems and processes. Sensor and teaching equipment specialist Bestech provides a range of measurement sensors to assist with production and reliability and training equipment to ensure safe and efficient work place practices. The measurement devices for the mining industry include displacement, strain,
temperature, pressure and load to name a few. In terms of monitoring of systems such as hydraulic equipment,
for that,” Bhasin told Australian Mining. Bhasin said measuring devices ensure conveyor belts and other processes and equipment are more
WE CONDUCT COURSES WHICH CAN BE DONE ON SITE TOO AND CAN BE A FULL FIVE-DAY COURSE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NEW OR PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN IN THE INDUSTRY FOR A LONG TIME AND CAN LEARN A LOT FROM THIS.”
materials handling and infrastructure, Bestech managing director Sam Bhasin stressed the importance of using the right measurement sensor system to minimise production losses. “For example, if operators want to optimise the loading on a conveyor, these devices can take measurements
efficiently used and help increase their longevity. He also reinforced the importance of selecting the right measurement device to deliver the most efficient loading process – and warned operators need to be careful when making a selection, particularly
THE SIMLOG SIMULATOR HELPS STUDENTS TO TRAIN WITHOUT THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH USING REAL EQUIPMENT
in an attempt to save costs. “There are lots of measurement devices available and sometimes you might feel like cutting a corner and just buying the cheapest one,” Bhasin said. “If there is a breakdown of critical machinery or infrastructure, some companies could be losing up to a million dollars a day in production loss and often a risk to life.” Despite this warning, Bhasin said the right sensor could also be the cheapest but it is still impetrative that the correct one is chosen. He said Bestech offered 10 different sensor technology solutions just for displacement and based on the particular application, the company’s application engineers can help select the most appropriate one to enhance productivity within their operations.
BESTECH PROVIDES A RANGE OF SENSOR EQUIPMENT FOR THE MINING INDUSTRY
Training and simulation
For a safe work environment, Bestech also offers training solutions for both hydraulics and pneumatics systems. Bhasin stressed the need for proper training as even a small hydraulics leak can have serious detrimental effects on both workers and the company they work for. “People have been known to lose a finger or a hand and that could have been easily prevented if they understood what the dangers are,” he said. “How we manage and prevent hydraulics leaks is very important and unfortunately there is a lack of understanding in general in this particular field. Ensuring stored hydraulic energy is safely discharged is a must for the safety for any hydraulic maintenance program.” The hydraulics and pneumatics
training solutions Bestech provides are suitable for miners at any stage of their working life; whether they are trainees or have been working in the mining industry for several years. “We conduct courses which can be done on site too and can be a full
five-day course for people who are new or people who have been in the industry for a long time and can learn a lot from this,” Bhasin said. The students are taught how to use and work with hydraulics services and given any other training required on a mine site. One device the company uses for training is the Fluid Power Training Institute (FTPI) hydraulics training system. “We use good quality hardware in these training systems rather than using alternative cheap ones so that they last a long time in an industrial environment. There is a strong emphasis on safety practices,” he said. Bhasin said the students learn on a real system to understand exactly how each component works. The Simlog heavy equipment simulation of
HYDRAULICS TRAINING IS SUITABLE FOR MINERS AT ANY STAGE OF THEIR WORKING LIFE
cranes, off-highway trucks, material handlers, mining trucks, bull dozer and others are ideal as they allow students to train without additional costs associated with having to use real equipment. Bhasin said it helped train students faster in the lead up to using the real equipment. “When they work with the simulator for some time for their initial training, they learn much quicker when they move to a real life, say, bulldozer or hydraulic excavator or a forklift,” he said. The safety benefits, apart from cost benefits, are also evident as trainees do not have to constantly use milliondollar equipment for training as they learn in a safe simulated environment. “It’s a much safer environment when somebody doesn’t know anything about any of these reloaders or bulldozers etc,” he said. Bhasin added that they first work with a particular system or machine on a simulator, which gives them almost real-life experience so they know what to do before getting on a real one. By starting on a simulator, good habits and work practices can be taught with instructor’s advice as they go. This provides a much more efficient training system and a safer operator in the long run. He also mentioned the simulator’s use of high-quality hardware to give the students a more authentic experience when dealing with controls. “The training systems are designed to the highest standards and exceed what the Australian standards will ask for,” Bhasin said. “Therefore trainees are getting the most appropriate knowledge on how to work with hydraulics, pneumatics or heavy equipment.” AM
THE OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD OF INHALING DIESEL EXHAUST FUMES ODWYN JONES AND CHRIS DAVIS DISCUSS THE HEALTH RISKS OF DIESEL EXHAUST FUMES AND THE CHALLENGES THEY PRESENT FOR THE AUSTRALIAN MINING INDUSTRY.
f anyone doubts the seriousness of health risks to those living and/or working in or near environments polluted by diesel exhaust products they should read one of many articles published in medical journals. As an example, here are comments extracted from a fairly recent article (Krivoshto, et al., 2008): • Primary care physicians should be aware of the acute and chronic deleterious health effects from diesel exhaust and its potential to exacerbate other chronic disease states. • The majority of patients who present to urban primary care
clinics and emergency departments will have had significant chronic exposure to diesel exhaust because most use and/or live near busy streets and highways. Let us explore why we should be so concerned about this issue. To do so we need to define the pollutants contained in diesel engine exhaust and their toxicity to humans.
