Magellan Metals has restarted operations at its lead carbonate mine near Wiluna, Western Australia, nearly three years after the State Government banned lead shipments on safety grounds.
The miner has started to process seven week’s worth of stockpiled ore and will also recommence mining in March.
In total, the company estimates it will produce around 60,000 tonnes of contained lead in concentrates this year.
Magellan was forced to cease all exports from the Port of Esperance in April 2007, after dangerous levels of lead carbonate dust were found in the port and surrounding township.
The company had to develop and demonstrate a method to remove around 8000 tonnes of stockpiled lead from the port, without any of the dust escaping.
The negative pressure bagging system developed by Magellan was approved by the WA Department of Environment and, following a four month process, all the lead was removed by July last year.
The company also received final approval from the Government to begin exporting the stockpiles at the dormant mine out of Fremantle in August.
Since this began in September, Magellan has shipped approximately 22,700 wet metric tonnes of material, containing around 13,500 tonnes of lead.
“All shipments have been without incident and in full compliance with the stringent conditions imposed by the Western Australian Environment Minister,” the company said.
The major maintenance and re-commissioning projects required to restart the Wiluna mine were undertaken in January and February this year.
At full complement, the Magellan workforce will be about 160, including contractors.