Hillgrove Resources has inked a contract with Komatsu for the acceleration of work at its Kanmantoo copper operation in South Australia, including an exploration decline, establishment of a portal and underground drill platform creation.
The agreement comes after the mining operator was awarded a A$2 million grant from the state’s government to trial a new underground mining technology being developed in the country by Komatsu: specifically, the MC51 continuous mining machine.
The MC51 uses Komatsu’s DynaCut mechanical cutting technology to help make underground operations safer, faster and more cost-effective while also cutting operational emissions.
With early development works set to begin next month, the Komatsu MC51 will be used to develop the portal and an underground decline of about 500 metres. The trial, Hillgrove said, will focus on demonstrating the machine’s commercial viability and trialling handling and ground support processes.
For Hillgrove, the decline will provide multiple benefits including a reduced drilling cost for its bottom line as it expands and infill drills the existing Kanmantoo underground resources. In addition, the decline will also fast-track its first copper production and reduced overall development costs.
“The development of an underground decline and drill platforms represents an exciting milestone for the Kanmantoo Underground, which ultimately brings forward the potential restart of copper production and further reduces what is already a relatively low-cost mine development,” CEO and MD Lachlan Wallace said.
Added Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan: “This equipment could extract high value zones of economic copper ore more quickly, which is a key part of our plan to increase economic growth. This has attracted widespread interest from Industry, which will observe the trial first-hand.
“I’m optimistic this trial will help develop ways of mining underground more safely, quickly and sustainably. All that would mean more copper, which means more jobs, more growth and more royalties back to taxpayers.”
As a fully electric powered machine, the Komatsu MC51 reduces a site’s carbon footprint and is a key step toward zero emission mining, the groups jointly said.
The Kanmantoo copper mine is located less than 55 kilometres from Adelaide in South Australia.
Source: Hillgrove Resources