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Chile, Indonesia, and Canada have been flagged as key export markets in a new METS sector strategy for the Mackay, Isaac, Whitsunday (MIW) region.

The region’s METS SME Export Hub, as part of Resource Industry Network, has released a Regional Export Strategy to help local industry capitalise on untapped potential.

“By identifying key markets, strengths, weaknesses, and barriers, and developing strategies and actions that create the platform for success, we are well positioned to support the development of a successful export market for our industry sector,” he said.

“At the same time, it enables the sector to continue to evolve, diversify, remain relevant, and increase the innovation we are famous for.

“The fact that this region is already a respected leader in the supply of quality METS products and services puts us on the front foot.

“But the benefits of a successful export hub to our region will also be enormous, so I’d encourage all businesses in the mining equipment and technology services (METS) sector to learn more about the export space, sign up to do one of our heavily subsidised Export Ready Courses, and set their businesses up for success now.”

The MIW METS Export Hub was established last year as a result of funding from the Australian Government, Queensland Government, and the Local Buying Foundation.

It is tasked with identifying, establishing and driving opportunities in the export space for businesses in the MIW region.

Mount Isa’s Maryann Wipaki (pictured below) has taken out top honours at the BHP 2021 Women in Resources National Awards, presented by the Minerals Council of Australia.

The Glencore Queensland Metals employee has been awarded the 2021 Dyno Nobel Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources Award.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said Ms Wipaki was an outstanding role model for the resources sector, currently managing the health and safety, environmental performance, community engagement and social performance for copper and zinc operations employing almost 5000 people.

“I hope Maryann’s achievements and her long-standing commitment to promoting excellence in our sector will inspire a whole new generation of women to pursue a highly paid and highly skilled career in our industry,” he said.

MCA chief executive officer Tania Constable said Ms Wipaki had been recognised for her advocacy on the important role the mining industry plays in Queensland, and for her commitment to workforce safety as a member of the Queensland Mining Safety and Health Advisory Committee.

The national award comes after she won this year’s Queensland Resources Council’s Exceptional Woman in Resources Award.

Ms Constable said tonight’s awards highlight the diversity, calibre and skills of women working across Australia’s world-leading resources industry.

“These awards celebrate initiatives that create a more diverse, safer, fairer and stronger sector.

“As ambassadors and role models, the award winners will inspire more women to enter the resources workforce,” Ms Constable said.


Other BHP Women in Resources National Awards winners include:

  • Thiess Outstanding Australian Tradeswoman, Operator or Technician Award – Laura Allen, process owner at Woodside Energy for her active participation as a member of Woodside’s Gender Equality Matters Network and her support for women to work offshore through recruitment, mentorship and safety advocacy.
  • Maptek Women in Resources Technological Innovation Award – Alison Van Lent, commercialisation manager at Woodside Energy for her ability to develop and apply technology to improve safety and quality through FUSE, which enables users to identify areas of concern and opportunities.
  • Newcrest Exceptional Young Woman in Australian Resources Award – Phoebe Thomas, principal business performance at BHP Mount Arthur Coal for her impressive leadership, mentorship and injury management across the business, as well as strong advocacy on gender diversity and community outreach.
  • Rio Tinto Gender Diversity Champion in Australian Resources Award – Michael Spicer, production materials movement manager at Liberty Bell Bay for his efforts to increase female participation in the workforce from a 100 per cent male team to 40 per cent female participation today, simultaneously overseeing a 25 per cent increase in female apprenticeships. And Barbara Crossley, managing director at Umwelt Australia for her trailblazing adoption of policies such as paid parental leave and genuine flexible working arrangements, as well as her drive to maintain a gender balance across all levels of the business from the graduate to executive level.
  • St Barbara Excellence in Company Programs and Performance Award – Step in 2020 People Improvers, on behalf of the North West Inclusion Group Tasmania for their collaborative approach to increase female participation by expanding the pool of women applying for roles in the resources industry from the North West coast of Tasmania.
Drilling is being carried out to complete face stabilisation works in readiness for tunneling to begin at the Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project later this month.

The tunnels will run between the Eldridge and Wises pits that remain from the former Kidston gold operation and will act as the upper and lower reservoirs for the 250MW/ 2000MWh pumped storage hydro project.

Genex Power has provided an update on the $777 million North Queensland project, which now has three to four flights arriving per week carrying fly-in-fly-out construction personnel after completion of the on-site airstrip upgrade.

As the project ramps up, the workforce on site has risen to 80-100 people.

It said the company was continuing to work closely with its principal construction contractors, McConnell Dowell and John Holland, to deliver the project by the end of 2024.

Clearing and earthworks have been continuing in preparation for the two onsite switchyards.

Another major task underway is the continuation of portal face stabilisation works and other preparatory works for the start of the Main Access Tunnel (MAT).

Genex said key equipment had been mobilised and sprayed concrete trials were underway.

Work has also commenced on the following near-term construction milestones:
• Commencement of trial works for the Wises Dam embankment;
• Finalisation of the 22kV Distribution Line with connection to Ergon substation;
• Establishment works including road upgrades for the Mt Fox substation being undertaken by Powerlink Queensland.

