Sandfire resumes DeGrussa operations following cyclone damage

Tropical Cyclone Damien. Image: Bureau of Meteorology.

Sandfire Resources has lifted a suspension of its operations at the DeGrussa copper-gold mine in Western Australia after Tropical Cyclone Damien caused flood damage.

The company moved all employees and contract workers to the surface via light vehicles and isolated the affected section of the open pit.

The category 3 cyclone brought heavy rainfall that flooded a section of a containment bud and entered the Evans decline.

The extent of the damage was limited to erosion in one section of the decline road surface, a piece of underground mining equipment and a light vehicle.

Sandfire’s DeGrussa concentrator was not affected by cyclone Damien and continued to process run-of-mine stockpiles from DeGrussa and the nearby Monty mine.

The Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) visited the DeGrussa site for an inspection and approved Sandfire to resume mining activities last Thursday.

“Appropriate measures were activated in line with standard underground mining safety protocols,” Sandfire stated in a media release.

“Our employees and contractors responded professionally, with the safety of our people paramount at all times.

“With both the DeGrussa and Monty mines operating in a steady state, previously announced production guidance is maintained for financial year 2020.”

In a December 2019 quarterly report, Sandfire Resources listed its 2020 financial year guidance as 70,000 to 72,000 tonnes of copper and 38,000 to 40,000 tonnes of gold.

Tropical Cyclone Damien whipped through the Pilbara region last week. While rated category 3 when hitting land, it was reduced to category 1 within two days.

The cyclone brought with it more than 200 millimetres of rainfall and 100 kilometre per hour plus winds at its centre.

Pilbara mining operations felt the force of cyclone Damien, with the Port Hedland, Dampier and Ashburton ports all closing as the cyclone passed.

Horizon Power reported that around 800 customers across the region lost power because of the cyclone, but the power was restored promptly.

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