Pybar Mining Services has won a two-year contract for underground development work at Mount Isa Mines’ Black Rock Cave project in north-west Queensland.
The project will see MIM further develop its Mount Isa copper resource using the sub-level caving mining method, which helps make lower-grade ore bodies more economically viable for production.
Ernest Henry Mining, near Cloncurry, successfully converted from open-pit operations to sub-level cave mining in 2011.
Pybar will complete underground decline and level development including primary development, drive stripping and shotcreting for the project.
The company said it expected to employ 43 people on site at peak production.
“We have a long history at Mount Isa Mines,” Pybar chief executive officer Brendan Rouse said.
“The award of Black Rock will expand our existing presence and enhance our ongoing partnership with Glencore and the local community.”
Personnel and fleet will be mobilised to site by mid-May.
Glencore’s chief operating officer North Queensland copper assets Matt O’Neill said recent investments in the local copper smelter re-bricking and the development of the Black Rock cave project highlighted the company’s commitment to its operations in Mount Isa.
“The addition of Black Rock ore to our processing stream until 2023 ensures we will be well placed when it comes time to make decisions about our future operations,” he said.
Black Rock ore production is set to begin in 2020.