And the winners are …

CORE Resources, Northern Star Resources, AMC Consultants, Mader Group, Bis Industries, OceanaGold, ReRisk, Movus and Andrew Dittmann have all been named Future of Mining award winners.
And the winners are … And the winners are … And the winners are … And the winners are … And the winners are …

Core Resources technical director Peter Rohner (left) with National Group managing director Mark Ackroyd.

Not only did Core Resources win the METS Exporter of the Year Award, it was also crowned winner of the overall Future of Mining Award.

The FoM Award was sponsored by National Group.

During the qualifying period of November 1 2017 to October 31 2018 Core Resources' export sales grew 80%. That was on top of a 275% export growth from 2016 to 2017.

The Albion, Queensland-based company specialises in providing processing and environmental solutions to the mining industry.

During the qualifying period Core's team of technologists and engineers grew 70%.

The company serviced projects in Europe, Africa South East Asia, Central Asia, Russia, Australasia, North America and South America.

Its core technologies are The Toowong Process and the Albion Process.

The Toowong Process is used for cleaning up deleterious contaminants in base metals concentrates.

The Albion Process, which is marketed in a partnership with Glencore Technologies, is used to treat complex ores.

Notably, the Albion Process was recently commissioned in a Soviet-era mine in Armenia, raising gold recoveries from below 20% to more than 95%.

The other finalists in the METS Exporter category were Imdex, Conveyor Products and Solutions, iVolve and DSI Underground.

Imdex generates about 70% of its revenue outside Australia. During the qualifying period its revenue was 27% higher than the previous corresponding period.

During the period Imdex developed and/or commercialised a range of products including the Reflex Gyro Sprint-IQ, the  Reflex Crusher, Reflex Mill and AMC Mud Aid.

Conveyor Products and Solutions took a big step into the export market with its December delivery of the first package of conveyor components to the First Quantum Minerals Cobre Panama copper project. That package was worth $8.5 million abd has been followed up by about $4.5 million in additional components and spares.

iVolve provides a suite of software and hardware solutions for mines, ports and bulk handling facilities.

he winners from the 2019 uture of ining wardsThe winners from the 2019 Future of Mining Awards.

The Brisbane company opened its first office in Boulder Colorado in late 2017 to support its North American distributor.

DSI Underground offers a range of strata control products that are manufactured in Newcastle, Brisbane and Perth.

It has grown to become a major global player in the underground strata control industry.

Movus won the inaugural Start-Ups award, run by Unearthed.

The Start-Ups award started out with 22 and a panel had the task of reducing that to five.

Those five companies Bortana EV, Canaria, Interlate, Movus and Vayeron were each given the chance to make a five minute pitch to the Start-Ups award judging panel at the Future of Mining Australia conference.

That panel was made up of GMG chair Michelle Ash, Hobbs Group principal consultant Kate Hobbs, Anglo American's Dan Reynolds, Newcrest general manager technology Tony Sprague, Commitworks CEO Paul Moynagh and Accelerator Unearthed general manager David Carmerlengo.

Movus CEO Brad Parsons said the company had developed the Fitmachine - a Fitbit for machinery.

The device essentially sticks to the side of a piece of fixed plant rotating equipment and monitors vibration, noise and temperature.

"It's not big data, it's actually small data," Parsons said.

He said one of the key selling points for the device was its five minute installation.

The device has a battery that lasts two years.

Northern Star Resources won the Operational Excellence Award, sponsored by MMD, for exceeding its production guidance.

That, and doing it while also reducing its lost time injury frequency rate by 50% to 0.9, which is well below the underground mining sector's performance of 2.7.

The total recordable injury frequency rate fell too, dropping 75% to 3.2, which is well below the sector's rate of 9.6.

This came through the company's STARR core values of safety, teamwork, accountability, respect and results.

Technology is also a key for Northern Star. Last year it became an official technology collaborator with Minnovare to develop and implement Minnovare's technology across Northern Star's sites.

The other Operational Excellence finalists were Idemitsu Australia Resources' Ensham Resources underground coal mine, PMS Group, Byrnecut subsidiary Raising Australia and BHP's Olympic Dam.

Ensham lays claims to having four continuous miners in the top 10 in the world. Its machines were compared against industry leading South African and US mines.

The bord and pillar coal mine is located 40km northeast of Emerald, Queensland.

PIMS Group is a multidisciplinary mining-focused business. It has focused on continual improvement through adjustments to its procedures and policies. Those shifts have created a more focused team, raising efficiency and accuracy.

