JV Partnership Creates New Opportunities for the Self Bunded Tank Market in United States and Canada

UNITY Fuel Solutions - New Distributor - USA - CANADA

Australia’s market leader in self-bunded fuel storage tanks, F.E.S. TANKS, has formed a new JV partnership with African-based Orca Fuel Solutions to launch Unity Fuel Solutions into the US and Canadian fuel storage marketxx

UNITY Fuel Solutions - New Distributor - USA - CANADA

The venture will bring a new range of precision-engineered self-bunded fuel storage tanks and mobile refuelling solutions into a market that consumes more than 540 billion litres of motor grade fuel every year.

F.E.S. TANKS Director Robert Salerno said Unity Fuel Solutions was an exciting move into the North America market.

“We’re pleased to partner with ORCA Fuel Solutions, Africa’s leader in innovative fuel storage tanks, to launch Unity Fuel Solutions into the North American market,” he said.

“Unity Fuel Solutions brings together the deep knowledge base and extensive product range of the ORCA and F.E.S. teams. We’re a great team with the skills and the geographic reach to design fuel storage and distribution systems that meet the particular needs of businesses across multiple industries and across the world.

“Our combined experience working from urban areas to remote and often-harsh environments across Australia, Papua New Guinea and Africa, the Unity team offers a wealth of insight and experience in the manufacture of robust fuel storage equipment and logistics. This is where Unity Fuel Solutions will add real value for United States businesses.”

Unity Fuel Solutions Managing Jacky Shapiro said the Unity range of BLOC and GRANDE tanks would provide a versatile solution for US businesses looking for an affordable quality fuel storage option that could be installed quickly and easily.

“Business logistics in the United States is a $1.6 trillion market and with considerations like the growing use of biofuels due to Federal mandates, there is strong demand in that market for new fuel storage options,” she said.

“The Unity Fuel Solutions range of self-bunded fuel storage tanks and mobile refuelling solutions provides an excellent alternative to existing fuel storage and dispensing infrastructure, much of which is rapidly becoming unfit for purpose.”

About F.E.S. TANKS

F.E.S. TANKS has become the market leader in self-bunded storage tanks in Australia.

Established in 2013, their reputation for offering environmentally-friendly fuel storage tanks with unique fuel dispensing and management solutions has led to fast national growth and expansion.

F.E.S. TANKS works with industries on the move to provide innovative, next-generation fuel storage solutions designed to take business into the future.

For more information go to www.festanks.com.au

About Unity Fuel Solutions

Unity Fuel Solutions is a new joint venture focused on creating better fuel solutions for industry on the move in North America.

It brings together Australia’s market leader in above ground self bunded storage tanks, F.E.S. TANKS and ORCA Fuel Solutions, Africa’s leading manufacturer of precision-engineered fuel management solutions.

Austank Appointed Victoria/Tasmania Distributor for F.E.S. Self-Bunded Tanks

new self bunded tanks distributor victoria and tasmania hero image

New self bunded tank distributor appointed in Melbourne, Victoria

F.E.S. TANKS, Australia’s market leader in self-bunded fuel storage tanks, has expanded its reach in Victoria and Tasmania through a new partnership with Austank.

new self bunded tanks distributor victoria and tasmania hero image

F.E.S. TANKS is an Australian-owned, trusted supplier of professional-grade self-bunded fuel storage tanks and mobile refuelling solutions to the transport, agricultural, commercial, industrial, mining, aviation and fuel retailing sectors.

Austank project manager Krystal Lewis said the F.E.S. range of Bloc and Grande tanks provided a handy solution for Victorian businesses looking for an affordable quality fuel storage option that could be installed quickly and easily.

“A lot of work sites need tanks urgently as their needs change, and this is where F.E.S. tanks provide a great flexible solution,” Krystal said.


“With road transport more important than ever at the moment, some of our transport clients have found the F.E.S. range gives them exactly what they need – additional fuel storage and distribution capacity that can be installed and operational in days with minimal site preparation.


“F.E.S. TANKS are a really robust tank built to last, with practical features that make them easy to use, transport and maintain – they’re a great complement to the Austank range.”


F.E.S. TANKS Director Daryl Cygler said the partnership with Austank was good news for Victorian and Tasmanian business.
“We’re pleased to partner with the Austank team to bring F.E.S. solutions to Victoria and Tasmania,” he said.


“They’re a great team with the knowledge and skills to design fuel storage and distribution systems that meet the particular needs of their clients, from farmers to transport operators.”

About F.E.S. TANKS

F.E.S. TANKS has become the market leader in self-bunded storage tanks in Australia.

Established in 2013, their reputation for offering environmentally-friendly fuel storage tanks with unique fuel dispensing and management solutions has led to fast national growth and expansion.

F.E.S. TANKS works with industries on the move to provide innovative, next-generation fuel storage solutions designed to take business into the future.

For more information go to www.festanks.com.au

About Austank

Austank has been operating in Victoria and NSW since 1985, when it started as a company building domestic heating oil and lube oil tank.

Today the company specialises in the design, engineering, fabrication and installation of quality Australian made steel storage and process tanks for the petroleum, energy, chemical and power generation industries.

Find out more at www.austank.com.au

South Africa’s bulk fuel storage revolution, self-bunded tanks.


Self Bunded Tanks in South Africa. The new frontier for fuel storage.


While diesel prices are expected to decrease slightly in South Africa as we move into 2020, petrol prices are again on the increase and transport costs mean inland operators continue to pay more.

For local businesses, responding to the fluctuations in price and ensuring a reliable supply of quality fuel is a major challenge.

Investing in new fuel storage options including above-ground self-bunded tanks is one way local businesses are revolutionising their operations and shielding their business from the uncertainty of the fuel cycle.

