Welcome to the first Thunderbird Newsletter of 2018. It’s all hands on deck with the start of preliminary work at Thunderbird, the launch of an additional training program in partnership with Broome-based Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation, and the signing of new binding sales agreements.
Please visit www.sheffieldresources.com.au to access all Thunderbird newsletters and for more information about the Thunderbird Project and Sheffield Resources.
Thunderbird Project Status
Sheffield is making strong progress in key areas as it moves the Thunderbird Project closer to the commencement of construction:
- Government-approved works are underway for Thunderbird and supported by participants in Sheffield’s Group Training Program
- Growing global demand for mineral sands products has resulted in the execution of a series of binding offtake agreements for Stage 1 premium zircon and zircon concentrate
- Due diligence for Sheffield’s US$200M debt facility with Taurus Mining Finance Fund is nearing completion and continues to support Thunderbird’s robust economics
Please click here to read more about Thunderbird.
Image: Nathan Wong representing Qingyuan Jinsheng Zr &Ti of China, and Sheffield Managing Director Bruce McFadzean, celebrate the signing of a binding sales agreement for the supply of Thunderbird premium zircon
As Sheffield advances the Thunderbird Project, we are making a positive difference in the local community. An important part of Sheffield’s pledge to the community is our commitment to local content through employment, training and business opportunities.
We are turning to local businesses for a range of goods and services including electrics, workwear and equipment. This is evident in the $450,000 that Sheffield spent with close to 30 local suppliers in the three months to 31 December 2017.
Of Sheffield’s 24 employees, 25% hail from the Kimberley while Aboriginal employees represent 21% of the workforce, figures that will continue to rise over time as we fulfil our pledge to the community.
Going forward, we will keep you informed about our engagement with local businesses, as well as employment and training programs.
Images: Lift n Rig and Great Northern Logistics are among the local companies providing services for Sheffield at Thunderbird
Health and Safety
Sheffield’s biggest priority is the safety of our people. As we continue to advance our Safety Management System, we are pleased to welcome Geof Stagbouer and Henning Nielsen to our Health and Safety team.
Geof and Henning have joined Sheffield as Thunderbird Safety Advisors on back-to-back rosters, which means one of them will always be on site during works. Their responsibilities include overseeing and managing all aspects of safety for the Thunderbird preliminary works program.
Heavy rain limited access to Thunderbird in January and February, but it’s given Geof and Henning an ideal opportunity to provide valuable input into the development of our Safety Management System.
Image: Henning Nielsen has joined Sheffield as a Thunderbird Safety Advisor
Thunderbird’s environment team has had a busy few months overseeing the development of the Project’s water monitoring program and undertaking further work on the fire management plan.
Sheffield has engaged local contractor Kimberley Water to drill water monitoring bores to enable the ongoing monitoring and observation of water quality and water tables. Monitoring water tables is essential in the management of groundwater sources, protecting their quality and the ecosystems that depend on them.
Image: Local company, Kimberley Water, with a rig for drilling water monitoring bores
Thunderbird Fire Management Plan
Sheffield’s Environmental Advisor, Gayle Keys, and Mick Blackman from Friendly Fire Ecological Consultants, have been working closely with stakeholders as they develop Thunderbird’s fire management plan.
Mick has liaised with Sheffield’s environment team, not-for-profit organisation Rangelands NRM (Natural Resource Management) and the Thunderbird Rangers. Mick also collaborates with Dr Sarah Legge, a wildlife ecologist with 20 years of experience in research and conservation management, and a well-known fire expert throughout the Kimberley.
The Thunderbird draft fire management plan will be aligned with plans for neighbouring properties, including the plan for Mt Jowlaenga which hosts Thunderbird, and will be reviewed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
John Silver, Acting CEO Rangelands NRM, said the development of Thunderbird’s fire management plan was a great opportunity for the Dampier Peninsula fire project.
“The objective is for all stakeholders to work in collaboration with the bigger picture in mind,” John told the Sheffield team. “It sounds like Thunderbird’s fire planning and works program will be of benefit to surrounding properties on the Dampier Peninsula, which historically has endured a serious wildfire problem for many years.”
