Tag Archives: Carapateena

OZ Minerals Carapateena copper-gold mine ramp up begins

OZ Minerals says it has now produced its first saleable copper-gold concentrate from the Carapateena underground mine, in South Australia, just over two years since the board approved the development.

The company said the first concentrate had been produced into the pre-filter press feed tank at the mine, with the achievement meeting the December quarter 2019 schedule mapped out when Board approval was given in August 2017.

Pre-production capital cost at first saleable concentrate is around A$970 million ($669 million) with 2019 growth capital spend on track for guidance of A$540-$570 million, the company said.

OZ Minerals commented: “Sufficient saleable concentrate is expected to be produced to the filter feed tank over the coming days to then complete our first concentrate press. Over 280,000 t of development ore is stockpiled on the surface as the mine now enters a faster circa 12-month ramp-up towards reaching a 4.25 Mt per annum throughput rate by the end of 2020, dependent upon the cave performing as expected.”

Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Cole, said: “This project began three years ago with initial decline works kicking off in Q3 (September quarter) 2016 followed by Mining Lease approval in April 2018 and first underground development ore in April this year.

“Today’s milestone represents the collaboration, support and hard work of a great many people including our operations and construction teams and the large number of contractors involved.”

He said the company’s key operational focus remains on underground development as the company ramps up the mine.

“The streamlined mine design with an expanded footprint will improve cave establishment, reduce risk during the ramp-up phase and may enable future annual throughput expansion opportunities as we continue to assess options to expand capacity above 4.25 Mt annually,” he said.

The company said this ramp-up period would allow it to test and optimise the plant throughout the first half of 2020 leading to gradual throughput and recovery increases to drive progressively higher output in the second half of the year. The now larger sub-level cave footprint along with an optimised mine design is expected to enable a faster cave ramp-up, provided the cave performs as modelled, the miner added, explaining that this would see the target 4.25 Mt/y run rate reached by end-2020 and the potential for a throughput boost.

Cole concluded: “Although we announce first saleable concentrate today, we have already commenced a block cave expansion scoping study looking at increasing both the life and production capacity of Carrapateena from 2025.”

Capital expenditure in 2020 will include permanent mine development, the circa-50 km Western Access Road construction and completion of conveyor installation and crusher, OZ said.

Production for 2020, as the ramp up progresses, is expected to be in the range of 20,000-25,000 t of copper and 35,000-40,000 oz of gold.

CEEC’s latest workshop to examine new gen energy options for miners

With more and more mining sector interest in energy efficiency and uptake of renewables, the global not-for-profit communication hub for energy efficient mineral processing, CEEC, says it is running a series of workshops to share the latest developments in this field.

The next one-day Mineral Processing and Innovation Workshop on Energy Curves, Productivity and New Gen Energy, will be held at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide on June 19.

This event is due to kick off with a keynote address from OZ Minerals CEO and MD, Andrew Cole, who will share his vision for steering smart energy and productivity for sustainable mining, processing and communities.

Marc Allen, CEEC Director and Technical Director at engeco, said there was a worldwide trend towards new-generation energy options such as solar, battery-electric power and hydrogen – not only in the sector but for global power generation to combat climate change.

“The paradox is that these low carbon technologies are minerals intensive, and metals such as copper, nickel, lithium and cobalt will be required in greater volumes to make this transition possible,” Allen said.

“The shift towards a decarbonised energy future has significant ramifications for the global mining industry, particularly given the energy intensive nature of comminution and mining, coupled with the remoteness of most mineral deposits.”

Allen said renewable energy sources with low carbon energy backup options and/or energy storage were becoming more and more common in mines, with one leading example being the solar project at Degrussa Copper-Gold Mine in Western Australia.

Sandfire Resources’ Degrussa Solar project, commissioned in 2016, is reported to be the world’s largest integrated off-grid solar and battery storage facility. It supplies about 20% of the mine’s annual power requirements and has reduced emissions by close to 12,000 t/y of carbon dioxide, according to CEEC.

“South Australia is also leading the way with adopting new-gen energy. BHP is trialling zero-emission light electric vehicles at its Olympic Dam mine and has plans to progressively replace diesel fuel with lithium-ion batteries,” Allen said.

Canada’s first all-electric mine (Borden) is also on the cards, being constructed by CEEC sponsors Newmont-Goldcorp, Sandvik and MacLean Engineering.

Allen said: “Newmont-Goldcorp’s target is to increase energy efficiency by 15% over five years and source 5% of its energy from renewables. It’s pleasing to see that other major mining companies are fast following suit, introducing bold targets to shrink their carbon and energy footprint.”

Another standout country is Chile, with reports of nine companies, including copper miners Codelco and Antofagasta Minerals, introducing renewable energy such as wind and solar power.

In addition to transitioning to clean energy technologies, mining operations are striving to improve the energy efficiency of comminution. In Australia, alone, copper and gold mines’ comminution processes consume 1.3% of national electricity production, as well as being key constraints to site productivity, value and mining footprint.

Speakers and panellists at the CEEC Mineral Processing and Innovation Workshop in Adelaide on June 19 will share the latest technologies and methodologies being employed to boost energy efficiency, value and productivity in processing plants and mine sites, according to CEEC.

Keynote speaker Cole will be joined by leading mining, METS and research experts from across Australia, including Energy Curve researcher Dr Cathy Evans, Senior Research Fellow, University of Queensland Sustainable Minerals Institute; Professor Stephen Grano, Executive Director, Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources, University of Adelaide; and Professor Bill Skinner, Research Leader, Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia.

With data science and AI also being key drivers for improving operational efficiency and dispatch of electrical energy, workshop participants will hear from PETRA Data Science’s Managing Director, Dr Penny Stewart, and Technical Director, Dr Zeljka Pokrajcic.

Innovative METS leaders, including Greg Lane, Ausenco; Sandy Gray, Gekko Systems; and Bear Rock Solutions’ Dr Ted Bearman and Adjunct Professor Rob Dunne, will present practical advances in comminution technology.

Insights into South Australia mining and mineral processing innovations will be provided by Joe Seppelt, OZ Minerals Processing Manager at the Carrapateena copper-gold project, north of Port Augusta, and Enzo Artone, BHP Area Manager, Mill and Process Minerals, BFX Project, Olympic Dam.

To register or find out more about the workshop, which will be held at the National Wine Centre, click here.

Oz’s Carapateena underground copper-gold project on schedule

Oz Minerals’ Carapateena underground copper-gold project in South Australia remains on track, with total development at 6,285m as of the end of June, the company said.

Contractor Pybar Mining Services achieved record monthly development of 505m during May and, in accordance with Oz’s plan, transitioned over to Downer EDI for underground mining services in June with limited impact.

Carapateena is envisaged as a 4.25 million tonne per annum underground operation costing some A$916 million to build and producing 65,000 tonnes of copper and 67,000 ounces of gold per year over a 20-year mine life.

The deposit, which is shaped like a near vertical pipe and sits under some 500 m of unmineralised rock cover, will be mined using sub-level caving. The deposit will be blasted in 25-m sections with ore collected by loaders before being crushed and loaded onto a conveyer belt to surface.

Oz is now in phase two of construction with commissioning expected by the end of 2019.

In the company’s quarterly production results, it said underground development works, which were at 435m vertical depth at the end of June, would be expanded to include access development for future underground crusher installations in the current three-month period.

The first raisebore hole commenced in the June quarter (see photo) in preparation for installing and commissioning the first ventilation raise in the September quarter.

Site earthworks for the processing plant are now underway, with engineering progress exceeding 70%.