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R3D Resources has appointed a plant manager to guide the refurbishment and restart of the copper sulphate plant at its Tartana site near Chillagoe in North Queensland.

The company believes it has identified existing copper mineralisation on the Tartana mining leases and at the nearby Cardross copper/gold project that have the potential to provide future feed to the copper sulphate plant.

It expects initial cost estimates and schedule for the refurbishment to be completed in two to three weeks after announcing the appointment of Mathew Hancock as the plant manager.

The Tartana mining leases produced high-quality copper sulphate for about a decade under previous owners from the mining of shallow copper oxide ore.

The ore was stacked on heap leach pads and the copper dissolved using sulphuric acid before recovery using a solvent extraction process and crystallising the copper in the form of copper sulphate pentahydrate.

The copper sulphate was bagged and sold as a premium product into the stock feed industry and as an activator in base metal or gold mining operations.

The project was placed on care and maintenance in 2014.

R3D described Mr Hancock as mineral processing professional with experience at Newmont Tanami Operations from 2014 to 2018, with the latter years as processing co-ordinator before moving to Dover Castle Minerals to become assets and operations manager.

Prior to working with Newmont, he held roles with JKO Mining in Georgetown and the Birla Mt Gordon copper mine.

The role within R3D Resources is to primarily manage the refurbishment of the heap leach-solvent extraction-crystallisation plant at the Tartana mine site.

This will progress to managing the restart of copper sulphate production to provide a key cash flow business for the company.

Mr Hancock’s role will include liaise with marketing groups to assess offtake opportunities and identifying and recruiting a competent workforce to implement the restart of operations.

News of his appointment comes days after R3D announced positive results from drilling on the Tartana mining leases that was designed to test major targets outside the copper mineralised zone occurring in the pit area.

“Mat has a demonstratable ability to move the project forward given a high level of initiative and self-motivation,” R3D managing director Steve Bartrop said.

“While the copper sulphate project is separate to the recent drilling results indicating significant sulphide intersections at depth (announced 21 October 2021), the copper sulphate project nevertheless is an important for the company offering potential future cash flow.”

Origin Energy is selling a 10 per cent stake in Australia Pacific LNG for $2.12 billion to global energy investor EIG.

APLNG is the largest LNG project by liquefaction capacity on Australia’s eastern seaboard and a major supplier of LNG to Asia and gas to Australia’s domestic market.

The LNG plant in Gladstone has a nameplate capacity of 9.0 Mtpa and the project holds a gas acreage position spanning the Surat and Bowen basins.

Following completion of the sale, the Australia Pacific LNG joint venture shareholders will comprise ConocoPhillips (37.5 per cent), Origin (27.5 per cent), Sinopec (25 per cent) and EIG (10 per cent).

Over the last 15 years, EIG has invested in nine separate LNG projects located in six countries and it says the APLNG acquisition represents a continuation of its strategy to gain exposure to high-quality LNG assets.

“This is a groundbreaking transaction that reflects our strong confidence in the asset, our partners, and the importance of LNG as a critical enabler of the energy transition,” EIG chairman and chief executive officer R. Blair Thomas said.

“The transaction leverages EIG’s extensive experience in global LNG to deliver an attractive, steady stream of cash flows for our investors.”
EIG pays $2b for stake in Australia Pacific LNG
Origin chief executive officer Frank Calabria.

Origin chief executive officer Frank Calabria said divesting a 10 per cent interest allowed Origin to crystalise some of the significant value it had created in Australia Pacific LNG, while retaining a continuing substantial shareholding.

“Origin will continue our important role as upstream operator of the world class Australia Pacific LNG asset,” he said.

“A diverse asset portfolio, combined with strategic investments over the past 18 months, have put Origin in a strong position to lead the energy transition.

“The material cash injection from this divestment provides further flexibility to deliver returns to shareholders and pay
down debt, while allowing Origin to accelerate investment in growth opportunities.

“We are very proud of what we have helped build alongside our partners, and the performance of Australia Pacific LNG continues to go from strength to strength.”

Newlands Civil Construction has started work on the third stage of the Southern Suburbs Rising Main, a $10.4 million Townsville City Council project.

The project will see a gravity sewer and rising main installed in Wulguru. A separate tender to concurrently build a new pump station in the suburb will be awarded soon.

Mayor Jenny Hill said the project would relieve current pressure on the wastewater network in Wulguru and surrounding suburbs and allow for future growth in the area.

“The new wastewater pump station in Wulguru, gravity main and pressure main will significantly reduce the pressure experienced by the wastewater system during the wet season and cater for the population growth of the southern parts of the city,” Cr Hill said.

“Improving the capacity of our wastewater system in our southern suburbs has been a priority for council in recent years.

“Stage two of this project was completed 2020 and it’s great that work is now underway on the third and final stage of this project.

“The three stages of the Southern Suburbs Rising Main project represent a $54 million investment by Council.”

The Queensland Government contributed $5 million to stage 2 of the project.

Cr Hill said construction of stage 3 would be completed by the end of 2022, weather and conditions permitting, with the project expected to support 30 direct and indirect jobs.

IMAGE: Acting Mayor Cr Ann-Maree Greaney with Grant Campbell from Newlands Civil Construction as the project team breaks ground.

