It was undoubtedly a better year for Australia’s leading mining services companies in 2017.
Improved commodity prices led to an increase in mining activity, meaning the expertise of the country’s mining services contractors was in growing demand.
Australian Mining takes a closer look at some of the companies that were awarded key mining contracts during 2017 in this two-part feature.
Ausdrill’s long-term relationships with mining clients in Australia and Africa continue to serve the company well. The Perth-based company’s 2017 was highlighted by a series of contract extensions, as well as a few new contracts across both continents.
Ausdrill finished off spring by announcing it had secured three extensions in the gold industry, including an extra three years of production drilling work with Evolution Mining at the Mungari project in Western Australia.
Through its African Mining Services (AMS) subsidiary, the contactor was awarded a two-year extension worth $142 million at AngloGold Ashanti’s Iduapriem gold mine in Ghana, while Resolute Mining extended its contract at the Syama operation until May 2018.
Earlier in 2017, Ausdrill secured more than $200 million worth of contract extensions with two of its existing clients in the Goldfields region of Western Australia – Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) and Gold Fields.
It was also awarded a three-year, $60 million contract extension to provide exploration drilling services at Gold Fields’s St Ives and Granny Smith gold operations.
BGC Contracting’s 2017 was highlighted by the award of two major contacts, one in Western Australia and the other in New South Wales. BGC most recently won a five-year, $700 million contract by Idemitsu Australia Resources at the Boggabri coal mine in New South Wales.
Earlier in the year, BGC secured a five-year contract worth more than $720 million at Arrium’s Iron Knob and South Middleback iron ore operations near Whyalla in South Australia. The Arrium contract replaced an existing mine services contract BGC had with the steel-maker and iron ore miner.
The Perth-based company topped off its year by taking out the Australian Mining Prospect Awards 2017 Contract Miner of the Year for the second straight time. The company was honoured for the collaborative model it has successfully applied to contracts with the likes of Arrium, Cliffs Natural Resources and now, Idemitsu.
CIMIC’s mining and mineral processing divisions – Thiess and Sedgman – thrived for the Spanish-controlled company during 2017.
Thiess’ contract wins and extensions continue to be at the top end of town with the likes of BHP and Fortescue Metals Group awarding it with significant work.
BHP, through its BHP Mitsubishi Alliance, awarded Thiess two contracts worth a combined $440 million. The contracts, at BMA’s Caval Ridge and Peak Downs coal mines in the Bowen Basin of Queensland, will see Thiess deliver mining services for specific components of work.
Fortescue extended its mining services contract with Thiess at the Solomon Hub in the Pilbara. The $650 million contract extension strengthens a relationship between the two companies first formed at the site in 2011.
Also in coal, Thiess was awarded a $189 million contract extension to continue to operate the Jellinbah Plains open pit at the Jellinbah East coal mine in central Queensland.
Thiess was active in Indonesia, winning a $437 million contract at the Gunung Bara Utama (GBU) coal mine and a $300 million contract with Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC) at the Sangatta coal mine.
Meanwhile, Sedgman backed up its $107 million EPC contract win at Heron Resources’ Woodlawn zinc-copper project in the first half of the year with two new agreements in the east coast coal industry.
Stanwell Corp awarded Sedgman a $6 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to deliver a tailings dewatering facility at the Meandu mine coal handling and preparation plant in Queensland.
Sedgman then won contracts at QCoal Group’s Byerwen coal mine in Queensland worth almost $100 million. The contractor is delivering a stockpiling and train load-out facility, and a coal handling and processing plant at Byerwen through two engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts.
Civmec announced plans to list on the ASX during 2017, a move that will add to its existing place on the Singapore Exchange. A listing on the ASX will complement the Perth-based company’s strong portfolio of mining-related contracts in the country.
In 2017, the company was active in the mining, oil and gas and infrastructure sectors. In mining, Civmec was awarded contracts or work extensions at a diverse range of projects in Western Australia.
In June, Civmec announced it had received $90 million worth of contracts for resources clients, with the most notable a construction job at Alcoa’s Pinjarra alumina refinery in WA. The company will undertake the engineering, procurement, delivery, construction, integration, commissioning and performance testing of a filter facility, materials handling system and supporting infrastructure at the refinery.
Civmec, as part of the Amec Foster Wheeler Civmec Joint Venture (ACJV), was awarded a $298 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract at the Gruyere gold project in WA.
The company also secured a contract to construct the civil component of the process plant at Altura Mining’s Pilgangoora lithium project in the Pilbara.
Perth-based GR Engineering secured a series of contract wins in Western Australia during 2017, particularly in the state’s gold sector.
In April, Dacian Gold executed a $107.1 million EPC contract with GR at the Mt Morgans project in the Goldfields region. The work involves development of the Mt Morgans treatment facility and supporting infrastructure.
