Hillgrove Resources has produced its first copper concentrate through the filters at the Kanmantoo Copper Project southeast of Adelaide in South Australia. The company expects its first Kanmantoo revenues this month following delivery of a minimum of 2500 tonnes of copper concentrate to its storage facilities at Port Adelaide.
Initial concentrate grades are in the range of 24-27%, which is considered excellent given the low-grade feed used for commissioning activity. Ore feed has now moved to higher grade material (0.7- 0.9% copper), of which more than 300,000 tonnes is now stockpiled on the run-of-mine (ROM) pad.
On Saturday, November 26, Hillgrove’s 450 concentrate containers arrived and were unloaded at Port Adelaide. Transport from mine to port in containers represents environmental best-practice, which Hillgrove says is indicative of its commitment to the community and the environment within which it operates. First shipment of concentrate out of Port Adelaide is expected in February 2012.
Hillgrove’s managing director Drew Simonsen says, “I’m excited to report that the Kanmantoo Copper Mine is now a producing mine, and Hillgrove has moved from explorer-developer status to that of copper producer. We are delighted with the progress we have made during the testing and commissioning period at the plant. The transition from first ore feed to first concentrate has progressed smoothly. It is a tribute to the construction and commissioning teams at Kanmantoo that the significant milestone of first concentrate has been achieved so quickly and without major issue.”
The crushing circuit has achieved spot throughputs in excess of design capacity, which augurs well for plant throughput capacity as Kanmantoo ramps up to full production. As with any plant commissioning, the initial test period has focused on addressing any minor ‘teething’ issues, but the process at Kanmantoo is relatively straight forward, the equipment non-complex and Hillgrove has an experienced metallurgical team on site.
The plant, which was dismantled and transported to the Kanmantoo site and subsequently rebuilt, contains surplus capacity providing Hillgrove with considerable flexibility for operational fine tuning and ultimately, low-cost expansion.