And supplier Andritz Hydro has successfully completed the model tests at their hydraulic laboratory in Austria for the two 125MW turbines to be used for the project.

“Overall the construction program continues to track to schedule for first energisation in early CY2024 and completion in Q4 CY2024,” Genex reported in an update to the ASX.


Kidston construction on track says Genex

New owner Bowen Coking Coking aims to start coal production at Bluff mine in the early new year after finalising financing for the restart.

The company has engaged CMC Group in association with Comiskey Mining Services to prepare the mothballed operation for production.

It said off‐site work had already commenced and mobilisation to site was expected before the end of the year, with first coal production planned for the first quarter of 2022.

The company has enough cash to also begin mining at its Broadmeadow East project, pending final environmental approval, which is expected before the end of 2021.

Bowen managing director Gerhard Redelinghuys said the acquisition and funding of Bluff were key milestones in Bowen’s journey to becoming Australia’s next metallurgical coal producer.

“We look forward to recommissioning and operating the mine in a safe and responsible way to deliver high-quality ultra‐low volatile PCI coal to our customers in the steel industry,” Mr Redelinghuys said.

“Furthermore, we are delighted with the strong reception we received from the market for our inaugural debt facility and capital raising which positions Bowen well as it transitions from coal explorer to multi‐mine coking coal producer.”

Bowen Coking Coal successfully completed an $11 million placement and signed a term sheet for $15 million of debt financing from a private credit institution to support the restart operations at the Bluff mine.

Restarting the Bluff mine – which was placed on care and maintenance in December 2020 – is expected to create at least 175 jobs.

Mining contractor MACA reached an agreement to sell the mine, east of Blackwater, for $5 million plus royalties. It had appointed receiver managers over the accounts of former owner Carabella Resources late last year over money it was owed.

Bluff Mine hosts a 13.5Mt JORC Resource of ultra‐low volatile PCI (ULVPCI) coal.

It is expected to be mined at a rate of 1‐1.2 Mtpa (ROM) over four to six years to supply the global steel industry.

The product is being marketed through the company’s 50:50 marketing joint venture with M Resources, a specialist metallurgical coal trading company.


The $500 million Haughton River Floodplain upgrade on the Bruce Highway south of Townsville is surging towards completion, following the final traffic switch recently.

State Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said the final stage of the project would see the intersection of Woodstock-Giru Road and the Bruce completed.

“Drivers have now been using the new bridge for about a month and are already reaping the benefits of a smoother, safer drive,” Mr Harper said.

“It’s great to see big projects like this supporting local jobs and industries – providing training opportunities for the next generation.

“This is a big win for locals now and well into the future.”

The $514.34 million Haughton River Floodplain Upgrade project is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments on an 80:20 basis, representing commitments of $411.47 million and $102.87 million respectively.

The project is being delivered by The Infrastructure Group (TIG), a joint venture between Bielby, BMD Constructions, JF Hull Holdings and Alben Operations, on behalf of the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Key features include:

  • The Horseshoe Lagoon, Pink Lily and Haughton River bridges have been replaced with new, wider, higher-level bridges.
  • New crossings over Healey’s Lagoon and the Reed Beds. 
  • 13.5km of the Bruce Highway upgraded, in some areas on a new alignment.
  • Two highway overpasses of the nearby cane tramway network
  • Rural intersections within the project area upgraded to improve safety.

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the project was due to be complete later this year.

“North Queenslanders are all too familiar with flooding closing the Bruce Highway over the Reed Beds area, with this section of highway typically closing every couple of years during the wet season, forcing transport operators and the travelling public to wait for waters to recede,” Mr Christensen said.

“Traffic across the national network is now using a safer, more flood resilient crossing of the Reed Beds area.”

Survey work at Ballymore Resources’ Ruddygore prospect in North Queensland has confirmed a large copper target beneath extensive shallow workings in the historical mining area.

Ballymore engaged Australian Geophysical Services to complete the Induced Polarisation (IP) geophysics survey program at the Ruddygore project, near Chillagoe.

The company said seven lines of IP geophysical data were collected over the Ruddygore alteration system and associated soil anomaly in October.

Modelling of the data has defined a strong IP chargeability anomaly around the historical Ruddygore copper mine.

Ruddygore was mined from 1896 to 1909. It yielded 1450 tonnes of copper from 32,750 tonnes of handpicked ore at a grade of 3.9 per cent copper and 56 g/t silver.

Despite the mining activity, Ballymore said previous drilling at Ruddygore had been limited to 26 shallow holes for 1631m, with most holes being less than 50m deep.

Geological mapping of the area by Ballymore in 2020 identified a large circular zone of extensive hydrothermal alteration, including over the former Ruddygore and Black Cockatoo mines and numerous smaller workings.

This was followed by soil sampling and an airborne magnetic survey completed over the Ruddygore area by Ballymore Resources this year.

The recent IP survey has now delineated a chargeability anomaly in the same area and Ballymore is preparing to drill test what it describes as a significant copper target.

The Ruddygore project covers an area of 558sq km. In addition to Ruddygore, a number of significant historical mines occur within the project area, including Maniopota and Torpy’s Crooked Creek.