OZ Minerals forecasts 26-year mine life at West Musgrave

West Musgrave processing facility and infrastructure. Image: OZ Minerals.

OZ Minerals and Cassini Resources have completed the pre-feasibility study for the West Musgrave project in Western Australia, which has anticipated a 26-year mine life.

The PFS has come back with prospective results of not only a long mine life, but also promises a low carbon, low-cost mine with a maiden ore reserve of 220 million tonnes at 0.36 per cent of copper and 0.33 per cent of nickel.

West Musgrave is the first development opportunity within the broader West Musgrave province.

The PFS study came back with an anticipated production of 28,000 tonnes of copper and 22,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrates annually, refuting any speculation regarding the project’s continuity.

OZ Minerals reminded investors that the project was still in pre-feasibility stage and required a mineral resource and ore reserve statement, neither of which was complete last week.

The company is now assessing the project under its capital allocation framework while critical path activities continue.

“Building a viable asset in a remote part of Australia is challenging, but through our collaborative approach we have developed innovative off-grid renewable power and processing solutions,” OZ Minerals chief executive Andrew Cole said.

“Furthermore, we have been able to reduce and eliminate a number of potential project risks.”

Cole believes that with the support of renewable energy suppliers, 70 to 80 per cent of West Musgrave’s power needs can come from renewable sources.

“We are pleased the study has identified a means for us to reduce the project’s carbon footprint significantly and overcome the historical challenge of affordable power for West Musgrave,” he said.

“We have been able to achieve a further significant reduction in carbon emissions and power demand through the adoption of vertical roller mills as the grinding mill solution, which achieves metal recovery at a much coarser grind size than previously considered.”

This technique not only leads to lower power usage, but also an improvement in nickel recovery.

OZ Minerals and Cassini are also looking to reduce the site’s environmental footprint by bringing in a remote operations centre, which will result in fewer people on site, less flights and a smaller accommodation village.

The two companies are awaiting a decision to mine, during which time OZ Minerals will continue to sole fund studies at the site.

OZ Minerals owns a 70 per cent interest in West Musgrave, with Cassini holding the remaining 30 per cent.

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