OZ Minerals’ Katie Hulmes: SA mining sector creating benefits for all

South Australian geologist and engineer Katie Hulmes admits that earlier in her mining career, she’d look around and realise the room was full of men.

But that scenario is increasingly changing, says the 35-year-old General Manager Transformation and Readiness at one of South Australia’s largest mining companies, OZ Minerals.

She says it’s both men and women who have helped shape her successful career in mining, an industry that employs 10,000 South Australians.

“I’ve been really lucky to work with amazing men and women throughout my entire career, and OZ Minerals has always brought a diversity of thought and process to what we do,” she says.

“It’s definitely changed over the years, absolutely there are more women now.”

Joining the ASX-listed company in 2008, Katie’s current role involves helping OZ Minerals – one of Australia’s largest copper producers – progress as a modern mining company.

She began her career in the mining sector at the age of just 17, working as a field engineer for Golder Associates while, at the same time, pursuing a geology degree at the University of Adelaide.

The 35-year-old has not only managed to establish a career in the state’s mining sector, but maintain it here too, and says opportunities exist for others to follow suit.

Oz Minerals General Manager of Transformation and Readiness Katie Hulmes is an I Choose SA ambassador. Photo by James Knowler / JKTP.

“I’m a firm believer that individuals can create opportunities and SA is full of them,” says Katie, an I Choose SA ambassador for the energy and mining sector.

“I think when people go into university, they shouldn’t be thinking that they can’t because they absolutely can get a job in mining.

“Mining doesn’t just need people to come out with degrees in geology and mining engineering, we need people with a range of skills – as an example we employ data scientists, communication specialists, lawyers, nanotechnology engineers and biochemists.

“It doesn’t necessarily matter the field you study, there are opportunities in this industry.”

Katie took an unconventional path into the workforce, working full-time in the mining industry while undertaking her bachelor’s degree.

After Golder Associates, she worked for a company then called Resource and Environmental Management at Prominent Hill, south east of Coober Pedy in the state’s Far North.

Prominent Hill is OZ Minerals’ copper-gold mining operation that produces one of the market’s highest grades of copper concentrate.

While flying in and out of Prominent Hill, Katie also pursued her second degree, a Bachelor of Engineering (civil and environmental).

She witnessed OZ Minerals’ transformation in 2015, when it relocated its headquarters from Melbourne to Adelaide to be closer to its flagship operation.

Aside from Prominent Hill and projects across Australia and in Brazil, OZ Minerals also owns Carrapateena, a copper gold deposit 160km north of Port Augusta.

“SA was a local place to our operating asset at the time. It was a more affordable place to do business, so it made sense to position ourselves here,” Katie says.

“We changed our workforce, our direction and our vision and really tried to lift being a modern mining company to the forefront of everything we do.

“It allowed us to reconsolidate. It was an exciting time.”

Last year came a big announcement – board approval of a $916m investment to develop the Carrapateena mine.

The project is set to create 1000 jobs from construction through to production. It will be a 4.5 million tonne per annum (Mtpa) underground operation with an estimated life of 20 years.

Construction on site has commenced, with the airstrip completed recently. Commissioning of the mine is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2019.

Katie says the operation will not only benefit direct job creation, but will also have flow on effects for supply chain companies throughout the Upper Spencer Gulf.

The impact on local community’s livelihood and prosperity will also be felt, she says.

“There is excitement in the community around Carrapateena getting started,” Katie says.

“As we are promising local employment and procurement, I believe there will be flow on opportunities for the next 20 years in the region.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Hillgrove Resources GM on SA’s world-class mining operations

As Hillgrove Resources explores ground-breaking opportunities for its Adelaide Hills copper mine in the energy business, its well-travelled general manager Lachlan Wallace is relishing being part of a world-class operation.

He’s a firm supporter of plans for a pumped hydro energy storage project at the Kanmantoo mine along with exploring some of the state’s untapped copper potential in the South East.

“Having worked overseas and seeing how mining is done elsewhere, it made me realise Australia is the best at mining effectively, we are the world leaders in mining practice and by a long stretch,” Lachlan says.

“I think also having lived and worked in Europe, Asia, Africa and on the east coast of Australia during the past 20 years, there’s no better place to live, nowhere more liveable than South Australia.”

