Australian Mine of the Year category

MMD Australia is again sponsoring the Australian Mining’s Mine of the Year category.

MMD Australia is again sponsoring the Australian Mining’s Mine of the Year category.

This category recognises best practice and innovation across all categories in the Australian Mining Prospect Awards, but particularly the Metalliferous Mine of the Year category and the Coal Mine of the Year category.

Last year’s finalists included: Callie Underground Mine, Newmont Australia HWE Mining; Springvale Coal Mine, Centennial Coal Company; Beltana Coal Mine, Xstrata Coal; Tahmoor Coal Mine, Centennial Coal Company; Myuna Coal Mine, Centennial Coal Company, Argyle Diamond Mine, Rio Tinto; Mt Whaleback Mine, BHP Billiton Iron Ore; Stawell Gold Mine, Perseverance Corporation; Ridgeway Copper-Gold Mine, Newcrest Mining and KCGM Super Pit, Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines.

The 2006 finalists included: Mineral Sands Ginkgo NSW, BEMAX Resources Limited; Cowal Gold Mine NSW, Barrick Gold Limited; Woolshed Gully Processing Plant, Ballarat Goldfields NL and Hunter Valley Coal Preparation Plant Optimisation.

2007 Winner

Awaba Colliery won the 2007 Australian Mine of the Year award.

Awaba colliery engaged the mine’s workers and developed an innovative whole of mine approach to a

challenging situation.

In September 2005 Awaba Colliery planned to finish production at the end of February 2006.

The operation was to complete primary development work and undertake a minimal amount of pillar splitting as production units retreated.

The operation was re-assessed as a result of a change to colliery management, and the potential to extend the life of the operation was realised.

A significant area of old pillar panels existed at the colliery, which had the ability to be mined by secondary extraction methods.

There were also a number of small, previously discounted blocks of coal, which had the potential to be accessed and mined by conventional pillaring.

A successful extension to the mining operation was calculated to add two million tonnes of saleable product to the life of the mine. This would extend the mines life by more than two years, and see the operation completed at the end of 2008.

At projected operating costs, and if current market prices were maintained, this would generate an additional $25 million of revenue for Centennial Coal.

The initial assessment of underground workings showed that access to the old panels could be re-established, and a secondary extraction system successfully undertaken.

The condition of targeted panels’ determined the extent of preparation work required and played a large part in determining the projects feasibility.

A small amount of capital was required for specialised equipment, and refurbishment of existing machinery.

A key to the success of the project was ensuring the plan had the support of the workforce.

A forum for regular communications kept workers informed in the planning process, and in ongoing work.

2006 Winner

The 2006 Mine of the Year was BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Blackwater mine.

Although the mine had three decades left in mine life, some of the initiatives in place paved the way for shorter timescales. According to BMA Blackwater’s maintenance manager Peter Townson, the program of business excellence being pursued by the coal operation involved deploying leading practices to ensure each day brought consistently safe and well-run operations.

“This is about getting our day-to-day practices right and making a difference on each and every shift,” Townson told Australian Mining.

The $300 million coal handling preparation (CHP) plant made a noticeable difference to productivity after it became operational in 2007.

For more information on entering this category, email or call Jessica on 02 9422 2909.

Entries close Friday 27 June.

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