Carrapateena commissioning takes shape for OZ Minerals

Prominent Hill operation at night. Image: OZ Minerals

OZ Minerals remains on track to achieve its full year production guidance at the Prominent Hill mine in northern South Australia despite lower underground ore movement.

The company has lowered its underground ore movement guidance to 3.3–3.5 million tonnes for 2019.

Department of Defence activities across the Woomera green zone have impacted its September performance, overshadowing the July and August combined run rate of around 3.8 million tonnes a year.

OZ Minerals still produced 23,100 tonnes of copper and 28,844 ounces of gold in the September quarter.

“Prominent Hill production is expected to end the year comfortably within guidance,” OZ Minerals chief executive Andrew Cole said.

OZ Minerals has also stockpiled over 180,000 tonnes of development ore on surface at Carrapateena.

Its first saleable concentrate is on schedule for November, with underground development advancing beyond fifth production level.

The project’s minerals processing plant is also in the completion and commissioning phase.

“Looking ahead to the end of the year, we are firmly focussed on delivering first saleable concentrate at Carrapateena and achieving our forecast production, cost and other targets at Prominent Hill,” Cole said.

An expansion study into the underground mine at Prominent Hill is also under way, following the initial scoping studies carried out in early 2018.

OZ Minerals expects to provide a clear view on the potential underground expansion late next year.

The company is also progressing initial early works at the Pedra Branca mine in Brazil – “the first element of our Carajás hub strategy” – while advancing its feasibility study.

“The study is now focussed on realising operating cost opportunities, final mine design, pre-concentration trials and tailings studies utilising the Antas open pit,” Cole said.

OZ Minerals has also lifted the gold production guidance at its Antas mine in the Carajás province from 4200–4600 ounces to 5400–5800 ounces.

The decision was complemented by Antas’ all-in sustaining costs guided lower, following cessation of the planned cutback in favour of wall steepening.

Antas remains on track to meet its copper production guidance this year.

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