PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Queensland government has granted the A$152-million Capricorn copper mine, near Mount Isa, prescribed status in order to assist in the restart of operations.
The Capricorn mine, which was previously known as Mt Gordon, was sold to privately held Lighthouse Minerals and its joint venture (JV) partner, EMR Capital, in late 2015, by ASX-listed Aditya Birla.
The project was placed on care and maintenance in 2013, owing to falling copper prices, and had capacity to produce copper concentrate at a rate of 1.4-million tonnes a year.
Queensland State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham on Thursday said that prescribed project status would allow the Coordinator-General to assist the Capricorn project to efficiently navigate processes and timely approvals through government.
“This is all about getting almost 90 construction jobs during construction and more than 200 direct operational jobs under way and available by the third quarter of 2017.”
First ore production from Capricorn is expected in October this year, with a four-month ramp-up to steady production.
The JV partners have committed to prioritising employment, suppliers and contractors from Mount Isa and other north-west Queensland communities, including Cloncurry.
The reopened mine is forecast to produce 30 000 t/y of copper in concentrate over an initial mine life of ten years.
Lynham said the JV was looking to invest a further A$14-million in exploration over the next two years to identify more resources in its permit areas, and to extend the mine life beyond the initial ten-year window.
“This is new investment in one of the world’s most valuable base metal areas, and clear evidence of the opportunities still to be had in the north-west,” he said.