Fuel pricing and transport challenges in South Africa

High and fluctuating fuel prices are the single biggest fuel-related issue for South African business, particularly when you consider the need to buy clean fuel that meets minimum emission standards and the bunker fuel oil sulphur cap.

While fuel forecourts provide convenience, buying in bulk through the retail network is expensive both in cost of product and in transport and handling costs.

Poor road infrastructure, bulk fuel theft and hijackings are among the serious challenges involved in transporting fuel in addition to sometimes lengthy loading and offloading turnaround times, traffic congestion and vast distances.

Xwena Petroleum’s Johann Appies says increasingly, South African operators are looking for new ways to secure an affordable fuel supply and ensure reliability and value for money by installing their own fuel storage systems.

“For titans of industry who need to keep power plants or manufacturing facilities operating and fleets on the road 24 hours a day, reliability of supply is their overarching concern,” Johann says.

“In most cases this boils down to capacity, both in terms of bulk fuel storage and logistics. Increasingly, businesses are taking matters into their own hands to develop their own storage infrastructure.”

Self-bunded fuel storage tanks – an affordable bulk fuel storage option

The availability of self-bunded fuel storage tanks like the Australian-developed F.E.S. TANKS range is revolutionising fuel storage options for South African business.

Johann says using self-bunded tanks like the F.E.S. range has enabled the above ground storage of fuel, solvents and other flammable liquids in a way that’s affordable, flexible and meets regulatory and environmental requirements.

“Because F.E.S. self-bunded above ground tanks come in sizes from 1000 to 110,000 litres and don’t require any external bund walls, they make it possible to store fuel in areas where it wouldn’t previously have been possible. The design of the tanks also means they can be easily secured on-site.

“Fire rated self-bunded fuel storage options mean operators can now store petrol and diesel aboveground in high volume areas while meeting all legislative requirements and standards – something that previously wasn’t viable with traditional un-bunded round tanks.

Self-bunded fuel storage tanks – a new frontier

Johann says significant costs are already being saved in rural and industrial areas by using aboveground self-bunded tanks as opposed to the traditional options that require expensive site preparation and earthworks.

“They’re easier to install, clean and maintain than traditional underground tanks, with easy secure access and the capability to work with the latest fuel distribution and management technology.

“Tanks can also be offered on a rental basis with no capital required upfront and rental included in fuel supplied. This means business operators can make savings immediately from installation. After the rental period they own the storage and dispensing infrastructure without any rental premiums, maximising their cost savings.”

Making small scale fuel distribution a reality for South African business

Safe, easily transportable above-ground petrol and diesel storage options are also opening up new opportunities in fuel distribution.

“Self-bunded Bloc tanks are a safe, convenient way to store and dispense smaller quantities of diesel and petrol fuels or lubricants.

“These small cube tanks – from 1000 litres – are ideal for sitting next to a generator and can be paired with the latest fuel distribution systems.”

New options like solar panels to power fuel pumps and distribution equipment are also offsetting the high electricity costs which have traditionally been a deterrent for fuel depot or retail operators in South Africa, Johann says.

“With the range of renewable energy solutions now available to lower input costs and reduce or negate dependency on the grid, fuel distribution systems can now be successfully operated through solar power during the day.

“Smart Payment systems and other technology platforms are also enabling the sharing of bulk fuel infrastructure, creating even greater cost savings. The same systems can be utilized to create compelling loyalty offerings to entice customers with other value offerings.”


Find out more about the F.E.S. Tanks range and how our experts in South Africa can help you design the right fuel storage system for your business at www.festanksafrica.com

Fuel storage in Nigeria – the self-bunded tanks solution

self bunded tanks nigeria

Self Bunded Tanks in Nigeria. The new frontier for fuel storage.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest fuel producer, with oil and natural gas exports totalling almost 2000 barrels a day in December 2018. Fuel exports accounted for more than 85% of the total value of the country’s exports and in April this year, the government revived plans to double oil production by 2025 to as much as 4 million BPD.

self bunded tanks nigeria

At the same time, crude oil and downstream petroleum theft remain critical issues, particularly as global oil prices rise. Shell Nigeria reports that facilities operated by both local and international oil and gas companies continue to be affected by attacks and other illegal activities, leading to significant production disruptions and environmental contamination.

Third-party interference caused close to 90 per cent of the total number of spills of more than 100kg from the Shell Petroleum Company of Nigeria Limited operated joint venture pipelines in 2018.

Fuel storage in Nigeria – key issues

Keeping stored fuel safe and in good condition is a priority for Nigerian operators, with a number of storage and distribution options and security checks in place to minimise fuel loss.

Underground fuel storage tanks

Underground fuel tanks do offer security and can reduce fuel loss through evaporation. On the downside tanks and fuel distribution systems are often in poor condition, with inspection and maintenance difficulty and the cost of replacement significantly higher than above-ground storage options. Poorly maintained tanks add to the risk of fuel contamination and spoilage as well as to the risk of environmental leaks.

Fuel tank farms

For fuel storage on a grand scale fuel tank farms are the most common solution in Nigeria. Mega tank farms like the Ibefun farm in Ogun State are capable of storing up to 300 million litres of petroleum product. Security remains a key issue for these operations, with theft through distribution systems and spills through poorly maintained storage tanks among key issues.

Fuel management issues

Oilprice.com reports there have been numerous allegations of oil and petrol theft from Nigeria’s onshore export terminals, tank farms and refinery storage tanks. With oil companies basing their total production figures on unconfirmed volume estimates, using dipsticks to make calculations, there is also concern that the true magnitude of the problem might be underestimated.

Fuel storage for Nigerian business – the challenges of a reliable supply

For business operators, ensuring a reliable fuel supply for operational continuity is a critical issue. Petroleum products account for more than 83 per cent of the commercial primary energy consumed across Nigeria, with transport businesses among the major users.

