OZ Minerals has begun producing copper concentrate at its recently developed Carrapateena sublevel caving mine 160 kilometers (km) north of Port Augusta, South Australia. Mine ramp up to a planned rate of 4.25 million metric tons per year (mt/y) will take about 12 months.
Life-of-mine production of metals in concentrate is planned to average 65,000 mt/y of copper and 67,000 ounces per year (oz/y) of gold. Production during 2020 as the ramp up progresses is expected to be in the range of 20,000 mt to 25,000 mt of copper and 35,000 oz to 40,000 oz of gold.
A block cave expansion study is currently in progress, considering the potential for developing a block-caving operation in the lower levels of the Carrapateena mine and expanding average annual production of copper in concentrate to a range of 105,000 mt/y to 125,000 mt/y.
Achieving production of first concentrate at Carrapateena met the fourth-quarter 2019 schedule mapped out when OZ Minerals’ board of directors approved the project in August 2017. Preproduction capital costs to production of first concentrate were $970 million.
More than 280,000 mt of development ore was stockpiled on the surface as the mine entered a 12-month ramp-up period.