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Shamrock Civil has won a $2.9 million contract for work to streamline the entry to Townsville Airport.

The project involves the extension of Meenan St to meet John Melton Drive, which will become the main entry and exit point to the airport – significantly improving traffic flow in the area.

Landscaping and planting of large trees will be carried out along the road and drainage works undertaken to improve the run-off capability of the land directly behind homes backing onto the Meenan St reserve.

Townsville Airport chief operating officer Kevin Gill said the new entryway was an important element in the overall plans for the airport redevelopment.

“By joining Meenan St with John Melton Black Drv, airport users will have a more direct, appropriate and attractive entry into Townsville Airport, providing a significant improvement for vehicles seeking to access the airport,” he said.

“This will also result in less interaction between pedestrians and vehicles around the terminal, creating a safer environment for all road users.”

Works are expected to be delivered from mid-October to late May 2020.

Funding for the project is being delivered by Townsville Airport and through the Australian Government’s Building Better Region’s fund, which Townsville City Council applied for.
An ore supply agreement for a proposed $415 million Townsville battery chemicals plant has been extended from five to 10 years.

Proponent Queensland Pacific Metals says greater certainty around long-term supply of ore improves the prospects of securing funding for the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) project).

Meanwhile the company says there has been a slight dealy in the completion of the project pre-feasibility study, which had been expected this month.

Lead engineering consultant Lycopodium is working on the study with QPM, and a range of quotes have been requested for equipment required to build the plant.

QPM said this had taken longer than expected, pushing out the pre-feasibility study’s completion. It is expected to be delivered by the end of the year.

The ore supply deal extension comes at a time when the value of the commodity is on the rise and Indonesia has flagged plans to bring forward a ban on nickel ore exports to 2020 (rather than 2022).

The planned Townsville plant would take high-grade nickel-cobalt lateritic ore from New Caledonia through supply partners Societe des Mines de la Tontouta and Societe Miniere Georges Montagnat.

In addition to extending the supply arrangement to 10 years, a further five years of supply will be available by agreement.

Townsville battery project secures 10-year ore supply
Managing director John Downie.


“The value of this ore supply agreement should not be underestimated in light of the potential Indonesian bans,” managing director John Downie said.

“The high nickel and cobalt grades associated with the New Caledonia ore provides the TECH project with a strong competitive advantage against other projects contemplating the processing of significantly lower grade ore.

“We look forward to delivering the pre-feasibility study and continuing to advance in keeping with our project schedule.”

A site within the Lansdown Industrial Precinct, 40km west of Townsville, has been selected for the TECH plant.
James Cook University engineers are developing microwave heating technology to break down plastic waste into by-products helpful to the environment.

And they have launched a crowd funding bid to take their research further.

Head of Electrical Engineering Professor Mohan Jacob (pictured below) says the average person uses 130 kg of plastic a year.

“Perhaps contrary to popular opinion, plastic is an indispensable material in modern life. It is cheap, versatile, lightweight, and has many benefits like maintaining food quality and safety and preventing waste,” he said.

But Professor Jacob said pollution from discarded plastic had a significant negative impact on our environment, and was particularly harmful to marine and wildlife health.

“Discarded plastics endanger our marine wildlife, and have begun to enter the food chain. There is an urgent need for developing technologies to recover plastic waste,” he said.

Professor Jacob said he and his collaborator, JCU Adjunct Associate Professor of Engineering Graham Brodie, were working on customising microwave technology to do this.

Professor Jacob said plastic waste would be converted into biochar – charcoal that can be used as a soil conditioner.

The microwave energy is used in the absence of oxygen to controllably heat materials beyond 600 degrees Celsius within a custom-made chamber. 

Professor Jacob said his group was currently working on stage one of the project.

“We are developing a processing chamber, which could process many kinds of plastic materials, up to 5 kilograms of waste. It will be a prototype system for the development of biochars from different types of plastics under various conditions.”

He said stage two will optimise the energy efficiency of the system and maximise the yield of by-products. Stage three will build a fully customised and easy to operate waste processing system, which could be installed at medium scale industries.

The engineers are seeking to raise $20,000 to develop stage one through the Pozible crowd-funding platform, which can be accessed here:  https://james-cook-university.pozible.com/

Engineers’ project may see plastic problem zapped
Gold producer Evolution Mining delivered record mine operating cash flow of $278.7 million last quarter.

