29Metals has released an operations update following the extreme weather event which struck its Capricorn copper mine in Queensland last week.
The company reports no significant safety issues despite the unprecedented rainfall. Light vehicle access to the site has re-commenced with heavy vehicles expected this week.
The site suffered no significant harm to the processing plant, but supporting infrastructure was less fortunate with the company reporting some damage.
Fortunately, the rainfall caused no loss of tailings storage containment.
Despite no damage to workers or the environment, the site remains heavily flooded. According to 29Metals, the Esperanza pit was particularly impacted, with water levels increasing roughly seven metres.
The company is actively working with the Queensland Government and the local community, and expects a three-to-four-month interruption of operations.
“The extreme weather event that has impacted Capricorn Copper, and much of Northwest Queensland, is of a staggering scale – with Capricorn Copper recording its highest-ever rainfall for a seven-day period, and highest annual rainfall (in less than five months) since records began 130 years ago,” 29Metals chief executive officer, Peter Albert, said.
“In the context of an event of this scale, the site team’s response has been exemplary. The health and safety of our team on site and ensuring no uncontrolled release of contaminated water or waste… are the highest priorities, and in this regard the performance of the site team has been first rate.
“With the weather conditions improving, 29Metals’ management focus has promptly moved to recovery and a return to operating safely as soon as possible.”
29Metals wasn’t the only miner impacted by the severe weather.
Evolution Mining’s Ernest Henry operation was also impacted, with personnel safely removed on the evening of March 8.
“Whilst this significant weather event that occurred at Ernest Henry last week has suspended operations, our priority has been to ensure all personnel are safe, including as we move to the recovery phase,” Evolution chief executive officer and managing director Lawrie Conway said.
“The team on site has handled the situation in accordance with our incident management protocols. We expect the recovery phase to take approximately six weeks before ramping up to normal production.”