Ivanhoe Australia Starts Up at Osborne

Operators observe a flotation circuit at Ivanhoe Australia’s Osborne copper-gold mine in Queensland,
Australia. The project’s concentrator was commissioned earlier this year.
(Photo courtesy of Ivanhoe Australia)
Ivanhoe Australia began producing copper and gold concentrate at its Osborne pro-cessing facilities south of Cloncurry, north-west Queensland, on February 28. The com-pany acquired the Osborne mine and con-centrator from Barrick Australia in September 2010. Since the acquisition, the company has restarted the Osborne under-ground mine and developed the Kulthor underground resource, which is accessed via a decline from the Osborne mine. Potential additional future ore sources include the Starra 276 and Starra 222 deposits and the existing Osborne open-pit.

Commissioning of the Osborne concen-trator began in late January 2012, and first concentrate was shipped to Townsville Port March 7. Plant throughput has ramped up to 220 mt/hr, an annualized rate of 1.65 million mt, assuming 95% utilization. Throughput during 2012 is expected to total between 700,000 and 900,000 mt, increasing to 1.8 million to 2 million mt in 2013. At startup, approximately 80,000 mt of ore were stockpiled on the run-of-mine pad, providing a buffer of around 20 days of plant production.

Work on the existing Starra 276 decline began in December 2011. The decline is being widened to enable access by larger, more modern haulage trucks. A bypass is also being mined around a tight spiral sec-tion of the old decline. The decline devel-opment is being undertaken by a mining contractor, with ore production scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2013.

Substantial exploration and resource definition efforts are continuing to build Ivanhoe Australia’s understanding and defi-nition of the ore field, reinforcing confi-dence in the projected mine life of 15 to 20 years, CEO Peter Reeve said. At Kulthor, a surface drilling program has begun to test the southwest along-strike and down-plunge extensions of mineralization, and at Osborne Deeps, drilling for resource exten-sions north of the planned mining area and existing decline are under way, utilizing various geophysical targeting methods.

As featured in Womp 2012 Vol 04 - www.womp-int.com