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George Fisher Mine expansion

Schematic of the proposed surface layout, Eagle Downs project (Source: www.aquilaresources.com.au)

South32, Australia

South32 is a mining and metals company with operations throughout Australia, including Worsley Alumina, WA; GEMCO NT; Cannington Mine, QLD; Illawarra Metallurgical Coal, NSW; and TEMCO, Tasmania.

Since 2017, Axiom has provided estimating and project controls services to assist South32 in their capital work delivery program at their various sites.  Services have included the provision of Project Controls professionals on tailings dams, an underground crusher replacement and a new coal mine drift development.  Axiom was also engaged to develop the Project Controls module for their project management system, established a benchmarking standard of their recent tailings dam projects; and provided cost and time management on the Pre-feasibility Study phase for their Eagle Downs project – a greenfield metallurgical coal mine development located in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

George Fisher Mine expansion

© 2019 Copyright Newcrest Mining Limited.

Lihir Gold Mine, Pit Optimisation Study, Papua New Guinea

In 2015, Newcrest Mining engaged Axiom to compile the Pre-feasibility Study into the remaining life of mine development at their Lihir Gold Mine.

The study involved the preparation of numerous mining scenarios, waste disposal methods and sea wall solutions.  Axiom’s involvement entailed working closely with a number of mining, geotech and engineering consultants, production of standardised estimating guidelines, production of the life of mine capital and operating cost estimates, cashflows, implementation schedules and Basis of Estimate documentation.

George Fisher Mine expansion

Wafi Golpu Gold/Copper Mine, Papua New Guinea

Engaged by the joint venture between Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold in 2012, Axiom provided estimating services for the Pre-feasibility Study, and project controls and contract administration services for early work activities as part of an Integrated Owner’s Team.


The project involved the greenfield development of a 22 Mtpa gold/copper mine in a remote area of Morobe Province in PNG. Mining included both open pit and underground mine developments using block caving techniques, extensive mine infrastructure, a copper concentrator plant, gold processing plant, port facilities and power supply. Axiom’s estimating services included overall estimating management, review and compilation of consultant produced estimates, owner’s cost estimates and life of mine capital and operating cost modelling for financial analysis.  Our project controls and contract personnel where based both in Brisbane and the Lae project offices.

Oyu Tolgoi Mongolia

Image: Copyright © 2018 Rio Tinto.(Source: www.riotinto.com)

Oyu Tolgoi, Hugo North Mine, Mongolia

In June 2012, Axiom was invited to lead an independent team of estimators to review the capital costs of Oyu Tolgoi’s (OT) Feasibility Study for Phase 2 of the project. Works comprised the development of an underground block cave mine to produce 50 Mtpa, third train 20 Mtpa concentrator addition, coal fired power station, and expansion of the mine infrastructure.

In 2013, OT further commissioned Axiom to establish the project execution budget for Phase 2A works (UG development and supporting surface infrastructure) structured to suit OT’s execution team’s cost management system.  Due to unsettled agreements between stakeholders, the execution of Phase 2A was suspended and a new Feasibility Study was commissioned to drive down the capital expenditure. Again, Axiom was engaged by OT to provide estimating management services to coordinate and compile the overall capital and operating costs for the revised work scope.  The study was carried out under Rio Tinto’s management processes and across four locations Brisbane, Vancouver, and Ulaanbaatar and onsite.  Axiom developed the estimate plans, 4 each shaft capex, and co-ordinated the estimating responsibilities between the main study contractor, the study management team and the OT operation groups. Axiom services where expanded to include development of the Owner’s execution team costs and the Life of Mine Operating Cost estimate, both required close interface with the newly formed organisations.  Other responsibilities included general estimating technical assistance and quality control, change management reporting, interface with Rio Tinto Finance, Owner reviews and Basis of Estimate documentation.

George Fisher Mine expansion

Image: © Glencore 2017-2018 (Source: www.mountisamines.com.au)

George Fisher Mine and Lady Loretta Mine, Australia

Glencore (formerly Xstrata Zinc) awarded Axiom the project management services the George Fisher Mine expansion. The underground lead/zinc mine, located in North Queensland, underwent an expansion from producing 3.5 to 4.5 Mtpa. Axiom delivered estimating, cost control, planning and scheduling, quality assurance and document controls by selecting project-specific systems, sourced suitable staff and applied processes and procedures to support the project phases through design, procurement and construction. Once established, Xstrata then sole-sourced extended services from Axiom for the management of the George Fisher Crushing Project.

Xstrata also sole-sourced Axiom to provide similar services on the Lady Loretta greenfield mine development of 1 Mtpa of zinc / lead ore, also located in North Queensland.  All projects were rigorously audited by Xstrata Corporate with the first project receiving a merit in the Project Controls section (which helped lead to the extension of services on a sole-source basis for future projects).  Their team was also asked to lead the development of the complete Project Execution Plan and preparation/coordination of all sections of the Monthly Report for Lady Loretta. When Lady Loretta was due for Glencore’s corporate audit, the Project Director assigned Axiom the role of managing documentation for the auditors across all project disciplines to ensure a successful outcome for the project. Worked was completed in 2013.

George Fisher Mine expansion

© 2019 Copyright Newcrest Mining Limited.

Lihir Gold Mine, Million Ounce Process Upgrade, Papua New Guinea

The MOPU project was initiated by Lihir Gold Ltd in 2008 to increase gold production by 25%. Shortly after Newcrest Mining acquired the mine in 2010, Axiom was engaged to review the MOPU project status and cost reporting accuracy. 

Following a restructure of the project team and delivery strategy, Axiom was tasked with re-estimating the project cost and schedule for use as the new control budget and the roll-out of improved cost control systems in line with Newcrest Mining’s project standards.  Axiom services also included the provision of a Project Controls start-up team plus training and handover to Newcrest Mining’s newly engaged project team.