In May 2021, Newcrest Mining Limited completed a successful planned shutdown at the Lihir gold mine in Papua New Guinea. The mine site is remotely located on a small island, 900kms from Port Moresby.
According to Anthony Paskin, Shutdown Logistics Senior Planner at Newcrest Mining, the Lihir operation had originally planned to use in-house tools and an existing tool store to support the event. But when sourcing adequate equipment and personnel at short notice proved difficult, Newcrest enlisted expert support from the Coates Industrial Solutions team in Brisbane.
“The current tool store at Lihir is 10 years old and is shared between two different areas on site, so it would have been difficult to move for this event,” Anthony explains. “We chose to partner with Coates to boost Lihir’s equipment and tool store capacity. Members of our project team had worked previously with them, so we felt confident Coates could meet our requirements and enhance the delivery of our event.”
To deliver planned maintenance work during the current pandemic, mining and resources sector organisations have had to navigate some unique logistical challenges. “Performing major industrial events like the Lihir shutdown in the current health climate was a unique event, and very different to those we have supported previously,” explains Chris Wright, Coates Industrial Services and Events Manager. “Shutdown project teams must now adhere to new infection control protocols, and they face additional delays and restrictions getting materials and personnel to and from site.”
“A much wider range of scenarios must also be considered, and the need to deliver the Lihir shutdown in such a remote location heightened the need for meticulous planning to minimise downtime and prevent other costly project delays,” Chris adds.
To support the six-week shutdown, Coates supplied a staffed tool store, complete with a range of consumables and trackable small equipment like hand tools, bolting and lifting equipment. By combining two purpose-built tool store facilities – a fully stocked storage container and a front counter/servery – Coates was able to support a temporary workforce of more than 1,800 people from 30 different subcontractors.
“During the tender process, Newcrest issued a list of required tooling based on previous events, but we were able to recommend some changes and additional items,” says Chris. “This advice, together with the supply of quality tooling and experienced personnel, contributed to Coates winning the project and successfully delivering the shutdown.”
Historically, stock control at Lihir has had some challenges. However, by using the proprietary CHASE system to track and report on usage of tools, equipment and consumables during the shutdown, Coates was able to manage tooling far more efficiently and reduce the cost of lost tools. “We achieved less than 1% tool loss during the Lihir shutdown, which was an excellent result and helped Newcrest reduce overall costs,” says Chris. “
The assurance of using quality hire tools and having access to all equipment documentation through CHASE offers customers like Newcrest peace of mind during major shutdowns and maintenance projects. “Knowing that all tools were properly documented, well maintained and independently managed was something we were pleased to be able to offer at Lihir,” says Chris.
Forecasting future events
As well as tracking hired tools, equipment and consumables, Coates was able to track and analyse customer-supplied assets during the Lihir shutdown. “By managing Lihir’s project resources through one portal, we were able to see exactly what Newcrest was spending and provide quality data to inform the planning of future maintenance events,” says Chris.
Reflecting on the recent Lihir shutdown, Anthony speaks highly of Coates. “I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from the Lihir team on the support Coates offered during this event,” says Anthony. “We were particularly impressed with the stock control and reporting systems, and with the way the Coates crew stepped up to assist us in delivering this event during a very tight timeframe.”
Reach out today to find out how Coates Industrial Solutions can support your next shutdown.
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