Pybar Mining Services has started up underground mining at Heron Resources’ Woodlawn zinc project in New South Wales, Australia, ahead of full commissioning by the end of the year.
The company entered into a four-year underground mining contract with Pybar in February and the contractor has now kicked off mining. This includes the ground support of box cut walls and the first portal blast of the decline.
Heron said the overall project, as of the end of August, was 73% complete, with earthworks substantially concluded, equipment purchasing at 98%, concrete almost complete and offsite fabrication 92% signed off. Sedgman is the EPC contractor.
Woodlawn is envisaged as a 1.5 Mt/y operation able to produce 40,000 t/y of zinc, 10,000 t/y of copper and 12,000 t/y of lead at steady-state production over a 9.3-year mine life. This is based on a reserve base of 2.8 Mt at 14% ZnEq from underground and 9.5 Mt at 6% ZnEq from reprocessed tailings.
The operation is set to use an IsaMill™ to treat the zinc-rich reclaimed tailings, as well as polymetallic primary ore in different processing modes. The 3 MW 10,000 IsaMill comes with an IsaCharger™ media delivery system, as well as commissioning services from Glencore Technology.
Heron’s Managing Director Wayne Taylor said: “Exploration over the last four years has defined a very high-grade, high-quality resource and reserve position, and the access which has now commenced will enable us to deliver underground ore into the processing plant in 2019.
“Once underground, our geological team will focus on further expanding the known mineralised positions to build upon the excellent and cost-effective work they have undertaken to date.
“Elsewhere on site, I am pleased to report that good progress continues to be made with all aspects of the build, and that works remain on schedule for the commissioning by the end of the year.”