Slot raising is a critical phase in any underground mining process that traditionally involves a lot of people, rigs and time.

Then there are the safety issues.

Raising Australia, part of Byrnecut, has developed a system that requires just one operator and that operator located well away from the rig.

Bringing a bit of electricity to its operations helped Olympic Dam secure the final finalist's berth.

It has been working to reduce the exposure of its team members to diesel particulate matter by 50% by 2022.

One of the ways it has done that is to bring in a battery-powered electric Land Cruiser ute and is bringing in another this year. Those vehicles will work within the mine's 240-strong underground light vehicle fleet.

AMC Consultants was named the Mining Consultant of the Year.

Over the qualifying period the firm secured 419 new assignments with a set project budget of $39 million.

It expects a sizeable number of those projects to continue into 2019 because 75% of its business is repeat business.

The increased demand for its services led a 35% increase in its technical staff headcount and a 34% increase in staff overall.

RPM Global came a close second to AMC in the consultant's category.

The Innovation Award, sponsored by Vega, went to Bis Industries.

It turns out building a completely different take on the humble haul truck tends to grab judges' attention.

That truck has just finished field trials at Glencore's Murrin Murrin nickel mine in Western Australia's northeastern Goldfields.

Those trials suggest that the 160t payload Rexx, for Roam Everywhere and XX for its 20 wheels, could bring a 30% reduction in operating costs compared to conventional haulers.

Bis CEO Brad Rogers recognised a problem in doubling handling product when it was being moved from pit to processing.

he is ndustries team with their awardThe Bis Industries team with their award.

He tasked the Bis engineering team to come up with a long range out of pit hauler that would combine the distance capacity of a traditional off road haulage truck with the strength of a conventional dump truck and last year the Rexx was launched.

The other Innovation Award finalists were Anglo American, Boart Longyear, Interlate and the NPJV.

Anglo American applied a surface miner from Sydney-based Specialist Tunnel Excavations to help it solve a problem in its drill and blast area.

Due to the steeply dipping coal seams at its Dawson mine drill preparation used to involve creating "level" benches by backfilling with overburden from other mining areas. This was a time consuming task that resulted in low quality drilling.

The surface miner was able to create almost flat areas that allowed better drilling and blasting.

The Njamal People, the Traditional Owners of the land east of South Hedland past Marble Bar and out to Wandanya on the Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia decided to create a contracting business to do more for their people.

They had to overcome the poor corporate governance, minimal business planning and financial literacy, and lack of ongoing operational support that had caused many other Indigenous businesses to fail.

The Njamal joined forces with Pilbara Resource Group to create a successful contracting firm.

The NPJV has so far picked up more than $20 million in contracts.

Boart Longyear has made the cut for its Truscan device that can provide non-destructive, high-density elemental concentration data faster than the drill rig can produce drill core.

To create the device Boart Longyear put together a team, some of whom were completely removed from the mining industry.

That team developed bespoke algorithms and hardware to deliver the result.

Technology start-up Interlate has developed a solution that includes a blend of technology, expertise and big data analytics to provide sustainable productivity improvements in mineral processing plants.

It connects operations in real time to the best minds and solutions through a live secure data connection.

That can provide real-time insight to the site teams.

Mader Group has won the Contractor of the Year Award, sponsored by Minnovare, for its rapid growth during the qualifying period.

It has grown from its founder Luke Mader working on his own in 2005 to a staff of 1015 working across Australia, Asia, Africa and America.

A major uptick in work won during the qualifying period led the company to grow from 550 staff to 1015.

In August it opened an office in Colarado, US.

Mader said the company's top 10 clients were all repeat clients and they made up 82% of its revenue.

Other Contractor of the Year finalists were Barminco, Coal Augering Services, SMS Mining Services and Cougar Drilling.

Barminco's winning of several contracts both in its own right and through its African Underground Mining Services joint venture with parent Ausdrill put it into the mix.

Through the qualifying period those wins included a contract win at Anglogold Ashanti's Obuasi project, a four-year contract extension at Agnew, a five-year contract extension at Sunrise Dam and a long-term contract win at Mt Colin.

During the qualifying period SMS Mining won seven contracts with a combined value of $991 million.

That included with Tawana Resources' Bald Hill lithium and tantalum mine, Norton Gold Fields' Matts Dam South and Coolgardie Minerals Geko gold project.

That has led SMS to increase its workforce from 250 to 700 and grow its fleet to 150 pieces of heavy earthmoving equipment.

During the period it also merged with the Rivet Group.

