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Golding Contractors is bringing a fifth and sixth mining fleet online at the Curragh coal mine near Blackwater, generating about 150 new jobs.

The additional fleet was set to include Hitachi EX5600 and EX3600 excavators and 13 Hitachi EH4000 trucks, along with ancillary plant, the company said.

It follows a letter of direction from mine owner Coronado Curragh to increase mining plant at the Curragh main mine through the introduction of two new fleets in addition to its current mining operations.

Parent company NRW Holdings said this added about $50 million to Golding’s existing contract, which has an indicative value of $107 million over the remaining term to completion in September 2021.

NRW Holdings said Golding had also commenced negotiation of an extension of the expanded contract beyond this date.

“This award reflects the close working relationship between Coronado and Golding and our ability to rapidly mobilise both equipment and personnel to support our clients mine plans,” NRW chief executive officer and managing director Jules Pemberton said.

“Pleasingly the addition of these two fleets will support employment
opportunities for around 150 new personnel.

“In addition, no new capital expenditure is required as the majority of
the fleet is being sourced internally.”

Curragh delivered record sales volumes for Coronado in the September quarter of 3.6Mt, up 20.6 per cent on the June quarter.

Chief executive officer Gerry Spindler in October indicated that Coronado would bear minimal impact from any move by Chinese enterprises to suspend imports of Australian coal.

“Our Australian operations do not have term volume contracts with Chinese counterparts and only sell into this market sporadically,” he said at the time.

Glencore has signposted its ambition to be a net-zero emissions company by 2050.

The first steps will be managing the operational footprint followed by investing in the metals portfolio, reducing coal production and supporting deployment of low emission technologies.

That’ll equal a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2035.

The package will include a future for the company’s coal assets in Australia said Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg.  

“The world today depends on fossil fuels – coal, natural gas and oil – to meet its energy needs,” he said.  

“Under all credible scenarios, fossil fuels will continue to be an important part of the global energy mix for many years to come.  

“We do not believe that selling our coal mines would help reduce the associated emissions.  

“Responsible stewardship of our coal assets and responsible reduction of our coal portfolio, while maintaining a focus on our high-quality coal assets in Australia, supports our ambition to reduce our total emissions to achieve net zero by 2050.”

A significant portion of Glencore’s earnings was derived from the metals and minerals that enabled the transition to a low-carbon economy, said Mr Glasenberg.

“As the world prioritises renewable technologies, battery storage and electric mobility, our business is well-positioned to meet the growing demand for the commodities that underpin these future focused industries.

“Our products enable the transition to a low-carbon economy.  We are one of the largest producers and suppliers of copper, cobalt and nickel – metals that are essential to batteries used for electric vehicles and energy storage, as well as the infrastructure required for the transmission of renewable energy.  

“The world is going to require many times more metal than is currently produced. Glencore has a large production footprint and pipeline of projects in the commodities needed to build renewable energy grids, electrify transport and meet every day needs.  

“We also operate a large recycling business, through which we enable the reuse of critical products needed to deliver the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

The commitments are published in Glencore’s Climate Report 2020: Pathway to Net Zero.  

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) has announced local company Fergus Builders as the principal contractor for its Hay Point Administration Building refurbishment project, which is set to start before the end of the year.

Home to Maritime Safety Queensland’s (MSQ’s) Vessel Traffic Services and NQBP’s marine pilots, the project will include the refurbishment and upgrade of internal fixtures and amenities.

The project would extend the life of the building and cater for continued operation and usage, said NQBP Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Fertin.

“This project is part of the previously announced multimillion-dollar Mackay/Hay Point port infrastructure works program and is the first substantial upgrade undertaken on the building since its construction in the 1980s,” Mr Fertin said.

“Local supplier engagement is a key consideration for all NQBP projects, so we’re extremely proud to partner with Fergus Builders to deliver this major upgrade on the Hay Point Administration Building.

“Over the last year, NQBP has been working with local firm Bold Architecture and Interior Design to develop the works.”

The project was a real win for his company and the region said Fergus Builders Director Adam Wright.

“Fergus will engage a 100 percent local sub-contractor workforce to assist in the delivery of the works program, so the roll-on benefits from this project will extend across the Hay Point and Mackay region,” Mr Wright said.

“Fergus Builders has more than 38 years’ experience in the Mackay construction industry and prides itself on employing locals.”

The works will deliver benefits for users including improved security through new CCTV cameras, new purpose-built meeting room space, sound insulated pilot rooms and a fresh repaint of the building and the exterior public lookout area.

The public lookout area is expected to be temporarily impacted by the works. Signage will be clearly displayed at the project site during the works to inform of any access restrictions.

The works will take about nine months to complete, weather permitting.

Image: Department of Transport and Main Roads senior project advisor facilities and accommodation Neil McMahon, Fergus Builders director Adam Wright and NQBP engineer Jainesh Parmar.

Cloncurry gold developer Ausmex Mining Group says it expects to start mining in the first quarter of 2021 at the historic Comstock, Falcon and Shamrock gold mines.

They are part of a group of eight high-grade historical gold mines that make up the Golden Mile project.

Independent mine management group Minecraft had been appointed managers of the project, Ausmex managing director Aaron Day said in a recent announcement to the ASX.