It’s a bold statement from the proud South Australian whose diverse career kicked off with a mining engineering degree at the University of South Australia’s Mawson Lakes campus.

His first job was in Tasmania at the Savage River iron ore mine where Lachlan delivered wide-reaching training from equipment operation to surveying, geology and production engineering.

Hillgrove Resources general manager and I Choose SA ambassador Lachlan Wallace. Photo by James Knowler / JKTP

It was around the seven-year mark that his wife Rebecca, a talented jewellery maker he met at a Blackwood fruit and vegetable shop, was offered a rare opportunity to train in one of the world’s creative epicentres, Milan, in Italy.

“We both moved to Italy,” Lachlan says, and the decision also launched his own international career.

He worked out of Johannesburg in Africa on mines in Zambia and Guinea, in Switzerland and India and then the couple moved to Indonesia, before deciding it was time to move home.

“I’d been watching the project at Kanmantoo for a long time and saw it as an exciting new development in the Adelaide Hills where there hadn’t been any open cut mining for 30 years,” Lachlan says.

In February, 2012, Lachlan was named its mine manager, then in 2015 its general manager, working in a region thought to be one of the most under explored and prospective base metal provinces in Australia.

At this stage, the copper mine has a licence until the end of 2019, with Lachlan saying about nine months of mining is ahead and an additional 18 months of processing on site.

Work is also underway to look at the possibility of underground mining and also creating the onsite pumped hydro facility by 2021.

“We have what we believe would be the lowest capital cost per megawatt pumped hydro facility in Australia,” Lachlan says.

“It could provide a much-needed energy storage solution and network stability for SA’s electricity grid.

“We are looking to build a facility that would store over 14 times the energy of the much talked about Tesla battery in the state’s north, for only double the cost.”

The mine is also recognised for it cutting edge technology.

When Lachlan arrived he found a way to create a pit with steeper sides saying for each degree steeper millions of dollars in costs were saved.

The operation has also been recognised for its commitment to working with the local community.

At the moment, 85% of its 200 FTE and 60 FTE contractors live in the local region including nearby towns stretching from Murray Bridge to Mt Barker.

There’s been a strong relationship built over the years, and the Kanmantoo and Callington communities are currently working with the company to develop a 30-year regional master plan for the site and the region.

Hillgrove Resources sponsors local events and sporting teams, and each quarter holds a public meeting alternately at the Callington or Kanmantoo town halls.

In 2016, the Hillgrove Resources and Kanmantoo Callington Community Consultation Committee won the Premier’s excellence in supporting communities in the mining and energy awards.

“One of the most enjoyable aspects has been working with the local Kanmantoo and Callington communities to develop a regional master plan which seeks to ensure that the mine’s presence results in a lasting positive legacy to the community surrounding the mine,” Lachlan says.

“The work that Hillgrove and the local community is doing is recognised as best in industry, something of which I am very proud.

“It demonstrates that mining can have a positive impact on local communities beyond employment, and sets the bar for community engagement which is essential to ensure social acceptance of mining into the future.”

“Keeping young people is so important to regional communities and that means creating jobs so they don’t have to leave the area where they grew up in to find work, we’ve managed to do that successfully around Kanmantoo.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Scientist of the Year drills into mining breakthroughs

South Australia’s top scientist is hoping world-leading drill rig technology created in this state will generate millions of dollars for the local mineral exploration industry.

The RoXplorer rig was developed at the state’s renowned Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre (DET CRC) and is being hailed as a game-changer in cutting costs, time and improving safety.

Geologist and explorer Professor Richard Hillis says vast tracts of the continent contained potential undercover mineral deposits currently too difficult and expensive for geologists to pursue.

“What I’m hoping for is this new cheaper and safer drilling will spark a new wave of undercover exploration and discovery in SA and Australia,” he says.

The rig was developed under Professor Hillis’s leadership as chief executive of the CRC.

And it was this work, along with his extensive contribution to his field and in commercialising a range of world-leading technology that led to Professor Hillis being named the state’s Scientist of the Year on August 10.

The revolutionary new drill rig, the RoXplorer, has been labelled a “game-changer” for the mining sector.

The Scotsman first joined the University of Adelaide in 1992 and held positions that included Mawson Professor of Geology and Head of the Australian School of Petroleum, before he joined the DET CRC for the past eight years.

