DEC • 2021

A year in review with Steve Coughlan

To all employees, their partners and families, on behalf of the board and executive management teams, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and festive season and a safe and happy New year. 

Across the world everyone has faced various challenges relating to the COVID pandemic. This has affected the Group in relation to personnel travel, and has required many employees to work longer FIFO swings and undertake mandated isolation in various places around the world. 

We thank you all for dealing with those issues in a very professional manner. Importantly and thankfully for the health of everyone and our business, nearly all employees have chosen to receive COVID vaccinations, in some cases in compliance with client or government mandates, to be able to safely access their place of work.



Group business activities operated well, given the uncertainty around the world in relation to COVID. Group revenue for the 2021 calendar year will exceed A$2 billion and there are more than 5,500 full-time employees around the world. This makes the Group the largest specialised underground contract service provider in Australia, if not the world.

Biggest issue

The biggest issue affecting the Group businesses is the shortage of skilled personnel, exacerbated by COVID travel restrictions nationally and internationally. Travel restrictions will hopefully ease by mid 2022 which will allow freer movement of personnel within Australia and internationally.

Social license

Two smaller but very important entities under BAPL, namely BOAB (indigenous engagement) and SANO (industrial health and wellbeing) are critical to the overall business in respect of our social license to operate. BOAB has recruited more than 150 indigenous Australians into the business whilst SANO is providing, both on site in Australia and via online programs, fitness for work programs and mental health awareness programs. Further, this year the Group has implemented a diversity and inclusion policy supported by a detailed action plan.


The Group has always placed high value on training. In addition to the BOAB training and recruitment of indigenous personnel mentioned above the following outlines some of the training scope across the Group:

Heavy duty diesel fitters, electricians, boilermakers, auto electricians. Currently there are 160 apprentices in training. In 2022 an additional 20 will be taken on to cover those completing their apprenticeship and an additional 30 trade upgrades recruits will come on board (e.g. domestic electricians upgrading to an industrial electrician).

Registered Training Organisation (RTO)
We are a registered RTO but can only undertake training of our own employees. Currently there are 850 personnel undertaking RTO Certificate 2 and Certificate 3 courses in Metalliferous Underground Mining.

Simulator training
At the Bravo Perth office training centre personnel undertake truck and loader training on very sophisticated simulators which mimic the underground environment in which they will work. The simulators apply the same logic as aircraft simulators, with movement, noise and vision across a range of scenarios and emergencies.

Mental health first aid
Monthly, a full day accredited course in mental first aid is provided by Sano’s psychologist, Bec Connelly. The course started in September and to date 86 personnel have completed the training. If you have access to Bravo I thoroughly recommend you take the course. You are never too old to learn!

Supervisor leadership
Monthly, a 3 full day leadership course is provided. The content is a detailed and exhaustive coverage of all the relevant subject matter to equip our supervisors and leaders to be able to execute their roles and responsibilities with confidence and understanding. 155 personnel completed the course during the year.

Site based
Across all business units and all sites, nationally and internationally, personnel must undertake formal training before undertaking specific roles or tasks. This training is structured and includes both theory and practical assessments. Each and every employee’s training record for each and every site worldwide is held on a database available for access as and when required. There are some 30,000 current and former employees training records held in the data base.


Lil' Miners Club

The Lil’miners club is a great initiative where young kids of employees can be engaged with fun activities at no cost. Each quarter a kids magazine is mailed out with various kids stories, colour ins, games and so on included. Also, with the magazine will be an article or two about activity at a minesite covering what mum or dad do during a day of work. The kids can submit drawings back by mail for prizes each quarter. Much better than an internet issued magazine, it gets the kids involved and gives them some insight into what mum or dad do. Currently 640 kids have joined the club.

Electrical and mechanical maintenance is a critical component of the Group business. Every item of major mobile plant is monitored on the maintenance data base to track performance and events in real time. To appreciate the scale of that, the Group ownsand operates:

  • 150 x 60t class underground trucks (Sandvik, Epiroc, Caterpillar)
  • 125 x 17t to 21t class LHD loaders (Sandvik, Caterpillar)
  • 66 x development jumbos (Sandvik 422, 422i)
  • 49 x production drills (Sandvik)
  • 16 x cable bolters (Sandvik)
  • 125 x integrated tool carriers
  • 30 x graders
  • 85 x concrete agitators (Normet, Elphinstone)
  • 45 x spraymecs (Normet)
  • 50 x Charmecs (Normet)
  • Over 1,000 light vehicles, service trucks, buses.


Innovation is occurring across the Group, based on the philosophy, if we stop investing in innovation it is just a matter of time before we get overtaken. Quattro is a clear example with many new products developed. Murray Engineering is working on several product lines, most notably the battery electric LV based on a Toyota Landcruiser trayback. 

