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Building the future of the Bowen Basin
Anglo American and Fitzroy Australia are doing more than just mining coal in the Bowen Basin. They’re also investing in modern technology and the culture of their people. Vanessa Zhou writes.
Carborough Downs mine takes families underground
FITZROY Australia Resources recently opened its Carborough Downs underground mine in Queensland to more than 800 employee family members — the first time the mine has been opened up to members outside the sector.
‘Unheard of’: CQ underground mine opens up to the public
An underground mine near Moranbah has been opened up to members outside the sector for the first time ever — all for a very special reason.

Fitzroy Australia Resources has started a new initiative where family members of workers at its Carborough Downs mine can experience a day at the site first-hand.

Several Family Open Days were held earlier this month, giving family members an opportunity to don the high-vis and safety gear to go underground and tour the workshops, warehouse and coal-handling plant.

Fitzroy Australia Resources chief executive Grant Polwarth said family and friends from as far away as New Zealand took part in the Family Open Days.

"As a family business, it was an incredibly proud moment to acknowledge and thank the unsung heroes of our industry: the wives, husbands, parents, partners and families of the Fitzroy team who support us and the demands of the industry we love," Mr Polwarth said.

"Without their support and belief in us, none of this would be possible."

Children who took part in the festivities enjoyed jumping castles, fairy floss, popcorn and a colouring competition.

Each child was also presented with a souvenir to help them remember the day — their very own Fitzroy high-vis work shirt embroidered with their names, just like mum or dad.

Fitzroy targets inexperienced mine workers for Ironbark No.1
Fitzroy Australia Resources plans to fill half of the jobs it is creating at the Ironbark No. 1 coal project in Queensland with workers who are new to the mining industry.

The company will require more than 350 workers at the coking coal operation near Moranbah and has earmarked 50 per cent of the roles for mining rookies.

Fitzroy has formed a partnership with SES Labour Services to provide the training, development and recruitment solutions.

SES will deliver the cultural assessment, training requirements and recruitment activities needed for the development.

Ironbark will become the first new development from a group of assets Fitzroy acquired from Brazilian miner Vale in November 2016.

Fitzroy also acquired the Carborough Downs mine, Broadlea project, and a portfolio of development and exploration projects.

The mine, which is scheduled to reach production in first quarter 2020, will be an underground longwall, and bord and pillar site operated by its owner. It will share major infrastructure with Carborough Downs.

Fitzroy chief executive officer Grant Polwarth said the partnership was important in de-risking the development of Ironbark No.1.

“Employing some 350 new Fitzroy personnel is very exciting for our business and the region and it comes with both great opportunity and challenge,” Polwarth said.

“Partnering with SES Labour Solutions to not only help recruit and train our new workforce, but further enhance our culture and vision of being a people business that mines coal is another way of challenging industry norms.”

Recruitment for the underground mining roles is expected to begin in fourth quarter 2019.

SES executive general manager Nathan Sharpe said Fitzroy’s innovative practices and people-centric approach made the partnership a logical alignment.

“Fitzroy are a future market leader in the mining industry, always looking to push the boundaries on traditional mining methodology,” Sharpe said.

“What Fitzroy have achieved at Carborough Downs in such a short space of time is a remarkable result already. Their focus on people, and in particular, their desire to drive performance at individual and team levels, is second to none within the industry.”

The agreement with SES is the latest innovative partnership that Fitzroy has set up for the development of Ironbark since the project was approved by the Queensland Government last month.

Fitzroy also established a partnership with Nepean Mining, which will design and deliver key equipment and infrastructure at the project.

Nepean’s scope at Ironbark includes conveyors, electrical systems, electrical reticulation, the mine ventilation system and the longwall system.

Fitzroy Australia partners with Nepean to deliver Ironbark No. 1 coal project
Nepean Mining will design and deliver key equipment and infrastructure at Fitzroy Australia Resources’ Ironbark No. 1 coking coal project in Queensland.

The companies are partnering to execute the project as an integrated team in two phases; (1) the accelerated design and development, (2) the acquisition, installation and commissioning.

Nepean’s leading specialist businesses – Nepean Conveyors, Nepean Power and Nepean Longwall – will be leveraged on the project.

The scope includes conveyors, electrical systems, electrical reticulation, the mine ventilation system and the longwall system.

Fitzroy Australia Resources chief executive officer Grant Polwarth highlighted the cultural alignment between the companies, and the mutual focus on value-adding decision making and execution, as key factors in establishing the partnership.

“We are excited about working with Nepean in a true partnership sense to deliver a result which has the potential to be company building for both groups as well as change the industry landscape and expectations on major project delivery,” Polwarth said.

Fitzroy received approval from the Queensland Government for the Ironbark No. 1 project earlier this month. The project, 35km northeast of Moranbah, is expected to create 350 jobs.

Nepean CEO Miles Fuller explained what the company’s partnership with Fitzroy would deliver.

“This partnership will achieve a superior outcome for Fitzroy, by significantly reducing project cost, accelerating delivery time, and ensure superior equipment lifecycle performance,” Fuller said.

“This model will redefine how successful projects can and should be delivered.”

The Ironbark No. 1 project is expected to reach production in the first quarter of 2020.