OZ Minerals on track with Prominent Hill record

The Carrapateena mine in South Australia. Image: OZ Minerals

OZ Minerals has mined a record 1.14 million tonnes of ore at the Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia off the back of strong copper demand.

The company’s copper production increased by 22 per cent, delivering 32,681 tonnes of copper for the June quarter of 2021 compared with 26,842 tonnes in the March period.

OZ Minerals managing director and chief executive officer Andrew Cole said the performance was bolstered by the Prominent Hill and Carrapateena copper-gold mines in South Australia.

“A strong second quarter from our major South Australian operations and favourable copper prices saw us finish the half in a robust financial position with a cash balance of $134 million and our corporate debt facility fully repaid from operating cashflow,” he said.

“Full-year group copper production guidance remains on track notwithstanding a lowering of annual guidance in the Carajás, Brazil, which has been impacted by direct and flow-on effects of COVID-19.”

According to Cole, the increased results were in line with what had been anticipated.

“As expected, second quarter copper production was higher than the prior quarter,” he said.

“Grade increased at Carrapateena in line with its mine plan. Prominent Hill continued to reliably increase the level of underground ore mined with (the June quarter) delivering the highest recorded underground ore mined to date.”

OZ Minerals advanced Prominent Hill’s accelerated decline and lower-level infrastructure in the June quarter, with the extension of its ventilation network and continuation of the decline to be commissioned in the September quarter.

The company’s gold grades from its long-term stockpiles increased the company’s full-year gold production guidance from 190,000 to 215,000 ounces, to 205,000 to 228,000 ounces.

Gold production in the June quarter increased slightly from 55,150 to 57,875 ounces.

The company’s all-in sustaining costs have also reduced to $US134.50 ($182.15) from $US136.50 in the previous quarter.

Continued works on Carrapateena’s Western Access Road continued in the June quarter, which is expected to completed later this year.

Cole said the company’s financial position has helped advance the study phase of its West Musgrave copper and nickel project in Western Australia.

“Our strong financial position continues to support our pipeline of major brownfield projects at Carrapateena and Prominent Hill, and the potential West Musgrave Project currently advancing through the study phase,” he said.

“Prominent Hill has continued to sustain annualised rates above four million tonnes per annum with work continuing at the bottom of the current life-of-mine level to establish level infrastructure for the commencement of the bottom-up mining sequence.

“Simultaneous bottom up and top down mining will enable an increase in mining rates from 2022, to between four million tonnes per annum and five million tonnes per annum.”

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