2015 Prospect Awards – Hard Rock Mine of the Year [VIDEO]

Northparkes Mines has taken out Hard Rock Mine of the Year at this year’s Australian Mining 
Prospect Awards.

The award recognised the mine’s record-breaking production in 2014, where it processed 6.1 million tonnes, 80 per cent of which was mined by automated loaders.

Managing director Stefanie Loader said 2014 was a record year for Northparkes. 
“We worked hard to keep our people safe, produce more tonnes and work more closely with our community – all in a year of ownership transition,” Loader said.

“I am delighted that the dedication of our people to make Northparkes a more efficient, innovative and safer operation has been recognised.”

Located 27 kilometres north-west of Parkes in New South Wales’ Central West, Northparkes is a copper and gold mine that has been operating for more than 20 years. Its operation is made up of underground block cave mines and an ore processing plant.

Northparkes is a joint venture between China Molybdenum (CMOC) and the Sumitomo Groups.
In 2013, CMOC acquired its first international asset through Rio Tinto’s 80 per cent interests in Northparkes. 

CMOC Overseas CEO Kalidas Madhavpeddi is proud of Northparkes’ performance in its first year of CMOC ownership. 

“The transition to CMOC represents a successful change management process including decentralising support services, implementation of new processes, procedures and an entirely new suite of information technology applications,” Madhavpeddi said.

“Its achievements in zero harm, technology, innovation 

and community relations reflect its commitment to continuous improvement.”

CMOC acting manager Mining Operations Allan McKellar said he believed what separates Northparkes from its competitors is its commitment to continual growth and development in all aspects.

“The other achievements we’ve had [include] our volun­teer program, a community based program, which has been a huge success; we’re a finalist for Australian Farmer of the Year; plus two thirds of our water usage onsite comes from recycled water,” he said.

Northparkes Mines Volunteer Leave Program is designed to support the local community by sharing skills with businesses and organisations. The mine is focused on ensuring long-term economic benefits for communities.

Loader also stated Northparkes has made significant improvements to safety, halving their injury rate from 2012. 

“And, just this week, we have reached 150 days injury free for 2015, which is an outstanding achievement,” he said. 

McKellar reinforced the necessity of constant change in Northparkes’ future. 

“We’ve also moved to 100 per cent automation; 100 per cent of our production is based on automation,” he said.

“Technology plays a huge part; innovation plays a massive part in Northparkes.

“We’re a big believer that we can’t sit still, we must keep changing, and we must keep improving the way we do things. Part of that is through technology and our automation success.”

Northparkes was one of the first mines in Australia to employ the block caving method, and is the world’s most automated underground mine.

“At the moment, we’re a world leader for underground automation; it is only the beginning of what we can achieve,” McKellar said. 

The Hard Rock award follows on from Northparkes’ achievement at last year’s Prospect Awards where it was presented with Community Interaction of the Year for its work with the community. 

It is committed to Zero Harm to its people, equipment, environment and community and its vision is to achieve a Century of Mining Together.