Engineering & Mining Journal

AUG 2017

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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REGIONAL NEWS - AUSTRALIA/OCEANIA 12 E&MJ • AUGUST 2017 www.e-mj.com BHP Upgrading Smelter Operations at Olympic Dam BHP's Olympic Dam smelter will be en- hanced through a A$350 million invest- ment in the operations, which produce copper products for global markets. Olympic Dam Asset President Jacqui McGill said the smelter maintenance campaign was the largest planned shut- down by BHP in the South Australia. "There will be 1,300 contractors at Olympic Dam during the peak of construc- tion as teams work around the clock to dismantle, rebuild and upgrade integral components of the facility," McGill said. "Work is under way on-site with teams pre- paring to dismantle old infrastructure and starting to take delivery of more than 350 material loads to support the project." The shutdown across the surface oper- ations will start in August with the main- tenance campaign running for more than 100 days total, McGill said. "As always, the safety of our people and our contractors is paramount as we focus on this demanding and complex project, which will help underpin stabil- ity and growth at Olympic Dam for many years to come," she added. The smelter campaign involves com- bined investment in the following three key areas to ensure the ongoing integrity of crit- ical infrastructure and to continue to deliver safe and reliable performance: rebuilding key elements of the smelter flash furnace; demolishing and building a new electric slag furnace; and removing and replacing the five-story high electro static precipitator. Olympic Dam is also using the planned downtime to undertake further refinery asset maintenance. Saracen Posts Record Gold Production Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd. reported exceptional all-round performance for the June quarter, which saw it post record gold production, achieve its goal of dou- bling annualized production to 300,000 ounces (oz), and deliver some impressive exploration results. Production for the June quarter was up 23% on the previ- ous quarter at 79,985 oz, a record for the company, which is above the run-rate re- quired to achieve its 300,000-oz-per-year (oz/y) production target. This strong performance, which was largely driven by rising mine grades, saw a 25% reduction in all-in sustaining costs to A$1,127/oz ($889/oz), helping to drive a strong financial performance for the quarter. Gold sales of 78,534 oz underpinned revenues of $127.3 million, allowing Saracen to grow its cash and equivalents position to $45.2 million at quarter-end (up from $30.6 million last quarter). This was after making significant investments in the company's future growth, including $24.6 million on growth capital and ex- ploration, $4.3 million to repay all finance leases, and $2.7 million reflecting the early payment to St. Barbara Ltd. of the final installment for the Kailis acquisition. "Saracen has now cemented its position in the ranks of Australia's leading midtier gold producers, with a production profile and growth outlook over the next few years, which puts us in an enviable position in the ASX-listed gold sector," said Saracen Man- aging Director Raleigh Finlayson. "During the quarter, we began to reap the rewards of our substantial recent investments in growth. At Carosue Dam, the investment in twin declines at the Karari underground mine is now paying off with multiple stop- ing fronts established, helping to drive an increase in mine production and grade. Kidman, SQM Forming JV to Develop Mount Holland Kidman Resources and Sociedad Quími - ca y Minera de Chile (SQM) have entered into a binding letter agreement as an ini- tial step toward forming a joint venture to develop Kidman's Mount Holland lithium project and a proposed downstream lith- ium refinery in southwest Western Aus- tralia. Kidman is an Australian company headquartered in Melbourne, Victoria. SQM is a Chile-headquartered producer and distributor of specialty chemicals, with lithium being a core business func- tion for the past 22 years. Under the letter agreement, SQM will make an initial cash payment of $30 mil- lion to Kidman and will also commit to providing $80 million to fund development costs in relation to the project in consider- ation for acquisition of a 50% joint-venture interest. This funding will be directed to- ward completion of project feasibility stud- ies; the development phase of the mine and processing plant on site; the construc- tion phase of the mine, processing plant, and associated infrastructure; and the de- sign and study phase of the refinery. During the next 100 days, as many as 1,300 contractors will complete a A$350 smelter refurbishment at Olympic Dam.

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