Liontown has announced underground mining at its Kathleen Valley lithium operation in Western Australia has begun.
The new stage of mining commenced with the firing of the first blast to create underground portals at the Mount Mann pit.
The pit will have six portals in total to support one-way truck movements and ventilation drives.
Liontown said the design aims to future-proof the operation and enhance the safety and productivity of underground mining activities.
Open-pit mining at the Mount Mann and Kathleen’s Corner pits commenced in January 2023, with ore stockpiled until the processing plant comes online in mid-2024.
The emerging miner has taken steps to establish critical infrastructure, contractor mobilisations and site establishments, equipment commissioning, and portal ground support.
The underground mining contract, awarded to Byrnecut in September, is touted as the single largest contract for the Kathleen Valley project.
Byrnecut is set to provide mining services to the value of $1 billion over the next four years.
“Byrnecut’s wealth of underground expertise, strong balance sheet and skilled workforce were critical to its selection,” the company said.
“The Byrnecut team recently mobilised to site, bringing with them new state-of-the-art mining equipment.
“The on-schedule commencement of underground mining at Kathleen Valley is a testament to the dedication and high-quality planning work of our mining team, underground mining contractor Byrnecut, our open pit mining contractor Iron Mine Contracting, and many others.”
Supported by a mineral resource estimate of 156 million tonnes at 1.4 per cent lithium, Kathleen Valley aims to begin production in 2024.
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