SA Mines and Energy Journal : February-March 2010
FEBRUARY/MARCH 2010 SA MINES & ENERGY JOURNAL 12 FEATURE is forecasting it will produce 100,000 to 110,000 tonnes of copper and 90,000 ounces of gold per year from 2010 to 2012. The company has indicated it plans to spend between $40 and $50 million in exploration this year to expand either the mine's life or its output. Challenger, a great success story and one of the nation's more profitable goldmines, will expand its processing plant in the west of the state's Woomera Prohibited Area, while Exco Resources' White Dam project, 80km west of Broken Hill, will start operating this year. Phoenix Copper Managing Director Paul Dowd says his company will this year further explore its tenements in the Burra-Spalding-Minlaton area in SA's mid-north after encouraging results from its Black Hill and Princess Royal prospects. Mr Kuchel says drilling will continue in 2010 at Rex Minerals' significant Hillside Project on SA's Yorke Peninsula. The project's proximity to infrastructure and port facilities means it is likely to be the state's next big copper- gold mine. There is also expected to be significant activity in the state's iron ore industry this year. Mr Kuchel says Centrex is expected to be the first miner to export from Port Lincoln, when it ships iron ore from its Wilgerup mine. "Western Plains has just signed a heads-of-agreement with Flinders Ports to export iron ore from its Peculiar Knob site later this year, as has Ironclad to try to fast-track its iron ore Wilcherry Hill project on SA's Eyre Peninsula. "It is expected that Wilgerup will help provide the cashflow and investment dollars needed to fund a bulk commodities port at Sheep Hill. That port has potential to be expanded to cater for a range of commodities, including grain and hay from Eyre Peninsula. " IMX Resources Managing Director Duncan McBain expects 2010 to be a watershed year, with plans for his company's Cairn Hill project to be brought into production. The project, in the state's north, is expected to employ more than 100 people through the mining, stevedoring and railing process. "IMX also has a range of other investments and projects in Australia, including further exploration of the promising iron ore potential on the Mt Woods tenements near Cairn Hill, "Mr McBain says. OneSteel Whyalla General Manager Jim White says his company will continue to explore for hematite to ship to China. It recently extended its export program for another 10 years at an annual export rate of 6 million tonnes. It plans to develop at least three new mines to support the export program, including the Iron Chieftain mine. Mr White says this year OneSteel Whyalla will also establish an independent Aboriginal mining company, Walga Mining, to provide services to OneSteel and others in SA. On the uranium front, Mr Kuchel says the Honeymoon uranium mine in the state's north, operated by Canadian- owned Uranium One, will start production this year. However, Crocker Well, the Sinosteel- Pepinnini uranium joint venture, has been put on hold. Activity will continue at BHP's massive Olympic Dam mine, while further exploration will be undertaken at Curnamona Energy's Oban Uranium Project, near Lake Frome. Uranium exploration, in particular, should lift The Jacinth Ambrosia mine is the standout operation in SA.