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The Savannah nickel mine. Image: Barminco

Panoramic Resources has handed underground operational management of the Savannah nickel mine in Western Australia to Barminco.

The contractor expects additional underground fleet to arrive on site over coming weeks to improve equipment reliability.

Panoramic was facing issues in equipment reliability, along with a tight employment market, which impacted on Savannah’s underground productivity.

The owner operator model relied on leased and second hand equipment as well as multiple contractors.

Under the contract mining model, the new fleet is anticipated to significantly increase operational efficiencies and drive production volumes towards targeted levels.

Barminco has also mobilised Savannah’s initial equipment and key personnel to site, thanks to the underground transition occurring ahead of schedule.

“Barminco and Panoramic have jointly developed a detailed mobilisation and implementation plan over recent weeks,” Panoramic stated in its December 2019 half year report.

“Following execution of the formal mining contract, rapid mobilisation and transition to contract mining at Savannah is now expected to be completed by early March 2020.”

Barminco has also offered roles to the majority of the existing underground mining and maintenance employees at Savannah.

Specialist expertise and supervision roles will be introduced from the Barminco portfolio.

Barminco will also carry out drift development work at Savannah North before raise-boring specialist RUC complete the drilling and commission the intake shaft.