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News

Macmahon Holdings says it has been formally awarded a $250 million contract for work at the Foxleigh coal mine near Middlemount in Central Queensland.

It comes after the mining services firm was named as preferred contractor in October.

The agreement will see Macmahon provide equipment hire and maintenance services at the Foxleigh mine over a five-year term from March 1 next year.

“The formal award of the Foxleigh project adds $250 million to our order book and further diversifies and expands our east coast presence,” Macmahon chief executive officer and managing director Michael Finnegan said.

“We are now looking forward to building on the relationship with our new client.”

The Foxleigh mine is an open-cut, truck and excavator operation in the Bowen Basin which produces low volatile PCI coal for Asian steel mill customers.

It is owned by QMetco (70 per cent), Posco Australia, and Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Australia.

The proposed scope of work involves the hire and maintenance of 21 large
capacity dump trucks and other ancillary equipment over a five-year term, together with the maintenance of client owned equipment.

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Hall Contracting has won the largest contract in Port of Townsville’s $232 million Channel Upgrade Project, with a package of works expected to employ 70 people.

The works include capital dredging to widen 14.9km of sea channels over two years and reclamation of 62ha of land through beneficial reuse of dredged material.

Hall Contracting is expected to begin capital dredging in May 2021.

The major contract follows the extensive work over the past 18-months to build a 2.2km rock perimeter wall to receive the material.

Port of Townsville chief executive officer Ranee Crosby said Queensland-based Hall Contracting had partnered with Townsville’s Pacific Marine Group to offer extensive experience in dredging and reclamation.

They had committed to almost 100 per cent of this project being resourced from Queensland- based businesses, she said.

“Hall Contracting has presented the best offer to complete the works,” Ms Crosby said.

“Their strong commitment to local industry and First Nations people’s participation as well as employment and learning opportunities for tertiary students, apprentices and trainees presents significant opportunities for our region.

“Over the course of the project they will provide meaningful training across a range of vocations including vessel crew, marine engineers, diesel fitters, hydraulic fitters, boilermakers, earthmoving operators and dredge operators.”

Hall Contracting chief executive officer Cameron Hall said the company’s backhoe dredge Woomera, the largest Australian-owned dredge of its kind, would arrive in Townsville to commence works next year.

The channel upgrade project will widen the current shipping channel from 92m to 180m at the inshore (port) end, tapering to 120m wide in the sea channel, increasing the size of cargo, cruise and defence vessels able to access the Port of Townsville.

The Port has committed $17 million for environmental monitoring and management programs as part of the project, including those covering dolphins, turtles, seagrass, coral and shorebirds.

An Independent Technical Advisory Committee is also providing expert oversight of the monitoring programs during the capital dredging works.


Image: Hall Contracting also led the work to build a 2.2km rock wall to form a protective bund around a 62ha Port Reclamation Area at the eastern end of the Port of Townsville. 

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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.

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