Jan 29, 2021

Capricorn Copper invests in future as site ramps up

Capricorn Copper invests in future as site ramps up

Capricorn Copper has achieved production gains of about 10 per cent in the past six months as the operation ramps up to a target output of 30,000 tonnes of copper in concentrate per annum.

The North West Queensland mine also installed significant pumping infrastructure recently and is working with key stakeholders on an updated tailings strategy to support the extended mine life.

Capricorn Copper chief executive officer Peter Albert said the operation had been running at an annualised throughput rate of about two million tonnes of ore in recent months, placing it well along the path to achieving the targeted lift from 25,000tpa to 30,000tpa of copper in concentrate in 2021.

“We have ramped up production, both the mine and the mill, and had really good results for the last six months,” Mr Albert said.

“The team is doing a great job on site – our own team, mining contractor Byrnecut and Ausenco are all working very well together.

“I’d say there has been more than a 10 per cent improvement on both mine and mill throughput and output (in the past six months).”

The former Mount Gordon copper mine, 125km north of Mount Isa, was mothballed in 2013 before being brought back online in 2017 as Capricorn Copper under the ownership of EMR Capital.

The new owners inherited what Mr Albert describes as some challenging legacy issues in terms of water management on the site.

He said the operation had worked in close consultation with the State Department of Environment and Science (DES) last year and has undertaken a significant capital works program to improve water management on the site.

The site’s process operators, Ausenco, designed the system, with pumps supplied by NPE, and it was commissioned in November.

“We have at least 13 years of mine life ahead of us, so we’re building the infrastructure to ensure that we optimise and grow that resource base,” Mr Albert said.

Mr Albert said that Capricorn Copper had engaged expert GHD in Townsville to design the strategy for tailings management for the extended mine life, and has commenced engagement with key stakeholders including the DES.

He said the company was also seeing good outcomes from exploration work encompassing current ore bodies, near-mine resources and regional tenements.

“We have invested significantly in the mine under EMR’s ownership and it’s starting to yield benefits,” Mr Albert said.

And he was proud of the site’s recent safety achievements, with a drop in the total recordable injury frequency rate (TRIFR) from about 13 to 9.