With the nation exporting more than 85 per cent of its fuel oil and the country’s refineries poorly maintained and sometimes shutting down for months, fuel supply for domestic consumption is often disrupted and this can mean bad news for operators who need to power vehicles and machinery.

Transportation issues are also a significant factor behind an unreliable fuel supply. Tanker trucks are the primary method of fuel transportation and due to rough and poorly maintained roads problems like accidents, delays and product diversion often lead to product losses and low supply in regional areas.

Extreme Industrials (Nigeria). A secure fuel storage and distribution solution

Australian-made F.E.S. self-bunded above ground fuel storage tanks provide a secure and cost-effective solution to help Nigerian businesses take control of their fuel supply.

extreme-industries-logoStockists Extreme Industrials in Lagos say the tanks present a flexible solution that keeps fuel safe and helps keep business running without the need for expensive site preparation works.

The F.E.S. self-bunded tanks range comes in sizes ranging from 1000 litres to 110,000 litres built to international standards. The dual wall construction protects the environment against leaks, protects against fuel loss and degradation and saves on excavation and construction work.

“Another great benefit is that they are fully modular systems which makes site design simple. Everything, including connecting pipework, walkways and ladders can now be prefabricated and put together on-site,” says Extreme Industrials General Manager Ados Momoh.


“The tanks are also compatible with advanced fuel management systems that can keep track of fuel usage in real time – these systems can significantly streamline the refuelling process and dramatically reduce losses.”

To find out more about F.E.S. TANKS in Nigeria contact the experts at Extreme Industrials, www.extremeindustrials.com.

OTL Africa Downstream Week 

Extreme Industrials will be exhibiting at OTL Africa Downstream Week (in space C5) from 27-30th October 2019 at the Lagos Oriental Hotel. Feel free to drop in and talk to the Extreme Industrials team should you have any questions about your current fuel storage and management issues.

This event is globally acknowledged as the biggest platform for downstream oil & gas businesses in Africa.

Extreme Industrials OTL Africa Downstream Exhibition information

To learn more about OTL Africa Downstream Week, click here.  

Operating in PNG? Here’s why you need a self-bunded fuel storage tank.

Self Bunded Tanks in Papua New Guinea. The new frontier for fuel storage.

The November 2018 opening of Mobil’s new 5.6 million litre diesel storage tank at Port Moresby was flagged as a step towards improving national fuel security and meeting growing demand from industry.

Dunlop PNG’s James Green says another growing trend for regional operators is on-site fuel storage that puts the power back in the hands of business operators to buy wisely, maximise reliability and reduce transport costs.

self bunded tank in papua new guinea
GRANDE30 – 24 Hour un-manned refuelling station

Fuel transportation challenges

For James, infrastructure and transport challenges are among the biggest contributors to fuel costs for PNG business.

Old and poorly maintained infrastructure in regional areas means fuel needs to be transported long distances along difficult roads.

“The state of the national highways means moving fuel around is difficult and expensive,” he says.
“Add to that that outside of the main coastal towns, the only access to more remote townships is via ship.

“The main Puma depot is based on Port Moresby, which is road locked, so all fuel everywhere else in PNG is shipped from Port Moresby and road freighted or transhipped to other coastal towns, meaning freight costs are extremely high.


“Some operators also ship directly from overseas to Lae, Kimbe and other townships.”

Quality control – access to clean fuel

Ageing infrastructure and transport issues have a flow-on effect for fuel quality.

“A lot of the diesel or petroleum on the market is water and particle contaminated, either from the storage tanks on the end user site, from tankers or in some cases direct from the source,” James says.


“Fuel prices are also linked to the Singapore price rather than the cost of production in PNG, which means the cost of the final product can be out of step with the local cost of living and doing business.

Taking control with on-site fuel storage tanks

For many businesses, reducing fuel costs and downtime has meant finding new fuel storage options like on-site self-bunded fuel storage tanks.

“Taking control of costs and quality is one reason many companies outside of the main towns have started looking to hold additional fuel on site, so there has been a marked increase in sale of storage tanks,” James says.

“In the past a lot of the tanks were owned by the major fuel retailers in return for locked in contracts of supply, but there has been a shift away from that system as customers are looking for the flexibility to change suppliers based on changing pricing and rebates.”

Self-bunded storage tanks in PNG: a cost-effective solution

James says Dunlop PNG’s range of F.E.S. self-bunded storage tanks are an increasingly popular solution because they give regional operators options to safely store fuel on-site without the need for fixed earthworks and bunds, meaning operators can maximise the volume of fuel stored while complying with safety and environmental regulations.

“Self-bunded tanks or double-wall containment for fuel storage have revolutionised refuelling for business and solve many of the major challenges for PNG operators,” he says.


“Having an integral secondary tank wall does away with the need to build an expensive bund wall system and makes traditional underground storage a thing of the past.

BLOC 10000 self bunded tanks in Papua New Guinea

“They are also ideal for situations where there are logistical challenges or isolated locations, because tanks can be easily installed on-site wherever is convenient, and moved safely when business needs change without compromising fuel quality.


“Storing your fuel on site in an F.E.S. tank gives you greater control over price and when you buy and over fuel quality, which means you can maximise fuel efficiency and minimise damage to equipment and downtime caused by dirty or contaminated fuel.


“Our self-bunded tanks come in sizes from 1000 to 110,000 litres, are compatible with a wide range of pumps and dispensers and can be transported by road, rail or sea.


 “Best of all, installation costs are reduced to laying a suitable pad and connecting electrical supply and parts and service are available in-country, which is a major cost saving for local business.”

Dunlop PNG

DUNLOP PNG has been servicing the business community in Papua New Guinea since 1969. With over 35 years in the industry, the Dunlop team has a sound knowledge and practical understanding of business conditions in Papua New Guinea.

