In its report for the quarter ended December 31, 2012, OZ Minerals said it will spend A$60 million during 2012 at its Carrapateena iron oxide copper-gold project in central South Australia, including expenditures for exploration but excluding funding for an exploration shaft now under consideration.
OZ Minerals purchased the Carrapateena project in 2011 from private investor Rudy Gomez (58%), Teck Australia (34%) and various minorities (8%). The purchase price was $250 million. Further payments will be made on start of commercial production.
The Carrapateena project is located 130 km from Port Augusta, South Australia, 100 km southeast of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam operation and 250 km southeast of OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill operation. The project is situated approximately 75 km from the Stuart Highway and is relatively close to the Adelaide-to-Darwin Railway, via which Prominent Hill concentrates are currently transported.
Investigations into the design, development and cost of a potential exploration shaft were advanced during the quarter and discussions with regulators began regarding permitting. Scoping studies for mining options, mining infrastructure (ventilation, materials handling and long-term access), site power supply, and water supply were advanced during the quarter, and metallurgical studies were begun.
The Carrapateena deposit, like Olympic Dam and Prominent Hill, is an iron oxide copper-gold deposit.
The 2012 exploration program will is mainly test the northern portion of the Carrapateena deposit, with the goal of bringing it into the inferred resource category. The area is considered to have the potential to host a further 25 million to 45 million mt. Some infill and extension testing of the inferred resources to the south will also be completed.