The Byrnecut Story

Byrnecut has been in the underground mining business for over 25 years, weathering both the good and the bad times and proving that we are a solid contracting company with extensive experience and knowledge of the industry.


Commencing in 1987, Byrnecut was a new enterprise for Steve Coughlan (currently the Executive Chairman), Frank Lubbock and John O’Byrne. While the stock market crash of October 1987 resulted in a challenging environment for a new mining contractor, we were able to stay above water by winning our first contract, the Westralia decline at Bellevue (WA) for Queen Margaret Gold Mines.


To address financial pressure from all directions a new partner was sought and found in Thyssen Mining Construction of Australia.  This strong association still continues today. With the new partnership established we were able to commence work at the Callion Gold Mine (WA) and Redeemer Gold Mine (WA).


Building on our growing reputation throughout Western Australia, we were awarded underground contracts at Ora Banda Gold Mine (WA) and at Mariners and Wannaway Nickel Mines (WA).


After gaining years of experience in the Goldfields region of Western Australia, our first significant interstate contract was won at Dead Bullock Soak in the Tanami (NT) for Normandy.  This was our first fly-in, fly-out site, now the standard across our domestic sites.


As well as growing our business with new contracts, we have always tried to grow a solid business through the establishment of complementary business elements.  The fundamental premise of each of these ventures has been that the new business must operate independently in the open market.  The first of these new businesses was a joint venture with RUC Mining for raise drilling and shaft sinking throughout Australia. At the same time we formed a new company to take on our shotcreting requirements.  By combining with a NSW civil shotcreting contractor, we were able to introduce a new company, specialising in shotcreting, to the hard rock mining industry.  Jetcrete’s first contract was Perseverance Nickel Mine at WMC’s Leinster Nickel Operations. Since then they have established themselves through numerous contracts in Australia.  More recently,  Jetcrete North America (a joint venture with Thyssen Mining Construction of Canada) commenced providing shotcreting services in Canada and USA. We were also steadily increasing our reputation as a dependable underground mining contractor and were awarded underground contracts at Mt McClure Gold Mine (WA), Gecko Copper Mine (NT) and Kapok Lead/Zinc Mine (WA).


We were successful with a number of tenders in Western Australia and were subsequently awarded underground contracts at Victory, Chalice and Brittania Sirius gold mines together with Carnilya Hill, Lanfranchi and Blair nickel mines.


Success continued with the award of Western Australian underground contracts at Miitel Nickel mine and Pillara Lead/Zinc mine.


This was a busy year for new underground contracts and we took on projects at Crusader, Darlot and Bounty Gold mines (WA).


Our first major international contract was won in Tanzania to develop a decline at Bulyanhulu gold mine for Barrick.  Many lessons were learned in regard to logistics, language barriers and operating in remote overseas regions. We were successful in winning the contract at Pajingo Gold Mine (QLD) and took over the Mt Magnet Gold operations at Hill 50 and Morning Star (WA).


By growing our presence on the international stage combined with an excellent reputation we continued to grow our overseas business. This culminated in the contract for the development at Tara Zinc mine in Ireland for Outokumpu being awarded to us against strong international competition.  


We were awarded underground contracts at Mt Marion, Jundee Gold and Cosmos Nickel mines (WA).  The contract at Jundee continues to this day, showing that the flexibility and adaptability of our approach to underground mining has led to long standing relationships with major mining companies.


Our contract commenced at the Big Bell Gold operations at Big Bell and Gidgee (WA) and we won the contract at Mt Gordon Copper Mine (QLD).


Forming a joint venture with global partners, Thyssen Mining & Construction of Canada and RUC Mining, we were awarded the contract to sink the Telfer Hoist Shaft.


As Byrnecut was expanding overseas, the Australian division was awarded the underground contract at Nifty Copper Mine (WA) and Tritton Copper Mine (NSW).  


Following the conclusion of the joint venture with RUC mining, we acquired our own raise boring fleet and set it to work under the new name of Raising Australia.  The business has proved itself throughout Western Australia and has since expanded to include works in the rest of Australia and abroad. Raising Australia has also invested in one of the most advanced raisebore rigs on the market. Initially envisaged as a means to retain the expertise of graduate engineers, Mining Plus was formed to provide a broad range of technical mining services.  Starting as a two man consulting team based in Perth, Mining Plus has now expanded into a global enterprise with offices in Melbourne, Adelaide, Vancouver, Toronto and Lima. Contract works commenced at Greenbushes mine (WA) and Ridgeway Gold mine (NSW).  Additionally a significant contract was awarded at Telfer Gold mine in the north west of WA.  This contract is still in place today and proves the longevity of our relationships with major mining companies.


The mining industry was booming and all of our service providers were struggling to keep up with demand, especially for major equipment rebuilds and major component rebuilds.  The solution was to set up Murray Engineering, an independent mechanical maintenance and electrical provider.  After rapidly outgrowing their initial premises in Kalgoorlie and Perth, Murray Engineering commissioned a state of the art facility in Pinjarra. With more international contracts on the cards, a dedicated international branch of the company was established. Byrnecut Offshore has today grown into an internationally recognised company with experience in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. We were awarded out first underground contract in New Zealand at Frasers Gold mine (NZ).


The Global Financial Crisis hit and everyone had to take a deep breath, tighten their belts and ride out the storm.  We fared better than many of our competitors by holding our course, keeping to our core business ethics and adapting to the new financial landscape. At this turbulent time we were awarded underground contracts at Golden Grove (WA) and Ballarat Gold Mine (VIC).  We also commenced the shaft sinking project at Perseverance Deeps Shaft 2 (WA) with our joint venture partner Thyssen Mining & Construction of Canada.


The company was working consistently and steadily across Australian and Overseas projects.  We were awarded an underground contract at Mariners Nickel Mine (WA).


With a number of successful tenders across Australia, we mobilised at Merlin Molybdenum mine (QLD), Sinclair Nickel, Miitel Nickel, Athena and King of the Hills Gold mines (WA) and Prominent Hill Copper mine (SA). We were awarded our first major shaft sink as a sole contractor at the Ernest Henry Copper Mine (QLD).  


Clients of our contracting core business would often ask if Byrnecut could offer mine site infrastructure such as workshops or offices.  These continuing requests resulted in the formation of Quattro Project Engineering.  Quattro offers engineering design, project management, engineering certification and other engineering consultancy services including paste fill design.


Byrnecut is widely acknowledged to have robust systems in place for occupational health,  safety and training.  Increasing enquiries from external parties to purchase them led to the formation of a new company who could access these systems under licence.  Sano Health has taken its cues from the world of elite sport using scientific analysis to look at workplace injury prevention in a new way.  Another  facet of their scope of works is conducting independent mine safety audits.  Their growing client list encompasses a wide range of industries nationwide. Byrnecut was awarded the underground contract at Gwalia Gold Mine (WA).


With the business continuing to evolve and grow to meet the needs of the changing environment within the mining sector, we were awarded the underground contracts at Cave Rocks (WA) and Challenger (SA) Gold Mines.


We thrive on our ability to adapt and spot a new opportunity.  By encouraging innovation from our suppliers, and identifying key areas where we can expand or improve, we continue to provide a competitive range of services to our clients backed by extensive experience, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.