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2021 Premier's Awards in Energy and Mining

Adbri - Safety Step Change program

Barton Gold - Reinvigoration of regional gold exploration in the Tarcoola District

Barton GoldBarton Gold is an ASX listed gold exploration company with approximately 1.1 Moz Au JORC Resource, multiple exploration projects, brownfield mines, and ownership of the central Gawler Craton’s only gold mill. Barton’s vision is to establish a new gold district as South Australia’s leading independent gold developer and producer. The central Gawler Craton has remained relatively under-explored for the past 20 years due to the difficulty of exploring under cover. Barton recognised the combination of historical under-investment, existing infrastructure, proven gold endowment and new technologies as an opportunity to cost-effectively revitalise discovery.

During 2020 Barton designed an innovation-focused exploration strategy, applying existing and new technologies to develop new methodologies with regional applications. The results have already been significant, with Barton confirming a new discovery with each work program.

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Beach Energy - Cooper Basin Safety Strategy

Beach EnergyIn February 2020, a severe hand injury sustained at Beach’s Cooper Basin operations triggered a wide review of processes and procedures. Following site leadership visits and extensive consultation, a new Safety Strategy was deployed involving over 100 new safety initiatives, leading to a remarkable improvement in company safety performance.

As of September 2021, Beach has recorded 4 million hours without a Lost Time Injury – a company record.

Cooper Basin Production Supervisor, Mark Mudgway (who suffered the hand injury in February 2020) said:

“I suddenly became the statistic that no one wants to be part of, which is to be centrally involved in a workplace accident.

“By the time I returned to work, the change actioned to our working systems triggered by the subsequent investigation, to me, was significant.

“We are in a far better and safer place then we were 12 months ago.”

2020 Winner (Resources): Geosteering innovations to enhance horizontal well placement and production

2019 Commendation (Resources): Beach Energy Limited and South Australian Museum for their program ‘Fossil Fest’

BHP - Step up for Safety

BHPOlympic Dam comprises underground and surface operations, and is a fully integrated processing facility from ore to metal. Underground hard-rock mining and mineral processing have had consistently higher rates of injury than open cut mining due to a higher density of hazards and potentially hazardous energy, and higher levels of manual work exposure.

The Step Up For Safety campaign was introduced to Olympic Dam early in FY21 as a response to the increasing Total Recordable Injury Frequency (TRIF). Step Up For Safety sought to personalise safety and reinforce the existing systems and processes that we know can work with cultural commitment. The campaign was designed by, and created with, frontline employees and contractors.

The team leading the campaign shared their own experiences of the impact of their workplace injuries, covering themes of hand safety, eye safety, human energy, summer safety, vehicle interactions, personal injuries, routine hazards, brain biases, situational awareness, psychological safety, safe to speak up, and stop the job.

The potential application of Step Up For Safety is broad because the behavioural change approach, guiding principles, and framework can be packaged for any major hazard facility.

BHP - Operating System Deployment

BHP Olympic Dam Mine (ODM) is a complex, underground hard-rock copper mine, with a challenging context relating to safety, culture, and productivity. While the BHP safety and productivity strategy has yielded significant benefits over the last four years, it is recognised we can always be better.

Globally BHP is deploying the BHP Operating System (BOS), a way of working that makes improvement central to everyone’s role, ultimately assuring our strategy to lead the sector, keep people safe, develop and build capability, generate outstanding returns, and meet the expectations of our communities and other stakeholders.

ODM is made successful by approximately 2,500 personnel with approximately 250 leaders, across both surface and underground infrastructure, confronting countless challenges of a growing footprint, interactive proximity, complex ore compilation, aging infrastructure, and new talent in a heating labour market.

As an overarching system, BOS has three core principles: serve our customer, pursue operating perfection, and empower our people.

Through the deployment of BOS, leaders are trained to embed the three core principles in day-to-day activities, while demonstrating the effectiveness of value creation through targeted improvement initiatives that lift safety, culture, and productivity.

