Sandfire Resources chairman Derek La Ferla has discussed the possibility of transitioning the Western Australian DeGrussa operations from copper to gold, as the mine approaches its scheduled end of life.
After producing 70,000 tonnes of copper and almost 40,000 ounces of gold for the 2021 financial year, the DeGrussa operations are now into their final year of scheduled operation.
The consistent production sourced from DeGrussa has allowed Sandfire to expand across the globe with new developments now in the United States, Botswana and Spain.
“I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the DeGrussa operational team, which has been the foundation of our success to date and the springboard for Sandfire’s new era of global growth,” La Ferla said.
But the chairman also added that all good things must come to an end – potentially.
“During the year, we have also made important progress towards planning for ‘life after DeGrussa’, with the operation currently expected to reach the end of its scheduled mine life in the September quarter of 2022,” La Ferla said.
“A key aspect of this transition will be to ensure that we have measures in place to minimise the impact on local communities and on our site-based team as the mining operation, in its current form, winds down.”
But this current form may not be the only life DeGrussa gets to live, as Sandfire continues to understand the potential for a new gold operation.
“We’re working hard in this regard,” La Ferla continued, “while also progressing feasibility studies for a potential transition to gold production at DeGrussa through the development of the Old Highway Gold Project.”
The Doolgunna project, which incorporates the Old Highway asset, is less than 20 kilometres southwest of DeGrussa and has the potential to yield multiple high-grade discoveries, according to Sandfire.
The company is still targeting up to 68,000 tonnes of copper and 33,000 ounces of gold for the 2022 financial year, but what lies ahead for Sandfire’s Western Australian assets is yet to be made clear.