Professor Hillis believes the future of SA’s mining sector and its supply chain industries is promising.

“I think job opportunities are good at the minute, the mining industry is picking up and probably longer term, and hopefully it will be less cyclic in mining services,” he says.

The potential value of discoveries during Professor Hillis’s time at the DET CRC was estimated to be US$200m in extra value each year to Australia, according to Industry and Skills Minister David Pisoni.

“His work at the DET CRC has led to the commercialisation of technologies with projected future licensing income of around $3m per year,” Mr Pisoni said at the SA Science Excellence Awards night.

“For example, the RoXplorer, a coiled tubing rig developed by the centre, is a revolutionary game-changer for the mining sector and has recently been licensed to global mining equipment, services and technology giant IMDEX.

“This rig will drill low-cost bores and produce a suite of real-time geological data at a drilling cost of $50 per metre, around one sixth of the typical cost.”

SA Scientist of the Year Professor Richard Hillis.

The RoXplorer CT rig replaced individual drill rods with a continuous steel coil.

“In my view, research works best when industry defines the problem, industry knows what challenges it has and in this case, industry had to drill holes cheaper or Australia was going to lose mineral exploration,” Prof Hillis says.

“In the old days, if you were at 1000m you unscrewed 333 drill rods to put a new drill bit on and screwed them back on and got the drill bit to the bottom of the hole.

“What this rig, that drills about six times cheaper than conventional drilling, will do, is make mineral exploration in Australia cost effective again.”

Professor Hillis says the RoXplorer rig was successfully tested earlier this year near Port Augusta and another site at Horsham in Victoria.

Since then it was licensed to the ASX-listed global mining equipment, services and technology giant IMDEX, with its headquarters in Perth, and a new drilling trial was now set to happen with Barrick Gold exploration in Nevada, USA.

While he was now planning a year off after finishing at the DET CRC, Professor Hillis suggests those wanting to explore the world of mining, energy or geology in SA should take advantage of the state’s focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

“We have good courses, I think there are currently not as many students in them as we would like,” he says.

“I’m feeling positive about employment at the minute but the mining sector can be cyclic.”

DET CRC chairman Tom Whiting is proud of the research centre’s work, saying its major technologies – Wireless Sub, Lab-at-Rig, AutoSonde, AutoShuttle and RoXplorer CT drilling system – had been taken to working prototype and licensed in revenue-generating agreements to supplier participants, Boart Longyear and IMDEX.

The project team developing the RoXplorer coiled tubing drilling system was led by Soren Soe and it also received contributions from Boart Longyear, CSIRO, Curtin University, University of South Australia, University of Adelaide and IMDEX.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Local business drilling into global markets

An uplift in the South Australian mining and energy sector is seeing Adelaide company Trymoss Engineering poised to capitalise on new opportunities.

Signs of new projects activating across the state means new contracts are appearing and Trymoss is already looking to employ new staff, according to chief executive Stephen Moss.

It’s good news for supply chain businesses like the small northern suburbs company that is developing technologies not only used on mining and energy projects in SA, but on a global scale too.

Stephen says Trymoss Engineering and its 15 staff have been kept busy in the past few years as the business, established by his father, Jason Moss in 1992, has concentrated on its diverse revenue streams.

“In the last 12 to 18 months it has really picked up again, we’re up to five or six cylinders for a particular company, and we’ve picked up four or five new customers in recent months,” he says.

Family business Trymoss Engineering, based in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, has been manufacturing fittings and machinery since the early ’90s.

Trymoss Engineering specialises in hydraulic cylinder and manufacture repair for the mining industry and down-hole repairs on threads and tooling.

The hydraulic cylinders are designed and manufactured for excavators and trucks.

Then there’s also work Trymoss undertakes in the Australian agriculture, water, waste and transport industries, building or fixing hydraulics for anything from buckets on tractors to hooks on cranes.

“We’re just never one to put eggs in one basket, we do a vast array of machining and fabricating and fittings,” Stephen says.

“And now we’ve also found ourselves in a pretty niche part of the market manufacturing hydraulics to meet custom needs.”

This Trymoss product is a ‘CNC machining cooling hub’ for use in a power plant.

