Normal services resumed for BHP Billiton following Cyclone Debbie
Mining giant BHP Billiton has announced that crews and mining staff are returning to work in the Queensland Bowen Basin, following the dissipation of Cyclone Debbie.
The company had shut down operations last week as heavy rain continued to fall from Cyclone Debbie.
The Cyclone, dubbed the “most dangerous” cyclone to hit Queensland since Cyclone Yasi back in 2011, has devastated the Queensland area of Australia for the last few weeks.
In response to this, BHP Billiton, with significant operations in the Queensland Bowen Basin area, was forced to close down operations at The Hay Point Terminal.
BHP Billiton has interests in 11 coal mines in the Bowen Basin through its joint ventures – BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) owns nine mines (seven operational, two in care and maintenance, and the Hay Point Coal Terminal south of Mackay. BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal (BMC) owns two mines.
Following the devastation from the cyclone, BHP Billiton agreed to pledge A$250,000 to provide immediate support to Queenslanders impacted by the cyclone.
The donation, made to the Salvation Army, was dedicated to delivering services and support to communities such as Mackay and Moranbah, which were heavily affected.
“This is far from over for the people of Queensland. Many families have lost their homes and communities continue to be without power. Communications are relying on organisations like the Salvation Army for help,”, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) Asset President Frans Knox said.
BMA and BHP Motsui Coal (BMC) employees and contractors have been assisting the local community. The businesses have helped Ergon Energy gain access to areas to clear fallen trees and debris near power network infrastructure and offered use of a helicopter chartered by BMA for Ergon to inspect its network to expedite power restoration for Moranbah.
Back to work
The company officially announced the return to work, with the exception of its South Walker Creek, as crews begin dewatering and preparation geared towards returning to operations.
The Hay Point Terminal is ready to receive coal from the mines and can begin shipping operations once the Harbour Master provides clearance.
The rail network remains offline, with BHP awaiting confirmation from Aurizon to understand timing for resumption of track availability.
“We are updating customers on the current situation and determining potential supply impacts,” the company said in a statement.
We continue to monitor and work through the impacts to production.”
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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.