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News

MMG has reported the first shipment of ore through Townsville port from Dugald River.

Another milestone for Dugald River

Around 10,500 wet metric tonnes of zinc concentrate produced as part of commissioning activities at the Dugald River Project departed the Port of Townsville for Huangpu, China this month.

“The first shipment of concentrate from the Port of Townsville is another significant milestone in the delivery of Dugald River, MMG’s first greenfield project,” said Pierre Malan, General Manager Dugald River Project Delivery,

“I would like to recognise the significant contribution of Dugald River employees and contract partners in achieving this key milestone," said Mr Malan.

"This first shipment is an achievement not only for MMG, but for all that championed the Dugald River project throughout its development,”

Located approximately 65km north-west of Cloncurry in Queensland, Australia, Dugald River will process an average 1.7 million tonnes per annum of ore to initially produce 170,000 tonnes of zinc in concentrate, plus by-products. When fully operational, the Dugald River mine will be a top-10 global zinc mine.
Townsville city council has gone out of its way to accommodate applications for a new hospital and a lifestyle precinct.

The Hive mixed use development plan on the Strand between King and Wickham Sts includes a hotel, residential apartments, commercial office space and an education centre.

Planning approval for multi-million projects in Townsville

Council also approved a Material Change of Use application to allow for the old West End State School to be redeveloped into a health care facility at an estimated cost of $54 million.

The Weststate Private Hospital project includes constructing a five-storey, 22-bed hospital adjacent to the school building. 

Townsville City Council Chief Executive Officer Adele Young has provided preliminary approval to vary the Town Plan for The Hive.

It includes 45 less car parking spaces than the required 895 and two mixed use towers one 16 stories and another 14 stories high.

The Hive would require further development approvals before the project could commence, said Townsville City Council CEO Adele Young.

The preliminary approval struck an appropriate balance between encouraging major developments and ensuring the development was consistent with the Townsville 2020 masterplan, Ms Young said.

“This preliminary approval ensures the Hive will be a sustainable development and revitalise that area of the city and The Strand,” she said.

“This shows how important it is to take into account the broader surroundings of any development and why Council has launched its Townsville 2020 masterplan to ensure projects are consistent with the vision for our city.”

The Hive proposal also includes the refurbishment of the heritage-listed Queens Hotel.

The proponent estimates the project would create 1,800 jobs during construction over a 10-year period, and after completion 690 full time positions would be created along with some 800 casual positions
Rio Tinto is expanding its remote controlled truck fleet in the Pilbara by retro-fitting older vehicles.

Rio is planning to have 50 percent more haul trucks, or another 29 Komatsu and 19 Caterpillar vehicles, on line on separate operations by the end of 2019.

Remote controlled profit

The project at the Brockman 4 operation is scheduled for completion by mid-2019, allowing the mine to run entirely in AHS mode once fully deployed. That operation runs Komatsu.

The company runs Caterpillar haul trucks at the Marandoo mine. The retrofit is the first time AHS technology has been deployed by the company on Caterpillar haul trucks.

The project was expected to make a significant contribution toward Rio Tinto’s $5 billion productivity program said Rio Tinto iron ore chief executive Chris Salisbury.

Rapid advances in technology was continuing to revolutionise the way large-scale mining is undertaken across the globe, Mr Salisbury said.

“The expansion of our autonomous fleet via retro-fitting helps to improve safety, unlocks significant productivity gains, and continues to cement Rio Tinto as an industry leader in automation and innovation,” he said.

“We are studying future additions to our autonomous fleet in the Pilbara, based on value, to help deliver our share of $5 billion of additional free cash flow for the company by 2021.

“Rio Tinto is committed to working closely with our workforce as we transition to AHS including providing opportunities for new roles, redeployment, retraining and upskilling.”

Automation was helping to improve productivity and efficiencies across Rio Tinto’s operations in the Pilbara, Mr Salisbury said.

“The retrofit programme will assist Rio Tinto’s iron ore business in delivering an additional $500 million of free cash flow annually from 2021,” he said.

Last year, on average, each of Rio Tinto’s autonomous haul trucks operated an additional 1000 hours and at 15 per cent lower load and haul unit cost than conventional haul trucks.

“About 20 per cent of the existing fleet of almost 400 haul trucks in the Pilbara is AHS-enabled,” he said.

“Following the completion of the projects with Komatsu and Caterpillar, Rio Tinto will have more than 130 autonomous trucks, representing about 30 per cent of the fleet.”
Townsville company Thomas Steel Fabrication has been awarded the first structural steel package in the building of the North Queensland Stadium.

