Australia’s resources sector has been urged to give ageing mines, like north-west Queensland’s Century operation, a second life as global demand and supply builds for some metals.
Speaking at the inaugural Australian Geoscience Council Convention in Adelaide today, New Century Resources managing director Patrick Walta said such an approach could make “new” low-cost mining operations profitable because of the demand for certain metals.
New Century has just recommenced mining and zinc concentrate export operations at the Century mine in north-west Queensland.
Century operated until 2016 as one of the largest zinc mines in the world and New Century Resources has adopted a business model based on extracting further commercial value from the mine’s tailings.
“The cessation of processing operations at Century two years ago, following depletion of the mine’s ore reserves, presented an opportunity for a focused junior to monetise valuable remaining mineral assets,” Mr Walta (pictured) said.
“This is a mine site which, with our new approach plus ongoing remediation work, can take this project’s life through the next decade and beyond.”
Mr Walta said the restart of operations at Century, via tailings reprocessing, would allow much of the scheduled rehabilitation to be achieved through new cash flow-generating site activities.
“The restart and longer-term ongoing infrastructure usage has eliminated the need for infrastructure dismantling for decades and that is the sort of ‘second life’ that can be brought to these valuable Australian mining assets,” he said.
“This approach can create opportunities, as globally, (permission, financial) and development timelines for zinc projects are increasing.”