CDE Global lands huge mining waste deal in Australia
Co Tyrone company CDE Global has won a multi-million pound contract to process iron ore waste products which have been accumulating at Australian mines for more than 80 years.
The value of the contract with Arrium Mining has not been disclosed, but it's believed to be CDE Global's biggest project in Australia yet.
Mining had underpinned economic growth in Australia for years before a collapse in commodity prices hit hard.
But following a slowdown, the industry appears to be rallying - benefiting suppliers to the industry like CDE Global.
CDE Global, which is based in Cookstown, will be processing nearly 17 million tons of low-grade iron ore fines at mines in south Australia into material which can be sold.
CDE said that recovering valuable resources from mining waste materials would be a "new niche" for the firm.
Chris McKeown, technical manager with CDE Global, said: "This is a very significant project win for CDE as we continue to embark on an accelerated growth programme over the course of the next five years.
"The modular nature of our equipment has a number of benefits which have been recognised by our clients and this has opened up great opportunities for us in Australia."
CDE currently employs around 170 people at the company's headquarters in Cookstown. It exports 75% of its equipment outside the UK and Ireland.
The first new plant will be at Arrium Mining's site in the town of Iron Knob. It will process low-grade ore which has built up since mining at the site began operation in 1899.
The second plant will be installed at Iron Baron, where it will process low-grade iron ore which has been building up since 1930.
CDE Global's materials washing and classification equipment can also be used in sand and aggregates, construction waste recycling and environmental work.
It has offices in Kolkata in India, as well as Sao Paulo in Brazil and Cary in North America.
Gavin Hobart, general manager of development at Arrium Mining, said the company had observed CDE Global equipment at work in projects in Australia, Norway, the UK and Brazil.
"We observed how their AggMax machine had been applied on similar projects," he added. "This gave us confidence that it provided an innovative way to tackle clay bound materials.
"We were also impressed by the fact that the time required for installation and commissioning of the plant is reduced as a result of the integration of several processing phases onto one machine."
Last month, CDE Global announced its biggest-ever graduate recruitment programme as it sought to fill 20 new positions. The firm wants to create a total of 110 new jobs by 2022, in an investment worth £6.8m.
Its plans include building a new factory extension, as well as a new head office building to accommodate the expanding workforce.
Invest NI offered more than £1.3m towards the company's expansion plans, announced earlier this year.
Turnover at the firm increased by 43% to reach £46.3m in 2015, with pre-tax profits rising to £2.5m.
The Co Tyrone area has become known as the Silicon Valley of heavy machinery as firms like CDE Global follow in the footsteps of manufacturer Powerscreen, set up in 1966.
Powerscreen is now part of US giant Terex, though the name survives as a Terex brand.