OZ Minerals drives Prominent Hill underground development

Prominent Hill operation at night. Image: OZ Minerals

OZ Minerals is set to accelerate underground development at the Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia with fresh funding boost.

The company has allocated an additional $6–$9 million in capital expenditure for Prominent Hill this year after deferring its expenditure earlier in 2020 due to uncertainties posed by COVID-19.

The underground decline development at Prominent Hill will allow OZ Minerals to begin mining the western side of the Malu orebody in a bottom-up sequence.

It will also open up the pathway to bottom-up mining from deeper underground from mid to late 2021.

“With sustainable annualised rates at or above four million tonnes per year in recent months, we have brought forward future decline development spend to further consolidate underground ore movement and increase mining rates to between four million tonnes per year to five million tonnes per year from 2022, prior to any additional tonnage from a potential underground expansion,” OZ Minerals chief executive Andrew Cole said.

“A study update is expected towards the end of the year on the expansion which is contemplating a shaft haulage system.”

At Carrapateena, OZ Minerals is on track to achieve 4.25 million tonnes a year run rates by the end of the year.

OZ Minerals expects to resume exploration and resource drilling activity through the second half of this year.

The company further aims to finalise its acquisition of Cassini Resources in October.

“The acquisition, should it be supported by Cassini shareholders, will consolidate ownership of the West Musgrave project to 100 per cent and provide development optionality,” Cole said.

“We remain focussed on completing the transaction in the coming months.”

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