The business has branches in Port Moresby, Lae, Madang, Mt Hagen, Alotau, Kimbe and Popondetta.

Find out more about the F.E.S. TANKS range and how our experts can help you design the right fuel storage system for your business at www.festanks.com.au

Mining in Papua New Guinea: New Horizons for 2019

Mining in Papua New Guinea Hero Image

Mining in Papua New Guinea: New Horizons for 2019

It’s been an interesting year for the Papua New Guinea mining industry. A leadership shakeup, coupled with looming mining law changes, has given the country a lot to celebrate.

Mining in Papua New Guinea Hero Image

Mining and petroleum is an integral contributor to Papua New Guinea’s (PNG’s) economy.

The region is seriously jam-packed full of resources; copper, gold, nickel, cobalt, LNG and more.
But, despite this resource potential, it’s faced many challenges over the years, including illegal mining and a civil war between 1988 and 1998 sparked by mining tensions.

PNG has also been victim to a number of environmental disasters, including a devastating earthquake in February 2018, which caused disruptions to the country’s biggest mines, Ok Tedi and Porgera.

However, this hasn’t dampened the spirits of producers in the region, with mines bouncing back from troubles, and a wave of new projects on the horizon signalling good times to come.

Papua New Guinea mining benefits

In February, the World Bank released a report forecasting new large-scale resources projects will boost Papua New Guinea’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 5% this year.

The PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum said a rebound in the economy was great news, particularly at a time when the country faced challenges with its foreign reserve.

“The World Bank Report demonstrates that the mining and petroleum sector remain absolutely critical for PNG jobs, the economy, and all the social benefits that flow from this,” it stated.

In mid-June, the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum held its 35th Australia Papua New Guinea Business Forum in Port Moresby, which also put a spotlight on the strength of PNG’s mining and petroleum industry.

Chamber president Gerea Aopi said the resources sector is a key economic driver, contributing 26% of PNG’s GDP and 80% of the nation’s export revenue.

“The sector also provides more than 20,000 jobs to Papua New Guineans, whilst 30,000 more are employed in landowner businesses, and other PNG businesses that support the industry,” Mr Aopi said.

“Resource companies invest heavily in establishing, and providing necessary governance and administrative support to landowner companies which serve to ensure long term sustainability.”

Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum president Gerea Aopi at the June conference.
PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum president Gerea Aopi at the June conference. Image: PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum.

New PNG mining laws proposed

The conference was held just weeks after long-running PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill resigned, and was replaced by former finance minister James Marape.

New prime minister Mr Marape has pledged to “tweak and turn” laws related to mining to improve economic conditions for PNG citizens living in poverty.

“At the moment, our resource laws are outdated … we will look into maximising gain from what God has given this country from our natural resources,” Mr Marape said in his first address to parliament as prime minister.

However, Mr Marabe said major reform to the laws would not take effect for years, and urged resources companies not to worry.

“While I’m speaking on natural resources, many of our corporate citizens amidst us will feel a little bit doubtful or will feel a little bit intimidated,” he said. “I’m looking at 2025 in which we will migrate to a new legislative framework.”

PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum president Mr Aobi applauded the new Government’s desire to amend resource laws.

“We share this desire and will support the development of legislation that encourage investments and provides a better outcome for PNG,” Mr Aobi said.

“We want to work together with Government and all stakeholders to make this happen. The vision shared by many, including our prime minister to grow PNG’s wealth is supported by us. We want to see a stronger Papua New Guinea, a stronger economy, and a bright future for our country.”

Papua New Guinea Map

Operating Mines in Papua New Guinea

With a positive outlook ahead for the PNG mining industry, let’s take a look at the country’s key operating mines and latest developments.

Ok Tedi

State-owned mine Ok Tedi is an open-pit copper, gold and silver mine in the Western province in PNG, and the country’s oldest operating mine. In recent years, the team developed a revised mining strategy that has enabled it to access higher grade ore and extend mine life to 2025.


Porgera is an open pit and underground gold project, about 600km north-west of Port Moresby. The project is owned by Barrick Gold (47.5%), Zijin (47.5%) and the Enga provincial government (5%). In June, the joint venture met with new prime minister James Marape about extending the current special mining lease, set to expire in August, for another 20 years.

Hidden Valley

About 210km northwest of Port Moresby, Hidden Valley is an open pit gold and silver mine in the Morobe province in Papua New Guinea. In 2016, South African miner Harmony Gold became the sole owner of the project, after its JV partner Newcrest sold its 50% interest.


Newcrest’s Lihir mine is one of the largest gold mines in PNG, and is located on Aniolam Island, 900km north-west of Port Moresby. The project has an ore reserve of 24 million ounces and mineral resource of 50 million ounces. In June, the company deployed a private LTE network at the project to improve communications onsite.

Kainantu gold project
Kainantu gold project. Image: K92 Mining.


K92 Mining’s Kainantu gold project is in the Eastern Highlands province of PNG. In Q2 2019 the mine produced 18,980oz of gold, 261,800 pounds copper and 6894oz silver, with production 25% above forecasts. Over the coming months, K92 is advancing a plant expansion to double capacity to 400,000 tonnes per annum and increase annual production to an average of 120,000 ounces of gold equivalent.


St Barbara’s Simberi gold project is in New Ireland – the easternmost province of PNG. The project comprises various open cut mines, and has a mine life out to 2021. However, there is the prospect of extending mine life should a 1.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) sulphide circuit be developed.


Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) operates the $US2.1 billion Ramu nickel-cobalt project in Madang. In 2018, the project faced pressures on the sales front, only selling about 75% of nickel production, which its executive team put down to a global economic downturn and price plummet. This year, the company plans to improve efficiencies, boost revenue and be adaptable to the changing market environment.

