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Tomingley gold mine officially opens for business

Tomingley gold mine officially opens for business | Mining Industry |
Alkane Resources’ Tomingley gold mine has been officially opened by NSW Minister for Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts.

The mine, located 50 kilometres southwest of Dubbo, commenced operations in early February following its first gold bar pour and the successful commissioning of the processing plant.

Today’s ceremony marks the finishing line for the $120 million project, which started construction three short years ago.

Roberts said the project is a strong investment for the local economy.

“Tomingley is expected to contribute nearly $3 million a year in royalties to the NSW economy and help frontline services such as nurses, police and teachers,” he said.

“It will provide ongoing employment for 138 people and is expected to generate 300 indirect jobs, while 85 per cent of workers on site will be locals.”

The project has a life-span of seven years with gold output expected to exceed 50,000 – 60,000 ounces of gold per year, generating around $25 million in revenue per annum.

Alkane has executed a gold hedge of 25,000 ounces at A$1449 for delivery on May 16 with Credit Suisse International, with physical gold to be delivered into the hedge or rolled inot a series of forwards depending upon the spot price at maturity.

Alkane’s director Ian Chalmers said the project would to fund the development of its $1 billion Dubbo Zirconia rare earth project.

“Delivering Tomingley on time and on budget, funded without debt, is a reflection of Alkane’s capabilities and with Tomingley now in production, surplus cash flows generated can be used to fund the company’s exploration and development projects and corporate expenses.”

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World mining equipment market to grow 8.6% annually to 2017

World mining equipment market to grow 8.6% annually to 2017 | Mining Industry |
Reed Exhibitions's insight:

Despite some short term weakness, the worldwide mining machinery market is forecast to expand 8.6% per year through 2017 to US$135 billion, according to the latest report from market research company the Freedonia Group.

Demand will be spurred on by the huge demand for mined materials in China, India, and several other developing nations as industrial output increases, said the report.

Global patterns of investment in mining capacity will be determined in large part by these industrializing countries, as resource companies look to capitalize on new sales opportunities. Rapid gains in mining equipment demand will occur in large developing markets such as Brazil, China, and India, with China being the largest purchaser by a wide margin.

Additionally, machinery demand will expand in other nations with large deposits of industrial materials, including Australia, Chile, Indonesia, and Peru.

Asia/Pacific region

The large Asia/Pacific market is expected to post the greatest sales growth through 2017, fueled by substantial investments in new mine production capacity in several nations. Strong gains will also be recorded in Central and South America, as mining companies look to develop the region's sizable deposits of bauxite, copper, and iron ore.

For example, this region is the largest producer of copper by a wide margin, and the dissipation of oversupply issues that existed in 2012 and 2013 will allow copper prices to recover and boost associated mining equipment demand. The Africa/Mideast region will post the next strongest market advances, followed by Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and North America.

In developed areas, a recovery in construction spending and manufacturing output will boost demand for nearly all types of mined materials, though more emphasis on environmentally friendly sources of electricity will dampen thermal coal output.

Key metals mining market

While metals mining accounts for a lesser share of mine output than non-metallic minerals and coal in volume terms, this application represents the largest segment of the global mining machinery market due to the large amount of material that typically must be removed per ton of metal produced.

This slice of the market will also rise at the fastest pace through 2017, stimulated by steel and aluminum production. An expansion in construction spending and agricultural output as world population continues to grow will boost consumption of construction aggregates and fertilizer minerals like phosphate rock, as well as sales of related equipment.

Growth in primary metals production and rising global energy demand will spur growth in coal mining machinery sales, as will ongoing efforts to mechanize coal mining operations in China. However, a shift away from coal as an electricity source in developed countries will restrain overall demand advances.

Drills & breakers

Through 2017, demand for drills and breakers will climb at the most rapid pace of any product segment, as these units are used almost universally across all mining operations, especially during the exploration phase of a project. Additionally, the growing use of in situ mining techniques, where these products are a primary type of equipment employed, will further increase sales.

Like drills and breakers, crushing, pulverizing, and screening equipment is used in almost every kind of mining operation, and continued gains in world mining output will result in strong sales advances for these products.

Profiles for over 40 industry participants worldwide such as Atlas Copco, Caterpillar, Hitachi, Joy Global, Metso, Liebherr-International, Komatsu and Sandvik.

For more information on the report visit:

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Rio Tinto unveils iron ore expansion plans

Rio Tinto unveils iron ore expansion plans | Mining Industry |

Rio Tinto has set out its breakthrough plan to optimise the growth of its iron ore business in Western Australia. Mine production capacity will rapidly increase towards 360 million tonnes a year (Mt/a) at a significantly lower capital cost per tonne than originally planned.

A series of low-cost brownfield expansions will bring on early tonnes to feed the expanded infrastructure currently being developed. From a base run rate of 290Mt/a by the end of first half 2014, mine production capacity will increase by more than 60 million tonnes a year between 2014 and 2017. The majority of the low-cost growth will be delivered in the next two years with mine production of more than 330 million tonnes in 2015.

This will be achieved primarily through a combination of expanding production at existing mines and securing further low-cost productivity gains, such as those delivered by Rio Tinto’s pioneering ‘Mine of the Future’ programme, together with the proposed future development of the greenfield Silvergrass mine. Work continues on various further expansion options to optimise the next stage of the 360 programme.

In support of the brownfield expansions, Rio Tinto has today approved $400 million of capital expenditure for plant equipment and modification, and additional heavy machinery for use at various mine sites in the Pilbara.

The additional production will be achieved at a world-class all-in capital intensity of US$120-130 a tonne (low-US$100s a tonne Rio Tinto share), including the cost of infrastructure growth and mine capacity.

Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said “Expanding our world-class, low-cost, high-margin Pilbara operations represents the most attractive investment opportunity in the sector and is in line with my commitment to be totally focussed on only allocating capital to opportunities that will generate the best returns to shareholders.

“The breakthrough pathway we have identified, combining brownfield expansions and unleashing low-cost productivity gains, means we will deliver the expansion at an estimated capital cost of more than US$3 billion below previous expectations.”

Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Andrew Harding said: “This investment is driven by the attractive long-term fundamentals for iron ore which are underpinned by urbanisation and income growth in the developing world, particularly China. By delivering these additional tonnes we will capture a greater share of demand and ensure we continue to enjoy the best returns in the industry.

“Today’s announcement reflects our team’s commitment and dedication to retaining its edge as an industry leader. I am convinced the breakthrough iron ore optimisation pathway we have unveiled today represents the best use of capital for our shareholders and that our smart use of innovative technology will drive the business forward for decades to come.”

Extra iron ore tonnes will come from multiple mines, including Brockman 2 and Brockman 4, Yandicoogina, Paraburdoo and West Angelas.

Due to the early tonnes delivered through brownfield expansions, an investment decision on Silvergrass has been deferred until third quarter 2014 at the earliest and the decision on the proposed Koodaideri greenfield mine has been deferred until 2016 at the earliest.

Rio Tinto will reach a run-rate capacity of 290 Mt/a by the end of the first half of 2014, following the completion of the first phase of its expanded port rail and mine operations. The phase two expansion of the port, rail and power infrastructure to get to 360 Mt/a is already underway and is scheduled for completion in H1 2015.

The expansion pathway is subject to the normal government and joint venture approvals.

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and New York Stock Exchange listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, thermal and metallurgical coal, uranium, gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide and salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world and are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.

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Orica plans to expand

Orica plans to expand | Mining Industry |
Following last week’s profit announcement, explosives and chemicals supplier Orica has signalled that it will continue to expand.

AAP reports that Chief executive Ian Smith said that the company can expand without the need to build as many new plants as it has in the past.

He told the ABC's Inside Business program that the company had invested a lot of capital into converting gas through ammonia to ammonium nitrate which is Orica's main source of explosives.

He added that there was no need for Orica to build any more plants because the company is large enough to offer off-take agreements that are long-term and well priced.

Instead of investment in new plants, Orica will focus investment more on the service area. The company expects profits to increase next year as the North American coal markets improve and the company sells more sophisticated explosives.

Orica returned a net profit of $602 million for 2013. This represented a jump of nearly 49% over the previous year.

The net profit after tax and individually material items was up $199 million compared to the same time last year, when it earned $403 million.

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BHP boosts iron ore output, stabilises coal

BHP boosts iron ore output, stabilises coal | Mining Industry |
BHP Billiton has seen iron ore output surge in the third quarter, lifting 23 per cent to 49 million tonnes compared to the same time last year.

Releasing its quarterly results, efforts to streamline the company’s Western Australian iron ore supply chain are being realised with an extra 220 million tonnes per annum capacity added.

Deploying mobile crushing units and eliminating bottlenecks in its WA supply chain has underpinned a five million tonne increase in Western Australia Iron Ore’s production guidance for the 2014 financial year, BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said.

“Our pursuit of productivity gains and operating excellence is already yielding strong results,” he said.

Mackenzie said cash rationalisation measures will continue into the 2014 financial year.

“A 25 per cent reduction in capital and exploration expenditure to US$16 billion in the 2014 financial year has significantly increased internal competition for capital,” he said.

“Our rate of expenditure will decline again next year and if our investment criteria cannot be met in any one project, product or geography, we will redirect our capital elsewhere or we will not invest.”

Total iron ore output lifted 2 per cent from quarter two, with four projects delivering first production in the September quarter, including the Jimblebar mine expansion.

Ramping up Jimblebar to 35 million tonnes per annum is expected to be completed by the end of the 2015 financial year.


Productivity gains also saw BHP’s Queensland coal operations sustain an annualised production rate of 61 million tonnes.

The company said the result was underpinned by the continued ramp up of Daunia mine, record quarterly production at South Walker Creek and improved Coal Preparation Plant performance at Blackwater and Saraji.

But the company’s coal business also suffered a number of setbacks during the September quarter, including a planned longwall move at Crinum mine and scheduled Coal Preparation Plant maintenance at Goonyella Riverside and Peak Downs.

An extended outage and a roof collapse at Dendrobium mine, as well as a scheduled longwall move at West Cliff saw Illawarra Coal’s production drop 39 per cent from the June 2013 quarter.

The company said Illawarra Coal production is expected to improve in the December 2013 quarter.

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Consolidated Tin to launch new mine

Consolidated Tin to launch new mine | Mining Industry |
Tin is an industry that's becoming increasingly vital to modern life.

Currently the tin sector is undergoing rapid change as manufacturers increasingly replace lead with tin, and a small group of Australian-based companies are at the helm.

Consolidated Tin Mines announced this week its Mt Garnet project is on track to launch into production at the end of 2014, delivering a positive independent pre-feasibility study.

Chairman and managing director Ralph De Lacey said construction will begin at the Mt Garnet site, located near Cairns in Northern Queensland, early next year, initially requiring about 50 to 60 workers, The Cairns Post reports.

De Lacey said the mine will employ about 120 workers from the local area to operate the mine.

He explained that existing infrastructure and near surface ore will keep capital and operating costs to a minimum.

“The PFS has confirmed that we have the opportunity to develop a substantial and profitable tin mining project,” De Lacey said.

"The PFS results confirm the potential for a project with a production profile of one million tonnes per annum for a period of nine years or greater.”

According to the study it will cost $76 million to develop the open cut mine which is forecast to produce an average of 2944 tonnes of tin concentrate per annum.

"Consolidated Tin remains on-track to become a significant and profitable Australian tin producer," the report said.

