PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Copper/gold miner Oz Minerals on Monday announced a decision to increase the hoisting shaft capacity at its Prominent Hill mine from 6-million tonnes a year to 6.5-million tonnes a year.
The ASX-listed miner told shareholders that project optimisation works identified the opportunity to increase the hoisting shaft capacity by 8% to 6.5-million tonnes for an additional A$2-million with the increased capital to be absorbed within the approved A$600-million budget.
The change in design includes an upgrade to the shaft winder motor, enlarged skips and upgrades to the material handling system which, in turn, provide optionality to increase yearly mine production rates.
Work is under way to assess whether underground mining rates can be increased to fully utilise the increased 6.5-million tonnes a year hoisting shaft capacity. An update to this assessment, including any operating cost-benefit, is expected in the second half of 2022.
“Our agile approach to project delivery encourages our teams to constantly look for opportunities to improve stakeholder value. This is another example of our teams taking an opportunity mindset and identifying and pursuing potential highly value accretive opportunities,” Oz Minerals MD and CEO Andrew Cole said.
“Construction of the hoisting shaft at Prominent Hill extends the mine life, lowers operating cost, reduces operational risk and lowers emissions intensity compared to the current trucking operation. It also enables generational province potential with further mine life extensions possible as circa 67-million tonnes of resource remains outside the shaft expansion mine plan with the resource also remaining open at depth.
“The Prominent Hill team is also continuing the drilling of the exploration targets at Walawuru and Papa. These shallow targets represent further upside potential for Prominent Hill as they are potentially accessible via a trucking operation simultaneously to the current trucking operation and future shaft operation,” said Cole.
“We continue to be excited about the long and productive future at Prominent Hill with the Wira shaft mine expansion enabling access to areas previously thought uneconomic and opening up potential new prospects.”
The Wira shaft mine expansion project was approved in August 20211 with works well progressed and scheduled for completion in 2024.