Edie Creek

Niuminco operates the Edie Creek mine in PNG, and also owns exploration projects, May River and Bolobip. Over the last year, the company has struggled with its finances, but in May, entered into a $500,000 funding agreement to put towards general working purposes.

New Papua New Guinea Mining Projects


Wafi-Golpu is a world-class copper-gold project, which, if approved, could be the largest and most complex underground mine in PNG. The project is a 50:50 joint venture between Newcrest and Harmony Gold. If developed, it could provide 2500 direct jobs during construction and 850 ongoing operational jobs for an estimated 28-years. The project is advanced, however still needs to obtain a special mining licence before construction can begin.

Frieda River

PanAust’s undeveloped Frieda River project is also highly anticipated. In December 2018, the company announced the Sepik Development project, a new nation-building development pathway for Frieda River, which focuses on the development of shared-use infrastructure that will support a hydroelectric facility and mine operation.

Ekuti Range, Ipi River, Bismarck projects

Canterbury Resources has a suite of copper-gold exploration projects in PNG, including Ekuti Range, Ipi River and Bismarck. The projects are early-stage, however, with Rio Tinto managing and sole funding exploration at Canterbury’s Bismarck project on Manus Island, it’s all looking promising.

Busai deposit. Image: Geopacific.


In November 2018, Geopacific released a Definitive Feasibility Study for its Woodlark gold project in PNG. The project, once developed, is expected to produce 100,000 ounces of gold annually for its first five years. Over the coming months, Geopacific will be advancing finance solutions.

Misima Island

Junior miner Kingston Resources is also pursuing shuttered gold mine Misima Island, which closed in 2004. Since acquiring a 70% interest in the project in 2018, Kingston has identified five key exploration targets for follow-up drilling.

Solwara 1

Canadian company Nautilus Minerals is planning to develop PNG’s first deep sea mine, Solwara 1. The company is planning to extract high-grade Seafloor Massive Sulphide (SMS) deposits of copper, gold, zinc, and silver in 1600 metres of water. The project still needs to obtain approvals.

Central Cement and Lime, Orokolo Bay and Amazon Bay

Mayur Resources has industrial and mineral sands exploration projects in PNG. In July, the company announced it had lodged a submission for its Central Cement and Lime project, with only a few steps ahead before construction can begin.


Coppermoly is advancing the Simuku copper molybdenum project in the West New Britain province of PNG. In July, it completed a Ground IP Survey, which spanned 21km of ground. The company has also recently renewed an exploration license at its Nakru project in the region.

How F.E.S. TANKS can help Papua New Guinea miners

If you’ve got this far, we’re sure you can agree there’s a lot happening in the PNG mining space at the moment.

We’ve got an exciting announcement of our own too.

This year, we’ll be launching our self-bunded fuel tanks into PNG, servicing all industries in the country, through our division:

Self Bunded Tanks in Papua New Guinea

Power reliability is key, and at F.E.S. TANKS we can help with all your diesel fuel storage needs.

Our self-bunded tanks come in a variety of sizes ranging from 1,000l to 110,000l, meaning there’s a fuel storage option to suit all project sizes.

If you’re involved in the PNG mining industry, drop a comment below, we’d love to connect.

Mining in Africa: A Bright Future

mining in africa hero image

After a period of volatility, commodity downturn, upward cost pressures and unstable politics exacerbating sovereign risk, demand is picking up again for African mining projects, with investors, producers and suppliers (like us) in the box seat.

Mining activity in Africa is ramping up at warp speed.

You see, the continent itself produces more than 60 metal and mineral products, including high-grade gold, bauxite, manganese, coal, iron ore, cobalt, uranium, platinum, rare earths, copper to diamonds.

It’s a treasure trove for mineral extraction. Yet for many years, concerns around regional stability prevented companies from taking that much-needed ‘leap of faith’ and pouring capital into the region.

But, with political tensions easing in parts and demand for commodities on the rise, more projects are transitioning from exploration to production.

Opportunities for African mining

At the Mining Indaba conference held in Cape Town in February, Global Business Reports launched a lengthy white paper outlining investment opportunities in Africa for 2019.

“Overwhelmingly, our research conducted throughout 2018 suggests an air of cautious optimism heading into 2019,” Global Business Reports stated.

“Paradoxically, that stability has been driven by a broad trend across the continent towards diversification away from the mining industry into sectors such as agriculture, power generation and manufacturing.”

Global Business Reports said in the Central African copper belt, the DRC stole the spotlight and “will continue to demand the world’s attention in 2019” as skyrocketing cobalt prices and ongoing political chaos ensure the perfect storm.

“Throughout Southern Africa – from Botswana’s depleting diamond reserves to Zimbabwe’s well-established chromium deposits and Zambia’s deepening copper mines – maturing jurisdictions are more increasingly focused on the task of achieving local content and beneficiation,” it said.

“Conversely, in West Africa, the region’s underexplored mineral resource potential makes the area an attractive proposition for investors from across the globe and more nascent jurisdictions like Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire are eager to incentivize foreign investment.”

Resolute Gold - Syama Gold Mine Mali
Image: Resolute Mining

In Australia alone, there were more than 200 companies investing in Africa, with about 700 projects in 35 countries. Of these companies, most of them were based in South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Burkina Faso.

And as the world transitions towards electric vehicles, all the associated materials were trending, from lithium, graphite, nickel to copper.

“80% of the world’s lithium is solution-based and comes from Bolivia, but more and more discoveries are being made in Africa of hard-rock type lithium,” WorleyParsons RSA chief executive Denver Dreyer said.

“Thermal coal is still interesting for South Africa, because of our ongoing reliance on coal and the need to replace the depleting coalfields with higher quality coal. Additionally, 80% of Africa’s manganese is found in South Africa and it is of good quality.”

