Austral Resources has exposed first copper ore at its Anthill project in Queensland, allowing the resource to be stockpiled more than a month ahead of schedule.
The 10,000 tonne per annum project has progressed at rapid pace since mining was approved in late October, with blast and mining teams Thiess, Orica and Roc-Drill all on site.
Austral chief executive officer Steve Tambanis described the latest developments.
“Whilst we conservatively planned to see first ore exposed in March, blasthole drilling over the east pit showed the first tell-tale green copper oxide colours on January 26,” he said.
“It’s great to see copper ore so close to the surface which means we get to start putting ore on the ROM (run of mine) pad a little earlier than planned – a good problem to have.”
Mining commenced at the project on January 7 and surpassed 70,000 tonnes per day of overburden mining one week later, also ahead of schedule.
The company reported being pleased with the progress of its blast and mining teams who have worked well together thus far.
“Roc-Drill and Orica are maintaining good stocks of broken ground ahead of the Thiess mining team, who are comfortably exceeding planned capacity with two 350 tonne excavators and four 200 tonne trucks,” the company stated.
Thiess was contracted for mining services at Anthill in a $95 million deal spanning three years.
The project is expected to commence copper production by mid-2022.
The Mt Kelly processing plant is now 70 per cent refurbished and the circuit is expected to be commissioned in February.