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Work is underway on a $5 million study to investigate the best options for connecting gas reserves in the Bowen Basin to domestic customers and the export market.

If the proposal stacks up, Resources Minister Scott Stewart said there would be potentially 1000 construction jobs available and countless opportunities in gas production and other industries which relied on affordable sources of gas.

“Just like we opened up the Surat Basin 10 years ago and developed a $70 billion onshore gas industry, the Bowen Basin has the potential to be a source of future gas projects and jobs for Queenslanders,” Mr Stewart said.

“My department has been on the ground engaging with the gas sector to scope the study and ensure it will meet their needs to help them with their future investment decisions.

“Any potential new gas infrastructure will need to be fit-for-purpose and drive private investment and growth.”

The two-year study would also look at opportunities to capture gas emissions from coal mines in the Bowen Basin to contribute to supply, he said.

“This opportunity is a win-win proposition as it will increase gas supply and at the same time reduce our emissions,” Mr Stewart said.

“The other, more important, reason is to help industry grow to drive future resource projects and the thousands of jobs that will flow from them.”

Mr Stewart said the $5 million study was part of more than $29 million the State was investing over the next few years to support the resources sector.

“Through this year’s budget, $9 million is being invested over the next few years to help explorers discover new economy minerals that are high in demand globally in the renewables and tech sectors,” he said.

“In addition, to help keep explorers on the hunt, this year’s budget also waives $9.8 million in state rent and we have also frozen exploration fees and charges until 1 July 2021.

“The Queensland Government is doing what it can to help drive private investment and growth in the resources sector and keep business working and people employed.”
Used heavy machinery is in hot demand across the civil sector, drawing 15-20 per cent more at auction than around the same time last year, Australian auction house Pickles says.

Parts ‘donor’ machines and second-hand components for mining fleet are also drawing huge interest as companies refurbish assets in the face of reduced capex budgets and global disruptions in the supply of new machines due to the COVID pandemic.

A 16-year-old ‘parts only’ Cat 793 rigid dump truck (pictured below) sold for almost $500,000 at auction in Nebo this week, for example, Pickles Mining general manager Steve Wall said.

“Anything that’s a parts donor machine very strong this year,” Mr Wall said.

Online machinery marketplace has reported unprecedented growth throughout 2020.

“Demand for earthmoving and construction, metalworking, and woodworking machinery reached all-time highs in 2020, while demand for agriculture equipment and generators more than doubled, and demand for trucks grew by 142 per cent from April to June,” chief executive officer Steve Krebs said.

Mr Krebs said demand for used equipment was expected to skyrocket in 2021, with stock of new machinery expected to dwindle in the coming months.

“The supply of new equipment will be few and far between, which will drive up the demand and price of used equipment,” he said.

“In some cases, sellers are moving into the hire game to maintain cash flow, a shift that is likely to become more common the longer shipping delays continue.”

Mr Wall said the COVID pandemic had seen overseas OEMs shut down for periods and disrupted global supply chains, causing a blow-out in lead times for new equipment that was likely to flow into at least the first part of 2021.

Everything from heavy equipment from manufacturers like Liebherr and Caterpillar down to smaller Japanese-made excavators and ride-on mowers had been affected, he said.

On the other side of the coin, demand in the civil sector in Australia in particular was strong, Mr Wall said.

“(The market for) late-model, low-hour equipment has been exceptional in the second half of the year,” he said.

“The prices are 15 to 20 per cent more for the same assets as this time last year.”

Infrastructure spending as part of post-COVID stimulus programs being rolled out around Australia and the $150,000 instant asset write-off facility had helped stoke demand in the civil sector, he said.

Rigid dump trucks in the 200-tonne range and older Caterpillar 16H graders have been among the hot tickets at auction this year.

But some cases of soaring auction prices are simply a matter of customer preference.

Mr Wall said Toyota’s recent shift to V6 turbo engines in its LandCruisers had driven up the price of the older V8 models.

Two auction lots of 2018 Sahara LandCruisers with 50-60,000km on the clock had recently sold for $120,000 each plus buyer’s fees – 50 per cent more than similar sales last year and above the price paid when new, Mr Wall said.

While many sales were forced online during the peak of COVID restrictions, Mr Wall said auction houses were noticing increased clearance rates as on-site events returned.

A Rockhampton business has launched a mobile application to help construction businesses create and record safety documents and activities in a matter of minutes.

The Projects One Safety Online app is designed to streamline the safety documentation process by allowing workers to complete compliance documents on the job site, on smart mobile devices, where they can see the hazards.

Projects One Safety Online co-founder Wendy Bishop said safety had become one of the most time-consuming aspects of running a small construction business and it was time to work smarter not harder.

“In many workplaces, the tedious process of completing safety paperwork means people cut corners or simply tick and flick, and the purpose of doing safety administration is lost,” Ms Bishop said.

