PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Queensland state government has granted developer MMG’s A$1.4-billion Dugald River zinc project special status in an effort to reduce red tape and to assist in job creation in the region.
State Development and Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said that projects like Dugald River were critical to economic development and job creation in the north-west during the tough times caused by ongoing resource commodity price lows.
“Granting it prescribed project status will allow the Coordinator-General to assist MMG to navigate processes and timely approvals through government. This is tangible evidence of the government’s commitment to winning jobs and infrastructure in the north-west.
“This is more action for the north-west, on top of our accelerated works programme in Mount Isa and the North West Minerals Province Taskforce.”
In April last year, MMG flagged a new mine plan for the Dugald River zinc/lead/silver project, based on a lower yearly throughput rate, which would allow for a longer mine life.
The updated plan includes a mine production rate of 1.5-million tonnes a year, the construction of a concentrator and production of about 160 000 t/y of zinc-in-concentrate, plus by-products, over an estimated 28-year mine life.
This compared with initial plans that saw the mine process an average of two-million tonnes a year of ore, to produce between 200 000 t/y and 220 000 t/y of zinc concentrate, between 27 000 t/y and 30 000 t/y of lead-in-concentrate and about 900 000 oz/y of silver.
MMG was hoping to start construction of the Dugald River project by mid-year, and expected to employ about 600 staff during construction and 400 staff during the mine’s operation.
Production at the mine was expected to start in the first half of 2018.