Production starts at Capricorn as copper prices spike

The refurbished Capricorn copper mine in north-west Queensland has reached production with prices for the base metal improving.

Since the project was launched in November last year, the copper price has increased by more than 30 per cent. The project has also created more than 350 full-time operational and construction jobs in the region during 2017.

The former Mount Gordon mine, located around 125km north of Mt Isa, was mothballed in 2013 following declining copper prices. In 2015, it was sold to joint venture partners Lighthouse Minerals and EMR Capital, which have redeveloped the operation under the Capricorn Copper name.

Owen Hegarty, Capricorn Copper chairman, said completion of the mine’s refurbishment and restart project came at an ideal time as the copper market strengthens.

“We have been confident in the fundamentals of copper throughout the project development phase and the timing for first concentrate is ideal,” Hegarty said.

“The team has done a great job in delivering the project on time and on budget and now we are looking forward to running one of Australia’s most exciting copper projects.”

Capricorn expects to produce around 30,000 tonnes of copper per year in a high grade and quality concentrate over an initial 10-year mine life.

The site includes a high-grade resource, containing over 900,000 tonnes of copper metal, with exploration results showing potential to extend the mine life in the years ahead.

Capricorn Copper managing director Carl Hallion said once in steady state operations, the mine was expected to maintain an operating workforce of around 220 full time employees.

He explained that Capricorn had a strong focus on developing opportunities for employees and suppliers within the north-west Queensland region.

“This milestone lays the foundation for further growth and an exciting future as Australia’s newest copper producer and success story,” he said.

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