Newcrest Mining’ Lihir Gold has continued to roll out safer and more productive mining operations at the PNG mine. Challenging geothermal environment’s present a range of “hot ground” hazards for the operation of the gold mine. These hazards include uncontrolled reactions during blasting operations together with potential high-temperature risks for personnel.
Lihir Island is uniquely located in a volcanic caldera on (Aniolam) Lihir Island, 900 km from Port Moresby in PNG. The geothermal activity in the regions results in rock temperatures at the Lihir gold mine’s open pit operation to reach 150 degrees Celsius.
This past week Newcrest released a company announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange ASX outlining that its new technology is allowing “safer (and) productive mining of Lihir’s hot ground zones”. The company highlighted three technologies including:
- New electronic detonator and bulk explosive products tested to 150°C and high reactivity
- Development of a full suite of mining robotics solutions to deliver safer & more productive mining in Lihir’s hot ground zones – ‘Nil on Foot’
- ‘Nil on Foot’ includes blast hole measurement, geological sampling, explosive priming & charging of blast holes
Newcrest also announced that it had the company achieved zero fatalities and a 13% reduction in TRIFR (excluding Red Chris See Note 1) across its mining operations. It had also successfully managed the potential risks from COVID-19 across the business during the period.
Newcrest manages Lihir COVID-19 case
The company achieved an extensive program of preventative measures implemented including roster changes and isolation periods preventing an outbreak following arrival at the Lihir site of a confirmed COVID-19 case. The company confirmed it had:
- Effective quarantine and contact tracing procedures in place;
- Controls were tested recently with a confirmed case arriving at Lihir;
- Controls prevented the infection of others during the travel and isolation process at Lihir;
- Social distancing requirements across all operations.
Newcrest has achieved almost 5 years fatality free with zero life changing injuries across its’ mining operations however it confirmed that a safety transformational project was underway at its’ underperfroming Red Cross operation.
Note: 1 Red Chris injury rates are much higher than the Newcrest average which is driving the higher FY20 TRIFR.
Images: Newcrest Mining
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