May 17, 2020

Apollo equity firm has eyes on Wesfarmers' mines

Dale Benton
2 min
Apollo equity firm has eyes on Wesfarmers' mines
Apollo, the global equity firm, is believed to be eagerly pursuing Wesfarmers two east coast mines that have been placed on the market by the Perth-base...

Apollo, the global equity firm, is believed to be eagerly pursuing Wesfarmers’ two east coast mines that have been placed on the market by the Perth-based conglomerate, according to The Australian Business Review.

The mines are expected to go for a high of $2 billion.

Apollo and its backers were at one stage poised to buy Anglo American’s Moranbah North and Grosvenor coal mines in Queensland that were expected to be sold through Bank of America Merrill Lynch for around $1bn. The company never explored the transaction further amid speculation that Anglo’s price expectations had changed following the coal price rally.

The price of coal has surged dramatically since the start of July, with coking coal up more than 100 per cent at $US270 a tonne and thermal coal up at least 50 per cent at $US86.

On the market is Wesfarmers’s Curragh coking coal mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin and a 40 per cent stake in the Bengalla thermal coal mine in the NSW Hunter Valley.

Coking coal is used to make steel, while thermal coal is used to fuel power stations.

Three months ago, Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder said he was reviewing Curragh in the wake of an $850m writedown on the mine. At the time, he said Bengalla, a low-cost mine, was not subject to the review.

It comes amid speculation that Wesfarmers may also sell its chemicals and fertiliser assets, in what would transform the conglomerate into more of a retailer, with its Coles supermarkets, Kmart, Target and Bunnings hardware.

One theory is that Blackstone may buy part of the chemicals and fertilisers business to add to its Ixom operation, which was formerly Orica Chemicals, before listing the operation next year.


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May 13, 2021

BHP, Rio Tinto & Vale launch Charge On Innovation Challenge

Rio Tinto
Charge On Innovation Challenge
3 min
BHP, Rio Tinto & Vale launch 'Charge On' Innovation Challenge - a competition for tech innovators to reduce truck emissions via electrification

Mining giants BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto have launched the 'Charge On' Innovation Challenge to solve one of the biggest challenges the industry faces today - decarbonising mining operations.

'Charge On' Innovation Challenge

In partnership with Austmine, Australia's leading mining equipment, technology and services industry association, founding patrons BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto have launched the competition to encourage technology innovators to develop new concepts for large-scale haul truck electrification systems. The main goal is cutting emissions from surface mining operations.

“The mining industry needs to be at the forefront of tackling the climate challenge. The Charge On Innovation Challenge is a great example of the current collaborative work being done by the mining industry and mobile equipment manufacturers to decarbonise mining fleets,” the trio said in a media statement.

“In addition to providing a zero-carbon energy source, the conversion of mobile mining equipment to battery-electric can potentially unlock value, as electric motors have fewer moving parts when compared to standard equipment.”

A number of non-traditional mining sector vendors are actively developing technologies that can assist in mine electrification. By submitting a Challenge to the market, the Patrons of Charge On expect to:

  • Demonstrate there is an emerging market for charging solutions in mining
  • Accelerate commercialization of solutions
  • Indicate to suppliers, the mining industry seeks interoperable solutions
  • Maintain multiple actors and competition in the supply chain
  • Integrate innovations from other sectors into the mining sector

"We expect some solutions identified in the Challenge could provide propulsion to existing diesel-electric trucks. This may present a pathway to early implementation for dynamic charging solutions," the trio said.

Charge On

Paris Agreement

Found patrons BHP, Vale and Rio Tinto are pledging their commitment to fighting climate change:

"The mining industry has an important role to reduce emissions and do our part to achieve the Paris Agreement goals to limit the impacts of climate change."

The Charge On Innovation Challenge asks vendors to present interoperable solutions that can safely deliver electricity to large battery-electric off-road haul trucks in a way that maintains or improves current productivity levels. Specifically, mechanisms capable of delivering in the order of 400kWh of electricity to each truck within a haul cycle (ie load, travel, dump, return, queue). The delivered electricity is to charge a battery, and if applicable directly propel the truck.

Austmine CEO Christine Gibbs Stewart commented: “We expect the Challenge will attract companies from a broad range of sectors including mining, automotive, aerospace, agriculture, and defence to deliver selected charging concepts to create a standard product that can interface with all trucks."

More information about the challenge will be released on May 18.


The competition echoes growing efforts being made across the industry to tackle emmissions and promote electrification. In march this year, the Electric Mine Consortium was launched. It's founding members include Gold Fields, Dassualt Systemes and Sandvik who pledged their commitment to decarbonising mining operations.

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