Newmont’s Tanami gold operation is one of Australia’s most remote mine sites.
Located in the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory, its nearest neighbour is the remote Aboriginal community of Yuendumu, some 270 km away. The mine is situated on Aboriginal Freehold Land owned by the Warlpiri people and managed on their behalf by the Central Desert Aboriginal Lands Trust.
Due to its remoteness, the workforce of approximately 750 personnel is all fly-in, fly-out.
In 2014, Newmont Tanami produced more than 345 000 ounces of gold and is planning to increase production in 2015. The mine operation is underground, currently at a vertical depth of 1500 metres.
“Power costs equate to approximately a quarter of the fixed running costs of the operation,” Jarrod Riley, Manager Sustainability and External Relations - Tanami Operations says. “We currently have on site power capacity of 27 MW which is all diesel driven.”
In 2014 Newmont Tanami produced in excess of 167 000 Megawatt hours, which consumed over 41 million litres of diesel.
This powered the underground mining operations, refrigeration plant for cool air underground, ventilation system, the paste backfill plant, maintenance workshops, administration areas, processing plant and the accommodation village.
Almost 13 million litres of diesel was used operating equipment, including 22 underground dump trucks, six underground boggers (loaders), four underground drills, seven integrated tool carriers, three agitator trucks, 10 wheeled loaders, two water carts, five 50 seater buses, five graders, four excavators, five roadtrains, and more than 50 light vehicles.
“Ninety nine percent of this equipment never leaves site or goes on a public road,” Jarrod says.
Newmont provides fuel to Traditional Owners travelling through the Tanami as the distances between fuel stops range from 600 km to 750 km. They also provide emergency fuel to tourists who get stranded on the Tanami Track.
“Removal of the fuel tax credits, particularly to a remote operation so reliant on diesel, will greatly impact profitability. This impact will then flow on to both the Northern Territory Government and the Traditional Owners through lower royalty payments,” Jarrod says.