Cougar Drilling has a similar story. It started off with three employees and a 20 year old drill rig in 2016.

It has grown from its New South Wales base to expand into Queensland.

Coal Augering Services is a player in the niche area of highwall mining.

This allows clients to target hitherto inaccessible coal reserves.

CAS had two contracts in 2018 - with Peabody Energy's coal mine in Moranbah, Queensland and Batchfire Resources' Callide mine in Biloeala, Queensland.

MEC Mining business development coordinator Andrew Dittmann has won the Emerging Leader of the Year Award, sponsored by Komatsu.

Last year Dittmann organised and co-chaired an MEC Mining event for mining engineers on transitioning from technical export to leader. Dittmann also arranged sponsorship for the UQ Mining and Metallurgy Association graduate dinner and has been looking at founding a Young Mining Professionals chapter in Brisbane.

Other Emerging Leader finalists were Callum Baxter-Waters, Liam O'Connor, Ben Fitzsimmons and Djibril Diakite.

Baxter-Walters works for BHP in Queensland.

He said development and mentoring were key fundamentals for him and that he appreciated just how important that was for building talent pipelines for the future to alleviate the leadership skills shortage he expected would affect the industry in the future.

O'Connor helped established the Social Impact Program at Tasman Rope Access.

That program grew from a challenge he put to Tasman Power, Tasman Rope Access, Tasman Mechanical and Tasman Recruiting leaders.

Fitzsimmons is at the heart of the battle for hearts and minds within the mining industry.

He leads a small team at Hume Coal tackling aggressive attacks by activists trying to stop the company's efforts to explore for coal in New South Wales' Southern Highlands.

One of his efforts has been to start a program educating school children on how coal mining can contribute to society and impact their lives.

Diakite has managed Oklo Resources projects in Mali and is well respected by other members of the team there.

OceanaGold won the Environmental Excellence Award for the work it did in relation to its Coronation North development.

It created the Common Ground Study, working with the University of Otago to investigate the values that each of the stakeholder groups placed on the land and to identify where those values intersected.

The survey not only established common ground but allowed the farmers the chance to have their voices heard and start them on a conservation journey.

Other finalists were CST Wastewater Solutions, Columbus Group and Air Springs Supply

CST got the nod for its KDS multi-disc roller separator that uses a combination of coarse and fine screening and advanced dray compaction technology to produce a more hygienic and compact output that is easier to handle and transport.

Columbus has been recognised for its Matrix Cluster Drilling system that is designed to retrofit auxectic webbing inside the width and depth of a tailings dam wall.

Air Springs Supply received its finalist berth for its OPL and OPLT pipe plugs that are used to seal water, sewage, hydrocarbon and chemical process pipelines.

Safety Excellence Award winner ReRisk built what it says is the world's first and only technology to allow workers to safely navigate the mathematics of workplace safety within dynamic environments.

Instead of simply digitalising safety checklists it focuses on delivering real-time technical support to workers including:

  • Searchable and expandable lists of hazards and controls to help workers navigate infinite combinations;
  • Intelligence-driven prompts and reminders specific to each worker and the tasks they are completing;
  • Multiple simultaneous risk hierarchies that merge to accommodate the complexity of in-field logistics - in other words if the worker is not authorised, ReRisk will not enable them; and
  • A multi-media interface providing technical information as workers need it.

Other Safety Excellence finalists were Metso, Foraco and Heat Trap Solar.

Heat Trap Solar has developed a chiller to get around the problem of bacteria build up in the potable water being sent to safety showers.

The company says flushing contaminated eyes in potable water at 45C can result in permanent loss of sight within minutes.

That is thanks to the legionella bacteria that can flourish in stagnant water kept at more than 35C.

Its chillers store water at 5C. That chilled water is injected into the stream going to the safety shower to cool the water to the recommended tepid temperature range of 15.6C to 37.8C.

Metso helped its client Glencore with its aim to eliminate the use of hammers at its facilities.

Hammer use is strongly linked to hand injuries.

Metso developed a screen media fastening system that requires a rattle gun, rather than a hammer to remove and replace screen media.

Called the HMLS Modular System, it has virtually eliminated the use of hammers in screen media replacement while having no impact on the structural integrity of the vibrating screen.

Foraco has developed a remotely operated reverse-circulation drill rig.

It allows the operator to drill from more than 8m away, removing them from the vicinity of high pressure energy sources such as hydraulics, compressed air, heat, noise, vibration and potential falling objects from the drill mast.

The driller also gets a much wider angle of view of their drill pad and all the activities being undertaken.

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Most read Future of Mining