Why do we use diesels?
Diesel engines operate at a higher efficiency due to their higher energy density; thus, vehicles need less fuel per unit distance travelled. They also require less maintenance
than petrol engines due mainly to their use of compression to ignite the fuel, which means there is no need for spark plugs and associated wiring which in turn means less maintenance and lower maintenance costs. Diesel engines are also more rugged and reliable and are ideally suited to high powered trucks and earth moving equipment.
What’s the problem?
The major disadvantage of diesel engines relates to the toxicity of their exhaust products, which is reported to be 100 times more than for petrol engines, even when carbon monoxide is considered (Krivoshto et al 2008).
These exhaust products include: elemental carbon (EC), carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), oxides of sulphur (e.g. SO2), aldehydes, ketones, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and unburnt carbon particles. More than 50 per cent of the ambient particulate matter in the exhaust from diesel engines is EC with a mass median aerodynamic diameter of less than 10 microns (PM10) (Krivoshto et al. 2008). However, much of the particulate matter in diesel exhausts contain fine (< 2.5 microns) and ultrafine particulates (<0.1 microns / 100 nanometres [nm]). Such carbon particles are strong adsorbents and
THE TOXICITY OF A DIESEL ENGINE’S EXHAUST PRODUCTS CAUSES ISSUES
readily collect a range of toxic exhaust products on their surfaces. Due to their small sizes these EC particles are easily inhaled and deposited deep in our lungs along with their adsorbed toxic substances such as PAHs (one of many but amongst the most harmful to health). Needless to say, in urban areas the great bulk of these diesel exhausts are found in the immediate vicinity of busy roads and highways, hence the concern for their long-term effect on the health of nearby residents. Diesel engines also produce quantities of other toxic compounds, such as oxides of nitrogen and sulphur as well as formaldehyde and benzene etc. Of these, one of the most harmful is nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which when breathed causes increased likelihood of respiratory problems. It inflames the lining of the lungs and reduces the immunity to lung infection. It also contributes to the production of photochemical smog, which is also a danger to human health and most NO2 in cities comes from vehicle exhausts (Mason, 2017). Following numerous well-reported epidemiological and toxicological studies, in June 2012 the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research into Cancer (IARC) upgraded the classification of diesel engine exhaust emissions from Group 2A to “Group 1, definitely carcinogenic to humans”. It is a main cause of lung cancer with less definitive evidence that it may also be a contributory cause of bladder cancer.
Agglomeration, adsorption, condensation and nucleation
These four processes play significant roles at various stages in the formulation of diesel engine exhaust products, which in turn influence the way they impact on the health of those inhaling these products. Diesel engine exhaust is composed of, at various stages and to varying extents, solid, adsorbed, condensed and gaseous fractions. Solid particles of EC, with diameters of 10 – 30 nm, are formed in the combustion chamber of the engine. These readily agglomerate to create larger soot aggregated particles of diameter 60–100nm (Burtscher. 2005). EC is of itself not the main contributor to particulate toxicity, but rather it is the toxic compounds adsorbed and/or condensed on the
DIESEL CAN HAVE ALARMING EFFECTS ON OUR HEALTH
surface of the soot aggregates and other particulates. That apart, while EC is by far the most predominant, the solid fraction also contains a mixture of metals and metal oxides which originate from lubrication, fuel additives and engine wear (Mayer et al. 2010). Condensation also occurs in the combustion chamber as the fuel and oil additives vaporise and condense and become embedded in the soot particulates. This process can also occur in the dilution zone in the ambient air beyond the tailpipe. Here the exhaust products cool rapidly and many gaseous products condense on to solid surfaces such as the remaining soot particles etc. On the other hand, if conditions are such that these gaseous products become supersaturated they nucleate, thereby creating new hazardous super-fine liquid droplets. The gaseous fraction in diesel engine exhaust emissions consist of 99 per cent or so of inorganic gases such as N2, CO2, CO, NO and NOx, with the remainder one per cent composed of a complex mixture of organic compounds many of whom are classified as polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (Steiner et al. 2016). At various stages in the diesel engine exhaust system these organic compounds, if present in the gaseous phase, will readily adsorb onto both soot and metal oxide particles or condense to form liquid particles which may combine with AUSTRALIANMINING
water droplets in the liquid fraction (Burtscher 2005). We should never forget that the precise nature and composition of diesel engine exhaust emissions, at any point in time, is heavily dependent on a number of variables, including engine type, the effectiveness of its maintenance and after-treatment systems (if present), its operational mode, fuel and lubrication oil type plus fuel and lubrication oil additives (Imtenan et al. 2014; Mayer et al. 2010). It is also important to emphasise the toxicity of NOx and in particular NO2 (Mason. 2017), bearing in mind that some Diesel Oxidation Catalysts (DOC), whilst being effective in controlling CO, Hydrocarbons and PAH emissions, promote the increases of NO2 content by oxidising NO to NO2 (Cauda et al. 2005).
