OZ closes Prominent Hill open pit

A Prominent Hill worker. Image: OZ Minerals.

OZ Minerals has completed its planned closure of the Prominent Hill open pit in South Australia.

The company revealed last October that it would accelerate the closure of the copper-gold operation after previously planning to halt activities in mid-2018.

In a quarterly update released today, OZ reported that the Prominent Hill open pit closure had been completed after more than 10 years of operation and over 100Mt of ore mined.

“The team is now focused on increasing underground ore haulage as we process stockpiles, enabling the plant to remain at full capacity to mid-2023 with the benefit of no further open pit mining costs or associated fixed overheads,” OZ chief executive Andrew Cole said.

Prominent Hill produced 27,466t of copper and 30,873oz of gold during the quarter. OZ is currently developing a third decline at Prominent Hill’s underground operations, with break through expected during the June quarter.

The company is also trialling an underground diesel-electric hybrid production loader at Prominent Hill to test efficiencies, diesel savings and overall costs associated with the equipment.

At the Carrapateena project, meanwhile, OZ reported that development targets had been exceeded for six consecutive months. The company expects to launch processing operations at Carrapateena in late 2019.

“Stage one of the Tjungu accommodation village is now occupied and with Mining Lease and Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) approvals received, phase two construction will commence as planned in mid April,” Cole said of Carrapateena.

OZ today announced the award of a $660 million underground mining services contract at Carrapateena to Downer EDI.

During the quarter, OZ launched a takeover offer for Brazil-focused miner and explorer, Avanco Resources. A bidder’s statement for the offer was sent to shareholders last week, with the offer scheduled to end on May 14.