There is no shortage of takers for products from Greenvale Mining’s Alpha torbanite project as it targets major domestic supply gaps with Queensland-made diesel and bitumen.

In fact, managing director Neil Biddle says the company is looking to produce enough bitumen from Alpha to fill the equivalent of the whole state’s demand for the next 10 years at least.

“We’d expect that to run into the New South Wales market as well,” he said.

“We don’t expect we’d get the whole Queensland market, but post-COVID Queensland will be going through big infrastructure, building programs, massive roadworks around the state and at the moment all of our bitumen is imported.

“It’s getting harder to get imported products to this country, particularly seaborne (commodities).”

With prices increasing rapidly, Mr Biddle said Greenvale Mining would offer a much better bitumen price for asphalt producers than the imports.

“So the interest is extremely strong and it will be good for Queensland because it’ll be the only state in Australia with a local supply of bitumen and diesel….

“We can produce diesel out of this project at a very low cost. So yeah, of course, we’re going to be able to sell it quite readily and for the local market.”

The company already has buyers lined up for Alpha’s bitumen output and a client planning to source the diesel for the Bowen Basin mining industry.

Mt Biddle was reluctant to quote production figures with a feasibility study still underway, but said each tonne of torbanite contained about 650 litres of hydrocarbon – and two thirds of that would be diesel.

That translates to about 200 million to 300 million litres coming out of Alpha each year.

Greenvale Mining is also exploring options for another key Alpha offtake – carbon.

“We haven’t started work on upgrading the carbon to activated carbon yet,” Mr Biddle said.

“… We can sell all the carbon as it is – just as spent torbanite – for at least a hundred dollars a tonne. So we will start work on the activated carbon once we’ve got everything else bedded down, because at a hundred dollars a tonne, the project’s extremely viable.

“So it’s not an issue, but activated carbon sells for quite a premium. And again, it’s fully imported. It’s used extensively in water purification and emission controls in most industries. So there’s a big market for it.”

The proposed operation at Alpha – 500km west of Rockhampton – will include a hydro desulphurisation plant to take the sulphur out of the gas and diesel in the resource.

This will produce sulphuric acid, in demand in the fertiliser industry and base metal extraction.

Construction activities at the Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project continue to ramp up, with the project remaining on budget and schedule to be operational in late 2024.

Genex Power provided an update on the North Queensland project in its quarterly report this week, saying it was also making significant advancements on the Kidston Wind Project (K3-Wind) at the same site.

Another highlight for the past three months was the signing of a supply agreement with Tesla signed for the company’s planned 50MW/100MWh Bouldercombe Battery Project at Rockhampton.

“During the Period, Genex achieved a significant milestone with the signing of a supply agreement with Tesla for the Bouldercombe Battery Project in Queensland that will help support a final investment decision in the coming months,” Genex chief executive officer James Harding said.

“The project is Genex’s first large-scale Battery Energy Storage System and is part of our Como Storage Strategy to broaden our footprint in energy storage.

“Works continued at the Kidston Pumped Hydro project, with a number of initial site preparation activities including the airstrip, site office and workshops now complete.

“We will continue to work closely with our team of project delivery partners, notably John Holland, McConnell Dowell and Andritz to ensure successful delivery of an outstanding large-scale storage project for the National Electricity Market.”

Planned site works at hydro project (K2-Hydro) for the coming period include continuation of Main Access Tunnel (MAT) Portal face stabilisation works and the start of tunnelling works using drill and blast techniques.

Genex is continuing to advance the early stage of works for the 150MW K3-Wind project with joint venture partner J-POWER.

This includes modelling the wind resource at a number of sites and progressing the development approvals associated with the project.

The project will connect into the new 275kV transmission line being constructed by Powerlink Queensland for the K2-Hydro, which is expected to be completed in 2024.
M Mining has shared spectacular vision of the first blast for a new pit at the restarted Millennium and Mavis Downs site near Moranbah.

The mine was officially opened this month as the new owners work towards achieving first coking coal exports by the end of the year.

“It was a very successful, well-planned blast,” M Resources founder and president Matt Latimore said.

“We will use an excavator to load the coal, which will be transported by rail to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal.”

A joint venture of M Resources and Stanmore Resources (MetRes) acquired the mothballed Mavis Downs and Millennium site from Peabody Energy in July, with M Mining acting as joint venture manager and operator of the restarted mining activities.

MetRes enlisted Coal Augering Services to kick off mining with auger production, to be followed by open-cut mining by the end of this year and underground mining in 2022.

It is investing $464 million to re-start and operate the mining complex – creating more than 230 jobs in the process.

The quick turnaround between acquiring the site and excavation beginning was a real achievement for the team, Mr Latimore said.

“We have had great support from our suppliers, subcontractors and local and state governments,” he said.

“Our next milestone is first shipment of coal in December.  Cargo from the coal mine will be travelling to Europe for delivery in France.  The next two cargoes will be going to Japan.

“There are massive global investments underway in infrastructure and the green energy transition. 

“With construction of wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles and electrical grid upgrades, the world needs more steel than ever.  Our premium quality coking coal for steel making is under high demand from customers in North Asian, India and Europe.

“First shipments in December will be an incredible achievement by our team. 

“We’ve gone from taking possession of the mine in July to shipping quality product to our customers in less than six months."

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