In a statement released today, projects company Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) announces that it has been awarded a study for both the above ground and underground infrastructure for Vale’s Ellensfield coal project in the Moranbah region of Queensland, Australia.
Ellensfield Coal Mine Project (ECMP) is being developed by Ellensfield Coal Management, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vale Australia Holdings. The ECMP involves the development of a greenfield underground longwall coal mine, producing coking coal and thermal coal for export. The project site is within the northern region of the Bowen Basin, approximately 175 km west of Mackay.
This commission follows on from SKM’s work with Vale on coal projects in Queensland and iron ore projects in Brazil, as well as on the Goro Nickel project in New Caledonia, and draws on SKM’s experience in mine infrastructure and materials handling. More recently, SKM has provided engineering and construction advice to Vale Canada for ongoing base metal projects in Canada.
"We believe we can add significant value to Vale’s Ellensfield project, through our leading knowledge and experience in both above ground and underground infrastructure across a number of commodities," said SKM’s Queensland Mining and Metals Manager, Phil Tighe.
"We have been working in coal in Queensland and NSW for the past decade, and have vast experience of surface mine operations. Our focus will be on delivering innovative solutions which have a positive impact on the economic, environmental and social aspects of the Ellensfield mine development."
Last year, SKM had provided industry input to Intergraph in the development of SmartPlant 3D Materials Handling Edition and is committed to using the solution on upcoming projects.
SKM’s relationship with Vale Coal began in 2006 when SKM was invited to deliver studies for other projects associated with Vale in Queensland, involving infrastructure and materials handling.
In 2008, SKM was invited by Vale to undertake a Value Improvement Study on expansions to the Carajas iron ore mine in Brazil. This expanded to an Umbrella Agreement to develop conceptual and basic engineering for ferrous mining projects in Brazil. This included contributing to the FEL 2 (pre-feasibility) study for Vale’s S11D 90 Mtpa greenfields project in Vale’s northern Carajas System. The scope of work included engineering services for the dry beneficiation plant.
A year later, SKM was invited to undertake a FEL 2 study, followed by a FEL 3 study, of a truckless mining system for Vale’s S11D iron ore deposit in Brazil.
"We are delighted to be expanding and consolidating our ongoing relationship with Vale – both in coal and iron ore – in Australia and globally," said SKM’s Vale Client Manager, Richard Dewhirst.