The company is also responsible for breakthrough technology tested and developed in SA.

It was when Stephen heard about American oil and gas companies struggling with a drill continually getting stuck on horizontal coal seams that he headed to the workshop to find a solution.

The Centrefire system that emerged from his tinkering has now been proved, patented in Canada, China, Russia, Australia and most recently the United States, and is primed and ready to tackle the recent uplift in the oil and gas industry.

“It’s unique, it’s the only one of its kind … and now we’re ready to roll,” says Stephen, who is chief executive of Trymoss Engineering and also its sister company and owner of the Centrefire technology, HPHT Drilling Tools.

The down-hole technology works by vibrating a drill or drill string to prevent tools from getting stuck or damaged during underground mining – and it first proved itself on its maiden outing with Beach Energy in SA during 2014.

Drill bits were continually breaking during the local project that involved particularly hard ground so the Centrefire was fitted above the bit “and acted a bit like a shock absorber and gently pulsed it forward”.

Trymoss Engineering chief executive Stephen Moss, left, and his brother Mitchell
Moss putting the Centrefire together.

The tool, Mr Moss said, prevented any further drill breakages.

On the back of this early success, Stephen took his invention to the US and quickly garnered interest from Canadian-based Cougar Drilling Solutions, and within months he was running some 20 jobs in Texas during 2015.

“We’d sent 10 to 15 units over to America and we couldn’t keep up,” he said.

But then the oil and gas crash hit, Cougar Drilling Solutions pulled out of the US, leaving HPHT Drilling Tools and its Centrefire tool “a bit stranded”.

While other parts of the business kept the work flowing, Stephen continued to prepare the Centrefire technology, organising the patents and ensuring it was well tested in the field.

The Centrefire in pieces.

Now the company is seeing an uplift in the oil and gas industry “especially in America where we were doing work before, in the past six months we’ve re-established connections with a few agents and we were back over there running a job in Oklahoma about three months ago”.

The new work secured overseas is not only creating more jobs in SA – as Trymoss expanded its workforce this year and HPHT is further developing the Centrefire technology – but it’s also strengthening the state’s ties with international mining and resource sectors.

HPHT Drilling Tools is also working hard to protect its technology, only renting out the tool and not selling the product or the engineering designs in its work in Australia and the US.

Stephen claims his invention is far easier to use than similar products on the market that are much larger and harder to transport to site or to service or fix if they are damaged.

“I’m planning to head back to the US in the next month or so for a new job in Texas, that will be our first job with a new group and the potential is really, really promising,” he adds.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Energy and mining sector sparks growth for Energy LogistiX

The growth of South Australia’s mining and energy sector has prompted a local freight and transport business to plan towards establishing a base in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

Family owned and operated Energy LogistiX, which specialises in project transport and logistics solutions and is based near the Port of Adelaide, is hoping to expand its operations and open a depot in Whyalla or Port Augusta in the next 12 months.

Managing director Shaun Williamson says SA’s flourishing mining and energy sector – buoyed by various multimillion dollar investments in the state’s Far North – has been a “game-changer” for his small team of 38 employees.

Shaun says Energy LogistiX will open a depot in the Upper Spencer Gulf region within the next year to cater for an increasing demand from clients based in Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla.

Energy LogistiX managing director Shaun Williamson.

There are more than a dozen resources and renewable energy investment projects underway in the Upper Spencer Gulf including the Bungala solar power plant near Port Augusta and a world first solar powered tomato farm developed by Sundrop Farms.

“Every year we have been growing as a business by 30-50% year on year,” Shaun says.

“For us, the energy and mining sector has made a substantial difference … it’s a big deal for little companies like ours.”

Energy LogistiX’s fleet of rigids, semi-trailers and road trains are used to haul heavy equipment and other materials to service primarily the mining, oil and gas sector.

Shaun says the business has a strong focus on delivering “time critical” services, using smart integrated monitoring technology to track freight throughout its journey.

The technology also allows communication between fleet operators and clients, to deliver a “premium service that is unmatched in this space of project transport and logistics solutions”.

The smart integrated monitoring technology allows Energy LogistiX to keep track of freight in real time.

Energy LogistiX transports materials and heavy machinery including dangerous goods, cranes, drill casings, mining equipment, oil and gas materials and rigs, concrete trucks and large loaders.