Economical Energy - VIPER: the Vertically Integrated Potential Energy Reservoir

Economical EnergyEconomical Energy’s mission is to accelerate the transition to 100% renewable electricity. In the last year, renewable energy was wasted at an average rate of 160 MW (enough to power 200,000 homes) because there has not been any system or product to cost effectively store it.

Economical Energy’s patent pending VIPER (Vertically Integrated Potential Energy Reservoir) is a cost-effective long duration energy storage technology that adds stability to the grid with inertia and system strength.

Energy storage technology has a fundamental role to play in this changing energy market and significant deployment of additional energy storage is needed.

VIPER has no reliance on water availability, limited restrictions on potential locations and no adverse impact on ecology. The product is able to use stranded assets of underground mines, or to work from green field sites, and to utilise waste material such as mine tailings.

VIPER is expected to provide a range of economic benefits to the public, reducing the cost of power by capturing energy when it is cheapest and later returning it to the grid to support lower prices during high demand.

2020 Winner: Climate-Kic West Coast  Cohort Pitch.

2021 Merit award (startup of the year category): iAwards SA & NT

Enerven and SA Water - Zero Cost Energy Future

EnervenSA Water

SA Water provides world-class water services to over 1.7 million customers across South Australia, including water sourcing, treatment and supply, sewage removal from homes and businesses, and sewage treatment and recycling. It is an immensely energy-intensive industry, with SA Water’s 2018/19 energy bill exceeding $80 million.

SA Water has always had a proactive approach to energy reduction and reducing their environmental footprint. To improve their energy management and reduce energy costs they developed an ambitious work program that will see the energy they generate and export to the market offset the cost of the electricity they draw from the grid and network charges, to achieve a net zero outcome.

Sustainably reducing operational expenses, such as electricity, will enable SA Water to keep water service charges as low and stable as possible for their customers.

The aptly named Zero Cost Energy Future program is a global first for a water utility designed to reduce their energy bill across its portfolio of sites and assets. The program included development of optimised control and coordination of energy across sites, and active demand management practices. The scope included engineering and delivering 242 GWh of solar PV and 34 MWh of energy storage across 33 ‘behind the meter’ sites in metropolitan and regional South Australia.

Enerven was contracted to deliver the infrastructure to unlock SA Water’s potential to neutralise their energy costs.Enerven specialises in electrical, telecommunications and renewable infrastructure, with specific expertise and experience relating to South Australia’s distribution and transmission network infrastructure. They have vast experience in renewable energy technologies, including PV solar and energy storage, smart lighting, Virtual Power Plants (VPPs), embedded networks and microgrids.

They play a pivotal role in South Australia by building and maintaining the infrastructure that keeps the state running.

Enerven and ElectraNet - Main Grid System Strength Support - Robertstown Substation


ElectraNet own and manage South Australia’s high-voltage transmission network which transports electricity over long distances from traditional and renewable generators, both local and interstate.

The rapid adoption of renewable power generation sources into the grid is fundamental to Australia’s future, however, the grid was never designed to allow for the differences in flow that renewable resources can cause, making it more difficult to respond to fluctuations in supply and demand.

To transition to the power system of the future, new technologies need to be implemented into the network to manage these changes.

ElectraNet received regulatory approval to install four synchronous condensers on the South Australian network, with two being installed at the Robertstown Substation, 130 km north of Adelaide and two being installed at the Davenport Substation just outside Port Augusta.

A synchronous condenser (syncon) operates to ensure the power system has the minimum levels of both system strength and inertia, stabilising the system following supply interruptions. Syncons will become the essential infrastructure to allow more renewable resources to be connected to the grid allowing us to receive and export power when required, increasing  grid stability.

Enerven has been a key delivery partner of construction and maintenance projects for ElectraNet for over 20 years, forging a strong and collaborative relationship over that time.

Enerven was the Principal Contractor for this project, responsible for the design, construction, and commissioning of the infrastructure works required to install the two syncons at the Robertstown substation.

