Xstrata looks to extend Black Star mine life

Xstrata has announced it is carrying out studies to extend the life of its Black Star zinc mine.

It comes a fortnight after the mine stated that it will extend the lifespan and workforce of its Ravensworth coal mine in NSW.

The latest study from Xstrata will run until November and seeks to push the Queensland zinc operation's life beyond 2016, according to the North West Star.

Xstrata Zinc's COO Brian Hearne explained that this latest development will increase the depth of the pit 400 metres, an extension of 100 metres from the current design.

It is part of the miner's $133 million Black Star expansion project it originally announced in 2010, which was dubbed the Black Star Open Cut 'Deeps' Project.

The BSOC Deeps project willdeepen the existing pit and is expected to add approximately 14 million tonnes of ore to the production profile at a rate of up to 4.6 million tonnes per year.

The miner has been confident about the success of the expansion, having already awarded an extension to its contract miner, Industrea, to continue operations until December next year.