Health effects of inhaling diesel engine exhaust fumes
As stated in numerous publication and texts (Jones March 2015; Jones August 2015, Jones November/ December 2016)) the health effects of inhaling diesel engine exhaust fumes depend on many factors relating to the extent and nature of the polluted atmosphere, the extent of the exposure and the ability of the respiratory system to deal with and possibly counteract the presence of the various pollutants. Whereas the ciliated epithelium in the tracheobronchial tract catches and transports the larger inhaled particles
upwards to be evacuated by coughing, sneezing, swallowing and/or spitting, the smaller particles 5-500 nm in size penetrate the alveolar region (Oberdorster et al. 2005; Patton and Byron 2007). Here, the particulates are attacked and engulfed by the alveolar macrophages, which can then be removed by the mucus-coated ciliated escalator. However, whereas the clearance by the ciliated escalator is rapid, the clearance from the alveolar sacs is much slower (weeks or months), which allows the particles to interact with the cellular lining of the lungs over prolonged periods (Moller et al 2008). Apart from chemical interactions it has been shown that these small particles can also translocate across the epithelium into the surrounding tissue, the bloodstream or lymphatic system (Oberdorster et al. 2009). It is important to remember there is no defence mechanism against the health effects of gases. They can not only penetrate deep into the lungs, but the lungs are specifically designed to allow for the ready transfer of gases between the inhaled air and the bloodstream. It is therefore clear the adverse health effects of inhaling diesel engine exhaust fumes is dependent on the composition of the inhaled air, which includes its solid, gaseous and liquid fractions. If we now link these variables with the ever-changing composition of diesel engine exhaust emissions
due to the type of engine, the effectiveness of its maintenance regime, its workload demand etc., and its fuel and lubrication oil specifications we see how difficult it is to assess its health effects on humans by using simple metrics. It is also claimed (Block et al. 2012; Obersdorster et al. 2009; CalderonGarciduenas et al.2014) that previous research studies suggest that very small inhaled nanoparticles can translocate into the bloodstream and end up in the brain where they may contribute to neurovascular inflammation, which may in turn contribute to a number of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease and various forms of Dementia (Mayer et al. 2016; Nejad et al. 2015).
Challenges for the Australian mining industry
The current WA Department of Mines and Petroleum’s Guideline for Management of Diesel Emissions in Western Australian Mines recommends an exposure limit of submicron EC of 0.1 mg/m3 of EC measured as a time-weighted average over eight hours, adjusted for extended work-shifts. This is also the limit value also adopted by the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines. The authors of this paper and others consider that this exposure criteria is too high. When we consider the wide range of engine variables influencing the composition of diesel engine exhausts such as the type of engine, presence and performance of aftertreatment devices, maintenance effectiveness and engine load etc., not to mention the wide range of solids, liquids and gases which may exist within the breathing zone of humans, the authors suggest that it is both inadequate and inappropriate to use a single metric as the standard for regulation. In the final analysis those who are primarily concerned with the health effects of underground miners where diesel powered mobile equipment predominate focus on the quality and nature of the air in the ventilating airstream breathed by mineworkers. Special attention is also given to those working in close proximity to such equipment, where the exhaust emission products from the tailpipe have cooled and are diluted by the surrounding ventilating air stream such personnel as bogger operators, truck drivers, jumbo-drill operators etc.
In this zone, as stated earlier, the super-saturation of low volatility gaseous compounds may result in formation of new particles by nucleation, or alternatively condense onto pre-existing particles (Mathis et al. 2004; Ning and Sioutas 2010; Ning et al. 2010; Ma et al.2008)). As stated in other publications, for those vehicles retrofitted with diesel particulate filters (DPF) and other after-treatment devices, the exhaust products emitted into ambient air from the tailpipe will have reduced diesel particulate matter. The consequent reduction in particle surface area will, of itself, facilitate the nucleation of organic vapours in the dilution/breathing zone. It is not surprising therefore that serious questions are being raised regarding the efficacy and acceptability of ambient monitoring of diesel engine exhaust exposure. There is, as stated earlier, increasing concerns relating to the use of the sole metric of sub-micron EC in assessing the health-effect risks to humans. Even accepting that such metrics as lung deposited surface area (LDSA), along with recording the “number and size distribution of
particulates” gives a better overall assessment, there is no general agreement on the best approach (Wierzbicka et al.2014).
