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Aerial Drone of NSS @ Work

NSS recently partnered up with SkyDronics to bring you a series of aerial drone videos of just some of the services we offer at NSS.

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Move drone video and other NSS videos can be found over on our YouTube Channel.


Ravenswood Gold has reached a milestone in the return to open-pit mining at Ravenswood in North Queensland, with the first loads of rock extracted from the Buck Reef West pit.

Operations manager Dave Mackay said he was extremely happy to see mining operations commence as part of the Ravenswood Expansion Project (REP).

“This is a significant step and it marks the beginning of a new era for the Ravenswood Gold mine – this will secure the future of the operation and ensure continued employment for all our staff,” he said.

“When the REP is complete, the Ravenswood Gold mine will be the largest gold mine in Queensland, producing over 200,000 ounces per year. 

“At today’s prices, that will generate over $25 million per annum in royalties for the state government.”

The material being shifted at Buck Reef West pit will initially be waste, and the team is expected to reach ore next week.

Staffing levels at Ravenswood Gold have increased significantly since the EMR GEAR consortium purchased the Ravenswood operation from Resolute Mining in April 2020.

The company said 104 new positions had been filled in that time and another 21 to be filled in the coming weeks.

Mr Mackay said that all bar one of the company’s 263 staff resided in Queensland and 90 per cent of staff were from the Ravenswood, Charters Towers, Burdekin, and Townsville areas.

“Our hiring policy is to concentrate on people who live locally as this brings the most benefit to the area. We have also increased female participation in recent months from 14 per cent to 17 per cent as about 80 per cent of our new haulage operators are female,” he said.

“There will be over 150 contractors engaged to complete construction work over the next two years, by which time there will be over 400 permanent employees and 70 long term contractors employed here at Ravenswood Gold.”  

The Ravenswood gold operation has not been actively mining since the cessation of mining activities at the Mount Wright underground in October 2019.

It has been processing low-grade stockpiles while preparing to return to open-pit operations.

The Buck Reef West Pit is the first stage mining in the Ravenswood Expansion Project (REP), the project also includes a return to mining in the Sarsfield-Nolans Pit – last mined in 2009.

CPB Contractors will host ‘town hall’ forums in North Queensland this month for businesses interested in tendering design-related services for an $800 million Defence project at Greenvale.

The CIMIC business has been selected by the Defence Department to deliver the development phase of the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI) facilities project in North Queensland.

CPB Contractors has also been named as the preferred contractor to manage the second phase of the project, commencing mid-2022.

The December ‘town hall’ sessions in Townsville and Charters Towers are aimed at providing essential information on the following topics:

  • Project overview
  • Design disciplines and investigation services required
  • CPB’s team and approach to managing the design
  • Design program
  • Tender process and assessment criteria
Further meetings for design services business are planned to occur early in the new year in other NQ regional centres.

Meetings for the construction supply chain will commence from March 2021.

December ASMTI briefings:

  • Tuesday, December 8, 2020, 5:30pm – Charters Towers Golf Club, 20 Dalrymple Rd, Charters Towers
  • Thursday, December 10, 2020, 5:30pm –  Mercure Inn, 166 Woolcock St, Townsville

Interested businesses should register at [email protected]

A new drone range at Cloncurry Airport has hosted its first test flights by aerospace giant Boeing.

Boeing recently completed flight tests with five high-performance surrogate jets operating autonomously in a team at the new Queensland Flight Test Range.

The facility is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere and includes a hangar, buildings for office space and monitoring equipment, range control systems, a surveillance radar and amenities.

“Australia’s first commercial drone flight testing centre is officially open for business at Cloncurry Airport,” Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Steven Miles said

“The construction phase of this state-of-the-art testing facility for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) supported more than 100 direct jobs in the region including five new apprenticeships.”

Mr Miles said establishing the Queensland Flight Test Range was a key part of government’s strategy to support a diverse economy and bring high-technology industry and more jobs to the region.

The State Government invested $14.5 million for design, construction and support for the foundation stage of the facility.

“Boeing Australia tested their advanced autonomy project including brain-on-board technology over 10 days in Cloncurry, flying up to five high performance test aircraft in a team for the first time,” Mr Miles said.

“To enable instrumented testing of this calibre to occur right here in Queensland is something that makes us extremely proud.”

Global defence technology company QinetiQ was appointed to design and construct the facility, establish the flight test range and manage this foundation stage of the drone testing facility.

QinetiQ Australia managing director Greg Barsby said the flight test range would support all weight classes of UAS for routine flying operations, demonstration activities and test and evaluation trials. 

“It will be a critical component in the overall drone ecosystem, as an enabler and connector of high-technology UAS programs and initiatives,” Mr Barsby said.

Director of Boeing Phantom Works International Emily Hughes said the company would take the opportunity to continue flight trials on key autonomous projects.