In its Future of Mining in Africa: Navigating a Revolution report, Deloitte said in the midst of all this growth, the fourth industrial revolution had emerged, presenting further opportunities and challenges for African mining projects.

“Regulatory changes and societal impacts require mines to become not merely compliant, but to adopt smarter ways of deriving value from regulation, while ensuring mutual benefit to surrounding communities and environments in which they operate. New skills, a changing workforce, organisational restructuring and adoption of new technologies are all important to navigate in this era,” Deloitte stated.

New Mining Projects in Africa

So there’s a brief rundown on the opportunities for mining in Africa. Let’s now take a look at some of the exciting new developments.

  • Yaouré | Perseus Mining (ASX: PRU) began construction at its third African project, Yaouré, in May. The $US265 million project is in Côte d’Ivoire and once operational in 2020, will produce 215,000 ounces of gold.
  • Syama | In April, the Mali Government granted Resolute Mining (ASX: RSG) a 10-year extension of the Syama mining permit to enforce the provisions of a new Mining Convention Agreement. The new agreement guarantees an income tax rate of 25%; a 10% reduction on the previous rate of 35%.
Resolute Gold - Syama Gold Mine Mali
Image: Resolute Mining
  • KCC & Mutanda | Following some setbacks at its DRC operations late last year, Glencore (LSE: GLEN) has entered into a long-term revolving agreement for the supply of cobalt hydroxide (cobalt) to Umicore’s battery materials value chain. The agreement underpins continued operations at the DRC cobalt projects.
  • Obuasi | Earlier this year AngloGold Ashanti (ASX: AGG) resumed operations at its mothballed Obuasi gold mine in Ghana. In June, the miner announced it would recruit up to 2500 workers to ramp up the mine to full operations.
  • Fekola | Canadian miner B2Gold (TSX: BTO) is assessing a $US50 million expansion of its Fekola gold project in Mali. The potential expansion would see it increase annual processing capacity to a baseline of 7.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa).
  • Boikarabelo | Resource Generation (ASX: RES) is a step closer to advancing its $550 million Boikarabelo coal mine in South Africa, after receiving formal participation (credit approval) from the second member of a proposed three-party lending syndicate in June. This should facilitate the completion of the project finance.
Boikarabelo Epanko project for resolute mining
Image: Kibaran Resources
  • Epanko | Perth-based Kibaran Resources’ (ASX: KNL) $US88 million graphite project is development-ready after receiving in-principle approval in late May from the Tanzanian Government for its proposed debt financing arrangements. Construction is expected to begin in late 2019.
  • Kola | Kore Potash (LON: KP2) has secured $US13 million to continue development of its Kola potash project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Construction is planned to begin in late 2019.
  • Boffa | Aluminium Corp of China (Chalco) began construction at its $US500 million Boffa bauxite mine in Guinea late last year. The company planned to begin production in late 2019, with the first stage producing 12 million tonnes of bauxite per annum.
  • Segilola | Thor Explorations (TSX: THX) is developing the high-grade Segilola gold project in Osun, Nigeria. The project is considered the most advanced gold project in Nigeria with an EPC contract now locked in.

Power challenges facing African mines

Given the remote location of many of these projects, companies were still hitting roadblocks when it came to accessing reliable power.

“Some of the biggest challenges for power projects when they reach the point of bankability is the purchaser or offtaker,” Andrew Herscowitz, co-ordinator at Power Africa, an arm of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), told Global Business Reports.

“A recent study indicated that only two of 37 utilities in sub-Saharan Africa were actually financially solvent… The question is not whether there is enough flow across the continent – they are pretty much on par with anticipated demand for power in most countries. The power will simply not reach industry or the local population if we cannot improve the financial viability of utilities, build out the distribution network and set up transmission lines.”

Renewable energy projects were being considered, however, for now, mining companies in Africa were generally looking at hybrid energy systems, incorporating a traditional power source, like diesel fuel, and renewables.

“If the mine implements a hybrid solution, it is very important to have the right capacity installed to handle their consumption needs. At this stage, mining companies cannot afford to rely on the weather for their power supply and thus hybrid solutions are currently the best option,” Wärtsilä vice president for Africa Mamadou Goumble said.

Its clear diesel fuel will continue to be a reliable power source for African mines, and self bunded tanks to store fuel in bulk (securely) on site are in high demand.

Fekola mine
Fekola mine. Image: B2Gold

Self Bunded Tanks for African mining

At F.E.S. TANKS, we’re excited to announce we’re launching our self bunded diesel tanks into the African market this year, and will be servicing all industries through our new divisions:

  • F.E.S. TANKS AFRICA (based in South Africa)

We look forward to working with mining companies in Africa to help them with their bulk fuel storage needs, providing secure, safe tanks so issues like fuel theft and power outages can be a thing of the past.

If you’re a mining company that’s looking for secure power at your project in Africa, we’d love to hear from you.

Renewable energy in mining: Diesel vs Renewables

Renewable energy in mining Diesel vs Renewable Energy hero image

Where does diesel fit into the ‘Renewable Energy’ economy?

We all know energy is one of the highest operating costs for Australian miners.

Large haul trucks, heavy machinery, processing plants, conveyors to railway spanning hundreds of miles– a lot of power is needed to deliver ore from pit to port.

Renewable energy in mining Diesel vs Renewable Energy hero image

And this is only expected to rise in coming years as miners extract deeper, lower-quality ore that requires greater processing.

According to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the sector currently accounts for about 10% of Australia’s total energy use (500 petajoules per year). Of this, diesel is the main contributor (41%) followed by natural gas (33%), and grid electricity (21%).

The Rise of Hybrid Systems

However, a ‘New Energy’ economy is emerging that is changing the way mining companies power their operations.