Many of its clients are some of the biggest players in the state’s mining and energy sector, including BHP Billiton at Olympic Dam, one of the world’s biggest copper, gold and uranium mines, and Santos for its Port Bonython and Moomba operations.

For more than two years, Energy LogistiX has been working with mining company CU River, to iron ore mine, Cairn Hill, 50km south of Coober Pedy in the state’s Far North.

It has also transported heavy mining equipment, such as dump trucks, water trucks, cranes, concrete trucks and large loaders to Cairn Hill, one of the new mining projects on the horizon.

Shaun says the small family business is also hoping to secure work in the near future with OZ Minerals at its Carrapateena operation – Australia’s largest undeveloped copper deposit.

He says running a small business and being a part of the supply chain for one of the state’s largest industries often comes with its challenges.

“It’s difficult because our competitors are multinational corporations,” Shaun says.

“But we’re SA owned and operated, so give us a shot and keep the business within our state, just as we choose to support other family owned and operated businesses in SA.

“Keeping it local is key to our future and success.

“We’re big enough and capable enough to take on these multimillion dollar contracts and we will always deliver on our promise.”

Energy LogistiX started from humble beginnings – sprouting from a small-time operation run out of the Williamson family’s small unit in Port Adelaide.

That was in 2010 and eight years on it’s now based at a 28,000m2 office and depot facility near the Osborne Naval Shipbuilding Precinct.

Shaun’s mother Jo Williamson co-founded the business and has a strong background in working in the oil and gas sector.

Shaun, a professional motocross and supercross racer, has a background also working on oil rigs.

“We’re both against the grain; Mum is a female in a male dominated industry and we started with nothing,” he says.

“Now we’re working for our blue chip clients delivering our vision of being the best at what we do day in day out.”

Photos by 57 Films.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Building a bright future in Upper Spencer Gulf

When British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta signed a deal to turn around the fortunes of Whyalla and its struggling steelworks, he not only saved thousands of jobs but also injected an extraordinary boost of confidence into the region.

His widespread investment has Whyalla Mayor Lyn Breuer brimming with optimism for the state’s Upper Spencer Gulf and Business SA’s chief executive Nigel McBride relishing a wider lift in the economy.

Mr Gupta’s GFG Alliance bought the town’s ailing steelworks from Arrium when it was in administration with some 6000 jobs under threat.

“We were in a really, really bad patch and it seemed like we were in a situation we weren’t going to get out of, when Mr Gupta came along and GFG it was such a blessed relief,” Mrs Breuer says.

Now she says the plans just keep getting better with announcements that the GFG Liberty OneSteel plant will double production and create a greener business model with more recycled steel and a focus on clean energy.

Whyalla Mayor Lyn Breuer speaks at a handover ceremony on the day GFG Alliance took over the steelworks. Photo by Jon Ortlieb.

Mr Gupta wants to build solar farms along with the country’s largest lithium ion battery and to eventually also develop new housing in Whyalla.

Contracts are being signed to upgrade the plant and Mrs Breuer says investigations are underway to expand the Whyalla port while GFG Alliance is taking on a majority stake in ZEN Energy to realise its national energy ambitions.

“People understand in the next 12 months we’ll see a real turn around in our town, we are looking toward to a more positive future than we ever have before,” Mrs Breuer says.

This key investment comes amid remarkable growth, particularly in renewable energy, in the region.

There are some 13 new investment projects underway, among them the Bungala solar power plant near Port Augusta being under construction, while the much-lauded concentrated solar thermal plant owned by Sundrop Farms is already running a hydroponic greenhouse to grow tomatoes.

Mayors from Port Augusta, Whyalla and Port Pirie met on Friday last week to discuss how their councils can help ensure there will be enough skilled workers to fill the expected rapid rise in job openings.

Mrs Breuer says Mr Gupta has certainly piqued the interest of other global investors.

An aerial view of the Whyalla steelworks. Photo by Jon Ortlieb.

Whyalla council officers were invited to China for meetings with two more companies keen on investing.

While in January, Becker Helicopters announced it was moving some 70 staff and its training operation from Queensland to the Upper Spencer Gulf city.

