underground mining excellence

Case studies

Rosebery, Tasmania

Client: MMG Limited

Commencement Date: 17th January 2015

Scope: Barminco was awarded a three-year contract in January 2015 to perform development and cable bolting activities. In 2017, Barminco was awarded an extension to the contract out to 2021 in line with MMG Dugald River contract.

Services: Development and Cable Bolting

Project Details:
Rosebery is an underground polymetallic base metal mine located in the township of Rosebery in Tasmania, and owned by MMG Limited. The operation is located approximately 300 kilometers north-west of Hobart and 125 kilometers south of Burnie. It has operated continuously since 1936. The mine an integral part of the community and the majority of Rosebery employees are local to the area. Barminco is responsible for the mechanised underground mining at Rosebery.

Barminco contact was awarded this contract at a time when development was a constraint to the mine plan, developed stocks were low due to several seismic events, the mine was ventilation constrained, and there was a poor contractor/client relationship. Barminco site management team has turned the site around in 3 Years and has worked well with MMG to change the site culture and contract performance. Barminco has a close relationship with MMG and has renegotiated with MMG to suit a dynamic mine plan and has delivered safe cost-effective metres. MMG reduced development requirements from January 2016, scheduling 450 meters per month. Barminco has consistently met monthly targets averaging 481 meters per month to November 2017.

  • Proactively worked alongside the client on the mine schedule
  • Set realistic expectations and tracked the requirements that were needed to make a winning team and strong relationship
  • Integrated mine planning process working with MMG using the7/21 planning and tracking process and continually shared all information
  • Brought in an experienced management and leadership team to guide and lead the development group and stand united with MMG management group
  • Advised on ground support changes to help assist increasing development rates

Significant Site Achievements:

  • No Lost Time Injuries having been recorded since contract commencement
  • Achieved over 1,800 development meters over a 3-month period and completed this milestone injury free.
  • Underground mine development is ahead of schedule with approximately 17,100 meters of advance being completed to 30 November 2017.

Dugald River, Queensland

Client: MMG Limited

Commencement Date: 2012

Scope: Barminco was initially awarded a two-and-a-half-year contract to advance the project’s two exploration declines and establish production levels and other infrastructure in February 2012, this contract was then extended to incorporate trial stoping and further development. In July 2016 Barminco was awarded a new development and production contract for 5 years.

Services: Development, Production and ROM Management

Project Details:
Dugald River is located approximately 65km north west of Cloncurry in Queensland.
Dugald River is positioned to be within the world’s top ten zinc mines when operational. The mine plan will support a 1.7 Mtpa operation with annual production of around 170,000 tonnes of zinc in zinc concentrate, plus by-products. The mine will operate over an estimated 25 years while the ore body remains open at depth.


  • Excellent safety record – LTI free since commencement.
  • Barminco has been engaged to perform all underground mining since site commencement.
  • Initially commenced mining in February 2012, cutting both a north and south portal. As a result, both mines were developed simultaneously to a depth of approximately 490 vertical metres.
  • In March 2014, the mine transitioned from a full development scope of works to a production trial stoping operation and, at the end of 2014, the trial stoping program was completed ahead of schedule.
  • The results of the trial identified geological conditions that differed to those used to plan the original scope of the mine, requiring a re-evaluation and redesign of the project to ensure it was viable.
  • In 2015, the operation returned to full development contract to advance both the north and south mines.
  • Achieved world record of over 700m in one month with a single Jumbo crew.
  • In 2016 the development and production contract went to open tender, with Barminco Limited being awarded a new 5-year contract as of the 1st of July 2016.
  • September 2017 Barminco Limited awarded the ROM contract which involves management of the ore surface stock piles and feeding the crusher.
  • Mill construction is 96% complete with ore being fed through the mill for commissioning as of October 2017.
  • Construction of the Dugald River zinc project is ahead of schedule, the mine officially opened on the 8th November 2017 and the first concentrate was shipped out after the official opening.

Spotted Quoll, Western Australia

Client: Western Areas NL

Commencement Date: 2011

Services: Development and production, Diamond Drilling

Project Details:
Owned by Western Areas, Forrestania Nickel Operations (FNO) are located approximately 400km southeast of Perth, Barminco are currently operating at two mines in the complex, Flying Fox and Spotted Quoll.

The Spotted Quoll underground nickel mine was the second underground mine developed by Western Areas at Forrestania Nickel Operations. The ore body was discovered midway through 2007. Open pit Production commenced at the Spotted Quoll Mine in mid-2009.

There is a long-standing relationship between the client Western Areas’ and Barminco having commenced at Spotted Quoll in May 2011 when the underground mine first opened and having operated at the Flying Fox Mine since 2004.

The Spotted Quoll orebody is open at depth with the mine planned to just over 1km below the surface. The primary stoping method is a ‘top-down’ mining method using long-hole open stoping with paste fill. The narrower and shallower areas are mined using top-down narrow vein techniques also with paste fill with an average FY16 reserve grade of 3.6%. Based on current ore reserves, Spotted Quoll has a mine life exceeding 7 years.


  • Improved productivity through innovation. Moved away from standard tele-remote to RCT guidance for boggers allowing the use of larger machines.
  • Improved productivity and transfer of materials under difficult ground conditions.
  • 76% reduction in Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate over the last 3 years.
  • Contract extended by 3 years (July 2017) due in part to Barminco’s excellent safety record, development rates, and improved productivity.
  • The Spotted Quoll mine site has a consistent record of accomplishment for meeting or exceeding production targets, whilst remaining Australia's lowest cost nickel producer.

Sunrise Dam, Western Australia

Client: AngloGold Ashanti

Commencement Date: 2003

Scope: Production and development services

Services: Whole of mine services since commencement in 2003

Project Details:
The Sunrise Dam Gold Mine is located east of Lake Carey, just over 50 kilometers from Laverton in the Northern Goldfields of Western Australia, 220 kilometers North-East of Kalgoorlie.

The gold mine began life as an open pit mining operation in 1997. A gold deposit was found to exist at Sunrise Dam in 1988, but it was not until 1995 that mining began as an open pit operation with the first gold from the deposit being poured in March 1997. By 2008 the pit, known as the Mega Pit, had reached a depth of 440 meters.

Barminco was awarded the contract to develop the underground mine at Sunrise Dam in 2011. The 5+3 year contract, worth $500 million, was the largest contract Barminco had entered, up until that time, and the second largest ever awarded in Australia.

The contract included the underground development work as well as that of the underground mining operation, including production, once development was completed.


  • Continual improvements of operations
  • Successful lift of production from 1.5mtpa in early 2014 to currently targeting 3.2mtpa
  • In 2007, a record production year, a total of 600,000 ounces of gold was produced, with the underground operation contributing 80,000 ounces.
  • Recent average development rates of 1,250m per month with 3 jumbos and a recent record of 1,346.4m in October 2017.
  • Lean manning model with 290 personnel
  • Increasing focus on technological innovation and automation of mining activities.
  • Long term materials handling studies are underway and could include autonomous trucking loops or conveyor haulage in the coming 2 years
  • Since it was first commissioned the Sunrise Dam mine has produced over five million ounces of gold