WITH ore grading up to 30% zinc, it’s not surprising the owner of the Lisheen mine in Ireland has chased its base metal lodes through some of the worst ground any geotechnical engineer has laid eyes on. It’s also no surprise Lisheen continues to be a source of deep interest for the geomechanics fraternity.
JOANNA Graaf was at the Cosmos nickel mine in Western Australia for nearly two years before it was shut down last September, resulting in about 150 people losing their job. She was lucky enough to land a new role as senior rock mechanics engineer at Golder Associates at a time when the consulting sector is also doing it tough. But Graaf had even more luck at Cosmos.
THE block cave mining era is officially underway in Western Australia with Rio Tinto’s opening of the new Argyle underground diamond mine, 185km south of Kununurra in the Kimberley region.
MINING technology innovator Maptek has released a new laser scanner designed specifically for underground applications.
OVER the past few years there has been increasing interaction between the Canadian and Australian mining industries. Not only are Australian and Canadian based mining companies acquiring assets in each other’s traditional domains but there is also an increasing trend for companies to dual list on the Canadian and Australian stock exchanges. Mining service companies, including consultancies and contracting companies are following a similar trend. This trend is part of the larger globalisation of mining activity and of commerce in general.
ONE of Ray Funnell’s passions is climbing mountains. High altitude, fresh air, spectacular vistas – that sort of thing. All of which would have been far from his mind a week after speaking with a group of Australian mining engineers about mine ventilation trends in Perth recently.
ONE of the biggest challenges for miners weighing up the considerable risks associated with block-cave mining can be access to the limited number of experts in the field – a number that’s not exactly growing exponentially.
WITH fewer large surface deposits being discovered, miners are more frequently being driven deeper underground to access minerals the world so urgently demands. A new wave of technology and understanding is advancing block cave mining into a new era, where it is expected many more underground rock factories will blindly tap these buried ore masses.
XSTRATA Zinc expects to achieve commercial-scale mining levels at the $A362.2 million Lady Loretta zinc-lead-silver underground operation by the middle of this year, and the new expanded production rate of 1.6 million tonne per annum by 2016, after announcing plans to ramp up output at the site.
MANCALA will seek to build its profile in Western Australia over the next few weeks as it continues its recovery from the disastrous Fossey campaign in Tasmania. The company’s “Trojan horse” into the WA market is a unique – for the moment – piece of kit developed with Germany’s Herrenknecht.
OCTOBER 15: One may be producing ore at a rate of eight million tonnes per annum, and the other designed to yield 26Mtpa; the former cost $A525 million and the latter four times as much, but Ridgeway Deeps has been described as the perfect warm-up act for Newcrest Mining as it seeks to showcase the emergence of Australia’s biggest underground hard rock mine this quarter.
OCTOBER 3: A patented, “activated” cutting head could revolutionise hard-rock mine development and selective mining of ore, according to Caterpillar.
SEPTEMBER 19: ALREADY about a year late arriving in Australia, the new rapid underground mine development machine bound for Rio Tinto’s Northparkes copper-gold mine in New South Wales is getting closer to its commissioning phase.
WORK at the world’s unofficial block caving headquarters continues to impress, according to analysts who have visited.
AUGUST 27: Rio Tinto is maintaining its focus on building competitive advantage through technology and expanding its technical skills base with the establishment of a $A13 million underground block cave training centre in Australia.
CONTRACTOR Macmahon is nearing completion of Australia’s deepest mine production shaft at Cobar in New South Wales but new haulage shafts are a rarity in a country in which the love affair with decline-haulage and articulated trucks shows no signs of burning out. This is despite the attraction arguably remaining as shallow as when it started.
THE importance of efforts by Rio Tinto and others to significantly speed up development of new generation block cave underground mines, while applying new operating technology and key past safety and technical lessons, is highlighted in a new report suggesting increasing future reliance on the block cave mining method.
BOUNTY may have a reputation for being a bit of a “groaner” as miner’s say, but successful executive Rob Reynolds and the new team at Convergent Minerals are approaching the previously mined goldfield with no pre-conceived ideas other than obvious one that there’s a lot more gold to be found.
AUTOMATED 17.2-tonne loaders for Newcrest Mining’s major new Cadia East panel cave gold mine – 14 of them – are on their way to the central New South Wales site.
A 5000KW hoist system running at speeds of 16m a second, allowing it to raise about 1000 tonnes of ore an hour from depths to 950m, will be a central feature of the new Ernest Henry underground copper-gold mine in Queensland.