Xstrata completes magnetite plant

Xstrata Copper has announced the completion of a magnetite base plant at its Queensland Ernest Henry Mine (EHM).

A major component of Xstrata’s $589 million project to turn EHM into a major copper gold mine, the newly constructed $79 million facility has already produced first magnetite concentrate, a by product of the copper gold concentrating process.

Exports are scheduled to commence from Townsville port in the first half of 2011.

The plant began construction in July 2010, and is currently in the commissioning phase.

EHM general manager Myles Johnston, said the plant will play a key role in securing the mine’s long term future.

“Magnetite processing is an important part of EHM’s Life of Mine extension project which will extend the life the of the EHM operations to at least 2024. The transformation of the open pit mining operations to a major shaft underground is on budget with the shaft scheduled to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2013,” Johnston said.

Xstrata Copper North Queensland chief operating officer and former finalist in the Prospect Awards for Mine Manager of the Year, Steve de Krujiff, said this new facility will play an important part in sustaining Xstrata’s north Queensland copper operations.

“The magnetite processing operation at EHM will produce approximately 1.2 million tonnes of magnetite concentrate per annum at full capacity for export to Asia, making Queensland the first magnetite concentrate exporter,” he said.

The magnetite processing facility created approximately 144 jobs during construction, and once fully operational will deliver additional employment to the region.

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