Hillgrove Resources’ Kanmantoo underground decline in South Australia has commenced, bringing forward potential first copper production and reducing future development costs.
The decline is the first portal cut using transformational continuous mining technology developed by Komatsu Australia.
The Komatsu MC51 continuous miner is 100 per cent electrically powered and has the potential to be safer, greener and more efficient than the traditional drill and blast development process.
The continuous mining technology removes the need for blasting, which has the potential to transform the traditional underground development process and result in improved safety and operational performance.
“The development of the underground decline and establishment of underground drilling platforms is a key milestone in the Kanmantoo Underground development program – with the underground drill platforms accelerating and reducing the cost of the upcoming drilling program, and the decline bringing forward the potential restart of copper production and further reducing what is already a low-cost mine development,” Hillgrove chief executive officer and managing director Lachlan Wallace said.
“We are also excited to advance the mine development in a way that leads industry towards zero-emission mining, which is without question the way of the future.”
Hillgrove received a $2 million grant from the South Australian Government and favourable terms from Komatsu, which sees no payments until funding for the mine development is secured.
Hillgrove continues to advance a number of opportunities for organic growth around the Kanmantoo infrastructure, namely the down-dip extensions of the dominant copper-gold lodes previously mined within the Giant and Nugent open pits.
The introduction of the Komatsu MC51 is a crucial step towards zero-emission mining.
The Kanmantoo copper-gold mine produced 137,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate from a series of open pits between 2011 and 2020.