OZ Minerals has produced its first saleable copper-gold concentrate at the Carrapateena copper-gold mine in South Australia.
Last month’s achievement met the 2019 fourth quarter schedule mapped out by OZ Minerals’ board in 2017.
OZ Minerals stockpiled over 280,000 tonnes of development ore on the surface ahead of a plan for the mine to enter a faster 12-month ramp up to a 4.25 million tonne a year throughput rate.
Chief executive Andrew Cole said OZ Minerals’ key operational focus remained on underground development as it ramped up the mine.
“The streamlined mine design with an expanded footprint will improve cave establishment, reduce risk during the ramp-up phase and may enable future annual throughput expansion opportunities as we continue to assess options to expand capacity above 4.25 million tonnes annually,” Cole said.
“We have already commenced a block cave expansion scoping study looking at increasing both the life and production capacity of Carrapateena from 2025.”
OZ Minerals expects production to be in the range of 20,000 to 25,000 tonnes of copper, and 35,000 to 40,000 ounces of gold at an expected cost of $US1.80–$2 a pound ($2.59–$2.88) in 2020.
The company will construct a 50-kilometre Western Access Road and complete its conveyor installation and crusher one at Carrapateena.
The Carrapateena project has generated over 1000 direct jobs from construction through to production. Exploration also continues around Carrapateena, according to Cole.