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BHP has injected more than $33 billion into the Australian economy in the past financial year.

The company’s latest economic contribution report showed this included about $11.2 billion in taxes, royalties and other government payments during the year.

In Queensland, where BHP operates a raft of Bowen Basin coal mines, the company paid $919 million in taxes and royalties.

Nationwide BHP increased its workforce by more than 5000 to approximately 45,000 employees and contractors, predominantly in operational roles in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance asset president James Palmer said the $33 billion BHP had contributed in Australia had created thousands of jobs, funded projects to support communities and paid its small business suppliers and contractors.

“In Queensland BHP paid about $920 million in taxes and royalties, helping fund Queensland’s hospitals, schools and the services we rely on,” he said.

“Our priorities are to keep our people and communities safe, to support those who rely on us and to keep our operations running safely.

“To support our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic we established the BHP Vital Resources Fund. It has delivered support to the people and communities who need it the most.

“Spending has focused on critical areas for Queensland’s response, including local healthcare, essential services, business and financial support, mental health services, education and Indigenous communities.

“We will continue to invest in Queensland, employ and train Queenslanders and support our Queensland suppliers and communities.”

Mackay-based Matilda Internet are among the Queensland suppliers to benefit from BHP’s spending, supplying iPads and iPad accessories to BHP through the Local Buying Program since 2016.

Having owned small businesses in mining communities since 1978 in the Northern Territory and Queensland, my wife and I are incredibly grateful that BHP has initiated the Local Buying Program,” director Leon Cuzzilla said.

“We’ve never seen a program like this in the 42 years we have owned small businesses in mining communities. During some tough months, 40 per cent of our business came from BHP sales.”

BHP details billions spent in Australia
Great Northern Minerals says recent drilling has shown the potential to delineate a large gold resource at its Big Rush project south of Greenvale in North Queensland.

Assays have returned high-grade results including a 24m intersection at 3.9g/t gold – with an 8m section that graded at 10.57g/t gold from a depth of 140m, and 32m at 3.89g/t gold – with a 4m section grading at 18.97g/t gold from 76m.

“This drill program has opened up the potential at Big Rush for the delineation of a large gold resource,” Great Northern Minerals managing director Cameron McLean said.

“Anomalous gold mineralisation is now documented to occur over at least 1km of strike and so far appears to continue at depth well into the primary ore zones.”

Early this month the company raised $1.6 million through a share placement to accelerate its exploration push in North Queensland.

The company is focused on the Golden Ant group of projects that it acquired in August 2019, which includes the former Camel Creek and Golden Cup gold mines as well as Big Rush.

The recent drilling at Big Rush totalled 22 holes for 3634m, spread over about 900m of strike underneath previously mined shallow pits.The company has released initial 4m composite results from the first 16 holes.

In a geological review released in April, the company pointed out similarities between its NQ gold projects and the world-class Fosterville deposit in Victoria.

Deeper drilling in 2015 below the shallow modest resource at Fosterville unlocked its full potential by intersecting bonanza free gold zones.

Great Northern said similar depth potential was believed possible at Big Rush and Golden Cup.

Regional project work worth more than $4.6 billion will be the focus at the 2020 Major Projects Forum, hosted by Capricorn Enterprise next month.

Taking place at Frenchville Sports Club, North Rockhampton, the event will be limited to 150 attendees due to COVID requirements.

Among the presenters will be Queensland Economy Watch economist Gene Tunney, Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian MacFarlane, Defence representatives Commodore Jonathan Earley and Sean Hawkins (ASMTI), Craig Simpson and James Foreman from Laing O’Rourke’s ASMTI Project, Work in Central Queensland representatives Phil Cooper and Ben Hughes, David Brown and Nam Quach from Clarke Creek Wind Farm, Beef Australia 2021 chief executive officer Ian Mill, and Suzanne Mitchell representing Carmichael coal project.

Capricorn Enterprise regional economic development manager Neil Lethlean said the forum was a great opportunity for local businesses.

“Central Queensland is currently booming, with billions of dollars of development in the pipeline and this premier event is one not to be missed,” he said.

“We promise a fantastic line-up of speakers providing information on ‘game changer’ infrastructure and development projects that will provide an outstanding mix of future investment and business expansion opportunities for CQ.”
  • Capricorn Enterprise’s 2020 Major Projects Forum will be held at the Frenchville Sports Club on Thursday, October 29 from 8am. Registrations HERE

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a $1.9 billion investment package in new and emerging energy technologies to lower emissions and support jobs.

It includes an extra $1.62 billion for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to invest, as well as expanding the focus of ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to back new technologies that will cut emissions in agriculture, manufacturing, industry and transport.

“Australia is in the midst of a world-leading boom in renewable energy with over $30 billion invested since 2017,” Mr Morrison said.

“Solar panels and wind farms are now clearly commercially viable and have graduated from the need for government subsidies and the market has stepped up to invest.

“The Government will now focus its efforts on the next challenge: unlocking new technologies across the economy to help drive down costs, create jobs, improve reliability and reduce emissions. This will support our traditional industries – manufacturing, agriculture, transport – while positioning our economy for the future.