The company said stand-out performances included the Ernest Henry operation near Cloncurry, which produced 23,378oz at an AISC ( All-in Sustaining Cost) of $414/oz – generating record net mine cash flow of $66.1 million.

Construction is underway on a $60 million project to take the Mount Carlton operation, 150 km south-east of Townsville, underground and extend mining operations there to at least 2025.

Evolution reported that the portal was established during the quarter, about three weeks ahead of plan, and development of the decline was progressing well.

The quarter saw Evolution enter into an earn-in agreement with private entity Basin Gold over the Crush Creek project, 30km south-east of the Mount Carlton operation.

Crush Creek is viewed as offering significant potential to provide mine life extensions at Mount Carlton.

Evolution’s mines also include Cracow and Mount Rawdon in Queensland as well as Cowal in New South Wales and Mungari in Western Australia.

Record cash flow for Queensland gold miner
Copper Mountain Mining is building potential at the Eva project, where its work on the Blackard deposit has added 836 million pounds of copper to the resource.

The company has released recent drill results, metallurgical testwork results and a new mineral resource for the deposit, which is located within the Eva copper project mining leases 95km north-east of Mount Isa.

They will be fed into the mine plan for Eva, with Copper Mountain Mining planning to complete an updated bankable feasibility study for the project in the first quarter of 2020.

Ausenco has been retained for the updated study.

Blackard now has a measured and indicated mineral resource of 77 million tonnes grading 0.49 per cent copper, containing 836 million pounds of copper. It has an inferred mineral resource of 19 million tonnes containing 206 million pounds of copper.

Copper Mountain says the new mineral resource at Blackard improves the grade and increases the size of the wider Eva copper project’s measured and indicated mineral resource to 228 million tonnes, containing 2.1 billion pounds of copper. 

Metallurgical testwork has confirmed economic recoveries at Blackard, with flotation recoveries expected to be 90 per cent for the copper sulphide zone and 63 per cent for the copper zone, both producing saleable concentrates.

“We are extremely encouraged by the potential that exists at Eva copper,” Copper Mountain chief executive officer and president Gil Clausen said.

“These results lead us to believe that Blackard could significantly increase the mill feed and copper production at the Eva copper project.

“We intend to incorporate the information from the Blackard mineral resource and metallurgical testwork into an updated feasibility study for Eva copper, the results of which we expect to announce in the first quarter of 2020.”

He said the Blackard deposit was only one of seven historical copper deposits within the Eva copper project area that were not included in the current mine plan.

“We are continuing to drill and advance the other deposits, which we believe could add even more value to the Eva copper project,” he said.

A feasibility study completed late last year indicated the copper-gold project could be brought online at a capital cost of $US350 million and have a mine life of 12 years, with annual average production around 90 million pounds of copper and 19,000 ounces of gold.

Eva project strengthens as Blackard deposit delivers
BHP Mitsui Coal’s Poitrel mine has claimed the title of world’s largest blast using wireless technology, after successfully completing the third blast in a trial series to test Orica WebGen technology.

The latest blast on Sunday, October 13, saw 1.3 million cubic metres of overburden shifted in a strata blast fired with 1920 WebGen 100 units across 534 holes.

Poitrel mine production manager Jayson Smeeton said the technology offered significant safety and efficiency improvements.

It features wireless in-hole primers that are initiated by a firing command that communicates through rock, water and air.

“Wireless blasting means we are able to really reduce our people’s exposure to dust in the pit, and eliminates the potential for misfires because they do not need to physically tie each hole in to the blast pattern,’’ he said.

“Eliminating the need to tie in each hole also makes the process for loading explosives far more efficient, and less susceptible to wet weather delays, as the pit does not need to be shut down because of the potential risk of accidental ignition during thunderstorms.”   

The first trials conducted in May and June were small shots to test the technology.

BMA said the latest trial involved a more complicated strata blast, with the top and bottom decks of the shot fired at different times to maximise fragmentation, and preserve the coal below.

Further production blasts, including through-seam blasts are planned for the next 12 months.

Watch footage of the blast HERE

It’s a blast as Poitrel pioneers wireless technology