Rio Tinto Unveils Plans to Extend the Life of NSW Coal Mine
Rio Tinto has proposed a new planning application to extend the lifecycle of the Mount Thorley Warkworth coal mine in Australia.
The application, which would extend the life of the super pit coal mine for up to 20 years, has officially been lodged with the New South Wales (NSW) government. Rio’s managing director of coal in Australia, Chris Salisbury, say the new application will not only extend the life of the mine, but jobs as well.
"We're seeking planning applications to allow Mount Thorley Warkworth to continue operating and protect the jobs of its 1300 workers," he said. "We're seeking approvals to continue operating until 2035 on land it owns within the footprint of its existing mining leases.
"We're proceeding to follow where the coal resource is proceeding with mining in a westerly direction."
Uncertainty over planning approvals has affected the mine’s profitability and Rio Tinto is asking the NSW government to approve the application and stop any further delays.
"We've been working for close to five years now to secure a long term future and we're really running out of time,” says Salisbury. "Our current planning approvals will only allow the mine to maintain its existing production and employment levels until the end of next year
"The fact that we've had a delay to getting our long term approvals has already cost us one million tons of production this year."
Previous attempts by Rio Tinto to expand the Mount Thorley Warkworth mine have been rejected by the Land and Environment Court and Supreme Court. The courts believe the coal mine will cause more harm than good to the community.
Unmanned train to allow Vale to reopen iron ore plant
Brazilian miner Vale SA will be able to resume operations at its Timbopeba iron ore dry processing plant in up to two months thanks to the use of an unmanned train, the company said in a statement this week.
Vale - Timbopeba iro ore plant
With the train, Timbopeba will be able to operate at least at 80% of its capacity of 33,000 tonnes of iron ore “fines” per day, reports Reuters.
Vale was forced to shut down the plant in the Alegria mine complex recently after labor authorities in Minas Gerais state banned activities close to the Xingu dam due to concerns of a risk of collapse.
Vale said access by workers and vehicles continues to be suspended in the flood zone of the dam due to the ban even though it remains at emergency level 2, which means there no imminent risk of rupture.
But some workers are allowed entry under strict security precautions and they will get the unmanned train going once it has been tested, which would take between one and two months, the company said.
The unmanned train will travel automatically along 16 kilometers (10 miles) of track operated by a system that can control the speed and activate the brakes, Vale said.
Vale announces first ore at Voisey’s Bay mine extension
Vale has reached the milestone of first ore production at the Reid Brook deposit at the Voisey’s Bay mine expansion project in Northern Labrador, Canada - recognised as the safest mine in Canada.