Chris Nicholas

MEng (Mining), BSc, ADegBus, AdvDip ElecEng, CertIV Frontline Mngt, RIIRIS601D – G3, Electrical Engineer Manager of Underground Coal Mines (NSW), MAusIMM

Chris has close to 20 years of experience in the coal and resources. He has held senior roles in engineering, technical and business positions specifically in the underground coal industry.

Chris has been heavily involved with multiple greenfield site projects as well as recapitalisation of brownfield underground operations. Significant operations experience in mine design and planning, systems development, process improvement and budget development are complimented by in depth experience in mine decarbonisation including fugitive emissions reduction strategies and utilisation processes. He is a competent person for the purposes of JORC Reserves reporting.  Chris has a unique combination of skills and experience, which is underpinned with exceptional project management skills, bringing discerning insight to projects.

Expertise

  • Feasibility Studies
  • Due Diligence
  • Mine Optimisation
  • Decarbonisation and Fugitive Emissions
  • Operational Readiness

Track Record

  • As the Technical Services Manager, Chris led the transition from Miniwall operations to a Bord and Pillar mining system. The change of mining systems provided an extension to mine life and increased recoverable reserves at Chain Valley and Mannering Collieries. This included leading the options evaluation, equipment selection process, mine design, risk management as well as mining systems development and implementation, all of which was on time and on budget.
  • Chris held both Engineering Supervisor and Statutory roles for the greenfield site development of Narrabri Underground. He oversaw the installation of the CHP, Rail Loader, Ventilation Fans, Gas Drainage Plant, Drift conveyor and supported the operational success of the drift drivage.
  • He brings experience from over 25 studies across concept and pre-feasibility phases, where he has led many of these as Study Manager. This includes study management of the Anglo American / Exarro Moranbah South Project.
  • Chris has extensive experience in due diligence and evaluation of both acquisition and financing of pre-production and production assets. He was the technical advisory lead for the Stanmore acquisition of Eagle Downs underground metallurgical coal mine in QLD Australia.
  • Chris has led multiple mine ventilation optimisation and Ventilation Air Methane (VAM) abatement studies across underground coal project. The studies sought to optimise the ventilation network design, efficiency for treatment by RTO. One of these studies resulted in the volume requiring RTO treatment being reduced from 900m3/s to 190m3/s, with the ability to treat an average of 750kT CO2e per annum, more than 50% of total site emissions, with a commensurate reduction in capital expenditure.
  • He has led technical and financial evaluation of commercial coal seam gas projects, seeking to benefit from early coal seam pre-drainage. He oversaw the development of gas production schedules, utilisation option identification and modelling, emissions abatement and safeguard liability modelling, and financial modelling to evaluate the utilisation options.
  • Chris has undertaken mine optimisation and benchmarking processes across development, longwall, and place change operations. He recently led a study that demonstrated significant value a de-constraining of development through integrating ventilation design and infrastructure and mine planning. The project resulted in greater than a 25% reduction of mains headings development through the introduction of additional ventilation infrastructure.
  • As the Chain Valley Colliery Engineering Manager, he led the integration of the Mannering and Chain Valley Colliery operations.  The project included engineering to support ventilation and infrastructure associated with joining of the operations and coal clearance systems, as well as the establishment of operational readiness processes through project, transition, and execution phases.
  • He has significant drift drivage experience, for the purposes of mine access and interseam drift development. Chris’ was involved in the development of the Mount Arthur Underground Adit drifts using Mitsui S200 roadheaders, the Narrabri Underground mine drifts using both S200 roadheaders and non-permitted explosives and non-flameproof Jumbos and boggers, and interseam drift development at Chain Valley Colliery using traditional drill and blast approaches.