Byrnecut sinks its teeth into Wira shaft for OZ


OZ Minerals has confirmed that Byrnecut Group has been selected to perform works on the Wira mine shaft at the Prominent Hill gold mine in South Australia.

The $600 million shaft expansion was announced in August, with the goal of extending the mine life to 2036 at six million tonnes per annum.

The contract for these works, however, was not announced until recently, with Byrnecut given the green light to provide the sinking of the shaft, according to OZ managing director and chief executive officer Andrew Cole.

“Byrnecut is an international specialist underground mining contractor and has extensive experience of shaft sinking in the Asia-Pacific region,” Cole said.

“Byrnecut is also the underground mining contractor at Prominent Hill and Carrapateena mines which will assist in the integration of activities as we continue to increase production rates from the Prominent Hill underground operations.”

The shaft sinking will begin in the first quarter of 2022 and is expected to be complete in 2024.

The shaft expansion will grow the mine’s annual production from 43,000 to 53,000 tonnes of copper, and from 93,000 to 101,000 ounces of gold.

As the shaft removes the need for truck haulage and associated costs, average operating costs per tonne of ore mined will decrease from $80 to $64.

Prominent Hill had a strong September quarter, as both gold and copper production validated the mine’s expansion.

Copper production was at its highest figure for over 12 months totalling 17,565 tonnes, while a 2021 high of 41,245 ounces of gold was also mined.

This saw the company’s full year gold production targets increase for 2021, rising 15,000 ounces to 220,000 to 243,000.

Copper production targets remained steady at 120,000 to 145,000 tonnes.

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