Australia’s Top Mining Projects30 Mar, 20223:38
The mining industry is a key pillar of the Australian economy – it’s one of the largest expo...
The mining industry is a key pillar of the Australian economy – it’s one of the largest exporters of coal, iron ore, bauxite, lithium, alumina and has the largest estimated gold mine reserves in the world. The sector also reports employing, nearly 150,000 people.
The future of mining in Australia is looking bright, with expected further exploration and mining of elements such as cobalt, lithium, and nickel. These elements are key in the production of battery cells necessary for the growth of renewable and green technologies.
So, which are the top mining projects in Australia that are contributing to the country’s booming mining industry?
Australian Vanadium Project - 250.2 Million AUD
The Australian Vanadium Project, which used to be known as Gabanintha, is located in Meekatharra, Western Australia. The project is an open-pit mine that’s owned and operated by Australian Vanadium (AVL).
AVL is investing an estimated 250.2 million AUD into the project, which is expected to produce approximately 10,111 tonnes per year of vanadium pentoxide flake. It’s estimated that the project will create approximately 500 construction and 240 permanent jobs.
The project will involve the construction of an open-pit mine and a processing plant with the potential to produce about 900,000 tonnes per year of magnetic concentrate.
Australian Vanadium completed the pre-feasibility study (PFS) in December 2018 and as of April 2021, AVL was at the Capital Estimating (Bankable Feasibility Study) stage, supported by Wood (as metallurgical consultants) and Umwelt (environmental consultants).
The project was initially released in October 2014, construction is expected to start in September 2022, and the project is predicted to be complete by March 2024.
Greenbushes Lithium Mine Expansion – 300 Million AUD
The Greenbushes Lithium Mine Expansion project, worth 300 Million AUD, is located in Greenbushes, Western Australia, about 250km south of Perth. The project is owned and being developed by Talison Lithium, a subsidiary of Windfield Holdings.
The Greenbushes mine is currently the biggest operating lithium mine in the world. The expansion project aims to increase the area of the mine and upgrade existing ore facilities. This should increase the production capacity of spodumene ore and lithium mineral concentrate from the Greenbushes deposit.
The processing capacity for the whole project is expected to go from 4.7MM T/yr to 9.5MM T/yr. The new Chemical Grade Processing Plant will have a capacity of 2.4MM T/yr and the mine will be expanded to 2.8km long, 1km wide, and 450m deep.
Talison Lithium, supported by Lycopodium Limited, an EPCM contractor, is currently at the Detailed Engineering phase of the project. The project was released in February 2018, construction is expected to start in June 2022, and completion is predicted for December 2023.
Kalgoorlie Rare Earth Processing Facility – 350 Million AUD
The Kalgoorlie Rare Earth Processing Facility project, worth 350 Million AUD, is located in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. The project is owned by Lynas Rare Earths and was released in May 2019.
The facility will process the Rare Earth concentrate from the Mount Weld Mine and is in line with the company’s 2025 growth vision. The materials that are produced at Kalgoorlie will be further processed at the Lynas Malaysia advanced materials plant in Gebeng, Malaysia, or at their proposed Rare Earths separation facility in the United States.
The process engineering and high-level design for the project were done in house by Lynas, whilst detailed engineering design went out to a range of Australian companies.
In February 2022, the project received the Ministerial Statement for the Kalgoorlie Rare Earth Processing Facility which approved the implementation of the project.
The project is expected to reach completion in September 2023.
Yangibana Rare Earths Project – 427 Million AUD
The Yangibana Rare Earths Project is located 270km away from Carnarvon, in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia. The project, worth 427 million AUD, integrates 9 mining licences (MLs), 6 of which are wholly owned by Hastings Technology Metals, whilst the other 3 are owned by a joint venture between Hastings Technology Metals (70%) and Cadence (30%).
The first 6 mines cover an area of 16.6km² whilst the three others cover 31.2km² of land.
The project was released in December 2014, whilst the scoping study for Yangibana was completed in November 2015 and the financial analysis for the pre-feasibility study (PFS) was completed in April 2016. FID (Final Investment Decision) was published in March 2019.
The project is to be completed in two phases - the construction for the first phase started in 2018 when approval from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) was received. The project is expected to be completed by November 2024.
South Flank Autonomous Truck Conversion – 5 Billion AUD
BHP are in the process of transitioning to an autonomous haulage fleet at their South Flank mine. The project is worth 5 Billion AUD.
South Flank is Australia’s biggest iron ore mine in over 100 years and achieved its first production in May 2021. With the transition, the mine will have up to 6 Komatsu trucks converted to the autonomous haulage system in June 2022.
Initially, the trucks will be operated remotely from the site, before transitioning to the company’s office in Perth.
The aim of the project is to have the entire fleet of 41 Komatsu 930E Haul Trucks transitioned to autonomous operations by September 2023.
BHP is expecting this project to create about 60 new positions.
NES Fircroft and the mining industry
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