Congratulations to all the 2020 NSW Industry & Suppliers Awards Finalists.
NSW Mining Young Achiever of the Year - Sponsored by Evolution Mining
Steven Fordham - JOINT WINNER
A proud Kamilaroi man, Steven Fordham is the Managing Director of Blackrock Industries based in Muswellbrook, which provides labour services such as earthworks, construction and cleaning to the mining industry.
Following a serious medical diagnosis, doctors told Steven he probably wouldn’t live past 18. Steven says this meant he didn’t give much thought to his future nor take his education very seriously. After eventually teaching himself to read and working through a boiler making apprenticeship, at age 25 Steven decided he wanted to ‘do something big’ with his life.
He scraped together some savings, bought an old tipper truck, and Blackrock Industries was born.
Within the first 12 months, Blackrock Industries turned over $1 million. Three years down the track and Blackrock industries is a multi-million dollar company with 22 locations across the nation employing 120 people.
As part of his work at Blackrock Industries, Steven started a programme called Second Chance for Change. The programme works within the NSW prison system to give incarcerated indigenous men an employment opportunity and a way of creating a better future for themselves.
Since the programme started, over 47 former inmates have been employed with a commitment for 150 positions over the next three years. Steven’s goal is to be the first indigenous company to have a $1 billion dollar a year turn over as well as the first indigenous company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Ellie Hawkins - JOINT WINNER
CMOC Northparkes Mines
Ellie Hawkins is a Scheduling Engineer in the Technical Services team at CMOC-Northparkes Mines, a copper and gold mine located in Parkes, NSW.
Ellie’s goal was to forge a career in the mining industry right from the start. While studying at Wollongong University, Ellie was elected President of the AusIMM Illawarra Student Chapter. In 2017 Ellie joined CMOC Northparkes as a graduate mining engineer. In her first year, Ellie completed a term working as part of an underground crew as the only female member. During this time, Ellie put together a business case for wireless blasting technology. Within her first 12 months, Ellie transitioned from her position as a graduate to the role of Drill and Blast Engineer with the concurrent role of Project Team Leader for the trial of a wireless detonation technology. The trial resulted in enhanced safety for charge crews as well as productivity improvements. The goal is for 90 percent of all firings in 2020 to use the new technology.
In 2017 Ellie joined the Northparkes Emergency Response Team (ERT) training as a responder with skills ranging from road crash rescue, compartment fire and underground search and rescue. In 2019 Ellie competed with the Northparkes ERT team at the Victorian Mines rescue Competition where they were named overall winners.
Ellie is a strong advocate for gender diversity, actively looking for opportunities to share her mining experience with other women to highlight the career opportunities available to them within the mining industry. Her goal is to see more innovations in technology implemented in mining operations at Northparkes to further boost safety and productivity.
NSW Mining Supplier of the Year - Sponsored by Whitehaven Coal
Ampcontrol - WINNER
Ampcontrol was established in Newcastle in 1968 and has become a leader in the provision of safe and reliable electrical solutions for the NSW mining industry. Ampcontrol is located in eight regional centres in NSW and employs 450 people across the State.
A focus for Ampcontrol has been investment in R&D and the pursuit of technological innovation. Ampcontrol visited a number of their hard rock clients and uncovered large ‘starter graveyards’ where electronic starter components for mining equipment had been discarded. The company knew addressing this level of waste and duplication was a challenge they could meet.
Ampcontrol found that mine operations faced a lack of flexibility, restricted to using traditional electronic starters that were often only designed to power one piece of equipment. Custom starters also required a lengthy tender and production process.
A team from Ampcontrol spent 30 months bringing the Rockstarter multi-function starter system to life. The Rockstarter offered improved monitoring with a smart-phone-style display as well as vastly superior functionality, able to be used with a broad range of equipment.
The results of the Rockstarter system have been increased ‘up-time’ for equipment, time-saving with regard to coordinating post-blast operations and increased productivity. The new system also delivers enhanced safety, easier routine diagnostics and lower procurement costs eliminating the need for multiple and custom starters.
The Rockstarter system is helping drive a transition to ’smart mining’ within the NSW mining sector.
As part of their focus on technological innovations, Ampcontrol also participates in the Australian Government’s P-TECH program, a collaboration of education and industry to help students develop skills and knowledge for a trade-related career.
Established in 2001, Namoi WasteCorp is a family-owned business that operates in and around the Narrabri Shire. The company employs 22 local workers, has a fleet of 20 trucks and specialises in general waste pickup, recycling, liquid waste removal, potable water delivery and hydro excavations for the region’s mining operations.
