PERTH (miningweekly.com) – A prefeasibility study (PFS) into the Great Cobar base metal and gold deposit, in New South Wales, has estimated that the project could produce 47 000 t of copper and 61 000 oz of gold over an initial five-year mine life.
ASX-listed Aurelia Metals on Thursday reported that the PFS estimated a pre-production capital expenditure of A$35-million to bring the project into production, with life-of-mine capital expenditure estimated at A$50-million.
Operating costs have been estimated at A$175/t of ore processed at Aurelia’s Peak mine, 8 km away.
“The PFS findings justify an economically viable and relatively low-risk brownfield mine development that will provide baseload feed to the Peak processing plant for at least five years,” said Aurelia MD and CEO Dan Clifford.
“It will also enable establishment of underground drill platforms to further unlock the upside potential of the copper-rich Great Cobar deposit.
“Development of Great Cobar supports Aurelia’s ‘copper ready’ strategy and offers substantial potential value uplift from further mineral resource conversion and growth, mine life extension, processing of lead/zinc mineralisation, higher metal prices and discovery of additional potentially economic mineralisation in proximity to the Great Cobar deposit.
“Following completion of the PFS, the Peak mine’s ore reserve estimate has increased by 19% to 3.2-million tonnes, after allowing for mining depletion to the end of December, and inclusion of the Great Cobar deposit. This demonstrates the ongoing strong reserve growth that can be achieved from our Cobar basin assets.”
The Great Cobar project will proceed directly to implementation, with first stope production expected 18 months after access decline started. Decline works are targeted for July this year, with first ore production targeted for late 2023.
Regulatory approvals for production at Great Cobar are expected in late 2022.