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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Global iron ore production to recover by 5.1% in 2021
Global iron ore production fell by 3% to 2.2bnt in 2020. Global production is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7% to 2,663.4Mt between 2021 to 2025. The key contributors to this grow will be Brazil (6.2%), South Africa (4.1%), Australia (3.2%) and India (2.9%). Key upcoming projects expected to commence operations include South Flank in Australia (2021), Zulti in South Africa (H2 2021), Serrote Da Laje in Brazil (H2 2021) and Gudai-Darri (2022), according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Vinneth Bajaj, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, comments: “Declines from Brazil and India were major contributors to the reduced output in 2020. Combined production from these two countries fell from a collective 638.2Mt in 2019 to an estimated 591.1Mt in 2020. The reduced output from the iron ore giant, Vale, was the key factor behind Brazil’s reduced output, while delays in the auctioning of mines in Odisha affected India’s output in 2020.
“Miners in Australia were relatively unaffected by COVID-19 due to effective measures adopted by the Australian Government, while a speedy recovery in China led to a significant 10.4% increase in the country’s iron ore output.”
Looking ahead, the global iron ore production is expected to increase by 111.3Mt to 2,302.5Mt in 2021. Rio Tinto is expected to produce up to 340Mt of iron ore, while BHP has released production guidance of 245–255Mt, supported by the start of the Samarco project in December, which is expected to produce between 1–2Mt.The company has retained its guidance for Australian mines at 276–286Mt on a 100% basis, due to scheduled maintenance work at its ore handling plant and tie-in activity at the Area C mine and South-Flank mine.
Bajaj added: “The remaining companies are expected to produce more than 600Mt of iron ore, including FMG, whose production is expected to range between 175–180Mt supported by its Eliwana mine that commenced operations in late December 2020, and Anglo American, which is expecting to produce between 64–67Mt. Vale is expected to resume 40Mt of its production capacity, taking its overall production capacity to 350Mt in 2021, with production guidance of 315-335Mt.”