Solar farms, wind farms and batteries are making their way into sites. And for companies not already on the renewables wagon, we can only assume discussions are on the table.

In its 2017 white paper, Renewable Energy in the Australian Mining Sector, ARENA said diesel is historically the “favoured fuel source” along with natural gas, but the concept of an ‘all-electric mine’ integrating renewables, batteries and traditional energy was building momentum.

Australian mining sector's renewable energy consumption

Australian mining energy consumption by source. Image: ARENA.

“Large-scale hybrid systems are gaining traction in the mining sector,” ARENA said. “Recently installed systems in Australia and Canada combine diesel with solar PV or wind, with capacities up to 47MW diesel/9.2MW wind and 19MW diesel/10MW solar PV.”

With renewable capacities anticipated to advance further, many are left with the question: where does diesel fit into the future energy mix?

Miners Making Moves

First, let’s take a look at the renewable systems already deployed across mines around the globe.

Sandfire Resources

Diversified miner Sandfire Resources was one of the first Australian miners to build an off-grid renewable application.
In 2016, it commissioned a 10.6 MW solar PV installation at its brownfield Degrussa copper-gold mine in WA, which is connected to a new 6MW lithium-ion battery storage facility and its existing 19MW diesel-fired power station.

The $41 million facility, partly funded by ARENA, is owned by Neoen, operated by EPC contractor juwi Renewable Energy, and provides about 15-20% of the mine’s energy needs (21GWh per annum). This has led to a 5ML reduction in diesel consumption a year.

Degrussa solar renewable energy mining facility

The Degrussa solar array in WA. Image: Sandfire Resources.

Antofagasta & Barrick Gold

In July 2018, Antofagasta and Barrick Gold announced their joint venture copper project Zaldívar would utilise 100% renewable energy by 2020, which will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 350,000 tonnes per year for 10 years. The mine will use a combination of wind, solar and hydro energy.

Rio Tinto

Between 2008 and 2017, mining giant Rio Tinto has reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 27%, according to Deloitte. Today, about 75% of the company’s energy comes from hydroelectric, nuclear, and renewable power sources. In northern QLD, Rio’s Weipa bauxite operation includes a 6.7MW solar PV farm, which reduces 600,000 litres of diesel consumption a year.

Gold Fields

Gold-miner Gold Fields will also soon install a new mobile and modular energy storage system at its Granny Smith project in WA. The facility is one of the world’s largest renewable energy microgrids and will include 20,000 solar panels and a 2MW/1MWh battery system. The solar-plus-battery system is projected to reduce fuel consumption by 10-13%.

Renewable Energy Challenges

While renewable energy sources have a host of benefits for miners, there are still many limitations. Reliability has been a key issue raised by many.

ARENA also flagged operating lease versus capital lease as a matter, technical integration particularly among offtakers, commercial integration, as well as a mismatch between contract duration and asset life.

For instance, solar PV assets typically have an operating life of 30 years, and some sites only have a small mine life of five to 10 years, and are so remote that to move infrastructure at the end of mining is not economically feasible.

Although, there were already solutions being implemented to de-risk renewables in mining, including SunSHIFT, a plug and play mobile solar module developed by Laing O-Rourke in partnership with SunPower, ABB and ARENA. The solar PV system comes in an array of sizes and can be bought, rented or available via power purchase agreements. Interesting stuff!

Sunshift renewable solar energy equipment

The ‘plug and play’ SunShift solar system. Image: SunShift.

Diesel: A Strong Future

There’s no denying with all of this change, something’s got to give.

And while diesel may experience a reduction in demand in the mid-term, we are of the firm view it will remain a key energy source for mines for years to come, particularly when it comes to powering heavy machinery and haul trucks.

Diesel is also a proven reliable source. It’s trucked in, safely stored in bulk fuel tanks (like ours) and can power up trucks even when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

This topic was discussed at length at the April Bauma conference in Munich, which put a spotlight on all the latest industry technologies and innovations.

Diesel Technology Forum executive director Allen Schaeffer said that diesel engines are the technology of choice for fuelling the largest off-road machines and equipment types globally, for many reasons including the energy density of diesel fuel.

“The credentials for the future are innovative, automated, efficient, connected and clean, which ensures that advanced diesel technology will continue to play a dominant role in these vital sectors of the global economy,” Mr Schaeffer said.

Diesel truck and digger
Diesel is here to stay. Image: Diesel Technology Forum.

“Equipment on display in Munich by industry innovators and leaders including AGCO, Bosch, Caterpillar, CNH Industrial, Cummins, John Deere, MTU, Volvo Penta and Yanmar demonstrate diesel’s continued capability to meet the commercial demands of customers along with improved environmental performance that will keep clean diesel in the driver’s seat of the global economy for decades to come.

“It’s all about doing more work with less fuel, not only on a machine basis but also through integrated and connected site ecosystem.

Engine and equipment manufacturers are innovating to achieve increased productivity and fuel-saving for their customers, including for example hybrid and energy storage systems, where smaller diesel engines serve as electrical generators to lessen the load and deliver fuel savings and emission reductions.”

In short, diesel will remain the lifeblood of mining operations for decades to come.

Over to you: Where do you see renewables and diesel in mining in 10, 20 years down the track?

Federal Budget. A timeline of small business incentives.

federal budget updates - money notes

Federal Budget Update: 2019-2020

The delivery of the Federal Budget one month early means business owners now have more time to consider the merits of a new investment under the expanded instant asset write-off.

In a move that isn’t dependent on the upcoming Federal election, the new write-off threshold took effect on Budget night, 2 April.

The threshold has been expanded to $30,000 and the write-off is now available to any business with an annual turnover of less than $50 million, expanding access to medium-sized businesses to encourage growth.