The PFS also highlights a number of opportunities for financial improvement including “further design optimisation of mining and processing stages,” the company said.

The board has approved the initiation of the Definitive Feasibility Stage for Mt Garnet, commencing with the Gillian project.

"It is anticipated that Gillian will provide the mill feed for the first three years of mining," he said.

De Lacey said further evaluation work will be done at its Pinnacles and Windermere sites.

"Discussions are well advanced with our major shareholder, Snow Peak, to finalise a binding agreement to ensure that full asset value is realised for all stakeholders, with the aim of achieving tin production by end of 2014."

Australia’s other tin mine Metals X's Renison mine, located in Tasmania, contains about 85 per cent of Australia’s known tin.

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Shuttleworth to head up Fortescue’s Cloudbreak mine

Shuttleworth to head up Fortescue’s Cloudbreak mine | Mining Industry |
Fortescue Metals Group has managed to lure former Australian Miningmine manager of the year Julie Shuttleworth from Barrick Gold.

After 13 years with the gold miner Shuttleworth will head up FMG’s Cloudbreak operation in Western Australia’s Pilbara.

She said while she is sad to be leaving Barrick’s Granny Smith mine, the FMG offer came at the right time, The West Australian reports.

In August Australian Mining reported the Canadian miner secured the sale of three of its Western Australian gold mines, including Granny Smith, Darlot and Lawlers to South Africa’s Gold Fields for $US300 million.

This week Barrick also earmarked its Plutonic mines in WA for divestment, saying it will cut $2 billion from its capex and costs across the organisation.

Shuttleworth said the opportunity to head up a "really big mine" and stay in WA was too good to refuse.

In her general manager role at Barrick, Shuttleworth led a team of about 700 people, making a name for herself across the industry winning numerous accolades and being named one of the top ten influential women in mining.

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SA iron ore pipeline to boost exports

SA iron ore pipeline to boost exports | Mining Industry |
A $5 billion infrastructure project proposed for South Australia will help boost iron ore exports to more than 100 million tonnes per year, the state government says.

The South Australian Government has given major development status to the Braemar Bulk Export Project, which will link the upper Spencer Gulf to iron ore resources in the state’s north-east.

If approved, the project will include four underground iron ore slurry pipelines, road and four water pipelines.

A floating processing, storage and offloading facility has also been proposed in Spencer Gulf, north of Wallaroo.

Deputy Premier and Planning Minister John Rau said the state would now assess the environmental impacts of the proposed project, ABC reported.

"It will be up to the people proposing the project to make arrangements for access to relevant land, but this is the approval process so we're now going to go through an environmental impact process and various other processes to make sure this is an appropriate project to get a final sign-off," he said.

"Major development status allows for the most sophisticated and thorough set of planning approvals available within our planning regime.

"There is a strong level of scrutiny applied to the project's assessment, with significant consultation requirements."

The state's Infrastructure and Mineral Resources Minister, Tom Koutsantonis, said the corridor would allow for a high-volume iron ore exporting solution.

''The project will allow for an eight-fold increase in the amount of iron ore currently being exported and provide a 385-kilometre infrastructure corridor,'' Koutsantonis said.

Gordon Toll from Braemar Infrastructure said $3 billion would need to be raised before the project could go ahead, but was confident the money can be sort.

"We're a private company we'll probably stay that way for some time, because one of our major sources of finances will be private equity groups," Toll said.

"There is a lot of money out there for private equity, investment groups looking for something just like this to invest in."

The project has been welcomed by miners who say the pipeline would allow expansion projects near Broken Hill to ramp up.

Carpentaria Exploration managing director Quentin Hill said while his company was planning on exporting iron ore by rail, the pipeline would beneficial.

"We're not relying on a pipeline export route; we're relying on rail and port infrastructure that's already in place and that's a real bonus for our project," Hill said.

"But this pipeline project, if it gets off the ground, would allow us to expand more cheaply, which would bring benefits to Broken Hill."

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World's first Hitachi backhoes delivered to Australian coal mine

World's first Hitachi backhoes delivered to Australian coal mine | Mining Industry |
Hitachi is commissioning its first EX8000-6BH backhoe excavators at Stanwell Corporation's Meandu coal mine.

It released the machines on the 17th of September.

Hitachi explained that while there are a number of EX8000's operating globally, this machine is the first one with a backhoe configuration.

The mine needed 28 semi-trailers to move the excavator from Brisbane to Meandu, where three cranes, a 220 tonne, 100 tonne, and 80 tonne machine, assembled the EX8000-6BH.

Stanwell Corp's CEO Richard Van Breda said"the new excavator is the largest in our fleet and we welcome it to the Stanwell family".

"The excavator will support the Tarong Power Stations in becoming more competitive in the National Electricity Marketby reducing the cost of coal from Meandu Mine," Andrew Walker, the mining operations manager at Meandu, said

"It is expected to run for approximately 5700 hours per year for the next three years, predominately removing overburden."

HCA managing director David Harvey added that “the EX8000 was assembled in record time, and more importantly put together safely without incident by Stanwell, Downer EDI and our employees".

Weighing more than 800 tonnes, the excavator has a 45 cubic metre bucket capacity and is able to more 75 tonnes of dirt per bucket.

The Meandu mine machine has been dubbed Atlas.

This is not the first time that Hitachi has trialled new machinery at the Meandu mine.

Earlier this year it announced the initial trials of its Autonomous Haulage Systems (AHS) at the site.

Hitachi is commissioning its first EX8000-6BH backhoe excavators at Stanwell Corporation's Meandu coal mine.
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Opportunities still flowing for Australian mining

With growth in Australian mining investment slowing, the resources sector is shifting towards operational management and existing resources rather than new investment. This means that wins for Australian businesses will be harder to find. But they are still out there.

