China Molybdenum (CMOC) and its partners Sumitomo Metal Mining (SMM) and Sumitomo Corporation (SC) have agreed to invest more than A$200m ($143.3m) to extend the mine life of the Northparkes Mine in Australia.
In this regard, the partners plan to develop an area near the existing orebody (E26L1) of the copper and gold producing Northparkes Mine through a new block cave mine.
The investment will be made over a period of three and half years with construction slated to begin this month. Full production from the new block cave mine is targeted for mid-2022.
The expansion project is expected to have a production of nearly 40Mt of ore over a 10 year period. It will involve 11km of underground development and installation of an underground primary crusher, conveying systems and associated infrastructure.
At the peak of construction, the partners expect the new block cave project to recruit up to 180 people.
The Northparkes Mine, which is located 27km north-west of Parkes, has been in production since 1994. The mining method used for the copper and gold mine is underground mining using block caving.
CMOC holds a stake of 80% in the mine while SMM Oceania and SC Mineral Resources are the other partners with stakes of 13.3% and 6.7%, respectively. SMM Oceania is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SMM while SC Mineral Resources is a 100% subsidiary of SC.
CMOC Group executive chairman and CEO Steele Li said: “We are really excited to see this project come to fruition and to watch Northparkes continue to develop and grow. Northparkes plays a pivotal role in our strong and long-term presence in Australia as an internationally renowned mining company.”
Northparkes’s approved development consent to mine is until 2032. As of 31 December 2017, the Northparkes Mine had reserves of 125 million tons of ore along with resources of 471 million tons.
Northparkes acting managing director Hubert Lehman said: “We know the exploration potential of Northparkes and we believe we will discover more copper and gold deposits to take us even further into the future. Northparkes is the world’s most automated underground block-cave mine and we are proud of our history and achievements.”