Thiess to make a mountain from an Anthill

Thiess Rehabilitation

Thiess is one of Australia's most recognised mining services companies. Image: Austral Resources.

Thiess has secured two mining services contracts worth a combined $200 million in Queensland, partnering with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) and Austral Resources.

The BMA contract is worth around $105 million for the provision of mining and maintenance services at Caval Ridge coal mine in the Bowen Basin near Moranbah.

The multinational contractor was also notified in October of Austral’s intention to finalise a $95 million deal, with all signatures now confirmed for Thiess to begin works at Anthill copper mine from January 2022.

Thiess chairman and chief executive officer Michael Wright said the deals gave the company yet another opportunity to display its expertise in an Australian context.

“These contracts reflect Thiess’ ability to deliver value for our clients, providing competitive and sustainable mining solutions across a diversified portfolio of projects,” Wright said.

Austral is aiming to produce 10,000 tonnes of copper cathode per annum for the four years from mid-2022.

Austral chief executive officer Steve Tambanis said Thiess was a strong choice to get Anthill off the ground.

“Austral is pleased to be partnering with Thiess, a leading mining services provider with superb mining experience and capabilities,” Tambanis said.

“They bring a commitment to safe and innovative mining practices, providing certainty of delivery in the development of our new Anthill mine.”

Thiess is now mobilising its fleet to Anthill, 80 kilometres north-west of Mount Isa, with 70 people to be directly employed by the contract.

The fleet includes a 225-tonne Liebherr R994B excavator and multiple Cat 789 haul trucks.

Tambanis added that Anthill would continue to grow elsewhere while Thiess began work on the existing copper asset.

“Exploration and development activities are currently being significantly expanded with the goal of fast-tracking discoveries,” he said.

“We look forward to further update shareholders as we prepare to commence maiden production at Anthill, and begin exploration and development activities.”

Thiess was in attendance when Austral performed its first blast at Anthill in mid-November, along with blast management company Orica and drill specialists Roc-Drill.

The blast was an impressive achievement, coming just three weeks after approval was received to commence mining.

A total 110,000 cubic metres of iron stone was broken in the blast at Anthill’s east pit, with the first ore to be mined by April 2022.

Copper cathode is expected to be produced in mid-2022 at the company’s Mount Kelly copper oxide heap leach and solvent extraction electrowinning (SXEW) plant.

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