SA Mines and Energy Journal : December January 2009
then six off, and he’s looking forward to his new home. All water is recycled and after treatment it is used around the mine to keep down the dust or in the production process. The water supply has cost $70 million so far; it is very salty and has to go through a reverse osmosis plant after it’s been piped into Prominent Hill. The power costs $100 million to bring in from the state grid via Roxby Downs. Next to the mine is the medical centre, which is manned around the clock by registered nurses. They are in close contact with a doctor in Adelaide who is available to drop everything and get up to the mine at short notice. The Royal Flying Doctor Service via Port Augusta is on tap for emergencies. OZ Minerals also has its own medical team, which has taken over from a contractor. We then headed up to the top of the mine, led by Jimmy Nilsen, a mine planning engineer whose mother is Indonesian and whose father is a Norwegian oil platform driller who works in the North Sea. He has just joined OZ after four years in the coal industry in the Hunter Valley. Mr Nilsen shares the job as It’s a beautiful, capital-intensive jigsaw of pumps, pipes, massive conveyor belts, towers, ball mills, grinders and flotation tanks, which all looks very expensive –$1080 million worth. do most people at the mine, as half the people are on leave, but there’s plenty of overlap time to make sure changeovers are smooth. His role is to make sure the contract miner, Thiess, knows where to put the various grades of ore that are coming out of the mine 24-7. There are at least 13 stockpiles of varying grades lined up to go through the primary crusher at the top of the ROM (Run of Mine) pad before going through a secondary crushing and then a concentrator plant. Mr Nilsen, 26, a mining engineer, has moved to Adelaide, where he’s looking for a house to buy. His roster is nine days on, five off. “I’m here to learn as much as I can,” he said. “We do the planning and Thiess carry it out. It’s very exciting.” He explains that the truck drivers are earning at least $100,000 a year but they are working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. Chris Warrior, 24, is the first indigenous employee we meet, although there are about 40 on site thanks to a pre-employment program based at Coober Pedy. “I started out in pit grade control and my computer skills are pretty good so they asked me to be the travel co-ordinator, which is doing what a travel agent does – looking up flights and times on the internet, making the bookings and liaising with the client,” he explained. “I’m loving it and I’m working eight days on, six off, which suits me just fine.” We cruised through the copper processing plant, which was going through the final stages of construction and due to start work some time in November. It’s a beautiful, capital-intensive jigsaw of pumps, pipes, massive conveyor belts, towers, ball mills, grinders and flotation tanks, which all looks very expensive –$1080 million worth. And although the OZ Minerals’ share price has slumped nearly 70 per cent since its formation with the merger of Oxiana and Zinifex in March this year, the company has no concerns about accessing capital. “We have access to capital to fund development projects in a time where raising capital through traditional channels is increasingly difficult, if not cost prohibitive,” chief executive Andrew Michelmore said in a speech last month.?
October November 2008