A Century of Mining in 20 years

Posted September 19, 2013

MMG graciously hosted several members of the media at its signature Century operation in the Gulf of Carpentaria this week.

General Manager of Queensland Operations Mark Adams addressed the media on site. Firstly, he said that the Dugald River deposit, located about 65kms north, north-west of Cloncurry could be mined, subject to the completion of a project review currently underway.

This is on top of an announcement yesterday that the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contract with Forge Group Minerals and Resources had been terminated.

The notice from MMG Dugald River to the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited by CEO and Executive Director Andrew Michelmore included:

“…

As previously disclosed by the Company, including in its Interim Results announcement dated 28 August 2013, complexities in the Dugald River project’s ore body have been identified, prompting a review of the planned mining method.

To focus resources on the mine method review and manage short-term capital expenditure, the Company has decided to suspend most earthworks at the project site. This includes ongoing engineering, procurement and construction of the processing facility for the Dugald River project.

….

The Board considers that the termination of the EPC Contract will not have any material adverse effect on the business and operations of the Group.

Additional surface work that has been suspended includes construction of the permanent accommodation camp and bulk earthworks.

Underground development of the Dugald River project now exceeds 10,000 metres and above surface work continues on the construction of access roads and the emergency airstrip. …” http://mmg.com/en/Investors-and-Media/News/2013/09/18/Discloseable-Transaction.aspx

 

The second commitment Mr Adams gave was to the continued association of the company to the gulf site. He was at pains to point out a couple of things; firstly that while the time frame for end of zinc operations out of the existing pit is around 2016, the closure was a 30 year process. They will not be switching off the lights and walking away.

Mr Adam’s second point regarding the Century site was that MMG was looking at ways of keep the process going.

Right now there is considerable grey matter being focused at putting out the black fines that are transported 304kms via pipeline in a slurry form for export out of Karumba. The development of the existing pit is in stages eight, nine and ten which is producing larger quantities of lower grade ore. The crushing and processing plant has been ramped up to around 1000 tonnes an hour to meet production goals.

In all, the infrastructure investment is worth more than $2b in today’s terms and it’s only half way through its expected life. The business wants more out of it.

To meet this, high-grade satellite deposits on the Century lease are being drilled and the viability of processing other minerals like phosphate is being investigated. The company is also about 70 percent of the way through transporting about 100,000 tonnes of Dugald River ore to Century for a metallurgical test.

So while the anticipated 20 year pit life ticks down, the history of the Century operation is far from being written.

This is a great remote Australia isolation-innovation-dedication story.

Look for updates on our website www.miningadvocate.com.au, photos of Century Mine under Between Shifts, and in a spread in the November edition of The Mining Advocate.

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