The state’s Industry and Skills Minister David Pisoni also reports a renewed optimism in the region more than 300km from Adelaide after visiting in June and July to talk with industry and small business people.

“The significant, and very much welcome, investment by Gupta Family Group in Whyalla is already having huge flow-on effects within the local community and beyond,” Mr Pisoni said.

“Employers and business have been given renewed confidence, the region is also attracting recognition and new investment from around the globe.”

The GFG Alliance itself is a global group of energy, mining, metals, engineering and financial services businesses, headquartered in London, with additional hubs in Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney and a presence in around 30 countries worldwide.

Photo courtesy of Liberty OneSteel.

Business SA chief executive Nigel McBride says the state has attracted vital intelligent capital, capital that is leading to “global know how” around lowering material costs, greater energy efficiency and new products.

“GFG is bringing a global supply chain to Whyalla so we are part of something much bigger ….. and it’s not just people working directly in the steelworks that benefit, it’s also small businesses who service it and their employees.”

He believes the investment has given a huge boost to business confidence in regional SA at a time when the state’s job figures are rising.

Even the Federal Government is sending in cash, announcing funding of $19.4m for eight projects in the region during April that it hoped would create more than 500 new jobs.

The Upper Spencer Gulf was the only SA region, and one of only 10 nationally, to get pilot funding under the national $222m regional jobs and investment package.

The 1200 tonne crane German-made Liebherr all terrain crane will be used to build and maintain wind towers.

Max Cranes in Whyalla won $4.7m funding toward a $12m telescopic mobile crane – the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere – used to build and maintain wind towers.

While Whyalla’s Ice Engineering and Construction was awarded half the $10m cost of creating a hub for three existing Whyalla-based heavy engineering and manufacturing companies.

“It’s an extraordinary investment strategy in a range of complementary industries and resources that will be truly transformational in regional SA and across our state,” Mr McBride adds.

Header photo is courtesy of Liberty OneSteel.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Cairn Hill mine expansion to create 1300 jobs in Far North

The state’s Far North is set to face a jobs boom following an $800m investment into the expansion of an iron ore mine near Coober Pedy.

Up to 1300 jobs will be created at the privately-owned Cairn Hill mine in the state’s Far North, after iron ore producer CU River secured investment from Jiujiang Mining Australia.

CU River, which is one of SA’s two operating iron ore producers, acquired the mothballed Cairn Hill mine, 55km from Coober Pedy, in 2014.

It invested $20m into the mine, kicking off production in June 2016 before hitting its one million tonne production target in just over a year.

CU River managing director Yong Gang Shan says the Cairn Hill mine’s ultimate production target is 15 million tonnes of magnetite per year.

It is expected to reach this target by 2021, and as part of the funding agreement with Jiujiang Mining Australia – a local subsidiary of a Chinese steel producer – all of the mined ore will be exported to China.

Mr Shan says the expansion is due to the world’s “ever-increasing” demand for steel.

He says many of the 1300 jobs created will be in the regions.

“In addition, we will be using SA suppliers for goods and services wherever possible, so there is a flow-in effect in terms of secondary job creation and stabilisation,” Mr Shan says.

“The industry standard is that as a general rule, every job in the mining sector creates three support jobs elsewhere.”

He says CU River has offices in Adelaide and Coober Pedy and is recruiting for key positions.

“It is company policy to employ our own people for exploration and mining work, rather than outsource to subcontractors,” Mr Shan says.

CU River’s alliance with Jiujiang will provide financing for the expansion of the magnetite mine as well as planned infrastructure projects.

“Jiujiang will provide the financing for the expansion of the Cairn Hill mine, new infrastructure to enable increased output, an exploratory drilling program with an initial approved scope of 13,000 metres, and development of the next two projects in our pipeline, Snaefell and Tomahawk, which are both in the vicinity of Cairn Hill,” Mr Shan says.

“Part of the funding will also be needed for associated infrastructure work including road and rail upgrades and extensions.”

Mr Shan says the company has received approval for expansion of Cairn Hill’s pits 3 and 4, which are central for the immediate increase in iron ore production.

A 13,000 metre exploratory drilling program is currently underway to define the resource in pits 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Production at Cairn Hill is currently paused to allow for construction of a wet processing plant, with mining set to resume once this is completed.

