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News

Round Oak Minerals has reached a milestone in its Barbara copper operation, with the first 50,000-tonne batch of ore being processed in Mount Isa this week.

Its Mount Colin underground operation is also in full swing as workers begin to move into a newly commissioned on-site accommodation camp.

Round Oak Minerals chief executive officer Rob Cooper said mining was going well at Barbara, about 60km north-east of Mount Isa.

Glencore has been hauling Barbara ore to its operations in Mount Isa since October for toll treatment to produce copper concentrate.

Milestone month for Round Oak copper operations
Round Oak Minerals CEO Rob Cooper.
“The first batch is going through as we speak,” Mr Cooper said.

The company hopes to see about 50,000-60,000 tonnes a month processed from now on.

The Barbara open-cut operation has a relatively short forecast mine life of about 22 months and much of the 50-60 strong workforce is from SES Labour Hire.

“One thing we may look at some time in the next year is the potential for a small underground mine extending from the pit when completed,” Mr Cooper said.

The major development at Mount Colin, located between Mount Isa and Cloncurry, has been completion of a 60-bed accommodation camp at a cost of $3.3 million.

On-site camp overcomes travel risk

“That has been a big impact for us from a health and safety perspective, because one of our identified risks is travel to and from Mount Isa on the Barkly Highway,” Mr Cooper said.

“There’s a lot of heavy vehicle traffic and it is about an hour’s drive, so it was not something we wanted to continue doing.”

Workers began moving into the new quarters this month in a staged process.

Ore from Mount Colin is being processed at Glencore’s Ernest Henry operation, and Round Oak expects to have achieved 10,000 to 12,000 tonnes of copper concentrate from this source by the end of 2019.

Mount Colin is expected to produce 350,000 to 400,000 tonnes of ore per year at a grade of about 2.5 per cent copper, from 2020.

While the site has a forecast mine life of four years, Mr Cooper said the company believed there was reasonable scope to extend that.

Recent exploration has gone well and Round Oak expects to upgrade the resource estimate over the next six months.
Mining contractor Mastermyne is putting some muscle into a new charity drive, with two new coal loaders on the job.

The Mackay-based group has launched its new community benefits program, Ripple Effect, and is hoping to encourage other organisations to get on board.

Two loaders, one painted pink and the other blue courtesy of manufacturer Sandvik, will be hired out by the company to its Moranbah clients with a percentage of profits over the next six months to be donated to lifesaving initiatives.

The blue loader will dig deep for Grapevine, a suicide prevention volunteer group founded in Mackay that works to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Love Your Sister will receive funds raised by the pink loader. Co-founded by actor Samuel Johnson and his late sister Connie, it is focused on vanquishing all cancers with hard science.

The fundraising initiative was initiated by long-time Mastermyne fleet manager Steve Koschel, who was driven to put the company’s new loaders to work in more ways than one.

“Mastermyne has been affected by both cancer and suicide so the money raised will hopefully deliver better outcomes for our workforce and for the wider communities in which we work,” Mr Koschel said.

“It’s a wonderful experience to see my small idea brought to life with such great impact by Mastermyne’s Ripple Effect program, I’m so grateful for their support.”

Grapevine Group President Laurence Manning said the funds, which are predicted to be around $5000, will be put to good use.

In 2018 alone, Mackay was found to have had 16 suicides per 10,000 people, an alarmingly high rate (Mackay Community Foundation Vital Signs Report, 2019).

“Funds raised will be used to support our safe talk training program that teaches people to recognise the signs of suicide and how to talk to a person at risk and put them in touch with the right care. This money will save lives,” Mr Manning said.
Stage 1 of the Haughton Pipeline Duplication project is 85 per cent done and on track for completion by March, Townsville City Council says.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said she was impressed by the progress being made by the contractors working on the water project, with about 29km of the 34km of pipeline laid.

“To date there have been 200 businesses and over 1000 workers that have been involved in construction of the water pipeline either directly or indirectly which is fantastic for our local economy,” she said.
Most recently, contractors on the project finished installing the pipeline underneath the Flinders Highway.

Townsville Water and Waste Committee Chair Cr Russ Cook said the next stage of the project would begin in March next year.

“Stage 1 of the pipeline is almost complete and with the Federal Government’s funding support for stage 2, there is extra work that will need to begin in March,” Cr Cook said.

“While we’re still waiting for the full details of the funding for stage 2 to be finalised, council can get cracking on connecting the two stages. 