Even with the slowing market, expenditure on mining investment is still expected to stay high for some time, given the large amount of investment already under way,providing opportunities for Australian businesses.

ICN is working with the mining sector on many projects, to help increase opportunities for Australian industry, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

To support ICN, the Australian Government provides funding through its Supplier Access to Major Projects (SAMP) program.

Below are three SAMP projects across Australia, currently underway in the mining sector, where there are plenty of opportunities for Australian SMEs.

Roy Hill iron ore

The Roy Hill project will be a world-class iron ore mine and is located 115 km north-east of Newman in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The mine processing plant, rail and port facilities will be designed to produce 55 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of Hematite iron ore. The project will also consist of a 344km standard gauge, single line, dedicated heavy-haul railway from the mine site to Port Hedland and two new purpose built berths.

During construction the workforce will peak at 3,600 people and it will have an operational manning of over 2,000 people.

The project will create significant wealth for Australia through the generation of export revenue, employment creation and payment of royalties and taxes.

Mount Peake

TNG Limited’s 100%-owned Mount Peake project is located in the highly prospective Arunta Geological Province, 235km north-north-west of the regional centre of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

With the feasibility study due for completion this year, preliminary capital expenditure for stage 1 of the project is estimated at $560m (2.5 Mtpa) with stage 2 warranting a further $151m (5 Mtpa).

The construction phase includes infrastructure such as roads, rail lines, power station, water supply, buildings, mobile equipment, accommodation village and a laboratory.

Construction of the processing plant is scheduled to begin in 2014 with TNG expecting first production by late 2015 plus a sustainable mine life of 23 years.

Analytical and geophysical data collected for the project demonstrated that it has the potential to develop as a significant vanadium project, comparable in size with other similar deposits currently at an advanced stage of evaluation and development in Australia.

GVK Hancock coal

GVK Hancock coal proposes to develop the Alpha Coal project in the Galilee Basin near Alpha, Central Queensland.

GVK is separately developing the Kevin’s Corner coal project adjacent to the Alpha Coal project.

The Alpha Coal project is an open cut mine which will produce 32 Mtpa export grade thermal coal and the mine life is estimated to be 30 years. The first coal is expected by the end of 2015.  The Kevin’s Corner coal project is both open cut and underground mining and again the expected output is 30 Mtpa of coal with a mine life of 30 years.

It will run 18 months behind Alpha with mining targeted for 2016.

The mines will be supported by a 495 km standard gauge stand-alone rail link from the Galilee Basin to Abbot Point.

This rail link from the Galilee Basin to Abbot Point is the route approved by the Queensland Government and the railway is potentially scalable to haul coal for third party customers.

The scale of the GVK project presents one of the largest coal and infrastructure projects ever built in Australia and with a reported value of $10 billion, will offer enormous opportunity for local suppliers across multiple industry sectors.

Opportunities for all three of these projects are available on ICN Gateway, ICN’s online system that connects buyers and suppliers looking to build partnerships in Australian and New Zealand industries. This powerful online system currently contains over $247 billion worth of contracts and more than 70,000 suppliers.

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John Holland win enormous subcontract at Roy Hill mine

John Holland win enormous subcontract at Roy Hill mine | Mining Industry |

John Holland has been awarded a massive $257 million subcontract for the railway track at the Roy Hill iron ore mine.

The award will see it build close to 350 kilometres of heavy haulage track.

The contract was awarded by Samsung C&T and will see John Holland provide rail construction, track works and infrastructure through the remote terrain of the Pilbara.

John Holland's parent company Leighton Holdings' CEO Hamish Tyrwhitt said "we are proud to be involved in such a major undertaking for Western Australia; Roy Hill is a critical project for the state and a strong indication that the nation is moving to close its infrastructure deficit and improve productivity".

The two year, construct only project, will begin next month, and at its peak employ around 270 people.

Its contract involves track works to the main line, marshalling yard, mine loading loop, port loading loop, wayside loops and spurs, and the construction yard.

It also involves construction of a logistics yard and ballast yards.

The rail line itself will be designed by the Calibre Group, while NRW Holdings will begin work on the rail line's earthworks.

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BHP gives $2.5m to Muswellbrook Hospital

BHP gives $2.5m to Muswellbrook Hospital | Mining Industry |
Mining giant BHP Billitonhas donated $2.5 million for a new emergency department at Muswellbrook Hospital.

With the state government’s allotted $4 million under the Resources for Regions program, the hospital now has $6.5 million at its disposal for the expansion.

Hunter New England chief executive Michael DiRienzo said the expansion would mean more space for emergency care.

“It will include additional beds and more treatment spaces, as well as improved patient and staff facilities and new ambulance bays and entry,” he said.

“This is a large investment in health for the Upper Hunter,” he said.

The Newcastle Herald reported it is one of the largest corporate donations given to Hunter New England Health.

BHP Billiton NSW Energy Coal Asset President Peter Sharpe said the company was aware Muswellbrook needed better access to medical services and amenities.

“BHP Billiton is proud to support the communities in which it operates,” he said.

The expansion comprises of three new acute treatment beds, a paediatric treatment bed, a two-bed resuscitation bay for critical patients, and pathology and pharmacy spaces, among others.

The department will also get Telehealth and digital technology updates that will connect Muswellbrook with specialists and clinicians at other hospitals such as John Hunter and Maitland.

Other facilities include space for equipment and supplies, and an area to examine x-rays and write clinical notes.

The expansion will start next month and is set to finish before the end of 2014.

BHP Billiton donated $1 million to the Red Cross’ Queensland Floods appeal earlier this year.

The money came from the company’s “Sustainable Communities” fund.

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Toro Energy buy another uranium play in Western Australia

Toro Energy buy another uranium play in Western Australia | Mining Industry |
Toro Energy, the company vying to develop Western Australia’s first uranium mine, have purchased another uranium project just 90km away, signalling the opportunity for expansion.

