Mining restarts at Century zinc operation in Queensland, Australia

New Century Resources has started hydraulic mining at the Century zinc operation in Queensland, Australia, almost three years since its previous owner downed tools at the open pit.

The commencement of operations comes both on time and on budget, according to New Century. The company’s Restart Feasibility Study estimated a project able to produce 264,000t/y of zinc and 3 Moz/y of silver for a start-up cost of A$50 million ($36 million).

This is quite a turnaround for a mine that was thought extinct when MMG stopped processing ore back in early 2016.

The original Century mine started up in 1999 and produced and processed an average of 475,00 t/y of zinc concentrate and 50,000 t/y of lead concentrate over 16 years. This saw the product transferred in slurry form via a 304 km underground pipeline to Century’s port facility at Karumba.

New Century’s restart plan leverages much of the existing infrastructure at the operation, but initially involves reprocessing the mine’s old tailings for the first six-and-a-bit years.

Managing Director Patrick Walta said: “It is a fantastic achievement by the New Century team and our business partners to deliver the restart of operations at Century both on time and budget.

“We are now focused on the next phase of Century development, ramping up operations to become one of the world’s top zinc producers.”

Back in May, Downer EDI Ltd and its joint venture partner Waanyi, were awarded a life of mine contract by New Century Resources to provide mining services at the operation.