EnviroCopper - Kapunda Copper ISR Project


In situ recovery (ISR) is a mining technique, successfully researched at a demonstration site at Kapunda, that may be able to recover copper resources with environmental and social concerns leading the process, in association with Commonwealth Government research funding.

Access to and testing of the mine site was supported by early and continuous engagement with the owners of the heritage mine, Light Regional Council, as well as local community members and key stakeholders.

Extracting copper and other metals from diverse geological environments will be a step change in Australian mining, improving project economics whilst meeting environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and help commercialise sub-economic deposits.

With research partners at CSIRO and The University of Adelaide, EnviroCopper have effectively developed environmentally friendly solutions to extract copper, a vital commodity for ‘greening’ our world.

Iberdrola Australia - Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park

IberdrolaIberdrola is a market leader in the Australian energy market operating more than 800 MW of solar, wind and storage batteries, a significant portfolio of projects with more than 1,000 in various stages of development.

Prior to commencing the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park (PAREP) project, Iberdrola was aware of the unique environmental challenges of the region which is characterised by a hot, dry climate with low and erratic rainfall.

Iberdrola, in collaboration with Succession Ecology, applied an innovative vegetation rolling technique for PAREP.

With this technique, root systems and the biological soil crust remain intact, which reduces dust and allows for rapid vegetation and regeneration following rain.

This is a world-first application of this method at such a large industrial scale (ca. 120 ha).

Outcomes post-rolling have been very effective with significant regrowth across all areas following rainfall and enduring environmental outcomes have been achieved.

Inception Consulting Engineers - Inception Database to Dashboard

InceptionInception specialises in mining project development and minerals processing. Our skills in data science and data analytics complement and expand on our core minerals processing expertise. We provide our clients with the insight to make informed decisions from their data. We are a small locally owned business, located in the Adelaide CBD.

Inception created a dashboard that increases productivity and efficiency of mineral exploration teams, allowing them to focus on trends on data handling and management.

Data can be consolidated online and accessible anywhere by the project team and all tied back to the project. Teams who are often working from remote sites can now access and make decisions on the same current and consistent data.

Stored securely in a central coordinated database on the Amazon Web Services platform, it can be easily sanitised, undergo QA/QC and be updated, providing clients with significant enhancement of their exploration capabilities with speed, agility and a sound basis for current and future decision making.

IQMS Australasia Pty Ltd - Capability improvement systems for SME companies

IQMSIQMS Australasia is a compliance and business management systems consultancy and design organisation, operating from Adelaide with clients across Australia and New Zealand. The team service a diverse range of industries including energy and mining, civil construction, oil and gas, defence, local government, health and medical sciences, food and beverage, manufacturing, aerospace, energy, education and communications.

Specialising in the design and implementation of fully customised compliance and management systems, IQMS build innovative business management systems that facilitate business growth and capability building into the future.

Their unique solution for a cost effective, cloud-based integrated compliance and business management platform offers intuitive functionality and a user-friendly interface, primarily aimed at supporting SMEs across the energy and mining and other sectors.

The IQMS platform is a cloud-based system, which allows immediate access to shared information, including updated documents, reports, hazards, incidents, agendas, minutes and actions.

IQMS Australasia has been successful in assisting their customers to continuously improve all aspects of their strategic, tactical and operational activities.

Liberty Whyalla Steelworks - Continuous Improvement Program

Liberty Primary SteelWhen the Whyalla Steelworks was bought by GFG Liberty Primary Steel in late 2017 the plant was making a loss of from $15 million to $25 million each month. The Steelworks produces 1.2 million tonnes of steel per annum, supplies 70% of the Australian steel products market, and is the major employer in Whyalla.

In 2019 the Continuous Improvement Program was introduced to improve productivity and reduce costs. 1600 steelworkers have contributed to the program, with over 400 improvement initiatives focused on safety, efficiency and cost reduction.

Ideal generation sessions which engaged front-line workers were implemented. To date over 250 of these ideas have been actioned and the pipeline of initiatives are still strong. This was made possible through active engagement, building problem solving capability, innovative measurement systems and fast executive decision support.

