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New X41 Change House Facility comes online

Glencore’s Mount Isa Mines recently completed the construction of a new change house facility at X41 to provide new and improved amenities for the R62 workforce to transition and deploy from there.

This is part of the progressive relocation of a number of surface assets, infrastructure and personnel onsite to pave the way for the mining of the Black Rock Cave.

While the R62 shaft will remain in operation throughout the life of the Black Rock Cave, a new change house facility with modern amenities needed to be built to maintain capacity and accommodate both the R62 and X41 workforces.

Glencore’s Mount Isa Mines Superintendent − Engineering Projects, Jaco de Kock, says with time of the essence construction of the change house facility began in November last year.

“This was a really important project for us as we wanted to provide a facility with modern amenities for our employees to ensure the change house was easy to access, simple to navigate and comfortable to use,” says Jaco.

However, Jaco says the project team needed to take into account the complex nature of all the services on the site, including maintaining the existing infrastructure required for the project as well as the electrical and water utilities that had to be managed in the area.

An aerial view of the new Change House during construction.
The X41 entry gate with the change house in the background.
The walkway that unites the various containers.
New air-conditioned wash facilities are incorporated into the new change house.

They also had to cater for the existing X41 change house and the mining team who deployed from X41 during construction.

“The project solution was to use modern shipping container architecture to build the facility which includes both male and female clean in and clean out amenities,” says Jaco.

“The use of a container steel modular build proved to be a good fit for the site given the flexibility they offered in design options, their inherent strength and durability, their availability as a cost-effective building material and the ease of relocating them onsite.

This facility comprises four male change houses and one female change house utilising a total of 43 sea containers. This includes fully air-conditioned male and female showers, toilets, 1,020 lockers, and incorporates another set of clean out amenities.

The facility includes a new shared cap lamp and self-rescuer dispatch zone to ensure a smooth deployment at shift change.

A large covered, outdoor pre-deployment area was also constructed and allows for easy and efficient communication with the underground workforce before they travel by bus from X41 to the R62 shaft, or if based at X41, remaining there to begin their shift.

Red lockers indicate a clean out area while blue lockers are used in the clean in area.
The cap lamp and self-rescuer dispatch zone.
The outdoor pre-deployment area.
The Mine Control team also moved as part of this relocation project.

The development also included relocating Mine Control (also known as Pitram) near the change house which coordinates, monitors and directs activities for the underground mines.

With the project needing to be constructed to tight timeframes, Jaco says Mount Isa Mines were keen to use its inhouse project capability and partner with local contractors and labour to construct the facility.

“We always prefer to use local consultants and contractors as it supports the local community and stimulates our local economy,” says Jaco.

“Working as an integrated project team and through disciplined execution we were able to finish the project incident free and to a high standard in just nine weeks over the Christmas break, which is generally a difficult time to finish projects.”

“We are really proud of our Mount Isa Mines workforce and the local contractors who worked together to deliver the project.”

“The new X41 change house facility marks the beginning of a new era with all our underground workforce now housed at X41 and we look forward to continuing to be based here for many years to come,” Jaco says.