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Aerial Drone of NSS @ Work

NSS recently partnered up with SkyDronics to bring you a series of aerial drone videos of just some of the services we offer at NSS.

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Whitsunday Regional Council has established a Major Projects Advisory Board to oversee almost $200 million of regional capital projects to be delivered by council over the next 18 months.

The board is made up of WRC Mayor Andrew Willcox, deputy Mayor John Collins, chief executive officer Barry Omundson, director of engineering Jason Raiteri, chief staff officer Paul Fendley (secretariat) and five  independent board members recruited from around Australia.

The independent board members include Proserpine old boy and former Queensland treasurer Andrew Fraser, procurement and contract specialist Brad McCosker, major capital program delivery expert Nick Jukes, urban planning and major project delivery guru Michael Kerry and IT expert and business process specialist Peter Carr.

Cr Willcox said he was elated to have such a diverse and experienced board to help ensure council delivered the long list of major projects including Shute Harbour Restoration, Airlie Beach Foreshore Revitalisation, Greening and Growing Bowen and Whitsunday Coast Airport upgrades.

“CEO Barry Omundson and I identified a risk to efficiently delivering council’s normal 2017/18 $30 million capital works program in conjunction with the $200 million in co-funding projects to help rebuild our region post Tropical Cyclone Debbie," he said.

“This board has been established to provide advisory oversight to ensure we increase council’s capacity to deliver an unprecedented project delivery program over the next few years.”

Having recently returned from speaking at the European Union Parliament in Brussels, Peter Carr said the opportunity to assist the Whitsunday region was a “no-brainer”.

“Having attended St John Bosco in Collinsville from 1979-81, I feel a true affiliation with communities across the region and am delighted to be invited to work in an advisory capacity.”

Nick Jukes lived in Mackay and Bowen in the early 1980’s and was involved in the infrastructure delivery at Hay Point and Abbot Point ports.

“I visited the Whitsundays regularly and learned to appreciate the potential of the region from a development and tourism perspective,” he said. Board to help drive delivery of $200m in project work
North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) has entered into a new research and monitoring partnership with James Cook University worth more than $3 million over three years.

Scientists from JCU’s Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research Centre (TropWATER) will be responsible for keeping an eye on the marine environment at four of NQBP’s sites.

Dr Michael Rasheed, the TropWATER co-director of the partnership, said the centre would monitor water, seagrass and coral at the ports of Mackay, Hay Point and Abbot Point, all adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef, as well as water and seagrass quality at the Port of Weipa in the Gulf of Carpentaria.  

“What we do is provide them with independent environmental data collected in a scientifically rigorous manner,” he said.

“We’ll be watching what happens to water quality at 18 separate points, and checking on seagrass at 23 meadows. We’ll also be monitoring six different sites to keep an eye on the coral.”

TropWATER currently monitors all four ports, (as well as six other Queensland ports for other port authorities), in an arrangement stretching back more than 20 years.

NQBP senior manager environment and planning Kevin Kane said the new agreement would see the monitoring regime extended to other areas of the environment.

Mr Kane said NQBP was the only port authority in the world to manage three priority ports near a World Heritage Area.

"We have a track record of taking a long-term strategic approach to environmental monitoring and research," he said.

"Partnering with leading science institutions and experts will help us achieve this.

"This partnership with JCU’s Tropical Water & Aquatic Ecosystem Research Centre (TropWATER) will form part of our robust environmental program."

The research data will be reported in NQBP’s annual environmental report Your Ports.

NQBP extends water monitoring partnership
Port of Townsville Limited has recorded strong trade growth in the first quarter of 2017/18 compared to the same time last year.

More than 20,000 containers were handled at the Port of Townsville between July and September, up more than 8,000 TEU’s (twenty foot equivalent unit) on the same time last year, breaking trade records.

As well as a 135 per cent increase in containerised and general cargo, motor vehicle movements were up 35 per cent, molasses 45 per cent, sulphur 26 per cent, live cattle 21 per cent, petroleum 16 per cent and fertiliser 7 per cent.

Port of Townsville acting chief executive officer Claudia Brumme-Smith said that the increased trade numbers across several commodities was encouraging.

“Townsville Port’s figures for container trade are very exciting, as are the continuing record-breaking molasses exports, and live cattle exports are up more than 20 per on the same time last year,” she said.

“Port of Lucinda is having another bumper year so far, exporting nearly 250,000 tonnes of sugar, up 40 per cent on the same time last year.”

“Over the past six months we’ve seen definite green shoots for a recovery, which is reflected in the container movement figures and our bulk cargo export forecast.

“We will see two new mining operations commencing mineral concentrate exports out of Townsville in the near future which is exciting.

“Townsville Port is seeing the benefits of five container lines servicing our region - Mariana Express Lines, Sofrana, Kyowa Shipping, Swire Shipping and ANL.

“More shipping lines means more services for our customers and better frequencies to Papua New Guinea, South East Asia, China and Japan; with good connectivity to all global ports. Between now and the end of the year, Townsville Port has a container ship service leaving for Asia every week.”

