A new weighbridge drawing on solar energy has been introduced at Glencore’s Black Rock Cave mine, Mount Isa.

Lack of electrical infrastructure at the site presented a challenge in establishing the new weighbridge, sparking the need to tap an alternative power source.

To minimise associated delays, the electrical engineering and Black Rock operations teams coordinated to design and install a portable direct-current (DC) power system under short time frames to get the weighbridge operating as soon as possible.

The new system is an off-grid power supply using solar energy to operate the weighbridge 24-hours a day.

The alternative solution was to permanently install distribution power lines, a transformer and a distribution board which would have been significantly more expensive, complex and time consuming.

Electrical engineer Andrea Fakos said the new power system meant the business could begin to collect weight data on the Black Rock ore immediately.

He said also the new stand-alone power system was not a permanent structure, meaning once the Black Rock Cave project was finished it could be relocated to supply power to another piece of equipment.

“This is a considerable cost saving for the business, as we have eliminated the startup costs associated with constructing a permanent electrical power source each time a piece of equipment requires power,” Mr Fakos said.

“Instead, portable DC solar power systems can be used across our operations as required.

“The system also has remote monitoring which means we are able to monitor the power supply from elsewhere on site. We can minimise outages and anticipate any failures, helping to reduce production delays for the Black Rock Cave operations.

“Being solar energy, it also protects the environment by minimising our emissions.”


IMAGE: Left to right: Xavier Bouton – PYBAR Foreman, Huw Wright – Senior Operations Engineer, Albert Young – Mining Engineer and Andrea Fakos – Electrical Engineer.



New Century Resources has ticked off all necessary environmental approvals to begin new mining operations at the Silver King and East Fault Block at the company’s Century zinc site.

At the same time, an optimisation study has showcased the highly attractive economics of mining those deposits, in addition to ongoing tailings reprocessing.

The company is targeting a Final Investment Decision (FID) in the second half of this year and first production by mid-2023.

The project is expected to require a $78.1 million investment over a 16-month development period.

“The New Century team is pleased to have achieved a major milestone toward development of Silver
King and East Fault Block through obtaining all necessary environmental approvals,” New Century managing director Patrick Walta said.

“The optimisation study has also reinforced the highly value-accretive potential of the in-situ
development at Century, materially expanding the production profile and life of asset while reducing
site-wide unit costs.

“The results underscore the significant near-term opportunity available via the development of Silver King and East Fault Block that will open up the avenue to continue the utilisation of approximately $2 billion previously invested in infrastructure at Century to 2030 and beyond.”

the porgress towards the new mining activitie shas not just happeneed on papaer. New Century said long lead items had been ordered to maintain critical path, including ball mill construction ( about 86 per cent complete) and securing initial underground mining equipment.

GR Engineering Services has completed the Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) work, progressing to execution of engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract.

The optimisation study showed the proposed insitu mining would bring a pre-tax NPV of $226 million at a base case, with IRR 91 per cent and pay back in 2.2 years.

On a spot case (based on current pricing) the project would have a pre-tax NPV of $246 million, with IRR of 101 per cent and payback in 2.1 years.


Mount Isa Mines is trialling Kovatera light vehicles (LV) to improve reliability, extend life of asset, and reduce downtime and maintenance costs.

Supplier Drivetrain will implement technical and onsite support in Mount Isa.

Drivetrain technical manager Shayne Griffin said it was important for Drivetrain to supply parts at a local level.

“Drivetrain is in the process of implementing spare parts and warehousing into Mount Isa for immediate supply and ongoing support,” he said. 

Mount Isa Mines mobile maintenance light fleet superintendent Dave Anderson said when operating an LV in the underground environment, the standard rear brake system required maintenance intervention every 14-21 days to prevent premature failures.

Kovatera’s fail-safe braking system is a key attribute, as well as the vehicle’s automatic speed-limiting capabilities.

“The internal wet brake system in the Kovatera is a more reliable and efficient system, allowing the business to extend our maintenance strategy and potential life of asset,” Mr Anderson said.

The Kovatera offers a sturdy chassis with a five-year/5,000 hour warranty. The LVs have rollover protective structure (ROPS) and falling object protective structure (FOPS) certification for increased safety.


Genex Power has moved a step closer to bringing a 150MW wind farm online at its Kidston Clean Energy Hub, with J-Power signing up to contribute $3 million towards its development.

The company said the agreed funding under the new Joint Development Agreement would greatly assist the Kidston Stage 3 wind project to reach financial close by the end of next year.

“With over 1GW in their global wind portfolio, J-POWER brings considerable global wind experience to the development of the project, which will be Genex’s first wind farm,” Genex Power chief executive officer James Harding said.

“The agreement executed today showcases the strong relationship Genex has developed with J-POWER since 2019.”

In 2020, Genex and J-POWER entered into a Development Funding Agreement which provided for an initial contribution of $1.5 million to progress the feasibility workstreams relating to the wind project.

They have since been working collaboratively to progress the development approvals and install wind monitoring infrastructure to determine the viability of the wind resource at the North Queensland site.

The Kidston Clean Energy Hub includes the operating 50MW Stage 1 solar project (KS1) and the 250MW Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project (K2-Hydro) now under construction.

The planned wind farm is expected to will connect into the new 275kV transmission line being constructed by Powerlink Queensland for the K2-Hydro, which is expected to be completed in 2024. 


Defence will invest up to $24 million in the Rockhampton and Shoalwater region in four projects to be released during 2022-23 through the Estate Works Program.

These four projects include:

–   Rockhampton Building Works – this project’s intent is to remediate the roof aspects of several sheds, while retaining as much existing heritage value as possible. Additionally, the project intends to update safety and spatial aspects of the buildings and the replacement of end-of-life kitchen appliances.

– Rockhampton Communications Electrical Infrastructure – this projects intent is for the renewal or replacement of existing electrical and communication system wiring, fixtures and boards in and around a number of buildings at the Exercise Staging and Support Base Rockhampton.

– Rockhampton Water Infrastructure – this projects intent is to upgrade existing site water infrastructure at the Exercise Staging and Support Base Rockhampton.

– Clinton Track Refurbishment – this projects intent is to maintain and improve approximately 20kms of the Clinton Track at Shoalwater Bay Training Area.

Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said this was part of $875 million the Coalition Government was invetsing in 234 such Department of Defence projects across the country.

“This funding will enhance and maintain Australian defence capabilities and upgrade facilities for ADF personnel,” she said.

“These projects will create jobs for local people who will undertake this work at Defence bases.”

The projects will be released via AusTender over the coming months.

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