OZ Minerals has begun expanding its block cave at the Carrapateena gold mine in South Australia after access levels for a second crusher were reached in the sub level cave mine.
The expansion was approved in February after the decision was deferred by COVID-19 delays.
OZ Minerals managing director and chief executive officer Andrew Cole said Carrapateena was developing well.
“The commencement of the block cave decline is a significant milestone for Carrapateena,” Cole said.
“The block cave expansion will allow us to fully capitalise on the value opportunity beyond the existing sub level cave, extending mine life, increasing production and unblocking Carrapateena’s potential to be a multi-generational, lowest quartile cash cost producing province.”
Carrapateena is 470 kilometres north of Adelaide and 320 kilometres south west of OZ Minerals’ flagship Prominent Hill gold mine.
OZ Minerals will now install and commission the second crusher to allow sub level cave production to increase to 5 million tonnes per annum by 2023.
Cole said underground works were not the only achievement at Carrapateena of late.
“In addition, the Western Access road to the Carrapateena site was completed this month, which will improve site access and concentrate logistics management as well as further community partnerships through involvement in road maintenance contracts,” Cole said.
“The Carrapateena block cave expansion creates a world class opportunity considering its scale, production, mine life, cost base and jurisdiction.”
OZ Minerals produced 14,406 tonnes of copper for the September quarter of 2021, in line with its target of 55,000 to 65,000 tonnes for 2021.
The mine also produced 23,266 ounces of gold for the quarter to remain on track to produce 75,000 to 85,000 ounces for the year.
“Carrapateena copper production is likely to be at the lower end of its range as we drew from lower grade areas during Q3 to encourage cave propagation,” Cole said in October.