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and operating costs. Acid sales will be critical to the project’s success.
Copper Hill has a low waste:ore strip ratio and good metallurgical
characteristics. Current metallurgical tests indicate that it should be
possible to recover better than 85% of both the copper and gold put
through the mill. The concentrate is ‘clean’ with no deleterious
elements present at significant levels. Copper Hill’s mineralised rock has
a low bond work index (17.5) indicating a short residence time in the
grinding ball or SAG mill with consequent energy savings.
The Copper Hill project has not yet sought water entitlements but
management envisages using local aquifers and building a pipeline from
Lake Burrendong, 50 kilometres to the northeast.
There are environmentally positive aspects emerging from the proposed
process. The flotation of all sulphides to feed the roaster brings the
environmental benefit of cleaner tailings. The roasting process is
autogenous and self-sustaining using the sulphides as fuel. The sulphur
dioxide exhaust, essential for acid production, will be captured to the
maximum extent possible. The roasting process itself generates
considerable heat which may be used for electrical power generation.
Carbon credits should be obtainable.
Copper Hill is very well
placed in regard to
infrastructure; it lies 5
kilometres north of
1,600) and the towns
of Orange (pop. 40,000)
and Wellington (pop.
10,000) lie 40
and 60 kilometres north
respectively. A large
percentage of the
workforce is likely to
come from these and
other nearby towns and
from rural properties in
A workforce of
about 350 tradesmen,
miners and plant
operators is estimated
for the initial
stabilising at about 250
positions over the life of the project. Additionally, between 100 to 150
personnel will be required to run the acid plant and copper-gold
recovery plants with as many again required during the construction
Support for the project by Cabonne Shire Council and the local
residents remains encouraging. The district has excellent capacity for
construction and fabrication. Major mines such as Cadia-Ridgeway and
Northparkes operate in the region injecting, between them, over $150
million into their local economies. Local construction, maintenance
facilities and supply chains are well established.
Other key infrastructure attributes are:
3 The Mitchell Highway is adjacent to the project area;
3 The former Orange to Dubbo railway line, which is suitable for in-
bound construction materials and outbound concentrate trucks,
terminates beside Copper Hill; and
3 A 132kv power sub-station lies on the eastern outskirts of Molong
only 4.5 kilometres from Copper Hill.
3 Water rights have not been sought or secured at this time. Studies
will commence shortly to determine the best way forward.
In South Australia a preliminary meeting and regional tour with the
Southern Flinders Ranges Development Board in Port Pirie has
demonstrated the benefits of Port Pirie as a potential site for the
Roaster - Acid Plant - SX-EW
- C I L complex. Vacant land is available
close to water, power, road and rail within the Port Pirie precinct. A
skilled workforce is resident within the area and the Southern Flinders
Ranges Development Board (SFRDB) made it clear that support would be
available if the project goes ahead. Standard gauge rail track links
directly between Molong and Port Pirie.
At a meeting at State Government level, senior personnel from
Primary Industries and Resources South Australia gave in-principle
support for the concept. The South Australian government welcomes
new projects which will create employment, particularly in regional
Additionally, sulphuric acid consumption in South Australia is
predicted to increase substantially with the expansion of the Olympic
Dam mine and plant, the increasing number of in situ leaching (ISL)
uranium deposits coming on stream. Further acid sale potential exists
with rare earth and phosphate treatment plants under consideration
within South Australia.
Funding is now available for an expanded exploration effort and a 4,000
metre drilling program, including deep drilling beyond 350 metres
depth, has been planned beneath Copper Hill, at Buckleys Hill (Copper
Hill North) and at the higher grade Wattle Hill Zone to the south. GCR
has re-commenced drilling at Copper Hill.
GCR will continue its exploration activities at Burra and Cargo in
NSW, at its South Australian tenements and at Mulga Tank in Western
Australia. Exploratory drilling is under consideration on GCR’s
Queensland coal tenements. Overseas, activities in Panama are on hold,
subject to tenement grant but new copper and copper-gold
opportunities are being investigated there and elsewhere in the
Americas and southern Africa.
GCR’s joint venturers, Argent Minerals, MMG Australia and Legend
International have maintained active and successful exploration
activities on GCR’s projects in NSW (base & precious metals) and
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