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Monday 7th November 124 Edition 2011
M A G A Z I N E
MACHETE vs MINER CQ minerâ€™s brush with death in New Guinea
â€œBLOODY hectic.â€? Thatâ€™s how central Queensland miner Luke Richmond describes being threatened with a machete in the remote jungles of western New Guinea. On Australia Day this year, the 26-yearold adventure junkie set off to climb the seven highest summits of the world. Luke can now tick four off the list - but the 4,884 metre Carstensz Pyramid in the Indonesian-held Papua province almost cost him his life. In fact, he is only around to tell what sounds like a tall tale, thanks to two Aussie expat contractors working at Freeport mine. â€œIt is the most highly strung political environment Iâ€™ve ever seen,â€? said Luke. â€œAnd the villages literally went from smiling one moment, to wanting to cut off our heads the next.â€? But letâ€™s start at the beginning. â€œThe approach to the mountain took six days through some of the thickest jungle on this manâ€™s earth,â€? said Luke. A permit is required to enter this part of the world, and in order to travel through multiple tribal lands the climbers had to employ porters from each village, 32 of them. For six days, the 10 climbers and about 40 porters made their way through the dense jungle to the base of the mountain, and 14 hours later stood atop Oceaniaâ€™s highest peak.
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News Fast train to Gladstone Âť page 6 News Machine mining ramps up Âť page 9 Ladder 457 visa hold ups over Âť page 10 Around Town Horror at Blackwater Âť page 15
â€œThe head villager ran down to our camp with his machete and began yelling for blood.â€?
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124th EDITION. 2011
BHP gives nod to $4B Caval Ridge mine
Join in a fun day with the Bechtel community Heaps of activities and entertainment for the whole family including, rugby league legend and Footy Show host Paul “Fatty” Vautin.
A new surge of investment is about to hit the Bowen Basin, with BHP Billiton approving its $4.2 billion Caval Ridge coking coal mine and the expansion of the nearby Peak Downs mine. The mine has been highly controversial among the local Moranbah community, because it will become the first Queensland coal mine to be run entirely with a fly-in flyout (FIFO) workforce. That means no new families will move to the town with the project, with the workforce to be houses in a giant mining camp on the outskirts of town. The new mine will produce 5.5 million tonnes of coal a year - and has a life expectancy of more than 60 years. The first coal is expected to be exported in three years time.
The Peak Downs expansion will see the mine produce an extra 2.5 million tonnes per year. The two projects are just one of many that BHP - through its alliance with Mitsubishi (BMA) - has planned for the region. “This investment in the Caval Ridge Mine was foreshadowed in March when BHP Billiton announced investments in the new 4.5 million tonne per year Daunia mine, the life extension of the Broadmeadow mine and the 11 million tonne per year expansion of the Hay Point Coal Terminal,” BHP metallurgical coal president Hubie van Dalsen said. “This is a continuation of BHP Billiton’s strategy of investing in large, low cost, expandable mines with long lives.”
11,000 at Kevin’s Corner Paul “F atty”
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Saturday, 26 November, 2011 12 noon – 5pm Gladstone Rugby League Grounds – Marley Brown Oval
THE $6.6 billion Kevin’s Corner coal mine in the Galilee Basin would employ more than 11,000 people, according to its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The project is owned by Indian infrastructure giant GVK, which announced a takeover of most of Gina Rinehart’s Galilee coal assets in September. According to the EIS, 4105 full-time jobs will be generated during construction, and another 7,258 will be needed when it is operational. The Kevin’s Corner project will include three underground longwall operations, supplemented in the early years with two open-cut pits. Coal will be mined from the open-cut pits using truck-shovel methods and transported to an on-site coal processing plant. It will then be sent by rail to Abbot Point
coal terminal, near Bowen, for export. The project will be capable of producing 30 million tonnes of thermal coal every year, for 30 years. If approved, construction would begin late next year, and the mine would be operational by 2014. According to the EIS, there will be little impact on significant or endangered animals and plants. Noise and vibration pollution is not expected to impact the town of Alpha, which is 65 kilometres north of the project. However, the on-site accommodation village will be acoustically designed to limit noise for sleeping workers. The Kevin’s Corner EIS will be available for public comment until 12 December. It is available online at www.deedi.gov.au
“Significant” rail & port projects
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Bechtel Community Day Proudly brought to you by Bechtel Australia Page 2 - Shift Miner Magazine, 7th November 2011
TWO key rail and port projects in central Queensland have been declared “significant projects” by the Co-ordinator-General. The Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser said the Dudgeon Point Coal Terminal and the Goonyella rail project could create thousands of jobs. The Dudgeon Point Coal Terminal project, near the Port of Hay Point, is being led by the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation and a consortium including Adani Mining and Dudgeon Point Project Management. “The proposed DPCT would involve the development of two new coal terminals with a combined export capacity of 180 million tonnes per year - almost exact-
ly the amount of coal exported out of the entire state in 2009-10,” Mr Fraser said. “This massive project is potentially worth $10-$12billion in investment, which stands to deliver another 5000 construction jobs.” Mr Fraser also said the Goonyella rail project had great significance. “It would involve the development of a new 290 kilometre rail line and associated infrastructure, and could potentially export around 60 million tonnes of coal each year.” “It underscores the potential of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal to be one of the biggest coal export terminals in the world.”
