Expanding iron ore and lithium producer Mineral Resources’ investments in technology and innovation can help drive faster growth in the company’s A$2.6 billion mining services business, according to CEO Chris Ellison.
Writing in MinRes’ latest annual report, Ellison says road transport, crushing and shipping innovations that “set us apart from the competition and underpin our capacity to develop stranded deposits anywhere in the world” can bring forward a planned doubling of the size of mining services.
“With an expanding client book, impressive project pipeline and strong enquiries from across Australia and abroad, our mining services business remains well placed to double within the next two years,” Ellison writes.
MinRes has a standing goal of doubling the size of its wholly-owned CSI Mining Services arm in the next five years.
The division grew revenue to $2.6 billion in FY23 from $2.1 billion in FY22, though margins in the latest year were cut by higher parts, components and labour costs.
Total group revenue in FY23 was $4.8 billion, 40% higher year-on-year, while underlying EBITDA lifted 71% yoy to $1.8 billion. MinRes is aiming to grow its iron ore production from 20 million tonnes per annum to more than 90Mtpa through development of hubs in Onslow, Pilbara and Yilgarn, and become a top-five global lithium producer on the back of its Western Australia asset base.
CSI Mining Services provides internal and external services.
“Mining services has been the heartbeat of MinRes since day one and our in-house capability and innovation focus continues to drive our expanding pit-to-ship offering across mining, drill and blast, haulage, crushing and processing and transhipping,” Ellison said.
“In FY23 we launched the latest iteration of our modular crushing technology – NextGen 3 – which is more efficient, emits less noise and can be built for less.
“With 16 external crushers in operation and another three in negotiation across the financial year, MinRes continues to strengthen its position as the world’s largest crushing contractor.
“Our unique road haulage technology is also attracting industry interest, headlined by our 330t road trains that allow us to move product from mine to port at a cost comparable to medium gauge rail. Close to 30 external MinRes road trains were in operation during FY23, while dozens more under negotiation show growing interest in our haulage solutions.
“This year our world-first autonomous road train program also progressed with successful testing in the Yilgarn region. New partnerships with manufacturer Kenworth and technology provider Hexagon will fast track the creation of a fleet of autonomous road trains set to support safe, efficient and cost-effective haulage for our Onslow Iron project.
“Onslow Iron will also mark the introduction of our fully-enclosed and purpose-built transhippers, with two vessels – MinRes Airlie and MinRes Coolibah – successfully launched from their manufacturing yard in Zhoushan, China, during the financial year.”