Toro Energy today announced plans to buy the Lake Maitland Project from Canada’s Mega uranium for 414 million Toro shares.

The terms of the deal will see Mega emerge as a 28% shareholder of Toro.

The deal will also see Toro’s resource base in the region boosted by 42 per cent, enough for a project of at least 20 years.

Toro’s Wiluna mine is set to become Western Australia’s first ever uranium producer with the company previously stating that if financing arrangements go to plan the mine will be in production by the end of 2015.

Toro managing director Dr. Vanessa Guthrie said the new association with Mega would further boost the company’s credentials in its ongoing negotiations on project financing and offtake agreements.

“The deal puts Toro not only at the forefront of Australia’s new uranium development sector at a time there will be a supply squeeze from 2015 onwards, but adds bench strength to our share register and our project development endeavours through the strategic relationship with Mega,” Guthrie said.

“Specifically, the Lake Maitland acquisition is a transformative deal for Toro and will further enhance the investment case for a prospective partner.”

Guthrie said the acquisition will bring together larger resources, higher volume and grade throughputs and a longer mining life for Wiluna at a time when global demand for uranium is set to outstrip supply.

“Our plan will be to eventually integrate both projects,” she said.

Guthrie said the resource increase gave Toro the option to expand the processing scale of Wiluna above 1.3 Mtpa.

As part of the deal Toro are set to acquire eight exploration licences, two exploration licence applications, three prospecting licences and a granted mining lease.

Guthrie stressed that Toro’s priority remained the immediate financing, development and commissioning of the Wiluna mine.

Speaking to Australian Mining last month, Guthrie had a bullish outlook on the future of the uranium market, stating it could be the next big export resource to come out of Western Australia.

“We see Wiluna as the first of a number of new emerging mines in WA and we think it’s a fabulous opportunity for WA to get on the map as a uranium exporter,” she said at the time.

Toro has also acquired the Firestake, Dawson, Hinkler, Millipede and Nowthanna uranium deposits surrounding Wiluna in recent years but any plans to expand Wiluna mine would be subject to full open assessments.

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Anglo chief warns on pace of innovation -

Anglo chief warns on pace of innovation - | Mining Industry |

One of the world’s senior mining leaders has called on the sector to speed up  innovation or risk being marginalised by groups that spend more on research.

Mark  Cutifani, Anglo American chief executive, said research and development in  mining was lagging behind the oil and gas sector at a time when there was an  urgent need for larger and better deposits of many metals and minerals.

In 10 years the world would “have to pay to move twice the amount of waste to  get the same minerals to market”, he said. “We need to do it differently. We  need a better way. We need to innovate.”

Innovation in oil and gas has transformed the energy  landscape in the US, with fracking and horizontal drilling unlocking vast  reservoirs of shale gas previously considered uneconomic to develop. By contrast  innovation in mining  has been incremental. Many methods have changed little except for the size of  equipment used.

“Our industry is damned by the fact that our spending on innovation, research  and development is one-10th that of the petroleum industry,” Mr Cutifani said.

“If we don’t start to bring innovation back and do a hell of a lot better on  our cost structures and deliver returns, the major diversifieds will be  subsidiaries of General Electric or some other conglomerate that has still got  innovation in their vocabulary . . . We either pick the ball up and innovate or  somebody will do it for us.”

Next week mining leaders gather in Cape Town for one of the industry’s most  important annual events.

Companies have tried to draw a line under a period of poor  returns after big investments in new projects and escalating costs, and as  Chinese growth fears hit commodity prices.

If we don’t do a hell of a lot better . . . the major  diversifieds will be subsidiaries of General Electric

- Mark Cutifani, Anglo American

Among miners that are innovating most successfully, Mr  Cutifani praised Rio Tinto, which has invested in driverless trucks  and trains – operated from several hundred kilometres away – to service its huge  Australian iron ore mines.

AngloGold Ashanti, at which he was previously  chief executive, was using technology to make its deep-level gold mines in South  Africa safer and more efficient, he added.

Many miners expect declines in mined grades – the quantity of recoverable  metal relative to waste rock – as reserves are depleted and discoveries become  harder to make.

Mr Cutifani joined Anglo American last year and is trying to reverse  years of underperformance amid concerns over its exposure to South Africa, where  platinum miners are striking. Anglo reports annual production figures on  Wednesday.

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How to become a mining supplier

How to become a mining supplier | Mining Industry |
Tightening market conditions and a transitioning mining sector means Australia’s burgeoning equipment, services and supplier sector is having to up the ante when it comes to securing mining contracts.

General manager of mining supplier company Quarry Mining, Phill Breese said adding to the troubles of a contracting market is the influx of imported products and high Australian operating costs.

Speaking at a recent Austmine Event, Centennial Coal’s group contracts manager Stewart Jolly explained there are a few tricks of the trade when it comes to getting your product onsite and keeping them there.

In 2013 Centennial Coal had a capital expenditure budget of $160 million, spending on average about $300 million a year on operations.

On the miner’s books there are currently about 2000 suppliers, servicing its operations in the Hunter Valley and western regions of New South Wales.

“Centennial has been working with our top 200 suppliers on cost reduction initiatives,” Jolly explained.

How do mining companies engage suppliers?

Mining companies engage suppliers through a number of different means Jolly said.

This includes utilising existing vendors, tender processes, reaching out to industry networks and formulating agreements.

Jolly said tenders are often used for capital equipment but stressed not to underestimate the power of industry networks like ICN, Hunternet and Austmine when it comes to getting your foot in the front gate.

”We do run tenders for major capital investment, mining equipment, and infrastructure,” Jolly said.

In 2013 Centennial ran approximately 12 tenders.

