Contractor spotlight: Redpath Mining
While the coal sector continues to experience a downturn, Redpath has a vision for its future.
Founded in 1962, Redpath Mining provides an array of solutions to the underground coal, metalliferous, and raiseboring industries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. The company has amassed years of technical and operational expertise, building a solid reputation for applying innovative solutions with modern technology to deliver on their clients’ needs.
• Related content: Is the Internet of Things the next wave for the mining industry?
“It is important to us that we can deliver on our clients’ expectations, no matter the project,” said Gavin Ramage, General Manager of Redpath Australia’s coal division. “From providing world-class, innovative coal mine development solutions for our clients, to supplying high-value, reliable plant, equipment, and resources for projects, we really do it all for our clients.”
Redpath sees its value in its resources and the skills they offer, despite the rough road the coal market is facing.
“Ultimately my vision for Redpath is that we are regarded as a trusted, professional contractor-of-choice for the coal mining development sector, delivering high-standard engineering, and construction personnel and services,” said Ramage. “Our success in this industry will depend on how we can continuously improve ourselves in response to market demand. I’m confident Redpath is up for the challenge.”
Experience is knowledge
To drive efficiency and achieve objectives for clients, Redpath leverages its knowledge and experience across all projects the company takes on. It also works to continuously improve in all aspects.
“As part of our success, we approach each new project with fresh eyes, and build on lessons learned from previous projects. This process of continuous improvement is something that is done at all levels throughout the organization. Staff is actively encouraged to provide solutions that are safer, faster and more cost effective across everything we do, from plant equipment procurement and usage, the type of materials used to reinforce underground tunnels, through to resource, and task allocation.
“I think we have shown our clients that we are very adaptable in our product delivery, and that we have the capabilities to deliver this well into the future.”
“Our longstanding global history in mine development and other underground services enables us to bring cutting edge technology to Australia. We have a great reputation for delivering more with less, and providing innovative solutions to problems which provide long-term cost efficiencies,” said Ramage. “To put it simply, if you come to us with a project request, we can fulfill it. Consider it done.”
Redpath’s technological advancements have been the backbone to delivering operational efficiencies in outputs for clients. The company isn’t afraid to adopt knowledge from the civil and metalliferous sectors and apply them to the coal industry.
“For example, our sliding floor technology for Drift Excavation provides better access to mines by using hydraulic rams to move the floor in a caterpillar-like sequence to allow it to act as a base for the bridge conveyor and ventilation duct installation and extension systems,” Ramage said
Another important aspect to the company is its employees, as they are the heart of Redpath’s success. And while Redpath employs staff from a number of different sectors and backgrounds, which also helps to drive innovation, the company acquires most of its employees through direct recruitment. The company is keen on hiring locally.
“Recruiting locally has a number of benefits, including staff having a familiarity with the area and project, and also experience from working on similar projects within Australia,” said Ramage.
• Related content: 6 Mining Careers with Higher-Than-Expected Salaries
New staff are put through a rigorous training program that incorporates Redpath’s ideology and processes in an on-site classroom setting.
“From the very beginning we educate employees about problem-solving on-the-job challenges as they arise, and developing solutions that are safer, faster and more cost effective for our clients. The program itself focuses on not just inducting staff onto the project, and educating them on our safety standards and compliance, but also about the Redpath way,” said Ramage.
“Sharing knowledge and educating staff about a new way of doing things, or reinforcing our high safety standards happens on-site regularly. This commitment to best practice and continual reinforcement has been of great value to our staff but also to our project supervisors in keeping Redpath’s priorities top of mind to all employees and contractors.”
Over the past few years, innovation has been a driving force for Redpath, while at the same time, ensuring that key services and projects are executed for their clients. Some recent projects have included a $120 million extension project, and a $250 million mine development project, both successfully executed within the Bowen Basin.
“The objective of the mine extension project was to replace the existing mine by replicating the required mine infrastructure on a new part of the mining lease. Over a period of two years we were engaged in the development of two mine access drifts, and the associated in-seam coal development to allow the commencement of longwall mining activities,” said Ramage.
“In addition, we were responsible for the installation of a life of mine precast concrete roadway in both drifts. This job was as challenging as it sounds, but we were able to transform delivery through the introduction of key technological advances involving roadheaders and sliding floors. “
“Redpath can deliver project solutions on a global basis with local support and knowledge to provide surety of project delivery. Through our international offices across Asia, Europe, North America and South America, Redpath can offer specialist knowledge in all areas of coal mine development and construction.”
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.