The Continuous Improvement Program has re-established the financial success of Liberty Whyalla Steelworks, provided further employment for the local community, allowed the company to re-engage in apprenticeships, traineeships, graduate programs, vacation student programs and other partnerships, and continue to be a major contributor to the social fabric of the Whyalla community.

MaxMine - Unlocking mines full potential

MaxMineMotivated by the core needs of mine sites – being efficient, safer and environmentally sustainable – MaxMine is using data, artificial intelligence and effective change management to improve productivity and reduce carbon intensity in mining operations.

The technology platform has extensive data analytics capabilities, gathering a thousand times more data than conventional fleet management systems in the mining space. Through its programs MaxMine has changed human behaviours and lifted performance across a number of national projects.

The global net zero mission will require vast amounts of steel, copper, lithium and other minerals – some will come from recycling but most will need to come from mining. The use of MaxMine’s technology will accurately report and change behaviours, alleviate human error and create a productive and efficient mining industry to deliver on global net zero emissions.

What began as an Adelaide-founded team of 5 employees in 2015 has grown to a team of 50 with more growth on the horizon.

OZ Minerals - Prominent Hill Shaft Expansion

OZ MineralsOZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill Shaft Expansion study investigated opportunities to access the circa 100 million tonnes of mineral resources outside the previous Prominent Hill Ore Reserves and proposed a solution that creates value for all stakeholders.

The traditional approach and study process is detail focused but often costly and time consuming and doesn’t always allow for flexibility to respond to opportunities and threats that might emerge. OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill Expansion study team was built to be diverse and agile, demonstrating the value of inclusion, trust, sharing of information and encouraging robust discussion on the project at hand.

The Prominent Hill Shaft Expansion study demonstrates the value of inclusion and wide collaboration, with outcomes including an extended mine life, increased annual copper production at a lower operating cost, lower emissions intensity and a reduction in overall operational risk.

OZ Minerals - Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation lab courier contract

OZ MineralsThe partnership between OZ Minerals Carrapateena and the Kokatha people, the Traditional Owners of Carrapateena, was built through years of open consultation. Both parties are committed to creating sustainable shared values and protecting and respecting country and culture.

Carrapateena’s processing team identified a high-value joint opportunity for Kokatha business development and began a shared process to understand what value could be created for all involved.

This resulted in a freight contract for the life-of-mine, where members of the Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation (KAC) and the Kokatha community undertake daily transportation of concentrate samples from Carrapateena mine to a laboratory in Whyalla.

The lab courier contract builds on the relationship between the Kokatha people and OZ Minerals, creates ongoing employment for members of the Kokatha community, and builds collective business capability. The service is now part of the broader ‘Mining Services’ business the KAC has established to provide support to the mining sector.

The Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation vision of improving the lives of Kokatha people is the driving influence of the Corporation.

SA Power Networks - Enhanced Voltage Management

SA Power NetworksSouth Australia boasts the highest penetration of rooftop solar in the world. In late 2019, the national electricity market operator, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), identified an imminent threat to the state’s power system security due to the continued uptake of rooftop solar PV and AEMO’s ability to manage resulting minimum demand on the system.

Working with the South Australian Government and AEMO, SA Power Networks developed an innovative voltage management solution that could provide world-first solar ‘feed-in-management’ capability.

The Enhanced Voltage Management (EVM) project provided a solution to managing system security emergencies, and has significantly improved network capacity to host solar at all other times. The solution also avoided the need for expensive network capacity upgrades.

Voltage management systems in substations supplying 80% of SA customers have been upgraded to enable fine-grained, real-time management of voltage. This can be used if needed to increase state demand by lifting the system voltage above the high-voltage trip point of existing solar inverters.

No retrofits were required to customer solar systems, there was negligible impact on customer amenity, and the same capabilities can, and are, being used to better manage voltages on a day-to-day basis, more than doubling solar hosting capacity of the SA distribution network.

