Newmont Mining produced the first gold and copper concentrate at its Boddington mine in Western Australia in mid-August 2009, following start of operations in late July. Ramp-up to design capacity is expected to take about 12 months. Production over the first five years of operation will average about 1 million oz/y of gold and 30,000 mt/y of copper in concentrate. Costs applicable to sales, net of by-product credits, are expected to average $300/oz of gold over the same period. Capital costs are expected to come in at between $2.8 billion and $2.9 billion.
Boddington has been developed as a large open-pit about 130 km southeast of Perth and at full capacity will be Australia’s largest gold mine. Proven and probable gold reserves total 20 million oz, and mine life is estimated at more than 24 years.
The Boddington deposit is located within the Saddleback greenstone belt, a fault-bounded sliver of Achaean volcanic and shallow intrusive rocks surrounded by granitic and gneissic rocks. Pit dimensions will reach 1,000 x 4,000 m at the surface and an ultimate depth of 700 m. Mining equipment includes more than 30 Cat 793 haul trucks, three electric rope shovels, and one hydraulic shovel. A 2.2-km-long overland conveyor delivers ore to the mill.
Mill equipment includes two 60 x 110 primary crushers; four high-pressure grinding rolls; five MP 1000 secondary crushers; and four 26-ft x 44-ft ball mills, which are equipped with the largest twin-pinion drives produced to date.