OZ Starts Underground Production at Prominent Hill
The underground Ankata operation will ramp-up over 2012 and is anticipated to reach its full 1.2 million-mt/y mining rate in the third quarter. The mine is expected to contribute 800,000 to 1 million mt of ore in the 2012 ramp-up year. The average grade of the Ankata ore to be mined in 2012 is expected to be in the range of 2.3% to 2.8% copper.
The Ankata resource is located 800 m from Prominent Hill’s Malu open-pit. The higher-grade ore from the underground mine is expected to contribute an average of 25,000 mt/y of copper and 12,000 oz/y of gold production each year for five years. Mining will be via sub-level open stoping techniques. The ore can be blended with the open-pit feed for processing.
OZ Minerals is exploring around the Prominent Hill area for further copper-gold deposits. The company has access to a high-ly prospective, 7,000-km 2 tenement pack-age in its own right and through its joint ven-ture with IMX Resources. The company has committed to spending A$70 million on near-mine and regional exploration in 2012.