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News

Castillo Copper has delved into historical data for its Mount Oxide project, revealing intercepts of up to 28.4 per cent copper from a supergene ore body.

The review of data for the Big One deposit and Boomerang Mine within the project verifies they are highly prospective priority targets, the company says.

It has described the results as a game-changing development that enhance Mount Oxide’s exploration upside at the same time as a resurgence of interest in the region by large blue-chip groups including Rio Tinto.

“Locating this historic drilling, assay and production data for the Big One Deposit and Boomerang Mine within the 961km2 Mount Oxide pillar, which is in the heart of the Mount Isa copper-belt is a tremendous windfall,” Castillo Copper managing director Simon Paull said.

“As a starting point, our geology team now have ample data points to start formulating a drilling campaign to re-test and potentially expand the known ore body at the Big One deposit, then focus on Boomerang Mine and Arya Prospect."

The Mount Oxide project is located 150km north of Mount Isa near the old Mount Oxide copper mine.

It is one of three core pillars Castillo is targeting with the aim of becoming a mid-tier copper producer, along with the Cangai copper mine in New South Wales and a package of assets in Zambia.

Castillo Copper’s geology team had to track down the previous holder of the Big One Deposit mining tenure ( West Australian Metals) to secure the historic information.


During the time period in question there was no legal requirement to lodge drill/assay results as ‘exploration records’ on an existing Queensland Mining Lease, the company said.

Its inquiries brought out a wealth of information including field mapping campaign data sets, information memorandums, faxes and reports with production summaries.

In 1993, West Australian Metals completed a 27-hole RC drilling campaign at the Big One deposit which produced the standout assayed intercept of 3m at 12.25 per cent copper from 42m, with 2m at 17.87 per cent copper from 43m and 1m at 28.40 per cent from 44m. (More HERE)

Notably, in 1997, about 4400 tonnes of supergene ore was mined from the Big One deposit with an average achieved grade of about 3.5 per cent copper. The output was sold to a nearby heap leach operation at Mount Cuthbert.

Historic production records for Boomerang mine from 1944-74 verified that 4211.2 tonnes of oxide ore was mined, grading about 6 per cent copper.

Castillo Copper said more exploration work needed to be undertaken at the site to define the potential scale of the priority targets and the size of any underlying orebodies.
A $300 million sale deal for Ravenswood gold operations is going ahead, with the new owners committed to an expansion project at the North Queensland mine.

Resolute Mining said it had signed definitive agreements for the sale to a consortium involving private equity manager EMR Capital and mining company Golden Energy and Resources (GEAR).

There would be no immediate changes to Ravenswood gold mine employment or contract relationships, with current mine plan and development plans to continue, Resolute said.

The sale announcement also stated that EMR Capital and GEAR were committed to progressing the Ravenswood Expansion Project.

The deal will see Resolute receive an upfront payment of $100 million and up to $200 million in additional deferred considerations that hinge on future gold prices, production rates and investment outcomes.

EMR Capital already owns the Capricorn Copper operation in North West Queensland and a stake in the Kestrel coal mine in Central Queensland.

Resolute managing director and chief executive officer John Welborn said the Ravenswood transaction provided exceptional value for shareholders as well as strategic advantages.

“We have delivered on our objective of ensuring a new long-life future for Ravenswood under a world-class operator and can now focus our attention and energy on our African portfolio and the abundant opportunities our experience provides for further growth and value creation,” he said.

“The transaction delivers a fair share to all parties from the future value of the Ravenswood Expansion Project and effectively balances risk and reward.

“Our modelling at current gold prices demonstrates the expansion project at Ravenswood will be highly successful for EMR Capital and GEAR, and that the maximum value of $300 million will be generated for Resolute.”

Mr Wellborn described EMR Capital and GEAR as world-class mine developers and operators, saying they were the ideal parties to undertake the development of the Ravenswood Expansion Project.