SA Premium Cement & Concrete - Closed Circuit Waste Management System

SAPCCA total supply solution South Australian company, SA Premium Cement & Concrete (SAPCC) are committed to excellence in safety, environment, quality and service.

Formed on the foundations of commitment to transforming the South Australian construction materials sector, they have invested in market leading technical and commercial resources to provide technical excellence and genuine partnerships led by sustained and continuous improvement.

SAPCC’s innovative Closed Circuit Waste Management System reprocesses all waste streams from their flagship Wet Batch Concrete plant at the Mile End site into value added products.

A global first, a robotic bowl cleaner, is built into the process. This largely overcomes the primary limitation of wet mix plants, that is the cleaning and maintenance of the wet-mix bowl.

2019 Winner: Environmental  Innovation Awards

2018 High commendation: CCAA Awards, Community Involvement

2019 National winner: CCAA Awards, Bulk Handling Facility of the Year awarded to Mile End Wet Batch Concrete Plant

The University of Adelaide - New drilling design to reduce producing coal fines during gas production from coal seam gas

University of AdelaideNew computer modelling for drilling was developed by The University of Adelaide’s Australian School of Petroleum and Energy Resources for reaching coal seams to control the issues of coal fines during gas production which causes substantial negative economic and environmental impacts.

The new system is based on sub-surface stress regime for each region, where there is an optimised drilling direction where fines production will be at the minimum. It can predict the onset of coal fines production, providing operators with knowledge prior to drilling and requirements for screen installation or other equipment to control fines production.

The system can save substantial cost for replacement or maintenance of expensive pumps and compressors, surface facilities and flow lines, and mitigate the environmental damage of dumping coal particles in surface lands.

Results of this project are published in several high-ranking journals such as Fuel and International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences.

The University of Adelaide - Roseworthy Solar Farm

University of AdelaideWith two different battery chemistry storage systems, coupled with a smart-microgrid system, The University of Adelaide’s 1.2 MW Roseworthy solar farm is reducing peak electricity demand, network and energy costs.

The University will offset over 45% of the campuses annual electricity requirements, along with reducing its overall carbon footprint.

The project uses a smart digital microgrid network for controlling the batteries and solar panel cells which determine how best to charge or discharge the batteries to ensure maximum network demand reduction.

This smart, data-rich renewable energy system will be used for teaching by the University’s Centre of Energy Technology and provide a living laboratory to support research staff and learning outcomes for engineering and computer science students at The University of Adelaide.

Tindo Solar - New production facility

Tindo SolarTindo Solar, based in South Australia, is Australia’s only manufacturer of solar panels, producing world-leading panels using the latest technology. The company produces more than 280,000 panels, with a production facility upgrade due to double its output through using the latest in global cell technology, a Monocrystalline Silicon Solar wafer called the M-10 solar cell.

Committing to $11 million in advance manufacturing, the technology and expansion will mean jobs, future proofing renewables and building a new generation of Australian engineers and technicians.

This new technology will increase module efficiency, by using fewer but larger solar cells and will give better solar energy conversion.

The purpose-built factory will offer laboratory experience to university engineering students, assistance to the solar car challenge teams from ANU, TAFE SA and The University of Adelaide and offer seminar rooms with stage lectures and educational events.

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Western Air - Rigback and Booster Compressor Projects

Western AirLocally based South Australian company, Western Air, specialises in creating portable high pressure air solutions. Developing innovative products, the company focuses on efficiency, reliability and safety of its products.

Projects within the group focus on designing primary air and booster packages to suit specific configurations on drilling rigs, trailer mounted and stand-alone units used in the domestic and international mineral exploration (drilling) and oil and gas industries.

Western Air provide drilling advice, engineering solutions and customer value through equipment and parts supply, and are committed to fostering continued research and development at the Tonsley Innovation Centre.

An Innovation Winner for the Hot 30 Awards showcasing the next generation of businesses who are successfully developing technology and using innovation to shape the future of energy and mining in Australia.