CONTENTS 124th EDITION. 2011
modation crisis in Gladstone is? Bechtel is currently paying its LUKE Richmondâ€™s brush with death workers a $24,000 a year bonus, just in New Guinea makes for an intrigu- to share a bathroom. ing read this edition. The chief executive of the local His decision to scale the seven council has described the rental marhighest summits is interesting enough, ket in the city as diabolical. but now he has a tale so tall it sounds You can read the story on page 11. almost unbelievable. And if youâ€™ve got a spare $20 milAside from Lukeâ€™s adventures, in lion, now might be the time to invest this edition of Shift Miner Magazine in a caravan park or two in the region. you will find plenty of news affecting Prices have gone through the roof your life back in Queensland. since the parks have stopped being A raft of enormous projects have the overnight hang outs for grey gone through to the next stage of the nomads, and instead become home approvals process over the past cou- to mining and industry workers who ple of weeks - including the Kevinâ€™s canâ€™t find a bed anywhere else. Corner mine project, the Fitzroy TerIf you want to read the details minal, Caval Ridge mine and the before calling your bank manager, Dudgeon Point Coal Terminal. turn to page 25 now. Want to know how bad the accom-
FROM THE EDITOR
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110 Campbell Street, Rockhampton. Page 3 - Shift Miner Magazine, 7th November 2011
124th EDITION. 2011
Fitzroy coal barges in express lane A proposal to export coal through the Fitzroy River near Rockhampton on barges has been given significant project status by the Co-ordinator General this week. The decision is a major step forward for the Mitchell Group - majority owners of the Fitzroy Terminal proposal - because it puts the project in the fast lane for getting environmental approvals. The company is expected to release its terms of reference for its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) within the next six months, if it plans to make the 2015 deadline it has set for first shipment of coal. The Fitzroy Terminal proposals differs from other coal port plans in Queensland, because it does not require deep water or dredging works. Under the plans, coal will be transported by train, using existing rail networks, to a new rail spur loop at Raglan - about halfway between Rockhampton and Gladstone. It will then be moved by covered conveyors onto onto covered barges which will
travel down Raglan Creek, through Port Alma to deep water. Purpose built transhippers will then transfer the coal from the covered barges to conventional coal ships. The port will be designed as a multi-purpose facility, but is expected to be used primarily for coal - 22 million tonnes would be exported each year. While transhiping coal facilities don’t exist in Australia, the Mitchell Group’s Matt Brown says in Indonesia around 90 per cent of coal is exported that way. “Certainly transhipping presents huge benefits to the potential stake holders in the project through a reduced environmental foot print,” he said. “The scale of the wharf and barge loader is significantly reduced compared to the big berths you require for an ocean going coal vessels.” “And certainly there is a reduced capital expenditure, those savings are passed on in lower tariffs to end users, which makes it commercially competitive.”
Above: The concept plan for the Fitzroy Terminal project Pictured: A transhipper unloading into a ship’s hull
Rolling strikes till Xmas THE
FUT UR E O F E NG INE ERI NG HA S A
RR IVE D
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www.purcells.com.au Page 4 - Shift Miner Magazine, 7th November 2011
QANTAS might be stealing national headlines when it comes to industrial disputes, but the biggest strike action since the longrunning Gordonstone dispute is looming in the Bowen Basin. After the latest round of talks between mining giant BMA and the unions failed, Norwich Park miners could walk off the job 17 times between now and Christmas. They will be joined by workers at other BMA mine sites including Goonyella, Saraji and Peak Downs. “BMA is simply not listening to its employers,” said CFMEU Queensland mining president Steve Smyth. “Their proposal was rejected by 92 per cent of the workforce when it was put to the vote.” “Now another three days of talks has resulted in next to nothing.” For the past 10 months, the parties have been unable to agree on a new enterprise agreement. The agreement covers workers at the company’s seven Bowen Basin mine sites.