Biomarkers for diesel engine exhaust exposure
The above discussion is the reason for looking to biomonitoring and the use of biomarkers as a much more scientific and meaningful assessment of each individual’s response to working and breathing in atmospheres polluted by diesel engine exhaust (DEE) products. However, this approach has its own challenge of identifying a robust and sensitive biomarker (Scheepers et al. 2002). According to (Morgott. 2014) a successfully developed biomonitoring program could assist in: establishing exposure trends, identifying highly exposed subgroups, determine reference ranges for acceptable exposures, and verify human health risk. Thankfully this approach is increasingly becoming a reality due largely to the availability of “innovative and accurate analytical techniques for measuring small
DIESEL AND THE MINING INDUSTRY GO HAND-IN-HAND
differences in body burden and receptor binding” (Morgott.2014). Many such biomarkers have and are being investigated including PAH in urine, urinary 1-hydroxypyrene, measurement of DNA bulky adducts and nitrated polycyclics. Results of a recent research study carried out by staff at various Chinese Universities and the Key Laboratory of Chemical Safety and Health, National Institute for Occupational Health and Poison Control in Beijing points the way to the future use of biomarkers for assessing long-term exposure to diesel engine exhaust (Duan et al. 2016). In this study, 101 male diesel engine testing workers who were constantly exposed to DEE were matched to 106 controls (workers operating pumps in a water plant) in the same city. The components of the DEE were recorded including fine particles (PM2.5), EC, NO2, SO2 and PAHs. Post-shift urine samples were collected and analysed for 1 – hydroxypyrene (1-OHP), an internal exposure marker for DEE. Primary DNA damage, considered to be a key initial event
in carcinogenicity was assessed using the Comet electrophoresis assay of blood samples. The results showed that compared to the control group the diesel engine testing workers were exposed to significantly higher levels of pollutants and that their health risks according to the biomarkers was also much higher: • PM2.5: 3.1 times higher than the control group • EC: 9.7 times higher than the control group • NO2: 7.5 times higher than the control group • SO2: 40.0 times higher than the control group • PAHs: 141.6 times higher than the control group. The results of 1-OHP and Comet Assay analyses gave: • Median of Urinary 1-OHP: 3.0 times higher than for the control group • FPG Comet Assay: 2.5 times higher than for the control group. All participants in the DEEexposed study had worked in the same area of the workshop for at least
RESEARCH CONTINUES INTO THE IMPACT OF DIESEL FUMES ON MINE SITES
one year. The control group were matched by age to within five years and smoking status to the DEEexposed group. Participants were also interviewed using a detailed questionnaire, which included demographic information, educational background, smoking history, alcohol consumption, occupational history of exposure and medical history and the study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of China’s National Institute for Occupational Health and Poison Control, and published in the peer reviewed British Medical Journal.
Those interested in finding out more about this fascinating study are recommended to acquire a copy of the published paper (Duan et al. 2015). It is vitally important for prospective researchers and those responsible for the health and welfare of miners working in underground metal mines where diesel-powered mobile equipment predominate, and especially those working in close proximity to diesel powered mobile equipment, to appreciate the complexity of diesel engine exhaust emissions and the factors influencing
the health hazard of polluted air breathed by mineworkers. Hopefully this updated review assists in that regard while at the same time highlighting the inappropriateness of continuing to believe that the health risks to mineworkers can be truly assessed by just the one metric of “submicron EC”. The future undoubtedly lies with the use of appropriate biomarkers especially for occupational groups such as those working in engine testing workshops or in underground metal mines where diesel powered mobile equipment predominate. AM
August 2015; also presented at the AusIMM Mine
particles. Neurotoxicology 2016; 56:94-106.
Krivoshto et al. The Toxicity of Diesel Exhaust:
Ventilation Conference, Sydney, August/September 2015.
Implications for Primary Care. J Am Board Fam Med 2008; 21: 55-62.
Jones. Underground Miners Lungs and related Occupational Health Issues in Australia. Australian
Burscher. Physical characterization of particulate emissions from diesel engines: a review. J Aero Sci 2005; 36: 896-932.
Mining Journal. Part 1 November 2016; Part 2 December 2016. Oberdorster et al. An Emerging Discipline Evolving
Mason. EU issues “final warning” to Britain on air pollution limits. The Guardian Weekly. February/ March 2017.
from Studies of Ultrafine Particles. Environmental Health Perspectives 2005; 113(7) 823-839. Patton and Byron. Inhaling medicines: delivering
Mayer et al. Metal-Oxide Particles in Combustion Engine Exhaust. SAE International 2010 Steiner et al. Diesel exhaust: current knowledge of
drugs to the body through the lungs. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. 2007; 6, 67-74. Oberdorster et al. Nanoparticles and the Brain: Cause
Nejad et al. The effect of diesel exhaust exposure on blood-brain barrier integrity and function in a murine model. J Applied Toxicology 2015; 35: 41-47. Ning and Sioutas. Atmospheric Processes Influencing Aerosols Generated by Combustion and the Inference of their Impact on Public Exposure: A Review. Aerosol and Air Quality Research 10. 43-58, 2010. Ma et al. Investigation of Diesel Nanoparticle Nucleation Mechanisms. Aerosol Science and Technology. 2008, 42:5 335- 342. Wierzbicka et al. Detailed diesel exhaust characteristics including particle surface area and
adverse effects and underlying cellular mechanisms. Arch
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lung deposited dose for better understanding of health
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Imtenan et al. Emission and Performance
Moller et al. Deposition, Retention, and Translocation
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of Ultrafine Particles from the Central Airways and Lung
Additives. Procedia Engineering, Vol. 90. 2014, 472-477.
Periphery. AJRCCM, 2008 Vol 177, No4.