“In all cases we rely heavily on ICN, Hunternet and directories,” he said.

“They provide an interface with access to who’s who.”

Jolly also recommended visiting and exhibiting and conferences and industry events.

“We are regularly attenders of these types of [seminar events] as well as AIMEX and conferences,” Jolly said.

“Our engineers are the ones with the requirements, the more you get in front of them the more chance you’ll have of success.”

Getting new innovation on site can be an uphill battle.

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  • Go to industry events
  • Form relationships
  • Identify your competitive advantage

He said miners can tend to be risk averse and getting involved with industry networks can help overcome some of those early barriers to entry.

“Miners tend to be a very staid bunch, they tend to stay with what they know, what they trust, trying to get them to change something as simple of roof bolts was a nine month project, I can’t stress strongly enough [the importance of being involved in] industry expos, trade publications, [and industry associations], get involved with ACARP is also a very good way to get in,” Jolly said.

“It’s always good to see what’s out there and we do use ICN and Hunternet regularly.”

Jolly said relationships are the key to becoming a preferred supplier.

“One thing I don’t want to discourage is relationships with engineers on sites, you may be providing a niche or bespoke service for them, don’t give up on that, please keep doing that because at the end of the day we’re only buying what the engineers want,” he said.

With over 3000 METS companies in Australia standing out can be difficult but Jolly said companies need to identify their competitive advantage and innovate.

“Innovation and standing out from the competition, you need to do that,” he said, adding: “Our preference is to source locally, regionally, nationally and then internationally.”

He also warned off cold calling, saying purchasing officers and engineers deal with hundreds if not thousands of existing suppliers in the first instance, and fielding calls only makes the job harder.

“Cold calls are really hard for us, we have some 2000 suppliers and even if only 10 per cent of them call us up the phone would be ringing off the hook,” Jolly said.

Instead he suggested forming relationships with site engineers so you aren’t going in cold.

“Talk directly with engineers.”

Ken Raymond from supplier network ICN agreed saying forming relationships is key to becoming a supplier to the mines.

Raymond added that if companies want to supply to the mines their offering has to stand out.

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Roy Hill awards $3bn worth of contracts as project go-ahead inches closer

Roy Hill awards $3bn worth of contracts as project go-ahead inches closer | Mining Industry |

Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill iron ore project has awarded $3 billion worth of contracts for the development of the mine as the company moves closer to securing the $7 billion needed to secure its future.

Gina Rinehart’s $10 billion Roy Hill iron ore development is undertaking one of the largest debt-raisings ever attempted in the mining sector, seeking $4 billion in funding from export credit agencies and an additional $3 billion from commercial banks.

The Roy Hill project includes a new 55 million tonne per annum iron ore mine, 344 kilometres of railway and a new port at Port Hedland.

Roy Hill said it is pushing to complete financing before the year is out, with production scheduled to commence in September 2015.

Yesterday, the biggest contract yet was announced, with Downer EDI winning a 4 year contract for mining services worth $500 million, which some see as a clear sign the project  is set to receive the go ahead.

Other contracts handed out include a $620 million rail earthworks contract to NRW, $830 million to Forge Group for construction and processing works and $70 billion to Brookfield Multiplex to develop non-processing infrastructure.

The latest deal comes just days after reports that the US government owned Export-Import Bank gave preliminary approval for $US694m ($737m) in financing for the project,

The Australian reports that the bank’s loan will support the purchase of equipment from US companies.

Roy Hill has also sought support from the big four Australian banks and foreign investors.

Roy Hill Holdings is 70 per cent-owned by Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting. Selling off 30 per cent of the project last year, the remainder is now owned by South Korea's Posco, Japan's Marubeni and Taiwan's China Steel Corporation.

The Roy Hill project includes a new 55 million tonne per annum iron ore mine, 344 kilometres of railway and a new port at Port Hedland.

Construction of the Pilbara-based project is continuing, despite chatter around delays, with some analysts predicting full production will not commence until 2017.

However the miner has continued to reaffirm that the project remains on track.

"Roy Hill's project development has not been delayed, we remain fully on track," a company spokesman said last week.

With cash costs of about $US37 per tonne, JPMorgan said it expects Roy Hill will sit in the middle of the cost curve for iron ore projects.

The analyst said Roy Hill has the potential to add 7 per cent to Australian iron ore supply

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Mining sector community spending exceeds $34 billion

Mining sector community spending exceeds $34 billion | Mining Industry |
A survey has found mining companies’ community spending has exceeded its tax bills for the 2011-12 financial year.

Surveying 25 Australian mining companies, explorers and resources contractors the research has found the mining sector spent $34.7 billion on community infrastructure, indigenous contractors and local suppliers in 2011-12.

Minerals Council chief executive Mitch Hooke said the figure is many times larger than the projected returns from the mining tax and also exceeds the industry’s 2011-12 company tax and royalty payments, which Deloitte Access Economics estimated to be $21 billion for the same year.

He said the research “further underscores why the Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) is unnecessary and should be repealed”.

Community infrastructure spending includes health care centres, education and training, sporting clubs, swimming pools and transport services.

The survey, conducted by corporate responsibility consultants Banarra found that $91.9 million was spent on community infrastructure and services, $37.1 million was spent on education and training, and $2.2 billion was spent on indigenous contracting.

Of those companies surveyed $32.1 billion was also spent on local suppliers and contractors.

“The scale of industry’s community contribution demonstrates that the best way of to maximise a social return from Australia's resource endowment is to ensure the mining sector remains globally competitive and continues to expand,” Hooke said.

He claims the mining tax takes Australia in the opposite direction.

“It undermines our competitiveness and acts as a disincentive to invest in Australian coal and iron ore projects,” Hooke said.

He argues the size of the community contribution proves Australian’s are benefitting from the mining boom and will continue to do so if the mining tax is repealed.