“This means even more jobs and investment for our local economy on the most critical piece of infrastructure built in the city for decades.”

Water pipeline on track for March completion
Sarah Coughlan from Grosvenor mine has become the first woman in Queensland to hold a Deputy’s Certificate of Competency.

The mining engineer was among five Anglo American team members achieving their Deputy certificates this week, the company said.

Mine Deputy is a statutory position under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999, with the responsibility for controlling activities in explosion risk zones in underground mines.

Competencies are issued by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy’s Board of Examiners.

The Board of Examiners has extended congratulations to Ms Coughlan on the milestone and said it had started drafting a strategy to encourage gender diversity at the Board, and to more broadly to assist in driving diversity in the sector.

Ms Coughlan was introduced to the mining industry through the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) during her high school years at Nanango State High.

From there, she studied Mining Engineering at university and then began work as a Graduate Mining Engineer with Anglo American.

“After starting my career in the mining industry, I knew I wanted to work underground and this program was a natural next step for me,” she said.

“There has been a group of us working towards our Certificate of Competency over the last four years and we’ve all supported each other through the process.

“I’m glad to have had this development opportunity and am really looking forward to taking on additional responsibilities as I build my career in underground mining.”

Sarah celebrates a safety first for Queensland coal
Adani has awarded Siemens the contract to deliver signaling systems for safe and efficient operations on the rail network for its Carmichael coal mine.

The signaling project is expected to create and preserve up to 50 local jobs in Queensland including project staff, engineers, construction workers and tradesmen.

The technology firm has been targeted by anti-Adani activists and the contract announcement prompted Greens leader Richard Di Natale to write to company executives urging that “Siemens not provide goods and services for this dangerous project.”

But Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan praised Siemens for not caving in to activist ‘bullies’.

Adani Mining said Siemens would deliver the signaling systems equipment from workshops and offices across regional Queensland.

Carmichael project director David Boshoff said highly specialised skills were needed to deliver such technical infrastructure.

“We are pleased to be working with Siemens as the company is known for its exceptional experience in building rail signaling infrastructure around the world,” he said.

“After an extensive competitive process, we are confident that Siemens will provide the signaling systems that will ensure the safety of train drivers and workers who will operate our new rail network in Central Queensland.”

The 200km long Carmichael Rail Network will link Adani’s Carmichael mine in Central Queensland, now under construction, to the existing rail network so coal can be transported 300km to the coast for export.

Mr Boshoff said Adani Mining had awarded more than $500 million in contracts for construction of the Carmichael project to date – many to Queensland businesses.

This announcement follows the award of a $35 million-plus quarry contract to Toowoomba-based company Wagners, a $100 million-plus rail laying contract to Martinus, and a $40 million-plus contract to build rail camps to Decmil.

Siemens wins latest Adani rail network contract
The Federal Government has granted major project status to a North West Queensland vanadium mine, with construction set to kick off in 2020.

The fast-tracking of the Saint Elmo project near Julia Creek fits the government goal of positioning Australia as a key global player in critical minerals.

Proponent Multicom Resources plans an open-cut mine for the production of vanadium, a key material in manufacturing batteries, particularly suited to renewable energy storage.

It is expected to create 200 jobs in construction, with hundreds more to follow as output grows.

The major project status will streamline the approvals process for its development.

Multicom Resources executive director Nathan Cammerman said designation sent a clear signal to international partners that the Australian Government was committed to enabling critical minerals projects.

“Support with the final project construction and development approvals required for the project will also help towards significant employment and economic outcomes for the Julia Creek and broader North Queensland region,” Mr Cammerman said

Growing global demand

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan (right) said there was increasing global demand for rare earths and valuable resources like vanadium, which were on the critical minerals list in Australia and the US.

Major project status puts vanadium mine in fast lane
“Australia is cementing its place as a powerhouse for critical minerals and rare earth production now and into the future,” Senator Canavan said.

“My recent trip to the US focused heavily on strengthening US-Australia ties on critical minerals, and this project will be one of many that will benefit from the opportunities provided by this collaboration.

“Granting Major Project Status to Saint Elmo is evidence of this Government’s support to this vitally important sector which has everyday applications in electric vehicles, renewable energy and smart phones.”

Construction of the Saint Elmo Project is expected next year, with the first vanadium exports likely in 2021.

What is vanadium? – click HERE


Major project status puts vanadium mine in fast lane