Joint venture partners OZ Minerals and Cassini Resources have identified “several opportunities and some threats” at the West Musgrave project in Western Australia.
OZ Minerals chief executive Andrew Cole said the findings warranted further investigation, including some significant innovations that would help improve the valuation of the remote project.
“These include the use of a reduced site footprint via a remote operations centre, the use of hybrid power solutions, potential to use innovative technology and a process flowsheet, which pilot testing has shown could significantly reduce power usage,” Cole said.
In addition, the extended timeline will see a greater level of in-fill drilling, further pilot testing of the Loesche Mill and additional flotation cell technologies and an updated mineral resource.
The JV partners have accordingly extended the West Musgrave’s original pre-feasibility study (PFS) timeline to early 2020.
OZ Minerals will spend an additional $10 million to complete the PFS, an investment that has been approved by the board.
“We are using an innovative and inclusive process to develop West Musgrave as a modern mine that creates maximum value for key stakeholders,” Cole said.
“This process involves collaborating with the traditional owners, government agencies, and local and international industry and subject matter experts, which has required a significant investment in time and effort from the various parties.”
Cole believes the opportunities at the site have the potential to reduce the carbon footprint and power costs versus a traditional mine footprint.
The PFS will advance a base case assessment of a 10 million tonnes a year copper-nickel open pit mine, with an initial eight years of mine life and potential to reach beyond 15 years.
OZ Minerals plans to take a similar approach that is being applied in the design and construction of its Carrapateena project at West Musgrave.
The JV partners expect to secure all government approvals for the project by the second quarter of 2021.