The expansion of Cairn Hill follows BHP’s $600 investment in Olympic Dam and Oz Minerals’ Carrapateena project.

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Carrapateena mine to create 1000 jobs for regional South Australia

By Melissa Keogh

A jobs boost is set to be delivered to regional South Australia following OZ Minerals’ decision to green-light Australia’s largest undeveloped copper project.

The Adelaide-based mining company announced board approval of a $916m investment in the Carrapateena mine, which will create 1000 jobs during construction.

The copper-gold project will take place about 160km north of Port Augusta and is set to become the state’s second biggest copper mine after Olympic Dam.

Carrapateena is expected to begin producing copper by late 2019 and OZ Minerals is predicting an output of more than 65,000 tonnes a year.

It’s also predicting an annual production of 67,000 ounces of gold.

Carrapateena’s copper concentrate is expected to be among the highest grade on world markets, while production costs are expected to be among the lowest.

SA Premier Jay Weatherill says the board approval is another show of confidence in the State’s economy, following recent announcements including the Tesla giant battery and Port Augusta’s solar thermal power plant.

“This copper project showcases the importance of the resources sector to the South Australian economy with investment in Carrapateena creating local jobs, infrastructure and opportunities for Aboriginal participation,” he says.

“OZ Minerals should also be applauded for the way in which it has partnered with the Kokatha people to ensure that the traditional landowners also benefit from this major investment.”

Construction began in November 2016 on the ‘Tjati Decline’ a 7500m long, 600m deep tunnel that provides access to the copper-gold deposit.

The opening of the Tjati Decline attracted much media attention in November 2016. PHOTO: OZ Minerals.

The opening of the Tjati Decline attracted much media attention in November 2016. PHOTO: OZ Minerals.

Tjati is an Aboriginal name for a gecko that lives in the region.

The SA Government funded 50% of the original drilling program.

Approval has already been granted under the Mining Act for an accommodation village and airstrip.

The mineral lease application is still under assessment by the State and Federal governments.

Main photo: Oz Minerals CEO Andrew Cole, left, Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Chris Larkin and SA Premier Jay Weatherill at the Carrapateena site last year. Image supplied by OZ Minerals.

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Digging up history in the Flinders Ranges

By Melissa Keogh

Visiting the historic copper town of Blinman in the Far North is almost like stepping back in time.

Blinman is not part of a local council area, has no petrol station or mobile phone reception, instead relying on satellite services.

But with its humble population of just 20 people, the small outback town in the Flinders Ranges thrives off a rich mining history and lures thousands of visitors every year.

Blinman is home to an underground copper mine which is now a popular tourist attraction.

The Blinman Progress Association runs underground mine tours, providing visitors with a snapshot of what a miner’s life was like more than 100 years ago.

The tours launched in 2011 after a decade of planning, works and fundraising.

The underground Blinman mine tours attract thousands of visitors every year.

The underground Heritage Blinman Mine Tours attract thousands of visitors every year.

Mine tour manager Susan Pearl says tunnels were dug to allow access into the heart of the mine, while light and sound shows were installed to “recreate the ambience of the 1860s”.

“It was really so we could keep the town alive,” she says.

“Now there’s a flow on effect in the town, people speak very highly of Blinman and many people visit just for the mine.”

The mine operated from 1862 – 1907 and at its peak employed 1500 people.

It yielded 200,000 tonne of rock containing 10,000 tonne of ore.

Susan says a miner’s life was tough.

“Boys would start work at 14, barrow boys they would call them,” she says.

“Women’s lives were difficult too because they had to walk a good mile to get water and collect firewood.

“Diets were meagre – root vegetables like parsnips and swedes, kangaroo meat, and Cornish pasties.”

The Blinman Mine employed 1500 people at its peak.

Blinman Mine employed 1500 people at its peak.

Blinman’s other claim to fame is being South Australia’s highest surveyed town, sitting 616m above sea level.

Susan says Blinman’s lure is its history and the guarantee of a smile from a local.

“Everybody talks to each other and everybody waves,” she says.

“It’s got a certain charm about it.”

Other Blinman attractions include art show A Brush with Art (September-October) and equestrian event the Blinman Gymkhana (October), which raises money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Six Heritage Blinman Mine Tours run per day, seven days a week.

For more information visit the website.

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