Is Mining Evil?

Every time I turn on the TV these days there is an evil, greedy mining corporation killing, maiming and polluting in the ruthless pursuit of money. So allegedly, according to TV, mining companies are plundering away unchecked at everyone’s expense. The themes vary from the heartless interplanetary miners in Avatar, Alien and Moon, to the idolisation of crooks that rob gold mines such as in the Point Break remake. At least mining got the last say on Point Break, because the movie’s plot was very ordinary to say the least.

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Lazy Grazing

When a mine starts up, the approvals process demands that a plan is developed to rehabilitate the mine progressively and at closure. At approvals stage, there is little appetite to slow down the already lengthy and cumbersome process with complicated rehabilitation planning. This tends to see mine developers prefer to adopt a safe solution for post mining land use that conforms with the industry norms, rather than take risks to achieve a better outcome.That sees most companies nominate grazing as a post mining land use, since its easy to grow grass and cows eat it. Not much risk in that.

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They Tried To Make Me Go Do Some Rehab. I Said No No Yes!

When Amy Winehouse wrote her song about rehab I am sure she didn’t have mine site rehab in mind. The principals of having a sustainable future and minimising harm however are still the same.

Over the past decade the level of Financial Assurance (FA) held by the QLD Government for mining activities has increased to $6 Billion an almost 500% increase over the 10 year period.

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Longwall Production Trends – Benchmarking the Future

It’s interesting when you glance at the peaks, troughs and trends in Australian Longwall production. In just less than 20 years we have seen between 2 and 3 fold increases in total ROM tonnes with obvious economic-driven flat spots.

In a recent industry update (July 2016), “Queensland coal – mine and advanced projects” reported a 2014 – 2015 saleable coal increase of 14.7Mt to 243.6Mt compared to the previous financial year for all mining operations. The underground component –  42.6Mt, was won from 13 mines.

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Minerals Transport Infrastructure

With the exception of gold projects, large mineral deposits require bulk product transport infrastructure to get the product to market. On average they say it takes 30 years from discovery to development for a large mineral deposit.  Most of this time is taken up building certainty and gaining the approvals required in order to build enough confidence to invest the capital. At any one time there are lots of projects that are waiting for certainty around the infrastructure and in many cases there are whole mineral regions that remain undeveloped.

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MEC Underground Coal Delivers Mine Planning Solutions

Faced with tight customer deadlines, MEC Mining recently delivered multiple mine planning and production scenarios for a major underground coal producer. The scope included a “first principles” mine design and bottom-up productivity review for Continuous Miners and Longwall operation. Coal reserving and production scheduling of multiple scenarios were executed with XPAC which delivered the required inputs to financial modelling.

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