A solar-powered excavator has moved its first 1,000,000 tonnes of earth at Fortescue Minings Chichester operation in WA’s Pilbara.  

The excavator runs solely on renewable energy and is connected to a 6.6-kilovolt substation via 2 km of trailing high-voltage cable.  

In January, Liebherr announced that its ongoing partnership with Fortescue had successfully converted one of its R 9400 excavators from diesel to electric.

It has been almost three months since the conversion, and the excavator operates at full speed, sometimes even performing better than its diesel equivalent. 

Fortescue Metals’ CEO, Dino Otranto, expressed his pride, saying, “This is such an exciting milestone for Fortescue and our decarbonisation journey.” 

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“Importantly, we’ve achieved this while maintaining our high safety standards. Two additional electric excavators will be commissioned by the end of April.” 

“Once we decarbonise our entire fleet, around 95 million litres of diesel will be removed from our operations yearly, or more than a quarter of a million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent,” he added. 

Fortescue’s 240-tonne battery electric haul truck prototype, Roadrunner, has also completed its first phase of on-site testing. 

This testing exceeded performance expectations, including laps around the testing track and ramp tests with hill starts while carrying 231 tonnes of iron ore.


NSW Turns Mining Op into Motorsport Park

A rehabilitated ex-mine site in NSW will become a rev-head haven after a successful rehabilitation program.

Yancoal’s Rhondda Colliery, located in the New South Wales Hunter region, will receive a new lease on life as the Black Rock Motor Sports Park.

Approved in 2019, It’s estimated the facility will create over 450 jobs during construction, with 229 permanent roles to follow.

The Rhondda Colliery, as the mine was previously known, commenced underground and open-cut operations in the late 1800s, which ceased in 1971. 

Yancoal has been operating the site since 2017. Rehabilitation, including remediation and revegetation, was completed in 2008.

David Moult, Yancoal’s CEO, expressed his satisfaction with the next phase of life at the Rhondda site.

“We are thrilled to have achieved this important milestone of relinquishing formerly mined land after an extensive and successful rehabilitation program at Rhondda,” he said.

“This is a significant accomplishment, and Yancoal recognises that land rehabilitation and relinquishment are crucial parts of responsible mining.”

He added, “Yancoal is committed to ensuring that land can continue to be an asset for the benefit of local communities after mining has concluded. This will continue to be one of our key aspirations in the future.”


Kalgoorlie’s Super Pit Goes Deeper Still

Australia’s biggest open pit gold mine, dubbed the Super Pit, will expand its operations to extend mine life until the 2030s.

As it stands, the Super Pit can be seen from space, and its owners, Northern Star Resources (ASX: NST), are seeking approval for further expansion.

The project aims to extend the productive life of the Super Pit for another seven years, enabling it to remain operational until 2034. 

The mine, originally known as Fimiston Open Pit, is one of the four assets that comprise Northern Star’s Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) operations.

It is located approximately 600 km east of Perth.

Northern Star plans to expand the development area from 5,914 hectares to 7,795 hectares.

After acquiring the Super Pit in 2020, Northern Star signalled that it was committed to continuing mining operations until the middle of the next decade, dispelling long-standing speculation about the fate of the asset. 

Soaring gold prices are pushing Australian producers to expand their operations.

Northern Start is the top publicly traded gold producer in Australia. 

Last year, it allocated A$1.5 billion to more than double processing capacity to about 27 million tonnes of ore per year by 2029 at its Kalgoorlie operations.


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