Diggers & Dealers: BGC targets coal contracts off back of Boggabri win

BGC COO – mining Andrew Taplin

BGC Contracting will strengthen its focus on winning new coal contracts on the east coast of Australia in the coming weeks.

Andrew Taplin, BGC’s chief operating officer – mining, will move to Brisbane from Perth in a sign that the contractor’s growth ambitions have moved away from Western Australia.

Taplin will be joined in the eastern states by a growing number of senior mining personnel from BGC.

The company hopes to use this presence to repeat last year’s $700 million mining and equipment maintenance services contract win at Idemitsu Australia Resources’ Boggabri coal mine in New South Wales.

Taplin said BGC had made the structural adjustments to put resources in the right place to capitalise on the opportunities emerging in the coal sector.

The company is actively tendering for a large scope of coal projects in Queensland and New South Wales, he added.

“We expect to know the results of those in the next three to six months,” Taplin told Australian Mining at Diggers & Dealers. “We are optimistic that we will be successful with one of those coal projects that we are actively tendering for.

“There’s about three or four in this first wave and there’s another two that we have identified in a second wave of coal projects that are 18-24 months out.”

BGC started work at Boggabri last December. Its operations include 500 locally based workers and an ultra class fleet of machinery.

The Boggabri operation involves the collaborative approach BGC has effectively used at its other projects, including the Arrium iron ore operations in South Australia.

“We are now eight months into that contract and we are already sitting down with our client to talk about how we can do things better in terms of safety, cost efficiency and productivity, which is one of the unique aspects of the collaborative contracting model,” Taplin said.

BGC’s focus may be shifting to the east coast coal sector, but Taplin said the company was not forgetting about Western Australia.

The company’s contract with Atlas Iron at the Mt Webber operation in the Pilbara continues unaffected despite Hancock Prospecting’s proposed acquisition of the junior iron ore miner.

Taplin said BGC was also targeting a number of smaller opportunities in the state, particularly in the gold and lithium sectors.

“We certainly want to maintain our presence on the west coast, but we consider the biggest opportunities to be on the east coast for the next 24 months,” Taplin said.

“We still have capability in the west and we are still going to be actively tendering for opportunities in the west.”

He said BGC was diversifying into new mining service areas with these opportunities, such as mine reclamation, adding to its traditional expertise in load and haul, and ore handling.

BGC’s construction division is also pursuing work at the iron ore tonnes replacement projects that have been launched by the major miners in the Pilbara.

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