A new copper find at Aditya Birla’s Mount Gordon mine near Mount Isa in Queensland is being reviewed by ANZ Bank, fuelling speculation about the mine’s future.
The Mt Gordon operation, located 120 kilometres north of Mount Isa, was put into care and maintenance mode in April just two years after the company announced it would reopen the site in 2011.
Aditya Birla said at the time the move to shut the mine was made because of falling copper prices, which plummeted in June.
But recent exploration efforts have identified what appears to be a new lens and additional mineralisation to the south of the lease.
The company estimates the lens contains a minimum inferred mineral resource of 12.53 million tonnes at 1.29 per cent copper.
According to the North West Star, the find could add another 16 years mine life to the operation if it was ramped up once again.
Aditya Birla chief financial officer Shanti Lal Dugar said the company's most recent Australian Stock Exchange report shows a 13 per cent increase in its copper resource, jumping from 154 million tonnes in March 2013 to 185 million tonnes as of September 30.
“Our head copper has increased 2.05 million tonnes to 2.3 million tonnes roughly so that's a good outcome on the exploration,'' he said.
Lal Dugar said the future of the site depends on the ANZ Bank's strategic review of the operation.
But the North West reports the mine estimated if production was to restart the number of jobs available could be more than 500.
A community meeting at Mt Gordon has been slated for next Tuesday and is expected to cover any environmental concerns the operation’s neighbours may have if the mine was to go back into production.
In 2011 Aditya Birla was fined for failing to comply with orders to improve environmental management problems.