Businesses can purchase assets valued at up to $30,000 and write the investment off against their 2018-19 tax return. There is no limit to the number of investments that can be made.

ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie said the move to expand the write-off scheme was a win for fuel retailers.

“The increase in the threshold is a major win for businesses in the fuel retail industry and has come, at least in part, through the combined advocacy efforts of ACAPMA and the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia over the past 12 months”, he said.

The National Farmers Federation has also praised the expansion of the scheme.

“We’d requested an extension of that program. It sounds like a small commitment, but it’s a really big one for small businesses and for farmersm” said President Fiona Simson.

Ms Simson also welcomed funding particularly dedicated to horticulture and barriers associated with that industry.

“Horticulture is one of our fastest growing industries — recording double-digit growth over the last decade.”

Other key budget measures include:

  • Company tax rate for small and medium business with annual turnover less than $50 million lowered to 27.5 per cent and will be further lowered to 25 per cent by 2021-22.
  • Improving freight routes by committing a further $1 billion to improve network of Roads of Strategic Importance, on top of existing $3.5 billion investment. This will better connect communities and make it easier for regional businesses to access markets.
  • An additional $550 million will be targeted at accident black spots, and an additional $571 million will be provided for bridge renewals and heavy vehicle safety including the establishment of an Office of Road Safety with $15.2 million for innovative safety research.
  • Provision of $6.3 billion in assistance and concessional loans to support those affected by drought.
  • $100 million for regional airport infrastructure upgrade.

Federal Budget Update: 2018-2019

Tax cuts for small business have continued in 2018-2019 as part of the government’s Ten Year Enterprise Tax Plan.

The plan increased the unincorporated small business tax discount rate from 5 per cent to 8 per cent, up to a cap of $1000. This rate will increase to 16 per cent by 2026-27. By lifting the small business entity turnover threshold from $2 million to $10 million, access has also been extended to a range of small business tax concessions.

Small businesses will also benefit from the extension of the $20,000 instant asset write-off for a further 12 months to 30 June 2019.

The budget also includes:

  • $24.5 billion for new nationally significant transport projects and initiatives.
  • $225 million to improve the accuracy and availability of satellite positioning across Australia, enhancing use of GPS to increase productivity including in the agriculture, construction and logistics industries.
  • Improving access to water infrastructure for farmers.
  • Increasing access to a broader range of agricultural and veterinary chemicals.
  • New funding of $102 million for biosecurity and $26.6 million to better manage costly pests and weeks and help farmers maintain access to valuable export markets.

Federal Budget Update: 2017-2018

Expanding on last year’s small business initiatives, the government has announced it will extend the $20,000 instant asset write-off for a further 12 months to 30 June, 2018. The turnover threshold will also be lifted to $10 million, five times higher than was originally available.

KPMG tax partner Simon Thorp said the extension of the write-off is “very significant.”

“This will provide a much needed shot in the arm for many small businesses across the country and will stimulate the economy and increase the investment and productivity of small business,” he said.

The Victorian Farmers Federation called for the scheme to be extended indefinitely to ensure real benefits for rural business.

Federal Budget Update: 2016-2017

FUEL retailers looking to upgrade ageing fuel storage tanks or buy new tanks for unmanned sites have been handed the perfect opportunity after the May budget.

2016-2017 budget for fuel retailing graphic

The Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association has welcomed changes to the definition of small business that will mean more qualify for a range of tax concessions on offer, including the $20,000 instant asset write-off.

Excluding fuel revenue is the game changer

From July 2016, businesses with a turnover of less than $10 million qualify for the write-off.

Even more relevant to fuel retailers, the determination of the annual earnings threshold excludes revenue earned from fuel sales, opening the door for many more small retailers to take full advantage of the benefit.

ACAPMA chief Mark McKenzie says the change means a fuel retail business with a total annual turnover of $18 million, where fuel revenue totals $14 million and convenience store and other business revenue $4 million, would be deemed to be only earning the $4 million.

That means it could claim benefits including the instant asset write-off, a lower company tax rate of 27.5 per cent, and an 8 per cent unincorporated small business tax discount of up to $1000 for small businesses with a turnover of less than $5 million.

Also in 2016-17, the tax rate for companies with an annual turnover less than $10 million will drop to 27.5 per cent. Unincorporated businesses with an annual turnover of less than $5 million will benefit from an increased unincorporated tax discount of 8 per cent.


Federal Budget Update: 2015-2016

From Budget night, all small businesses will get an immediate tax deduction for any individual assets they buy costing less than $20,000, up from $1000.

The $20,000 small business tax break budget incentive means any small business with a turnover of up to $2 million can fully deduct the purchase price of any new assets valued at up to $20,000.

There is no limit on the number of items valued at up to $20,000 a business can purchase and deduct, and the break remain available for two years until June 2017.

The rebate, which expands on the ATO’s accelerated depreciation measures, will apply to anything from new cars and machinery to sheds and storage, including fuel storage tanks.

Business will also benefit from a 1.5 per cent tax cut for small companies, down to 28.5 per cent – the lowest small business company tax rate in almost 50 years.

Unincorporated small businesses, including sole traders, will get a tax discount of 5 per cent of business income up to $1000 a year. This means the amount of tax unincorporated businesses pay on their business income will be reduced by 5 per cent, capped at $1000.

Institute of Public Accountants chief executive Andrew Conway said the deductions delivered real help for small business.

“The immediate write-off of an asset under $20,000 provides real, direct benefit and cash flow to small businesses now,” he said.
“The ability to purchase a small asset to grow a small business will encourage people to become more efficient and more productive.”

NAB Agribusiness general manager Khan Horne said June had already been a busy month, and the signs were there that the budget had boosted confidence.

“There are definitely people looking at the tax incentives and how to make the most of them as they assess their business earnings and borrowing position at the end of the financial year,” he said.