“Every tradie needs to have a safety system in place, and we wanted to make the process simple.

“Creating Projects One Safety Online means we now have an interactive system which includes the whole team, providing the ability to discuss safety matters onsite with the team where and when it matters, recording Toolbox Meetings, Risk Assessments and Safe Work Method Statements, and receiving reminders to review and update documents as needed.

“From electricians to plumbers, brick layers to roofers, painters to plasterers, tradies across all facets of the construction industry can benefit from this application.”

The new platform was facilitated by Rockhampton Regional Council’s SmartHub, geared at helping start-ups maximise their early stage business success by offering collaboration and learning opportunities, monitoring and affordable workspaces.

Rockhampton acting Mayor Neil Fisher said it was very encouraging to see the SmartHub continuing to support and help create the businesses of the future.

“I praise the Projects One team for identifying a need for this kind of efficiency and simplicity across the construction sector,” Cr Fisher said.

“Safety should be the first thing we think about in everything we do, as everyone deserves to go home safe at the end of the day, each and every day.

“This is an extremely useful tool that puts safety in the spotlight, helping positively change the behaviour towards safety.”

Three significant infrastructure projects supporting 100 jobs are underway at the Port of Mackay in the run-up to Christmas, as work to extend Wharf 1 kicks off.

Queensland-based company Davbridge Constructions will deliver the $2.4 million extension project.

The project comes as upgrades on Wharf 4 reach the final stages with the installation of the 60-tonne steel access bridge by contractor V2R Projects.

Also progressing is the $1.5 million stabilisation of the western revetment with Queensland-based contractors MGN Civil arriving on site earlier this month.

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) chief executive officer Nicolas Fertin said the 120sq m extension of the Wharf 1 access bridge at the Port of Mackay would improve infrastructure capability to handle extra-long (up to 95m) cargoes.

“This will position the Port of Mackay to be able to take advantage of new, diversified trade opportunities such as rail, or renewables projects,” he said.

Davbridge Constructions project manager Alex Graff said the company had hit the ground running.

“This project will allow us to showcase Davbridge’s marine construction expertise and support the local economy,” Mr Graff said.

“Throughout the six-month project we will support over 30 local jobs from around 15 local businesses.”

The projects are part of NQBP’s extensive 2020-21 works program for Mackay and Hay Point, worth more than $17 million.

The BHP Mitsubishi Alliance-operated airport at Moranbah has been renamed Moranbah ‘Bunhdhara’ Airport in recognition of the area’s Traditional Owners.

A new diversity walkway and ‘Wadda Mooli’ signage, which means ‘welcome’ and ‘goodbye’ in Barada Barna language, have been added to the Bowen Basin site.

A number of Indigenous heritage artefacts gathered from BHP and BMA operations over the years are also on show.

BMA asset president James Palmer said the company was very proud to be recognising its relationship with the Barada Barna people through re-naming the airport and with these artworks.

“The airport has been re-named ‘Bunhdhara’ which means sky in Barada Barna language – a perfect fit for an airport,” he said.

“The artwork and artefact displays are a demonstration of respect and recognition, showing how far we have progressed beyond just acknowledging the Traditional Owners and their lands, to being really proud to show off the strong relationship we have and continue to develop with the Barada Barna peoples.

“The artwork was created by local artist Elaine Chambers to reflect what was on people’s minds when they head back to the Moranbah area to work on Barada Barna country again.

“For those of us who travel here, the Moranbah region is our second home when we’re on shift or visiting or working and we are all so interconnected to each other on these lands. ” 

BMA asset president James Palmer with Barada Barna Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Luarna Walsh and director Kevin Brown.
Evolution Mining has secured complete ownership of the Crush Creek project after drill results demonstrating its potential to extend the life of the nearby Mount Carlton gold operation.

Evolution entered into an earn-in agreement with Basin Gold last year over the Crush Creek project, 30km south-east of the Mount Carlton mining and processing operation.

Evolution has now achieved the requirement of sole funding $7 million of exploration expenditure to earn a 70 per cent interest in the project.

It is paying $4.5 million to acquire the remaining 30 per cent of the project from Basin Gold, which will also retain a 10 per cent Net Profit Interest on any gold production in excess of 100,000 ounces.

Crush Creek hosts low sulphidation epithermal gold mineralisation and Evolution has reported encouraging results from BV7, Delta, The Kink and Gamma prospects.

It said drilling was continuing at these prospects during the December quarter, focusing on the high-grade plunge to the north of BV7, as well as follow up drilling at The Kink and Gamma prospects.

“Drilling at Crush Creek has returned promising results and reinforces our belief that mineralisation we are delineating has the potential to extend mine life at Mount Carlton,” Evolution vice-president discovery and business development Glen Masterman said.