China’s state owned Minerals and Metals Group (MMG) is set to commit to a $100 million expansion as early as this week to a significant expansion of the Golden Grove copper-zinc mine east of Geraldton.
There has been a massive increase in big-ticket investments in iron ore and gold in Western Australia in the past year, and the development for approval for the open-cut mine at Golden Grove would produce between 59 000 tonnes and 67 000 tonnes of copper metal.
Golden Grove’s previous owner, Oxiana, had discussions with MMG about developing an open cut copper pit to help extend the mine’s life and keep its processing plant running at capacity.
The idea was abandoned during the 2009 global financial crisis, but MMG relooked at the pit plans last year and speculation is now mounting that they may sign off on the development as part of its approval of its annual results, to be published this week.
The nickel industry leads the base metals production in WA and later this year First Quantum Minerals are set to start commissioning of the refurbished Ravensthorpe laterite mine.
The official cost of the project is no known, but analysts have previously suggested it would cost about $100 million.
The project would keep almost 550 people employed mostly at the Gossan Hill underground mine in a job for several years.
MMG released an upgrade resource statement from the original pit plan, showing it could mine 3.1 million tonnes of copper oxide, at 2.2 per cent, for 67 2000 tonnes of contained metal, up from 2.5 million tonnes of copper oxides grading 2.5 per cent and 900 000 of coppers sulphides at 2 per cent.