Cauda et al. Diesel After-treatment Control
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Office of Mine Safety and Health Research. 2005. Jones. Health Challenges Facing Underground HardRock Mining. Australian Mining Journal 28, March 2015. Jones. Diesel exhaust and the underground miner in Western Australia. The AusIMM Bulletin Magazine,
Calderon-Garciduenas et al. Air pollution and
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detrimental effects on children’s brain: The need for a
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PROSPECT AWARDS WINNERS PROFILE - THE RESOURCES HUB AUSTRALIAN MINING SPEAKS TO DANI TAMATI, OWNER AND PRINCIPAL OF THE RESOURCES HUB, WHOSE REDUNDANCY RESCUE SERVICE WON THE 2016 PROSPECT AWARD FOR COMMUNITY INTERACTION.
wo years have passed since the launch of The Resources Hub Redundancy Rescue service, which continues to generate a positive response from its users. Developed by The Resources Hub owner and principal, Dani Tamati, Redundancy Rescue helps redundant workers in the mining industry find new employment and assists with their career development. The service won the Australian Mining Prospect Award for Community Interaction in 2016, with Tamati reflecting that she was surprised it was victorious against initiatives from companies such as
Glencore and Morris Corporation. “For me personally it was just the icing on the cake,” Tamati told Australian Mining. She said winning raised the profile of the company, which had already been gaining traction in the media. “It meant that the industry was actually listening and verifying what I think is a warranted service that’s out there,” Tamati said.
From The Resources Hub to Redundancy Rescue
Tamati, who worked in the mining industry for nearly 24 years, developed The Resources Hub in 2012 to be a career development and recruitment service for the mining
industry at a time when jobs in the sector were beginning to decline. While she initially planned to have much of her business concentrated on placing people in other jobs, Tamati now has a broader focus on career development. “I’ve ended up becoming more of a business/careers coach,” she said. “I’ve taken on a behavioural profiling tool that helps individuals understand what career pathways they’re most suited to and also help businesses…when they refine their recruitment process make sure they’re placing the right person in their business for that role.” Having lived in the Pilbara for 14 years, Tamati witnessed a lot of her
THE RESOURCES HUB’S REDUNDANCY RESCUE SERVICE WON THE 2016 PROSPECT AWARD FOR COMMUNITY INTERACTION
close friends being made redundant, which led to the development of Redundancy Rescue. “[They] were being made redundant from positions that they had held for many years and they’ve never actually had to apply for work because they’ve always worked for the same company,” Tamati said. She added that most of the redundant workers had been promoted internally and did not have a good understanding of how to apply for other jobs or what the job prospects looked like for certain roles. Tamati emphasised that Redundancy Rescue was designed to tailor to the needs of each individual as some may require interview
training, others may need LinkedIn training, some may need to work on making connections that lead to new opportunities, and others need help to strengthen their CV. The service provides clients with career development advice, support and documentation, including for job websites, and Facebook pages to help them find employment. Having experience in the mining industry has been advantageous for Tamati, as she can identify the right roles for clients based on her own experience. “I’ve been in mining predominantly for so long, and recruitment too, [so] I can get a really good feel for people’s strengths,” she said. “So when some people are in, say, a mechanical maintenance type role, but they want to go into a leading hand or a supervisory role, I can advise them on what type of skills and qualifications they need to get there.” However, when asked whether the service was strictly to shift mine workers into other mining roles, Tamati said, “When and if I can, absolutely” – but it may not always the case. “[Redundancy Rescue] is more around the individual support,” she added. Tamati believes the personal relationships she develops with her clients helps her to better cater to their job requirements. “I’ve done out placement for mining companies before and I’ve built fabulous rapport with these guys and I know that if a role comes in, I know the person that I would place those people for,” Tamati said. “[In] the career side of things I
OWNER AND PRINCIPAL OF THE RESOURCES HUB, DANI TAMATI
passed these days, what sort of key words are needed,” she said. “Because a lot of our 360 recruitment - which is what I know and where I learned from back in the day - a lot of that now is taken away from us in the sense that we’re using applicant tracking systems with so much functionality that we don’t have to scroll through a CV and then short list.”
I’VE TAKEN ON A BEHAVIOURAL PROFILING TOOL THAT HELPS INDIVIDUALS UNDERSTAND WHAT CAREER PATHWAYS THEY’RE MOST SUITED TO AND ALSO HELP BUSINESSES” know what makes them tick. I know what skills and qualifications and experience they have and so I can suggest that to my clients if they’re not already employed.” While it is important for job seekers to keep abreast of the changing job market and skills requirements; Tamati said she must be on top of these as well, to target her client’s CVs to receive the right response from potential employers. “I’ve got to be at the forefront of knowing what sort of technologies are out there, how a resume is being
What’s next for the company?