“The industry's tax and royalty payments coupled with the community spend shows that mining will continue to make a very large social and economic contribution after the MRRT is abolished,” Hooke said.

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GE Industrea 12 months on: AIMEX 2013 [VIDEO]

GE Industrea 12 months on: AIMEX 2013 [VIDEO] | Mining Industry |

Earlier this year GE Mining finalised a $700 million deal to purchase Australian mining equipment manufacturer Industrea.

Almost 12 months on GE Mining chief executive officer Geoff Knox caught up with Australian Mining at AIMEX 2013 to discuss how the integration has fared.

Knox explained the challenge with integrating a smaller mining manufacturer with a global company is to not destroy relationships during the transition to becoming a more systemised company.

He also said getting the cost base and value equation right in the face of the downturn has been critical. 

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Linc Energy acquires Blair Athol coal mine, 100 mining jobs created

Linc Energy acquires Blair Athol coal mine, 100 mining jobs created | Mining Industry |
Linc Energy has acquired Rio Tinto's Blair Athol coal mine.

It comes after speculation this morning that the coal gas company would be purchasing the shut down coal operation.

According to Linc Energy there will be no upfront cost for the acquisition, which will be through Linc's subsidiary New Emerald Coal.

This includes the mining tenure, on-site assets, and infrastructure.

Under the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) Rio will make a contribution to New Emerald's current anticipated statutory site rehabilitation obligations, which will start in 2016 and run until 2019.

"There is a provision for commercial agreements to be put in place that give New Emerald Coal access to train-loading capacity, workforce accommodation and port and rail capacity to Abbot Point," Linc said in a statement.

"Completion of the acquisition is conditional upon finalisation of these agreements together with satisfaction of relevant approvals and other customary conditions."

It expects the acquisition to become unconditional within six months and mining to restart soon after.

"New Emerald Coal will reopen the mine with a view to produce up to 3 million tonnes of thermal coal per year," it added.

Michael Mapp, Linc Energy's head of coal, said the buy will provide production capacity to New Emerald and add value as Linc strengthens its coal portfolio.

"The Blair Athol coal mine offers a unique opportunity to New Emerald Coal by adding an established asset with minimal efforts and costs to restart the mine," Mapp said.

"New Emerald will re-open the mine once tenure has been transferred, creating over 100 jobs at the mine site near Clermont, in Central Queensland."

Mapp added that it would look to source workers locally.

Linc explained that it made the acquisition to build new Emerald as a stand alone company, which it will soon exit.

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Tropicana achieves first gold early and on budget

Tropicana achieves first gold early and on budget | Mining Industry |
Gold miner AngloGold Ashanti has produced first gold from its Tropicana joint venture project ahead of schedule and on budget.

The miner announced on Thursday the ounces were delivered below its current average cost structure.

“We’ve taken Tropicana all the way from discovery through development and now into production,” AngloGold Ashanti VP for Australia, group planning and technical Graham Ehm said.

“To pour gold ahead of schedule and within budget is a rare feat in this industry, and it’s a significant milestone for us and Independence Group, our partner,” he added.

It is estimated cash costs for Tropicana will be between $590 and $630 per ounce.

AngloGold holds a 70 per cent stake in the Tropicana mine, located in Western Australia, with Independence Group controlling the remaining 30 per cent interest.

At the recent Diggers and Dealers conference Ehm said the successful development of “new lower cost operations” is critical for growing margins.

Located 300 kilometres northeast of Kalgoorlie, the operation was originally forecast to begin production in December this year, but with commissioning already underway ramp-up was moved forward to occur in the December quarter.

“Tropicana is a significant new, low-cost mine in an emerging gold province and will improve the quality of AngloGold Ashanti (and Independence Group's) portfolio; we continue to make good progress with our partners on a project we've taken up the value curve, from discovery to commissioning,” Ehm said.

“First gold is obviously a significant milestone, but achieving a smooth ramp up and steady state production is just as significant.

“We’ve modelled Tropicana against other similar operations to generate a ramp-up profile and expect to be at 91 per cent availability within four to five months.”

Despite moving ahead of schedule the estimated capital expenditure for the project is unchanged at between $820 and $845 million.

The company is aiming to achieve a production rate of between 470 000 to 490 000 ounces in the first three years.

Tropicana has been on the radar of many analysts for some time now, after the joint venture partners announced in December last year that they had upped the total estimated resource to 7.89 million ounces of gold.

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Komatsu haul trucks now available with LNG conversions

Komatsu haul trucks now available with LNG conversions | Mining Industry |
GFS Corp, a natural gas conversion technology specialist and the first to market conversion packs for large mine haul trucks has announced two new additions.

It has unveiled GFS two product linesto its NG+D brand of natural gas plus diesel conversion systems.

The newproduct models are the EVO-MT 8300 for the Komatsu 830 model haul truck and the EVO-MT 9300 for the Komatsu 930 model haul truck.  These new additions addt o GFS Corp’s current product line-up of conversion systems for the Caterpillar777 and 793 mechanical drive trucks.

GFS is the first company to offer a fully integrated LNG conversion solution for large mine haul trucks and has had its EVO-MT 7930 systems operating on Cat 793B model haul trucks for over a year at Alpha Natural Resource’s Belle Ayr mine in Gillette, Wyoming.

The two new NG+D systems represent the company’s first offering for electrical drive trucks.

The company says that its EVO-MT 8300 System for the Komatsu 830 truck will be operating at a launch customer’s mine in the fourth quarter of this year.Additional Komatsu trucks with both the EVO-MT 8300 and EVO-MT 9300 Systems installed will be operating at other locations shortly thereafter.

