Hard Rock Mine of the Year – finalists revealed

Xstrata Zinc

Xstrata Zinc has been nominated as Australia's Hard Rock Mine of the Year

Operating since 1920, the mine has seen a number of developments as it works one of the largest zinc deposits in Australia.It has an annual production capacity of 300 000 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 170 000 tonnes of lead, and employs approximately 1160 people.

One of its major focuses is integrating itself within the community and promotion of the Mount Isa region.

One of its major works has been its comprehensive study into promoting the town and bringing Mt Isa closer together with its operations.

Dubbed the My Isa Study, it was an analysis of the needs of the mine's employees and their families in Mount Isa.

Regarding its employees and families as a distinct community it found that by supporting the greater liveability of Mount Isa it would help its employees as well as the broader community.

The outcomes of the study are shaping its current and future strategies in relation to human resources management, community relations, and regional development.

Xstrata Zinc is now focused on increasing the quality of life in the region, promoting its attractiveness, and solving the housing issues that afflict many regional mining towns.


Newmont's Boddington mine

Newmont's Boddington gold mine has been nominated for the Hard Rock Mine of the Year award.

While it was closed back in 2003, since its reopening in 2010 the mine was expected to become the nation's largest gold mine, according to WA premier Colin Barnett.

At the start of last year it had reserves of 20 million ounces of gold and 2.4 billion pounds of copper, and is estimated to produce more than one million ounces of gold annually once production is fully up and running.

The mine has been recognised not only for its production and work practices, but also the work culture that it instills on site. It has been forward in ensuring gender equality on site, and increasing the number of women working across project, and becoming an integral part of the community. 

It has implemented a more steady work roster to provide a better work life balance for its miners, and focus promoting the importance of family. Newmont's Boddington mine has also achieved this focus on the family through the development of a 'Long Day Care', which it identified as part of its feasibility studies in 2005.

It implemented facilities in the community after recognising the area had limited or no family focused facilities or respite care.


CITIC Pacific's Sino mine

For its drive to minimse its impact on the environment and 'leave no trace', CITIC Pacific's Sino iron ore mine has been nominated for the Hard Rock Mine of the Year award.

The mine has the world's largest grinding mills, and will also be one of the largest iron ore operations in the world.

In May 2010 the mine partnered with 'Leave No Trace Australia' to develop a workforce recreation management program with the goal of establishing a sustainable recreational culture and encouraging desired recreational behaviours among CITIC Pacific employees and contractors.

It uses a compulsory training and induction program for those wanting pursue recreational activities off site.


Maitland River Crossing Near Sino Iron Project – 28 October 2010 

This program is in addition to an education program that works to create a culture of sustainable recreation practices.

CITIC introduced the program in April 2011, and has since set a benchmark in the industry for encouraging and educating miners on sustainable recreation practices (such as fishing, avoiding erosion, enjoying heritage sites, appropriate waste disposal and appropriate use of fire), where no benchmark previously existed within the industry. 

The mine, once finished, will be one of the largest iron ore mines in Australia.


Xstrata's Black Star mine

Xstrata's Black Star open cut mine has been nominated for the Hard Rock Mine of the Year award.

Earlier this year Xstrata announced it carried out studies to dramatically increase the life of the mine, pushing its lifespan beyond 2016.

Xstrata Zinc's COO Brian Hearne explained that this latest development will increase the depth of the pit 400 metres, an extension of 100 metres from the current design.

It is part of the miner's $133 million Black Star expansion project it originally announced in 2010, which was dubbed the Black Star Open Cut 'Deeps' Project. The BSOC Deeps project will deepen the existing pit and is expected to add approximately 14 million tonnes of ore to the production profile at a rate of up to 4.6 million tonnes per year. It was nominated for its development of a process that it allows it to safely mine previous underground mine workings while cutting the issue of voids that has seen it nominated for the Innovative Mining Solution award. Open cut mining through underground workings exposes miners to unstable pit walls and floors.

WIt also developed a new model now as Catastrophic Failure Analysis to determine the stability of crown pillars and had 5 million man hours lost time injury free.



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