Following the success of Redundancy Rescue, Tamati said she has a few joint ventures (JVs) in the works for her company. They include working with a labour hire company to set up its mining and resources division and develop their national strategy; helping a national engineering company with its recruitments and HR; tendering with mining companies to provide suitable personnel; and speaking with mining companies about Indigenous employment. AUSTRALIANMINING
Tamati is also helping women return to the mining industry after they have children. “Because working mums I believe – having been one myself now for 18 years – have so much to offer and companies need to jump on that bandwagon,” she said. Tamati added that while a lot of companies have diversity policies, job sharing should also be considered as a major option for working mothers. “I really think that in the future when things start to ramp up, job sharing needs to be reconsidered again,” Tamati said. “It’s an option for reemploying mums in particular.” She also suggested that part time and job sharing could be an option for fathers as well. “There are some dads out there that have chosen to be a stay-at-home dad and it’s just as important for them to have quality career pathways as well,” Tamati said.
Women in industry
Tamati will speak at the Women in Industry conference at the Melbourne Convention Centre on June 22, which highlights the achievements of Australia’s women across different industrial sectors. She plans to speak about her career
path and how she began working in the mining industry. “I never thought that I would end up being number 1: a business owner, and number 2: in recruitment and career development; never ever in my mind’s eye,” she said. “I started in hospitality and I really loved it.” She also plans to discuss her other business, Resourceful Women, which was designed to engage, empower and encourage women to return to the workforce, particularly in mining, or help them find the right career for themselves. “I meet so many women who would love to have the opportunity to have a kick-arse career themselves but they just don’t know what that looks like because they’re so entrenched in looking after their children, cooking, looking after their husbands, and sometimes caring for elderly parents,” she said. “I think if you can get past the fact that yes the first few weeks are going to be scary…and if you’ve got a lot of support behind you and the right type of information at hand, its completely doable.” AM Nominations for the 2017 Prospect Awards are now open. To nominate, visit www.prospectawards.com.au.
IP66 SUNLIGHT READABLE 7” AND 8” PANEL PCS Backplane Systems Technology has released Aplex Technology’s new APC-3072 & APC3082 Series of IP66 Sunlight Readable 7” and 8” Panel PC’s. The APC-3072 and APC-3082 are both powered by Intel Atom Processor E3845 that delivers high performance, with minimal power consumption, supporting 6-36VDC power input with optional ignition control. These Panel PCs also support optional GPS and 3G/4G network function for real-time GPS tracking and asset management. With integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, you can connect to local devices for updating real-time location status and route information, plus exchanging data with the control centre 24/7. The APC-3072 and APC-3082 both feature a rugged design with their IP66 rated panel and a rich selection of I/O ports, multiple peripherals and M12 I/O connectors, making it a very tough and robust unit. In addition, these industrial grade LCD Panel PCs can withstand a wide operating temperature range of -20°C to +60°C. The LCD Panels are optically bonded and feature anti-reflection technology, making them suitable for use in sunlight or applications where bright light can affect a screen’s readability. The 1000 nits high brightness screen has been designed for environments where harsh daylight is an issue. The APC-3072 and APC-3082 Panel PCs have been developed to meet the needs of a range of industries requiring a reliable solution in rugged environments. These include food and beverage, manufacturing, factory automation,
communications and in-vehicle computing applications. Other key features of the APC-3072 and APC3082 include 4G DDR3L Memory Onboard, a rugged engineering plastics enclosure and fanless design. • Backplane Systems Technology 02 9457 6400 www.backplane.com.au
552 CALIBRATION GAS CYLINDER & KIT
LTE FOR UNDERGROUND HARD ROCK MINES AND TUNNELING
CAC Gas and Instrumentation has released the 552 Calibration Gas Cylinder & Kit that provides a cost effective solution for service technicians who need to calibrate CH4, CO, CO2, O2, refrigerants or other fixed system sensors in oil/gas facilities, parking garages, underground coal mines or any other application. The kit features a canvas carrying case, fixed flow or vari-flow (9 flow rates) regulator, tubing and a stop-cock. It has easy-to-wear straps to secure the pack and cylinder. The cylinder, however, is sold separately. Operators can simply turn on the cylinder at the regulator and put the back pack on like a breathing apparatus cylinder. They can connect the calibration cup to the tubing allowing 552 litres of calibration gas to complete their calibration and testing requirements. The stop-cock gives users control of the flow as they move from one sensor to the next, minimising gas loss. With 552 litres of gas, the cost per litre is reduced, saving money while improving productivity and efficiency. • CAC Gas 02 8676 6500 firstname.lastname@example.org
METStech has announced the successful demonstration of its LTE Radiating Cable BDA solution for underground applications. The production version has now been submitted for certification to manufacture. The product will be initially available in Band 28 with other country-specific channels and bands made available. METStech expects to provide a Private LTE version of the device by the third or fourth quarter of 2017. Private version offers dual-band support, each of which can support technologies with frequencies that range from VHF through UHF to sub 1GHz. This means that for the first time it will be possible to support both two-way radio and high throughput data devices on the existing BDA cable infrastructure. Production units are targeted to be available for sale in Q3 2017. A D.A.S version will follow in Q4. • METStech 02 49675927 www.metstech.com.au AUSTRALIANMINING
