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Long-awaited 2021 Prospect Awards winners announced

Roy Hill’s iron ore mine in the Pilbara has taken home Australian Mine of the Year at the 2021 Prospect Awards after the awards night took place in Brisbane on Thursday.  

Yancoal won Coal Mine of the Year for the second year in a row, with the Yarrabee coal mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin honoured with this year’s gong. Yancoal’s Moolarben coal operation in New South Wales was successful at the 2020 Prospect Awards.  

“It is absolutely amazing to have won this award for the recognition of the last two to three years’ worth of effort,” Yarrabee coal operations manager Chris Shadbolt told Australian Mining at the awards. 

“This is a really good reward for the team on-site, the corporate team for supporting us and the mining industry in general. Yancoal plans to head in the same direction for 2022. The people are first because without them the operation means nothing, so let’s put them first.” 

The Hard Rock Mine of the Year also went to Roy Hill’s iron ore operation while Hancock Prospecting executive chair Gina Rinehart was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award   

It comes after Rinehart was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the General Division, as part of the Australia Day 2022 Honours list.  

The mining magnate, who was one of only 25 Australians selected for the honour this year, was recognised for “distinguished service to the mining sector, to the community through philanthropic initiatives and to sport as a patron”.  

Other 2021 Prospect Award winners included Sandvik, which took home the Indigenous Engagement Award for its Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which the company launched in 2020.  

In late 2021, Sandvik released a progress report on the RAP, indicating that 70 per cent of its deliverables were complete or on track to be completed.  

“First of all, I would like to say a huge thank you on behalf of Sandvik and everyone here to the Australian Mining Prospect Awards for putting on a great event. We are so grateful to be recognised in the category of Indigenous Engagement,” Sandvik community engagement and indigenous participation advisor Melita Hegarty told Australian Mining. 

“Secondly, a huge congratulations to the other finalists iCutter Industries and Atlas Iron. This really is an award where everyone wins as this work is so important to not only the business and First Nation’s businesses, but it’s creating a better Australia for everyone. 

“Finally, thank you to everyone at Sandvik and those who came before me as my role would be nowhere near as easy without your ongoing support and passion for First Nation’s peoples, communities and initiatives.” 

Mader Group was honoured as Contract Miner of the Year, while Geographe took home the Innovative Mining Solution award for its ball stud removal tool (BSRT).   

The BSRT is a hydraulic pressing system designed to safely and efficiently remove ball studs from mining haul trucks.  

Metso Outotec won the Minerals Processing of the Year award for its HIGmill fine grinding solution, which was recognised for its gold recovery capabilities at AngloGold Ashanti’s Sunrise Dam gold mine in Western Australia.   

Fenner Conveyors safety, training and technical general manager Vicki Wust was honoured with the Safety Advocate award, acknowledging the win was not just for her, but the whole Fenner team.  

“It is such an honour to win this award, but it isn’t just for me, but for everyone in the team because we can’t change the safety culture in Fenner if it’s not from the ground up all the way to the director level,” Wust told Australian Mining. 

“The support that everyone has had in order to improve our safety culture has come from a lot of hard work.” 

Mine Manager of the Year went to Yancoal’s Cris Shadbolt, who also recognised the whole team behind the operations.  

“It means a lot to me, I am speechless. It is the recognition for some work, but it is not just me. It has been me and a whole team,” Shadbolt said.  

“That is the most important part. It is recognition for the team, and I am just lucky enough to get the award for it.”

Rounding out the 2021 Prospect Awards, Gold Fields and EDL’s joint Agnew renewable energy project was recognised as the winner of the Excellence in Environmental Management award.

EDL’s owned and operated hybrid renewable microgrid operating is providing Gold Fields’ Agnew gold mine in Western Australia 50-60 per cent renewable energy in the long term.

The Excellence in IIOT Application award went to LED lighting company Coolon for its Brilliant Connected lights product, while Yancoal won the gong for Excellence in Mine Safety, OH&S for its Yarrabee Way – Safety Culture Framework, developed by the company’s workers for risk control and understanding.

Coolon LED Lighting’s senior account manager Ben Cooper told Australian Mining this is the recognition of a lot of hard work in a space that the company is not usually renowned for.

“We have manufactured a lot of heavy industrial lighting that’s manufactured in Australia to the highest quality, but we are now pivoting into smart technologies that will leverage us as a light supplier into something that can support our customers infinitely more,” he said.  

Thank you to Prospect Award sponsors National Group, Liebherr, SEW-Eurodrive, Epiroc, Austmine, Flexco, CRC and Vocus for supporting the program.

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