Mr Smyth said BMA had underestimated the current level of dissatisfaction among workers. “This is just a business transaction for BMA.” “But for our members it effects their future, and the future of their families and the communities they live in.” In a statement, a spokesperson for BMA said they were disappointed more strikes would go ahead. “This most recent action does nothing to support the conclusion of an agreement and causes unnecessary financial harm to the business and our employees, particularly in the lead up to Christmas,” the statement read. “The company will continue to communicate with and listen to our employees and consider their suggestions particularly on rosters and accommodation.” “BMA remains committed to finalising the agreement as quickly as possible, but equally will not compromise on elements of the EA that critically impact the future
“But for our members it effects their future, and the future of their families and the communities they live in.”
124th EDITION. 2011
Ports chief wants Curtis Island bridge THE Gladstone Ports Corporation chief has labelled a decision not to build a land bridge to Curtis Island for LNG traffic as crazy. Speaking at the Golding Industry Conference, Leo Zussino said he was determined to see a land bridge built to the island that will become home to 6000 workers during the construction phase of three LNG projects. Without a land bridge, traffic in the Gladstone harbour is set to explode, with thousands of people and tonnes of machinery needing to be barged across daily. “There is a significant management program built around the fact that we do have this crazy situation of these plants being built on the island without a bridge, without
road access,” said Mr Zussino. “While there has been extensive resources, extensive co-operation and extensive management of those [shipping] issues so to minimise those opportunities.” “There are a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong over the next few years of that construction phase.” One of the biggest concerns among some members of the Gladstone community about the LNG industry is the environmental risk to the harbour. That includes the impact of unauthorised toxic or bacterial discharges from foreignowned boats, and the possible introduction of non-native marine species flushed out in those discharges or attached to the vessels.
“There are a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong over the next few years of that construction phase.”
FAST NEWS Cougar cleared The State Government has confirmed traces of formaldehyde and thiocyanate were found in a widespread area on a Kingaroy property, indicating they probably weren’t caused by Cougar Energy’s nearby coal gasification plant. Cougar Energy says the government’s findings confirm what it had always known. The company is taking legal action against the government for shutting down its operations. .....................................................................
Exploration up Mr Zussino says the management of these boats and their discharges is the responsibility of the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS). “If a barge comes in and it has got barnacles etcetera on it they (AQIS) would have to commence a plan on how they are removed,” he said. “Maritime Safety Queensland are the lead agency for oil spills and issues like that which have happened in the port.”
EXPLORATION in Queensland by the resources sector topped a billion dollars in the last financial year. The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show $1.126 billion was invested in mineral and petroleum exploration expenditure in Queensland during the 12 months to June 30, 2011. The figures represent a 23 per cent increase over the $917.1 million in exploration investment of the previous year. .....................................................................
Bill protects crops The Strategic Cropping Land Bill 2011 has been introduced to parliament and is aimed at protecting Queensland’s best cropping land. Two zones will operate under the bill if passed in its current form: no development will be allowed in protection zones that alienate the land permanently; and in management zones development will be able to go ahead under strict conditions. The restrictions apply to open cut mining, coal seam gas, underground coal gasification, longwall or underground mining, and urban and industrial development. The legislation is expected to come into effect early next year. .....................................................................
Mining centre announced THE University of Queensland (UQ) and University of Western Australia are to manage an international mining centre to assist developing nations. The $31 million International Mining for Development Centre is federally funded through AusAID and will provide practical advise as well as education and training services to mainly African nations on mining-related issues. Ian Satchwell has been announced as the centre’s first director. The centre will be based in Perth.
Page 5 - Shift Miner Magazine, 7th November 2011
124th EDITION. 2011
Fast train to haul in Rocky, Bundy workforce LIFESTYLE PLAN: A fast train between Rockhampton and Gladstone could open up the Capricorn Coast as a home base for industry workers
AFTER years of false starts, Gladstone’s insatiable appetite for workers could be the catalyst for a fast train between the city and nearby Rockhampton. While the idea has been mooted for years, for the first time Queensland Rail has agreed to consider the proposal. A feasibility study is about to get under way, and will include plans to link Gladstone to Rockhampton in the north, and Bundaberg and Maryborough in the south. “We certainly believe the possibility is there,” said the general manager of Queensland Rail Travel Max Kruse. “We want to have a really good look at it, a lot more science needs to be carried out yet.” “The thinking at this stage is to widen the service to the north and south - to the Rockhampton and Bundaberg areas - and that gives us the ability to scope it a bit wider.” The man behind the push is Neal Lethlean, the economic development manager at Capricorn Enterprise. “A fast train has been talked about for years in coffee shops and bars in Rockhampton,” he said. “What makes it different now is Gladstone is crying out for workers.”
