Best and brightest of Australian Mining at 2015 Prospect Awards

The 2015 Australian Mining Prospect Awards were a grand success last Friday, with a range of Australia’s most innovative and productive miners and service providers recognised for their achievements.

The 2015 Australian Mining Prospect Awards were a grand success last Friday, with a range of Australia’s most innovative and productive miners and service providers recognised for their achievements.

Doray Minerals' Andy Well was named Overall Mine of the Year, a mine which has made Doray one of the highest grade and highest margin gold producers in the country.

Hard Rock Mine of the Year went to CMOC Northparkes copper mine for breaking new production records in 2014 with 6.1 million tonnes processed.

Coal Mine of the Year went to Anglo American for their Moranbah North operation, which has had a high degree of success in safety with eight years LTI free, and recent improvements in production from 6.8 to 6.9 million tonnes annually.

Gina Rinehart was recognised with an award for Contribution to Mining thanks to the development of the Roy Hill Iron Ore mine, the culmination of years of planning which will see its first shipment of product leave Port Hedland before the end of the year.

Mrs Rinehart’s award was also granted for her authorship of two books in support of the mining industry, and her role in founding the organisation Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision (ANDEV).

Kalgoorlie resident Moya Sharp was also highly commended in the category of Contribution to Mining for her work in creating the Western Australian Virtual Miners Memorial, which is partnered with the physical miner’s memorial at the WA Museum in Kalgoorlie, a record which currently contains the names of 1484 individuals who have lost their lives in service to the WA mining industry.

The Young Achiever of the year, Carbine Resources executive director Patrick Walta was not present to collect his award, which to the amusement of all was picked up by a very senior proxy.

Walta joined the Carbine board in 2014, and has been instrumental in driving the plans to restart operations Mount Morgan, which has the potential to become one of the lowest cost gold producers in Australia, as well as one of the most environmentally focussed.

Global Aquatica was recognised for environmental excellence thanks to their Bioaquatica system, which converts acidic water into drinking quality for release or recycling, with the contaminants converted into recyclable products which can be sold by the mine at a profit.

Manager of the Year went to Dawid Pretorius, general manager at Glencore’s Clermont Coal Mine, where he has worked since 2011 towards the current record of 804 days LTI free through a direct engagement strategy called Visible Felt Leadership.

Rox Resources was named Explorer of the Year for their ongoing achievements, with four nickel sulphide discoveries in the Fisher East ultramafic belt, the result of targeting work done by Will Belbin and Ian Mulholland, 500km north of Kalgoorlie.

Support group Mining Family Matters won the award for Community Interaction, in recognition of their success in joining with Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Services to create the Rock Solid Suicide Prevention Program, a national initiative aimed at boosting emotional resilience and preventing suicide in the male-dominated resources industry, particularly those working Fly-in, Fly-out.

Custom Mining Products also did well out of the night, taking the awards for Excellence in Mining Safety as well as Innovative Mining Solution.

Custom’s Duckbill Ejector enables safer pallet handling underground, attaching to a LHD loader and operated from the cabin to minimise manual handling and product damage.

Custom was also rewarded for their innovative Drill Water Capture System, which captures and seperates spent drilling water from fines at a rate of 1800 litres per hour, all in a single 10kg unit with no moving parts.

Minerals Processing of the Year was handed to Columbus Group for their Water Wall system, which efficiently cuts a solid rock face into tetrahedrals and octahedrals for direct feed into a processing mill without explosives and without primary crushing.

Abergeldie Complex Infrastructure won Contract Miner of the Year for their work on the Southern Coalfields Ventilation Shaft near Wollongong, which included installation of more than 8000 tonnes of shaft liners.

The awards night was not without its controversies, with appearances by Greenpeace supporters who [according to event staff] attempted to gain access to the event by stealing printed name tags for ticketed guests and trying to bypass security.

Outside the event in the foyer of the Sofitel Wentworth Hotel, Youtube celebrity Friendlyjordies presented a so-called “cash grab” by throwing around fake $100 bills, and having [an individual appearing to be] Greenpeace CEO David Ritter pretend to be a mining executive in a Perspex box frantically grabbing for the phoney currency, which bore the images of Gina Rinehart and Federal environment minister Greg Hunt.

[Note: Greenpeace head of media Andrew Marshall contacted Australian Mining to deny that Ritter was ever inside the "cash grab" box, and to protest that Australian Mining journalist Ben Hagemann had made "defamatory" claims.]

Ritter was active on Twitter over the weekend to gloat about what he perceived as a publicity coup, however a spokesperson for Greenpeace said he would not be available to discuss the event with Australian Mining until next week.

Instead, publicity stunt planner and climate and energy campaigner Nikola Casule called to explain the stunt was aimed at drawing attention to government subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.

Casule said two Greenpeace activists entered the event unchecked by security, however event planners said the pair were only able to fraudulently enter the event with [allegedly] stolen nametags, pretending to be paying ticket holders, which led to their ejection from the premises.

What Casule did not reveal was that one of the activists who covertly entered the Prospect Awards presentation dinner was Greenpeace CEO David Ritter, who wasted no time boasting of his alleged trespass into the event on Twitter.

Editor Cole Latimer said he thought it was in very poor taste that one of the nametags used [to attempt entry] was that belonging to Moya Sharp, whose hard work on the Virtual Memorial for fallen miners was Highly Commended in the Contribution to Mining category.

Latimer said the individual who stole Sharp's nametag attempted entry but was stopped by security, after she allegedly misrepresented herself as a colleague of Moya Sharp, and photographed.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.