China Molybdenum Company (CMOC) and Sumitomo have announced a final approval of a new block cave mine at Northparkes copper and gold mine.

TAMJan10 img01

Image source ©Northparkes Mines

Called E26 Lift 1 North (E26L1N), the investment is reported to reach more than AU$200M over a three- and half-year period, with construction scheduled to commence this month with full production expected in mid-2022. The project is expected to produce approximately 40Mt of ore over a 10-year period.

Executive Chairman and CEO, CMOC Group, Steele Li said, that CMOC was really excited to see the project come to fruition and Northparkes continue to develop and grow.

“Northparkes plays a pivotal role in our strong and long-term presence in Australia as an internationally renowned mining company,” said Mr Li.

The project will deliver 11 kilometres of underground development, an underground primary crusher, conveying systems and associated infrastructure. At the peak of construction, the project is expected to employ up to 180 people, which will be a mixture of employees and contractors.

This project is covered by the current project approvals, licences and permits. An upgrade to the ventilation system is currently being developed, which will provide the new E26L1N mine with sufficient air flow to support development and production activities. The E26L1N operation will be designed to utilise an increased level of automation and digitisation, helping to deliver a safer and more productive mine.

Northparkes Acting Managing Director Hubert Lehman sees this as a major and exciting investment in the future of Northparkes.

“We look forward to continuing to contribute to the local community in which we live and work for years to come,” said Mr Lehman.

Northparkes was the first mine in Australia to use the highly efficient block cave mining method, becoming a more widely used mining method throughout the world. In 2015, Northparkes became the worlds most automated underground mine with 100 per cent of production from automated loaders.

Northparkes has approved development consent to mine until 2032. As of 31 December 2017, Northparkes has reserves of 125 million tonnes of ore and in addition resources of 471 million tonnes.

“We know the exploration potential of Northparkes and we believe we will discover more copper and gold deposits to take us even further into the future. Northparkes is the world’s most automated underground block-cave mine and we are proud of our history and achievements. The mine has been operating for 24 years and we have a vision of a century of mining together, here in NSW’s Central West,” Mr Lehman added.

Northparkes Mines is located 27 kilometres north-west of Parkes, in the Central West of New South Wales, Australia.