Copper|Dewatering|Health|Infrastructure|Mineral Processing|Mining|PROJECT|Road|Safety|Storage|Underground|Water|Infrastructure|Operations
Copper|Dewatering|Health|Infrastructure|Mineral Processing|Mining|PROJECT|Road|Safety|Storage|Underground|Water|Infrastructure|Operations

29Metals faces long road to restart

20th April 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


Font size: - +

PERTH ( – The share price of junior 29Metals fell by more than 11% on Thursday after the company revealed that mining activities at its Capricorn copper project, in Queensland, are only likely to resume midway through the first half of 2024.

The company in early March halted production and all non-essential activity at the copper operation, as road access was lost and heavy rainfall resulted in a substantial increase in the volume of water held on site.

While the company initially estimated that the operations would remain suspended for three to four months, 29Metals on Thursday told shareholders that recovery planning for the safe return to mining and mineral processing operations at Capricorn was still ongoing.

To date, the company has evaluated multiple recovery scenarios, saying that while the recovery plan was not yet clear, the safe return to operations would likely involve a phased approach. It was expected that Phase 1 of the recovery, targeted for the September quarter of this year, would see the initial reinstatement of operations, with a combination of ore mined from the Mammoth and Greenstone ore sources and stockpiled ore.

During Phase 2 of the restart, which is targeted for the first half of 2024, 29Metals will complete the reinstatement and will restart mining in the Esperanza South underground mine and will ramp up milling rates.

“Substantial effort has gone into ensuring that we properly understand the full impact of this unprecedented weather event and implement a responsible plan for the safe return to operations,” said 29Metals MD and CEO Peter Albert.

“With water levels on site now stabilised, the recovery task has become clearer. Water quality and reducing the additional water brought onto site by this event are the key enablers to recovery. We have closely considered a number of scenarios, and a staged return to operations is expected to deliver the best outcome, overall, for our shareholders and other stakeholders.”

Inspections of the site facilities have revealed that water levels have stabilised, with the weather event having added some 1.5 Gℓ of water to the operations, including an estimated 500 Mℓ of water to the underground operations,

The inspection has confirmed that there has been limited water ingress to Mammoth and Greenstone, and that these deposits will not require significant dewatering.

Physical damage to site has been limited, with key infrastructure impacted including the water treatment plant, site workshop and the warehouse, while the processing plant remains materially undamaged.

“I again want to acknowledge the efforts of the 29Metals team. The extraordinary work from our team on site to manage the impact during this extreme event, with no health or safety incidents, no uncontrolled releases of water from on-site water storage facilities and no loss of containment of tailings, is being matched by group-wide efforts to develop and evaluate recovery scenarios, confirming again that we have the team in place to safely return Capricorn Copper to operations,” Albert said.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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