THE NEXT CHAP­TER

Af­ter achiev­ing record break­ing re­sults at its mine and ore pro­cess­ing plant last year, North­parkes cop­per-gold mine ex­pects to see sim­i­lar re­sults this year as it con­tin­ues to work towards a “cen­tury of min­ing to­gether”.

The Australian Mining Review - - CONTENTS - JES­SICA CUM­MINS

OPER­AT­ING for more than two decades, and with mine life now ex­tended through to 2032, the North­parkes op­er­a­tion is well po­si­tioned to reach new heights in com­ing years.

Pre­vi­ously owned by Rio Tinto, the project sits on 6000 hectares with a 1630ha min­ing lease.

The joint ven­ture between China Molyb­de­num and Su­mit­omo Group broke two pro­duc­tion records in the un­der­ground mine (pro­duc­ing 6.46 mil­lion tonnes of ore) and the ore pro­cess­ing plant (pro­cess­ing 6.51 mil­lion tonnes of ore dur­ing 2017); a feat North­parkes man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Jim Fowler said the com­pany was proud of.

“We [also] gained gov­ern­ment ap­proval for the sin­gle flota­tion project and ad­vanced our un­der­stand­ing of the ex­pan­sion project and E26L1N, both of which are im­por­tant to our fu­ture,” Mr Fowler said.

“These projects will as­sist with the longevity of North­parkes, while we work towards our vi­sion of a ‘cen­tury of min­ing’ to­gether.”

Mr Fowler said new tech­nol­ogy em­ployed had also in­creased the mines vi­a­bil­ity.

“Our driver-less load­ers, con­trolled from the sur­face, load ore from the draw point and trans­port it to the un­der­ground pri­mary crusher where it is crushed, con­veyed and hoisted to the sur­face,” he said.

“This achieve­ment has been five years in the mak­ing and takes peo­ple out from un­der­ground al­low­ing them to con­trol the load­ers from an air-con­di­tioned room on the sur­face.

“We’re also now see­ing pro­duc­tion records from our un­der­ground mine as one op­er­a­tor can con­trol three load­ers at the same time.”

Project Up­dates

Mr Fowler said the com­pany re­mained fo­cused on work­ing towards achiev­ing zero harm op­er­a­tions by im­ple­ment­ing im­prove­ments and new tech­nolo­gies.

Last year, North­parkes trans­ported 134,114 tonnes of cop­per con­cen­trate by rail and sea to cus­tomers over­seas in Ja­pan and China, which ex­ceeded planned ship­ment vol­umes by 3 per cent.

Mr Fowler said the com­pany also plans to con­struct a small open pit mine – E31N – near Rosedale.

“The ben­e­fit is the gold grade is quite high where were are build­ing E31N. This will be ex­e­cuted in late 2018 or early 2019,” he said.

“North­parkes is hav­ing an­other great year from a pro­duc­tion per­spec­tive and I re­main op­ti­mistic that we will have an­other record break­ing year in both the mine and the mill.”

Mr Fowler said E26L1N will also en­able North­parkes to de­velop an ad­di­tional un­der­ground mine area within the estab­lished E26 ore body while also pro­vid­ing for an ap­pro­pri­ate op­er­a­tional flex­i­bil­ity as part of on­go­ing op­er­a­tions.

“The E26L1N Fea­si­bil­ity Study is near­ing com­ple­tion and we are work­ing to­ward a fi­nal in­vest­ment de­ci­sion tar­geted for early 2019,” he said.

“Var­i­ous up­grades and mod­i­fi­ca­tions have been pro­posed for North­parkes ore pro­cess­ing in­fra­struc­ture, in­clud­ing the con­struc­tion of an ad­di­tional ball mill, re­lo­ca­tion of sup­port­ing site in­fra­struc­ture (power sup­ply) and con­struc­tion of a new se­condary crush­ing build­ing.

AUS­TRALIAN en­gi­neer­ing com­pany Fore­front Ser­vices has ex­panded op­er­a­tions, with newly estab­lished fa­cil­i­ties in Parkes.

With work­shops al­ready in Syd­ney and Or­ange, Fore­front re­cently com­mit­ted fur­ther to re­gional de­vel­op­ment, open­ing the 3500sqm Parkes fa­cil­ity as de­mand for min­ing ser­vices con­tin­ued to in­crease.

“The Fore­front Ser­vices work­shop fa­cil­i­ties are fully equipped with an ex­ten­sive range of equip­ment suited to a wide range of en­gi­neer­ing ser­vices,” Fore­front Ser­vices gen­eral man­ager An­thony Red­fern said.

“The Parkes fa­cil­ity em­ploys 20 lo­cal skilled pro­fes­sion­als with plans to in­crease.”

The fa­cil­ity is also es­ti­mated to se­cure more than $4 mil­lion in min­ing and con­struc­tion in­come in its first year.

Fore­front has estab­lished a strong re­la­tion­ship with North­parkes Mines, com­plet­ing large-scale steel fab­ri­ca­tion and in­stal­la­tion, con­crete and civil con­struc­tion, and labour ser­vices.

“We’ve in­vested strongly in our peo­ple and, as a re­sult, there is ex­cep­tional abil­ity across the en­tire team,” Mr Red­fern said.

“Fore­front is well sit­u­ated to pro­vide in­no­va­tive en­gi­neer­ing so­lu­tions and per­son­alised ser­vice to clients across Aus­tralia and over­seas.”

Spe­cial­is­ing in min­ing ser­vices such as se­condary-break op­er­a­tions, shut­down works, labour hire, un­der­ground and sur­face civil works and air-leg­ging ground sup­port, Fore­front also pro­vides ser­vices in steel and poly fab­ri­ca­tion and in­stal­la­tion, civil project man­age­ment and con­struc­tion.

North­parkes achieved two pro­duc­tion records in both the un­der­ground mine and ore pro­cess­ing plant last year.

Fore­front Ser­vices gen­eral man­ager An­thony Red­fern and di­rec­tor Michael Clout.

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