“We are excited to announce two new mining products here at the High Horsepower Summit in Chicago.  Our new EVO-MT 8300 and 9300 Systems for the Komatsu 830 and 930 trucks build upon our success to date and represent a significant technological advancement of our core MT product,” said Jason Green, company President. “We look forward to seeing the first Komatsu trucks operating with our launch customer later this year.”

As with the company’s other haul truck conversion offerings, the EVO-MT 8300 and 9300 systems are fully integrated solutions that include a proprietary onboard LNG fuel storage system, LNG vaporisation and gas control, electronic control unit and NG+D engine controls and safety systems. The EVO-MT 8300/9300 systems are offered with either 300 or600 gal of onboard LNG capacity depending on configuration. The new systems are designed for in field retrofit and will require about two days to install and commission.

The company says that its EVO-MT System enables operators of mine haul trucks to substantially reduce operational cost sand improve sustainability by substituting diesel fuel with lower cost, cleaner burning natural gas. The EVO-MT™ System is comprised of patented and proprietary technologies that allow haul trucks to safely operate on gas percentages of up to 50% of their total fuel requirement. Trucks converted to adiesel + LNG operation exhibit diesel-like performance in such critical areas as power, response and efficiency.

This article originally appeared in full on Mine Web. To read more daily international and mining financial news click here.

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$50m Tasmanian coal mine approved

$50m Tasmanian coal mine approved | Mining Industry |
A new Tasmanian coal mine is set to be operational within three years after securing state approval yesterday.

The HardRock coal mine, located in Northern Tasmanian’s Fingal Valley is expected to generate $180 million a year for the state’s economy, The Examiner reports.

Construction of the $50 million development is scheduled to begin by the end of the year and should see about 80 jobs created.

Tasmania’s resource minister Bryan Green said the project is expected to be worth $6 million a year in state government royalties.

``The project will not only bring valuable investment and jobs to the Fingal Valley it will also have enormous flow-on benefits for the North-East region and the broader Tasmanian economy,'' Green said.

Green said the project will see Tasmanian rail freight jump about 40 per cent, while sea freight out of Bell Bay will increase by around 30 per cent.

Liberal MP Adam Brooks welcomed the decision, saying he “strongly supported'' the project.

``Bryan Green has admitted that this venture will inject an estimated $180 million a year into the Tasmanian economy,'' Brooks said.

``This goes to prove just how valuable mining is to Tasmania's economy and how crucial this industry is to our future prosperity.''

The Fingal project, headed up by HardRock Coal Mining includes the development of an underground coal mine which is expected to deliver about one million tonnes per annum.

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NRW Holdings wins $620 million Roy Hill contract

NRW Holdings wins $620 million Roy Hill contract | Mining Industry |
NRW Holdings has officially been awarded the rail earthworks contract for the Roy Hill project.

It received a Letter of Intent to subcontract the works in late August, and was authorised to start work, although work was capped at $20 million at the time.

It now has the full construction contract for the rail formation for the main line between Roy Hill and Port Hedland.

The scope of the works, which are valued at around $620 million, include construction of approximately 330 kilometres of main line heavy haul rail formation together with sidings and level crossing and associated works.

Overall the works will involve the moving of approximately 10.5 million cubic metres of material.

Work has begun already and scheduled for completion in January 2015.

At its peak it will employ a workforce of 1500 people.

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$186m contract for Theiss Sedgman JV

$186m contract for Theiss Sedgman JV | Mining Industry |
Boggabri Coal has awarded the Thiess Sedgman Joint Venture a $186 million contract to design and construct a Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP).

The CHPP will support Boggabri’s mining operation expansion in the Gunnedah Basin in New South Wales.

Boggabri Coal is expanding the annual production to 6.9Mt. The open cut coal mine is located 17 kilometres north east of Boggabri in north-west NSW.

The contract has a direct value to Leighton Holdings of $124 million through its wholly owned subsidiary Thiess and its 33 per cent stake in Sedgman.

Thiess managing director Bruce Munro said the expansion is an indication of confidence in the coal sector’s future by Boggabri and its parent company Idemitsu Australia Resources.

“The contract recognises the specialised capability of TSJV and is a tribute to the great relationship established between Thiess Sedgman and Boggabri Coal.

“The project further cements our position as the leading provider of ore and coal handling processing facilities,” Munro said in a statement.

Leighton Holdings’ chief Hamish Tyrwhitt said the contract demonstrates the group’s wide capability in resources.

“The Group is a leading provider of construction and contract mining services to the resources market, both in Australia and in the region. Sustained global demand for resources – primarily out of Asia – will continue to underpin a good range of opportunities for the Group for the foreseeable future.”

The plant is set for completion in the second quarter of 2015. Design and procurement work is in progress.

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Morris Corporation wins massive Fortescue accommodation contract

Morris Corporation has won a $435 millionc ontract to provide catering and hospitality through its Indigenous joint ventures at Fortescue's Pilbara operations.

According to Morris the contract coversseven villages (6800 rooms) and includes airport management.

The contract involves a number of separate joint ventures with Morris and its Indigenous group partners Martu Idja Banyjima (MIB), Nyiyaparli, Palkyu, and the Kariyarra.

Rodney Molla, Morris Corp's CEO, said the company is "thrilled with winning this contract; [and] has previously been involved in similar Indigenous joint ventures and been working with Fortescue for a number of years".

It comes only weeks after Fortescue achieved its goal of providing more than $1 billion in contracts to Indigenous companies.

Molla added that "Fortescue also deserves high praise for their vision in encouraging Indigenous groups to work closely with the private sector".

The MIB people stated that they were"pleased to enter into another joint venture with Morris Corporation,"adding that "the new venture continues to offer opportunities for local Aboriginal people and the MIB to continue developing their commercial expertise in operating catering and facilities services".

In addition to the contract wins, the joint ventures have also helped to lift Morris's Indigenous contingent to 15% of its workforce.

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