GR also signed an agreement with Gascoyne Resources for an EPC contract for a minerals processing facility at the Dalgaranga gold project in the Goldfields.
In June, GR secured another EPC contract, this time a $31.3 million deal with AngloGold Ashanti at the Sunrise Dam gold mine.
Downer’s 2017 took a turn when Adani became the owner-operator of the Carmichael coal project in Queensland, effectively scrapping the letters of award the two companies had signed for construction and mining at the controversial operation.
How Downer fills the void in work left behind by Adani’s decision to go-it-alone at Carmichael is yet to be seen, but the diversified contractor did manage to bolster its order book in other areas during 2017.
Downer was awarded a $400 million contract to provide mining services at the Gruyere gold joint venture project between Gold Fields and Gold Road Resources in Western Australia.
The five-year contract involves construction of haul roads, stockpiles and other infrastructure; drilling and blasting; loading and haulage of ore and waster; run of mine feed; and technical services.
Its joint venture with Ausenco is also bearing fruit, with OZ Minerals awarding the JV a $312 million EPC contract at the Carrapateena copper-gold project in South Australia.
The Carrapateena scope of works includes engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of a minerals processing plant, including the non-process infrastructure to support the operations.
Downer Blasting Services (DBS) also won $240 million of work at open cut and underground mines in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia.
Macmahon (it hopes) put CIMIC’s failed takeover attempt for the company behind it by winning lucrative contracts on both sides of the country during the second half of 2017.
In Western Australia, Mamchaon won a mining contract worth at least $250 million at one of the country’s most exciting new gold developments – Dacian Gold’s Mt Morgans operation in the Goldfields.
The five-year contract will see Macmahon provide drilling and blasting, loading, hauling and technical services.
In Queensland, Macmahon executed a $350 million mining services contract at QCoal Group’s majority-owned Byerwen coal mine in the Bowen Basin. The contract involves the provision of all open cut mining and bulk earthworks at the new mine near Glenden.
Macmahon also pursued additional work in Indonesia’s coal industry throughout the year.
Monadelphous’ diversified contract portfolio was bolstered from a mining perspective during 2017 with new contracts or extensions for maintenance and construction work.
Most recently, Monadelphous secured maintenance and construction contracts in the resources and infrastructure industries worth a combined value of around $110 million.
The work includes a three-year contract to provide shutdown maintenance, breakdown and repair services, minor projects and ad hoc services for BHP at Mount Arthur Coal in the Hunter Valley of NSW.
In September, Monadelphous has secured new maintenance and construction work in the resources industry worth $220 million. The new maintenance work includes a two-year contract to supply fixed maintenance services for Rio Tinto at its Pilbara operations.
Monadelphous was also active in the international mining industry, securing an agreement to provide services for the Shaft 1 and 2 surface infrastructure at the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia.
In the first half of 2017, Monadelphous announced it had secured $120 million worth of new contracts for resources companies, including Fortescue and BHP. The Fortescue work included two contracts, one for cranes services at FMG Solomon and Solomon Hub, and the other to provide services for subsidiary, The Pilbara Infrastructure. Monadelphous’ contract with BHP involved upgrading a water treatment plant at the Mining Area C iron ore operation in the Pilbara.
NRW Holdings’ 2017 went from strength to strength, culminating with gold developer Gascoyne Resources official awarding it with a $324 million mining services contract at the Dalgaranga operation in the Murchison region. The six-year contract is for open pit mining services, as well as drill and blast operations and associated services.
Perth-based NRW reported in August that its participation in the early contractor involvement process at OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena copper-gold project in SA was nearing completion. The $111 million Carrapateena package one contract comprised development of an access road, tailings storage facility, quarry and an airstrip.
NRW also acquired east coast mining services company, Golding Group, for $85 million during the year. As part of NRW, Golding was awarded a mining services contract at Fitzroy Australia Resources’ Broadlea open cut coal mine in Queensland.
To kick-start NRW’s 2017 campaign, lithium developer Altura Mining awarded it with a $110 million contract for mine development and drill and blast services at its Pilgangoora project in February. The five-year contract includes the construction of mining infrastructure, development of mine haul roads, drill and blast services and load and haul production mining of ore and overburden.
Pilbara Minerals awarded the EPC contract for its Pilgangoora lithium operation to RCR Tomlinson in early 2017. Worth up to $148 million, contract involved the EPC of Pilgangoora’s 2Mt/y lithium-tantalum processing plant, including wet-and-dry circuit with concentrator, associated plant and commissioning of the mine. Pilbara cleared the way for construction to start on the plant in July.
Fortescue awarded RCR with a $33 million contract to design, manufacture and construct a five-kilometre relocatable conveyor system for its iron ore operations in the Pilbara. RCR is leading the design, manufacture and construction of the conveyor system, which will be trialled at Fortescue’s Cloudbreak mine.