John said early season managed prescribed burning has been shown to benefit biodiversity, habitat protection and pastoral productivity. To achieve this across the entire Dampier Peninsula, all parties need to work collaboratively towards the same goal.
“An engaged and experienced fire consultant will play a key role in enhancing the Dampier Peninsula fire working group’s ability to mitigate the risk of wildfire across the Peninsula. Implementing fire strategies which complement surrounding properties to meet ecological, cultural and pastoral requirements will contribute to the long-term conservation of native species within the area.”
Image: John Silver, Acting CEO Rangelands NRM
Sheffield is pleased to announce new recruits Gordon Lawford, Engagement Officer, and Damien Lawford, Mentor, who have joined Sheffield to support the Group Training Program, which is being conducted by Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation.
Gordon and Damien hail from Broome and both have ties to Beagle Bay and the Fitzroy Crossing area.
Sheffield has committed a further $750,000 to expand its Group Training Program ahead of the commencement of construction at Thunderbird.
Sheffield welcomes Vikki Bosich, Systems Accountant responsible for implementing the company’s ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, and Richard Irvine, Owner Works Supervisor for Thunderbird. Richard is a Broome resident with extensive experience in the construction industry.
Images: Below: Richard Irvine. Above right: Gordon Lawford and Damien Lawford with Justin King, Senior Community Advisor
Owner Works Engineer - 6-month role
The person who fulfils this role will be responsible for the provision of site engineering services and ensuring the effective, safe and economical completion of Owner Works Projects at Thunderbird. Please click here to view the advertisement on Seek.
News and Views
The Hon Peter Tinley MLA, Minister for Housing, met with the trainees at Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation during a recent visit to Broome. The trainees are working towards a Certificate 3 in Civil Construction and the opportunity to work on the construction of Thunderbird.
The Minister was clearly impressed: “I was very encouraged to see the results that Nirrumbuk in Broome delivers in encouraging young Aboriginals from the Dampier Peninsula to take up trainee and apprenticeship opportunities,” the Minister said.
Sara Hennessy, President of the Mary Island Fishing Club in Derby, was also impressed with participants in Sheffield’s Work Ready Program. Sara gave a big thank you to Sheffield and eight trainees who helped build a 200-square metre deck at the club. Sheffield also contributed materials towards the build, which had a total value of $75,000.
“It was an amazing outcome for both parties with all of the cadets successfully completing the program and some gaining employment with Broome-based Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation’s Group Training Program for the Thunderbird Project,” Sara said.
Image: Sara Hennessy, President of the Mary Island Fishing Club, and members of the Sheffield team
Mr Ian Blayney MLA, Member for Geraldton, Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; Fisheries discusses Thunderbird during a recent debate in the Western Australian Parliament.
"I visited a mine in the electorate of the member for Kimberley. ……. The Thunderbird mine is about halfway between Broome and Derby and I think that it deserves as much support as the government can give it. It is committed to not having a fly in, fly out workforce; it will be drive in, drive out, starting with a workforce of about 220 and going up to 280 in five years. Thunderbird will have a 42-year mine life. It is committed to employing many Aboriginal people. Its target is to have a 30 to 40 per cent Aboriginal workforce. I think it is a really exciting project. The company is trying very hard. It is still having problems with native title, but going along with all the other processes, hoping that the native title issue will be fixed. I say again to the government: please do everything you can to help the mine with this native title issue. I was pleased to see a photo of Hon Peter Tinley, Minister for Housing, appearing in the most recent newsletter I got the other day. He has visited Thunderbird. Next time the minister is in the Kimberley, and we pass by each other in a Qantas aeroplane, I would ask him to look at Thunderbird. I am sure the member for Kimberley will be happy to show him around. That is me. Thank you for hearing me out and I wish everybody all the best."
Assembly, 14 February 2018
Please click here to read the comments on page 44 of Hansard.
Sheffield Resources is developing the Thunderbird Mineral Sands Project mid-way between Derby and Broome.
With a mine life of 42 years, Thunderbird promises intergenerational employment, Aboriginal and regional development prospects.
Exports are planned through the ports of Derby and Broome, with construction of the mine expected to commence in 2018.