OZ Minerals seeks Carrapateena growth as construction ramps up

Image: OZ Minerals

OZ Minerals is planning to exploit the potential of the broader Carrapateena province in South Australia as it progresses construction of the copper-gold development in 2018.

The company, in its 2017 fourth quarter update, reported that its focus at Carrapateena remained on progressing construction of the project, on time and within budget.

OZ launched construction of Carrapateena last year after approving development of the $916 million operation in August.

Managing director and chief executive officer, Andrew Cole, today outlined OZ’s wider strategy at the site.

“2018 will see renewed focus on the Khamsin and Fremantle Doctor prospects and additional exploration at Punt Hill, the newest of our joint ventures, 50km south of Carrapateena,” Cole said.

“We will also begin investigating future options for the remainder of the Carrapateena mineralised zone.”

Carrapateena has been forecast to produce 65,000 tonnes (t) of copper and 67,000 ounces (oz) of gold a year over its 20-year mine life once it is operational.

The project, which OZ expects to commission by fourth quarter 2019, is expected to create around 1000 jobs during construction.

Meanwhile, OZ met its copper production guidance for the third consecutive year in 2017, while also exceeding its target output for gold.

The Adelaide-based company, which operates the Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in the state’s north, produced 112,008t of copper and 126,713oz of gold during the year.

“Prominent Hill delivered at the top end of production guidance and at the bottom of cost guidance, enabling us to take advantage of improved copper prices and grow revenue to over $1 billion,” Cole said.

“Prominent Hill is now a reliable, long life, low cost producer. In November, we announced an 18 per cent increase in underground ore reserve, enabling as expected underground production rate of 3.5–4 million tonnes per annum from 2019 through to 2029.”

OZ’s 2018 guidance at Prominent Hill has been set at 100,000–110,000t of copper and 120,000–130,000oz of gold.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.