“This ticks all the boxes - there is no accommodation left in Gladstone, it helps big industry recruit and it gets traffic off the roads.” Mr Lethlean said in recent months the Rockhampton region had experienced a huge surge in bookings for short term accommodation. “Motels, hotels and caravan parks - even on the Capricorn Coast - are being booked out by contractors driving to Gladstone every day for work.” “A fast train could pick up between 500 to 1000 people in Rockhampton and 200 to 300 from Bundaberg daily.” “Gladstone is going to become an industrial city, and in the 21st century people do not want to live in an industrial city - they want to work there and commute in.” Mr Lethlean said the train schedule would have to reflect the start and end times of shifts, and tickets would probably need to be subsidised - possibly by employers. The return trip could be used for medical purposes, such as transporting patients who need oncology or other specialist care. CQUniversity Professor John Rolfe is expected to carry out the feasibility study, which should be completed before Christmas.
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Page 6 - Shift Miner Magazine, 7th November 2011
124th EDITION. 2011
FROM PAGE 1
Mountains, machetes & mayhem for CQ miner SHIP SHAPE: Luke Richmond and other climbers slept in this shipping container for six nights
But then the real action began. The group had returned to base camp, and were sleeping off the exhausting climb. In the middle of the night, a 100 kilogram piece of rock dislodged from an overhang and fell on four of the local porters, injuring one so badly he slumped into a coma. â€œThe head villager ran down to our camp with his machete and began yelling for blood,â€? Luke recalls. â€œIn this part of the world the local people have a fairly simple way of thinking: the climbers brought us here and we are hurt so now they must be hurt, an eye for an eye.â€? The head guide managed to convince the village chief not to kill the climbers then and there, but arranged a talk the next morning. When Luke and the other climbers arrived at the village, they found the young porter was not dead as the chief had assumed, but still in a coma, and so quickly began to make a stretcher to get him to the closest medical help at the Freeport mine. The Freeport is one of the biggest copper mines in the world - and controversial to boot. Almost 10,000 workers have been on strike since September, and there have been almost daily reports of violent riots and shootings in the region. With the young porter in the care of a
medical team, it soon became clear to the climbers it was not safe to return to the village, because their lives could be in jeopardy if the boy died. The mountaineers decided their best course of action was to stay put near the mine and hope that management would help them. â€œWe knew we were going into a remote region, but our guides let us down badly,â€? said Luke. â€œOur sat phones didnâ€™t work, there was no helicopter on stand by for emergency evacuations as promised.â€? â€œThey simply could not guarantee our safety if we returned to the jungle.â€? The group presented themselves to the Indonesian contract military running security outside the mine, who detained them. For the next six nights they slept 10 abreast in a freezing shipping container outside the mine, until a couple of expat Aussie mine workers found them. â€œThey gave us fruit and noodles and whatever food they could find, then went straight to management.â€? The climbers were then allowed to use the mineâ€™s phone to try and arrange an evacuation. â€œWe were madly ringing embassies, and trying to hire a chopper but they wanted $100,000 for it.â€? Eventually, on the sixth day, in the middle of the night they were smuggled on-site and flown out using one of the mineâ€™s helicopters to the nearby town of Timika. â€œTimika at the time was surrounded by angry miners and members of the Free Papua movement, so it was blockaded with burning trucks, rocks and a screaming mob,â€? said Luke. They never left the airport, but quickly boarded a flight to a town on the other side of the island, then catching the next plane to the relative peace and tranquility of Bali and freedom. Despite his brush with the machete and island chaos Luke is continuing with his adventure. He leaves for Thailand next week to begin training for his next climb - the 4,892 metre Vincent Massif in Antarctica.
HIRED HELP: The porters who later turned on the climbers when one of their own was thought to be killed in a rock slide
ON TOP OF THE WORLD: The climbers reached the highest peak in Australasia... then the trouble started
â€œThe villages literally went from smiling one moment, to wanting to cut off our heads the next.â€? !2% 3,/7 0!9%23 3,/7).'