Auctus Resources has finished commissioning the processing plant at its Chillagoe project in north Queensland and is ramping up production.
GR Engineering Services carried out the upgrade and completion works on the polymetallic concentrator, with a bespoke Auctus Resources design to allow it to handle copper, lead, zinc, gold and silver product.
“We finished the performance trial under the contract today,” Auctus Resources executive chairman Steve Murdoch said last night.
“The plant is producing and we are in the ramp-up phase now.”
Auctus, backed by Denham Capital, is investing about $100 million to bring a package of former Kagara assets online after securing them in a takeover of Atherton Resources in late 2015.
Mr Murdoch said work on the Chillagoe project was going well and advancing ahead of plan.
As well as refurbishing the Mungana polymetallic plant, Auctus is mining at the rehabilitated Mungana underground mine and bringing the greenfields King Vol zinc deposit into production.
About 300 people are working on site now, but that is expected to drop back to about 200 as commissioning and construction works are finalised.
Mr Murdoch said mining contractor Pybar was stoping the first stope at Mungana and would soon move on to the second stope before initiating the sub level cave.
The top part of the Mungana ore body will produce copper and lead concentrates when processed and Auctus plans to bring online a furnace within weeks to produce gold and silver dore.
However the operation’s focus will shift to zinc concentrates from September as it moves in to a different part of the Mungana ore body and King Vol enters the equation.
“King Vol is in development now. We will start hitting ore in development in July and we will be stoping in September,” Mr Murdoch said.
The operation will have an annualised output of about 100,000 tonnes of concentrate (containing about 50,000 tonnes of metal).
Pybar Mining Services has the development and mining contract for the project, covering 31 months’ service provision at Mungana and five years at King Vol.
It expects to have a peak team of 72 personnel at Mungana and 83 at King Vol.
The contract at Mungana follows Pybar’s successful completion of an early works program at the project from September 2016 to January 2017.
Pybar chief executive officer Paul Rouse recently described the award of the Mungana and King Vol contracts as significant for the company.
“Along with our recent contract award at Thalanga and long-standing partnership at Mount Isa, we are re-establishing our presence at underground projects in Queensland as we enter a new nation-wide phase of growth,” he said.
“Our focus at these sites, and operations-wide, is on building a close working relationship with our clients to deliver safe, rapid development and production – applying innovative technology and solutions where we know they can deliver value.”
Details of job opportunities with Auctus Resources or Pybar Mining Services are available on these links: http://www.auctusresources.com.au/careers/