Prospect Award finalists: Metalliferous Mine of the Year

MINING DAILY profiles each of the finalists in the 12 categories of the 6th annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

Over the next week, MINING DAILY will profile each of the finalists in the 12 categories of the 6th annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

Spanning 12 categories, the 6th annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards aim to encourage, recognise and reward excellence in the Australian mining industry.

This year saw record amounts of entries in several categories, including Minerals Processing Plant of the Year, Innovative Mining Solutions and Excellence in Mine OH&S.

The winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony and dinner at Doltone House, Sydney on Wednesday 11 November 2009.

For tickets and further information please contact Heather Lawson on 02 9422 2791, or email

Atlas Iron – Pardoo

Atlas Iron’s Pardoo Operation is the company’s first, and Australia’s newest, iron ore mine and a finalist in the 6th annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

Pardoo is located about 50 km east of Port Hedland.

Access to Pardoo is via the Great Northern Highway, which transects the southern portion of the project area.

Pardoo has set benchmarks for the speed with which the mine was established, and the low capital costs involved.

Mining commenced at Connie, the first deposit to be exploited, less than three weeks after the company received final environmental approvals for the Pardoo operation.

Only five weeks later the first shipment of ore to China was loaded at FMG’s Anderson Point facility.

This is believed to be the fastest ramp-up of any iron ore mine in Australia.

MMG – Century

MMG Century (Century) is the second largest zinc mine in Australia and a finalist in the 6th annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

Century is the second largest open cut zinc mine in the world — producing approximately 500,000 tonnes of zinc in concentrate annually.

About 100 million tonnes of material, nearly five millions tonnes of which is ore, is moved each year at the open-cut mine.

In accordance with the Gulf Communities Agreement, Century has developed a range of innovative programs to attract and train local Indigenous people for employment at the mine.

These programs include a Pre-Apprenticeship and Traineeship Course to prepare new recruits for the workforce and on and off-site mentoring and support assistance for employees from local areas.

The programs are designed to provide key skills and a supportive environment for new employees from the region, many of whom have not obtained formal qualifications or completed formal schooling.

Northgate Minerals – Fosterville

The Fosterville Gold Mine is located 20 km to the east of Bendigo in Central Victoria.

From 1992 until 2001 the mine was an open pit oxide heap leach operation, producing some 230,000 ounces of gold during that time.

In 2004 the mine moved to an open pit sulphide operation, while constructing a BIOX processing plant.

The plant was commissioned and the first gold poured in April 2005.

In 2009 the Fosterville Gold Mine is equipped with a strong resource base, a dedicated workforce, a solid mine plan and an upgraded processing plant which will facilitate projected record gold production of 112,000 ounces by year end.

The past Twelve months has seen the Fosterville operation move from a capital poor company owned by Perseverance Corporation Pty Ltd to an operation which is now fully owned by Canadian miner Northgate Minerals Corporation.

During this time Fosterville managed the transition from a contract underground workforce to an owner —miner arrangement, which required some $26 million of capital investment.

OM Ltd – Bootu Creek Manganese Mine

OM (Manganese) Ltd (OMM) is a 100% fully owned subsidiary of OM Holdings Ltd, which was listed on the ASX in March 1998.

OMM controls the Bootu Creek Manganese Mine located 110 km north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.

Exploration and development of the Bootu Creek Manganese Project commenced in September 2001.

Mining operations commenced in November 2005 and the first batch of manganese ore was processed in April 2006.

Mining at the Bootu Creek project is carried out using a conventional open cut method of mining, blasting and excavation using hydraulic excavators and dump trucks.

OMM set its target production level at 700,000 tonnes for 2008 and successfully achieved an actual annual production of 672,000 tonnes. This was especially significant since the worldwide market downturn in late 2008.

The 1st Quarter of 2009 was also labelled a success because the mine site produced 94,492 tonnes of manganese ore, being 94% of budgeted production even though this was the Northern Territory wet season, which experiences exceptionally high rainfall.

OZ Minerals – Prominent Hill

OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill copper-gold mine is a finalist in the Best Metalliferous Mine of the Year category.

Prominent Hill, located in South Australia, is Australia’s newest copper mine.

The mine moved into production in early 2009 delivering its first copper-gold concentrates to a local customer in February and exporting its first load of export concentrates from the Port of Darwin in April.

Production of first concentrates eight short years after the discovery of Prominent Hill is a significant achievement in the mining industry, where project lead times are typically much longer.

According to the owners, a major factor of the accomplishment has been the cultivation of a strong relationship with the South Australian Government and both the local and wider communities.

From construction approval it was only 18 months before the first copper-gold concentrate was delivered to the mine’s first customer in February this year.

Commissioning of the mine was completed successfully and ramp-up to full production has continued successfully throughout 2009 with production on track to meet guidance of 85,000-100,000 tonnes of copper and 60,000-70,000ounces of gold.

Rio Tinto – Northparkes

Northparkes is a finalist in the 6th annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards for excellence in training and community partnership.

Northparkes identified the need for a system that promoted mining as a career option within the local community and wanted a simplified entry level training program that gave high school students a basic understanding of the mining industry.

By completing the Certificate 1 Resource and Infrastructure the students would learn not only about the career options available but also about the Health, Safety and Environmental issues faced by working in the mining sector. This course gave them a taste of on the job work experience while achieving a National Qualification and two units towards their HSC.

The course provided the opportunity for students to sample an area of work without making a full commitment to a career path.

In setting up the training program Northparkes liaised with the National Mining Industry Skill Council (Skills DMC) who had developed the Certificate 1 program.

Xstrata – Mount Isa Mines

In 2009, Mount Isa Mines (comprising Xstrata Copper and Xstrata Zinc operations) is celebrating its 85th birthday while Mount Isa celebrates 85 years of commerce and community.

With the support of the mines, Mount Isa has grown from a digger’s camp of 300 in 1924, into a vibrant and progressive city of more than 23,500.

Xstrata Copper’s Mount Isa operations generate significant direct and indirect employment opportunities and also make a significant contribution to regional economic growth and development.

During 2008, Xstrata Copper’s Mount Isa operations contributed to the Mount Isa economy through: employment of 2,701 people including 2,224 employees and 477 contractors; an annual wages bill in excess of $237 million; apprenticeship and youth training opportunities of almost $11.6 million; $239 million spent on purchasing regional goods and services, 37% spent with local suppliers; and, annual corporate social involvement contributions of $1.1 million directed to community partnerships, donations, sponsorships and community programs.

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