Oct 01, 2018

Minelec rises to the challenge

Minelec rises to the challenge Capricorn Copper began exports this year after a major refurbishment project.

No phones or internet, few records and a processing plant that had seen better days.

These were among the challenges facing Townsville-based electrical contractor Minelec as the team started work to help bring the former Mount Gordon mine in north-west Queensland back online for new operator Capricorn Copper.

The year-long effort that followed was recognised when the refurbishment took the title of Industrial Project of the Year at the Master Electricians North Queensland Excellence Awards for 2018.

Minelec general manager Matt Richardson said the Capricorn Copper project, 125km north of Mount Isa, stood out for the size and complexity of scope.

“It involved bringing the surface plant back online and performing some major upgrades to the switch rooms, the communication infrastructure and high voltage network,” he said.

The team covered all facets of electrical work including high and low-voltage work, lighting, programmable logic control, instrumentation, controls and lightning protection.

Among the challenges was the lack of information left by previous owners, with many on-site records having suffered water damage, he said. “We had to identify and test everything, and then create records.

From those records we created rectification scopes,” Mr Richardson said.

The remote location also demanded careful planning and Minelec had to establish a satellite link early on in the job for its own communication needs.

“We had no phone coverage out there, so no internet either and we operate a cloud-based project management software, so we ended up having some satellite communications set up on site for our internet and phone connections,” Mr Richardson said.

“We had to overcome a lot of challenges out there.”

The refurbished plant was commissioned in late 2017 and Capricorn Copper exported its first copper concentrate early this year.

Among the other winners at this year’s Master Electricians North Queensland Excellence Awards was Mackay’s Linked Group Services, Horan & Bird and Naomi Burke (Legrand Apprentice of the Year).

Electrotek Qld collected the Commercial Project of the Year award, while its personnel took out the Women in Contracting Award, the Tradie of the Year and the Master Electrician of the Year titles.

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