Winning the western stand contract meant continuity of work for his company that will have 45 to 50 workshop and site-based employees dedicated to the project over the next 9 to 10 months said managing director John Lane.

The stadium is the first under the Federal Government's City Deal program and is being delivered by managing contractor Watpac.

The Department of State Development and Watpac were working closely with local industry to achieve a target where at least 80 per cent of the value of the project was spent on local sub-contractors and suppliers said Minister for State Development Cameron Dick.

They held similar ambitions for local employment Mr Dick said.

“Since early site works started in July 2017, 230 people have been inducted, of which 99 per cent have been North Queensland locals,” he said.

It is estimated more than 158 North Queensland businesses have now been engaged directly and as part of the extended supply chain for the North Queensland Stadium project.

Other large projects by Thomas Steel Fabricators include:

  • LAND 121 – Stage 2 Unit Sustainment Facilities, Lavarack Barracks Townsville
  • Replacement Chinook Facility – RAAF Base Townsville
  • Townsville Hospital Redevelopment
  • Lavarack Barracks Stage 4 Redevelopment.
It is anticipated further structural steel packages will be awarded from early 2018.

The North Queensland Stadium is a joint project of the Queensland Government, the Australian Government and the Townsville City Council and is supported by both the National Rugby League (NRL) and the North Queensland Cowboys.

The stadium forms part of the Townsville City Deal signed in December 2016.Stadium stand contract goes to local Townsville company
The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) said the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) showed members were paying more than their fair share of tax.

Higher mining profits have contributed to a $3.2 billion increase in projected corporate tax receipts in 2017-18.

Tax gets the better of profits in the recovery

The MYEFO numbers again demonstrated the size of the mining industry’s contribution to the Australian economy and were a wake-up call for those that claim the mining sector doesn’t pay its fair share of tax, said MCA interim chief executive David Byers.

The Australian minerals industry paid $165 billion in Federal company tax and state and territory royalties in the decade to 2014-15, and the mining sector contributed 19 per cent of all corporate tax collected in 2014-15, Mr Byers said.

“The Minerals Council also welcomes the Government’s continued advocacy for additional cuts in the corporate tax rate,” he said.

“Our company tax rate is now the highest in the OECD, and too high for a capital-hungry nation which needs to encourage business investment.”

“The mining sector could perform at its best – generating additional jobs and wealth and improving the budget bottom line – if Australia’s uncompetitive corporate tax rate was reduced.”

In 2010, the MCA reportedly spent more than $17 million in a campaign to stop Kevin Rudd’s super profits tax. He lost   leadership of the then ALP government to Julia Gillard not long after.
New confidence in copper prompts funding bid


In a move supporting further confidence in the metals industry, Aeon Metals will float a prospect to new and existing investors to raise A$30 million via an institutional placement aimed at improving its leases including those in north west Queensland.

The company describes itself as having a lease over one of Australia’s biggest undeveloped copper-cobalt projects in the north-west, the Walford Creek project.

New confidence in copper prompts funding bid 
(AEON Copper cobalt leases in Queensland)


The proceeds from the Institutional Placement will be used to::

• Expanded drill program for 2018

– Engage at least three drilling rigs next year at the Walford Creek project to drill at least 30,000 metres, utilising the established geological model, to advance the known mineralisation to development status as well as to test the 22 kms of potential strike on the Company’s 100 per cent owned tenements.

• Develop a bankable feasibility study

– Enable bankable feasibility study work to continue and broaden

• Strengthen balance sheet

– The balance of the funding will be available to pay down the vendor debt owed to the OCP Asia (Hong Kong) Limited Group and thereby position the Walford Creek Project for development financing.

The institutional placement was significantly over-subscribed with strong demand from existing shareholders, as well as high quality new long-term institutional investors, said Aeon Metals’ CEO and Managing Director, Hamish Collins.

“This broad institutional support recognises the value of Aeon Metals’ growth strategy so far and the world class potential of our Walford Creek project.

“The funding will allow Aeon Metals to conduct the largest drill program ever conducted at the Walford Creek project, as well as strengthen the balance sheet. These will open new opportunities as it moves to develop this world class copper-cobalt project.”

Institutional Placement

The Institutional Placement will comprise an issue of 107,200,000 new fully paid ordinary shares at an issue price of A$0.28

Settlement of the institutional placement is expected to occur Wednesday on 20 December 2017, with new shares expected to be allotted and commence trading on or around 21 December 2017.