Mt Lyell mine restart edges closer after $9.5m government support

Copper Mines of Tasmania’s (CMT) Mt Lyell mine is on track to restart after a $9.5 million investment from the state government.

The investment will fund a range of projects needed for the restart and could bring forward the recommencement date by more than six months.

The projects include decline and refurbishment preparation; North Lyell Tunnel rehabilitation to manage water flows into the mine; replacement of the 100-year-old West Queen water supply pipeline that supplies water to the site; and infrastructure associated with the upgrade of the crushing mill.

Tasmanian premier Will Hodgman said the projects will begin almost immediately, set to create up to 60 new jobs during construction, and up to 300 jobs in the long term.

“The government has worked closely with CMT throughout the period of the mine’s closure to facilitate the restart of the mine at the earliest possible stage,” he said.

This investment follows the state government’s $25 million financial assistance package given to to CMT to boost the reopening of the mine.

In the lead up to a restart, CMT will mainly focus on safety, with the company also considering the use of electric vehicles on site.

“As part of its review into restarting the mine, CMT are investigating the redevelopment of the processing plant and ore handling circuit with the possibility of employing electric driven trucks to bring ore to the surface,” Tasmanian minister Guy Barnett said.

“This is an innovative approach which would make the Mt Lyell mine the first fully electrified underground mining operation in Tasmania.’’

Mt Lyell went into care and maintenance in 2014 following the deaths of three workers.

Since the closure, CMT has spent around $100 million in care and maintenance, and is committing $80-100 million to future works to support the potential restart.

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