MMG has off-loaded its Century mine in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Century has been on care and maintenance since mining and processing ceased in early 2016. It was of the world’s largest zinc producers.
Following external interest, MMG initiated an expression of interest process to explore possible future economic and businesses opportunities based around the Century mine mineral assets, processing facilities and supporting infrastructure.
A company named Century Bull will extract zinc from tailings at the site while assuming environmental liability and legacy obligations struck through the Gulf Communities Agreement.
The Group leveraged its strong experience in metallurgical processing and environmental management to target the reprocessing of tailings, achieving an economic return whilst remediating historic mine sites said MMG CEO Jerry Jiao.
The renewed future for Century was a great outcome for all concerned said Mr Jiao.
“It provides new life for the substantial Century assets, while supporting dedicated rehabilitation and ongoing employment, training and business opportunities,” Mr Jiao said.
“Under this new plan, Century Bull will continue to generate employment and training opportunities and other ongoing benefits to the communities and businesses of the Lower Gulf.
“Century Bull has developed a sound plan for progressive rehabilitation of the Century mine site and has built a strong reputation and capability in ‘economic rehabilitation’ in Australia.”
They looked forward to building upon the successful relationships already developed by MMG and previous mine owners, Century Bull Managing Director Patrick Walta said.
“Century Bull also recognises the unique history of Century, including the importance of Australia’s first major multi-party native title agreement between the Century Mine, Queensland Government and four Native title Groups and the many stakeholders still associated,” Mr Walta said.
During its operating life, Century provided employment for over 1,000 people from the remote Gulf communities, providing training and opportunities to local businesses along with improved infrastructure and services in the region.
“MMG would like to thank all its partners to Century over the years, in particular the GCA signatories the Waanyi, Mingginda and Gkuthaarn and Kukatj Native Title Groups, and Queensland Government for their support of the mine since it commenced operations in 1997,” Mr Jiao said.
The transaction includes:
- Revived economic activity: Century Bull will immediately begin work towards the economic extraction of metal from evaporation dam water while completing a bankable feasibility study into zinc tailings re-processing. This is expected to generate renewed employment, training and business opportunities for Century and the surrounding communities of the Lower Gulf – leveraging the value contained in existing mine waste streams and utilising the existing high-quality infrastructure.
- Rehabilitation focus: The transaction delivers responsibility for site remediation to a dedicated rehabilitation business. Century Bull’s primary focus is to deliver enduring rehabilitation outcomes while using existing infrastructure and remnant mineralisation (zinc bearing tailings) to generate ongoing economic contribution. It will assume overall accountability for rehabilitation and care for country responsibilities, in consultation with Native Title groups.
- Financial support: MMG has procured and will stand behind the ongoing provision of bank guarantees of A$193.7 million for the benefit of Century Bull which enables Century to meet its financial assurance obligations with the Queensland Government. Furthermore, MMG will make an additional contribution of A$34.5 million, over three years, to assist with the transition of ownership and support existing obligations around site upkeep and environmental maintenance and monitoring.
- Preserving legacy: MMG will establish a special purpose trust of A$12.1 million, managed independently by Equity Trustees to support Century Bull in meeting Century’s existing obligations contained in the Gulf Communities Agreement (GCA) and agreed community projects for the benefit of Lower Gulf communities.
The agreement is with Century Mine Rehabilitation Project Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Century Bull Pty Ltd (Century Bull).
Century Bull is a privately owned Australian specialist in ‘economic rehabilitation’ associated with the Raging Bull Group of companies.
Raging Bull is already established in Queensland through its involvement in the Mount Morgan Tailings Rehabilitation Project.
Century Bull has entered into an earn-in agreement with the ASX listed Attila Resources Limited (ASX: AYA) for the ongoing funding of the proposed economic rehabilitation activities at the Century zinc mine.