Copper Mines of Tasmania have taken a step forward in re-opening the Mt Lyell mine after getting the greenlight for planned recommencement of operations.
The mine has been in care and maintenance since July 2014 after a rockfall in a ventilation shaft halted operation, with low commodity prices forcing the owner of CMT, Vedanta, to re-evaluate the market and delay a re-opening.
Prior to this the mine had been closed after an unfortunate spate of fatal incidents in which three workers were killed in two separate accidents over the space of two months.
Vedanta has now given the go-ahead for the mine to move to a final feasibility stage for the restarting of mining following a review of Mt Lyell’s technical and economic feasibility.
“This is fantastic news and a very positive major step forward towards recommencement of copper production at Mt Lyell in the next 15 months,” CMT’s Mt Lyell projects and site manager Jared DeRoss said.
“We have determined the new mining methods that we will adopt and the ore body we will mine.
“The next stage is to carry out a detailed technical design of the mining system, layout of the new mine and safety systems, and do further work on the economic feasibility of the operation,” he said.
CMT is targeting new development work by October or November, with actual production restarting around 12 months afterwards.
DeRoss has previously told Australian Mining the operation has been carrying out underground exploration since April 2014, and has now added around 20 million tonnes of ore to the site’s audited ore resource, bringing its total to 50 million tonnes.
In the meantime the mien is continuing its care and maintenance activities to ready the mine for re-opening.
A tailings dam raise is also underway, to be completed later this month, while dredging was on track for completion by August.
DeRoss added CMT has been also working closely with WorkSafe Tasmania on the site’s safety and risk management.
Image: Richard Jupe/ The Mercury