The full project entails development and mining the Buck Reef West and Sarsfield open pits, and expansion of ore crushing and tailing storage facilities. All key approvals for commencement of operations have been received from the Queensland Government.

A strategic review has demonstrated the potential for Ravenswood to deliver about 200,000oz of gold annually for 15 years from 2022.

“Ravenswood has been a consistent performer for Resolute for more than 15 years,” Mr Wellborn said.

“Since acquisition in 2004, Resolute has mined and processed over 40 million tonnes of ore and produced almost two million ounces of gold.

“I congratulate the Resolute team, both past and present, for our performance at Ravenswood. We are proud of our achievements at Ravenswood and the significant economic benefits we have provided to the local community, the Queensland Government, and Resolute shareholders.”

Resolute acquired Ravenswood gold operator Carpentaria Gold from Xstrata in 2004 for $58 million.

Green light for $300m Ravenswood gold mine sale
Central Queensland’s Walkerston Bypass road project has been ranked among the nation’s top priorities when it comes to infrastructure investment.

Infrastructure Australia has added the Peak Downs Highway Realignment Project (Walkerston Bypass) to the Infrastructure Priority List after a rigorous assessment of the project’s business case.

The $150 million Walkerston Bypass project includes a 10.4km realignment of the Peak Downs Highway, from west of Walkerston to the Mackay Ring Rd at Stockroute Rd.

Infrastructure Australia chief executive Romilly Madew described the project as a sound investment and one that recognised the Peak Downs Highway as a State Strategic road because of its importance to the Mackay and Queensland economies.

“The Peak Downs Highway, which currently runs through the township of Walkerston, is the primary freight corridor between Mackay, the Bowen Basin and Galilee Basin minerals provinces in Queensland,” Ms Madew said.

“Right now we know Walkerston is already dealing with serious safety, capacity and connectivity issues due to the sheer amount of heavy and dangerous vehicles that travel along this section of the highway and with freight numbers expected to increase, the impacts are only going to get worse.”

The bypass design will have one lane in each direction and be designed to accommodate vehicles with very large loads.

Other features of the proposed Walkerston Bypass include:

  • about 1.5km of four-lane carriageway between Homebush Rd and Bergmans Rd to facilitate overtaking
  • four at-grade intersections, including the existing Peak Downs Highway at the western end of the bypass
  • grade separation at Bergman’s Rd and Walkerston-Homebush Rd
  • four new bridges and relocation of cane rail infrastructure, including provision of underpass.
Tenders for construction are due to be called in mid-2020 and construction is scheduled to begin early next year.

The Infrastructure Priority List provides governments at all levels with a prioritised list of nationally-significant investment opportunities for the near, medium and longer term.
Managing contractor Lendlease Building plans a local industry briefing next week for work on the $176 million Cairns Convention Centre expansion.

Potential suppliers will be able to learn about work packages and how to apply at the information session at the convention centre, January 23 from 3-4.30pm.

General manager Lendlease Queensland and Northern Territory Brad Protheroe called on local businesses and subbies to attend the briefing.

“The industry briefing forum will provide an opportunity for locals to get on the front foot and find out more about the upcoming work available on the Cairns Convention Centre expansion project,” he said.

“Together with the Industry Capability Network, our project team will cover topics such as project scope, timings, trades required and importantly, how to get involved.

“We encourage local business and subcontractors to come along, and if you can’t make it, keep an eye out for further updates via the ICN Gateway website.”

The expansion project includes 10,500sq m of new exhibition space, plenary space, meeting rooms and a rooftop banquet room with a ‘sky terrace’ outdoor deck.

Member for Cairns Michael Healy strongly encouraged local tradies to sign up for the forum, saying it would provide the information they needed to bring the project to life.

“This project will create 570 fulltime jobs, and wherever possible we want Cairns-based carpenters, carpet-layers, painters, plumbers and electricians to get this work,” he said.

Subcontractors keen to learn more about the project can reach out to the Subcontractor EOI contact: [email protected]


German engineering company Siemens says it will stick with its Adani rail project contract in Central Queensland despite the pleadings of climate activists.

