Australian exploration and mining com- pany Exco Resources has committed A$10-million to the exploration of its 2 700 km2 land package in the highly prospective Cloncurry block, in north-west Queensland, Australia.
“The sale of the company’s Cloncurry copper project (CCP) to diversified miner Xstrata Copper will allow Exco to move ahead with exploration on its remaining Cloncurry tene- ments, as it did not have enough capital to develop CCP and undertake exploration concurrently,” says Exco corporate and project development manager Geoff Laing.
The A$175-million sale of the CCP was completed in June. The E1 and Monakoff deposits, which make up the CCP, have a combined resource of 52.1-million tons, grading 0.77% copper and 0.23 g/t gold.
The CCP will strengthen the viability of Xstrata’s Ernest Henry operation, which is currently in the process of going underground. First production is expected late this year, with full-scale operation to begin from early 2013.
The CCP will enable Ernest Henry to achieve production levels of about 50 000 t/y of copper and 70 000 oz/y of gold from 2012.
However, Laing says that Exco’s exploration is not limited to copper mining or to Australia. The company is investigating projects in Africa, North America and South America.
“We are currently in the process of fine-tuning our exploration strategy and, within about the next three months, should have a well-defined strategy for future exploration activities and acquisitions,” he adds.
Further, Exco will investigate opportunities that may provide the company with cash flow in the interim, while it undertakes its long-term exploration strategy.