The prototype is currently on trial with Gold Fields at one of its mine sites in Western Australia. We continue to invest in diesel electric hybrid drive equipment. Byrnecut Australia will introduce the Herrenknecht VSM shaft technology to Australia for the first time for the Prominent Hill shaft presink.

Australian Mine Contracting

Australian mine contracting has been the major area of revenue growth. In addition to the extension of existing mine contracts, new contracts won over the last 12 months include Paddington gold mine, Wiluna gold mine, Hamlet North gold mine, Havieron gold mine and Abra lead mine in Western Australia and Carrapateena copper mine and Prominent Hill shaft sink in South Australia. Tendering activity for new work has continued to be strong throughout 2021.


Internationally, bidding continued across the world. Work won includes Red Lake gold mine in Canada and Wolfshag gold mine in Namibia. In addition, we are looking at projects in Western Europe and we are the preferred contractor for a copper project in Oman and a gold project in Egypt. Credit goes to our international project managers and their teams in having to run the projects in Burkina Faso, Mali, Saudi Arabia and Canada, effectively in isolation due to the difficulty for support and senior management personnel to travel from Australia. Our international employees stepped up to the plate and accepted the additional responsibilities placed upon them and executed the work exceptionally well.

Raising Australia

Raising Australia expanded with the acquisition of additional raise drills and Rhino box hole drills. There is a total of 7 Rhino boxhole drills (largest fleet in the world) and some 7 raisedrills of various capacity in operation.


Jetcrete, along with extensions to existing projects, won additional work at Renison Bell tin mine in Tasmania, Carrapateena gold mine, Havieron gold project, Wiluna gold mine and Mount Isa copper/lead/zinc mines. As a result, Jetcrete will achieve record revenue for the third year in a row.

Internationally, the Jetcrete North America joint venture with Thyssen Mining Canada was ended by agreement this year. Existing joint venture work is being completed with Jetcrete North America now undertaking new work independently, under the umbrella of Byrnecut international. American Patrick Schaffer was appointed General Manager for the new Jetcrete North America business, winning new work in Canada in very short time.



Mining Plus

Mining Plus continued its work around the world providing high quality technical work in the areas of mine feasibility, geological ore reserve modelling, mine design services and provision of technical personnel to clients globally. The team continues to evolve with several important changes made to the senior management team this year that will ensure ongoing global success into 2022 and beyond.


Quattro is growing rapidly and achieved record revenue. The business has developed very good branding, most notably in the mine pastefill space and is a successful innovator. Its pastefill diversion valves and other proprietary products are being sold nationally and internationally, including into Canada and Africa.

Murray Engineering

Murray Engineering achieved record revenue this year. It provides a vital service in respect of equipment rebuild of Byrnecut Australia’s massive fleet, fabrication, pump hire and manufacture, the manufacture and supply of key underground and surface electrical equipment and engineering services. The business is very busy and short of space at Pinjarra. A development application has been submitted to expand the facilities following the successful acquisition of an additional 5 hectares of land adjacent to the existing Pinjarra facility from the Western Australian State government. Construction will commence in the second half of 2022.into Canada and Africa.

SRO Group

SRO, based in in Newcastle NSW, had a tough year commercially and was restructured to resolve certain systemic problems in respect of cost estimation, contract management and overall cost control. With the changes now made the Newcastle team will work closely with senior management from Murray Engineering to ensure 2022 is successful.


Mongolian Mining Services (MMS) provides fabrication and engineering services in Mongolia, the major client being the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in the Gobi desert.  MMS also provides engineering drafting services to Australia based companies. Overall MMS had a difficult year.

MMS is now owned 100% by the Group, after acquisition in the second half of the year of the previous 50% held by locally based MMS executives. Restructure of the business saw the appointment of Baatar Uuganbayar as CEO. Baatar, previously in the role of Quality Assurance manager, brings a very positive attitude to the table and has the full support of his team to build a successful business.


Fuze Solutions, was established mid-year as a new business within the Group. Headed by Jason Lecoultre, the Fuze team consists of a very experienced team of composite engineers and service providers. In summary, Fuze uses engineered composite materials (e.g. carbon fibre, Kevlar, fibre glass) to repair critical infrastructure in the oil and gas space, processing plants and so on. The primary advantage is that no hot work is required so it is intrinsically safer than conventional oxy and welding repair methods. In many cases the facility may not have to be shut down to undertake the repairs, resulting in massive time and cost savings for the client.

In summary the Group is a large, complex business employing over 5,500 personnel all over the world from many different countries and cultures. Many of those personnel work on a FIFO roster away from their loved ones and families. To the loved ones and families at home we also thank you for supporting your partner whilst away at work. Whatever your culture’s festive season may be, on behalf of the directors and executive management team, I hope that you have time to relax with family and friends as 2021 comes to an end and that 2022 is safe, healthy and successful year in all respects.