Underground activity is stepping up at Capricorn Copper, as contractor Byrnecut shifts from rehabilitation mode to mining.
Capricorn Copper managing director Carl Hallion said Byrnecut was starting development work and would ramp up to full ore production mid-year, with on-site processing planned to resume in September/October.
“General infrastructure programs have commenced on site as well,” he said.
“On the mining side we have refurbishment of ventilation fans and underground power reticulation systems and services like that.
“Overheard powerlines are being rerun on site to run power to new development locations as well.”
They have a $110 million capital works program under way to restart it as Capricorn Copper.
The new owners are aiming to process 1.6Mtpa-1.7Mtpa of ore at a head grade of just over two per cent copper over a mine life of at least 10 years.
Ausenco has the engineering, procurement and construction management contract for processing plant modifications to resume concentrate production.
Mr Hallion said Capricorn Copper had placed an order with Outotec for a HIGmill as part of the overhaul and awarded the electrical instrumentation and control work package to Townsville business Minelec.
ESS has won the contract to operate the camp at the operation, which will employ about 220 people when fully operational.
Mr Hallion said Capricorn Copper and Byrnecut were building up their site teams and that the processing plant workforce would be the next major recruitment focus.
Capricorn Copper held an open day in Mount Isa in February, attracting about 200 people, and has been carrying out its recruitment through Hays.
Mr Hallion said exploration was also continuing, with DDH1 Drilling operating two rigs on site and expected to bring on a third soon.
“The ore bodies are all open at depth – so there is a lot more growth we need to pursue,” he said.
“The board has approved a $14 million exploration program – so the exploration group are looking within the mining lease itself, continuing to work on the current ore bodies plus new targets, then they’ll be stepping outside of the mining lease on to the exploration package and looking at the broader opportunities as well.”