Open for business

OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine is now open with South Australian Premiere Mike Rann presiding over the official opening yesterday.

According to OZ Minerals’ departing managing director Andrew Michelmore, the operation will be cash flow positive within days.

“Prominent Hill will be cash-flow positive once we get payment for the first shipment (of copper concentrate) we made to India, and that is within days,” he said.

“We have filled the pipeline of working capital, so now as we start getting these consistent cash flows of payments for the concentrate, we’ll be in the positive.”

The $1.12 billion copper-gold mine, which is 130km southeast of Coober Pedy, made its first shipments of concentrate in February this year.

Upon completion of its asset sale with Minmetals, Prominent Hill will represent OZ Minerals’ sole mine in operation.

“If our proposed transaction with Minmetals is successful the company will have resolved its refinancing issues, have a clean balance sheet and have significant cash with which to continue to develop this high potential field, and that is exactly what we intend to do,” OZ Minerals chairman said at the opening.

“OZ Minerals now has a future.”

The mine remained in OZ Minerals’ hands after it removed from the initial Minmetals deal by Treasurer Wayne Swan on grounds of national security.

Prominent Hill has been given an initial lifespan of 10 years, but OZ is still extending its resource estimates through drilling.

Last week the company increased estimates of its Western Copper deposit by 32% to 245 kilotonnes of contained copper.

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