Wills on Walls Awards 2013

AFTER consultation with my illustrious editor, I considered it time to announce some awards for outstanding (or unusual) achievements for 2013.
Wills on Walls Awards 2013 Wills on Walls Awards 2013 Wills on Walls Awards 2013 Wills on Walls Awards 2013 Wills on Walls Awards 2013


Staff Reporter

Published in the June 2013 Australian Longwall Magazine

The Wills on Walls Awards were last “awarded” back in 2011, and while they probably had no impact on the financial enhancement of anyone’s bank balance by way of pecuniary reward, they were largely greeted with appreciation.

Once again I must stress that the awards are purely based on my own experiences of longwall operations, and I don’t get to see them all every year – so please don’t be devastated if you don’t get a mention.

Of course, there is an appeals process. Send any complaints to this magazine. While I am the judge and jury, the editor is the executioner …

The Wills on Walls Awards 2013 (In no particular order)

The Most Improved Longwall Award this year must go to Carborough Downs. In 2011 Carborough Downs was given the Most Challenging Longwall Award.

It has gone through extremely difficult mining conditions over the past two years that impacted severely on the equipment.

The perseverance of the people at Carborough Downs has paid off. Well done to Brenda Johnson and her team.

The Vintage Longwall Award is always a tough call. Please note there is a difference between “vintage” and “obsolete”

This year it is a tie between Kestrel North and Crinum. Both mines have been operating these longwalls for many years and they are still performing well.

In actual fact, both of these longwalls were designed and built in an era before Finite Element Analysis was invented and they were built like brick outhouses.

The Shortest Longwall Award goes to Chain Valley. At 95m long it could almost be described as a Longwall Mini.

The Best Newcomer Award goes to Whitehaven’s Narrabri Mine. This mine has unique mining conditions that I have not witnessed before. The coal is as hard as rock with no marker bands. The overlying conglomerate causes significant weighting events, resulting in roof falls that have been successfully mined through on each occasion.

However, after less than one year since start up, the completely new longwall crews have been achieving world-class tonnages in the past few months. There have been many technical challenges to overcome on the part of original equipment makers and management.

The rulebook on longwall mining has been rewritten for Narrabri. See Paul Bryan for a copy.

The Best New Shearer Driver Award goes to Wade Bartlett at Narrabri.

The Best Top Level Caving Longwall Award goes to Austar. The people at Austar have been the Australian pioneers of this technology along with Caterpillar the OEM. Without the experience and systems developed at Austar, the projects at Broadmeadow and North Goonyella would probably still be on paper.

Finally three special awards:

The Phoenix Longwall Award

There are several mines in Australia that have never reached their huge potential despite massive investment, the highest levels of technology available, and skilled people.

This year there has been a remarkable turnaround in achievements at one such mine in Queensland.

Moranbah North has never really achieved its potential since it started longwall production in the late 1990s.

Difficult and arduous mining conditions have always prevailed.

In 2013 Moranbah North has gone through some dramatic changes resulting in consistent record tonnages and a rejuvenated longwall operation. It has literally “risen from the ashes”

Glen Britton’s team has dramatically enhanced the results from this longwall operation. Mentioned in dispatches are Jim Canning, Andy Morris and Matt Barker.

The Longwall Lifetime Achievement Award

There are people in our industry who undoubtedly leave their mark.

Many achieve top positions in the companies they work for and climb the corporate ladder. Some become “consultants” and disappear into obscurity.

Others are just very good at what they do and become longwall legends.

One such character that fits the legend title is Jimmy Johnson at Blakefield South.

Jim knows longwalls inside out and has been responsible for great achievements at many mines, including Ellalong, South Bulga, Southlands, United, Beltana and Blakefield South.

Highest Standards Longwall Award

There is no doubt longwall standards are improving throughout Australia. I consider our safety standards to be the highest in the world by a long way.

However, I have not yet seen a longwall that can match Angus Place for top standards, so they win this one again.

Well done to Tony Longmate and the entire longwall team at Angus Place. If you win this again you get to keep the trophy.

Carborough Downs is the Most Improved Longwall.

Angus Place takes the Highest Standards Longwall Award.

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