Namoi WasteCorp pride themselves on their safety record, including zero safety incidents over the 12 years of working with major client Whitehaven Coal’s sites in the Shire.
Over the past 18 months, Namoi WasteCorp has invested in technological and mechanical innovation to enhance safety, improve service for customers and reduce their environmental footprint.
This has included new trucks with an increased carrying capacity that can collect three times the amount of waste per trip, saving fuel and reducing time on public roads.
Another investment in safety, compliance and efficiency has been the implementation of Assingnar business compliance software to monitor employee, client and subtractor compliance on a daily basis and the use of in-vehicle monitoring systems. The in-vehicle monitoring systems provide information on GPS location, speed, routes taken and whether or not the vehicle appears to be in trouble in an area without mobile service. These systems have contributed to accurate compliance records as well as measurable improvements to health, safety and environmental metrics.
As well as meeting the challenges of improved environmental performance and enhanced safety, Namoi WasteCorp has achieved revenue growth of 35-40 percent since 2017 as well as providing almost one million dollars of work for local subcontractors in 2019. Namoi WasteCorp is proud to source their supplies locally to keep the money in the Namoi region and are long term supporters of local charity and sporting teams.
NSW Mining Operation of the Year - Sponsored by Quarry Mining
Illawarra Metallurgical Coal Operations - WINNER
Illawarra Metallurgical Coal (IMC) operates in the Illawarra and Wollondilly regions of the southern coalfields, 75km south of Sydney. IMC has two underground metalliferous coal mines, Dendrobium and Appin. IMC employs around 1,200 people, ninety percent of whom live in the local region, as well as providing work for nearly 1,000 contractors. IMC also spends around $160 million annually with approximately 400 local suppliers.
The high-quality metalliferous coal produced by IMC is exported out of Port Kembla Coal Terminal or provided to Australian steel making customers such as Bluescope Steel.
The focus of IMC at both its southern coalfield mines is long term sustainability based on more efficient performance and enhanced innovations in safety.
A good example is the challenge of reducing dust exposure while increasing production at the longwall operation at the Dendrobium mine. To overcome the challenge IMC implemented and enhanced the leading-edge control and automation operation of the longwall miner, which not only allows for more accurate mining but moves employees further away from in front of the longwall cutting zone.
This innovation has improved health and safety outcomes and increased production by 18 percent, with average shear times increasing by 10 percent.
Innovations such as these at IMC mines have seen production increased from 4.2 million tonnes in 2018 to 6.6 million tonnes in 2019 with an expected 7 million tonnes in 2020.
Importantly, safety has improved with reportable injury frequency rates falling from 22 in 2017 to 16.2 in 2019.
IMC is also proud to work closely with the Illawarra community, contributing over $4.1 million in trust grants since 2004. The long-established local community working groups meet 35 times a year to ensure open dialogue on a range of issues and future plans for mining operations.
Mount Thorley Warkworth Mine
Yancoal’s Mount Thorley Warkworth (MTW) mine operates 15km from Singleton and encompasses two integrated open-cut mines employing approximately 1,300 people.
Yancoal acquired the mine in 2017 and set in motion an employee-driven programme of cultural change to drive productivity, safety and to secure the future of the mine amid the challenges of a cyclical coal market. The cultural change was focused on empowering employees at a grassroots level.
The Yancoal Our-Way programme was designed to empower employees to own the drive for improvement in safety, production and efficiency. At the heart of the programme, Yancoal rolled out the Culture Improvement Collaboration, where every employee was encouraged to take personal responsibility for culture improvement as part of an overall team.
Part of the programme was to ensure all employees understood and were involved in numerous innovative improvements such as haul road intersection redesigns, the introduction and improvement of haul truck running lanes, individual employee proficiency training, dump redesign and operations along with a number of other improvements.
The results were outstanding with an unprecedented level of transparency and collaborative communication; the establishment of an employee-driven ‘culture vision’ including benchmarks for efficiency, communication and whole-of-team excellence; and fostering the potential of those within the business who showed an aptitude for leadership.
At the end of 2019, an Employee Engagement Survey found a 58.4 percent increase in employee sentiment toward company operations. Other improvements included a decrease in absenteeism of 30 percent, a decrease in turnover of 50 percent and an increase in the permanent workforce from 60 to 90 percent.
MTW is a proud supporter of the Clontarf Foundation to improve the education and life skills of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men. MTW is also a sponsor of the Upper Hunter Science and Engineering Challenge alongside the University of Newcastle.
Outstanding Contribution to NSW Mining - Sponsored by The Bloomfield Group
John Richards - The Bloomfield Group - WINNER!