Australia’s leading construction, mining and services contractor, Thiess and RWE Generation SE, one of Europe’s leading power generation and lignite miners have formed an exclusive partnership which the groups say “is set to deliver significant savings for high-volume continuous mining applications in Australia and overseas.” Thiess and RWE have formed a global joint venture (TRWE), becoming the first international JV to provide a full suite of in-house design, engineering, operation and maintenance services for open-pit Continuous Mining Equipment, including bucket wheel excavator systems and In-Pit Crushing and Conveying systems (IPCC). RWE had a delegation at the IM Events IPCC 2013 event in Cologne as well as hosting the field trip, but at the time the deal was still being finalised and approved.The joint venture combines “RWE’s internationally-renowned Continuous Mining Equipment (CME) engineering, operations & maintenance capability with Thiess’ proven, large-scale contract mining expertise to deliver low cost, sustainable continuous mining solutions.” Speaking at the joint venture signing ceremony, Thiess Managing Director Bruce Munro said the agreement launched Thiess into a new field of opportunity. “TRWE will provide services across the whole Continuous Mining value-chain, including full on-site operations, ensuring best practice performance of these low cost systems wherever we are engaged. Once TRWE operations are established in Australia and Indonesia, we are keen to leverage our existing international relationships and expand further into Asia and the Americas.” Back in 2011, IM interviewed Bruce Munro who stated back then that IPCC was an area being looked at as one of a group of new approaches/innovations beyond its core truck/shovel mining business, with one option being the mining group buying the IPCC system but Thiess operating it for them.RWE Vice President Wolfgang Kortmann who attended the ceremony, said the last five years has seen significant growth in the application of CME and IPCC equipment which has been accompanied by direct improvements in production efficiency. “Given the rising costs and declining productivity of some conventional mining applications in Australia, together with ongoing exposure to fluctuating commodity prices, a similar positive shift in the demand for these lower costs Continuous Mining systems in Australia and beyond is imminent,” Kortmann said. While dragline and truck/shovel applications will continue to be the major mining methods for many open-cut projects, deeper deposits will require more efficient technologies such as those offered by TRWE. The JV’s performance-based delivery model further enhances TRWE’s value proposition. The JV’s new General Manager Matthew Langmaid says he is truly excited by the global partnership. “RWE’s unique Continuous Mining technical and operational experience, together with Thiess’ proven capability to integrate large-scale projects and contract mining services, perfectly positions TRWE as the only global and vendor independent partner to the mining industry for continuous mining systems.”More detail on this development will be included in the in-depth IPCC article that will be published in the IM January 2014 issue.