2017: The year’s biggest Mining Technology stories

5 January 2018 (Last Updated March 5th, 2018 15:20)

OceanaGold produced first gold from Haile Gold Mine, South Carolina, South32 and AusQuest form exploration alliance. Mining-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from 2017.

OceanaGold produces first gold from Haile Gold Mine, South Carolina

OceanaGold Corporation announced the first gold produced from Haile Gold Mine in South Carolina, US.

The company reported that 445oz of gold dore bars were poured in the initial operation.

Commissioning activities began with the grinding and leaching circuits with mill feed from oxide ore inventory.

South32 and AusQuest form exploration alliance

Mining company South32 signed a strategic alliance agreement with AusQuest to advance potential exploration opportunities in Australia and Peru.

Under the agreement, AusQuest will conduct exploratory work in agreed jurisdictions to identify and secure prospective early stage exploration opportunities. The exploration will be funded by South32.

After exploration, South32 will exclusively have the option to enter joint ventures for projects progressed to drilling state.


BBI Group signs MoU for Balla Balla Infrastructure iron ore project, Western Australia

BBI Group (BBIG) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) to build the Balla Balla Infrastructure iron ore project in Western Australia.

The MoU was signed in the presence of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Construction of the BBI project and a foundation customer mine to be developed in the Pilbara region of Western Australia will cost approximately A$6bn ($4.57bn).


BMA to invest $204m in Caval Ridge Southern Circuit in Queensland

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) revealed plans to invest $204m in the Caval Ridge Southern Circuit (CRSC) capital growth project at Bowen Basin, Central Queensland, Australia.

An 11km overland conveyor system, CRSC will be used to transport coal from Peak Downs Mine to the Coal Handling Preparation Plant (CHPP) at the nearby Caval Ridge Mine.

This project is expected to create 400 new construction jobs and approximately 200 ongoing operational roles.

New Hope gains approval for $222m Colton Coal mine project in Australia

New Hope Group secured approval from the Queensland Government for its A$300m ($222m) Colton Coal mine project.

The open-cut coking coal project 10km north-east of Maryborough has been granted three mining lease approvals and is expected to create 120 new jobs.

The estimated production capacity of the mine is around half a million tonnes of high-grade coking coal per annum, which will be transported 270km by rail to Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal at Gladstone.


AngloGold Ashanti begins restructuring of South African operations

AngloGold Ashanti started the restructuring process of its loss-making South African business units, aimed at ensuring long-term viability and preventing further losses.

As part of the process, the company has started consultations with employees for placing the Savuka section of TauTona and Kopanang mines on care and maintenance.

In addition, the company is assessing the integration of the 60-year-old TauTona with the neighbouring Mponeng mine.


Glencore to gain 49% of Hunter Valley Operations for $1.13bn

Glencore signed $1.13bn in agreements with Yancoal Australia to acquire a 49% interest in the Hunter Valley Operations (HVO) coal mine in New South Wales, Australia.

The HVO mining operations form part of Yancoal’s proposed acquisition of Coal & Allied (C&A) from Rio Tinto.

Once the acquisition of C&A is complete, Yancoal and Glencore will form a joint venture (JV) for the HVO. Under this, Glencore will be entitled to its share of HVO profits.


Queensland court dismisses case against Adani’s $16bn Carmichael mine

The Queensland Court of Appeal in Australia quashed a case against Indian firm Adani’s $16bn Carmichael coal mine, clearing the legal hurdle for the long-pending construction of the project.

The case was filed by Adrian Burragubba, an activist who claimed to be representing the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) communities, challenged the state government’s approval of a mining lease for the project.

Welcoming the decision taken by the court, Adani remarked that it represents yet another independent judicial judgement in favour of around eight years of development planning and approvals.


Rio Tinto completes trial run of autonomous rail programme, Western Australia

Rio Tinto remained on schedule to fully commission its autonomous rail programme, AutoHaul, in 2018 after completing a pilot run at its iron ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The 100km trial run marked the first fully autonomous heavy haul train journey ever completed in Australia, undertaken without a driver on-board.

The programme covered the region between Wombat Junction and Paraburdoo, and was conducted under the supervision of Rio Tinto teams and representatives from the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator.


Nornickel increases CAPEX to up to $2.5bn a year

Russian nickel and palladium mining and smelting company Norilsk Nickel revealed plans to increase its capital expenditure to between $2.3bn and $2.5bn per year in 2019 and 2020.

The capital expenditure, which stays at $2bn for 2018, is directed at implementation of the company’s environmental programme and infrastructure modernisation plans.

Under the environmental programme, the company will focus on the implementation of SO2-capturing technologies and reconfiguration of the copper production chain.