“These investments create jobs and they bring new technologies into play. This will not only cut emissions, but deliver the reliable energy Australia needs while driving down prices for homes and businesses.”
The new package invests in a range of technology advancements including:

Setting up a hydrogen export hub worth $70.2 million to scale-up demand and take advantage of the advancements in this low emissions, high powered source of energy
Supporting businesses in the agriculture, manufacturing, industrial and transport sectors to adopt technologies that increase productivity and reduce emissions through a new $95.4 million Technology Co-Investment Fund that was recommended by the King Review
Piloting carbon capture projects that will dramatically help cut emissions with a $50 million investment in the Carbon Capture Use and Storage Development Fund
Helping businesses and regional communities take advantage of opportunities offered by hydrogen, electric, and bio-fuelled vehicles with a new $74.5 million Future Fuels Fund
Backing new microgrids in regional and remote communities to deliver affordable, reliable power with $67 million
Contributing $52.2 million to increase the energy productivity of homes and businesses, including a sector specific grant program for hotels supporting equipment and facilities upgrades
Slashing the time taken to develop new Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) methods from 24 months or more to less than 12 months, involving industry in a co-design process and implementing other recommendations from the King Review into the ERF, worth $24.6 million
Boosting energy and emissions data and cyber-security reporting and supporting the delivery of future Low Emissions Technology Statements under the Technology Investment Roadmap process, as well as developing an offshore clean energy project development framework, together worth $40.2 million

The container transport and logistics industry has stepped up to support heavy vehicle safety, releasing a coordinated campaign to raise awareness and good practice in safely packing shipping containers heading to and from Australian ports.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development Michael McCormack welcomed the Safe Container Loading Practices & Heavy Vehicle Safety Campaign, which has been awarded $140,000 under the Australian Government’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative.

“This is a great initiative by the container transport and logistics industry to support heavy vehicle safety,” he said.

“Container transport is forecast to double over the next 12 years and with 80 per cent carried by Australian heavy vehicles, it’s vital cargo inside containers is properly secured and not overloaded.”

The campaign is being delivered by Container Transport Association of Australia (CTAA), Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA), and the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA), with support from ICHCA Australia.

Six supporting online training and information modules were produced by WiseTech Academy covering the impact of unsafe container loading practices, international conventions, heavy vehicle laws, Chain of Responsibility, packing to minimise risk and truck rollover prevention.

NHVR chief executive officer Sal Petroccitto said the online course and associated resources, including a Safe Container Packing Checklist, would contribute to reducing the risks of load shifts, road accidents and breaches of mass limits.

“The container transport and logistics industry is a vital part of many heavy vehicle supply chains and plays a key role in heavy vehicle safety,” Mr Petroccitto said.

“This awareness campaign provides practical steps to ensure that cargo inside shipping containers is packed properly and restrained securely to avoid an accident when the container is transported on a public road.”

The Safe Container Packing Checklist can be used by importers, exporters and their packers, both in Australia and overseas. The Checklist was developed internationally and adapted for use in Australia.

To view the Safe Container Loading Practices & Heavy Vehicle Safety Campaign, including information on the upcoming Webinars, visit

Privately-owned Australian company Austral Resources aims to kick off mining at its Anthill copper deposit north of Mount Isa in early 2021, after purchasing it from Chinese-owned CST Minerals last year.

The project is set to deliver a real boost to the local employment market and inject much-needed funds into the economy, the new owners say. 

Managing director Shane O’Connell said the company was on target to award the tender for the mining contract of Anthill by the end of next month. 

The road haulage and crushing contracts associated with the new project are also expected to go out to the market for tender bidding.

Anthill will sit alongside Austral’s current Lady Annie Operations and is approximately 40km from the existing heap leach and SX/EW processing facilities.

Mr O’Connell said a 70-strong workforce was already employed at Lady Annie and, with the new Anthill project just around the corner, the outlook for a serious uplift in the local labour market was a given.

 “Not only will there be employment opportunities directly through Austral but also indirectly through various contractors jumping onboard the project,” he said. 

Anthill is expected to come into production as the Austral Resources team wind down the remnant mining campaign which they have been conducting at the existing Lady Annie and Brenda pits since February 2020.

Austral’s current campaign has resulted in a production rate of about 300 tonnes of copper cathode per month, and Mr O’Connell expected it to escalate to about 525 tonnes a month around December this year.

The processing ramp-up will set the scene for the commencement of ore stacking from Anthill, with an expected lift in output to about 1000 tonnes of LME grade A copper cathode per month.

“The remnant mining campaign has generated cash flow while allowing us to get the workforce on the ground and iron out any bugs before we break dirt at Anthill,” Mr O’Connell said. 

Austral Resources acquired Lady Annie and its associated tenements from CST Minerals in July last year.

“When we purchased Lady Annie it was practically in care and maintenance,” Mr O’Connell said.  “Our predecessors had completely scaled back production to only treating low-grade stockpiles, which only just kept the doors open.” 

New owner Dan Jauncey has taken a ‘lean and mean’ approach to turn the site around.

“Since taking over ownership, we’ve been re-optimising and mining in the existing pits as well as doing some cutbacks. We’ve shifted about one million tonnes of ore and waste (up to the end of July 2020),” Mr Connell said. 

“We’ve changed quite a few things since we’ve been out there. We now have a highly skilled technical team bolted in and we’ve been fine-tuning how we conduct our processing.

“Our internal team’s work with CSA Global to reoptimise the pit shells for Anthill has effectively doubled the positive value of the project.” 

Mr O’Connell said some aspects of the current operation had also been streamlined, such as cutting out unnecessary double-handling at the RoM pad by hauling ore straight to the heap leach facility.

A mining study conducted with CSA Global has outlined a production schedule where the Anthill project will mine and treat 3.71 Mt of ore at a mined grade of 1.08 per cent copper over a 30 month mine life – with the processing aspect stretching over 60 months.

Austral is also actively engaged in progressive rehabilitation at the current Lady Annie site and Mr O’Connell said the remnant mining team would transition to rehabilitation once the mining contractor for Anthill was onboard.

In addition to a tight Austral Resources technical team that would also remain at the operation, he said North Line Copper would continue to provide processing services.

“They have been there for over 10 years.  With their assistance we have been able to generate a fair amount of copper in a short amount of time with some fairly low-grade ore that we found in the existing pits,” Mr O’Connell said.