OZ Minerals has reached its nameplate mill throughput rate of 500 tonnes per hour at stable operating rate at the Carrapateena copper mine in South Australia.
The mine achieved an excess runtime of 90 per cent for 24 hours periods, while the floatation recovery exceeded 90 per cent for several shifts with concentrate grades exceeding 40 per cent copper.
While the mine produced its first concentrate in December, the minerals processing plant was subject to further work to complete final commissioning tasks in January and February.
The underground crusher and conveyor system are also operating to design expectations.
“It is a credit to see the mill reach nameplate throughput so soon after handover and concentrate being accumulated,” OZ Minerals chief executive Andrew Cole said.
The larger sub-level cave footprint and optimised mine design is expected to improve cave establishment, which will enable a faster production ramp-up.
OZ Minerals aims to increase Carrapateena’s run rate to 4.35 million tonnes per annum by the end of the year, and its throughput rates to 4.7–5 million tonnes a year from 2023.
The company will continue optimising the processing plant throughout the first half of this year which, coupled with the production ramp-up will drive higher throughput and concentrate production rates during the second half of the year.