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Black tie replaced hi-vis in a glittering night of glamour, excitement, and celebration of our industry best as the Queensland Mining Awards on July 20.

The awards are all about showcasing innovation, best practice and excellence, and recognising the best and brightest resources contractors, suppliers and producers in the Queensland mining industry.

L to R: Anglo American take home the METS Ignited Collaboration Award. L-R: John Fitzpatrick (Moranbah North Mine), Brendan Kelly (Moranbah North Mine), Matthew Wakeford (Underground Technology and Automation), Shane McDowall (General Manager of Aquila Mine), Ian Wilkinson (Underground Technology and Automation), Paul Stephan (Moranbah North Mine & Grosvenor Mine), Dan Reynolds (Head of Transformation), Patrick Tait (Aquila Mine).

As well as shining the spotlight on the winners and finalists, the audience heard an industry address from Ian Macfarlane, Chief Executive of the Queensland Resources Council, and a keynote address from Jason Economidis, Chief Operating Officer of South32.

As a member of the peer judging panel, Mr Economidis spoke highly of the calibre of entries received from across the sector this year.

“I was particularly pleased to see representation right from multi-national companies down to small businesses like SoilCyclers, and good ideas being seen through to execution no matter where they come from. For example, Thiess’s winning Nylon Rim Cleat project in the Innovation (METS) category came from an idea had by two tyre fitters in the workshop, to make their working environment safer. This has now developed into an industry-leading product that’s making sure our people come home from work safely, and has the potential to roll out across Australia and the world. It is certainly an exciting time to part of the Queensland mining sector.”

Judge Dr Sharna Glover of technology ecosystem consultancy Imvelo says this year’s crop of finalists and winners showcases the technology and innovation that makes Queensland resources world-class.

“Every single category winner from the Queensland Mining Awards deserves a spot on the global stage – for developing clever solutions in response to industry need and market pressures. It’s always such a pleasure to judge the Awards and raise the profile of the innovation that we develop right here at home.”

Queensland Mining Contractor of the Year – SoilCyclers

SoilCyclers solved a remarkable problem that has the potential to change how the industry views rehabilitation. Judges loved the forward-thinking approach and the long-term applicability for the best environmental outcomes. The collaborative approach to solving an extremely common rehabilitation problem – topsoil deficits – brought in necessary partners with expertise in operations and water to create a circular economy model.

And the outcomes they achieved were remarkable – in meeting the client brief, turning overburden into viable topsoil and pasture, saving more than $80 million, and in significant emission reduction from reduced truck movements.

Glencore Productivity Award

Polymathian – Central Queensland Coal Network Optimisation

Working on the motto of thinking big, starting small and moving fast, Polymathian spearheaded new approaches to complex planning and scheduling integrations across Central Queensland’s coal haulage networks. The resulting improvements help to maximise the productivity of train fleets and minimise asset turnaround time, and the collaborative team is looking forward to building on these early successes.

QME Best Product Launch Award

GreaseBoss – Digital Transformation of Greasing

GreaseBoss estimates lost production for Australian mining due to incorrect greasing costs of over $150M annually. GreaseBoss is the world’s first system to track manual greasing on a point-by-point basis that verifies that auto-lubricators are working, with the ability to report back on both, and that they are working. Digital data collection enables remote monitoring and more accurate maintenance planning.

METS Ignited Collaboration Award

Anglo American – Autonomous Longwall Technology and Remote Operations

Remote longwall operation is a key part of Anglo American’s innovation-led approach to sustainable mining, FutureSmart Mining and future operational excellence. With innovative new technology and applications, Anglo American has created the systems required to remotely operate an autonomous longwall consistently, enabling operations to be safer, more competitive, and sustainable.

Austmine Innovation (METS) Award

Thiess – Nylon Rim Cleat for Seating Rims on Hitachi Trucks

The Thiess Asset Operations team has designed, engineered and trialled an innovative nylon rim cleat for mobile plant equipment to significantly reduce manual handling risk for tyre fitters. The cleats have the potential to transform tyre fitting and handling practices well beyond the mining industry.

Hastings Deering Safety Initiative Award

Soft Rigging Solutions – Tray Retention System/Safety Up Device

Typically, SUD’s on dump truck trays have been very heavy, impractical and have the potential to cause injury. The Soft Rigging Solutions SUD drastically reduces weight to a mere 4.2-14.2kg whilst still adhering to relevant standards. Consequently, safety is improved, enabling staff inclusion and simultaneously increasing production by reducing machine downtime.

iCutter Industries Environment Award

SoilCyclers – Mine Site Rehabilitation Using Waste

SoilCyclers and their collaborative partners demonstrated the viability of using a mine’s waste to create better rehabilitation outcomes. Using resources from the mine’s locality, SoilCyclers’ system works to resolve topsoil deficits and generate rapid pasture grass coverage even on sites without access to potable water. This cost-effective solution can be used on mine sites worldwide, also utilising overburden, subsoil and mine tailings.

SMW Group Community Initiative Award

BHP BMA – Smart Transformation Project (supported by BMA)

The Smart Transformation project, supported by BMA, operates in Dysart and Moranbah and aims to future-proof these communities against rapid technological changes. Since it began in 2019, Smart Transformation has delivered more than $4 million in new projects for Dysart and Moranbah that have been identified and prioritised by the community, for the community.

AusIndustry Innovation (Miner) Award

BHP BMA – Process Area Set Point Optimisation

Not only does PASPO, a machine-learning innovative application, provide BMA with a competitive edge to achieve industry-leading metallurgical coal blend compliance performance. It significantly exceeded value expectations. Since its inception in 2020, PASPO has delivered 385,000 additional product tonnes providing a 60X return on investment.

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