QCC Resources Teams up with Glencore for Ravensworth North Project
Headquartered in one of the largest coal regions on earth, QCC Resources (QCC) is the essence of strategic consulting for coal processing.
The Australian-based company specializes in design, engineering, operations and optimization of coal preparation plants throughout Australia, China, New Zealand, Indonesia, South Africa, Canada and Russia.
“QCC Resources was born in 1987 at a time when consultants to the coal industry were a new thing,” says Andrew Swanson, Executive General Manager Strategic Consulting and Business Development.
“Over time we’ve grown as the use of consultants, engineers and contractors has continued to expand.”
In 2004, the company was purchased by Downer EDI Limited, becoming part of the company’s mining division. QCC, working with Downer Infrastructure, has become an established provider of Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) design and construction services to the coal industry internationally.
The company recently completed one of the largest projects of its kind, working in unison with Glencore to deliver the design, procurement, construction and commissioning of the Ravensworth North Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP) in Hunter Valley, Australia.
Ravensworth North coal project
Known as the Ravensworth North coal project, the Downer/QCC portion of the project involved not only the establishment of CHPP facilities, but also the site wide electrical work, which required the relocation of a 330kV Transgrid transmission line requiring 48 new towers plus construction of a new 66/11kV substation, relocation of a 66kV Ausgrid transmission line and various overhead and underground HV works including all 11kV site wide reticulation.
To complete the project as efficiently as possible, Downer/QCC entered into an alliance contract partnership with Xstrata Coal, now incorporated into Glencore.
“We set up an alliance partnership between Downer/QCC and Xstrata Coal to form a good working relationship that could effectively deliver all the key aspects of the project in a timely manner,” says Swanson.
“Our teams were onsite for two and a half years delivering two million site hours with over 650 people onsite at the peak of construction. Importantly no lost time injuries were incurred and the project achieved a total recordable injury frequency rate (TRIFR) of 5.7.”
QCC had been working with Glencore in alliance projects since 2005, including CHPP work at Mt Owen, Liddell and Mangoola, and started work on Ravensworth North back in 2009 when QCC began assisting in the project for Xstrata Coal.
“We started off in 2009 doing a concept study for Xstrata, that progressed into a pre-feasibility study, followed by feasibility study and then set the design and scope for the Ravensworth North project,” says Swanson.
One of the biggest challenges in delivering the Ravensworth project was that it had to be constructed within an existing operational facility and was therefore governed by a wide range of constraints, incorporated within a large geographical area.
The project provided a 3000 t/h raw coal delivery system, two new 900 t/h processing modules, rejects handling and product stockpiling/reclaiming facilities. According to Swanson, an interesting fact is that the project required 14 new conveyors to be designed and constructed.
“The total length of the new conveyor network was over 9 kilometers. In addition, upgrades were required for existing conveyors which covered just under 5 kilometers, bringing the total length of the entire conveyor network to an incredible 13.9 kilometers.”
A key factor in overcoming the challenges was the deployment of QCC Resources team members from the recently successfully completed Mangoola project. The team brought with them high levels of technical expertise and valuable onsite experience. In addition, they were assisted by teams from Downer Infrastructure East who delivered all of the electrical work and some of the SMP work.
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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.