Container trade spikes for Townsville
NSS has unloaded key components for MSF Sugar’s $75 million green energy plant on the Atherton Tableland after the HR Endeavour docked in Cairns.

Among the shipload of 276 individual items was the steam turbine and generator package for the power plant.

The HR Endeavour arrived in Cairns on November 5 and took several days to unload, with the operation finishing today.

Power plant project manager Mark Magnanini said the items would now be road transported to the construction site across two to three weeks.

“The bulk of the shipment will use normal road freight transport and the logistics will be handled by the principal contractor for the project, ThyssenKrupp," he said.

"The process will have minimal impact on road users as components will be transported outside of peak times.”

Mr Magnanini said the arrival of the components was a significant project milestone.

“With the major civil works completed, our attention now turns to construction of the plant using the high-precision, custom-manufactured components that have arrived and others that are on the way,” he said.

“It is exciting to see the plant taking shape. This is the first stage of our green energy pipeline and heralds a new era for the far north Queensland sugar industry.”

Ports North chairman Russell Beer said this latest project out of the Port of Cairns reaffirmed its importance as a major cargo hub for far North Queensland.

“Ports North has secured major contracts throughout 2017 by promoting and building the port’s capabilities, with new facilities such as the windfarm component lay down area,” he said.

Panalpina World Transport project development manager Andrew Chatto said 800,000kg, or 800 metric tonnes, of cargo had been discharged from the ship.

“This is a significant project. There are multiple people involved and multiple contractors involved – most of them local – so it’s a fantastic opportunity for the region,” he said.

Construction of the new green energy power plant started in May this year at the Arriga site, west of Cairns, and is on track to be completed by July 2018.

Power project components arrive in Cairns
Timing, it's all about the timing. Tiger's golf swing; Rafael's backhand and MMG's new zinc mine.

MMG has officially opened the new $1.4 billion Dugald River operation as zinc hovers around US$1.50/lb, the highest it has been for five years.

First production of finished zinc concentrate left the mine, 65km north-west of Cloncurry, today.

The milestone was celebrated during the official site opening attended by MMG chairman Guo Wenqing and chief executive officer Jerry Jiao (pictured below). 

Independent financial advisor Fat Prophets is saying the price should firm next year.

Zinc has been at near-term record levels and analyst David Lennox said apart from a technical correction, they are expecting the run to last as long as 18 months.

Production in 2016 was 11.2mt on usage of 11.1mt. The deficit blew out last year with an increase in demand year on year to August and a 400,000t tightening in supply.

Even the new supply out of Dugald River and Thalanga in Queensland’s north west are not likely to have much affect in the short term, he said.

“Those mines are likely to delay the inevitable but are unlikely to bring on enough tonnages to influence the deficit," Mr Lennox said.

“To put that into perspective, the inventory five years ago ran at 1.5mt … in early 2016 the inventory dropped to 600,000t. That zinc inventory last read 250,000t, so it continues to fall.

“That said, those operations have timed it well, giving themselves the opportunity to make the most of the higher price to get the operation bedded down.

“We are at a near term high but short of the record ($1.90US/lb) spike seen in 2008. This may be more sustainable”

Glencore’s actions to restrict zinc production had largely forced the upwards movement in price said Mr Lennox, but re-opening operations including Lady Loretta and ramping up production at the George Fisher mine both north of Mount Isa were also unlikely to dilute the current enthusiasm.

“Glencore took out more than 500,000t in late 2015 and (MMG’s) Century Mine closed in early 2016 taking out more than 320,000t,” he said.

“No doubt Glencore’s move set market tongues wagging and they have benefitted from that but if that 500,000t was there now the deficit would (only) be approaching neutral.”

The zinc price bottomed out in early 20016 at $0.65 US/lb. Since then Mr Lennox said the price had ‘rattled up’ to $1.57 US/lb.

He qualified his predictions saying a strengthening US dollar would have a downward affect on commodities prices.

Northern Stevedoring Services, Wagners Transport, Aurizon and Toll Logistics have been engaged to transport zinc concentrate and related cargo on behalf of MMG.

Zinc on a high as Dugald River officially opened
New Century Resources has raised $52.9 million in a share placement as it looks to start producing zinc at the Century site in north-west Queensland next year.

It has announced the completion of a fully underwritten equity raising, saying the offer was significantly oversubscribed with strong support from a range of major domestic and international institutional investors.

“This highly successful placement puts New Century in a very strong financial position and allows us to rapidly progress the restart of the Century zinc mine and deliver on our strategy to become a globally significant zinc producer in 2018," managing director Patrick Walta said.

"We are also pleased to have received strong support from large, leading institutional investors who recognise the long-term potential of the company.”

The Century mine was the third largest zinc mine in the world prior to its closure under MMG in 2016 and still hosts mineral resources in excess of 2.6Mt of zinc, 0.7Mt of lead and 42.5Moz of silver.

New Century acquired its interest in the site in 2017 and is undertaking a restart feasibility study into the recommissioning of the existing Century processing plant via the initial treatment of tailings before examining its other primary ore sources.

The restart feasibility study is expected to be completed in late November.

New Century cashed up for zinc mine restart