After weighing the facts and consulting with third parties, the company had decided to fulfil its contractual commitment and deliver the signalling technology for the Carmichael coal mine’s rail network, it said.

But Siemens chief executive officer Joe Kaeser said it had been a real challenge to balance between a very legitimate matter of global importance and a fact-based economic and legal assessment based on his fiduciary and management duties.

The issue had prompted the company to establish a Sustainability Committee with external members to give environmental concerns even more priority and attention in the future, he said.

Siemens sticks with Adani coal rail project
Siemens chief executive officer Joe Kaeser.

“I do realise most of you would have hoped for more,” he said in a statement. (Read full statement HERE)

“While I do have a lot of empathy for environmental matters, I do need to balance different interests of different stakeholders, as long as they have lawful legitimation for what they do.”

Mr Kaeser said there was practically no legally and economically responsible way to unwind the contract (reported to be worth $29 million) without neglecting fiduciary duties.

“However, given the importance of legitimate environmental concerns, we have secured the right to pull out of the contract if our customer violates the very stringent environmental obligations,” he said.

Mr Kaeser noted that there were competitors for the contract who would happily supply the equipment, meaning a decision by Siemens to pull out would not have stopped the mine project from going ahead.

He also cited a letter from Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan who said “the Australian people clearly voted to support Adani at the federal election in May 2019, especially in regional Queensland”.


Senator Canavan argued that it would be an insult to the working people of Australia and the growing needs of India to bow to the pressure of anti-Adani protestors.

Mr Kaeser said approvals for the Carmichael coal project came after a strict regulatory and decision-making process including from the highest courts.

Galilee Blockade has been among those lobbying Siemens to pull out of the Adani contract and accuses the firm of trashing their billion-dollar reputation for a $30 million contract.

“Their reckless indifference to the suffering of Australians will be judged harshly, now and in the history books,” the group stated.

Senator Canavan today hailed Siemens’ decision as a great outcome for Australian jobs – and a loss for the loud minority who tried to bully others.

“One of the strategies used by the anti-job activists was to publish the names and personal details of Siemens staff – so it’s particularly good that such reprehensible behaviour hasn’t paid off,” he said.
Construction Skills Queensland has warned of a shortfall in a number of construction trades over the next three years, despite a downturn in local residential building.

While the overall industry develops a 23,000 surplus of construction workers, some trades will have more work than they can cope with, CSQ says.

For example, on average, an extra 3160 electricians, 960 plasterers and 840 tilers will be needed each year over the next three years to satisfy demands.

CSQ chief executive officer Brett Schimming said forecast building and construction activity allowed CSQ researchers to create a summary of the top trades – those that would be in highest demand in 2020 to 2023.

“In some skill areas, upcoming demand is going to exceed available supply in the local workforce,” Mr Schimming said.

“Across Queensland we are going to need a higher number of tilers, electricians and plasterers than are currently working in the state.

“This could result in increased construction costs due to delays waiting for these top trades and increased charge rates for their services.”

 

Mr Schimming said the current general downturn in building and construction would begin to correct itself in 2022.

“We expect subdued residential building activity to persist throughout 2020 and the Queensland industry as a whole will develop a surplus of 23,000 construction workers.

“However, labour balances will be felt differently in different parts of Queensland. Some places, such as Cairns, will be grappling with significant labour shortages, while other centres, such as Townsville, will carry a glut of construction workers into the 2020s.

“Fortunately, Queensland employers are continuing to take on apprentices at a healthy rate that is consistent with historical averages.

“Around 20,000 people are currently undertaking a construction-related apprenticeship or traineeship in Queensland, which will ensure a sustainable pipeline of tradespeople for when growth returns to the market, which is expected around 2022.”

CSQ provides assistance for training in the construction industry, covering up to 75 per cent of the training costs of funded CSQ courses.

Key building trades in short supply says skills group