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Australian Mining Prospect Awards Finalist: Coal Mine of the Year

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The shortlist for the 10th Annual Prospect Awards Coal Mine of the Year

Rio Tinto: Clermont Coal Mine

Rio Tinto's Clermont mine has been nominated as a finalist for the Coal Mine of the Year award for its innovative use of technology on site and achieving record mining benchmarks.

According to Rio Tinto the mine has realised 12Mtpa production levels by using our highly innovative in-pit crushing conveyor (IPCC) technology in combination with an efficient truck and shovel fleet to cheaply move waste and achieve one of the lowest free on board (FOB)costs in Australia.

With a record low All Injury Frequency rate and one of the most diverse workforces in Queensland, the Clermont mine has turned the corner from a project to a hugely successful export thermal coal mining operation during the past year.

Key to the transformation was the mindset of the people on the ground to overcome bottlenecks by implementing innovative and at times uncomfortable changes, to realise immediate and sustainable profitability. 

Typical examples of bold initiatives which have reduced the 2013 site cash costs to half that of 2012 include: The use of chains on rear dump coal trucks to ensure continued ROM bin feed in wet weather, introduction of a direct engagement safety model with the work force,in-housing the electric shovel maintenance, taking Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) for the truck fleet above 100 hours and innovative truck dispatching techniques to realise sustainable effective utilisation above 70 per cent. 

GlencoreXstrata: Mangoola Coal Mine

GlencoreXstrata's Mangoola mine has been nominated for the Coal Mine of the Year.

The mine is a young open cut mine producing up to 10.5M ROM tonnes/annum of thermal coal for the domestic and export markets.

It consists of an open cut mine, a CHPP,and a train load out facility.

A continuous 24/7 operation based around a 12 hour shift roster, it employs about 300 people. 

Environmental management at the mine is considered best practice and with aspects of the operation focused on minimising impacts on the community.

It uses a network of real time and continuous air quality and noise monitoring stations complete with alarming and has full coverage of the entire operation, and can visually monitor the site remotely.

Some of the key tasks that rely on its integrated environmental systems include the scheduling of overburden blasts around unfavourable weather conditions; allowing truck fleets to tip on high dumps to enable rehabilitation to be completed quickly without creating lagging, exposed dump areas; and ability to use coal dozers at the CHPP more effectively in terms of their productivity linked to operational speed as a result of track noise generated.

It has also addressed noise control, with three bulldozers on the product coal stockpiles now adapted with shielding on the final drives to reduce track ‘slap’ noises emitted by operating dozers.

In addition to the environmental achievements at Mangoola, the positive “can-do” workforce culture has contributed to best practice machine performance from the mine's truck and excavator fleets – with the mine regularly achieving better than industry benchmark machine utilisation and productivity. This outcome is a compilation of efforts from many areas within the business from planning and scheduling, to machine maintenance practices to operator capability.

Notably, only 3 years ago, Mangoola employed more than half its workforce from non-mining related backgrounds, creating a significant training requirement which was addressed through the use of simulators for initial as well as ongoing operator training.

Anglo American: Moranbah North Coal Mine

For a complete turnaround in its performance within the space of 18 months, Anglo American's Moranbah North mine has been nominated for the Coal Mine of the Year Award.

In 2013, the miner recorded a number of significant safety improvements, reached record production rates, and developed best practice longwall performance.

According to Anglo American in early May 2013 the Moranbah North reached 125 cutting hours in one week to produce 245000 tonnes of hard coking coal, the best week of production ever experienced at the mine.

It also stated that safety is at an all-time low following last year’s 49.8 per cent improvement in the lost time injury frequency rate.

"Moranbah North has gone from strength to strength and is now on track to delivering its most productive and safe year in its 15 year history," it said.

The mine first opened in 200, with longwall operations stating 2000.

From this time until the present it had an uneven safety rate that fluctuated from between 4.36 and 11.52, but a fall of ground in the conveyor drift, which caused significant production constraints,acted as a catalyst for a complete review of its operations, which identified that mine planning, people management systems and processes were not the best fit for purpose.

It took action to change its culture and bring new innovations that slashed its injury rate, and in turn saw its CHPP plant achieve six years LTI free.
GlencoreXstrata: Tahmoor Coal Mine

For its innovative approach to environmental management and social licence to operate, GlencoreXstrata's Tahmoor mine has been nominated as a finalist for the Coal Mine of the Year award.

In 2012 the Tahmoor Colliery completed construction and commissioning of a sustainable recycled water management system to service the operation, conserving approximately one million litres of fresh drinking water per day, by treating and utilising waste mine water.

The project was completed following several years of consultation and design review with several government agencies including the Office of Environment & Heritage (formerly the Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water), the Environment Protection Authority,the NSW Office of Water, and the Office of Hawkesbury Nepean. The project involved the construction of a one megalitre (ML) per day capacity Recycled Water Treatment Plant, and two 250 000 litre concrete water tanks to supply treated water to the underground mine.

The plant was constructed at a capital cost of approximately $3.31 million ($2 million of which was provided by the NSW State Government as part of a Water Savings Funding Agreement through the Office of Environment & Heritage). Since May 2013, full-time operation of the plant has demonstrated significant potable water savings, and is an example of our leading practice approach to water management and sustainable development at Tahmoor Colliery.

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