NEW TWIG EX 3G NOW IECEX-COMPLIANT
ULTRA-PORTABLE BARRIER SYSTEM FOR INCREASED SAFETY AND EFFICIENCY SafetyMITS has released an ultra-portable barrier system offering safety, efficiency and reusability. The innovative Rapid Roll Barrier Storage Cartridge and Rapid Post system is designed for a wide range of industries including mining, building, construction and manufacturing, as well as being ideal for council, emergency and general maintenance workers. Safe and sturdy, the fully integrated Rapid Roll barrier system quickly creates a clearly defined protective zone that keeps workers and the general public protected. The barrier system offers fast, trouble-free site securement leading to less set up time and more efficient work time. Set up and take down of the barrier system can be done safely by one worker in a matter of minutes and the result is a clearly defined zone that prevents entry by those who might want to go under or climb over the barrier. This provides workers with peace of mind knowing they can safely perform their task in a secure area. This includes overhead workers using cherry pickers or high platforms, with the Rapid Roll barrier system keeping the public safe below their work zone. And when the job is finished, retracting the barrier system is just as easy as setting up as the worker simply cranks the handle and the barrier fencing neatly rolls back into the main cartridge. Reflective safety tape is also fitted to both sides of the cartridge and posts, making the system easily visible in low light environments. Portability is another of the key features of the Rapid Roll barrier system, being easy to carry and worksite-durable. With 15m of fencing option, the portable barrier system is highly adaptable, and can be used in a straight line, as a full enclosure or two or three sided. For larger areas, the barrier system can be connected in multiple units while maintaining the fast, simple approach to portability and set up. Weighing just 12.7kg, the system can be easily carried and assembled. In addition to the standard three-legged system, a wheeled system is also available, capable of carrying four posts and bases for larger applications. Moulded with tough, resilient MDPE, the barrier system is designed to stand up to all the rigours a worksite and extreme weather conditions can throw at it. Other key features of the system include its reusability and thoughtful technology involved. Durable and rugged, the system can be used over and over again, making cost per use easily affordable. The Rapid Roll barrier system is both reliable and better for the environment than some other temporary barrier fencing options. As it can be used repeatedly, the barrier system is a greener alternative to traditional fencing, which typically requires twist ties or other disposable fasteners in order to secure the fencing. In addition, traditional fencing often needs to be replaced due to damage in transport. Designed for ease of use and efficiency, smart features like comfortable carrying handles double as Rapid Links when the unit is in use. And when not in use, Rapid Roll is fully protected and neatly rolled up in the cartridge. • SafetyMITS 02 8005 6487 www.safetymits.com
Twig Ex Intrinsically Safe lone worker man-down unit is now IECEx compliant for Australia/New Zealand. Twig is one of Europe’s best selling mobile lone worker communicators, and features a duress button, man down and GPS. The system can contact up to ten numbers with SMS and has multiple man down alert triggers (tilt, no motion, free fall and impact). It is IP67 waterproof and shock-resistant, can send a location map to a smart phone and has four speed dial buttons. It also has the option of a short range device card for Bluetooth link to wrist button, a Twig check-in tag, and a Twig indoor location beacon (also available in intrinsically safe). It also has a long battery life (four days at 1 x GPS report/10 minutes). In addition, the Twig Ex can be configured remotely from a web dashboard when users want to change emergency contact numbers or any internal settings. • Twig Australia www.twigaustralia.com.au
SAFE-TO-SERVICE CONVEYOR BELT CLEANERS Bulk material handling technology provider Martin Engineering has introduced a new family of heavy-duty conveyor belt cleaner designs, engineered so the blade cartridge can be pulled away from the belt for safe access and replaced by a single worker. The company developed the Safe to Service (STS) blades to secure both primary and secondary cleaners rigidly to the conveyor mainframe, while offering more versatility and easier access. Initially available on the Martin QC1 Cleaner HD, Martin QC1 Cleaner XHD and Martin SQC2S Secondary Cleaner, external servicing reduces confined space entry and eliminates reach-in maintenance, while facilitating faster blade replacement. The result is greater safety and efficiency, with less downtime. Made of rigid steel, the STS manifold is a circular mandrel fitted with a square shaft on which the blade cartridge is attached. Dual tensioners separately adjust either end of the patented Constant Angle Radial Pressure (CARP) blade on the primary cleaner and the cushioned reversible blade on the secondary cleaner, for a tight, consistent seal on the belt. Designed for conveyor speeds up to 1200 FPM (6.1 mps) and belt widths from 18 to 120 inches (457 to 3048 mm), the STS system is well suited to heavy-duty applications faced by industries such as mining, scrap and coal handling. The rugged QC1 Cleaner XHD primary cleaning blade removes the bulk of the carryback, equipped with a polyurethane formulation to match the application. Primary cleaner urethane blades come color-coded to suit specific applications and are set in a multi-hole cartridge, allowing the sliding blade rack to be lined up with the material path for effective cleaning. The SQC2S Secondary Cleaner uses a tungsten tipped blade on a rigid polyurethane base or rubber buffers, which allow the system to handle belt reversals and rollback with no damage to the belt or splice. The STS design eliminates many of the factors that expose workers to potential injury. To remove the blade cartridge, operators bring the conveyor to a full stop and make sure that no loose material is near the header. Once the area is deemed safe, using appropriate lockout/tagout procedures, they simply disengage the blade cartridge from the tensioner and pull it out far enough to remove the quick release pin. The blade is replaced, pin reset, rack pushed back into position and the tensioner re-engaged. A single experienced maintenance technician can typically perform the replacement, resulting in a total reduction in the man-hours invested. • Martin Engineering 309 852 2384 www.martin-eng.com
