With the Wira shaft mine extension allowing access to previously uneconomic regions and opening up possible new possibilities, we are delighted to anticipate a long and productive future for Prominent Hill in South Australia, stated Andrew Cole, CEO of Oz Minerals.
For Prominent Hill, the choice, confirmed by the operation’s dependable performance and constant resource to reserve conversion rate. The shaft expansion allows Oz Minerals to invest in reduced emissions and other environmental and worker goals with a longer mine life and higher production rates.
With the Carrapateena mine now running at intended capacity for the whole half-year, increased revenues continue to be partly offset by higher payments to suppliers.
The company’s board wanted shareholders to benefit from the substantial increase in first-half earnings before entering into the next development phase, including expansions at Prominent Hill and Carrapateena starting this year and a decision on West Musgrave anticipated in 2022. According to Cole, Prominent Hill’s annualized rates remained over four million tons per year in the first half, with work continuing at the bottom of the current life-of-mine level to build level infrastructure in preparation for the start of the bottom-up mining sequence. Simultaneous bottom-up and top-down mining will allow mining rates to rise from 2022 to between four and five million tonnes per year, ahead of the shaft mine development, which would allow mining rates of six million tonnes per year from 2025. During the first half of the year, Carrapateena’s production increased as anticipated.
The board also authorized the block cave extension in January, and it would replace the lowest part of the existing sub-level cave footprint with a block cave to boost mine output to a projected 12-million tonnes per year. Early activities on the block cave decline start in the fourth quarter of 2021, while the team continues to concentrate on debottlenecking and improving the current sub-level cave output rate to 5-million tonnes per year by 2023. The investment decision has not changed and will be implemented in 2022. The West Musgrave provincial plan was also progressed in the first half, with the addition of a focused geophysics and drilling program at the Succoth copper deposit, situated 13 kilometers west of Nebo-Babel, that is set to begin in the third quarter of 2021. The Succoth project has the potential to bring value to West Musgrave.
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Stope production is now anticipated to begin soon, enabling a shift from development ore processing to production ramp-up, thanks to the arrival of new mining equipment at the site in June. During the first half of the year, continued resource drilling at Santa Lucia and Pantera, enabling mineral resource and study updates to define expansion prospects in Brazil for the second half of the year, according to Cole.