Century mine to restart as a leading global zinc producer

The Century operations. Image: New Century Resources.

The Century zinc mine in Queensland is on track to be a top 10 global producer of the base metal when the operation restarts this year, according to owner, New Century Resources.

Perth-based New Century, which secured 100 per cent ownership of the operation last year, has forecast the Century mine to produce 2.1 per cent of global zinc production once it has been ramped up to full capacity. Previous owner, MMG, closed the operation in 2016.

The company, in a presentation released today, outlined that Century would restart in less than seven months. It plans to ramp up operations to produce 500,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of zinc concentrate over an initial 6.3-year mine life.

This would make the Century mine the fifth leading producer of zinc in the world, according to New Century, with Hindustan Zinc’s Rampura-Agucha mine in India the top producer.

Glencore’s Mount Isa mine leads all Australian operations in third position, while Glencore’s McArthur River and MMG’s Dugald River also feature in New Century’s top 10 forecast.

The mine is set to restart later this year with zinc prices reaching 10-year highs during January. Zinc did, however, slip 1.5 per cent overnight to be $US3546.30 at the end of trading.

New Century recently identified potential to extend the mine life and increase production at the Century operation after defining a new indicated mineral resource at the mine’s South Block deposit.

The South Block resource includes 6.1Mt at 6.8 per cent zinc and lead, containing 322,000t zinc, 90,000t lead and 8.5Moz silver.

“The initial assessment has demonstrated the potential for inclusion of South Block into the planned operations of the mine,” the company reported in an ASX announcement.

“The results of this mining assessment will be utilised as the basis for New Century’s planned expansion feasibility study.”

New Century aims to initiate the expansion feasibility study during second quarter 2018.