PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Copper/gold miner Oz Minerals has awarded a A$660-million underground mining services contract to project house Downer EDI for the Carrapateena underground mine, in South Australia.
The six-and-a-half-year contract will comprise all underground mining activity, including site setup and development to the top of the orebody and infrastructure excavation, production setup and ramp-up, and bedding in steady-state operations at nameplate site capacity.
Downer is expected to mobilise to the Carrapateena site this week, initiating a ten-week transition period to assume responsibility for all underground mining operations from July 1.
Oz Minerals on Tuesday also reported a first quarter copper production of 27 466 t and gold production of 30 873 oz, compared with the 29 886 t of copper and 39 178 oz of gold produced in the December quarter.
MD and CEO Andrew Cole told shareholders that production from the Prominent Hill mine, in South Australia, was in line with the mine plan, adding that all guidance metrics were on track.
“The openpit closure was completed safely after more than ten years of operation and over 100-million tonnes of ore mined. The team is now focused on increasing underground ore haulage as we process stockpiles, enabling the plant to remain at full capacity to mid-2023, with the benefit of no further openpit mining costs or associated fixed overheads.”
“A productive first quarter saw Prominent Hill deliver to plan with progress made across multiple growth opportunities. Our devolved operating model is proving to be a key enabler for effectively integrating new assets as we build internal capabilities and advance our operational readiness at Carrapateena.”
Oz Minerals approved the development of the Carrapateena mine in August last year. The development will produce an average of 65 000 t/y of copper and 67 000 oz/y of gold over a 20-year mine life.
All primary approvals for the project are in place, and a mining lease has been granted by the South Australian government, while the federal government has given Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act approval.
Looking ahead, Oz was expecting full year copper production to reach between 100 000 t and 110 000 t, and gold production to reach between 120 000 oz and 130 000 oz.