“The facility will provide excellent conditions to test a range of airborne test beds, which is part of an autonomy R&D program that’s heading toward new autonomous product and prototypes,” Ms Hughes said.

The first high-grade ore has been trucked to the Lorena processing plant from the Agate Creek gold mine in North Queensland after mining began a month ago.

Mine owner Laneway Resources has flagged a busy 2021 as it plans development of a larger open pit area at Agate Creek to mine about 120,000 tonnes of high-grade ore for 22,000 oz gold.

That includes the 43,000 tonnes to be mined for for about 9000 oz gold from the current campaign at Agate Creek’s Sherwood deposit.

Laneway also continues to evaluate and progress the exploration of the broader mineralisation potential at Agate Creek, where a mineral resource of 471,000 ounces of gold has been defined thus far.

“We continue to make steady progress with the current mining activities at
Sherwood, with the first of the high-grade ore now having been delivered to the Lorena processing plant,” chairman Stephen Bizzell said.

“The processing of Laneway’s ore and receipt of revenue has been delayed until early January but this shouldn’t impact on the plans the company has for a busy 2021.

“The coming quarter should see healthy positive operating cashflow to support the planning, approvals and development of the larger volume of high grade ore encompassed by the larger Whittle pit shell, and drilling programs targeting over 60 regional exploration targets.

“Consideration of longer term options for onsite processing of the almost half a million ounces of gold already identified at Agate Creek remains a key priority.”

About 3000 tonnes of ore grading about 6 g/t gold has been mined and stockpiled on the ROM pad at the site since operations began a month ago.

A further 5900 tonnes of low grade ore (grading about 2.5 g/t) and more than 60,000 BCM of waste has also been removed from the pit.

The initial tranche of ore is to be toll processed at the Lorena gold mine near Cloncurry.

Laneway said changes in the scheduling of different ore sources being processed at Lorena, minor plant reconfigurations necessary to process Laneway’s ore, and allowing for the planned plant shutdown over the Christmas break, meant the processing of Laneway’s ore should begin in the
first week of January.

Glencore has conducted an extensive 2D seismic survey to identify untapped ore resources in the Mount Isa area which could be economically mined and processed in years to come.

‘Vibe trucks’ carried out the work across Mount Isa Mines ground and adjacent exploration permits throughout October and early November.

Conducted in collaboration with NQ Resource Development and Exploration, and in partnership with HiSeis, the 2D survey covered about 60 line kilometres of measurements

Reporting the work in its Resourceful e-newletter, Glencore said the survey involved a geophones, which are very sensitive microphones and controlled vibration sources, in the form of ‘vibe trucks’.

The geophones pick up the vibrations as they move through the ground and reflect off various geological features such as faults and rock type changes.

Glencore senior geologist – regional exploration Alex Brown said the survey was aimed at providing information on the geologic framework in which the Mount Isa Mines operations sat, at a resolution and depth that could not be achieved with other techniques.

“We surveyed a 60 line kilometre area spanning from Mica Creek to Spear Creek, which afforded us good coverage over the mine environment, as well as adjacent exploration permits,” he said.

“Combined with widespread exploration drilling completed over the last 60 years, the survey will help us improve our knowledge and modelling of important geological features, particularly in areas without many deep drill holes.

“As the survey covered an extensive area, our team had to collaborate with a number of internal and external stakeholders to ensure appropriate hazard identification and guarantee project impacts on the operations were minimal.”

Results from the 2D survey are expected in the New Year.

Glencore said these results would be used to guide future business decisions, including whether a more comprehensive 3D survey is warranted.

Japanese public utility J-Power has signed up to help fund and develop Genex Power’s proposed Kidston Stage-3 wind project.

The wind farm would be part of the $1 billion Kidston Clean Energy Hub, along with an existing solar farm and the cornerstone Kidston pumped storage hydro project, which Genex says is nearing financial close.

J-Power will earn a stake of up to a 50 per cent in the North Queensland wind farm through an initial contribution of $1.5 million to expedite monitoring, planning and other feasibility work over the next 12-18 months.

Genex Power said the feasibility workstreams would allow project financing activities to be conducted, with construction expected to start in 2022.

“Genex is very pleased to enter into this development agreement with J-Power and thus continue to build the strong working relationship we have developed since 2019,” Genex chief executive officer James Harding said.

“With over 1GW in their global wind portfolio, J-Power brings considerable global wind experience to the development of the Kidston wind project, which will be Genex’s first wind farm.

“The agreement provides Genex with access to J-Power’s significant wind expertise alongside additional project level capital, and will enable us to expedite the project development activities with the aim of bringing it online shortly after our flagship Kidston pumped storage hydro project in 2024. “

The projects are located at the old Kidston gold mine site about 270km north-west of Townsville.

The wind farm agreement comes after Genex signed a new $25 million Share Subscription Agreement with J-Power in August.