Xstrata gets go ahead for copper acquisition

Exco shareholders have approved the sale of the E1 and Monakoff copper tenements to Xstrata.

The $175 million deal for the north Queensland assets will be paid in cash and completed over the next month. Both E1 and Monakoff are located near to Xstrata Copper’s Ernest Henry mine and contain open pit copper minerals resources.

Ore from the two projects will be transported to the Ernest Henry mine and processed through its concentrator.

Xstrata Copper North Queensland chief operating officer Steve de Kruijff said these projects will strengthen its Ernest Henry operations.

The recent announcement of the closure of its smelting and refinery operations is expected to cut around 400 jobs.

“We anticipate the development of the E1 and Monakoff copper project will create around 100 full time jobs.”

This is in addition to the jobs already created in the recent expansion of the Ernest Henry copper mine from an open cut pit into underground operations, and its construction of a magnetite extraction plant.

“Transforming our Ernest Henry operations to an underground mine involves 330 jobs during construction and will provide 400 long term job opportunities from 2013 onwards,” he said.

The miner is the first in Queensland to export iron ore, with the site producing “approximately 1.2 million tonnes of magnetite concentrate per annum at full capacity for export to Asia,” de Kruijff said.

It signed an agreement with QR and Pacific National in April to transport its ore along the 1030 km long rail line.

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