Archived News for Industry Professionals - July, 2012
The Namoi Catchment Water Study, commissioned by the NSW Government and prepared by Schlumberger, has found that mining and coal seam gas drilling at current levels are unlikely to cause extensive regional-scale damage water supplies in north-west NSW. Increased mining could be expected to place more pressure on fresh water supplies.
However, the study found that ''More local scale impacts are likely and the cumulative effects of numerous developments in close proximity will increase the risk to the water resources in those areas.''
The study concluded that “With long-term and more extensive development, especially within the Gunnedah Basin Management Area where the likelihood of further development of coal and gas resources is highest, the cumulative effect of impacts on groundwater levels in the hard rock units and alluvium will be more significant.”
The South Australian Environment Minister Bill Marmion has appointed Dr Roy Green to investigate more than 200 appeals received regarding the Environmental Protection Authority’s report on the Browse Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Precinct at James Price Point.
Dr Green has considerable experience in government and the petroleum industry, including chairing an expert panel for quarantine management at the Gorgon LNG Project on Barrow Island Nature Reserve.
“Dr Green is appointed as an appeals committee and will investigate all appeals received,” Mr Marmion said.
“He has previously been the chief executive of the CSIRO and deputy chairman of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), and as such, is considered to have an eminent standing to undertake the committee role.”
The process of investigating the appeals will include consultation with the EPA, appellants and the proponent. Once the committee has completed its investigations, a report is presented to the Minister, who will determine the appeals having regard to the committee’s advice.
Appeals against the EPA’s report closed on Monday July 30, 2012.
This year’s Mining Business Outlook Report by Newport Consulting has found that mining leaders are ‘more bearish’ in their economic outlook for 2012–13 compared to the previous financial year.
A resources analyst says the slump in Australia's mining industry is due to complex issues at home and in China.
Thermal coal has hit two-year lows of around $US88 a metric tonne.
Iron ore has dropped around 15 per per cent in two months, fetching an average of less than $US120 a tonne.
Matthew Trivett, of Patersons Securities, says the market is not as confident as it used to be about the information coming out of China, which is the largest buyer of those commodities.
He says some Chinese Government decision making is based on on appeasing the masses rather than on solid economics.
Mr Trivett says there are also problems with the high cost of Australian mining.
"On the home front, we've got a lot of rising costs, lot of union action, a lot of the projects coming on line need a lot of capital," he said.
"And what we thought was going to be a good revenue stream in the future is getting smashed by prices falling off a cliff."
German chemical company, BASF, has opened a research and development centre in Australia to lead technological innovation and increase productivity in the global mining and resources sector.
The new facility, located at the Australian Mineral Research Centre (AMRC) in Perth, will drive innovation in mineral processing and metal production technology with a view to enhance sustainable mining practices in Australia and around the world.
A team of six will lead the company’s research into minerals thickening and crystallisation processes; by 2017 BASF hope to employ around 20 researchers at the centre.
Vice Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF, Dr Martin Brudemueller, said the company’s research will help to ensure the sustainability of the global mining industry.
“With the latest advances in mining solutions research, BASF aims to help mining operations to minimize water consumption, maximize recovery, reduce land areas consumed by tailings disposal and minimize the cost and time required to rehabilitate sites,” Dr Brudemueller said.
A major study highlighting how the Upper Spencer Gulf region in South Australia can boost regional development opportunities from the growing resources and energy sectors has been released.
The Western Australian Government has taken steps to prevent future coal mining in the Margaret River area by terminating all pending applications for coal exploration activities within a 230-square kilometre zone.
The WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore said the decision followed Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) advice which indicated coal mining in the area posed an unacceptable environmental risk.
Based on that advice, the State Government rejected the Vasse Coal proposal last February.
“The Government has now decided that the advice should also be applied to the whole of the coal mineralisation extending through the identified 230-square kilometre zone and applications for coal exploration or mining should not be supported,” Mr Moore said.
“This decision sends a signal to the industry - applications will not be accepted to explore for or mine coal in this area."
Under the Mining Act 1978, the Minister for Mines and Petroleum can terminate or refuse applications if the Minister is satisfied on reasonable grounds that it is in the public interest to do so. This provision will be invoked if explorers are unwilling to withdraw their coal applications.
"I would emphasise that this decision is based on unique and local circumstances existing only in the Capes region. It will provide some future certainty for local residents and landowners without adding unnecessary sovereign risk to the State’s $107billion resources sector,” Mr Moore said.
The Minister said any future applications for exploration or mining activities for commodities other than coal in the Capes region would be reviewed on their own merits and would be subject to the same rigorous assessments before any approval would be considered.
The NSW Office of Water's revised aquifer interference draft policy has been criticised as bowing to pressure from the mining industry and exempting major projects from its controls.
Ansaldo STS Australia has been awarded two contracts worth A$362 million under the Rio Tinto Iron Ore – Ansaldo STS Framework Agreement (RAFA) established in 2010.
Iron ore miner, Grange Resources, has appointed Richard Mehan as CEO and Managing Director, replacing Russell Clark who resigned recently.
Mr Mehan has over 30 years’ experience in the resources industry, largely in iron ore and has held a number of senior positions including the CEO of Portman Ltd and Jupiter Mines Limited. He spent 15 years with Rio Tinto iron ore in a range of commercial roles including sales and marketing, business analysis and development and bulk shipping. In 2011 Mr Mehan was appointed Managing Director and CEO of Jupiter Mines Limited.
Contract coal miner Thiess has been awarded a $2.3 billion contract to extend mining operations at Jellinbah Group’s Lake Vermont coal mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.
The Federal Government’s $70 million Coal Mining Abatement Technology Support Package has been launched, providing funding to accelerate the development of abatement technologies and processes for the Australian coal mining industry.
Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) have released the results of a long-running study into the carcinogenic effects of coal mining in response to growing concerns raised by the employees over the prevelance of cancer rates in the workforce.
Innovative individuals and projects across seven fields have an opportunity to secure cash prizes and national recognition as part of the Australian Innovation Challenge, an initiative of The Australian newspaper in association with Shell Australia.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association’s (APPEA) Conference on workforce development and productivity has commenced in Darwin, marking the first time the conference has been hosted in the city.
The Northern Territory Government has announced the creation of two new parks, the Limnen National Park and the Linmen Bight Marine Park, which collectively add a further million hectares to the state’s parks and marine reserves.
The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has delivered its final assessment of the proposed James Price Point Liquefied Natural Gas precict, recommending the project for approval.