OZ Minerals delays first concentrate at Carrapateena

OZ Minerals has pushed back the planned delivery of first concentrate at its Carrapateena copper-gold project in South Australia by a month.

The company has postponed the milestone from November to December this year due to incorrect items being supplied for the minerals processing plant.

OZ Minerals will revise its 2020 production guidance for Carrapateena. It was initially targeted at 2000–4000 tonnes of copper and 3000–6000 ounces of gold.

The company expects to provide the new guidance for 2020 along with the release of its December quarter production report in late January.

OZ Minerals chief executive Andrew Cole was disappointed by the weeks-long postponement considering the remainder of Carrapateena’s construction was either complete or nearing completion.

The delay, however, will not influence Carrapateena’s project ramp up in 2020 given the advanced state of the underground development, according to Cole.

“Over 200,000 tonnes of ore is now stockpiled in preparation for commissioning of the minerals processing plant and underground development and installation of underground infrastructure is progressing well,” Cole said.

There is also no significant cash impact from the first delivery’s postponement, with 2019 growth capital expenditure for Carrapateena remaining at $540–$570 million. It will, however, put Carrapateena’s project development cost at $950–$980 million.

The news coincides with an update to Carrapateena’s ore reserve, with the site’s copper metal tonnes increasing by around 7 per cent after sub-level cave mining.

Carrapateena copper metal mineral resource has increased by around 34 per cent to 5.2 million tonnes, and gold metal has risen by around 29 per cent to 7.4 ounces.

“It is pleasing to see such substantial growth in the Carrapateena mineral resources as we progress our expansion studies in the province,” Cole said.

“This further demonstrates the potential for Carrapateena to extract significantly more value through an expansion beyond the sub-level cave.”

OZ Minerals has also extended its Prominent Hill mine life by another year to 2031, which is propped up by around 80 million tonnes of mineral resource outside the mine plan.

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