CONFERENCES, SEMINARS & WORKSHOPS EVENT SUBMISSIONS CAN BE EMAILED TO EDITOR@AUSTRALIANMINING.COM.AU
COPPER TO THE WORLD CONFERENCE JUNE 27 ADELAIDE CONVENTION CENTRE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA The Copper to the World Conference will provide information on the key trends in the copper industry. It will feature discussions on the ongoing developments in innovation and research, with updates on exploration, as well as highlight the importance of Australia’s international trade and investment in the industry. The conference will also provide insights into the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector and share community engagement practices. Speakers at the event include BHP Billiton’s Troy Wilson, OZ Minerals’ Andrew Cole, SACOME’s Terry Burgess and CSIRO’s Kieren Moffat. •Copper to the World Conference 08 8463 3000 www.minerals.statedevelopment. sa.gov.au/copper_to_the_world
NOOSA MINING AND EXPLORATION CONFERENCE JULY 19-21 NOOSA, QUEENSLAND The Noosa Mining and Exploration Conference brings together resource
investors, brokers, and fund managers to understand current investment opportunities in the mining, energy and exploration sectors. Now in its seventh year, the event will be held at Peppers Noosa Resort, and will feature listed resource companies exhibiting their investment credentials through formal presentations. Companies that will be presenting over the course of the three days include Cobalt Blue, Orocobre, Metallica Minerals, Gold Road Resources and Eastern Goldfields. Keynote speakers include founder and director of RPM Global, Ian Runge, Morgans Economist Michael Knox, KPMG tax partner for energy and natural resources, Kurt Burrows, and resources investment commissioner for Queensland, Todd Harrington. •Noosa Mining and Exploration Conference 0417 079 164 www.noosaminingconference.com.au
UNCONVENTIONAL RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE (URTEC) JULY 24-26 AUSTIN, TEXAS With shale continuing to play a key role in the world’s energy future, the URTeC will bring attendees together to explore unconventional exploration, drilling and production ideas and technology. The event will be anchored by the Society of
Petroleum Engineers, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists as well as eight other world leading geoscience and engineering professional organisations. URTeC will provide access to industry research and solutions across the whole spectrum of resource development. It is ideal for upstream energy professionals as its collaborative platform and innovation exchange will help continue the success of the industry. •Unconventional Resources Technology Conference (URTeC) +1 918 560 2616 www.urtec.org/2017
DRILLING FOR GEOLOGY II JULY 26-27 BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND The Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG) is hosting the second part of its Drilling for Geology conference, first held in 2008. Drilling for Geology II will again focus on the collection and analysis of geoscientific information from drilling. The event will deliver more than 25 technical presentations and a concurrent exhibition for the two days. Topics include exploring drilling techniques, drilling logistics, sensing and geophysics, drillhole sampling and logging and ways to make better use of drilling data. Eight half-day and full-day professional development workshops will also be held on Friday
July 28, with some of them free for conference delegates to attend. The workshop topics include drilling for non-drillers, from survey data to informed decision making, structure logging of drill core and drilling and impacts on deposit characterisation. •Drilling for Geology II +61 408 029 549 www.drillingforgeology.aig.org.au
THE AUSIMM NEW LEADERS’ CONFERENCE AUGUST 7-8 MELBOURNE, VICTORIA As current mining graduates constantly face new challenges in the sector, they will be required to be innovative and develop original ideas to handle these contemporary issues. The theme for this year’s New Leaders’ Conference is ‘Building our future on the foundations of history’. The conference aims to develop the mindsets of students and graduates to handle complex developments, integrate and understand emerging technology, and learn to work effectively with fellow mine workers. It will feature presentations from a range of mining disciplines and networking opportunities that will provide insights from mining leaders and equip graduates with the skills to become the next mining leaders. •The AusIMM New Leaders’ Conference 03 9658 6126 www.newleaders.ausimm.com.au
AUSTRALIAN MINING PROSPECT AWARDS
OPEN To nominate, please go to
www.prospectawards.com.au Platinum sponsor
Your plant fitters are really going to love this. Dyna FastFit scrapers - a revolutionary new design which allows fast, safe removal from the chute. Now there’s no need to get inside the chute, eliminating confined space permit and scaffolding. All the work can be completed from outside the chute. Maintenance work can be done out on the walk way. Much safer, more comfortable. The design allows for the removal of the scraper shaft and blades without losing any of the settings – it’s self aligning, self-lubricating and self-locating. Dyna FastFit is available in a range of primary and secondary scrapers, polyurethane and carbide blades, belt widths 350mm to 3500mm wide. And they all have Dyna’s famous inbuilt quality.
Much safer. Much faster. Much better.
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