The start date was subject to mining lease approval for the Golden Mile project and the plan of operations by the State Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, he said.

The Golden Mile project is a joint venture with Round Oak Minerals, a subsidiary of WH Soul Pattison.

Drill and blast operations are to be carried out by contractors, mining by Ausmex, the transport of ore by contractor and processing by Round Oak Minerals at its Cloncurry plant.

Ausmex said open-cut pit shells had been completed for the Comstock, Falcon and Shamrock sites.

An early draft prefeasibility study and budgets indicated high margins from mining and processing, it said.

The Golden Mile group of projects lies just north of Ausmex’s flagship Mount Freda project.

The company also plans to commence underground operations at Mount Freda during 2021. It has been dewatering the existing open-cut there and said that process was now 90 per cent complete.

In a note to shareholder, Ausmex said it had made the decision to bring the Golden Mile into production as quickly as possible.

It said recent drilling – limited to 50m – had focused on providing a mineable resource of gold that was close to the surface, easy to mine by open-cut operation, amenable to cyanide leaching in a CIP plant and able to produce ‘big margins of profits’.

“Drilling up a major high-tonnage resource can come from cash flow from the early mining,” Mr Day said.

“Due to the shortage of drill rigs due to the mineral boom, drilling costs
have risen and the backlog of samples at the assay laboratories has been frustrating for the company, however, we are nearly through that period and look forward to a prosperous 2021 for Ausmex.”

Recent upgrade infill drilling at Mount Freda has returned assay results including 11m at 3.60g/t gold from 41-52m including 2m at 13.80g/t gold, and 5m at 11.24g/t gold from 133-138m including 3m at 18.59g/t gold.

Five additional infill drill holes remain to be drilled at Mount Freda. These are required to confirm the presence of the high-grade gold between the previously drilled holes.

Ausmex said recent drilling was expected to vastly increase the Mount Freda gold grade. A second diamond core rig has recently arrived at the site.

The company expects completion of all the remaining holes required for the JORC resources upgrade by December 8 for Mount Freda and to complete the last of the holes at the Golden Mile by December 15.

Recent diamond core drilling at its Trump project has also pointed to a possible new discovery of a high-grade gold system.

However Ausmex said this week that the blinkers were on at this time as it was totally focused and going full-speed ahead to commence gold production at the Mount Freda complex, including the Golden Mile and Mount Freda gold mine projects.

X-ELIO is ready to begin construction of its $200 million Blue Grass Solar Farm from this month, creating up to 400 jobs.

The company said it had secured the regulatory and financial approvals to kick off work on the 200MW project, located 14km from Chinchilla in the Western Downs region.

Global solar specialist GRS has been appointed as the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor for the project, and Powerlink will deliver grid connection assets.

X-ELIO said Blue Grass would produce an anticipated 420 GWh of green energy annually once construction of the solar farm was complete in late 2021.

Western Downs Mayor Paul McVeigh said it was fantastic to see the project progressing to construction.

“The Western Downs is earning its place as the renewable energy powerhouse in Australia, and it’s fantastic to see another project creating local jobs and boosting our economy,” Cr McVeigh said.

“We have the optimum climate, landscape and location for renewable energy, with a skilled workforce and great livability to back growth in the sector.”

X-ELIO country manager, Australia, Belinda Fan said the Blue Grass Solar Farm demonstrated X-ELIO’s commitment to developing high-quality and locally responsible renewable projects.

“We understand our role in the local community and look forward to being able to give back by dedicating a percentage of the project’s annual gross income to a Community Support and Benefit Sharing Program,” she said.

“This program will fund local community programs from the first year of the project’s operation in 2022.”

Blue Energy has secured a deal to to supply EnergyAustralia with 100 PJ of gas at Wallumbilla over 10 years from the Northern Bowen Basin.

That foundation volume helps underpin plans for a gas pipeline
from the Bowen Basin into the Wallumbilla hub and for the development of Blue’s coal seam gas tenements in the Moranbah area.

The non-binding Heads of Agreement with EnergyAustralia was the first such agreement that would allow gas to be delivered into the
main East Coast domestic market to the south from Moranbah, Blue Energy said.

“It is very encouraging to see that the acknowledgement by the Federal and Queensland Governments of the gas potential in the North Bowen Basin has given gas buyers the confidence to seek to secure long-term gas supply
agreements for gas from this under-developed producing basin,” Blue Energy managing director John Phillips said.

Unlocking five key gas basins starting with the Beetaloo Basin in the NT and the North Bowen and Galilee Basin in Queensland was a major plank of the Federal Government’s gas-fired recovery plan announced in September.

And the State Government has committed $5 million for a pre-feasibilty study for a new 500km gas pipeline to connect gas reserves in the Bowen Basin to the east coast domestic market and overseas customers.

Blue’s ATP814 permit has been assessed by independent reserves assessor Netherland Sewell and Associates to contain upwards of 3,248 PJ of contingent resource (recoverable) around Moranbah.

In addition to this volume, there is currently 71 PJ of 2P reserves and 298 PJ of 3P reserves in close proximity to the existing gas field infrastructure in the northern Bowen Basin.